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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Can't You See That It's Impossible to Choose- Queen

Hey, there I was shuffling though email when I came across three emails from conservative friends, a poultry business executive (rtd.), an educational executive (rtd.), and a masonry contractor (hardworking still); who had, more or less, challenged me to quit writing about who I don’t like and pick some national candidates that I thought were good for the country. Really the educational expert started it, and the others jumped on board because all three think I have drunk too much liberal skunk water. Because this is such a nifty challenge, I wanted to hop right up on it, but a few disclaimers are necessary to set my rhetorical positions. First, let me say that I would rather have either one or all three representing me than anyone currently running for any office, anywhere. Second, when I engage online to match political agendas to my particular philosophies on politics and governing (in this country both are mutually exclusive as far as I can figure), I come up sure to vote for Ron Paul thus I am an out and out Libertarian. But that is a bit deceiving because if one checks that he is in favor of legalizing marijuana and for decriminalizing drug-use, I am guessing that he falls immediately in with the Libertarian crowd. I also agree with Paul’s points on our disengaging from our imperialistic policies by closing down all the US bases we maintain at great expense all over the world and by getting the hell out of two wars that have accomplished little. Both actions have to bring scads of money back home. With that said, any candidate (federal candidate implied here but the thoughts go to any level of public servant) who would run and DO the following would have my vote in a nanosecond:

1. Chunk the entire tax code and any other laws, regulations, or specifications which outline credits, deductions, and/or subsidies for individuals and businesses.
2. Devise a fair tax system whereby ALL people pay some tax no matter how small.
3. Move the federal budget into a position of solvency through a combination of sensible taxation, elimination of redundant programs, and vigorous enforcement of fraudulent activities.
4. Iterate a firm stance on whether oil and its by-product are or are not a national security problem. If our purchase of oil from countries unfriendly to our basic democratic system is a threat to our security, devise a plan to quit buying it.
5. Promote though mandate a move to renewable and inventive forms of energy plus initiate fuel conservation programs across the nation.
6. Run a campaign where no negative ads are used and use campaign ads that reveal positions and data for why the candidate should be elected.
7. Never refuse to communicate with any media. Always directly answer questions.
8. Return Social Security to solvency.
9. Reduce salaries and benefits of Congress and staff by 20 percent.
10. Eliminate all perks now enjoyed by any and all members of the government.
11. Initiate scholarships where tax dollars pay tuitions for medical, dental, and educational schools. Recipients would pay off the scholarships though an equitable term of service to the citizenry in areas where those services are desperately needed.
12. Disallow any visas to any individual from any country that supports or engages in terroristic activities. (I have yet to figure why PRMC hired doctors from Iran, Iraq, and Armenia.)
13. Firmly stop the abuse of the middle class by Wall Street, insurance companies, and medical industries.
14. Make all government employees above seventh pay grade take increasing reductions in pay and in benefits.
15. Eliminate all political appointments to positions within government with the exception of cabinet level positions but eliminate all under-secretaries of any and all things.
16. Begin a rigorous assessment program that certifies that all government employees are doing a full day’s work and are fully enforcing all regulations for which they are charged.
17. Require that all auto companies manufacture within two years safe, sound vehicles which achieve 40 miles per gallon of petroleum products with a mandate of 10 percent better fuel efficiency per five year cycle. Create personal taxes for those who own vehicles which do meet 40mpg standard.
18. Nationalize all minerals; pay companies to mine or drill but to never own the wealth of the nation.
19. Get out of the education business and leave it to the states to take care of themselves. (A tough nut this because I am guessing that states currently arrive at 20 percent of their educational budgets through federal largess.)
20. Devise a federal law that prohibits government employees from working for lobbyists for a minimum of seven years. (Companies routinely engage in anti-competition clause when they hire and it makes sense that the governments could do the same.)
21. Pass a bill that gives the President line-item vetoes in budgets.
22. Pass legislation prohibiting amendments to bills that have nothing to do with the theme of the original bills. Let earmarks come to votes on their own merits. (As far as I am concerned even though pork is a minuscule portion of the federal budget, we could do away with all of it not linked to sensible national security.)
23. Eliminate all foreign aid unless it can be certified and verified as delivered to the people who need it.
24. Disengage from Israel and quit supporting it militarily unless it will return to conditions of original treaties and agreements.
25. Reign in the power of “intelligence” agencies and make them accountable to citizens not to themselves or to a limited number of select congress. There is not a whit in the Constitution that allows the President of the United States to have covert agencies at his or his party’s beck and call.

This is a beginning for me. If you can find someone who will run on the above; I will sign on. I am as disgusted as the next guy and gal with the way our country operates. And I am most disgusted with how we have allowed our public servants be controlled by the financial institutions and corporations who have an ethic of profit before country. It is totally ludicrous that we suspect a business will regulate itself; humans do a poor job of that; greedy humans less of a job. Additionally, we have to find candidates who will come to grips with the costs of prisons, insurances, and illegal immigration. We have to have plans to deal with all at once, not when they reach “critical mass” (all are there right now).

Finally, I am not sure that as long as it takes huge amounts of money to capture an office that we will ever be able to vote for candidates that are not beholding to one special interest group or another, yet I know quite a few folks who are bright enough and honest enough to do a far better job than any presently on the job. When we get a chance to vote for folks like them, I will quit bitching.

Now, I am off for a really cheap cigar, some bourbon and skunk water, and USDA free-cheese-sandwich.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Witchy Women- What I Do on Rainy Wednesdays

Let me see if I can get my short, mental arms around some of the “stuff” of current politics to examine and to understand a couple of republicans running for office.

Take Meg Whitman. She has spent nearly, if by now not more than, 150 million dollars of her own bucks trying to become the governor of California. Go figure: yesterday I heard an interview with her on the radio. This former CEO who was earning more than 13 million (I am assuming she is nowhere near broke despite the expense of the campaign) while running my favorite online spot, e Bay, admitted to and apologized for having a miserable voting record. That is she could not remember how many times she had voted as a California citizen since 1979 ( zero according to The Sacramento Bee). She claims she was just too busy with her children to be much bothered with civic privilege. Dang, being busy with them babies sure can be time consuming. Despite her tortured work schedule and baby-keeping, she had a domestic or two to “hep out a bit.” And so it goes with another politician hiring at least one illegal alien. Go figure, again: a CEO who ran a huge online company, trained in math and physics at Princeton, earned an MBA at Haahvahd, could not drum up the intellectual wherewithal to validate if a worker had legal documents and then ignored a letter from the Social Security Administration that warned that the number used by the worker did not match her name. Whitman’s comment during her interview was that the employee was a wonderful worker but that in California it is illegal to hire undocumented workers (you think, Meg?), so she had to fire her. Whitman went on to claim that all this alien-negativity was really a political stunt pulled by her opponent. In addition to employing an illegal, as a republican candidate it doesn’t hurt her a bit that she was on the board of Goldman Sachs during the time of Hank Paulson’s ceo-ship and that she was the beneficiary of what you and I would call insider trading but due to a loophole in the codes is fondly known as “spinning,” a nifty benefit whereby insiders get special deals on initial public offerings of stock before the public can buy the new securities. Plus, before she moved on out of e Bay, despite the company’s stock’s declining, her salary had gone from 2 million to 13 million give or take change;she had agreed to give back around a million to the company for personal use of its private jet; and she was tapped as one of America’s Most Powerful Women. Gotta love her!

Take Carly Fiorina. Another super-woman-republican, Fiorina is very much like Whitman. First, she has spent gobs of her own money funding her campaign. Second, she did not exercise her right to vote much at all, spotty in California, never, while living in New Jersey and never-registered, while she lived in Maryland. Her response to criticism of her failure to vote was that she was a life-long republican, that people die fighting to get a right to vote, that she didn’t vote, and shame on her. At least she did not blame her step-daughters. Like Whitman she has a meteoric corporate profile: she hired onto A T &T, became an executive, and when the company decided to spin off its very profitable equipment making company, she became CEO of Lucent Technologies and then onto Hewlett Packard. Plus she was ranked right along with Meg Whitman by Fortune Magazine as one of America’s Most Powerful Women. Of course, while she was accelerating her career, it was the time of the fast, slippery, loose, where over-leveraging of technology companies (akin in gross malpractice to the over-leveraging of the mortgage/securities companies from which we suffer as I type) was commonplace and where, too, CEOs could be rewarded very handsomely by escalating revenues. So, Lucent in order to show revenue growth began lending money to companies who wanted to buy Lucent’s products. Get it? I will lend you a couple 100 million if you will spend it in my store and when you get rich off reselling my stuff, you can pay me back. With that scam in place, Lucent showed a gonezillion increase in revenue growth; its stock went up; Fiorina’s worth went up, proportionally. (That's how to become one of America’s Most Powerful Women.) Then, Fiorina boogied to Hewlett Packard (HP). When she left Lucent, she left about 85 million worth of stock options on the table, but HP gave her 65 million of its stock to replace the Lucent-package. And was she NOT lucky? Seemingly she lost 25 million to go to work for HP; however, not long after she fled, the bubble burst, Lucent-stock fell because of its burdensome debt, to about a dollar, and that was that. She done good at HP, made a lot of money for herself and the company while laying-off more than 30, 000 employees, and got laid-off herself but left with a substantial bundle of money on her back. Gotta love her, too. Plus, as Pat Buchannan says, “She’s a good lookin’ gal with lots of appeal.”

“Two businesswomen from the real world who know how to create jobs, balance budgets and get things done,” chortled Whitman when she and Fiorina won their party’s nominations. When I read this, I knew I was onto an understanding of republicans: they use code! Like, creating jobs is republican code for laying-off tens of thousands of US workers. Balancing budgets is code for dump workers and shift a good hunk of payroll/benefit-savings over into MY bonus package or fly around on stock-holders’ expense conducting personal business. Get-things-done is code for hire an illegal to do it, code for never voting, code for getting-out-of-Dodge before the company I over-leveraged collapses in debt.

Comprehending these two republicans turns out to be really simple: take whatever they claim, promise, or take credit for, apply the opposite meaning, and viola, the truth is revealed. And, for sure, if either of these women makes it to DC, you can bet other republicans know that she is prepared to do a fine job.

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