Friday, December 31, 2010

Is It Ever Wise To Arm The Enemy? Apparently, Some Think So...

I had to read the story twice, just to make sure it was not a joke of some sort.

The Ukraine, once part of the USSR, has 110 pounds of enriched bomb-grade uranium - enough to make two nuclear bombs. Being an unstable country, it was considered dangerous for them to keep that material. So, under the START treaty that President Obama worked out last April, the Ukraine would give up those materials and the United States would - get this - pay to have it delivered to Russia!

Bear in mind, Russia has already stated they intend to continue assisting our OTHER enemy, Iran, in building up their own nuclear production.

Those who insist on thinking Mr Obama can do no wrong simply shrug this off, saying that it does "safeguard" the nuclear material by getting it out of the Ukraine. But what they fail to address is WHY do we allow it to go to our enemy? An enemy that is helping our other enemies to become nuclear powers? They never even stop to think that it might have been "safeguarded" even better if it was delivered to the U.S. But that's not the whole story - not only are we letting Russia have it, Obama has guaranteed the the American taxpayer will pay for the delivery!!!!

If any other individual had arranged delivery of nuclear materials to Russia, that person would be arrested on charges of treason. If you do not believe that, try it.

And now you know another reason why Republicans wanted more time to study this treaty before voting on it. But now it's too late - you and I are now on the hook to not only deliver nuclear materials to the enemies that want us dead, but we are also obligated to pay for it.

Frankly, I do not believe it is ever a good idea to arm your enemy.

Nor is it a good idea to rush ANY legislation through without adequate time for study and debate...

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sometimes Folks Expect Too Much, Then Get Partisan About It

It almost never fails - an "Act of God" happens that we do not like and you get a lot of people complaining rather than taking part in making things right. And then they use it as a political weapon to bash the other party, even though politics have nothing to do with it.

Take the case of this latest snowstorm that socked the east coast. New Jersey's Governor Christie happened to be on vacation at Disneyworld when it rammed up the east coast and buried several states. And before the snow had even been cleared from city streets, partisan liberals were slamming Christie for not returning immediately.

For those knuckleheads I would remind them of two things:

1) Christi could not have returned. All flights and trains had been canceled. The only way he could have returned would have been to snowshoe 1500 miles. But heck, don't expect that to deter partisans from taking cheap shots.

2) Even if Christie had been in Newark, there is nothing he could have done that was not already being done by the people who were hired to deal with such things.

I might add that liberals would be well advised not to make too big an issue of Christie not canceling his vacation to return. After all, Obama was also on vacation as DC was getting hammered, and he did not return, either. Neither one could.

For partisan troublemakers who prefer to divide the country rather than work together, the facts do not matter. To them, all that matters is THEIR agenda. They do not care about you, me, or the country. They care only about themselves.

They did the same thing with Katrina. They bashed Bush for not acting sooner. It did not matter to them that the feds could not intercede without first being invited to do so by the governor of Louisiana because of state sovereignty. And she refused to invite them until it was too late. But did they blame her? No - they preferred to blame Bush, strictly for political purposes.

I hope my readers are more sophisticated and honest than those partisan morons. I suspect you are, or you would not find my posts of interest.

In instances where politics actually play a part in a crisis, then by all means, fire away. In NYC politics has played a part, mostly because of the unions and a mayor who appears to only want to be mayor of part, not all of NYC. But even though he may not have been a big help, the fact remains that the storm was not by his design. Lack of preparedness was.

Go ahead and nail someone for what they do or do not do that affects the outcome. But don't become a moron by lambasting them for something beyond their control.

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Where Are The Complainers Now?

During the Bush administration the media, the Democrats and the people whined, complained and blamed Bush for the increasing gas prices - until they went down in 2006-2008.

However, since Mr. Obama was inaugurated gas prices have steadily risen almost 76%. But I do not hear the same wailing from the media or the left. Where did they go?

Here's the point - while politicians may need to look at things through a political lens, the media, and the people, should not. The media has an obligation to be unbiased and objective (they are far from it), and the people should look to the bigger picture. But that is difficult to do when the media won't do their part.

Let's send the media a message - stop subscribing to or watching the media that are not being objective. If we hurt their bank accounts, sooner or later they will get the message - and we can then get the WHOLE story.

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On 12/10 I told you what gold was going to do - did you act on it?

On December 10th I wrote in this blog (http://success-by-design.blogspot.com/2010/12/gold-is-fluctuating-wildly-or-is-it.html) that gold would soon cycle upward - and on 12/16 it started rising from 1370 to today's $1410. It should go even higher - but if you had followed my advice you would already have netted $40 per ounce in just two short weeks.

No one can be certain how high it will go before it drops again, but historically it should generally go in an upward direction until it hits at least $1430. Then it would drop to around $1390. It may go higher and lower, but those are general guidelines.

Bear in mind - when it again drops, probably to around $1390, it should be a good time to buy - historically it should then rise to around $1450 or so.

In any case, good luck to you in the New Year. And make a mental note - if the new Republican House manages to actually keep their word and drive down spending and the deficit, all bets are off concerning gold. If the economy starts to recover significantly, investors will cash out their gold and buy stocks and bonds. Gold would drop accordingly. So, keep an eye on that...

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Lighter Side of Colonoscopies (humor is good for the soul)

Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous.... A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:

1. 'Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!'

2. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?'

3. 'Can you hear me NOW?'

4. 'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?'

5. 'You know, in Arkansas , we're now legally married.'

6. 'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?'

7. 'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...'

8. 'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!'

9. 'If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!'

10. 'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.'

11. 'You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?'

12. 'God, now I know why I am not gay.'

And the best one of all:
13. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?'

Friday, December 24, 2010

Unappreciated Heroes - Really?

In today's "Huffington Post", a far-left liberal blog akin to Daily Kos and Media Matters, one fellow wrote an article about the "Unappreciated Heroes of 2010". I immediately imagined it would be good for a few chuckles and I certainly was not disappointed.

According to Huffington Puffington, unappreciated hero #1 is Bradley Manning. For those of you who do not recognize the name, he is the soldier who stole all the state secrets and classified cables and gave them to WikiLeaks. Whether or not that was a good or bad thing is not the issue - the fact remains that it is still espionage, and he is currently behind bars - and likely to remain there for 20 years. A hero? Not a chance. A treasonous fool, to be sure. But to place this slug on the same pedestal as soldiers who lost limbs or lives fighting for our country is nothing short of moronic ignorance that insults the true heroes.

Another "unappreciated hero" according to the Huffington Post is none other than Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed Socialist Senator from Vermont. Leave it to the folks on the far left to hail a socialist as a hero. Considering Hugo Chavez is also a socialist, it is my opinion that Sanders is as much a hero as any other person hell-bent to destroy the American way of life. And I can say that as a fact - America is built on capitalism. And socialism is just the opposite.

It never ceases to amaze me that some people who call themselves Americans are so far removed from American values. I understand we need a "left" just as we need a "right". But we do not need a far-left that is so anti-American as to pose a threat to our way of life. Some even blatantly advertise themselves as communists.

Other "heroes" the far-left have voiced their admiration for include Mao (communist who murdered millions), Che Guevera (murderer), socialist Hugo Chavez and communist leader Fidel Castro.

Their heroes are or were all enemies of America. Therefore, those who admire them are also enemies of America. If you stand with the enemy, you are the enemy.

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How To Get Out Of Debt The Easy Way

Debt - a huge problem for many. And often it becomes such a burden we just don't see any way to get out from under. But there is a way...

First --- PUT AWAY THE CARDS! Better still, cut 'em up.

I refer to this as the Debt Reduction Snowball.

Now grab a piece of paper and a pencil, and jot down every debt you have, starting with the smallest and working up to the largest. Jot down the balance and the monthly payment.

Now take that smallest one and find a way to pay it off in full. Hold a yard sale, sell some unnecessary stuff, or get a part-time job. Whatever it takes, pay off that smallest debt.

That will be the hardest part of this plan. The rest is all but automatic.

Now take the monthly payment you WOULD have paid on that and add it to the monthly payment of the next smallest debt. This will pay it off faster. Once that bill is paid off, you now take the monthly payment you WOULD have paid on the two smallest debts and apply it to the next debt. Your payments are beginning to snowball.

As you pay off the smallest debts first, you get to apply a lot more to the largest debts, paying them off faster. Even your mortgage, if you wish.

Here is an example. Let's say you have (5) debts as follows:

1) $400 gas card at $20 a month
2) $1000 credit card at $50 a month
3) $2500 credit card at $120 a month
4) $8,000 car payment at $240/month
5) $130,000 mortgage at $1,000/month

Pay off #1 any way you can (without borrowing). Now apply that $20/month to debt #2. You are now paying $70/month on debt #2, paying it off a lot faster, and saving you interest.

Now you have paid off #1 and #2, which leaves you $70/month extra. Apply that to debt #3. You now pay $190/month on debt #3, paying it off in half the time because of the interest you are saving

You now have $190/month to apply to debt #4, so you are now paying $430/month on that debt, paying it off much, much sooner.

And now you only have one debt - your mortgage. You now pay the $1000/month mortgage payment plus your extra $430 a month toward principle (any principle you pay reduces the interest you will owe, and also pays the debt faster). In no time at all your mortgage will also be gone. In fact, in this example the mortgage will likely get paid off in half the time and save you tens of thousands in interest charges.

And once you are debt free, consider staying that way. While it may be tempting to again borrow and get all the "toys", there is a lot to be said for the peace of mind that comes from being debt free.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas Gift From Me To You

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I wanted to give all of you a special gift for Christmas, and after much thought I decided to offer you this wonderful classic. I hope you find the peace that I enjoy whenever I hear this. I play this every day, especially when I need to de-stress. Try it.

May your Christmas be joyful, warm and full of good friends and family, and may the New Year be prosperous and find you in good health.

Bill Vaughn
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What Can We Learn From The 2010 Census

New figures out yesterday show a strong population shift to what are often referred to as Republican strongholds. For example, Texas is picking up four seats, and Florida is gaining two. Meanwhile, liberal Democratic states such as New York, New Jersey, Ohio and California are losing population, and in most cases, losing congressional seats.

So much for what we already see and know. But if you have followed this blog very long, you know I tend to dig deeper than the surface. In order to learn from events, we must find out not only what happened, but why.

It is said, correctly, that people vote with their feet - and in some cases without even knowing it. People are leaving the heavily Democratic states because those states tend to have high taxes, waste a lot of money on non-essential services and, in doing so, have killed off jobs. And people need jobs.

Meanwhile, Republican strongholds tend to have low, or no taxes, and far fewer regulations. They waste less money, and jobs are on the rise because of it.

So, if you look more deeply than the surface you will note that people go where they can prosper and are treated well. And they are leaving Democratic states and flooding into Republican states. This indicates that Republican ideals of low taxes and less government interference results in more opportunities and growth. If that were not the case then millions of people would not be relocating.

I can recall a time when the Democrat Party was not so entrenched in pushing for expansion of government and debilitating taxes. They actually were on the side of the "average folks". And that is why states like New York, New Jersey and California became Democrat bastions with growing populations. But over the last half century the Democrat party - at least in the political arena (not necessarily the regular folks) - has been taken over by "progressives" - liberals whose agenda is not pro-American. They prefer that government be in control of every aspect of our lives. They believe in redistribution of wealth from those who earn it to those who do not. And that is exactly what kills opportunity and growth.

And that is precisely why we see an Exodus from the rust belt to the sun belt, from the governmental failures of liberalism to the governmental successes of conservatism.

It is regrettable if this offends liberals - but when someone craps in their own nest they have no right to complain about the smell, or wail that no one wants to come visit.

I'm just sayin'...

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Barney Frank (D-MA) Says We OWE Our Estates To The Government

WOW! What an incredible insight into the bizzaro minds of liberal elitists who believe that all income belongs to the government except that which they "allow" us to keep.

Barney Frank stated flat out that the government has a RIGHT to take as much of a deceased person's estate as they choose. He says it is because the heirs did not earn it, so they are not entitled to it.

But here's the problem with your warped thinking, Mr. Frank...

First, it has been accepted common law for thousands of years, in almost every culture, that a family is entitled to inherit that which members of their family have accummulated.

Second, most estates are not earned solely by the deceased. The accummulation of wealth is often a family endeavor, and the family is therefore entitled to it, even if the common law of survivorship did not exist (the legal inheritance rights of heirs has been accepted as law for milennia). For example, take the average farm. To make a farm work, it requires the effort of the entire family. For you in your arrogance and ignorance to claim they have no right to inherit that which they helped build is nothing short of insane.

Third, if you truly believe a person is not entitled to something they did not personally earn, then by what logic do you claim the government has any right to it? Did the government milk the cows, or bale the hay? Did the government risk everything they own to start and build the business? Did the government work 100 hours a week getting the business off the ground?

And while I understand, Mr. Frank, that you think it is a good thing to confiscate the private property of citizens, you seem to be ignoring the fact that such storm-trooper tactics do a great deal of harm to the entire nation. A great many "estates" consist of wealth that is not liquid. For example, the family farm, which requires hundreds of acres of land and hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment. The land and equipment may be worth $10 million. But being a farm, there is almost no cash. Land rich, cash poor. So, in order to pay the estate taxes you socialists insist on, much of the land and/or equipment must be sold. This destroys the farm, putting people out of work and turning land for food production into a housing development. And a farm that has been the sole support of a family for generation is gone, destroyed by those who believe they are entitled to crush anyone who gets in the way of redistributing the wealth to those who have done nothing to earn it.

A person accumulates wealth for the benefit of their family, not for the benefit of government. If you bust your hump for 40 years to provide a better life for your children, does the government have any right to step in and take it away? No.

Take note, Mr. Frank - everything in America, including its wealth - belongs to the People, not the government. This is a government OF, BY and FOR the people, and you, Mr. Frank, are our servant. Not vice versa. If you are unwilling or unable to accept those tenets of the Constitution that you swore under oath to uphold, then get the Hell out of our government.

Frankly, it is long past time to put these socialists out of office.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

This would be a lot funnier if it were not so true...

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To My Democratic Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2011 but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To My Republican Friends:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

The 10 Great "Feel Good" Lies That Are Destroying America

Americans tend to be optimistic. Unfortunately, that often leads to a readiness, even a willingness to believe in things that make us feel good - even if they are blatant lies. We tend to pay attention only to the visible effects, and ignore the unintended consequences.

Here are 10 of the greatest "feel good" lies that have duped too many of us.

FEEL GOOD LIE #10 - Cash for Clunkers (or any other subsidy) stimulates the economy.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE: You cannot stimulate the economy by destroying goods just so more have to be made to replace them. When someone buys a new car, he is only using money that he would have spent anyway - on computers, vacations, an ATV or even a new car. By paying him to buy a car instead of other things, you have not increased consumer spending, but you have successfully siphoned billions out of taxpayer's pockets, leaving them even less to spend. You are robbing Peter to pay Paul. Nothing more. And no true benefit comes from it. In fact, the majority of new cars purchased under Cash For Clunkers were foreign cars - the profits went to Japanese companies. The overall economic effect was minimal, but the cost was huge.

FEEL GOOD LIE #9 - The new "green" flourescent lightbulbs are good for the environment.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: They are far worse for the environment. FAR worse. First, these new bulbs require between 4 and 9 times more glass. Glass production requires extreme heat, produced by fossil fuels. In addition, these bulbs use mercury, one of the most toxic substances on Earth. If you break one, the government says you all but need a HazMat team to clean it up. And expired bulbs must be disposed of at a hazardous waste facilty - most people live at least a gallon of gas away from such a facility - one way! These bulbs are as "green" as a raging forest fire.

FEEL GOOD LIE #8 - Electric cars are better for the environment and the economy.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE: The truth be known, they are worse for the environment and the economy. For one thing, most electricity in this country is produced by burning coal. And simple basic physics teaches us that whenever you convert energy from one form to another, there is loss. In essence, we burn MORE coal if we use more electric cars. Furthermore, like Cash for Clunkers, the government uses taxpayer money to pay incentives for buying electric cars, which increases their ultimate overall cost and siphons money out of the economy via taxes to pay for this foolishness.

FEEL GOOD LIE #7 - Title 9 - the law that requires as many women as men involved in sports in any educational institution. While it sounds great, and fair, to have as many women as men in sports, there are serious flaws.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES - It is rare to find as many women as men who desire to be involved in sports. The reason is as much genetic as anything else. Most sports require people getting banged up, and women prefer not to have that happen. Since the vast majority of sports are at least semi-violent, the vast majority of players will be male. In schools and universities across America, almost half of all sport programs in schools and universities had to be terminated in order to comply with Title 9 law. Instead of increasing the number of women in sports, Title 9 simply eliminated many sports because the law requires that an equal proportion of women be enrolled in sports or the sports had to stop. In fact, a championship Rugby team had to be disbanded due to Title 9, and we all lost something of value with that. Under Title 9, if there is not a single female willing to enter into sports, then all sports programs in that school must be terminated. It's the law.

FEEL GOOD LIE #6 - Every American should be able to own a home. So laws were passed that required banks to issue risky mortgages to people who could not otherwise buy a home.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES - We all saw - and are still feeling - the results of this folly. Forcing banks to make risky loans also forced them to devise methods of doing it in a way that would "spread the risk". This gave birth to "derivatives" which became investment vehicles for companies like AIG. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, at the heart of all these risky mortgages ended up buying many of them. And as was easy to predict, the people who bought the homes they could not afford defaulted. Foreclosures abound, markets crashed and the entire nation was nearly devastated economically. And to add more injury to this bad scene, the government blew another 800 billion on a "stimulus" bill they said would help dig us out of the hole they created. The hole just got bigger. The fact is, if a person cannot afford to pay for something, they should not be allowed to buy it on credit. Everyone gets hurt when they default. The government messed with the free market and caused it to fail. Had the government stayed out of it, not as many people would own homes, but this economic disaster would have been avoided. Thanks to government intervening in free markets, we all suffer because you cannot force people into the middle class. The middle class can only be created by individual effort, not freebies.

FEEL GOOD LIE #5 - Government can create jobs to stimulate growth.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES - Every Democratic administration since Woodrow Wilson - and even a couple misguided Republican administrations - has pushed this phony idea. The only jobs government can produce are government jobs, which do nothing to stimulate growth because they are paid for from money taken out of the economy via taxes. Again, robbing Peter to pay Paul. If government pays businesses via incentives to hire in the private sector, again, those funds come from taxpayers - taking the money from one pocket and putting it in another. But there is an even more insidious consequence of government jobs - every person who becomes dependent upon the government, whether for their job, food stamps or anything else, those people become part of the problem because they are now obligated to "do what their boss tells them". Like freeloaders who pay no taxes and have nothing to lose and everything to gain by voting for people who will take from the rich and give to the poor, government employees are in the same position. When 51% of the people are in that situation, the government has more power than the people, and that is when serfdom begins. Currently we are at 47%. Too close for comfort.

FEEL GOOD LIE #4 - We need to pay unemployment benefits for as long as it takes for people to find work. And it stimulates the economy.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES - Sure sounds nice, doesn't it? But here's what is wrong with that line of thinking. For starters, most (about 80%) of people on unemployment do not even bother looking for work, for several reasons. One, it's more fun to go fishing and escape a daily grind. Two, If they can collect $400 a week from unemployment instead of $500 a week from working 40 hours a week and then having to subtract for gas, daycare etc., it's pretty much a no-brainer to just collect. Another problem is that the longer a person is unemployed - and encouraged to remain so - the less likely he or she will ever enter the workforce again. Employers shy away from any resume that shows no employment for more than 6 months, and working skills can get out-dated. And it does nothing to stimulate the economy - NOTHING. Some believe it helps the economy because it provides money that is then spent. But think about that - where did that money come from? It came from you and me, in taxes. If we had been able to keep that money, we would have spent it ourselves, supporting our own families. The money would have been spent either way. The only difference lies in WHO is doing the spending of WHO'S money. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe the person who earns the money should get the pleasure and benefit of spending it.

FEEL GOOD LIE #3 - Every American worker is entitled to a fair minimum wage.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE - Can hardly argue with that - or can we? While it certainly sounds laudable on the surface, there are dramatic and dangerous consequences. The reason is rather simple - money does not grow on trees. Every business has a certain amount allocated for salaries and benefits. If forced to increase salaries, they are also forced to lay people off because they cannot simply manufacture greenbacks out of thin air. Raising the minimum wage always - always - results in job losses. But it gets worse. The lower paying jobs are designed for entry level people, like teens, who have no experience. They work for less in exchange for an education in learning the business. And their wages go up as they gain experience and become more productive. By increasing minimum wage the government effectively eliminates entry level jobs. Employers simply hire only the more experienced people. This explains why the unemployment rate among the 18-22 age is 26%. If free markets were allowed to do their thing, everyone would get an appropriate wage, if only because of competition.

There is another unintended consequence to minimum wage laws - the cost of everything goes up. Employers, forced to pay more must now increase the cost of their products and services. So the net gain is essentially zero. If you get a $50 a week raise, but the cost of living increases by $50 a week because every business is giving raises and raising prices, then you gain nothing. Minimum wage laws are one of the biggest causes of price increases.

FEEL GOOD LIE #2 - Ethanol is good for the environment and the economy.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES - this is one of the greatest lies ever told, and the second biggest boondoggle ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting public - courtesy of Al Gore, who pushed ethanol in his quest to be president. He admitted in November that ethanol is bogus and he only pushed it through in order to win the votes of farmers. Now as to WHY it is a boondoggle...

First, ethanol costs $1.78 a gallon more to produce than gasoline. The government - you, as taxpayers - are subsidizing the ethanol industry to the tune of $1.78 per gallon. So, when you buy a dollar's worth of ethanol at the pump, you have actually paid $2.78 for it. In other words, if fuel is $3.00 per gallon and is 10% ethanol, you are actually paying close to $3.30 per gallon when you add in what you are paying to subsidize ethanol production.

Second, as farmers trample one another to grow corn and collect all those government sibsidies, less land is available for production of food. Food prices have risen substantially due to ethanol. And meat especially goes up, as most meat animals rely upon corn as feed. But the government is burning the corn in fuel tanks across the land. Only fools would burn their food supply.

Third, it isn't even good for the environment. Every study has shown that it takes almost 40% more fossil fuel to create ethanol than it takes to produce an equal amount of petroleum. One must factor in the fuel required to plant, fertilize and harvest. The fuel to transport to the ethanol plants. And the fuel to convert the corn into ethanol. Petroleum, folks, is more green than ethanol.

As for being good for the economy, nothing that is paid for with tax dollars siphoned out of the economy can possibly be good for the economy on a net gain basis.

FEEL GOOD LIE #1 - This is the "biggie" - the "Affordable Care Act", better known among sane, thinking people as Obamacare.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES - Let's start with reducing costs. It does not. All studies and reports show that insurance rates are increasing - and must, in order to pay the increasing benefits required. And the cost of health care, itself increases due to a greater demand as 30 million more people seek care, but there is no increase in the number of caregivers or hospital rooms and equipment.

As for the promise that you could keep your current insurance, that has already been proved false as many providers have simply dropped customers rather than be on the hook for more costs. One major insurer dropped out the the business altogether. And many companies, unable to comply with the new requirements are dropping health insurance, forcing people into the government plan - at taxpayer expense.

Then there was the promise of better care. The truth is that more and more providers - doctors, clinics, pharmacies - have dropped medicare patients - they cannot afford them, and there will be way too many. While you may have a great little Medicare card, it is not apt to get you the care you need.

Then there are the so-called "death panels" that many say do not exist. Yet, in the months since this bill was passed, the FDA has banned two safe and somewhat effective cancer drugs simply because they are too expensive and the government does not want to pay for them. So, by bureaucratic decree to save money, people will be left to die. And in Arizona a young father scheduled for a life-saving liver transplant was refused by Medicare. He will die. If not a "death panel", then I am at a loss for a better name.

Over the last 100 years the American public has been duped over and over by an increasingly government of "progressives" in both parties. And it is destroying the very fabric that made America great - free markets and personal responsibility. If we want to save America, we as a People must learn to look to the unintended consequences, and then fire any lawmakers that refuse to listen to the will of a more informed populace.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Border Security - Easier Than They Think

If the politicians and the American public would look at the immigration and border security issues as they are in the real world, they would see how easy it would be to deal with them.

The first thing folks need to understand is that there are three kinds of illegal immigrants:

1) Those who simply want to work and have a better life for their families

2) Those who are moving drugs across the border, and

3) Terrorists and criminals looking to harm America in any way they can

The people on the left only see group #1, and their instincts are to help them. The folks on the right have greater concern about groups #2 & 3, and their instinct is to do whatever it takes to protect America. And this is where the division occurs in America.

But if you recognize there are different groups, it becomes clear on how to deal effectively with them.

To stem the tide of illegal workers (group #1) the only thing we need to do is enforce current laws. Employers who hire illegals should be severely punished. If illegals cannot work, they will be forced to go home, and "new" illegals will not bother coming. That solves most of that portion of the issue except what to do with illegals who have children born here. I'll cover that later in this post.

Once illegal workers are no longer coming across the border, that only leaves drug cartels, terrorists and other criminals. That being the case, and whereas all of those people are a serious and dangerous threat to national security, they should be shot on sight. We do not have prisons enough, and if we deport them they will simply return. Trust me - after dispatching a few, the problem will quickly subside.

So, how do we know they are criminals or terrorists? Because those from group #1 have already stopped coming because there is no work. Under a "zero tolerance" policy we can and should assume anyone still crossing illegally is a criminal or terrorist bent on harming America. And if illegal workers still want to try, they will do so knowing that they will be assumed to be terrorists and shot on sight, so I don't think they will try. Why risk your life for a job that isn't there?

OK, so illegal workers are no longer coming over, and many who are here will be forced out due to a lack of employment. All others are being dispatched permanently. That leaves the problem of those who have "anchor babies."

Families with anchor babies should be given a choice of either going home, and their American children may return on their own when they turn 18 OR they may choose to pay a hefty fine, then apply for legal immigrant status. Once the fine is paid and they have applied, they will be granted permission to work in America as a "guest worker." Current law may require us to allow illegals with anchor babies to stay, but it does not require that we allow them to work. Under this plan, the issue is dissolved properly - they may stay or leave, but if they choose to stay they cannot work unless they pasy the fine and apply for legal status.

So, illegals workers stop coming. Those who have legitimate reason for staying may choose to do so. All others are a dangerous threat to America and are therefore treated accordingly - dispatched immediately as enemy combatants without further ado.

I can just about guarantee that would put an end to at least 95% of the problem.

Cold and hard for the criminals/terrorists, perhaps. But the people we are up against are just as cold and hard. They are cold-blooded murderers who will not be deterred by anything less. They have already proven that in Mexico where they have murdered over 100,000 people over the last three years alone.

It needs to be stopped. And this plan is the only one that has any hope of doing that.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Bogus Argument That Defines The Parties

If there is one point above all others that is the defining factor of the political parties in America, it's TAXES - and who should pay them.

But the entire argument is bogus from the start.

Democrats say the choice is to either increase taxes on the rich OR we have to increase the taxes on the middle class. They make it class warfare. They gain power by creating division among us.

Republicans say the choice is to either keep spending, which requires a tax hike on someone, or cut spending which allows everyone to save on taxes.

In short, the Democrats say "Yeah, we're spending too much, so we need more tax revenue to pay for it", and the Republicans are saying, "Yeah, we're spending too much so we need to stop the spending and ferret out the waste."

They both agree we are spending too much. But the difference is NOT taxes. It's whether we maintain the spending or cut it. That is the real choice here. It has nothing to do with taxes - taxes are only the result of the choice that is made.

Common sense tells us which is right.

If we cut spending and cut out the waste, we can actually lower taxes for all. But we can make it even better for America if we would do another common sense thing - make everyone - regardless of income - pay at least something into the system. By making some people exempt from taxes (so far it's 47% of all citizens) you make it easy for them to vote for more entitlements because THEY will not be paying for them. And that is why we are in fiscal jeopardy.

There is not a single working person in America who cannot afford to pay a minimum alternative tax of 5%. In America, more than 80% of the poor own TV's, cars, computers and cellphones. There is no reason they cannot contribute to the nation's needs. They use the roads, bridges, airports. They benefit from the military, police and firefighters. They really need to be a part of it. We all need to be vested in America.

If the 47% of workers that currently pay no taxes were to pay 5%, the tax rate for the middle class could drop from 28% to 17%. Now that sounds a lot more fair than the current system that places the so-called poor (the ones with computers and cellphones) on the backs of the middle class.

And please do not say that because I am wealthy I don't understand the poor - it was not that long ago that my wife and I met while living in a homeless shelter. I know about being poor - real poor! Homeless poor. But even then I could have afforded to pay something.

As for the wealthy - the top 5% of income earners already pay 80% of all taxes. That's enough. And if we cut spending, it would be more than enough.

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Snowy Boots & Sugar Cookies

As I sat alone in front of our Christmas tree in my living room (my wife and daughter had gone to an Evanescence concert), I decided to play some of the old Bing Crosby Christmas songs I had listened to as a child of the '50's. I closed my eyes, and a flood of sweet and bittersweet memories swept like butterflies across the meadows of my mind.

I could almost smell the balsam "Christmas tree" smell, and feel the dry warmth of the wood stove crackling in the night silence. The colorful lights that actually "bubbled", and "icicles" made of leaded tin and pewter. Mom had baked sugar cookies earlier, and the smell still lingered throughout the small rooms of the tiny house we called home.

Visions of Bing, Danny Kaye & Rosemary Clooney, dancing and singing at the Vermont inn, in "White Christmas". Dad carrying in wood for the stove, shaking off snow throughout his trip through the kitchen, and Mom none too happy with the mess.

And at 4 am Christmas morning, my older brother Eddie would awaken my kid brother Bobby and myself, and we would sneak out and get our ragged, long woolen stockings hanging from the bannister. Now stuffed with what in retrospect might today be called junk, each penny item was a true treasure. For the next three hours we would pore over the goodies, eat the candy, peel the orange, all the time yawning from precious little sleep the night before, as we held our ears to the vent in the floor, to hear if Santa was there yet.

My reverie was lost when the girls stomped in, shaking the snow off their own boots. And for a fleeting moment, I wished...I wished that if I could leave my daughter anything at all, I would leave her those very same, precious, bittersweet memories of a simpler time, a harder time, and a much, much treasured time. A time when the simplest things were the things that mattered most. And remembered longest!

And I smile to myself as the smell of sugar cookies waft through our home, the fire crackling in the parlor stove and the leaded icicles and bubbling lights on the balsam tree all tell me it was worth the effort to have the real thing. She may not understand it now. But someday, when she sits alone in front of her own tree, perhaps she, too, will be overcome with sweet thoughts of a simpler time, when the littlest things were the most memorable.

Merry Christmas to All, Happy Hannukah to Many, and may you all take a moment to remember...

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Monday, December 13, 2010

They said "Death Panels" Were A Myth. Now The Truth Surfaces

The health care debate still rages. Opponents say it will increase costs, reduce availability of service and is unconstitutional. Supporters say it will cut costs, improve service and is constitutional.

I'll not debate constitutionality - that is for SCOTUS to do.

But for those who think the health care law will cut costs and improve services, here is the latest news --- it appears the "death panels" are not so far-fetched, and the opponents were right about a lot of other things, as well.

The Associated Press reported today that in Illinois, a pharmacist closed his business because of late Medicaid payments. In Arizona, a young father's liver transplant was canceled because Medicaid suddenly won't pay for it. In California, dentists pull teeth that could be saved because Medicaid doesn't pay for root canals.

Across the country, lawmakers have taken harsh actions to try to rein in the budget-busting costs of the health care program that serves 58 million poor and disabled Americans. Some states have cut payments to doctors, paid bills late and trimmed benefits such as insulin pumps, obesity surgery and hospice care.

Lawmakers are bracing for more work when they reconvene in January. Some states face multibillion-dollar deficits. Federal stimulus money for Medicaid is soon to evaporate. And Medicare entollment has never been higher because of job losses.

In the view of some lawmakers, Medicaid has become a monster, and it's eating the budget. In Illinois, Medicaid sucks up more money than elementary, secondary and higher education combined."

Folks, this is only the beginning. When fed funds to states for Medicaid stop, which they are scheduled to do soon, this will get much, much worse. And lest we forget - the FDA recently banned an approved cancer-fighting drug. It was not banned because it was unsafe, or ineffective. It was banned only because it was so expensive, and the government, under the new health care law did not want to have to pay for it. Their decision will result in some patients dying who could have lived (like the fellow needing the liver transplant, above). Death panels?

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Some Say Punish The Rich - I say, THANK them - here's why...

Our government - and in particular the Democrat party - has painted America's wealthy as an enemy to be punished - taxed and regulated much more heavily. And on Cape Cod, this "class warfare" promoted by the liberals has resulted in two homes being burned down - homes of people that some idiot PERCEIVED to be rich, though they are not. And he even spray-painted "F- THE RICH" on the properties. So we know it is a result of the class warfare being bred in the nation's capitol.

The argument, though bogus, is simply that the rich must have gotten rich by cheating the poor and hurting the middle class. That they have "too much".

And here is why that argument is bogus ---

1) Most of the wealthy in America got that way by providing valuable products and services. EXAMPLE: Bill Gates of Microsoft is rich because his systems have helped millions of people to enjoy a better lifestyle. And I am wealthy because I have successfully taught thousands of people how to become wealthy.

2) The argument that the rich "have too much" is baseless because there is no such thing. The rich do not have anything that anyone else cannot also have if they apply themselves. And the successful people who apply themselves require more money. It takes money to develop the Blackberry or Ipad. It takes money to hire more people to meet growing demands. It takes money for research and development.

The wealthy are the ones who risk everything in order to achieve success. They risk their life savings, and sometimes even mortgage the farm to raise the money to get started. Then they bust their humps 100 hours a week for 20 years so the newspapers can call them an "overnight success".

Before you start attacking the rich, first take a moment to understand something --- 67% of all funds given to the charities that help your friends, neighbors and families are contributed by the top 5% on the wealth scale. They also pay 72% of ALL taxes the government uses for YOUR benefit. We have roads, bridges, airports only because of the wealthy. The poor could never afford those things, nor can the middle class.

And when you need that new wing on the hospital or that new life-saving equipment, you can probably thank a rich person whose name is on the plaque. When someone you know goes to the Huntsman Cancer Research Institute and hospital, you can thank the rich - Huntsman spent $1.2 BILLION of his own personal wealth to build it. You can even thank the rich when your child graduates from a college or university that survives with grants from wealthy alumni. The High School I went to was built by a rich man, George Cogswell.

You can thank the rich when you go to a museum - not only do they fund the museum, they also donate the treasures on display.

Have you ever gone to a Broadway Play? A concert? Thank the rich - they are the ones who fund such ventures.

Do you have a job? Chances are you can thank some rich person for that - the poor do not hire too many people.

The rich do not get rich by hurting the middle class. On the contrary, they are the ones who require a strong middle class. For example, Bill Gates could never run Microsoft without paying thousands of people a good wage, helping to maintain the middle class. And most of the people who buy his products are middle class.

If you want to find out who is harming the middle class, look to the progressives and liberals who are eager to punish the Golden Goose that lays the golden eggs. When you pick the pockets of the rich, they cannot hire. They must reduce their R&D for new products. They must reduce their gifts to charity. They cannot build hospitals. And all of that harms the middle class.

A simple fact: the middle class needs the rich because the rich provide the jobs, products and services we all need. The poor need the rich because the rich provide the funding for the charities and government entitlements.

And the rich need the middle class as much as the middle class needs the rich. Without the middle class the rich would have no employees to produce and market products. Nor do they have anyone to sell them to.

Liberals and progressives can go on blaming the rich, but they are, as usual, 100% wrong. And the government can go on inciting class warfare in order to take power from the people, but they, too are 100% wrong.

And it's time sane people stood up and told them so.

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A Nation Built Upon Dependency Cannot Stand

Throughout history tyrants, dictators, kings and socialists have all understood that power comes only when others become dependent upon you. Look to your own family - who had the power? The breadwinner, most likely. Or the one who took care of you when you were young.

Dependence is the result of giving up your own personal power.

So it stands to reason that a nation built upon entitlements will be a nation of serfdom, where the government rules over the people. And in all recorded history, no government has ever failed to abuse that power. The people always suffer under such a system.

America is going down that road. Currently a full 47% of all Americans have come to depend upon some form of government assistance, whether it is Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, fuel assistance, subsidies --- the list is growing daily.

Like today. The Senate is ready to pass what they so charmingly call the "child nutrition" bill which will provide free lunches AND dinners - even snacks - to school children. And I am not talking about just the children of the lower income group. The bill covers virtually ALL children.

The government says this is necessary because a) parents are "too busy" to care for their kids, and b) parents are not good at making proper food choices for their kids. I will not debate either, because both of those, even if true, can be overcome with educating parents rather than taking their place.

But the government has its own agenda - to grow in power, regardless of party. And to do that it
must control the people. And that control comes from controlling the things they need, such as energy, food, health care and education. By getting people addicted to entitlements, they are every bit as dependent upon government as a drug addict is dependent upon the drug cartels.

This so-called "child nutrition" bill has nothing to do with child nutrition and everything to do with pushing parents even further out of the picture. Once parents have relinquished control over their own children, the government can and will raise them as the government sees fit - as serfs, to do the will of the government. One step at a time the government is coming between the people and their children. The government drives more wedges with its class warfare, dividing the people further. In fact, the government has begun to intentionally create wedges between the political parties - never in our history have the people become so divided with partisanism. And it is the government that fuels that division, the hate and discontent. By dividing us, they can control us. ANY government's greatest fear is that the people will unite.

As a nation, if we wish to remain free, strong and independent, we must kick off the yoke of dependency. Heed the words of the world's greatest minds and leaders:

"A house divided against itself cannot stand" --- Abraham Lincoln

"United we stand, divided we fall" --- Aesop

"A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges" -- Benjamin Franklin

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." --- George Washington

"No man can serve to masters." --- Jesus of Nazareth

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Ugly Truth About Taxing The Rich That No One Talks About

I have had several people ask me to once again explain how taxing the rich, or businesses, results in taxing the poor. Others have flatly disagreed - they cannot see the larger picture. So, if you will bear with me for just a few minutes, perhaps I can clarify.

First, I can state emphatically that the rich do not pay any taxes - not ever. And the poor pay all the taxes - always. And that is precisely how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Now for proof of the pudding.

Let us say Joe is poor, and Mark is rich. Joe eats a lot of Ramen soup because it's cheap. Mark's company makes the Ramen soup. Joe works for Mark.

The government increases Mark's taxes. They also increase the taxes on capital gains. This pleases Joe because he thinks Mark has too much wealth.

Since Mark's taxes have increased, and he is not in business to lose money, he must now raise the cost of the Ramen that Joe buys. That's business - as costs rise, so do prices. Suddenly, Joe is not so pleased because he is now paying Mark's taxes every time he buys Ramen.

Mark also reduces company benefits, and lays Joe off because the increase on capital gains has forced investors to stop investing in his company. Needless to say, Joe is REALLY unhappy now - and poorer than ever. And he blames Mark, even though it was the "Joe's" of the world who demanded Mark's taxes be raised.

But it is much worse than that - increased taxes on EVERY business and rich person has resulted in the prices of all products and services to increase. Joe is now paying more for gas, his lawn mower, milk, pizza, movies, tires, car - everything he buys is now more expensive, because businesses always pass off any increase in costs - including taxes - onto the customers and employees. They have to.

The only people who cannot pass these added costs onto others are the poor - there is no one below them to pass them to.

This is how it works. Every time.

Increasing taxes - regardless of who you tax - always harms the economy, increases unemployment, decreases investments that make the economy grow, and makes the poor even poorer.

Even you, the working stiff, pass on your taxes to people below you. Yes, you do. In order to pay taxes, you must earn more money than if you did not have any taxes to pay. Your paycheck reflects that. As businesses increase prices because of higher taxes, those higher prices mean YOU pay higher sales taxes (when the price goes up on an item, so does the amount of tax - you pay 5 cents on a one dollar item, and 6 cents on that item when the price increases to $1.20). So, when you get hit with higher property taxes, higher sales taxes etc., you have to ask for a raise, or you fall into poverty. And where do you think your boss is going to get that money - he has no money tree. He will get it from his customers by way of higher prices (again), which results in even higher cost of goods, plus higher sales taxes on those higher prices. But you have effectively passed on your taxes to those below you.

Every penny of tax is passed down to those below. And it stops with the poor, because they cannot pass it down - they are already at the bottom. Who would they pass those costs onto?
When businesses are taxed more, or capital gains taxes are increased, the business must do one of three things if they are to stay in business. They must either increase the costs of their products/services, OR they must reduce company benefits and/or lay people off, OR a combination of the two. Regardless which they choose, it will result in a sagging economy, higher unemployment, fewer people insured (lost benefits), and the poor getting poorer.
There can be no other result.

On the other hand, you get the opposite result when you LOWER taxes. The cost of business becomes less costly, so businesses can hire more people. They become more competitive, driving prices down. This means the poor would have jobs and income, and the items they buy will not be increasing in price.

Here is a tidbit for you - until the income tax was passed into law in 1913, virtually everything remained reasonably stable in prices for over 100 years. As soon as the income tax was passed, it caused all prices to rise. And ever since 1913, prices have steadily risen according to the rise in taxation.

Virtually all economic problems originate from taxation. The higher the taxes, the bigger the problems.

The Democrats in Congress want to increase my taxes. Like most wealthy people, I don't really care because I won't be the one paying them - I'll simply raise prices for my services. That's why you never hear the rich complain about high taxes. Politicians might. And pundits might. But when was the last time you heard a wealthy person actually complain that they pay 58% of all taxes in America?

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Re-Invigorating Your Life With RAK

Hangin' at the local coffee shop this mornin' where all us old fogies go to shoot the bull, the topic that came up was how life seems to have gotten so complex, busy and frustrating that it is sometimes difficult to get started in the morning. In some cases, it can even knock our moral compass out of whack as we all struggle to get ahead of everyone else - or, at least not fall any farther behind.

That got me thinking about something I used to do often as a young man in a less complicated world - something that always managed to bring my entire being back into sync - mind, body and spirit.

I recall once when I was feeling really down after my life hit a really rough spot. I knew I had to do something to lift my spirits. I headed to the local florist shoppe and bought 3 dozen long-stemmed red roses, drove back to the center of town, parked, then slowly walked up and down the main street handing a rose to every female I came to, tipped my hat and simply said little ditties like "You are important", or "Have a happy day."

Within the course of under an hour I had made 36 people happier (who probably went home and made their hubbies happier with their refreshed attitude). But I also raised my own spirits to unimagined heights. I was re-invigorated immediately.

Another time was the 20 below-zero morning I drove around town actually looking for people whose cars would not start. Out came the jumper cables and, if necessary, the can of ether for the carb. I must have started at least a dozen people that frosty morning.

So today I got to thinking that I could use another "re-invigoration". I headed out to the nearest Walgreen's and stood beside the pharmacy station. As each person picked up their prescriptions and were asked to pay the co-pay, I stepped in and paid the co-pay myself. When anyone asked why, I simply said, "Random Acts of Kindness are good for the soul", and asked them to pass it on.

Random Acts of Kindness (RAK). They do so much for everyone they touch.

I have made a decision that every day of my life I will perform at least one random act of kindness and ask the recipient if he would consider doing the same. Who knows, it may just catch on. And before you know it, random acts of kindness may be running amok throughout every town and village.

It just may help cure what ails us...

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Gold Is Fluctuating Wildly - Or Is It?

Anyone who watches the gold prices as I do might at first glance think the market fluctuates too wildly, and buying into gold might do more harm than good if you cannot afford to hold on for the long term. But is that really the case?

In mid-November gold hit around $1420. Within 5 days it had dropped to $1340. On December 6 it hit $1440. Within two days it dropped to $1380. And this scenario has been going on for two years.It is sudden drops like this that over-shadow another important point - it also went UP before it dropped. So, what is really going on and how can you capitalize on it?

Think of it this way - some investors - especially governments - buy and sell enough gold to move the markets. While a $40 increase in the price of gold means little to the investor with only a few ounces, it represents $400,000 to someone with 10,000 ounces - and millions to governments with several metric tons. For example, China owns over 200 metric tons of gold.

When gold spurts up $20-$40 per ounce, large holders (like China) will dump gold and reap millions in profits. This also results in the price dropping by $40-$80 as smaller investors panic at the sudden downturn. When this happens, the large investor (like China) buys back the gold and waits for that huge purchase to drive prices up again. And the cycle starts all over again.

How this knowledge can help you is just as simple - if you know what is going to happen, you can do the same thing on a smaller scale. But because of the actual price per ounce, this kind of investing is not for the weak of heart.

My suggestion - and you can watch the market yourself to see if I am on target here - buy now. Gold is around $1380. Hold onto it until it hits around $1420, then sell and take your profits. Before long the big holders will also dump, driving the price down - AFTER you took your profits. When they do that, wait for the drop to end, then buy back again. Bear in mind that each new uptick will usually go higher than the last, and each new downturn will usually not go as low as the previous one.

That is not to say that other outside influences will not drive gold prices higher or lower than expected - it happens. But if you stay on the conservative side and avoid the impulse of greed, you should do quite well.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fixin' What Ails America

Frankly, I am completely disgusted with the people who have been running this country - all parties - because the only thing they have been doing is running it into the ground to serve their own agendas, instead of serving We, The People.

It would be so easy to fix most of the major problems, but it would take something called "willpower" - something no politician has. But just for the heck of it, here are a few ideas:

1) Enforce current laws requiring employers to verify (using e-verify) the legal status of all employees and applicants. If they still hire an illegal, the employer pays a $50,000 fine for EACH illegal they hire. If illegals cannot work, they will self-deport without any cost or angst on the part of the American taxpayer

2) Instead of simply spending billions securing the border, pass a law that anyone caught importing drugs into America will be sentenced to the death penalty no matter what. The drug trade is what gives the money and power to the cartels - anyone assisting them are accessories to multiple murders both before and after the fact. After a few executions, drug traffic will slow down. Any American found guilty of dealing illegal drugs - automatic life in prison, no chance for parole; same reason. Reduce the market and you reduce the importation and weaken the cartels

3) Any city or state that legalizes any illegal substance for "medical" or other reasons should be cut off from any and all federal funding. No exceptions.

4) Pass a law that prevents any public employee from receiving any compensation or benefits that exceed what the private counterpart would receive. All congressmen should be paid not more than two times the established poverty level and shall not receive any benefits beyond what the average American worker receives. No special "perks" or allowances.

5) Outlaw "lame duck" sessions. Newly elected officials take their seats within 30 days of the election, and no congress shall sit in the interim.

6) Pass "pay-as-you-go" and be serious about it. Make it LAW. The only exception shall be for an emergency in the national defense.

7) Anyone who needs to collect unemployment compensation shall be required to work for their community or state in return for the funds. A minimum of 20 hours per week, allowing them the other 20 hours per week to look for work. They must verify they have looked for work for EACH WEEK they collect benefits.

8) Kick the United Nations out of the United States and stop paying exhorbitant fees to them. We have no friends in the U.N. except perhaps England and Canada. Most U.N. members are hell-bent to drain us of our wealth and destroy us if they can. Refurbish the U.N. buildings and turn them into low-cost housing for the poor.

9) Divide California into two states. The northern tier does not get any representation in either the state house or congress, as they are sorely outnumbered by the folks in the southern metro areas of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. It's Hell to be the Siamese twin that does not control the arms and legs.

10) No bailouts of any kind for any reason. America was built on personal responsibility. Without it, the free market is not free and the country cannot stand. Accept that in life there are, by necessity, winners and losers. Losing sucks - and that is precisely what drives people to win. If we make losing painless, we give it greater power over us.

Yes, I know - almost all of you folks will disagree with some or all of these. But one thing is certain - like them or not, they would certainly get the job done.

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Aaron Sorkin Calls Sarah Palin a 'Witless Bully'"

Aaron Sorkin's latest attack on Sarah Palin once again shows that he, not Palin is the witless one.

After successfully shooting a caribou, Palin said, "I feel a lot better now." Sorkin wrote, "Like 95% of the people I know, I don't have a visceral (look it up) problem eating meat or wearing a belt. But like absolutely everybody I know, I don't relish the idea of torturing animals. I don't enjoy the fact that they're dead and I certainly don't want to volunteer to be the one to kill them."

In other words, it's OK to eat meat and use leather, but it's not OK for anyone to kill the animals from whence they come.

I certainly hope I am not the only one to see that Sorkin and his ilk are completely witless in that they want to eat meat, but they don't want that meat to come from a dead animal. Frankly, I know of no other source. As for his assinine claim that the animal was tortured, it was not. It was a quick, clean kill, unlike the animals that are raised, mistreated and then slaughtered without any chance of escape - you know, the animals that Sorkin buys at the supermarket. So, if anyone is responsible for the torture of meat animals, it is Sorkin, not Palin.

So it would appear that Sorkin's issue is not really that Palin killed a caribou. His issue is simply that he does not like the fact that Palin is more of a man than he is; that he is eager to eat meat only if his squimish little tummy does not have to turn over knowing that it did not really come from a package at the grocery store, but that it actually came from a dead animal.

Sorkin's problem is not that Palin killed a caribou. His problem is that he cannot. In a world where it is still survival of the fittest, Palin would survive and Sorkin would perish. THAT is Sorkin's problem. In a world of predators and prey, Sorkin is the prey, and that offends him.

As it should.
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Stimulus - but for WHO?

If you are anything like me, this will probably make the veins pop...

Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Majority Leader has authored a bill to "stimulate" the economy in Texas with over $400 million taxpayer dollars to build a wind farm. First let me point out that Texas is not in financial trouble - they are one of the most prosperous states, having low taxes and small government. We do not need to be stimulating their economy.

But don't rush with your applause --- upon closer inspection, it gets worse. This $400 billion would not stimulate any part of the American economy, since the wind farm would be owned, operated and maintained by - CHINA!

So, exactly WHO are Harry Reid and other Democrats stimulating? Certainly not America, and apparently our international enemies.

Well, upon even closer examination we discover Sir Harry's reason - the Chinese have offered to build a manufacturing plant in Sir Harry's home state of Nevada. How very accommodating of our Senate Majority leader to be so considerate of the needs and wishes of America's enemies -- and all for the sake of getting reelected because he "brought business to Nevada." Who will he sell out next?

Does this man have no morals or scruples whatever? Any patriotism? Any concern at all for the taxpayer? Or even America? If he would sell out American taxpayers to China just so he could gather more votes, would he not sell out America altogether if it would benefit him?

But hey, what can we expect from a senator of a state where over 80% of all revenues comes from sin-related businesses like gambling and prostitution? I guess we should consider ourselves lucky he has not arranged for the sale of Las Vegas to China.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Could Global Warming Heal The Earth?

Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth", which is anything but, places all its emphasis on the possible harmful effects of global warming. Historically, warmer periods have never resulted in such catastrophe, but nonetheless, Al Gore could have been more forthcoming about the POSITIVE effects of global warming.

Here are just a couple of examples:

1) A warmer planet - even by a couple of degrees - would result in far less use of energy, as there would be little need for 6 months of heating homes, offices, businesses, manufacturing plants and stores. This could save as much as 150 billion gallons of petroleum each year just in America - as much as we use for every motor vehicle in the country. In some northern countries, the effect could be even greater

2) A warmer planet would result in at least 5% more arable landmass capable of plant life. Plants use up CO2 and give off oxygen. This, alone, could reduce CO2 levels by at least 5% and increase oxygen production by as much. While 5% may not sound like much, Mr. Gore's plan (and the U.N.'s plan) would result in far less.

3) All that new arable land could be used to produce more food, resulting in a serious reduction of hunger worldwide

Bear in mind that from 900-1300 AD science has proved the Earth was roughly 3-4 degrees warmer than it is today. During that period civilizations thrived and prospered. Then came the Little Ice Age (LIA) which brough with it death and destruction - in some cases entire civilizations disappeared.

Nature does not remain stagnant - the climate will either warm or cool. Cooling has always been detrimental to civilization. Warming has always been beneficial.

The sooner we come to terms with the truth, rather than "the sky is falling" fear and fiction, the better off we will all be.

Look up LIA on the internet and discover things you may never have known. Like why the Vikings attacked the British Isles (their own homelands had become to cold for growing food). Or how wine making became a French pasttime only because the usual vineyards in England could no longer grow because of the cold. Or how glaciers wiped out entire communities, and reduced the amount of farmland, resulting in famine and plague that killed 1/3 of the world population. Or how Marie Antoinette and the other French elitists ended their lives on the guillotine because the food shortage forced rebellion.

Expand your knowledge - it's the only hope the world really has.
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Someone Asked "What Is To Come?" This was my response...

I am often asked "What do you see in the future for real estate?" Obviously I do not have a crystal ball, but when I received an email today imploring me for some input on the subject, this was my response: No honest person can claim to know where it is all going, for sure. This is because there are over 5000 "local" markets, each with its own, unique factors to consider. That is why some are still hot, while others will continue to sink for years to come.

More important is the part that Congress takes in this. If they start to do the right things, much of this could blow over in 6 months. If they keep doing the wrong things, as they are prone to do, it could take years. The only thing we can and should do is find ways to cope with the realities of today. Think outside the box; learn new methodology.

That is how I conceived the reverse mortgage in '85. We were just coming out of some rough times, and many retired folks were really in a bind. I developed the concept (which I called The Golden Years Project) to help the elders, and make a profit for myself in the process. Regardless of the economy, it is innovation that will fix it, not government bailouts.

I recall in the recession of '89, home sales were stagnant in eastern MA where I was at the time. I still had homes to sell. While everyone else was doing the same old thing the same old ways - listings, ads etc., I decided to try something different. I contacted the personnel directors of the large corporations in the area and let them know I had a few, select executive homes available, and if they had any new execs transferring into the area, please invite them to attend a Wine & Cheese Party at - and then I listed the addresses and dates/times of the Wine & Cheese parties. Execs came. They did not just see a house. They saw a home that was a super place to entertain their society friends, because they were already in such a party. Of 4 homes, I sold three on the very night of the parties.

Innovation. Sometimes as simple as Wine & Cheese. Other times, it takes developing an entirely different strategy. Good Luck.

Remember - no matter what the economy does, trust in America, and Americans. And trust in yourself. I do not consider myself as someone who just invests in real estate, stocks, bonds, gold. Instead, I see it as investing in the strength of America, and the hope that is tomorrow. Helps keep a clear perspective.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm Interested In Solving Problems, Not Playing The "Blame Game". How About You?

Now this is a post that truly deserves to be sent to everyone you know. If you believe it's time to stop laying blame and begin rebuilding America, send this. If you know in your heart that a divided America is not a good thing, send this. Even if you do not agree with this post, let us at least begin the debate without all the anger and bias. SEND this.

Frankly, I'm a bit miffed at all the "blame game" crud that has been going on for the last 3 years. That game does nothing to solve problems - it prolongs them by taking our eyes off the prize - fixing things.

But I am even more perturbed when less informed people blame the wealthy for what has happened. They are not the culprits - crooks and government are responsible.

I prefer solving the problem, but for those who insist on placing blame, at least have the common decency to place it where it belongs. Where to start?

To some extent, all of us are responsible. If you have and use a credit card, part of the blame goes to you for spending tomorrow's money yesterday. If you use entitlements even when you COULD have done things on your own, part of the blame lies with you. If you did not get and stay well informed, and then did not vote - yep, you're IT.

And then there are the credit card companies and banks, who long ago stopped being in business to serve the public and began ripping us off at every turn.

But the real culprits - the ones who actually ripped the foundation out from under the economy - are the crooks on Wall Street (no, not the wealthy investors but the crooks who took their money and made the investments in bogus products like derivatives). And then there is government - responsible for laying the groundwork for the crooks to ply their trade.

The government (FDR) created Fannie Mae. LBJ gave it freedom to prey on us by privatizing it. Carter passed the Community Reinvestment Act (courtesy of ACORN) which legally forced banks to make risky loans. Then Clinton passed the Bliley Bill which required banks to make at least 50% of all loans to be of the high-risk variety.

These government requirements forced banks to make loans to high-risk persons, resulting in sub-prime loans. The sub-primes, being so risky, resulted in the creation of derivatives, supposedly to spread the risk and pay Wall Streeter's huge profits built from paper that was virtually worthless.

In 2005 Bush tried to regulate Fannie Mae. Chris Dodd and Barney Frank blocked it, and went on record saying Fannie Mae was healthy.

Fannie Mae collapsed under the weight of those derivatives and sub-primes in 2007 because those high-risk borrowers could not pay what they owed. And the house of cards crumbled quickly.

And THAT, my friend, is the truth of what transpired. So, if you must place blame, put it where it is deserved. Don't put it on the rich. I am one of them, and I don't live on Wall Street. Don't forget - it was the rich investors who lost over a trillion dollars in the Wall Street crash. We were victims, not perps. But the people responsible needed someone else to blame. Since they were the ones in power, they used that power to create division among Americans with class warfare. Blame the rich - they are an easy target. People already assume the rich made their money by taking advantage of the poor (not true, of course. At least not for most of us).

I made my money from real estate. I still do. Even as things are, it is quite profitable if you know what you are doing. And I do. And the people I teach also know what they are doing, and are acheiving wealth (see my course at www.intellibiz.com if interested). We do not make money by duping the poor, because most of my students WERE the poor when they came to me and started out. They - and I - make our money legitimately, through a combination of know-how and effort. We won't do any deal that is not win-win for everyone. So we are not the culprits. We would appreciate it if you would blame the real perps if you insist on the "blame game".

I make a huge amount each year. And most of the "excess" mentioned in my previous post gets invested to create jobs for people, and in exchange I get a profit, as I should. Most often it gets invested in people - people who need homes, and need a helping hand to get there. And much of it is donated to various charities. Most wealthy people do contribute a lot to charity. Bill Gates contributes millions each year. So don't blame Bill for being the culprit - he makes his money helping millions by making computers easy and useful.

Face it - if you are reading this you are either wealthy, or you are not. And if you are not, you want to BECOME wealthy. So stop making the wealthy your target - you may be it someday.

As I said in the beginning, I'm not into the "blame game". I prefer finding solutions. It's what I do. And to be blunt, I can tell you with 100% certainty that all money that is made legitimately is made by solving problems. Gates solved the problem of making computers easy to use. I solve problems for both buyers and sellers - and for those who come to me to learn. If you have a job, you are solving a problem for your employer - how to get his products made, or marketed or whatever.

Solve bigger problems, you make more money. But solve problems for the largest number of people (as Gates did, and as Sergey Brin, founder of Google did) and you become super-wealthy.

Solve problems. Don't waste precious time playing the stupid "Blame Game". Leave that to the trouble-makers and morons. You have a future to find.

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Reality Check - What REALLY Happens When You Tax The Rich

You've heard the arguments on both sides. What you have not heard from either side is the truth, as it really is.

Being among the class that the Democrats are so eager to tax, and having many wealthy friends, I can state the following with complete conviction - and if you actually think it through, you will easily see it is the truth.

The "excess" money the rich have that liberals want to take from them - what do you think that rich guy does with that "extra" money? Let's first determine what he will not do with it.

He will not spend it on consumer goods. Doesn't have to. He's rich. He already has his home, cars, boats, summer place, Rolex - nope, he's not going to spend it.

Will he stash it in a mattress where it does him no good? Certainly not - he did not become wealthy by being financially stupid.

What does that leave? A rich person wants to make more money, just like the poor person. So he invests his excess money. What does he invest in? Businesses that have potential for growth and greater profits. Are you with me so far?

The business has one purpose - to grow and increase profits. The investment capital from rich old guy is used to expand, to increase profits. Now for a basic fact: a business generally cannot expand without hiring more people.

So here it is in a nutshell - greedy rich old guy has extra cash. Greedy rich old guy invests in greedy business. Greedy business uses that cash to hire employees. Unemployment goes down. Consumerism goes up because greedy little middle-class worker spends his income. More people are earning money and paying taxes. Greedy government has more tax revenue.

Greed fuels every economy. Without greed, NO ONE would do more than they have to. No one would invest. Businesses would not expand. And the economy stalls.

Not that greed is good. But it is useful, and can do good.

Of course, many committed liberals who want to tax the rich not because they want to help the poor, but because they want to turn the nation socialist - well, those people will still argue against the truth. They will claim that the rich have the cash to invest now, but they are not doing so, ergo it does not create jobs. But that is a premise built on a falsehood. Here's why...

The rich do have cash to invest. But we are rather hesitant to do so at this time BECAUSE the liberal policymakers have created such a hostile environment for investors. They have told investors that they will increase capital gains taxes. They have told investors that their health care law will encumber many businesses, slowing their growth. And they have told investors they intend to tax them more. And they won't even let them know what next month's tax rates will be.

As a rich old guy, I can tell you that as much as we want to make more money, neither I nor my friends are anxious to invest in such a hostile climate.

If America is to prosper once again, we need to let the rich do the things they do best - make money. When money is being made it is only because people are being put to work. As investors make more, they invest more - because they already have everything else. And the more they invest, the more people get employed and the more tax revenue gets put into America's coffers.

I guess the "moral" of the story is just this - don't bite the hand that feeds you. Yes, we may have too much money. But we EARNED it, every bit as much as you earn yours. And we use it to fuel the economy - when the environment is friendly.

Instead of stealing from the rich, preventing investing, growth and job creation, we should be making the American Business Environment a friendly place for business. Businesses - and jobs - go where they are treated well.

America does not treat them well at all. The lynch-mob mentality fueled by the "wealth redistribution" crowd only drives business, jobs and investment income overseas.

What would YOU do if a lynch-mob came for you?

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Whatever Happened To Personal Responsibility?

I'm listening to both sides of the "unemployment benefits" extension discussion. And all I can think is, "What has happened to personal responsibility?"

I understand times are hard, and jobs are not plentiful. But I also know a few other things that all too many people are finding it convenient to overlook. For example, everyone can find a way to support themselves. It was standard procedure in the days before the hand-outs started. There is not a person alive who is incapable of making a living somehow.

In the last three centuries is was not uncommon during hard times for the breadwinner to leave home, often for months, to find work in a distant place, then send the money home. Those people took "personal responsibility" seriously

I met a 9 year-old quadraplegic boy at Logan airport one day. If anyone had an excuse for not earning a living, this kid was the poster boy. But in spite of being unable to move, or even speak (he communicated with a stick in his mouth typing on a keyboad), this boy had already written a book on HOPE. The royalties brought in more money than his father was earning.

NO ONE has an excuse for not finding a way to support themselves.

In the recession and gas lines of the 70's I became unemployed. After the 26 weeks of benefits were used up and I still could not find work, I did what I should have done 26 weeks earlier - I made my own work. I used my wife's Tri-Chem ballpoint pens to paint funny stuff on T-Shirts and sold them. I bought a cheap detector and earned money finding money, and jewelry that I sold. When spring came I cleaned people's yards. And that turned into a profitable landscape business that I later sold for pretty good bucks.

The point is, we need to demand that everyone accept more personal responsibility BEFORE we issue hand-outs. It's one thing to help someone who cannot help themselves. It's is something else altogether to provide entitlements to those who can help themselves but won't.

When people hold themselves more responsible for their own lives, things tend to work out just fine. Maybe not easy. Maybe inconvenient. But it sure beats the high cost of forfeiting your dignity and self-respect.

As for this "extension" being an emergency -- As my Mom used to say, "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

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