Friday, December 30, 2011

The Environment.

Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I am a big fan of protecting the Environment.

I make no excuses. I think it is important, really important. My health and the health and well being of everyone that I love and care about depends upon our environment. That would include my lovely wife Julia, our equally beautiful daughter Sarah and maybe even more importantly, the future of our planet, our wonderful, brilliant, Grandchildren.

No, I did not forget my parents, my sister and all of my nephews, nieces, cousins etc etc. And of course all of our friends.

But to get back to our Environment, which we cannot afford to forget for even a minute.

Lets get to it. Climate change is real. The vast majority of scientists are agreed that it is happening, and it is accelerating. But the US remains the lone deny er. The Republican Presidential candidates are not just denying it they are not even mentioning it. Even President Obama, "champion of the environment" fails to refer to it.

But what is happening in the rest of the industrialized world? Rather than going into a lot of detail I will make a simple list of the % cut of emissions agreed to by each of the Developed counties by 2020 from 1990 levels as agreed in the Copenhagen meeting this year. I'll follow this with a second list of the Developing countries. The US is now the world's second biggest polluter - after China.

Developed Countries. (Cuts agreed to.)

The USA........4%
Europe........20% (Offer to go to 30% if others will)
Russia........20% to 25%
Canada.........3% (Non binding agreement to 25%)
(Ottawa said it will follow Europe)
Australia.....20% (about!)
New Zealand...10% to 20% (depending on others)
Norway........30% (willing to go to 40%)

Developing Countries. (Cuts agreed to.)

China.........40% to 50% by 2020 from 2005 levels
Indonesia.....26% (or 41% if other countries support them)
South Korea...30%

Germany expects to get 80% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. Denmark plans for 100% by 2050. China has more power from windmills than any other country.

How is the US doing? You may well ask! Our reluctance to even acknowledge man made climate change is scary. We seem to be actually attacking the environment and anyone who makes any attempt to protect it. Efforts to protect are being thwarted for economic gains. We continue to give big tax breaks to coal and oil companies. Even as we say we are trying to cut our federal spending we are pumping Big money out to Big Oil and Big Coal. No mention of trying to cut that expense!

How about if we cut subsidies to oil and coal companies (I think they will do just fine, even without that) and use those billions of dollars to develop renewable energy sources? Solar, Wind, Wave, Geo Thermal. Even just reducing our use of energy. The average person in America uses more than twice as much energy per person as the average European! A country with at least our standard of living uses less than half the amount of energy per person than we do! So we could cut in half how much energy we use per person and we would still be using more than every European uses! That would cut our emissions by 50% right there - more than any other country!

Instead we deny climate change and subsidize pollution with payments to oil and coal companies.

Worse we have a line up of clowns who want to close down the EPA (I can remember their name even if Rick Perry can't!) The Chamber of Commerce wants companies to regulate themselves! (Companies that do that have been caught out by the EPA. They checked one company that reported 3 to 5 tons of dangerous cancer causing chemical emissions per year and when the EPA tested them they found 91 tons per year! So much for self regulation.) If we relax pollution standards, as most Republicans want to do, we will do so at our peril. We hear that the companies will prosper more and hire more people. Guess what, companies have plenty of money, their coffers are flush with money (Our money) but they are not hiring. I think they are waiting for the Republicans to get in next year to cut regulations so they can make even more money. They won't hire any more people. If we relax pollution standards all we will have will be dirtier air and water and more cancer, asthma and other illnesses. Which will doubtless please the Health Industry no end! So all we will have will be more pollution and nothing to show for it. No jobs, just more dirt, and more climate change.

I could probably go on for hours, but will let you go. You get the idea. We`are all in dire danger - especially our children. All in the name of Greed. When it comes to money we count for nothing.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dumb ideas.

Has there EVER been a dumber idea than flat roofs? HELLO! Even blondes can see that a flat roof WON"T WORK! Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.

Let me explain, in case the highly retarded inventor of The Flat Roof is reading. If you put a slope on a roof, even a slight slope, it allows water - rain for example -to run off. This means the roof is not exposed to water (rain) laying on the roof 24/7/365 which deteriorates the roof. DUH!

Eventually, sooner or later, the roof WILL leak. Maybe that is the answer - it was invented by a roof repair company. Silly me. That must be the answer.

If you can think of dumber ideas I would be happy to hear them.

(War is out, that doesn't count.) (Ooh another one, US politicians, Congress people and such like, definitely out of the running .)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Continuation of my comments on Congress from a few days ago.

As Mark Twain once said, "America is a nation without a distinct criminal class - with the possible exception of Congress."

And it is worse now than it was then!

"All men are created equal." - unless they are Congressmen.

"Do as I say, not as I do." was probably first said by a Congressman.

For example : -
The IRS reports the non-payment of taxes by 7.5% of Senators and 8.4% of Representatives.
39 Senators and 178 Representatives have criminal records.

We have in Congress a disturbing group of elected officials who routinely avoid paying their debts, write bad checks, abuse their spouses, assault people, and openly violate the law.

Recently; -
29 Members of Congress accused of spousal abuse.
3 arrested for fraud.
19 wrote bad checks.
117 bankrupted at least 2 businesses.
3 arrested for fraud.
71 have credit so bad they don't qualify for credit cards.
14 arrested on drug charges.
8 arrested for shoplifting.
21 are defendants in lawsuits.
84 stopped for drunk driving.

In a typical year 3,000 parking tickets are issued to Members of Congress. None are paid. Also as many as a hundred are stopped for drunk diving. "Some are so drunk they can't remember their names." said one police officer. But they cannot be charged. Why? because by law they cannot be charged.

These are the same people that make our laws. Notice that they have different laws for themselves.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What is important in politics?

Apparently to many it is not The Economy - how to turn it around, how to Balance the Budget, whether to Cut or Increase Taxes, how to reduce Unemployment, fix our failing roads, bridges and airports, make College and University affordable for our best and brightest, or even the Pledge of Allegiance. No it is none of things, not one of them gets even a mention in the list of 14 things that the Evangelical group Family Leader wants the Republican candidates to sign.

Instead our politicians are told to sign a list of things that include denouncing same sex marriage, Sharia law and adultery. If they don't sign they will not be endorsed.

Other parts of the pledge include "Robust Reproduction", forswearing adultery, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, men and women in the military must not sleep under the same roof, candidates must agree to uphold the First Amendment (the right of free speech) - apparently the rest of the Bill of Rights doesn't count?

So there is nothing in there asking the candidates to pledge help to any citizens suffering in today's economy. No mention of forgiveness. Nothing at all to help the economy recover. Apparently all that matters in the USA today is a bunch of stuff about gays and marriage.

Sign, or else.

I seem to remember something about a lot of people coming here to escape religious persecution! Where are those people going to have to go now? The Moon? Mars? Certainly Religious Persecution is raising its ugly head now here in the United States of America.

What is important in politics?

Sunday, December 18, 2011


When most of us think of corruption we almost certainly think of the leaders of countries in Africa, like Zimbabwe, or the Middle East, like Iran, or even such diverse countries as Venezuela or Uzbeckistan or Pakistan or Haiti. Plenty of corrution there and elsewhere. In fact on a scale of 1 to 10 half of the countries in the world rate a 5 or less. Well they would wouldn't they!

Of 180 countries the USA rates a surprising 24th (#1 is the least corrupt, and # 180 the most corrupt.) Surprising to me anyway, as I would rate the USA as MUCH more corrupt. Even as one of the most corrupt contries in the world!

I can imagine the indignation! How could I possibly rate the USA as corrupt, compared to countries where, "under the table" bribes are "normal".

Well here is my reasoning: -

Congress, that is the Senate and The House of Representatives, don't just take bribes like politicians do in many, if not most, countries of the world. They actually voted to make it legal! Yes they drafted and voted in laws that make it legal for them to take bribes. It is called Lobbying. Lobbyists bribe members of Congress, give them money or goods, to do their bidding.

How corrupt is that?

At least in most countries that take bribes, they do it "Honestly", by taking cash "Under the Table." In the USA they do it "Honestly" by making it legal! That to me is MORE corrupt.

The Health Industry for example spends One Million Dollars a DAY to bribe Congress to do what they - the Health Industry want. And it is not just the Health Industry. There is Big Oil, Big Business, Big Agriculture, Big Banks, Wall Street and countless others that spend millions of dollars to bribe Congress to do their bidding.

These Mega Crooks in Congress are so blatant in their criminality that they didn't even stop there. They also voted to give themselves a 100% pension every year for the rest of their lives after just one term in office. (Wouldn't you like to get a 100% pension for life after working at your job for just a couple of years? I'm sure you would!) And they receive free Health Insurance for life too. Not just the pitiful Insurance that we, the rabble, get. Oh no, they get a real good one. And they don't even pay for it! We do. Yep, they gave us that privilege too - to pay for not only our own Health Insurance but theirs too.

That is why I say that the USA is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. But maybe I should have just said that the Congress of the USA is.

Sobriety, wisdom and judgement - really?

A recent article in a newspaper credited Mitt Romney with Sobriety, Wisdom and Judgement.

Using MY good judgement I have considered each one of these verdicts and come to my own opinions. These are : -

Sobriety - I give him a 'good' on this as I have not heard otherwise from any authorities, and I am sure that if he committed any improprieties while "Under the influence" we would have heard about them.

Wisdom - a sound 'F' on all counts here. His failure on ANY showing of Wisdom is awesomely apparent every day! Just watch any news program (except Fox "news") or read almost any newspaper to learn of his latest inconsistency, extravagance or non-sensical half baked idea.

Judgement - here I must question the judgement of anyone who would say that he has judgement! I can't think of a single instance when he has shown any sign of good judgement. Can you?

I await your answer with bated breath.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Just a bit of fun.

Thinking back over the last few weeks I am struck by the "mistakes" made by the Republican line up for President.

Lets hope that if one of them gets elected to that post (Horror of horrors!) they don't make even more mistakes. Mistakes made when you have the kind of power that the President of the United States has, could end in the demise of us all!

I will begin my list with those gaffs of Michelle Bachman - ladies first.
"If elected I will close the Iranian Embassy in Tehran." It was closed, by President Carter, in 1980.
"Hurricane Irene was a divine message from God because we are not balancing our budget." No comment from me here!
"The HPV vaccine (to prevent sexually transmitted diseases) causes mental retardation." Here I wonder if she had the vaccine! (It does not cause mental retardation - in case you are wondering.)

To continue, let's move on to Rick Perry.
He got the date of the election in 2012 wrong - it is on November 6th 2012 not November 12th 2012. (To be fair to him, it has only been since 1845 that the date has been set as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.)
He is apparently also ignorant about when our youth is first allowed to vote - it is at age 18, not age 21 as he seems to think! Age 21 is when they are first legally allowed to drink alcohol. To set the record straight, they can drive at 16 (Too young in my opinion.) Serve in the armed forces at 18 (Way too young for anyone - I would make it 65 years of age for that privilege. Better yet make it MANDATORY for ANY politician of ANY age to serve in the front line if we get into a war!. That ought to drastically cut down on the number of wars we get into!)
He forgot the name of one of the three agencies that he wants to close down.
Here I must give him credit for saying that he is not good at debates! After all those blunders perhaps he should avoid speeches too? Certainly I would be EXTREMELY NERVOUS about letting him loose in The White House!

Lets move on to Mr Cain, although as he is out of the race it seems pointless to poke fun at him too. But I just can't resist!
He mistakenly thought that China was "developing" nuclear weapons! Hey don't laugh, who can keep up with all those countries that have nuclear weapons nowadays?
He thinks the US recognises the government of Taiwan. (We stopped recognising it 32 years ago!) I don't suppose China minds if the US President thinks we still recognise them. A minor mistake? Whats a little mistake between friends?
He asked some reporters interviewing him what Obama's policy was on Libya! I mean there was hardly anything about Libya on the news. Was there?
But he made up for all his errors with his strong character!

I'd start on Newt now, but I might run out of space.

And I have to pause to have a good laugh. Or perhaps I should have a nervous breakdown?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Once upon a time . . .

. . . . there were millions of Bison, Passenger Pigeons, Ducks, small furry animals, fish and other animals - and just a few people. "Harvesting" some of these creatures was not a problem, you went out and got a duck for dinner and fed the family, or a deer and fed the community and your family for several days. A fishing trip brought about a change of diet, fish, crabs and shellfish. No problem. The population of "Food animals", was large, seemingly inexhaustible.

But now we are no longer few, we number in the millions, indeed the hundreds of millions. We know now that the "Wild food", is not inexhaustible and in fact many have become extinct - like the Passenger Pigeon that once numbered in the billions - or almost extinct like the Bison, and many fish and birds.

But do we change our habits? Of course not, we continue to hunt our "Inexhaustible" wild food to the point of extinction. And as we are many, inexorably growing in numbers and becoming increasingly clever in ways of catching our wild heritage, the pressure on them increases daily.

Also we now not only use these creatures for our food we use them for pet food, fertilizer, animal feed, any use that will bring in a profit, with no thought to what it is doing to us and our environment.

Some of the worst slaughter happens to animals we cannot even see, such as Oysters and Menhaden. Clean water is necessary for the survival not just of the country's animal, bird and fish populations but also for us. We too need clean water and air. Our greed for more money blinds us to this need. Oysters and Menhaden spend their whole lives, 24 hours a day, cleaning the waters of the Chesapeake Bay for example. So what do we do? We remove them. We eat the Oysters, and as we cannot eat all that are caught we ship the rest to other parts of the world. We can't eat the Menhaden, so we feed them to our animals, and to our pets, and to fish that we can eat, and for fertilizer.

So a miracle of efficiency is removed from the Bay and the Bay dies. Now we have to spend Billions of dollars to clean the Bay!! We had the worlds most efficient cleaners working at doing just that 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for free! Now we have removed them and will have to spend, probably more money than they brought in in the form of taxes to the State treasury, to clean the Bay.

Of course I should not ignore the fact that the removal of almost all of the Menhaden and Oysters has made a few people very rich and the attempts to clean the Bay will make more people rich. (This will never happen because more rich people will bribe the politicians to remove the teeth from any attempts to clean the Bay.) They want to continue to dump chicken manure into the Bay - because that is a cheaper way to dispose of it. And to pour billions of gallons of fertilizer, weedkiller and insecticide into the Bay - in pursuit of the "perfect" lawn - as millions of homeowners continue to do, because it is their "Right" to have a better lawn than their neighbors, even though they can see the dead fish floating off of their beaches, killed by their poisons washed into the water, and by the poisoned insects that the fish ate. Even though they can see the lack of Bay grasses that used to be there to nurture fish, crabs and other creatures essential to the Bays health, killed by their weedkillers. None of this seems to matter - as long as they can have that "Perfect" weed and insect free lawn.

My lawn is my idea of a perfect lawn. It has had no fertilizer on it, and yet it grows. (Perhaps because I let the grass clippings lay there) No insecticides are sprayed - there are still a few natural "Insecticides" around - called birds. No weedkillers - because I don't have any "weeds". I bet that surprises you! No, I don't have any "weeds", I have violets, I have, red, white and pink clover, I have a profusion of tiny yellow flowers, small red flowers, and countless other flowers that I can't begin to name. When I walk out onto my lawn and see the flowers, with the bees and other insects working them, I see a beautiful lawn. I look next door and see a boring green lawn, just one color. (The raft of dead fish float just off of his lawn) Look back at mine and it is lush with color, generous in its variety. So much so that I am reluctant to mow it!

We are killing not just our wonderful variety of animals, fish and birds as fast as we can, we are killing ourselves, and even more scary our children and grandchildren. How many children suffer from allergies and asthma now? A lot. Many times the numbers that suffered from those insidious ailments and afflictions just a few years ago. Of my parents, my friends, relatives and neighbors, I honestly can't recall any. But most of my grandchildren and their friends suffer from asthma and allergies. This has happened in two or three generations. What is to come if we continue to poison our home (The Earth) in the name of profit and greed?

Already we can see that it costs more to put back what we destroyed, but still we refuse to do the right thing. Corruption is so rampant in all walks of business, government and politics that we stand almost no chance of correcting our misdeeds.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is it time for a political comment? More of an economic comment really.

I was watching Fareed Zacharia on CNN this morning. For those of you who don't know him, he is an Economist who was born in India. He is also very intelligent and has a grasp on economic issues that keep on surprising me. He seems to cut to the meat of the situation or problem every time.

One of his guests this morning was John Huntsman - one of the Republican contenders for the Presidential nomination. If I were Obama I would more worried about John Huntsman than I would be about most of the other candidates. He made a lot of sense. There were still some problems, in my mind anyway. For one thing he supports cutting taxes, which I think is a mistake. It seems to me that we are way under taxed. Pretty obvious really when you consider that we borrow 40% of all that we spend! You couldn't keep that up at home for long, could you. But of course it is an easy vote getter to say "I want to cut your taxes".

The facts, as Zacharia pointed out, are that our tax rate at present is the LOWEST that it has been in more than 60 years! It is also the lowest of the top 28 world economies. In other words our tax rate is the lowest of the top 28 economies in the world. And it doesn't seem to be helping does it? He then pointed out that growth in all areas has historically been better when taxes were higher! Under Reagan and under Clinton for example.

Our infrastructure - roads, airports etc - standing in the world has dropped dramatically as had a long list of standings, not least of which was from number 1 in University graduations to number 14. Our output of graduates in the scientific areas was even worse.

Seems to me that we need an increase in taxes. And we should use the money to pay down our debt, to rebuild our roads, airports etc, and to help our young people to go into the maths and sciences at university. We should also encourage saving - remember when we used to be encouraged to save? I do. Those savings were used to loan money to businesses.

And while I'm at it, when you go to war you need to ask everyone to help and to sacrifice. That has always been the way. Now we just sit in front of the TV and watch the wars happening, like it was some sort of "Reality Show". I'm sure people would respond if we were told "Hey we are at war, we need everyone to pitch in. Cut your use of electricity, gasoline, or whatever is necessary. Oh and by the way, there will be a 'war tax', an across the board tax of 5% of every ones income to pay for the war (or whatever amount is deemed necessary)" That would bring home to everyone that we are at war. And it might bring it to an end earlier.

Just a few common sense thoughts.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why do we NEVER learn?

Yesterday my Blog mentioned World War Two. Wouldn't you think a War that killed an estimated at least 40 million people would have said "never war no more more" even more than the "Ban the Bomb" movement of my day. But no, war continues to be our favorite pastime.

On another note, the Depression of 1929 followed a time of no restrictions, regulations or controls on Big Banks and Wall Street. And what are Republicans calling for now? Removing all controls and regulations on Big Banks and Wall Street. They refuse to vote for the new regulator, even though a new law that they voted in just last year requires a regulator. Every day that the Republicans delay means thousands of people are vulnerable to unrestricted banks and loan agencies that are charging as much as 25% a MONTH in interest! That's 300% a year! And with no regulator in place there is no one to stop it.

Talk about not learning from past mistakes, here we are struggling to come out of a financial disaster caused by unregulated banks that were allowed to gamble with OUR money and the Republicans are trying to get even the weak regulations that are in place now, removed. What are they thinking? Do they think that banks will regulate themselves? Or are they so much in the pockets of the Big Banks and Wall Street that they think they have no choice but to do their bidding?

I give up - which doubtless is what the greed mongers want.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7 th, a day that will live in infamy.

NPR - National Public Radio did a wonderful program today on the attack on Pearl Harbor, the events leading up to and following it. They also discussed Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt and it included a lot of things that I had not known before - I am 70 years old and consider myself well read - as I like to say, "You learn something new every day."

I urge all Americans, and indeed all non-Americans to read about World War Two, as well as any other things that might interest them. In fact I even suggest reading books and stories that may not seem of interest to you - you might be surprised at what you learn. You can never learn too much. Knowledge is its own reward and its own escape from, and into, the World at large.

I have never regretted reading or learning anything. You just cannot know too much, but you can definitely know too little. Many, many people know too little - it is known as ignorance and ignorance is a blight suffered by far too many of us. To be Ignorant is to be Unaware and Incompetent.

Ben Franklin said "If you think Education is expensive, try Ignorance." and Mark Twain said, "If you have Ignorance and Confidence, success is sure." (Don't quote me here but doesn't that seem to describe several of the Republican candidates today?)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Why I don't take sugar in my tea or coffee.

Isn't that a strange title? I am sure that it really grabs your attention! Not! Anyway, if anyone has read this far possibly they are interested enough to read the "rest of the story", as someone famous once said.

When I was about 17 years old and an apprentice in the British Admiralty we drank tea at the two tea breaks each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

We`all contributed a very small amount of money each week to cover the cost of the tea, sugar and milk. One day I was there to pick up my mug of tea, and the "Tea Waller" as we called him, asked if I took sugar. I did, and said I so, whereupon he put the spoon into the bowl to get some sugar for me. I glanced into the bowl and seeing some black spots asked what they were. looking in, Ted the Tea Waller said matter of factly, "Mouse droppings". He then took the spoon, removed most of them and dumped them unceremoniously onto the floor.

I have not taken sugar in my tea or coffee ever since - over 50 years! I was going to take my own sugar in to use, but never did get around to it and found that I quite liked my tea without sugar.

A teaspoon of sugar is about 25 calories. I think I probably took 2 teaspoons, so 50 calories. I drink between four and six cups of tea or coffee a day, lets say five. Five times 50 equals 250 calories a day saved. Times 365 days equals 91,250 calories a year. Times 50 years equals 45,625,000 calories.

Aren't figures fun? So, it is generally considered that a pound of fat is 3500 calories. If I divide my 45,625,000 calories by 3500 I come up with one thousand three hundred and three and a half pounds! Now, I weigh 160 pounds, so if I had taken sugar in my tea and coffee for the last 50 years I would now weigh 1463 pounds! (I took off the extra half a pound - for that time I was sick and would have had less cups of tea.) A sobering thought!

Talking about sobering, how many calories are in a beer or a glass of Scotch . . . . .

Monday, November 7, 2011


As many of my faithful readers know, I have often said that The Lake is different every time that I look at it. This can mean day to day, hour to hour and even minute to minute. I suppose if you wanted to be a real stickler you could even say second to second or nano-second to nano-second - whatever they are - because of course it is never EXACTLY the same. The waves are different, the leaves and the birds are in different positions and so on.

But of course I am not referring to the ever changing nano-seconds, or even seconds and minutes. Although I must say that a few minutes can indeed make a big difference, when the sun comes up in the morning the colors on The Lake and the trees do indeed change by the minute, as it does at sunset, or when the sun goes behind a cloud.

But today I am reporting on a major difference to "The Norm", at 6.00 am today as I struggled out of bed to head for my morning coffee my gaze was met by a blank view of white through the window! Had Julia put up white curtains in the night and pulled them across? Of course she hadn't, Mother Nature not Julia, had changed my view of the world and more specifically of The Lake, it was enshrouded in thick fog.

My view of the world was all white. I could not even see the pier a mere 100 feet away and even the trees right in front of the windows were mere shadows.

It is now 8am and the light of my life, known by others as the Delightful Julia, has emerged from her coma and drowsily commented that it is foggy out. I, of course report that it was indeed very foggy a couple of hours ago, but that now it is just a little foggy, almost a mist in fact. The Lake looks almost like something with the edges taken off, sort of rounded, like a pastel painting or one of those Chinese Artists renditions, that they do so well.

I can hear the fog horns on the Bay and the sun is doing its work of burning off the fog. Soon it will be gone and I will be able to view The Lake in all its Glorious Fall Colors.

Gotta get some more coffee and settle down to watch.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Peace, Silence, Stillness, that is what I am seeing outside of my window today. A scene of perfection if I ever saw one. The only movements are of clouds of birds as they glide by and the occasional leaf as it flaps it's way down to join the others on the growing mat of colors on my lawn.

I have stuff to do today, how wonderful it would be instead to stay here and watch, as Seinfeld would say - nothing.

But I have to do stuff. Get the Pick Up Truck after it's major repair, pick up straw and chicken food, visit the bank, call customers, clean out the chicken house, dump my compost tumbler and refill it, spread the compost onto the garden. Pull old plants and weeds and consign them to the compost tumbler along with the chicken sh*t. Light the fire, get wood in, feed the cats, and that is just this morning! There is more for the afternoon, but I won't bore you with that, you have your own stuff to do I'm sure.

Meanwhile I think I will have another cup of coffee and enjoy that peaceful world outside my window for a few more minutes before I have to join the fray of "The Real World."

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill said that America will always do the right thing - after they have first exhausted all other possibilities.

I guess the question is, have we exhausted all other possibilities yet? It would certainly seem that we must be getting close, how many other things are there left for us to do before we 'do the right thing' - whatever that may be.

The alternative may be collapse. That is what seems to happen to things when they build up too much.

Take The Mighty Roman Empire, few know that it collapsed, not over centuries, but over one or two decades. The Ming Dynasty in China, built up over centuries fell in a single decade. The Incas were masters of all they surveyed in 1520, by 1530 they were all gone, destroyed by Spaniards, gunpowder and disease.

Closer to home and our time, in case you think those things happened a long time ago and can't happen now, how about the Soviet Union - was that sudden enough for you? What about the dictatorships of North Africa? Ali, Mubarick, Ghadaffi, here today with their fortunes and palaces, gone tomorrow.

Is the European economy about to collapse? And if it does, can ours be far behind? The history of collapses shows them to be sudden, not slow declines as you might think. Sudden and complete.

Oh, did I forget to mention that ALL of those collapses that I mentioned, as well as all the others over the centuries, were all the result of GREED. (You can check in with Wall Street, Bankers, Goldman Sachs et al on the meaning of GREED.)

Beware. And be ready. If you can!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Seven Billion . . .

. . .Dollars or People? Both actually, the world now officially has seven billion people to support. Coincidentally, Goldman Sachs, a name synonamous with the word Greed, has set aside $7 Billion dollars for Bonuses for it's already Super Overpaid employees. Its associates alone are set to receive an average of $3 million each in bonuses, and there are around 500 associates!

Unbelievably, that money could give one dollar to every single person in the entire world!! Or looking at it another way, if the average family consists of five persons, each family would receive $5.

It may be of interest to you to know that Goldman Sachs received $6 Billion dollars in bailout money from US - YOU AND ME!!! Now they are going to take that $6 Billion dollars of OUR hard earned money, add another Billion to it, and share it out among themselves!!

$6 Billion dollars works out at around $20 for every person in the USA. Or using my earlier figure of 5 people per family it is about $100 per family, that is how much we gave Goldman Sachs to "Bail them out". I don't know about you, but I could put $100 to a lot better use than giving bonuses to the very people that caused the problems that I, and the entire country, is suffering from.

Can anyone tell me why they deserved to receive $6 Billion of our money? Is it for doing such a great job? At what? At robbing us? At destroying our economy? At setting a new standard for greed?

Just in case you didn't already know, I am pretty upset. I can certainly understand why the 99% are upset with the 1%.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Nature Paints a Picture.

The view from here today is breathtaking - no I am not referring to my view of Julia, which of course is always thrilling and exciting - instead I allude to the view from our Window on The Lake, which is now at it's most amazing. The colors are as bright as any in nature, surely it would be impossible for even a Michelangelo to capture and do justice to this scene? And here it is, laid out before me to enjoy for free.

Wait, let's not get too carried away now, Anne Arundel County does of course impose a heavy penalty for living in the Land of the FREE and the Brave, a penalty known as Property Taxes which they are glad to collect from us at the rate of about $150 a week, or about three times as much as we spend for food, four times as much as we spend on road tax, insurance and gas for our car, but less than one quarter of what we spend on our mortgage. I'm not sure if it is a bargain or not, but I certainly can no more imagine living without my view of The Lake than I could of not enjoying my daily dose of inhaling the beauty of Julia.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Just another day in Heaven.

Well here it is - Paradise, otherwise known as The Lake.

The day began as another perfectly clear day On The Lake with the sun painting the trees their magical, ethereal colors as it worked its way across them, almost like an artist painting a picture, except a thousand times more beautiful.

Then came the breeze to ruffle the water, and the leaves, and the air. Gradually it changed to a strong wind, moving the grass and the trees and a lawn chair; and kicking up the waves. In fact the wind was so strong that it pushed the water from the Bay into The Lake, raising the level at least a foot. The wind seems to make everything cleaner somehow doesn't it? Just like a heavy rain.

Then came the Coup-De-Gras - another perfect sunset.

It's just like Heaven living here - without the trouble and expense of dying.

I just don't understand why we don't get any visitors, I shower, I shave, I use deodorant, I even try to be nice to people, I'd love to share, but something keeps everyone away, it can't be Julia, so it must be me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Awful story of retarded people kept prisoner.

I was just watching the story of 4 retarded people being kept prisoner for their Soc Sec checks, and wondered how could anyone take advantage of poor people and so be so greedy?

Then it hit me!!! Bankers! They must have learned it from the bankers! Greedy, take advantage of the poor. An exact match.

Separation of Church & State.

Separation of Church and State, a statement that seems to make sense. We have all seen what happens to countries that involve Religion into their Politics. And yet we seem "Hell Bent" on repeating those mistakes.

I cannot imagine that I am the only one who see's a tremendous shift in American's feelings swinging towards the Religious Rights view that the Church should be fully involved in the running of the country.

Will we become a country like Iran, and a bunch of other screwed up countries, run by fanatical religious rulers? (Like our Religious Right.) Or will the sane amoung us prevail and keep the two separate?

At first the answer seems obvious, but if we look back over our history we can see an American prediliction to extreme swings, excesses, changes that no one could have predicted. I refer to things like, McCarthyism and Prohibition, not to mention, Fat, Guns, Wealth and Blacks sit in the back. All excesses and extremes that have no place in a balanced society.

I predict another wild swing in America's long list of swings, to the "Religious Right", (Who I am not afraid to say - although I should be afraid to say it - will take over and destroy the American Way of Life.) and bring us to ur knees, a la Iranian politics, where the people with the most extreme views hold the most power.

Just what is happening here! The more extreme you are in your views the more popular you are!

What is it with Americans?

A couple more extremes in America that I'd like to mention:-

America is the only Industrialized country in the world without a National Health Care System for its citizens.

Perhaps related to that fact is the fact that that Child Abuse in America is the worst of all the Industrialized Nations! With child deaths from abuse and neglect 3 times that of Canada and Europe. Texas has the worst record - by far.

Health Care costs in the USA are a least double, and often many times more, than any other civilized country. (And not necessarily better either.)

Gun deaths. By civilized countries we are pretty much "top" about 50 times as many as the UK for example.

Fat, hey we are not the fattest country! But we are just behind those island nations like Tonga where it is tradition to be as fat as possible. So except for them we are the fattest.

Wealth. Is it necessary to tell you that we have the most extreme differences in wealth? Income gap is higher here than anywhere.

America, Land of Extremes and Excesses. And about the become Extremely Ruled by Religion?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unobtrusive surveilance.

Doubtless you are wondering what this title has to do with my usual political and environmental issues. The answer is nothing.

It is merely an observation on the surveillance capabilities of our police and intelligence services. And it is worrying.

One day about two weeks ago I observed this large black SUV parked across the street from our house. It was NOT inconspicuous, it was very large, very black, had very darkly tinted windows and the engine was running.

So I went out to investigate. The windows were very heavily tinted, the engine was running, I peered in through the drivers side and then the passenger side and the windshield, but it was impossible to see anything. I looked up and down the street for the driver. Nothing. Perhaps he had walked down to the water. I walked down there but found no one. Back to the car, surely if someone was in there they would have identified themselves? Why was the engine running? It was 70 degrees, no need for heating, or cooling. It was a mystery, I decided to call the police, but first I checked the back of the car looking for a hose going from the tailpipe to inside the car, but there was nothing.

As I started to walk back to my house another large gray SUV pulled in very close to the first car, the window on the first car slid down. I was pretty upset and headed over to find out what was happening. The man from the second car intercepted me and to my inquiry as to what was happening, simply said "I am a policeman." Meanwhile the window on the first car had gone up without my being able catch a glimpse of the inside. Then another vehicle pulled in, a mini-van with a woman in. She stayed inside. The man from car number two then said they were watching our neighbors house and had I ever seen this man there - producing a thick sheaf of papers with a mans photo on the top sheet. I had not, and told him so.

But perhaps my wife had seen him. So we headed over to my house where my wife and another neighbor were watching from the doorway. (Not the neighbor from the house that they were interested in.)

The mystery man remained incognito, inside of his Big Black SUV. The woman in the mini-van that I had at first assumed was just stranger turned out to be police as well. She also stayed in her car.

Over at our house the picture was again produced and both Julia and Christine - the neighbor - were unable to identify him.

At this time I realized that we actually had no idea who these people were, apart from saying police at first meeting him, I really didn't know. So I asked him for I.D. which he promptly produced and it showed him to be a Howard County policeman. We asked what the problem was with the man and he replied that he was wanted for assault. Our question, "What kind of assault." received the reply, "With a knife."

I asked who was in the mysterious black SUV and was told "A Federal Marshall."

It was at this point that Julia suddenly asked to see the picture again and said she thought that it was the man she had seen walking up and down the road several weeks earlier. Our neighbor Mike had seen him as he left to drive down to his health club and had called Julia to "Warn" her about him. Julia saw him out on the road walking up and down and said that he did indeed look a bit suspicious, but thought no more of it.

The detective seemed to get excited and we all discussed what to do. The lady who lived next door in the house being watched had been widowed when her husband died the previous year and now lived alone. Unless the wanted man was there! We had none of us seen her for weeks or even months. But we had seen both her son, from Pennsylvania, and her daughter, from no-one-knew-where, visit her from time to time. But no one knew how to contact them. Then I wondered about the man who mowed her lawn once a week, he was the most likely to have seen a stranger there because he saw her every week. Christine knew where he lived and was going to take the detective there to meet him, but just as they were about to leave they saw the man, who also happened to be a Baltimore City policeman, mowing a nearby lawn.

Having talked to him and he reporting not having seen the "Person of interest." The detective went and knocked on the door. By this time I had left to go to work.

When I got home I was informed that the wanted man was our neighbors brother who lived in South, or North, Carolina, I can't remember which.

Presumably they obtained his address, and maybe they have "Apprehended" him, we really don't know.

Anyway, that is our story of an "Unobtrusive Surveillance." Pretty scary isn't it?

Scary because they were trying to observe the house without being noticed! It turned out that there was yet another car up at the next corner! Four cars in all. Certainly not a traffic ticket problem! And not even an assault with a knife. I would be surprised at such an effort even for a murderer! Very mysterious.

If I had to give some advice for a surveillance operation - first I would say turn off your engine, that would have made the car much less noticeable. I probably would not have investigated except for maybe a casual glance. And of course a "Normal" car would also have drawn much less interest. A Big Black car with Impenetrable Black Windows might as well have had a red flag flying over it. Even a knock at a neighbors door near the subject might have given the required information or a place to put their car where it would be less obvious.

Bur maybe they would be afraid of the neighbor calling to warn them. Who knows.

If that is an example of our unobtrusive observance, I despair, it is a wonder that we ever catch anyone.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why I watch CNN

It's no secret that I am Democrat. But not an extremist. In fact one of my favorite sayings is "Moderation in everything, including moderation."

It seems to me that today we have more and more extremists. I am not only talking about extremist Islamic Muslims. We have our very own home grown extremists right here in America in the form of extremist Christians. Extreme Muslims, extreme Christians, what is the difference? Religion over the ages has a lot to answer for. There have undoubtedly been more wars fought, and more people killed, over religion than any other cause or for any other reason.

But that is another blog for another time.

There seem to be more and more extreme right wing Conservatives and more and more extreme left wing Liberals as time goes on. Why is that?

I have my own little theory. It is because more and more we are not being exposed to a fair sided discussion of politics. We get only one side of the picture.

If you are a Republican you "Have" to watch FOX News and listen to Rush Limbaugh - or you are not a true Republican. And if you watch FOX and listen to Rush you are only going to get one Extreme side of the whole story.

If you are a Democrat you "Have" to watch MSNBC and listen to Mike Malloy - or you are not a true Democrat. And if you watch MSNBC and listen to Mike you are only going to get one Extreme side of the whole story.

What is the answer? Well I have found that people who watch FOX say that CNN is too far to the left, and people who watch MSNBC say that CNN is too far to the right! That says to me that CNN must be the way to go. Another alternative is BBC NEWS, BBC NEWS reports the news - just the news - with no comment or slant. They leave it up to you to interpret it. (Something that no one could accuse FOX or MSNBC of doing!)

Just think, if you only watch FOX or MSNBC you are NOT getting a fair and balanced picture of what is happening in the world and more especially in American politics. Why would anyone want to do that? (Not get both sides of the picture in some semblance of a fair and balanced view?) I really don't know.

Perhaps it is because we have a tendency to exaggeration, which I suppose is a form of extremism. How many times have you heard from your spouse or a co-worker "You ALWAYS . . . " Rarely is it true that you - "Always leave the lights on, or the table a mess, or forget your appointments, or are late." But that is what we say to each other.

Then we see that "The other side" (The other political party.) has exaggerated something, so naturally we over exaggerate our "side" to compensate for their exaggeration. And it snowballs. Unfortunately when you get people going to such extremes it can get out of hand, as has happened here, today. And no one will listen to anything that "The other side says". Even to the point now that if something that is a basic tenet of Party A is proposed by Party B, Party A will vote it down!!

I don't know the answer but when we get so far apart it can only mean trouble. It is how wars have started.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Or should I say Wondrous? The Lake at 6.30 this morning was indeed a sight to behold. The water was perfectly still with the trees on the opposite shore exactly reflected in it's placid surface. There was just the trace of a thin line of mist laying just above its calm surface. Such peace and tranquility. If only our lives could be so quiet, at least for a brief while. Well I suppose they are sometimes, and this, for me, is one of those times.
The trees are starting to turn to their wondrous shades of gold, copper, red, yellow and every other color that they magically show us.
Right now the mist is rising and growing at differing rates at various spots on The Lake. I wonder what that is? Why? Soon the haze will all be burned off.
Two nights ago I woke up at 1.30am and there right outside of my bedroom window was a huge orange disc, no it wasn't some alien spaceship, it was our very own moon. Not quite full, but close, it seemed to be settling directly into the trees across from me. Big and bright and beautiful. In minutes it was gone.
The mist is starting to disperse and small ripples are beginning to appear on that still surface.
Yesterday, when I walked down to our little pier, there was a large log lying quietly alongside the dock looking almost as if it had tied up there for the day. It was a commercially cut piece of timber about a foot square and 20 foot long. It would soon drift away. It looked useful, I could not think at that moment for what, but it did look useful, so I tapped a stick into the The Lake's sandy bottom to hold the piece in place. I would think about it.
It was completely waterlogged, lying so low in the water that its upper surface was at the same level as the waters surface. If it weighed the same as the water that it was floating in, which it must do, it would weigh in at 62.5 pounds times 20 feet = more than 1200 pounds or well over a half a ton. How could I possibly get it out of the water? Could several people drag it out? Could I hook a come-along to it and a tree and winch it out? Why would I want to? Once it was out how would I move it? Where to? For what? It was treated so I would not want to burn it and put its poisons into the air.
On the other hand once it was out of the water and laying on dry land it would dry out and lose maybe half of it's weight. I still had no idea what to use it for. And still don't, but the log is sitting there quietly and motionless waiting for that inspiration from my brain that will decide it's fate.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New bank fees.

Just a quick comment on the new bank fees. First, we bailed out the banks because their "get rich quick" schemes emptied their accounts - theirs and ours - and drove the US economy to the brink.

Now they are whining that they don't have enough money. (For what? Their bonuses, that were huge in the years they were bankrupting themselves and us, and even bigger when we gave them money to rescue themselves. Now I suppose they are afraid they may not be able to pay themselves even bigger bonuses.)

So they are going to charge us $5 a month to spend our own money! Five dollars for a transaction that costs them almost nothing to process. That is $60 a year. I guess if they have a customer base of several million that will give them another year of their obscene bonuses. Let me see 5 million accounts times $60 equals $300 million, yes that will give us all a small bonus this year. (That would be one bank)

And don't think it will end there, these people have huge immaginations when it comes to ways of stealing our money.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Corporations are people too?

Well that is what the Supreme Court says. And Mitt Romney as well.

But I think that I would disagree with that assessment.

Corporations can last for hundreds of years, people can't.

Corporations can't go to prison, people can.

Corporations can't be executed, people can.

Corporations can steal millions of dollars from the government and continue to work for, and steal from, the government. People can't.

Corporations can have incomes in the hundreds of billions of dollars and profits in the tens of billions of dollars and pay no tax. People can't. Well, maybe there are some that can do that, if they have friends in high places, like Congress, and if they make huge political donations, like Corporations do.

O.K. differences are starting to fade. I'd better end this post before I start to agree with Mitt Romney! That would never do.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Divide the country?

Things are getting so divisive that I had this great idea.

We could divide the country in two with a fence, the Republicans can live on one side with dirt roads, no healthcare, no police, no fire dept, no libraries and no taxes.

The Democrats can live on the other side with paved highways, health care, police and fire protection and clean air & water.

I suspect that pretty soon they would be knocking on the door asking to be let in!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Lake in Thick Fog.

As I have said many times The Lake looks different every day, even each hour, and sometimes by the minute.

Yesterday and today we had fog early. Today it was not as thick as yesterday, I could still see the shadowy outline of the trees on the far shore, whereas yesterday I could barely even see the form of the pier which is only 100 feet from the house.

There is something eerie about thick fog, sounds are at least muted or sometimes non-existent. I wonder, is that the blanketing effect of the fog or do the birds and insects "Go quiet" in fog?

I'll have to pay closer attention next time it happens. With double glazing and secure in our own little cocoon here you can barely hear anything even when it isn't foggy, so when the next fog falls on us I will have to go outside and listen.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Democrats and Republicans.

I thought that the far left Democrats and the far right Republicans were just about as far left and far right as you could get. But I was wrong.

I just found out that you CAN go further to the left and the right. If you go further to the left than the most extreme left Democrats you will come to the Socialist Party. And if you go further to the right than the most extreme right Republicans you will come to the American Nazi Party.

In my humble opinion America is no place for either of these extreme beyond extreme Parties.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tea Party "Christians"

I saw, on TV, "Christians", who when asked if a 30 year old man, who decided not buy health insurance, should be allowed to die if he was in a severe accident and needed treatment. These Tea Party "Christians" shouted "Yes".

When it was mentioned that Rick Perry had been the Texas Govenor during the execution of 234 men, a cheer went up from the same Tea Party "Christians".

Now I am not what I would call highly religious, although I do consider myself a Christian, but I do have a problem with associating myself with these people who call themselves Christians. This is a different kind of Christian that I have ever been associated with or understood Christians to be.

Something is wrong somewhere.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Easy question.

I have an easy quiz for you. Just one easy question, here goes.

You hire a contractor, he does the work, lets say he puts up 10 feet of fencing. He then bills you for 50 feet of fencing!

Now for that easy question, "Would you hire him again?"

I am going to assume that you answered correctly, and the same as I did - "No"

Well now, here is the interesting thing, a lot of large corporations that are hired by the Federal Government cheat them, or to put it another way, commit fraud! Now wouldn't you think that would make them ineligible to do work for the Federal Government again? Well you would be wrong. They might get a fine, but they can keep right on bidding and working for the Feds!

You probably read about a couple of the local cases recently. Maxim Health in Columbia Md. stole $60 MILLION from the Federal Government (Hey, that would be us wouldn't it?) They paid a fine, and they are back to work. I wonder what the Federal Government would do if I stole $60 million from them? Do you think I'd be welcome to keep on working for them, or would I be in jail? Then there was St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Md. they billed the Government and Insurance companies for 600 Stents that, "Were unnecessary", Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury Md. did the same for 200 stents - are they a smaller Medical Center or just not so bold as St. Joseph?

One of St. Josephs doctors gave lessons, paid for by the stent manufacturer, on how to sell stents to patients. Apparently he was highly sucessful, as I seem to remember that at least 90% of the stents he sold and installed were unnecessary!

I guess my question is, why is this allowed to happen? Wouldn't it stop if they were struck off, and not allowed to do any work for the Federal Government if they deliberately cheated them. (Us) Others see that you only get a slap on the wrist if you are caught, and then you can go right back to the same old, same old, not much of a deterrant.

By the way as`you heard Mitt Romney say, and the Supreme Court too, "Corporations are people." They are happy to be treated like people, because as "people" they can own property, seek redress in courts and in Congress (where all their friends are!), and, of course they can make huge political contributions. (See one line above - Congress, where all their friends are!) Now, when it comes to being "people" who cheat/steal from the Federal Government they are suddenly treated differently to real people, like you and me, all of a sudden Corporations can't go to prison. They can't even be banned from working for the very government that they stole from!! (Like you and me undoubtedly would.)

Does anyone know why Corporations are treated differently, as in much more leniently, than real people? They say they want to be treated like people, the courts say they are people, even Mitt Romney says they are people, but when it comes to punishment they are not so real after all!

Could it have anything to do with having friends in Congress? No, surely not! Just because as real people they are allowed to give HUGE contributions to politicians, that wouldn't make a difference would it?

No, I didn't think so.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Profit over patients.

The American health INDUSTRY continues to put their Profits above the interests of Patients. You will no doubt have noticed that I put Health INDUSTRY, as opposed to what every other civilized country in the world calls their Health SERVICE.

That is because that is exactly what the American Health INDUSTRY is - an INDUSTRY, interested in nothing except their profits. That is why the cost of health care in this country is at least double that of every other country in the world - bar none. In fact some countries health care is even less than half the cost of ours, even as much as one quarter as much. AND as good, or better. Don't believe it when the Health INDUSTRY here tells you the health care in this country costs more because it is better, That is simply not true.

It is no more true than statements like, "We have to best road system" - not true, as anyone who has been to Europe, the UK or even Croatia can tell you! "We have the best Financial system." Really, really long, long pause here while I laugh!!! We may have the richest Bankers and Wall Steet types, because they have stolen so much from us that everyone except them is now poor. "Best cars"? Once maybe, but not anymore - drive a Japanese car and see. "Best drugs"? Have you read the reports lately about the drugs that do nothing, but have to be put out there so that the drug companies can "Recover their costs". How many drugs have you read about that have had to be recalled? Or the manufacturers are being sued, because they not only did not help, they damaged and even killed people?

Well guess what - that is what the Health INDUSTRY is doing, killing us, for profit. Stents are being put into thousands of people. Some reports say that there are ten times too many put in, some say a hundred times too many! Multiply that by 10 and a 100 different operations and treatments and you get the idea that the only thing the health INDUSTRY is interested in is PROFIT, at our expense. Almost every treatment used is way over used. We are operated on because they can collect money for it, not because it will help US - because it will help THEM.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Advice from Geithner!!

I just heard that Tim Geithner is on his way to Europe to tell them how to fix their financial problems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Excuse me while I laugh. Long, long, LONG pause here!!!

I would have to say that any financial advice that the US gives to Europe or ANYONE should be soundly IGNORED!!! In fact if ANY US banker gave ANY advice, my advice would be to do the opposite.

Because obviously we are in no position to advise anyone - unless it is someone who is looking to commit financial suicide.

We don't have the slightest idea of how to manage anything, not banking, exporting, importing, our air or water pollution, or virtually anything to do with running or operating a country, as we have proved by ruining our own country. So my advice is if you want advice, go elsewhere.

(For political people, my comments apply equally to Democrats and Republicans - no maybe more to Republicans, it was them more than the Democrats responsible for the raping of the American Financial System, which caused our present finacial collapse.)

3.30 am.

It was 3.30 am when a loud BEEP, BEEP, BEEPING erupted from the tiny travel alarm clock on Julia's side of the bed. It continued for a full minute before Julia, a strong candidate for the Gold Medal in the "Olympic Sleeping" event, groans and says, "Wa's tha'"? I reply, "It's your alarm." The beeping continues. I say, "It's going off." She struggles to sit up and pick up the offending object - a small Ikea clock. After unsuccessfully trying to turn it off, she hands it to me, says, "Turn it off." and heads for the bathroom.

I, equally unsuccessfully, attempt to turn it off. It has only three controls, one to set the time, one to set the alarm and one to turn the alarm on and off. I flip the alarm switch, nothing. I turn it on and off several times, no joy. So I open the bedroom door, go out onto the deck and throw the clock as far out into The Lake as I can.

Not really, just kidding.

OK removing the clock's battery would seem to be the smart answer, not stomping on it, or throwing it, or even putting it under the mattress, which were some of my first thoughts. I opened up the battery compartment and there was the little AA battery neatly nestled in it's own little space. Firmly in it's space, it turned out I should have said, it would not come out. I paused, how long could it continue to BEEP? I quickly decided too long and picked up a pencil to pry it out of it's cozy home. First the pencil's point broke, then the wood. Something stronger was needed, I found a handy dandy pair of nail scissors and did a successful batteryotomy that any surgeon would have been proud of at 3.30 in the morning, while still half asleep.

Silence reigned.

By now I was fully awake. As I lay there I wondered what would happen if I replaced the battery, would it start to BEEP again, or would it reset itself and start working properly? I tried to put the battery back, it was fairly dark and I could not see which way the battery should go in. It did not want to go in either way, had it expanded since I took it out a few minutes ago. or had the space shrunk? It is strange the way the mind works in the dark in the middle of the night. The battery WOULD go in I decided, it really didn't matter which way, if nothing happened one way I'd try the other. I pushed and in it went, there was an odd sort of moaning sound, but no BEEP. I looked at the face, nothing moved. I pried the battery out and replaced it the other way. Silence. The clock was dead.

Time to go to Ikea and spend another $2.99 or whatever.

Back to sleep.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

On using up my remaining time!

I went into the Post Office today to mail a small package. There were two people working the desk and two people in line ahead of me. So, wait 25 minutes, go to desk, lady looks at my package and points out that there is no zip code. I stare at her. She tells me that I can go to the machine in the lobby and get the zip code. I go out there. A man is using the machine. Apparently he has never used it before. He learns how to use it. And how to use it again, and again, and how to pay with a credit card. My turn. I find the zip code. I have no pen! I memorize it and go back into PO. Go up to the counter and borrow a pen to write the zip on my packakge. Back into line. Twenty minutes later I am called, but a "Lady" rushes in and goes straight to the counter with a "Quick question".The counter lady takes care of her. Finally I am there. My zip is written on a piece of scotch tape I am told/scolded, and might rub off. She writes it onto a piece of paper and sticks it into place.


Remove one hour from my "Alloted time."

Monday, September 12, 2011


In 1962 I was 21 years old. I'd had a few girlfriends, but was not real comfortable talking to girls. I was awkward. Shy? Embarrassed? Then in June of 1962 I met Julia. All of a sudden I was cool and confident, smart, intelligent, interesting! I'm not sure how long it was before I realized that it wasn't me that changed and became SuperDave, it was Julia. I'm still not sure if I changed because I HAD to, to win this awesome girl, or because she somehow magically changed me with her magic. Or was there some chemical magic?

Who knows? Anyway there is no doubt that I changed, and my life changed, for the better.

As I like to say to people when I, occasionally, get something right - "That is the second time in my life that I got something right. The first time was when I asked Julia to marry me, and the second time was this."

Long may we live, and long may I continue to fool Julia into thinking me SuperDave.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Where were you on Sept 11th 2001?

Julia and I were in England. England is 5 hours ahead of the east coast of the US.

We had gone to the Waitrose supermarket in Waterlooville, a small town about 5 miles from my parents house. The four of us shopped for a while and had lunch. My parents left and drove home at about 1.00pm (Remember England is 5 hours ahead of the east coast of the US.) Julia and I continued shopping and then drove home just after 2.00. We talked on the way home, so did not turn on the radio. I turned our car into the driveway of my parents little brick bungalow and turned off the engine. My father, who was 82 years old came running out shouting "Have you heard? Do you have the radio on?" Not knowing what he was talking about we said "No, what happened?" He said, "America has been attacked."

We`all rushed in and watched the nightmare unfold on their TV. I remember saying, "The world will never be the same again."

The phone rang, it was our daughter Sarah calling from the USA. We were all watching it on TV when the second plane hit. Sarah was screaming. Julia tried to calm her down, and said, "Make yourself a cup of tea." I remember she said that several times. Then the first tower collapsed. Sarah was crying and shouting. We were all dazed and did not know what to do. We stayed in front of the TV for hours. We were supposed to go down to our little cottage in Litton Cheyney that afternoon - we had been shopping for food supplies etc to take with us - but that had to be cancelled.

We left the next day, or two days later, I'm not sure.

Much of our time at Chimney Sweep Cottage was spent in front of the TV.

Air service was interrupted. All flights in the US were ordered to land at the closest airport. People were stranded hundreds of miles from their homes for a week or more. Planes carrying Americans landed at small airports in Canada where they were put up by local citizens. Some became friends for life - they lived with their hosts for up to a week. Many people spent days sleeping in airports. Some got rental cars and drove home, but cars were hard to find.

One person who slept in an airport was Sarah's first husband Aaron, he had taken off from Boston at almost the same time as one of the planes that had flown into one of the Towers. He spent several days sleeping at Chicago airport, until he was finally able to get a rental car and drive back to Reno, Nevada and his home.

Washington D.C. where Sarah's second husband Roy worked, was attacked of course by a plane that flew into the Pentagon. Apparently there were many rumors of attacks elsewhere in D.C. that proved false. Suspicious vehicles were reported everywhere.
In fact another plane that was heading for D.C. was brought down by the passengers. They received the news of the attacks on the Towers on their cell phones. They got together and organised an attack on the terrorists. One leader was heard to say on his cell phone which he left on while talking to his wife, "Let's roll." The plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. It was headed for DC so they undoubtedly saved lives. It could have been headed for the White House or the Capital or somewhere else, we will never know.

Schools were closed, so Sarah had to go and pick up our grandchildren. We were in England so we didn't get to experience the reaction here.

A day that I will never forget for as long as I live. Just like virtually every one else in the world.

Continuation of third world country story.

A man in California flips the wrong switch, 6 MILLION people lose power and a nuclear power station is shut down!
Sounds like third world country status to me!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is the USA a Third World Country?

You decide.

When we returned from a trip to Europe last year, it seemed like the answer might be yes!

After the roads in Europe, and even in the UK, the roads here seemed pathetic. Even the roads in Croatia - the old Yugoslavia - beat us out!

And Health Care in Europe - at half the cost, it is arguably twice as good!

Now we have a new wake up call, with all the storms - power outages. I don't really know how it is in the rest of Europe because I haven't lived there. But I did live in the UK for 26 years, and I can honestly NEVER remember having a power outage! I'm not saying it never happened, but I can never remember it happening. Here, our power goes out between 5 and 10 times a year on average. This year it has been more than that. If you count brief outages we had over 20 in one day after Hurricane Irene. And it was out for part of 3 days during the hurricane for about 2 days total in all. It rained yesterday, and we were out for about 3 hours. If someone runs off the road and hits a pole, or a tree falls on a line, or a boat with too tall a mast takes out the power line over the creek nearby, we lose power. One of those happens regularly. Then you add in hurricanes, tornadoes, high winds and heavy rain and you see why so many people have generators. I only fire mine up if it is out for more than 6 hours or so, so we have only used it twice this year. (One of those times we kept it running on and off for most of 3 days.) But some neighbors fire up as soon as it goes out and that would be between 10 and 20 times this year.

So what does the UK and the rest of Europe do differently? The power lines, the telephone lines and the cables lines are underground.

We don't notice it here because we are used to it, but there are hundreds to thousands of cables running all over the place here. Check it out next time you are out driving, especially at intersections. We could not believe it when we first came here. Route 40, near where we first lived in the US, is an unbelievably mess of wires. I have only seen worse in places like India. But as I said, we are used to it and don't notice it now. When we return from a trip to the UK, we do notice for a while and then we forget again - until the power goes out!

I had to interrupt this post - because the power went out! Really. I think that is the fourth time this week - so far. Now THAT is third world!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Election thoughts.

First you have to know that I am a Democrat, or maybe an Independent. When choosing a candidate 3 years ago, I favored Hilary Clinton. Hey, we would have got Hilary and Bill, what a bargain, two for the price of one. Hilary, a smart strong woman and Bill Clinton, one of our best, if not the best, President ever. Hey how many Presidents have had a SURPLUS instead`of a deficit? Not many, if any. He had a 39% top tax rate and a plan to pay off the National debt in 10 years. (Had Bush stuck to that plan it would now be paid off!)

Instead, Bush, true to his word - "Vote for me and I will send everyone a check for $300" - blew it all. Then he cut taxes on the rich to a top rate of 35%, made no provision to pay for it, except to borrow money. So he borrowed money and gave it to the rich, leaving us all to pay for it. Then he started two wars, again making no provision to pay for them. At any other time in history taxes have been raised to pay for wars, here and in any other country. Instead he borrowed to pay for them. So the National debt, instead of being paid off, almost doubled, from $5.7 Trillion to $10.7 Trillion. In one Presidency he added more to the National debt than ALL other Presidents combined! Then he turned the mess over to Obama. A huge tax cut and two wars, which still had to be paid for, remember he made NO provision to pay for them? So the economy continued to shell out money.

Then comes my President, and what does he do? Nothing! Disappointed is a far cry from how I feel. He didn't stand up for his beliefs at all. Instead of letting the Bush tax cuts expire (Even Bush knew we couldn't keep them up forever so he made it for just 10 years.) he allows himself to be pushed into extending them! Then he makes more tax cuts. Then a stimulus bill of which 70% was tax cuts for business. Hello, how do you expect to pay for anything? The man is a secret Republican. What did Boehner say? "I got 98% of what I wanted."

So I start to look around for a suitable replacement, apart from Hilary, who I would go for in an instant, what do I find in the Republican line up but what appears to be a bunch of rejects from a three Stooges casting call. There are people who think the world started 6,000 years ago! And/or Climate Change is not happening. We don't have to pay our bills. And/or we can pay off our National debt by cutting taxes! Each one seems to be more insane than the next - hey an insanity contest! I'm crazier than you, no you're not, yes I am! A bunch of fanatics and extremists.

So I am forced to vote for Obama. Even he has got to be better than the alternatives. Ron Paul is not too bad. Sarah Palin looks good - she'd definitely be our best looking President ever, but I cannot imagine having her represent our country! Even Bush acted good next to her! I can imagine her in the Oval Office with her shotgun. Lets take them out. I don't like them, drop the bomb. Perry says that Soc Sec is a Ponzi scheme, the Earth is 6,000 years old, there is no climate change, he prays for rain (It didn't work. So I guess God is not on Rick Perry's side! So I don't want him.) Michelle Bachman thinks the earthquake and the hurricane is retribution from God! (I was taught that he is a loving, forgiving God. Apparently I got that wrong - according to Ms Bachman anyway.) Mitt Romney signs in a health care bill in his State almost identical to Obama's, and then denies it!

Please, please, pray that none of these crazies get into power.


Some Tea Bagger ideas.

Michele Bachman says that the Earthquake and Hurricane (And the Tornado here) that hit the East Coast of the United States were sent as a divine warning to (Democratic?) Politicians in Washington to curb government spending!

That is silly - it was of course sent, I think, as a warning not to raise taxes on the 1% of wealthiest Americans.

But maybe Ms Bachman is closer to the source than I am.

It seems a real shame that God would kill more than 30 Americans, destroy thousands of homes and lives and do tens of billions of dollars of damage to warn us about government spending. Sometimes collateral damage just cannot be avoided.

Should we apologise to the people who were killed and injured in The Bahamas and the Dominican Republic for the damage that Hurricane Irene caused there because our government is spending more money than they are collecting in taxes?

Should we thank Michele Bachman and the Rev Pat Robertson for interpreting the true meaning for us of what many stupidly thought were natural events? In case you missed it, Pat Robertson said that the recent earthquake damaged the Washington Monument to show his displeasure at the path we are on. (Not sure why he damaged the National Cathedral. More collateral damage perhaps?)

If we are allowed to come up with our own reasons I would like to put forward the possibility that it was because of the government bailout of General Motors.

Now, please don't doubt Mr Robertson's claims. He exposed the connection between legalized abortion and Hurricane Katrina. (There is some controversy here as the Rev John Hagee says that Katrina was retribution for the New Orleans gay parade.)

But back to Mr Robertson who said that the blizzard of last December was a divine message to punish Americans who were going to drive to do something gay. Perhaps he confused the divine message between the two disasters?

Lets not forget the Rev. Jerry Falwell - who could? As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9-11 remember how he saw that it was not Osama Bin Laden but Pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians who were responsible. Or did they just help Osama Bin Laden?

Anyway I am sure that you can clearly see from these disaster interpreters, that God is both a Social and Fiscal Conservative, rather like Rush Limbaugh without the drug problem.

Should we point out to God that there are other places he could direct his warnings to? Perhaps we can cool off some of his warnings to us if he knew that Canada, the UK, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, most of Europe, and in fact almost the whole world had National Health Care long before us?

Lets hope that little bit of information helps to protect us.

Oh, one more Tea Bagger type bit of information, Rick Perry says that we can ignore Liberal claims of Climate Change. It is not happening. So that is a relief! (Did I just hear that he returned to Texas because of heat, drought and fires? The worst that Texas has ever had?)

9-11 anniversary approaches.

As the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 nightmare approaches it occurred to me that I am more upset and depressed by our current situation than I was by the 9-11 tragedy.
Thinking about that it may be because when 9-11 happened we knew who our enemies were. They were real enemies, real terrorists.
But who is "doing it to us" now? It seems to be our own people, greedy bankers who have done way more damage to our economy than Al-Quaida ever did, just as greedy Politicians who seem determined to sink us, just so they can be "In power" and "Save" us!
Save us from Politicians!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Imagine . . .

Imagine a company with 1,000 employees, their average wage is about $40,000, which is also the average wage of the average American. So their total annual wage bill is $40 million. Now imagine that this imaginary company has borrowed $40 million, which is also about the amount of the National debt, about $40,000 per person. They borrowed the money and spent it, and have not paid it back.
Now they decide that they need to pay it back, they figure that if they pay back 10% a year they will have it paid back in 10 years. (Not allowing for interest) They decide to lay off 10% of their workers, which gives them the necessary $4 million a year to pay back the loan. Now they have 100 workers unemployed! (unemployment has to be paid!)
Another way to do this might be to cut every ones pay by 10% and put that towards the debt, this way everyone still has a job, the debt is being paid off, there is no unemployment to pay and everyone shares in the hurt, equally. by having their wages cut by 10%.
The problem was that the company borrowed money and used it, with no provision to pay it back. Maybe they gave it to their workers in the form of bonuses, Christmas parties, gifts, trips, an exercise room, etc. In effect the employees were paid too much, and the company borrowed to give these "perks" to their employees.
Now the problem raises it's ugly head, and it has to be dealt with.
This obviously refers to our country, not our imaginary company.
Obviously we cannot cut the pay of our "employees" by 10%, for 10 years. And yet that is exactly what we need to do if we want to pay off our debts!
We have borrowed the money and given that money to our citizens in the form of tax cuts. In other words we have not being paying enough in taxes to pay for our needs. we kept the same, or more, "Toys", and paid for them by borrowing money. Whoever thought this could go on forever must have been insane. Or just didn't care, or thought that they would not be around when it came time to "pay the Piper". They - politicians - collected their bribes, and are sitting pretty with millions in their bank accounts, so what do they care?
The only way we will ever pay off this debt is to collect more taxes, where else can the money come from? And it would need to be a huge tax increase - 10% of Every ones Total income for 10 years would not pay it off!!!! That is how badly "We" have managed our economy.
I personally was always a little suspicious, but thought that it must be OK, these people know more than I do! They must do, right? I mean they are paid more than I am, in many cases thousands of times more than I am, so they must be smart, they must know what they are doing!
I was wrong, they had no more idea what they were doing than I did. Or if they did know, then they were criminally irresponsible.
We are not collecting enough to pay our bills! How easy, or hard, is that to understand? Even for a simpleton. And yet there are still people out there who insist that if we cut our taxes more everything will be alright! Our taxes now are lower than they have ever been in at least 60 years. The lower our taxes, the worse the problem. So "Lower our taxes" say many!
I laid it out in the form of an imaginary company. Lets make it even simpler. You are an average American and make $40,000 a year, you borrow $40,000 - over a period of time. You can't afford to make the payments, so you borrow more money to make the payments! And you continue to borrow, and the payments get higher, and you borrow more to make those bigger paymnets! Get it now? Now if you were a tea bagger, or a Republican you would say, "I can solve this by bringing in LESS money (cut taxes = less money to pay the bills) so I quit one of my jobs - I now have two jobs trying to make ends meet - that should solve the problem right? I now have less money coming in to pay my debt, so everything will now be fine! Isn't that exactly what the tea baggers and the Republicans are saying?
I forecast disaster.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Interesting comparason.

The USA and Cuba.

Lifespan approxiamately the same at 77 years. Cuba has one of the lowest child mortality rates in the world - even lower than the USA. Generally speaking they are as healthy or healthier than Americans.

The reason appears to be their health care system, which puts the emphasis on prevention rather than treatment. All mothers are checked throughout their pregnancies, all children receive all their vacinations and get regular visits and screenings.

The cost of health care in Cuba is 1/14th of the cost in the US!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Is it just me or do all of our politicians seem to be delusional to you too? It is clear that all of our politicians are delusional and incapable of doing anything but posturing and jockeying for power and influence and prestige. And the more that they jockey the more ridiculous they look to me. And the more ridiculous WE look for having elected ANY of them. If this is what a democracy produces in what we have always believed is the greatest country on earth, then one would have to believe that a democratic government is a failure. It can only produce the same venality, tyranny, stupidity and utter lack of connection with the people (not the special interest groups) that autocracies produce. Our two hundred year old experiment in government has failed.
Not sure what comes next, but something better, I hope.


There are a lot of "Quotes" posted on the Internet. I just wanted to put my 2 cents worth in about them. In my, considerable, experience with checking out these quotes I would like to say that they are almost always either mistakes, errors, made up or more often outright lies.

I just read one about our President. I can immediately imagine that 50% of my readers are already saying "It is true". The other 50% are either saying "it is probably not true." or they are saying lets see it. Well I am not going to post it, because it is 100% made up. And the 50% who said "It's true" without seeing it, would almost undoubtedly pass it on.,

What I will do is print the first sentence in the post, which is - "I ceased to advertise my mothers race". I will then tell you that these 7 words were taken from a much longer sentence which was in turn part of a paragraph. When a few words are pulled out of a sentence and presented as a complete sentence it does not take an English major to know that the entire meaning of the sentence, and paragraph is probably changed entirely. As was the case with this "Sentence". And it was obviously intended that you would misconstrue it, by someone who is consumed with hatred and has no problem with telling lies. This person is of a much worse character than that the person whose character he is trying to assassinate.

Anyone who believes the hundreds of stories making the rounds, without first checking out their veracity, is as guilty as the person starting them. If not more guilty.

There are stories being made up on the Internet by the thousands, mostly about politicians (most of whom deserve to be criticized!) but also about companies, and others. None of them, or anyone, deserves to be lied about. And it is my experience that AT LEAST 95% of these stories are either mistakes or outright lies. Usually completely fabricated.

Having said that I know that I have wasted my time, Conservatives or Liberals will believe whatever story they read and want to believe. The more outrageous it is, the more likely they are to believe it, and the more likely, and the faster to pass it on!

For my part I believe that the Internet will destroy us. It is getting more and more difficult to believe anything that is published. Even if it is true - how likely is that? you don't know whether to believe it or not.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tea Party.

Some common sense appears to be returning to at least some segments of the American public - approval rates for the Tea Party are dropping.
After their showing in the debt ceiling debate where everyone acted like a bunch of spoiled kids in the back seat of the car on a road trip across Texas, in August, with no air conditioner, it is welcome news indeed.
As more and more Americans learn about this disturbing party their approval rating drops, thank goodness.
Shouting in loud strident voices that Government is the enemy, taxes are bad, death panels are sweeping senior centers, Obama wants to destroy America, appeals to some, but not all of us, I am glad to see. Maybe we will wake up and see what these extremist fear mongers are doing to our country. They have taken control of what was once one of the great parties that along with the other fine party provided the country with balance.
Their only purpose appears to be to destroy the economy. Why? So that THEY can 'save' it?

Persid meteors.

A follow up on my last blog about the meteors. I went out at midnight and saw no sign. Awoke early morning but there seemed to be complete cloud cover. So yet another year has gone by without seeing a meteor. Maybe next year.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Perseid Meteor Shower.

The Perseid Meteor Shower is due tonight. Let me ask you, have you ever seen one? We are told this year, as we are told every year that if we sit and look to the north east we should see about one meteor a minute. Well I just sat on my porch for 30 minutes, it is a clear night with no clouds at all so the viewing is almost perfect, although there is a full moon, but I saw exactly none. Not only that, I have been going out and sitting in the dark every year for the last 20 or 30 years, on that special night that we are passing through the meteor shower, and I have yet to see even one. Some years of course it has been cloudy, so I expect to see none then. But other years it is partially cloudy, or even clear as it is tonight, but never have I seen even one. I will go out again and look before going to bed - it is 9.40pm now, and if I wake during the night, which I invariably do, I will go out and look.
I'll let you know tomorrow if I see one.
I did see a big meteor one night when driving up through the Michigan penninsula into Canada. It crossed the sky, very low and directly across the road in front of us. I was not driving or I would have stopped and maybe even looked to see where it had landed. Larry's stepfather Ralph was driving and barely seemed to notice it.

Climate change?

Is there climate change? I don't think there are too many people that doubt this now - with the possible exception of some of the more extreme right wingers, such as Rush Limburgh and his ilk.

One of the main problems seems to be the drop in food production that is expected. A frequently used figure is a 10% drop in grain production for every 1 degree rise in temperature. Russia experienced a 40 % drop in their grain production last year during their big heatwave. The USA is experiencing a drop in grain production in spite of farmers ramping up their production efforts. Even after putting more land than ever into production yields are falling.

A bigger problem even than the higher temperatures is water. Water tables the world over, and especially in the US, are falling, due to overpumping. If farmers can't get enough water, they can't grow more food. One ton of grain requires 1,000 tons of water! Where do you get that kind of water supply? One way is to import the grain - if you import a ton of grain that is the same as getting 1,000 tons of water!

Unfortunately the US is not in the business of buying grain, we grow it, so we need the water to do that. And in doing that and exporting grain to other nations throughout the world we are destroying our own water supplies.

Our rivers are drying up, our cities are running short, and our aquifers are dropping, fast.

Solutions anyone?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Another National Debt comment.

It seems that some people are surprised by S&P's downgrading of the US debt rating. Words like "It came so quickly" etc. The fact is that S&P has been warning the US for at least the last 6 years! But we took no notice at all.

Now think for a minute here, would YOU loan money to someone who acted like Uncle Sam? Just think about the antics of these clowns in Congress over the last few weeks and months. You have an outright refusal by one side - The Republicans - to negotiate at all. You have dozens of supposedly intelligent Congressmen, and women, saying "No problem, let the country reneg on its debts."! If that is not scary to an investor I don't know what is. Here we have a bunch of men and women who openly advocate not paying the countries debt. These are people voted in to help the country, and instead they are prepared to destroy the countries rating in the eyes of the whole world. Quite frankly I am surprised that the rating was not dropped more. After all there is a distinct possibility that more of these Tea Baggers could get in and have their way even more than they managed to do this time. They could say, "To hell with our bond rating or any other rating, we are not going to pay anyone back." This could create a problem! These simpletons think that it is more important to avoid any new taxes, now or ever, than for the USA to pay its bills.

I would like to point out here that taxes in the US are lower now, under Obama, than they have been at any time, under any President, for at least the last 60 years! That is for individuals, especially the wealthiest, and for Corporations. Yes he HAS lowered taxes several times since he came into office - in spite of what some would have you believe.

President Obama, a Democrat, or so he says, you could have fooled me, makes concession after concession to the Republicans, who make none at all, until finally he gives in completely and accedes to all of the Republicans demands. To John Boehner's "I got 98% of everything I asked for." I would say - what was the 2% he didn't get? Did he ask Obama to bring him a cup of coffee? And Obabma forgot - or didn't put enough sugar in it?

There have been rumors flying around that Obama is a secret Kenyan, or a secret Muslim, or a secret Socialist, but it turns out that he is in fact a secret Republican!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

National debt.

I have no idea why Obama doesn't point this out. So I am going to do it for him. Since President Roosevelt (1945) no Democratic President has added to the National debt - except Obama. Of the 14 Trillion National Debt 12 Trillion of it was added by Republicans! While it did go up slightly under some Democrats, that was because of interest on the debt that was added by Republicans. It actually went down under Democrats Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton. It also went down under Republican Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon. But under Republicans Ford, Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2, it went up. It went up HUGELY under Reagan and the two Bushes.

Clinton not only balanced the budget, he had a surplus, that he wanted to put towards paying off the National Debt. In fact under his plan for the next ten years the National Debt would have been paid off completely by now. But then came George W Bush who had "A better Idea". Not only did he not use the surplus generated by Clinton towards the debt he actually cut the top tax rate and borrowed even more money to pay for it. He also started two wars, and borrowed to pay for those too. By the time he left office the National Debt was doubled! And Obama was saddled not only with that huge debt but the interest on it, plus the continuing costs of the tax cut and the two wars started by his predecessor.

Along with the refusal by the Republicans to raise the top tax rate on the rich, plug loopholes to huge Corporations paying NO taxes, or even to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, the situation was impossible. With no way to raise revenue and nowhere to cut spending except trifling cuts to things like NPR, EPA, etc Obama was forced to put his sacred cows on the block - Soc Sec and Medicare.

Just allowing the Bush cuts on the rich to expire, the budget would have been close to balancing again. At 39% under Clinton the budget was in a surplus situation. Cut to 35% by Bush with no plan to pay for the cut - except to borrow to pay for it - there was no hope.

So in spite of virtually the entire National Debt being added by the Republicans, the Republicans have managed to convince the public that the whole amount is the fault of the Obama administration!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another neutral post from a journalist.

Charlie Reese's final column for The Orlando Sentinel. A journalist for 49 years he wrote this, his last column before retiring.
It is completely non-political, neither anti-Republican or anti-Democrat.
He has hit the nail on the head, it is clear and easy to understand.

545 vs. 300,000,000 People.
By Charlie Reese.

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Republicans and the Democrats are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget, The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislators responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. he cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the Speaker of the House now? He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted - by present facts - of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it follows that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it is because they want it in the red.

If the Army and Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If they do not receive Social Security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insolvable government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they can give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees . . .