Thursday, February 24, 2011

Yes, it is still winter at The Lake.

Two days ago, after several warm days of temperatures in the 60's and even 70, when we were beginning to think that spring had arrived, we had another snowstorm. Not a huge one, but not tiny either, 4 inches is big enough to need the attention of the snow shovel but not big enough to fire up the new snow thrower.

As usual, it looked beautiful. Doesn't it give everyone a burst of 'love of nature' to see that white cloak that hides all the ugly stuff that you meant to clear up?

As I gazed out on it, not yet thinking "where is my snow shovel", or "how cold is it out there", or "do I even need to shovel it", but still thinking, "what a work of art this is". Julia's art is marvellous but even she cannot match this.

Then I thought, "what a perfect day to be having a fire to sit by". So I got on and stoked up the fire that was still glowing very nicely thank you in the wood stove and soon had it blazing away. Perfect.

All too soon it was time to shovel, the snow plow had already gone by and marred the perfection. Soon I was warmly clothed and trying not slip down the snow covered steps. The snow had blown up onto the front porch and frozen. The mail box had to be made accessible and the chickens opened, which meant clearing a pathway across the deck. A big deck had seemed like a good idea - until now! As I shovelled, avalanches of snow began sliding off of the steep roof onto me and onto the cleared areas.

All of a sudden, my Dreamland began to turn into the usual Nightmare, my Snow Palace into a dirty, slushy, mess.

But not to worry. I got it all done and sat by the fire, and enjoyed for all of for several seconds, then the day took over.

Today, it is cold, The Lake has a skim of ice, but it is beautiful, the sunlight is already starting to spread across its surface and I can see the thin ice melting. Two swans are ploughing through it, the Canada Geese will be landing on it soon, the bird feeders are already inundated with birds.

All is well with My World again.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Looks like Gaddafi will soon be gone.

I am watching what is going on all the Middle East. People are rising up. It would seem that they are suddenly realizing what their "leaders" have been doing to them! Ben Ali of Tunisia - gone, Mubarak of Egypt - gone, Gaddaffi of Libya - soon to be gone. They haven't been leading "Their people" they have been dictating to them, and robbing them.

Now I ask you, is that any different than what the Robber Barons here are doing to us? Robbing us. I just saw in the paper that the CEO of Countrywide Mortgage got off scott free. He was made to pay back $67 million. I say made to, he was told to. I wonder if he ever will! But what does he care anyway, it was a mere token - he has $600 MILLION! A million people have lost their homes because of him! He robbed us of Billions of dollars, and he gets to keep his ill gotten gains. He doesn't go to prison for even a short time. He will get a pension from Countrywide, an office and use of a company jet whenever he wants to go somewhere. His victims get nothing. They have no home, no money, no savings, no retirement, many of them are out on the street. He keeps everything. In my opinion he and his kind are worse than Ali, Mubarak and Gaddafi. There are hundreds of them out there. The CEO of Wells Fargo was paid $53 Million last year! Taken from you and me as surely as if he had taken it at gunpoint. He just did it "Legally". But how legal is it to take a paycheck of tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars when you got that money by manipulating things in the financial community that took the savings of millions of people and put millions of people out of their homes?

The greed of these bankers is beyond belief. They have no concern at all for the people that they have made bankrupt and put out of their homes, in smany cases onto the street. Their only concern is how THEY can screw another million or another billion dollars out of us.

To my mind that is at least as bad as what the Middle Eastern Dictators are doing to their citizens. At least the citizens there seem to have finally been able to make a comeback. Here in America we will never be able to get our money back from the bankers. They have the full backing of the US government, in the form of our politicians, who are completely in the pockets of the bankers. Their retirement years (the politicians) depends upon the bankers.

Hey we just gave Wall Street and the bankers like Goldman Sachs $14 TRILLION in "Bailouts". (That amounts to something like $40,000 for every man woman and child in the US!) And they will keep coming back for more - it's like an addict, they can't stop. I doubt if they will stop even when they have it all, yes even when they have taken every dollar that every American has they will keep on trying to rob us. If you have a loaf of bread that you made, or your chicken laid an egg, they will want that. (And they wouldn't even be satisfied with the egg, they'd want the chicken too. And as greedy as they are they would EAT the chicken!)

And I wouldn't mind betting that we would STILL vote for them to get a lower tax rate. (Or perhaps by then we would have voted for them to not pay any taxes.) what would they do then poor things? I know, they would get us to vote for a negative tax rate for the richest Americans, so they could spend us out of the depression. Give me a break.


Well so far no one has asked me to tell you all how Big Business, Banks and Wall Street stole at least $30,000 from every man, woman and child in the US over the last few years. Is it because you already know how they did it? Or you don't want to know, have plenty of money so you don't care, are scared or what? (Don't forget the $30,000 per person is an average, if you had more they might have got you for more!) Or maybe you are one of THEM!

So, I'm going to move onto another subject - Corn. You have a bag of corn, you can plant it, or eat it. Eat it and you save maybe $10. Plant it and I'm guessing one seed or kernel of corn will return about 500 kernels, at 3 or 4 ears per plant and what 100 or 200 kernels per ear? So you would have 500 bags of corn from your original one bag.

Years ago we planted our kernels of corn by investing in Schools and Universities. We had a phenomenal return from our education system. America led the world in most everything. Other countries even sent their kids to school here, that's how good the US education system was.

Fast forward to 2011.

Asians, Saudis, Indians, Chinese and others are investing huge sums in education, research and development. Astounding numbers of students are graduating with advanced degrees in Science and Engineering. China's economy is now the world's number two. Their rate of growth far outpaces ours. We invested in education in the 19th and 20th Century's.

So what do we do now? Reinvest? Reinvent ourselves? Redouble our efforts? No, none of these things, we start a new race - I call it "The Race to the Bottom."

Here is our plan, cut Pell Grants, they help the poorest of our students earn college degrees (Many of our greatest thinkers, business builders, educators, doctors, scientists, and so on came up from poverty.). Next, cut funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, drop grants from Congress to Universities, cut budgets to Higher Education in all states across America, this has the added advantage of shrinking the research they can do, and makes it necessary to raise rates to students. Oh, and lets start the interest building on the students loans as soon as they get them instead of when they graduate.

Well that sounds like a good start doesn't it? We have already dropped from the number one country in the world for student graduation rate to number 12. This should push us way down on the charts.

Our new GOP Congress is determined to cut spending. And this is how they plan on doing it. Don't touch the military, even though a tiny cut would make every other cut unnecessary, don't cut Soc Sec - even though making Soc Sec deductions on ALL earnings, not just on the lowest earners, and maybe raising the age to collect S.S.(at age 65 you were close to death when S.S started, it NEEDS to be raised to save it for what it was intended, a safety net for those who needed it.) Our Health Care system could use an overhaul, why don't we look at every other civilized country in the world who have equal or superior care (they ALL live longer lives than us!) and see how they do it for HALF of our cost - some for a quarter of what we spend!!

But no, lets cut money from those who can least afford it, those who can't fight back, and from our future. (After all, those politicians won't be there when the s**t hits the fan years from now.) They will all be rich, collecting from the Big Businessess, Big Banks and Wall Street that they helped to suck us dry. Why would they even think of doing the right thing and helping the people that elected them - after all we could vote them out and where would they be then, with only a lousy full salary pension for life and the best health insurance available for them and their family. No they need to get into bed with the money people, Banks, Wall Street, Business where they will be taken well care of in their 'old age'.

More budget stuff.

Where can we cut the budget?

Let's see,

The % of the budget going to the Military is 54% (That includes our present military, wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, our past military including Vets and the interest on debt related to the military,) (The government leaves a lot of that out of the military buget- present wars for example are not included in the Military budget! Figure that out! They also don't include debt on military expendature - even though it is obvious that if it wern't for military spending we would have no debt! There are a few other military expenditures that are pushed off into other areas to make it look as though we spend more on Human Resources etc and less on the military.)

Human Resources, 30% (That includes Soc Sec, Medicare, Medicaid, Education etc.),

Everything else 16% (That includes the Government, Justice, IRS, EPA, NASA, Agriculture, Science, Interest on Debt other than military, and hundreds or thousands of other departments.)

Where can we cut? Well apparently not the Military or Human Resources, which only leaves Everything Else!

So lets start cutting!

EPA, - they only try to keep our air and water and food and land clean, Big Business will police themselves, so they are not needed, cut that.

NASA, they only give us hope for the future, exploration - what America was built on, only a few thousand inventions that have changed our lives have come from them. Not needed - cut them.

Science, bad word nowadays, what use is Science? What did it ever do for us? Cut that.

Teachers, Firemen, Police. Roads, Bridges, All rubbish. Cut them.

In fact lets cut everything except the Military and Human Resources budgets.

If we cut half of the entire Everything Else area we would save 8% of our budget! A figure that would barely be noticed by the Military! We spend more than the next 15 countrie's military budgets combined - and most of them are our Allies!

Can you begin to imagine what we could do in this country if we cut our Military budget even just in half? That would Triple our Everything Else budget! We would be able rebuild our infrastructure - roads, bridges, schools etc. We would be able to go to the Moon and explore the Planets, we would be able to have affordable Health Care for all our citizens. We might even be able to have some effective regulations to stop Big Business, Big Banks, and Wall Street from swindling us all!

Does this sound like a Dream? Can you even begin to imagine the hold that Big Business, Banks and Wall Street has over our politicians? No you cannot. To say they have our Pile of Shitens - sorry Politicians, in their back pockets is the understatement of the Century! We have no one on our side at all, the Politicians, Business, Banks and Wall Street look on us as their own personal Piggy Banks. Did you know that the 400 wealthiest Americans for example have more wealth than 50% of all Americans? Let me repeat that in a different way. 400 American Individuals have more wealth than 155 MILLION Americans COMBINED!!!

Now THAT is what I call an Income Gap! And we not only stand it, we even voted that these evil people should keep the 4% tax cut that George Bush gave them 10 years ago. (Even George knew we couldn't afford to give it to them forever, so he limited it to 10 years). Did you know that the average American pays 30% of his income in taxes, while the richest 1% of Americans pay only 16% in taxes?

But that is a Blog for another day. Let me know if you would like me to start on that one. I'd love to do one on Big Business, Banks and Wall Street and tell you how I think they have sucked us dry - with the help of our wonderful (not) politicians.