Friday, May 27, 2016

Another set of those comments

I do not think I could ever eat food, even fast food served by a robot. Maybe in a generation the fast food companies will have laid off their workers and the next generation won’t think twice about it, but the thought just seems weird. Or worse have a robot serve me in a restaurant. I am not ready for it.

And on that note, more of something for you to think about for the minimum wage. I think this has been discussed somewhere before so I am sure the pros and cons of both sides of this thought have been discussed. I just think it is something we can revisit and maybe work out a solution. I propose we have a two tier minimum wage. One set for high school and other young kids working part time. The other a more standard minimum wage for full time employees or employees that work full time or at least 30 hours a week. And I am sure you can think of something negative either pro business or pro worker for this idea. I just ask you to work out in your head how it might work.

I do not care if men shave their head; grow their hair to their waist; go back to having a Mohawk or even a rainbow Mohawk; cut your hair like Sid Vicious or Johnny Rotten, just do not get a “man bun”. Please someone stop this fad or trend now. It doesn’t even look good on European soccer players.

Last week sometime Donald Trump apparently introduced his tax plan and from what I read there are significant tax breaks for the wealthy. I have been trying to tell everyone that would listen Mr. Trump’s true colors are not populism or going to do anything for the middle and working classes. Just won’t happen if he gets elected. And on that note I bring you this short excerpt from a book. I am not going to acknowledge the reference right now, but will if you demand it or you can wait. I want you to do a bit of research on your own since this is in context and out of context for Mr. Trump’s tax plan. Please note the year of the conversation and your research goal is to determine who the individuals are and the reason for this conversation. Interesting to read this excerpt in today’s political climate and then find out exactly who is involved in this bit of history:
                                This was no exaggeration.  Events would amply demonstrate that in embarking on monetary stabilisation before resolving the post-war fiscal crisis, the government was sailing into uncharted and potentially dangerous waters. As Nathan’s brother-in-law Abraham Montefiore shrewdly observed in 1821, defending the record of “the poor inoffensive Old Lady Mr. V(ansittart): “ The only really effective plan would be a good property tax properly and judiciously levied to reach only the opulent and those that can afford to spare part of their income, but unfortunately it so happens that these very persons are the law-makers themselves and their patriotism does not go as far as to reach  their pockets. “ The attempt to balance the budget with virtually no direct taxation at a time of monetary deflation would prove a recipe for instability…..”
Yes it is somewhat out of context for our current situation etc, yet”…unfortunately it so happens that these very persons are the law-makers themselves and their patriotism does not go as far as to reach their pockets..” does apply to today in its own way.  So for fun do some research and when you think about how the elitists are against us, when you find out who Nathan is, you should get the irony behind all this. And hopefully so will Mr. Trump, but I doubt he cares

There are evil bastardizations of God’s creation out there and we must have the strength to fight through the myths and lies to protect ourselves.

Next up hopefully is my next short story and it was described how it will evolve in a previous post.

Otherwise is there anyway Toronto can beat Cleveland and the NBA’s worst nightmare happen and we do not get Golden State v Cleveland rematch for the finals, but instead OKC and Toronto? It would kind of make my basketball day.  Don’t worry NBA executives, I will watch it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lets’ thank the Texas Supreme Court

Still struggling with what happened this weekend and have been doing my research. All things point to us being screwed. The guilty party has no culpability because well, there isn’t any law that deals with the situation unless a human is hurt and then there is only civil liability.

I would have hoped that there is a way to achieve justice. I spoke to one attorney who said he took a case all the way to the Texas Supreme Court and everything applied except the Texas Supreme Court made one exception to a rule of law that was already in place. And yep the exception was exactly what his case was about and it was written into the ruling of his case. And of course a realistic ruling would have benefited us. It would not have fixed the wrong, but would have addressed to a point the person being held responsible for what happened.

Yes… the Texas Supreme Court decided in favor of protecting a few business interests instead of helping a much larger group of the population as a whole. In case you didn’t know the Texas Supreme Court is elected, not appointed. So guess what? They need to raise campaign funds and in Texas, our wonderfully business friendly State, most of the campaign contributions come from businesses that might have cases that come before the Court. I have always thought this wrong, but what does a person do. Now I am sitting on my backend crying over spilt milk because I never thought their level of justice would affect me on an intimate personal level.

I can understand local Judges running for office. It would be way too expensive and cumbersome to appoint the multitude of Judges needed to run the judiciary system of a large County, much less the whole State. It does boggle the mind though that the Court that decides cases that affect the State as a whole is elected. It just opens the door for abuse of the Judicial system the same way the legislature is bought; oh excuse me, elected using campaign donations.

We need a major revamp of the entire political process in our Country. I am just wondering what it will take to get us, the citizens, to rebuild political integrity and take charge of what could be the best political system in the history of the world. It will never happen as long as money rules the roost.

We are still researching to see what legal recourse or other avenues we can take short of doing anything illegal. I still like wondering around outside on a sunny day.

More to come.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I do not know what to say or do

This weekend was suppose to be a very happy time for my family. It has unfortunately been destroyed by a very tragic event. I am not going to go into details since I am still reeling with confusion, anger, frustration, and a whole host of other emotions.

I will eventually get around to explaining what happened. I cannot right now since I am still recovering from the event. And my anger may cause me to post something I may regret.

I am posting because it is maddening to see a wrong yet have no recourse for what happened.  I believe that the government should not get too involved in our lives, however, when the same thing is happening over and over again and yet nothing is done about the problem you have to wonder where the priorities are with the legislators. The problem is well documented yet it seems our government is either too afraid of a certain group or too well paid to address it.

And yet the list of victims of this situation grows every day. At some point when the majority is more harmed by the same event over and over again and the aggravators of the situation are left not responsible for what happened there is a serious disconnect. And it is not about a person’s rights or someone being discriminated against. It is about harm being done with a root cause and that cause is well documented to be a problem, yet people get away with myths and lies to protect the wrong.

Right now it is just maddening at a level unknown to me before today.

I have all sorts of posts and a story I wanted to start this week, but we were busy preparing for this weekend. I knew it would probably be Monday or Tuesday before I would have started. I will eventually get to them yet right now I am up late because I cannot sleep and too angry to try and write what I wanted to write.

“They” say time heals all wounds. This one won’t heal. Or at least not for a very long time. Sorry to be depressing tonight, but I have to get at least some of it off my chest.  And honestly if I told you what happened it may not affect you the way it affected me and I would not begrudge you. For me though it was too close to home and it was completely unnecessary if people had their priorities straight.

We still have the completion of a very special event to attend and hopefully we can move forward. Trying to go today to one of the events was very difficult, we did, but the better half noted you could see the sadness in our eyes when she was looking at the pictures that were taken. Again sorry to be depressing, but what I learned today from the tragedy was very aggravating. The tragedy was the worst part, yet the aftermath was totally insane. It was like being kicked when you were already down.

Let’s hope for a better tomorrow.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A few Dallas comments and a few general comments

There’s the famous “X” on Elm street in Dallas. People love to stand on it and get their picture taken. Yeah not the best of moves. Elm street is one way and at that point you are basically standing in the middle of a street where everyone is speeding up to enter the intersection of two highways.  So if the last light has been green for a few seconds you have people speeding up to 50mph and coming over a rise and a slight curve to where you are standing. … smile

Mark Cuban saying Donald Trump is like the guy at the bar that will say anything to get laid is the best analogy I have heard so far about Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

“Gourmet tacos”…. Seriously folks there are restaurants around saying they make gourmet tacos. Tacos are what food you stuff tortillas with that you find around the house. Charging people $10+ for three tacos because you think you are being creative,,,,,,,, hmmmm   $1 street tacos are better anyway… a corn tortilla, some meat, chopped onion, and cilantro.. real simple, real basic.. real. Unfortunately $1 tacos are now $1.50 or $2.   Just like the dollar movies ha ha ha

Well the Mrs.  and I stepped out of our comfort zone and went somewhere new to eat. (not gourmet tacos) and well were fairly pleased and fairly disappointed so no advertising here and it cost a bit too much for what we got. The extreme was a $6 cup of coffee even though the dinners were in the $20 range. Seemed a bit steep for a cup of coffee that smelt like it was brewed on an airplane. The appetizer was good and the cake for dessert was really good, but the dinner was fair. I hate spending serious money and not being overwhelmed. We even returned a speciality drink because it was weird tasting. As with gourmet tacos, sometimes you can try too hard.

Why even have an election, the country has been sold to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, no one wants to tell us who won. I am guessing Sheldon Adelson thinks he did.

Don’t you hate it when everyone treats something as if it were a foregone conclusion. The OKC Thunder kind of screwed the NBA mix up a bit. Now I can’t figure out who to support.

There is really no reason as to why, or that I even tried, but I really wanted to be cast as Leonard’s Father. I have no experience and nothing that would propel me in that direction. I just think I would have been great.

Going forward in the near future, there may be a few more random late night comments and there will be another blog story. This will be similar to the last one where I come up with the premise (I already have the new one) and any night that I can sit down I just add to the story till it comes to the conclusion. This one has a beginning and I do not like my ending as of now, but no middle and a few wild moments to get it started. So come back for random fiction along with assorted random comments off and on for the next few posts.

Nice cool day here in North Texas. Gotta like it because 90°+ temps are on the way.

Monday, May 9, 2016

And voter angst goes where?

So Mr. Trump doesn’t win the Presidency, nor Mr. Sanders overcomes Ms. Clinton and Ms. Clinton wins. What happens next?

Will this be the high water mark for populism in this century? After their runs for office falter do voters pick up the pieces and find new people to run? Or do they settle back and feel like nothing they do matters?

If Ms. Clinton wins, will she be supported by the establishment of both parties in their attempt to consolidate even more power? And in doing so, how much of our rights are trampled upon (probably subtlety) as they make sure people like Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders would have an even more difficult time trying to overcome the establishments?

Or do the extremes on both sides actually create new parties to pick up where these candidacies left off?  And if it is the extreme right and a young and mobilized social democrat party do we become Italy in the 20’s and 30’s?  And if this happens, does it fuel the establishment in the two major parties clamping down even more on our rights and our future abilities to create a true populist movement that benefits the middle and working classes.

Funny how the extremes always create the movements, yet the groups that most need a populist movement will revert to the status quo which only does more harm to them by supporting the group-present leadership that has been holding them back all along.

Will this change here after 2016 if Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders fail in their bid to be President? Would the what was once known as the silent majority wake up and apply what was learned from the two mentioned candidates and move forward? Or will it slip away and become a footnote in history smaller than the last real attempt at a populist movement 100+ years ago?

Voter angst could be a great benefit to our country and maybe even other democracies or similar governments now if applied by the right people. In the hands of the wrong people, we head backwards as a society which leaves the door open to very similar, but probably more dangerous than what happened in the 1930’s. Now I have to admit defining who are the right and wrong people will depend on your view point. So let’s say we are talking about a true reform movement that consolidates the wealth gap, improves the economic status of the whole of the country, gives us true tax reform, improves education, reduces our reliance on a nanny state government, yet at the same time works to move technology and innovation forward, defines what our government can or should do and what it shouldn’t and hopefully helps us all become a country unified in values. We do not have to agree on everything, just have our disagreements be civil, discussed, so the best ideas for the whole in general move forward. Well to me, that is a few of the ideas of what I call the right people.

To a fascist or communist, well there may be a different idea of what is a “right” person.  

The winds of change are blowing, but is it just a spring thunderstorm and will die out in a moment. Or has the winds truly changed direction and, even if Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders do not become President, their energy spawns a whole new political and hopefully beneficial movement? I would hate to see the opposite occur and the middle class goes running back to the establishment out of fear of the unknown.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

And which end game is it??????

So let’s pretend Mr. Trump is going to win not just the Republican nomination, but the Presidency. And our good friend Senator Cruz (oh yeah that is right, it is Senator Cruz) heads back to the Senate with his tail between his legs especially after how brutal things have been so far and what may come about in the Convention this summer. What happens next?

Does Senator Cruz pull together all his buddies in the Senate and block everything Mr. Trump wants? Probably good for Mr. Trump that the Senator has never really won Miss Congeniality in the Senate. There are some die hard Tea Party members and maybe even a few establishment Republicans that may decide not to play nice in the sand box. Or does everyone jump on the Trump bandwagon till he actually does something that either ticks off the donor class or actually alienates his current supporters. It may take much for the latter to happen, but sooner or later like the rank and file tea party members that are upset at the current Congress for not passing what they feel was going to be passed; Mr. Trump is actually going to have to produce. Or convince all these riled up supporters who voted for him, it is not his fault, but the obstructionist Congress… wait doesn’t that sound familiar.

Oh and speaking of Congress, how does all the Super PACs for the two parties in Congress feel about Mr. Trump? Does the Senate Leadership Fund decide to support Cruz? These Super PACs like having the people they choose to win, win. Do they feel a Trump presidency interferes with all their hard work to get the “right” people elected to Congress?

This will be interesting to find out. Am I right in my fear that Mr. Trump is a false prophet and since he comes from the billionaire world he will eventually support the 1% agenda. Or are his supporters correct and he will actually try and dismantle the free trade agreements, follow through on his put America first agenda, reduce what he thinks is unnecessary military spending and a few other of his ideas to “make America great again”.  The wall on the border scenario is a pipe dream that even if he really wants is not going to be the first item on Mr. Trump’s agenda. Much less anything that is accomplished in the infamous first 100 days.

So do we have a battle royal between the Trump presidency and Congress? Does he actually have a few pragmatic ideas that by popular will Congress acquiesces and some of Trump’s agenda is passed? Or will the donor class (1%) through the super pacs completely shut him down by their control of Congress?

How much does the Democratic side of Congress get to play into this? Will their donor class clamp down on them and they support an agenda more in line with what the establishment wants with Trump on their side as mentioned above as my fear.

So if Trump wins, who wins?

Ms. Clinton is a known evil. There will be lip service to a few social agenda items that make some headway. Unfortunately for her, one of the biggest liberal advancements has already happened when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage. This one kind of stole her thunder. So how far to the left in social issues will she have to go to appease the left wing of the party. We all know the status quo in DC and Wall Street will be allowed to continue their undue influence over our government. How well does she hide it from the newly inspired Bernie Bros in her party that we aren’t going to see much of what Mr. Sanders has been campaigning on?  Will they bolt before November if they wake up to that truth in time or can she fake it enough to win their votes? I think most of the Bernie Bros are already attuned to the truth about Ms. Clinton which hurts her dramatically in a head to head with Mr. Trump.

One oddity that might happen is the Bernie Bros turn out for Trump and the establishment Republicans turn out for Clinton. Headlines to this effect are starting to pop up quite frequently so I do not claim any personal triumphant breakthrough on this idea.  How much this happens is yet to be seen, but it would not surprise me that it happens so strongly it creates a wash so it boils back down to how well Trump supporters come out to vote vs the Democratic mainstream holding their nose long enough to vote.

Going back to the original question and thoughts, how much will Cruz cooperate now that Trump has insulted his wife and Dad and who knows who else before it is all over. Can Cruz muster enough support among Congress to wreck a Trump presidency? Will anything he does matter going forward if he is pushed aside for the rest of the primary and then out of the convention?

It is not a complete definite yet, but the drama maybe over and the Republican convention may end up being a civil acceptance of the fact Republicans on main street are ticked off at the establishment and the establishment may just have to wait four years to get their party back. Or will they ever get it back? My guess is yes. The super billionaires et all have way too much at stake for one crazed ego maniac to ruin their dreams. They still own Congress so our hope rests in taking over Congress or any Trump presidency will become a side note in populist history.

And as I always ramble on about, we need a new party that represents the middle class and takes on the dismantling of the current establishment in DC long enough to enact legislation that actually benefits you and I. This is something that would take a few election cycles to accomplish and at the very least would put a hold on the 1%’s march of the ruination of democracy, our constitution, our country, and us.

Long live the Constitution, the Constitution is dying.

No question about this… it is one beautiful spring night here in North Texas. I am still ticked at the Mavs for losing the last regular season game against the Spurs bench.  Did ya see how things turned out for Portland? Sheesh!  Anyway the Stars are moving along and the Rangers are doing a few things right so hopefully the Dallas Sports world will have a good May and June. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Social Security Part 3 continued

Part of the Preamble discussed the need to take care of aged, crippled children, blind, child welfare, and unemployment compensation. Pretty much everything that is anathema to the Republican party, well at least that is the way the Democrats feel about it.

And a side note question here, why just the blind, what about the deaf or other disabilities. Who knows right now, the times were different then.

And like the medical aspect (which led to Medicare and Medicaid) these programs are a cost to the government. Okay Medicaid is, technically your salary is contributing to you having Medicare.

We need to look at the big picture though. Since we accept we live in a society where people can make money we have to understand there will be so called winners and losers. Much as we want it to happen, not everyone can be the richest person on the planet. And that is okay as long as we also realize if we allow for people to be successful there will be others that have a need. The goal then is to allow for both; people to be successful without leaving anyone behind. The immediate example of this would be unemployment compensation for people who might be laid off due to a company struggling etc.

Why should the workers be hurt because management either mismanaged the business or the industry or times are changing and the company is losing business?  People should be allowed to continue with their lives. Yet is just giving them checks for 6 months the answer. Sometimes it might be. Many workers or even managers may be able to find jobs within that time frame. Other times they may not be able. So what happens when they cannot find a job within 6 months, does the government keep extending benefits like what happened post the 2008 recession? At what point do they stop?

This is where there has to be a transition plan, not just help. If we believe that all people are created equal then we need to make sure all have equal opportunity, but this should never be an ongoing cost to the people via the taxes we pay to the government.

So now look at the big picture of all welfare programs. One criticism my so called conservative brethren say is that we can’t hand out entitlements all the time. The “other side” create programs that help people such as food stamps, but it creates a need to continue on food stamps if you do not help people move on in life. And this has created what is now being called generational welfare. Children growing up with this expectation in their lives and no one willing to step in and help them learn to be self-sufficient.

Last week there was an article by Rachel Sheffield about Kansas and Maine creating work requirements to get food stamps found on a site called CNSNEWS. And I do know you always have to be careful about news sources nowadays since so many are so biased they mix facts/news with opinion very liberally. Yet if the statistics mentioned in the article are even somewhat close to real fact then this is a good example of what I am looking to get people to understand. Quoting from their example from Maine: “Within the first three months after Maine’s work policy went into effect, its caseload of able-bodied adults receiving food stamps plunged by 80 percent, falling from 13.332 recipients in December 2014 to 2678 in March 2015.” Honestly this is a very large decrease in a short amount of time so I wonder if there were other factors involved. Finding ways to institute more of this to see if it could be duplicated would have benefited the premise of the article. Only two states were mentioned and one was Kansas which right now I would be dubious of any facts coming from the Right in Kansas right now. So why do I quote from this article.  One reason is because they mention something I do feel is needed and that is work programs provide opportunities such as job training and employment search services. These would have to be mandatory for any work program to reduce welfare to be successful.

In implementing the work programs though I feel there will be a need to increase spending at first. One business axiom is you need to spend money to make money. In my opinion it works backwards in the welfare situation using work programs. You are going to need to spend money to save money/reduce the budget in the long run. The trade-off being once people are able to remove themselves from food stamps and welfare they become tax payers hence reducing the cost while increasing revenue. The key is you are going to have to really make the commitment to the job training and other education aspects including basics like teaching people how to manage money, run a budget, and make proactive health decisions. People who have grown up on welfare do not have the education level, not just of high school etc, but off making healthy life decisions some of us take for granted.

It sounds so basic to some of us about eating healthy and seeing a doctor regularly. Many on welfare have never been given the opportunity to plan ahead or even understand what it means to save. Some of us take for granted to do comparison shopping or know how to make informed shopping decisions. Welfare recipients, especially generational recipients, by and large have no idea what we do on a daily basis.

Also we would actually need to raise food stamp levels and at the same time limit what can be bought with food stamps. The problem poor people and apparently my conservative brethren do not see is eating healthy takes more money and time. And yet if they can be taught better nutrition they end up having less medical costs. Hate to be a food big brother, yet it is not against the concept of helping people if we lead them in a better direction. It is taxpayers’ money we are using for welfare so using it wisely for the government budget and more importantly for the recipients is the right thing to do. I hate using the word entitlement because the right wing throws it around as a four letter word, but when the government is helping people through welfare programs current recipients tend to take advantage of the system. Holding them accountable for their actions is a reasonable criterion to receiving benefits.  This leads me back to the article I mentioned. How do we make this an actual reality throughout the country?

This is one primary goal. Welfare should be temporary. And at the same time we have to accept it is going to be needed. In a system that relies on a division of wealth, there will be poor people. They are not inherently bad because they are poor so we need to make sure they retain their dignity. Helping them get back on their feet with what is now called welfare should be the primary goal. We should not expect this to be the answer for them though.

The next item is we help those who cannot help themselves. This is where the Medicaid disability help comes into play. Sometimes the cost of taking care of someone or the mental illness issues of someone are so extreme that a family or even extended family cannot take care of the person by themselves. It is not a burden to the taxpayers via the government to have programs to help families in these situations. As a people who believe in the dignity of life it does become our responsibility to have programs in place either directly from the government or the government supporting programs for these people.  We all contribute either through taxes or the current social security payments to support this need.  And we need to make sure we understand the problems so we give the proper care. When you deny people this support you are taking a step backwards in social evolution. Bad things can happen and it is no one’s fault so we cannot judge a person with a disability as someone less than us. We create better judgment for ourselves when we help them.

And going back to my original ideas of helping the retirement aspect of social security we do need to start consolidating the various acts, government procedures, the number of departments involved etc so we can better utilize the money for the people who need it. This is whether it is work programs; food and medical for children; disability, programs that help those with disabilities participate in society where they can; high school, trade school, or other education to help people become better prepared for jobs (and we can support people being trained in jobs that are needed and this does not take away anyone’s rights); and even life education for people who especially now have spent a lifetime on welfare learning how to take care of themselves, their money and their health. 

These are just some ideas to show you what can be done to turn the current welfare situation into a more manageable service program that benefits the recipient and society at large.  

Going back to the preamble, does this all need to fall under the social security administration? Maybe. We do need as mentioned above really sit down and define what help we can and should give and consolidate the bureaucracies to better manage the programs, learn what works and what doesn’t (being flexible is a good thing), keep costs down, and a better understanding of who we are as a people.