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Today, March 25th, the Supreme Court hears the Hobby Lobby case.

The question before the court is this:

If a law violates one’s religion, does one have to follow it?  We have by fortuity and circumstance, brought ourselves so low to  now ask of our court, to decide which of the two shall have predominance… Law or Religion.

If law wins, than religions must conform to the law; if religion wins, then to circumvent any law, one simply has to state it is against one’s religion.

There are good reasons for both sides, depending upon which predominates in your mind.  If you think religion is above the government, then obviously you will think that as an individual, your government shall not make you do something your religion tells you is wrong…. Basically the law is compelling you to sin.

We’ve seen it before.  Burkas:  your religions dictates you wear them, and the law says you can’t for safety reasons… Withholding medical care for a child,   your religion tells you to put faith into divine intervention, and when that turns out badly, the state sends you away for murder. Vaccinations.  your religion tells you no, but the government says yes…..

In all those cases religion lost;  here is why.

There were other people affected.  Religion is a deep personal internal experience.  and the law generally upholds that one has the right to adhere to doctrines if one wishes…. AS LONG AS THEY DO NOT HARM SOMEONE ELSE.   The canon of law is very clear, that hurting other people, cannot be excused on the account of ones religions… The Burka ban is to protect from human bombs.  The courts have said that if safety in a crowd  is an issue for many other people, then the law can be changed to violate the harm-giver’s religion.  The potential for harm controls the dynamics of the case.

Likewise the dead child not receiving medical care can be a very moving religious experience, but the child died.  He obviously was harmed ant therefore the law trumps religion. The potential for harm controls the dynamics of the case.

Again the same is true over withholding vaccinations.  Not being vaccinated creates a possible host-carrier for the disease sometime in the future…  It is not just the subject at risk for failing to become vaccinated.  Everyone else is susceptible to that carried organism.  The potential for harm to many controls the dynamics of the case.

So we turn to birth control. One of which is abortion.  Who could possibly be harmed over not insuring contraception?  Is it really as cut and dried as Rush Limbaugh speaks, when he says it is all about him paying  for Sandra Fluke to have sex?  He’s paying and it isn’t even with him?   Tant pis.

Prophylactics.  Who gets harmed?  That one is easy.  Every person who picks up HIV for one. For two, gonorrhea and syphilis. For three, someone getting the herpes virus.  Harm is endemic.  And like vaccinations, harm can be unsuspectingly spread to others. Lack of free contraception could cause multiple spouses irreparable harm through no fault or wrongdoing of their own.  Everyone has the right to intercourse, just as everyone has a right to their own Roth-IRA.  But not everyone has an Roth-IRA now, do they?  Many can’t afford it and so do without.  Same with contraception.  Therefore not funding free prophylactics causes irreparable harm to innocent people….

Chemicals, birth control pills and RU-486.   Who gets harmed if these are unavailable?  That one is easy.  The future baby (def: humanness does not  or will ever start until birth), the mother, the father, the grandparents, the great grandparents, the physician,  society in general, future taxpayers…  Quite a few harmed souls actually…. Withholding these birth control items is exactly on par with withholding antibiotics to a child dying from blood poisoning.  Just as the child is suffering needlessly through no fault on its own, so is the pregnant woman suffering as is her child, though no fault of their own.  Normally she would have gotten free contraception. But no, religion stepped in and now that is impossible.

Third is performed abortion.  This is an emotional topic, that some equate with murder.  The courts have flatly said it is not.  Life begins at birth, always has, always will.  Therefore performed abortions are perfectly legal, even though some people may not agree.  And here the law is clear.  They have the right to decide for themselves and not agree if they so choose, but they do not have any right to decide for others.  No one does. That is embedded in the foundation of our founding documents…. That is the definition of freedom.  One cannot say they for freedom and yet rail against choice.  That is a scientific impossibility.  Obviously what those well meaning people are trying to express is that they are all for freedom when it applies to them, but certainly not when it applies to others who have a different value system from them.  Enforcing the right to free abortions, is like allowing burkas to be worn without restriction, fully knowing that suicide bombers are rampant in the crowds around you…  Banning abortions for certain women, is the equivalent to telling the Israeli population, ” oh, sorry; no protection for you; you have to die if someone sets off a bomb, because you see, burkas are so sacred, we aren’t going to violate one of our tiny minority’s religious beliefs.  If someone smuggles a bomb in under one, sigh, oh well.

If you are sharp about your wits, you picked up the clue I left you in the paragraph above.  Right up there where I said..”they do not have any right to decide for others”…..  Probably Conservatives will pick it up faster than contraception supporters.  “Wait a minute” they will say, “see, that is exactly what you are doing to us by making us pay for contraception when we don’t want to cough up the money for it.  You are deciding for us, what we have to do…”

And that is exactly right….   We are.

If you remember up at the top of this piece of writing where I stated this case was to decide the supremacy of law versus religion? Well that is the caveat.  In religious circles we are deciding what one needs to do. We are saying that contraception will be available to everyone through their insurance free of charge….  In the legal realm that is the law.  You can choose to follow it or not.  If not, then beware of consequences.  Why just today, I saw a Toyota that by my guess, chose not to follow the posted speed limit.  He didn’t look too happy either….  We make decisions every day on whether to follow a law or not, and we choose to what degree we wish to comply… Some of us, unluckily, will pay a price….  But though angry, we really have no right to bring in religion….  Because it is a non-religious law….

In the religious world, we are however making a person (although admittedly in an extremely indirect and via a convoluted pathway, be associated with something he doesn’t wish…  However, that is not a problem of our governmental courts.  Religious issues are not in the bailiwick of the Supreme Court.  It decides issues of law and order, and is forbidden on deciding on religion. Instead, religious issues need to be decided by a denominational or religious court if their denomination should happen to have them… If not, they should then be decided by that religion’s Inquisition or equivalent…. Then through whatever authority those courts have, they need to exercise their options of enforcing those religious edicts in ways that do not run up against the laws of the land…

A second issue is whether information or facts on file inside a Delaware Courthouse is also a real person.  Are Corporations people too,  as Romney once said?  That is preposterous to even consider, but alas, so it will be one of the hinges on which this outcome depends.    The sole point of this case is that a corporation (Hobby Lobby) is so sad, it’s heartbroken that it will have to pay for contraception for its employees, it cries every night and has insomnia. It can’t urinate correctly and has irregular bowel movements.  As a result, this corporation is now suffering from malnutrition, and dehydration. Quite possibly, through all the duress and stress, this corporation has also suffered brain damage, causing its malignant depression.  It might even have cancer….

If a corporation is not a person, then this case is simply dismissed.  Corporations are subservient to human beings and therefore must confirm to the laws of the land in which they may find themselves.  But if a corporation IS a person, then we have a battle over which person suffers the most, if free birth control is abandoned…. or…. no longer free…

If a corporation IS deemed to be a person… the next question for discussion, is when does that person-hood begin…. Did it start when it is born,upon the signing of its documents?  Or, has it existed as a corporation ever since its idea was first conceived?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gun Violence Cost Proportioned

80 percent of the cost of treating victims of gun violence in 2010 was borne in part by taxpayers, according to an analysis of hospital and insurance data.

Hospitals in the U.S. spent $630 million in 2010 treating the victims of gun violence, two dollars for every man woman and child in America. The Medicaid costs of gun violence alone that year amounted to approximately $327 million. Private insurers, and hospitals eating the cost of the uninsured, made up the remaining $403 million.

The average cost of a hospital visit for a gun violence victim is $14,000 more than that of the average hospital stay.

But is the hospital cost the only cost to society? It appears no. Gun violence cost the US $174 billion in 2010. The societal cost per firearm assault injury (includes workloss, medical/mental health care, emergency transportation, police/criminal justice activities, insurance claims processing, employer costs and decreased quality of life) … was $5.1 million for each fatality and $433,000 for each hospital-admitted patient. You as a consumer pay this cost in everything you buy; it is added in. Put in perspective that amounts to $522 dollars for every single man, every single woman, and every single child in America.

How can we save ourselves this money? How can we stop the majority of gun violence? Very simple. Register every gun to an single owner so if a gun is used to kill, someone gets held responsible. Very simple. Registering hurts no one; your car, your house, even your vaccinations are registered for example.

Isn’t it horrible we are having a big battle over something as tiny as registering a fire arm which over a decade has cost every man, woman, and child $5,220 dollars? Over “registering?” We’ve lost our senses.

Americans are paying dearly for the “privilege” to keep a gun that is non-traceable. By registering all firearms and thereby being able to keep guns out of those who would use them in criminal actions, great savings can be saved for all the millions of the American people.

We did, we almost won this with the first wave of the attack; we did far better than we expected; we suffered no causalities. Time to launch again for 2014. The truth, and money, both lie flatly on the side of registering all firearms…

Goal should be: if you are not an upstanding citizen? No Gun. Period.

Syrian Resistance FlagSyrian Flag We are a tired generation… We grew up with ‘Nam.  Which ever side we were on during the battle here in America over that police action, or war, looking back after it was done, …. we all knew it was wrong….

After that we thought all war was wrong, and unfortunately took some of that angst out on those who least deserved it:  those coming back from the steamy jungles of hell…..

Against our will a certain president soon sent Marines into Beirut;  what happened then reinforced our belief that an American war was unjustifiable and that all other means must be utilized to prevent American war from ever happening again….  Against our will, we propped up a Nicaragua dictator against some rebels.  Against our will, we sold arms to Iran to use for paying for our support for that Nicaragua dictator, since a Congress elected by the American people, flatly said no to supporting him in Nicaragua…  We found a way to do it anyway….

I remember Senator Rudman, (R-NH) saying at the hearing while addressing Oliver North,… “The American people have the RIGHT to be wrong.”

Oliver North had been insisting that even when Americans flatly say NO, one still must do what one deems is necessary, that whatever one deems necessary, is the highest moral truth.  “Sometimes one has to go above the law!”  was actually said by the defense at this hearing.  Only one good thing came out of those hearings:  we all were introduced to Fawn Hall.

But then…  The Brits quickly regained the Faulklands. Then came Grenada, which went off without a hitch.   Then Panama, which was successful and almost painless.  Then came General Schwartzkopf.  The 4th largest army in the world, was routed in hours, and in days, had been completely mopped up.  Then came the Balkans.  We were on a roll.  We’d finally nailed down the successful formula of how to win in battle.

Today we say Iraq is a failure.  But that was so not so just after the invasion.  Inside Baghdad, the pulling down of Saddam’s statue, the victory of capturing Saddam, the ability of us to hand out billions of American dollars, initially gave this campaign the luster of looking like another success story…

Until we tried to steal their oil.  The standard global rate of dividing oil revenues is that the US gets a 20% cut for the development, and Iraq would get to keep 80% because it is after all, their resource.  That is how we deal with Nigeria.

But Brenner announced that we’d flip that to pay for the war, and that Iraq would be allowed to keep 20% because we liked them so much, and we’d only, by our good graces, take 80% of the revenues. 24 hours after letting that cat out of the bag, the first IED went off under a US military vehicle…  Before week was out, the total was in the hundreds.

The luster was gone.  We were an invading army, something  we have not called ourselves since WWII.  We always saw ourselves as the policeman who leaves as soon as order is restored…

Afghanistan likewise, got worse.  Then Pakistan.  Then Yemen.  On the diplomatic front  instead of doing no harm, .. we could do no good.  Then Libya costs us an ambassador who was running guns through Turkey.  He shouldn’t have been there; it should have been a low level staffer with security clearance.

This baby boomer generation knows that war is wrong.  We know from experience. The only time it can be employed successfully, is a) when the whole world is united behind you, b)  you go in and get out, and c) you have a structure that stays in place long after you are gone.

The only time it goes badly… is every other scenario.

Which brings us to Syria.  Syria has no importance to anyone.  (They couldn’t even defend the militarily advantageous Golan Heights in ’67!)  Which is why we let the Russians have them.

People are going to die in Syria if a):  Assad wins, b):  the rebels win, or c):  no one wins. The only thing changing upon this wars outcome, is which side will be massacred at war’s end.  Hence the battle for survival over there now.

So by having the US intervene or not, we are choosing which side gets to kill the other after the hostilities die down.

The weakest argument for going in still left with standing, is that they used chemical weapons.  In WWI, the British, French, and Germans all used chemical weapons.   Are chemical weapons really worse than being burned alive?  Or asphyxiated as a bomb blast sucks all the oxygen out of your lungs and the room?  Or a milk jug sized piece of jagged metal shrapnel ripping and leaving a hole through your body?  Or a mine being stepped on?  I’m trying to think why chemical weapons are so much worse, except for the fact that we’ve been told” they are so much worse”?

A causality is a causality.

We understand “why” some say we should go into Syria.  Because if we do not respond to chemical weapons in a big way, someone else will become confident and use theirs.  There is only one way to keep the genie inside the bottle, and that is to never leave a opening for it to escape….

We also understand “why” one of our beloved School districts had a policy that suspended, and expelled those who brought weapons to school!  Not just guns, but knives too. After all, the argument for punishing Syria, applies to soon-to-become high school felons too.

But, there came a time when the response generated by a policy, actually became the crime,   You remember the little boy expelled who brought a cake to school, and his grandmother thoughtfully sent a knife knowing teachers usually don’t have utensils in their classrooms.  The teacher actually cut the cake, served it, thinking nothing of it.. it was someone higher up, reviewing the situation, who said, “wait, that can be interpreted as a breach of regulations.  Let’s make an example out of this little boy”.  He was suspended and could have been expelled, except it eventually became news and public outcry was solidly on his side.  The policy makers were laughed out of town.

Which is why, if you are making this decision, you need to stall.  Acting quickly and decisively is equivalent to acting on rumor and innuendo.   So what if Syria lied and shot the gas cannisters off?

Does a military strike create enough excellent good will to neutralize this bad act?

Ironically what is best for the US in this situation, is for Assad to stay in power, to have a zealous change in heart, to work closely with the USA to get his economy working, to becoming a partner in that region with the US, and to signing a treaty with Israel, as did the Egyptians many, many years ago…

What is worse for us, is if the jihadists win, push out the moderates and take over the reform movement (they always do), then go to war with Israel, Jordan and Turkey.  Making ourselves into the evil empire will only create more explosions everywhere, flare-ups which would not have occurred had we taken the Jedi way, and used the “Force” in our possession, to make events on the ground turn our way and happen in our favor….

Realistically such a rosy scenario probably can’t happen; but if it did, were this to come about, there would be no doubt: Obama would be lauded as the best president we’d ever see in our lifetimes.  The cost of failure is so low that it just might be worth the try.

The second point… which all us Viet-namers will well remember, is that you may win every engagement you participate in Syria, but you won’t win the war at home, and that… will suck all your energy away from all the good you plan to do before 2016.

It broke LBJ.  It broke Bush II.  Don’t let it break you….

All four postal unions sent a joint letter to Senate Majority Harry Reid on Aug. 5 expressing “utter dismay” at the introduction of S. 1486, the postal bill co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The bill continues the disastrous policy of mandating massive pre-funding of retiree health benefits and provides for major downsizing measures to pay for it, the letter notes.

In case you haven’t followed, Congress requires the Post Office to make inordinately huge pension-plan payments, for reasons which nobody can really understand.   In the final analysis, USPS pensions are a government obligation, and it doesn’t make a huge amount of difference whether they come out of a) a well-funded pension plan, b) a badly-funded pension plan, or c) just out of US government revenues.

A 2006 Congressional mandate requires the agency to “pre-pay” into a fund that covers health care costs for future retired employees. Under the mandate, the USPS is required to make an annual $5.5 billion payment each year for over ten years, through 2016. These “prepayments” are largely responsible for the USPS’s financial losses.

No other business prepays for all employee’s actual medical hospital bills 20 years from now when they retire… It’s crazy actually. Lets assume you will be in a nursing home at $120,000 a year and you will (let’s be nice), live 10 years… Therefore it will cost you $1.200,000. So, assuming you are currently 53, giving you 12 more years of work left, we would take $100,000 of your income every year for the next 12 years….

Think you’d go broke? Do you know any business that assesses themselves so harshly? Of course not. No one would assess themselves that harshly. But Congress did assess the postal service that harshly. Congress forced this huge payment, which takes money out of running the business to be sure, just like you losing $100,000 a year takes money out of you.

Obviously the unions are upset. For to be able to make the payments on these huge pre-payments, they are cutting people’s pensions and benefits to pay for it. Imagine working 40 years and retiring tomorrow with no pension, so those retiring in 20 years hence, will be fully funded? They ave a right to be mad.

Here is what Senator Tom Carper proposed.

  • Destroy 80,000 full- and part-time jobs after a one-year delay, by eliminating Saturday mail delivery and give the Postmaster General authority to eliminate additional delivery days in the future;
  • Slash tens of thousands of additional jobs after a two-year delay, by allowing USPS to reduce delivery standards and close hundreds of mail processing facilities and thousands of post offices;
  • Mandate the elimination of door-to-door delivery, threatening at least 16,500 additional jobs, and
  • Impose “cruel and discriminatory” changes to the Workers Compensation program that would leave injured federal workers vulnerable to impoverishment when they reach Social Security retirement age.

“This massive downsizing and the bill’s assault on postal employee benefits are not necessary,” the letter says. “They are being driven by the irrational retiree health financing policy that no other business or agency would adopt. The Postal Service has already pre-funded decades of retiree health premiums, more than any other enterprise in America. Indeed, USPS has already set aside an estimated $49 billion for such premiums, approximately 50 percent of total expected costs over the next 90+ years.”

Do you think they’re a little bit angry?  Do you think they’re a little bit justified?

“The 30 members of the Senate who have co-sponsored S. 316, the Postal Service Protection Act of 2013, have taken the right approach. That bill (Bernie Sanders )would strengthen the Postal Service, promote innovation and, most importantly, resolve the retiree health and pension policies that have crippled the Postal Service in recent years,” it says.

Bernie Saunders bill is aimed at promoting the prosperity of the Post Office, as well as those who work for it.  Tom Carper’s bill, which insists on imposing the $5.5 billion penalty, is aimed at promoting the prosperity of financiers and banks.  After all, who do you think, gets commissions investing off that $5.5 billion?

Banks = Delaware = Carper

That is why a Senator from little ole Delaware is in the heart of kicking  down the US Post Office.    Makes more sense now, doesn’t it?

 

On the one month anniversary date of the Newtown shootings, Delaware steps up to take down the NRA. Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Delaware Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn, and Attorney General Beau Biden, announced the legislative agenda to take on gun violence.

“The gun safety measures we are proposing will strengthen our ability to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them,” said Governor Markell…. “This package of gun safety measures is directed at individuals who might impose violence with a gun.”

Lt. Gov. Denn. then said: “With respect to guns, our proposals focus on two important goals: keeping guns away from dangerous people, and protecting victims from the weapons most likely to be used illegally.”

I know that military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips designed for battle have no place on our streets. These proposals are a reasonable and sensible approach that will improve public safety and respect the Second Amendment.” said Attorney General Beau Biden.

The proposals are as follows:

1. Requiring Background Checks for Private Firearm Sales.
Because 40% of all firearms nationwide are acquired from unlicensed sellers, this is an enormous loophole—one in which convicted felons, minors and other prohibited purchasers can readily avoid background checks and easily acquire guns.

2. Requiring the Reporting of Lost and Stolen Firearms.
A mandatory reporting requirement provides law enforcement notice of suspicious patterns of behavior by persons who repeatedly fail to file reports yet claim that their guns were lost or stolen after the guns were recovered from a crime scene

3. Banning the Sale, Manufacture, Delivery and Unlawful Possession of Large-Capacity Magazines:..
30 mass shootings (with four or more victims killed) occurred in the United States from 1982 through 2012. Although the circumstances of such mass shootings varied, each incident had one thing in common: they all involved one or more large-capacity ammunition magazines. This bill would prohibit the manufacture, sale, purchase, transfer or delivery of large-capacity magazines.

4. Banning the Manufacture, Sale, Delivery and Unlawful Possession of Military Weapons:
The sale of military-style assault weapons – firearms that are made for the battlefield and have no place in our communities – was outlawed in 1994, but the ban expired a decade later. This bill would prohibit the manufacture, sale and delivery of these military weapons

5. Banning Possession of a Firearm Within 1,000 Feet of a School.
By outlawing possession of a firearm in close proximity to school, we will enable law enforcement to interdict those individuals who knowingly possess firearms and do so in near school buildings and school yards. The purpose of this law is to create safe school zones, where children are secure, where parents can have peace of mind that upon leaving them in the morning, they will not be subjected to gun violence, and where teachers can go about their important task of educating our youth without fear of violence.

In a fair and balanced approach, Delaware’s Democrats protect the 2nd Amendment while moving forward to combat gun violence.

The NRA could have pushed forward such legislation 30 years ago. They chose not to. Since they abrogated their duty of keeping is safe from guns, the government of the state of Delaware, now has to do their duty for them.

“We will not bury our heads in the sand and pretend that gun violence has nothing to do with guns” Matt Denn

It is a simple vote…

Should we or should we not put this man in an administrative function.

Please vote yes…. or no…..

(It should be open cut because a majority have already said they would support Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Agency.) Just get it done…

But, it never goes to vote. In a motion to stop debate requiring 60 votes, 53 are found….

There is nothing more to debate. Vote yes or no… The argument has been on the table for months… But no… it cannot go forward because the Republican Party (all of it) had 45 members who voted against it…

The agency still has no one at the top to get it rolling. There is no one regulating Wall Street as we speak, simply because the entire block of Republicans, who voters put into minority receivership based on their previous track record, voted NOT to stop debate.

There will be no government until there are no Republicans.
There will be no Congress, until there are no Republicans.
There will be no Democracy. until there are no Republicans.
There will be no United States of America, until there are no Republicans.

(Sad thing this is not hyperbole. This is not campaign rhetoric. This is not hateful bantering. This is what is really happening. Makes a veteran want to cry)

Call it temporary insanity but let’s pretend, let’s just say, …that at one moment in time, if I chose to donate my youth out for my country, to be compensated back in the form of low pay; to completely and unjudgingly offer my fate up to the will of bureaucrats, all for the loss of my own self esteem, all for unending stretches of boredom, sparsed with interludes of a few intense seconds, that fortunately thorough my reactions and training, enabled me to continue living as I do today………….

I could reasonably be expected to be honored for that service to my nation, right?

In a perfect world, that is….

One would think, that in a perfect world, as needs were being debated across the universe of public funding, that a hierarchy resembling this, would sort of be the guideline, if not the rule?

National Heroes…..

over

We, The People…..

over

LLC corporations….

After all, if it weren’t for us, there’s a good chance those LLC. corporations wouldn’t be able to do business in a free and prosperous society, you would think?….

One would think, that if one of these heroes needed medical care, with the tremendous amounts of money being thrown away by our government daily, in the forms of corporate tax breaks enabling corporations to make “record breaking profits”…. that they would be put at the top of the list.. don’t you think?

Sorry, CEO… your operation will have to wait… We have a veteran who is in dire need ahead of you….

In a perfect world….

One would think, that a voucher system would be in place, or a blank check, where any veteran could walk into any hospital, and get immediate, necessary medical attention, have his prescriptions filled as a privilege for his service, and that the bill would be willing be paid by those with monetary resources more than adequate for their own needs?

One would think, (right?)… that it would be CEO’s, those who give pink slips so they can break profit records, those who cut benefits so they can break profit records, those who don’t invest in America so they can break record profits, ….who should be the ones finding themselves regulated to CEO hospitals, where they would then have to settle in on a waiting list for the next opening to occur, where they had to endure budget cutbacks and go without life-saving medicine because there was no money left in the CEO fund, perhaps because it had all gone to Veterans to pay THEIR expenses?

In a perfect world…..

In a perfect world, veterans would need no freebies…. They would not need welfare, or a pension, or a humble stipend to eke an existence… They would be working, contributing to society, in any way they could… If they had no legs, they would be outfitted at corporate’s expense, so that would not be an issue… If they had no arms, they could be outfitted at corporate’s expense so that was not an issue. If they had psychological damage, (and who wouldn’t?) they could be treated at corporate’s expense… so that was not an issue.

If they were so badly damaged that they create an efficiency drain on society, they could be honored for their sacrifice, and a useful voluntary capacity could be created to honor that commitment once made so long ago… Perhaps speaking about serving one’s country in every class, in every school, in every county? Can you think of any better civic’s lesson?

There’s a lot that can be done…

The problem is that veterans are deemed as just another expense…. Because to corporate America, that is just what they are… An expense, an obligation to be met that gets in the way of their making more money…

Unfortunately, our Congress is owned by Corporate America….

What should and does need to happen, is this relationship needs to be exposed. We need to call them out on it…

Republicans and Democrats are both complicit in allowing corporate raiders this unprecedented power. But Republicans are the symbol of Corporate America. Republicans are the ones who championed the Corporate Takeover. Republicans are the ones who dismanteled the safeguards that had been put in place to prevent that takeover from happening. That is why they need to go. Disappear… Whoever is left, the remainder, most likely after seeing the elimination of a large majority of their peers, will think twice before following their Dark Lord, now a soul less wanderer eking existence.. ……

In a perfect world…

Unfortunately, today we need to contend with obscene amounts of money saying Corporate is Good; Government Fairness is Bad….

But we have our lives telling us the opposite… It will take courage and strong will, to override all the overload of sensory data being pipelined into our soul, but we still have hearts, and those hearts are attuned to what makes America special. great, and the best place to live on this earth….

WE can still dream….

And those dreams should include a perfect world… one we CAN make happen, at least for those without whom we would not have the freedom, the resources, the nation, we have today….

Here’s to a perfect world?

Duffy is God’s answer to a prayer.. I miss the old days of blogging when we were debating principals instead of people… Duffy has stuck to the old line of debating principals with facts, and that is what makes him special in the eyes of bloggers everywhere…

Since the passing of Steve Newton, he has been the only one to challenge me in any argument, and usually some pretty good stuff comes out of both sides during the exchange… I have respected that.. Cause once again, opinions mean dick. Facts are what we steer by.. It is my hope that in responding to his challenge that an answer may make itself apparent.. Who knows? It may not come from me… But if I’m the catalyst for bringing it out in the open, then… none of this was in vain..

Why I like to debate Duffy is simple.. Neither side, he or I, is concretely set in their opinions… We accept it when the other side makes sense… I usually go into such debates having no idea where they’ll end up… I hope the rest of you enjoy the ride as welI….

That said..

Duffy leads: Wall Street’s problems were caused by Fannie and Freddie loaning money to people they knew couldn’t pay and moreover, forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay. That was not deregulation but misregulation

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate.

First off, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was developed for, and locked in on, urban developmental areas and had no part of the subprime boom, which primarily occurred out in western desert regions where owning 4 to 5 investment homes was normal… Those homes were overwhelmingly funded by loan originators NOT SUBJECT to the act… We all know the crises was not because people couldn’t afford a payment on their house. It came about, because with no occupants, people could not afford the payments of 4 to 5 houses….. Instead of one loan per borrower turning up in default; four to five were.
Investment Homes lead forclosures not inner city Residences

Second off, The housing bubble reached its point of maximum inflation in 2005.
The Housing Bubble Starts to Dive in 2005
Courtesy of NYT

Third off, During those exact same years, Fannie and Freddie were sidelined by Congressional pressure, and saw a sharp drop in their share of loans secured by the Feds… Follow the dotted line on the very bottom of the graph…
Freddie and Fannie on the lowest line
Courtesy of NYT

Fourth off; During those exact same years, private secures, like Delaware’s own AIG, grabbed the lions share of the market.
Private, not Public Insurers Caused the Crash
Courtesy of NYT

Remember these graphs for later on when I discuss the results of deregulation, versus regulation… But like it or not, these graphs conclusively show that private insurers, who thanks to Marie Evans, we now know were deregulated by Phil Gramm in the 2000 Omnibus Bill, were the primary cause of the worlds financial collapse.. Probably put best by these words of AIG’s spokesperson, who when asked why they didn’t have sufficient funds to cover losses, said point blank, “We were deregulated. We were no laws requiring us to keep any funds, ..so we spent it…”

Duffy leads: The loosely regulated hedge funds escaped this mess largely unscathed. Why? They can’t count on a bailout like the big banks. The Too Big To Fail banks were counting on a bailout (not unlike the S&L bailouts which started on the Republican’s watch) and they got them.

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. I agree that the hedge funds did survive better than the banks. Not because of bailouts, but because they sold short during the crises and made billions while firms closed and people got thrown out of work. There is nothing wrong with that; I did the same. In fact close readers may remember my warnings that the crises was impending almost a year earlier. Very close readers may remember my telling them exactly when to sell, and at what point the stock market would rebound… I must say: I called it rather well. 🙂

“Hedge funds were not in my understanding, at fault in the credit crisis,” said David Ruder, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “At the most what they did was to sell securities when some of their investments were declining and they needed to have liquid funds. They were not the architects of these problems.”

De regulated hedge funds are not the issue… De-regulated, excessively leveraged, mortgage securities, are a different story however… They, not the banks that held them, are the cause of the crises…Years from now, when academics search for causes of the stock market crash of 2008, they will focus on the pivotal role of mortgage-backed securities. These exotic financial instruments allowed a downturn in U.S. home prices to morph into a contagion that brought down Bear Stearns a year ago this month – and more recently have brought the global banking system to its knees.

Where you err is when you state that banks too big to fail, assumed they would be bailed out… By implication, you say imply they failed from squandering money, and wanted the bailouts.. But your tax dollars didn’t flow directly to the bottom line.

The roughly $200 billion the Treasury Department has handed out to battered banks was swapped for a special class of stock that pays a 5 percent dividend (rising to 9 percent after five years.) As of April 15, the Treasury had collected about $2.5 billion in dividend payments on its investment.

So in that sense, the bailout money represents an expense for banks. That’s one reason a number of banks have said they want to give the money back as soon as possible.

You say big banks were counting on a bailout, and they got them? That didn’t happen to these banks. New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida each lost a bank just last Friday. That brings to 8, the number of banks failed in June. Unfortunately if a bank is failing, it can’t bet on itself to fail, as can a hedge fund.

Duffy leads: Banks have successfully lobbied to get their losses absorbed by taxpayers and gains are kept private. How nice for them. They felt comfortable making insane gambles because they knew they’d be bailed out. Most of them were right. Also remember that it was Bill Clinton who tore down the wall between retail and investment banking. The idea was to give banks more stability as they typically perform as exact opposites in bull and bear markets. (FWIW, I think that was a good idea and I can tell you first hand that two of the Fortune 100 banks I worked for were carried by retail banking in bear years. They may not have had bonuses those years but they didn’t have layoffs either)

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. The idea is that the banks made bad decisions knowing taxpayers would bail them out is the issue that is inaccurate. For the record, I have no qualms that it was the Clinton legacy who tore down the wall between banks and investment banking. Like you, I feel it was a good idea to do so… Again the problem was not primarily with banks making loans to people who could not pay.. Although, it was as late as October 2009, when I was made aware of one private Bank in Denver still exaggerating income to make loans look good enough on paper to get approval of securitization. What caused the collapse was the leveraging of those loans as securities, so that as the housing market became overextended, and the ARM jumped past the low cost opening years, the damage was 100 times worse because of leveraging. What made the collapse criminal, was that the insurance most financial institutions had bought from AIG, to cover such an improbable event, had already spent by that companies executives, out on bonuses to themselves. What made it doubly criminal, was that when they received government dollars through a taxpayer bailout, those same executives assumed it was to first go towards paying their bonuses again. However, very recent events may give some cover to the argument that some collusion was implicit in the bailing out of Goldman Sacs and AIG… Basically, once bailed out, AIG paid Goldman Sacs for shares twice as much as they were worth. The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts.

Kilroy Nails it Good   This is exactly what it is all about….

So How Do We Step It Up for the Third Bush Term?

America is choosing a new leader. It’s time we choose a good one. Those vying tor the opportunity, must fight until one wins….

What are they fighting for? The right NOT to retire at 72? The right for a post-menopausal women to lead us all? The right for our president to actually have pigment?

Not really. They are fighting for our survival. In case you didn’t know, we are in rather dire straits, similar to the late 1920’s, but we still have time. Fortunately for us, things have not absolutely crashed yet…. We are close, sometimes within hours….but we haven’t crashed yet… We still have most of the infrastructure of a society with which to rebuild this nation.

Some who have done well, will say this is malarkey. Just pessimism being canned for a political run….. Others who have been unfortunately set aside as their employment passed them by on its trip overseas……may agree with my assessment.

The question of who can bring us out….Who can figure the way out and then lead us there……is the one we need to ponder….

Our answer needs to be someone who can communicate. Someone who can take reality and explain it back to us in a way America can understand.

It needs to be someone who is smart; smart enough to know their own limitations and thereby surround themselves with people of differing viewpoints, in order to grasp the all encompassing breadth of their advice….

It needs to be someone who can represent our nation’s interests across the world’s stage. Who will be looked up to as truly representative of those ideals America once stood for, and not someone tainted with imperialist aspirations…….

It needs to be someone who understands the wealthy, who knows how their wealth is created and maintained, as well as someone who has walked among the poor, shared their concerns, and vowed to make a difference in their lives.

It needs to be someone who understands American blood is precious, who respects each volunteered drop, and spends it wisely only on matters dire to our nation’s survival…..

It needs to be someone who finally understands that fossil fuels are a dead end, who can work with energy companies so as less is consumed, they don’t go bankrupt. But understands that our nation’s survival will depend on our advancing beyond the limitations being imposed by those shackles fossil fuels bind us to.

The next president needs to understand that we understand that deficits DO matter……And that Americans need to begin whittling down that extraordinary amount…….and put this nation in the position where we can one day lend money to other nations, instead of borrowing from them…..

The next president will need to put people to work…..Cutting taxes is not enough……We will need, either through private enterprise, or government impetitus, to give people jobs….

It needs to be someone who understands this country can never succeed if we remain a bunch of blathering idiots.  Our educational problem can only be fixed by the sacrifice of brave men and women, willing to march into public schools to make a difference.  The next president needs to make every citizen understand,  that failure here, is not an option.

The next president will need to worry about massive defaults as our banks continue to write off assets that over time turned into liabilities……

The next president will need advisers who are practical. Political philosophy has caused us great pain. Practical applications based on what works, are the cause celebre of the next administration…..

The next president will need a majority in Congress. No more Republicans messing up Congress…..;please…..

(and…..drumroll…. here is where you hear who the best person for that position is.)

Nope, not from this writer…………. Instead, this writer assumes you are wise enough to make up your own mind….. If you truly aren’t…….. well sometimes our country does makes collective mistakes….occasionally every two hundred and ten years, we vote in a whopper….. But this time, on November 4th 2008, each of us needs to focus our attention upon which direction our country America needs to take.

Once a consensus has been formed about where we need to go,……..the winning candidate who subscribes to it, will have no other choice but to follow it……..