Saturday, February 26, 2011
I heard something on TV tonight from a Wisconsin Republican State Senator that floored me -- federal workers generally do not enjoy collective bargaining rights. Repeat -- federal workers generally do not enjoy collective bargaining rights. And, if you think I am pulling your leg, see: Federal Worker's Collective Bargaining Rights.Why has it taken almost two weeks for this extremely pertinent fact to be aired? Where have all the talking heads, both from the left and the right, been on this issue? Has the left been too clever and the right been too dense to make this observation? Whatever the reason, this sheds a whole new light on this Wisconsin kerfuffle and clearly shows the demagogic stripes of many of the cowardly lions of the labor movement.
And, [drum roll please] the President who took away these rights from federal workers was the one and only Jimmy Carter. Wow!!
The teacher-benefit brouhaha in Wisconsin is escalating across the nation as left-wing groups are fulminating and flexing their community-organizing muscles. There are now sponsored protests occurring or planned today in most state capitals and many other major cities across the U.S. (see Organized Protests.) These demonstrations are corralled and paid for by MoveOn.org, the SEIU, the AFL/CIO and many other “progressive” organizations (see the impressive list in the above link) as a show of force to try to trample the rising populist revolution against the excesses of public-sector labor unions.
This is a tilting match that the Left has consistently won over the last fifty years … with the tacit support of many in the main-stream media. However, this time it might just be a little different. Many American citizens now recognize that public-service unions cannot continue uncurtailed because many states and even our nation teeter on the brink of financial ruin. The public-sector unions, some of their private sector brethren, and many fuzzy-headed youths have, over the last few weeks, been exhibiting unrepentant greed, anti-democratic scheming, and too-often outright thuggery.
This all-out attempt to silence the Conservatives and clear-thinking Moderates among us may well be a turning point in the politics of our nation. Last fall’s elections were the first indication that the Leftists may have overstepped their popular mandate. Yes, they are formidable and sometimes even a bit scary. But like most bullies, if you take their best shot and stay standing … or, to continue the jousting metaphor, stay on horseback, then you have a good chance of prevailing. And the strongest weapon, that the opponents of these goons have, is that they must eventually win if either combatant is to survive.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Barack Obama said in 2007 during his presidential campaign that "if American workers are being denied their right to organize [and collectively bargain], when I'm in the White House I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States," (See Huffington Post. Interestingly, the Huffington Post blog conveniently left out the part of the quote about denying collective-bargaining rights. They didn’t even indicate that they had done this with the “…” punctuation -- so much for the august integrity of modern-day journalism.) So, Mr. President, is Air Force One now on the tarmac getting ready to fly to Wisconsin and are you digging through your closet for your comfortable shoes? Or perhaps, you are already in campaign mode for 2012? I thought so …
Afterthought: If Obama thought this tactic would work in 2007 (and it apparently did), why would he shy away from repeating it now? Hummm ...
Monday, February 21, 2011
Pendulums are predictable. They almost always swing too far in either direction. Such is the case with the union movement. At one time trade unions were quite necessary as companies took egregious advantage of their workers … denying them human rights, squeezing their benefits and salaries, even injuring or killing them. But very little of this takes place today. Now, many unions have the upper hand … particularly public-service unions. They are bleeding states and municipalities white with the cost of their workers salaries and benefits. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and other teachers’ unions are striking in this state’s capital to keep their benefits packages, the teachers’ average salary and benefit package is over $100,000 while the students’ scores there are close to the lowest in the nation (see Teachers' Pay and and Students' Scores).
How does this situation get so unbalanced? It’s an “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” scheme. The public-service unions give huge contributions to politicians’ election campaigns and, in return, these now-elected (usually Democrat) solons repay them with generous salaries and benefits. Such is the case in Wisconsin … which is going broke because of years of such subterfuge. In fact, this potential conflict-of-interests was understood by many liberal politicians (such as FDR) who spoke against public-service unions (see FDR's View). Gradually, however politicians (including Republican, John Lindsey of New York City) recognized the side of the bread the butter was on and caved in to public-service unions. But it wasn’t until 1962 that JFK signed a law allowing federal workers to unionize (see Public Service Unions Allowed.)
Now we see the results of such short-sighted political hackery. States around the country are running out of money because of the generous wage and benefit packages granted over the last fifty years and the piper must now be paid. And public service employees are understandably unhappy … yet don’t seem to realize that their feather-beds can no longer be fluffed up by the taxpayers. We see the naïve vitriol spewing out during the Madison, Wisconsin picketing by many of these public-service teachers. Protesters’ signs such as: “If tea baggers are as hot as their FOX News anchors, then I’m here for a gangbang,” “We took down Nixon, we’ll take down this motherfucker too!,” “If you screw us, we will come,” “[picture of Governor Scott Walker with a Hitler moustache] Exterminating Union Members,” “FOX fabricated nonsense, inciting ignorance,” “Terrified Elderly Anglos … Pitching Arian Race Tantrum Y’all [TEA PARTY],” and “[professionally printed poster with picture of Governor Walker] Buttholes for Billionaires.” (Tip of the hat to Michelle Malkin for these signs.) Such is the new national decorum as called for by President Obama.
I above say “naïve vitriol” because these teachers don’t seem to realize that the train has come to the end of the line. Taxpayers can no longer afford such imbalances and have elected Governor Walker to fix things in Wisconsin. He has been chosen to start the pendulum in the other direction. And, if he doesn’t or can’t, then the consequences will be much more draconian than the teachers are facing today. Let’s hope that they soon realize this and, in Wisconsin and elsewhere in our nation, remove themselves from the circular firing squad in which they (and their predecessors) have placed themselves.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Permit me an indulgence … I offer here an analogy to try to explain our sub-prime mortgage meltdown in late 2008 that cost the United States at least one trillion dollars and likely elected Barack Obama to the Presidency. This analogy will use a simple bank-robbery scenario to try to explain the actors and their roles in this (to me) criminal enterprise. Here is the cast:
- The Master Planners – Barney Frank and Chris Dodd whose drive for universal home ownership was the diabolical felonious scheme behind this travesty (with the template of the Community Development Act of 1974.)
- The Bank Robbers – Countrywide Finance, GMAC, Quicken and the myriad of other bucket-shop mortgage origination companies that sprung up during the last years before the meltdown … along with the complicity of the hundreds of thousands of homeowners who got these no-documentation mortgages using chicanery and mendacity.
- The Money Launderers (legitimizing the pelf acquired in this robbery) – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac abetted by all those financial institutions (e.g.s: Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, etc.) that packaged up these mortgages (Collateralized Debt Obligations -- CDOs) to sell to these fences … AND all those players in the Credit-Default Swaps casino (AIG, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank, etc.)
- The Get-Away Car Drivers – the Credit Rating Agencies that gave these CDO’s unrealistically high credit ratings
- The Bank’s Security Force – those myriad Federal financial regulatory agencies who spent the period during the actual robbery lounging in the bank’s break room playing pinochle and watching porn on the bank’s security-system screens.
- The Bank’s Depositors (who lost their money in the robbery) –ordinary United States’ citizen-schlubs.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) – “When the dust settles, the federal bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be the most expensive government rescue of the financial crisis -- it already stands at $153 billion and counting.” (see: Subprime Mortgage Losses)
Can we start taking this out of Barney Frank’s allowance?
Friday, February 11, 2011
A number of years back there was a TV production called The Gong Show. On it, a number of no-talent contestants strut or sung their “stuff” until one of the judges couldn’t stand it any longer and stood up and rang a big gong … which caused this pitiful performance to be hooked. (This genre was recently repeated on American Idol where Simon Cowell’s acerbic tongue took the place of the gong.)
Now, we have a repeat of The Gong Show on the national stage insofar as our response(s) to the current crisis in Egypt. Viz:
- Yesterday the United States’ Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is “largely secular … has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam." This is the same group which assassinated Anwar Sadat and was where Ayman Al-Zawahiri (the #2 man in Al-Qaeda) and Mohamed Atta (the leader of the 9/11 attacks) learned their trade.
- Also yesterday, Leon Panetta, the Director of our CIA for heaven’s sake, said that there was a “strong likelihood” that Murbarak would step down by the end of the day. When this didn’t happen, Panetta said that he got this information from the national press. Does he not have a multi-billion dollar intelligence network behind him?
- President Obama has held more all-too-public postures relative to this Egyptian crisis than Carter’s proverbial Little Liver Pills. First, Mubarak must go, then he must cause an orderly transition to Democracy, and then the Muslim Brotherhood needs to be part of the next Egyptian government. He even met with this radical group right after his inauguration (see: Muslim Brotherhood Meeting.)
- In late January, Vice President Joe Biden said that Hosni Murbarak was no dictator and he shouldn’t step down. He has been sequestered in the Naval Observatory ever since.
- Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has said “the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people" (see Hillary Speaks.) Not too much later she appealed for an orderly transition to democracy in Egypt.
Is there any position that the United States has not taken relative to this extremely serious situation in Egypt? Back to The Gong Show … Boing! Boing! Boing! Boing! Boing!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
When did the word “Oriental” become a racial slur? Or, for that matter, why? Apparently now the acceptable appellation for those people from east of the International Date Line is “Asian.” To me, the word “oriental” is a much more elegant, encompassing and descriptive term. It is the antonym to “occidental” and has been used for many hundreds of years without offensive. Would I be offended if someone called me an “Occidental?” I don’t think so. And besides, “Asian,” to me, is a rather plain and banal descriptor. Also “orient” when used as a verb means “finding one’s way in a new or confusing terrain.”
Must I and others now use “O-word” if we prefer it to saying “Asian?” If so, must we then change the following terms to: Murder on the O-word Express, the Mandarin O-word Hotel in Bangkok, O-word Point in St. Barth's, O-word rugs, the O-word Institute in Chicago, the town, O-word in North Carolina, the O-word Theater in Denver, or even the O-word merit badge in the Boy Scouts?
Come on people … let’s stop twisting our English language in order to genuflect to the uninformed and misguided of our ethnic minorities.
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
When I started this blog I grabbed the name Fletcher’s Castoria for no reason other than I used to enjoy this elixir as a child. Although it was a laxative, it tasted so good (root beer flavor … see: Fletcher's Laxative) that I sometimes feigned constipation just to get a spoon full. When I chose this name, I actually thought that this product no longer existed since I hadn’t seen it in drug stores for quite a few years. I was wrong. It is still available through the Mentholatum Company (acquired by Rohto Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd in Japan). You can search on-line for it.
Apparently others also enjoyed this medication as a child. There is one New Yorker who seems so obsessed with it that he/she has gone around New York City scouting out old Fletcher’s signs on the side of buildings (see: Forgotten New York). Although this may seem over-the-top, I fully expect that, many years hence, someone equally fanatical will dig into Google’s archives to retrieve my entries from this blog site … well after I am taking a dirt nap (kind of like how Emily Dickinson knew her poetry would be read after she passed.) Then again, maybe not …
Saturday, February 05, 2011
Ronald Reagan … let me start by ashamedly admitting that I didn’t vote for the man … either time. (“He’s just a B-movie actor.”) Can I write this off to the misguided, fuzzy-thinking liberalism of my youth? But, by watching all the tributes being paid to Ronnie running up to what would have been his 100th birthday (tomorrow), I now realize how totally wrong-headed I was. Not only do I admire this man now, but I realize that he may well have been our best President of the 20th century.
So let me here be (one of the) first to propose that his likeness be added to Mt. Rushmore … say to the left of George Washington.
And let us take all the granite chips that fall to the base of the mountain from this sculpting endeavor … and form them into Barack Obama’s scrawny backside.
Friday, February 04, 2011
These L.I.C. initials stand for Luddite-in-Chief, an appropriate appellative for our President. This is because Barack Obama had, during his campaign, sworn to put the U.S. coal industry out of business (the major supplier of energy to our electric utilities). He has stopped all new drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. He has also extended the moratorium of drilling for oil off of Florida and all along the East coast of the U.S. … and, of course, in ANWR, Alaska. (Oil is used as our second biggest source of energy for generating electricity.) And there has not been a start to the construction of a single nuclear power plant under his two-year watch … despite his feeble oratory to the contrary. And the building of even ordinary power plants has become dificult under this new administration.
And now this great nation is beginning to suffer the consequences of this Presidential hostility with rolling blackouts (see: U.S. Blackouts). This is not the posture that one would or should expect for the leader of our great and exceptional country. It feels like the United States is on its way to becoming Iraq during the regime of Saddam Hussein … when electricity was only available for a few hours a day.
In the meantime, you would think that, if Obama can finally witness his Christian devotions, that he could also avow his patriotism and encourage our country better to develop our energy resources and electricity production.
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
"Camp David made us slaves ..." (See: Jerusalem Post). Perhaps Jimmy Carter should give back the Nobel Peace Prize medal and prize money? (As should a host of other charlatan recipients to whom Oslo has bowed down ... including ElBaradei.) And, as is his wont, Carter also had to stick his nose into things once again. (See: nebnose Jimmy). You would think that Carter would remember that it was the Muslim Brotherhood who assassinated his buddy, Anwar Sadat? And Muhammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 attacks, was also a member of the Muslim Bratherhood ... until he went off to meet his 72 virgins.