We Do NOT Live in a Perfect World.

Things have never seemed to go my way.  All my life, from being a small child, to the present day, I’ve wanted to be an artist.  If you’re considering that career – turn back.  Stop.  Do something else.  One of my earliest recollections as a child was being in kindergarten and having the teacher draw the entire class’s attention to my drawing of a house.  That was our assignment for the day.  Draw a picture of a house before nap-time.  On cue, we were to add a tree, a lawn, a birdbath, the sky… etc.

I was applauded for my study of a fantasy building that rivaled the ‘Breakers’ in Newport, and then simultaneously scolded for not following the instructions in lock-step.  Apparently I was supposed to be adding the tree and bird-bath as commanded, and then the lawn and the sky.  I don’t think that way.  So I was being praised and chastised all in the same breath.  Little has changed ever since.

I worked like a demon on my WinnieToons website, and did my level best to monetize it so I could try and get off unemployment.  As soon as I received figures announcing a whopping $3 to $12 per day, I filled out forms and sent them to unemployment informing them I‘d started a small side business to supplement the pathetic, below-poverty checks I receive.  I always try to play by the rules, (a bad family trait) but either I don’t understand the rules, or I’m the only fool following them.  Google pulled all my ads and whatever paltry earnings I might have made, and placed my (under $300) earnings in limbo – indefinitely.  I’ll never see it. 

Unemployment has since dropped me because they now consider me to be self-employed,  So I have NO INCOME AT ALL.  Why do I try?  I’m doing my level best to hang onto a house wrongfully placed in foreclosure — which further happens to be completely infested with mice.

Welcome to Autumn.  Autumn is vermin season.  Spring is ants and flies.  My house is almost 200 years old, and who knows what leakage allows the unwelcomed to enter?

No one in their right mind wants to live in a 200 year old brick trinity in Philadelphia in the dead of winter — nor the dog-daze of summer.  But, as a glutton for punishment, I only hope to hang onto the place long enough to celebrate it’s 200th birthday in 2012 – at which time all of my worries will be over, as the Mayan Calendar has us all incinerated  by then.  Problem solved.

For no logical reason, I once decorated a chicken’s egg to resemble Joan Crawford.

The neighbors and I have talked about getting kazoos and pop guns and doing a little razz-along-pop-gun ensemble to a recording of the 1812 Overture during cocktails.  We’ll see if it happens.  Almost no one showed up at my last ‘Feast of the Circumcision party’ where I served fried onion rings and calamari.  People are so picky.

Calamari not withstanding, I pride myself on being an animal advocate who is burdened with a battery physicians and nutritionalists, all of whom tell me, my rarefied IBS body-chemistry is better suited for me to be a meat eater.  Salads make me violently ill, although I love them. 

I went so far as to give away my Dolce and Cabana leather pants.  And I try my damnedest – (God/Jesus/Allah/Buddha/Zeus) – YOU NAME it – to be vegan…

But now there’s blood in my eyes…

I have the WORST mice infestation I have ever experienced – EVER…!!! 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel sorry for them, nor do I find them cute. While I’m on a tear here, I don’t think the squirrels chewing at my wiring are “adorable” either – especially when the fire department needs to be called — I just want the little bastards to go infest the House on “C” Street, and leave me in peace.  I’m covering the dog food when Winnie isn’t eating.  I’ve transferred everything into containers because I hate seeing gnawed-at cereal boxes — it makes me loose my appetite.  Well that and the plethora of mouse turds I’m finding EVERY FUCKING WHERE I LOOK…!!!

Mice carry Hansa-virus, and I have a number of friends with HIV who don’t need to be exposed to this merely because I have a gentle heart for animals.  Something needs to be done.  Apparently the primary entry is the broken flue in my 2nd floor fireplace.  But I don’t have the $1500 to repair it.

But today was the final straw.  I went to put on my pants to take Winnie out for her morning walk — following a sleepless night of listening to the little rodent-pests making noises I couldn’t locate — I lifted my pants off the dressing room hook, and MICE jumped out of my pockets.  I keep treats in my pockets for Winnie.  And here I thought I was the only one climbing the walls in this house…

To add murder to the dark-light burgeoning behind my eyes, MICE are eating my remaining collection of rare architecture books.  Chibbles of brittle antique paper are everywhere. 

THIS WILL NOT DO…!!!

I store everything that truly matters to me in my townhouse-dollhouse on the 3rd floor studio of my home.  If you ever want to rob me blind of what little I have left, ransack the dollhouse.  Absentmindedly I put my cash, keys, cell phone and a bag of doggy treats given to me on the street as a promotional handout — IN the attic of the dollhouse.

This morning the front door was open, and the entire contents of the dollhouse were ransacked and filled with crumbs.  I’ll do a flier for your lost pet.  I’ll sign petitions to save wolves and bears (silently hoping they’ll agree to eat Sarah Palin) – but today I put down glue traps..  I don’t care if they gnaw off their legs to try and get away.  I WANT THEM DEAD…!!!

I have no mercy left.   I’ve come to think of mice as reincarnated right-wing republicans.  Screw ‘em !  Like the GOP, they don’t care a rat’s ass about me either.

Demented Jim DeMint

This shouldn’t take long.  Most Americans have no idea who Jim DeMint is.  Jim DeMint is the man currently posturing to take-over the shambles that passes itself off as the GOTP (a.k.a. The Grand Old Party with a spot of TEA).  The Republican’s are postured to take over the house in the midterms and possibly even the senate.  This will be a disaster for getting the work of the American people to move forward.  Can you say ‘Gridlock?’  Sure you can.

Senator DeMint is the new DeMented face of evil.  He’s out-distanced Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich combined when it comes to self-serving duplicitous conduct counter to the best interests of the Americans taxpayer.  DeMint, a senator from South Carolina, has thrown body blocks in the path of health care for 9/11 First Responders, championed idiotic candidates like Delaware’s Christine (Pristine) O’ Donnell, holds close political ties to Sarah Palin — and his latest shameful conduct it to throw out a measure forcing a stand-still on allowing the Congressional Investigation Committee to proceed without being able to subpoena witnesses under oath when testifying about the Deep Water BP oil spill disaster in the gulf.

To what end?  Who is he protecting?  Certainly not the American people or the fragile ecosystem.  He’s clearly not on the side of the families of the 11 dead rig-workers, or the countless lives and business harmed forever by this man-made calamity.  The house of representatives FINALLY did pass the 9/11 First Responders Bill – but it still has to make it’s way to the senate where all congressional-constipation really stalls in it’s tracks.  And the demented Jim DeMint is that face of that and many other political bowel obstructions.

If any American has a single doubt as to why he or she shouldn’t pull a Republican/Tea Party leaver this November, Jim DeMint is the reason.  NO work will get done in Congress.- we’ll be mired in fantasy nonsense with impeachment allegations being leveled at Obama as to whether he was actually born in Hawaii.  (He was, get over it).  This will not help our economy.  This will not extract us from the wrongful wars the Republicans led us into.  This will not move our country forward.  And therein lies the plan.  Block Obama’s entire agenda so low information voters will think he’s ineffective, and return the reigns of power to the very Republicans who screwed us in the first place.

Now ask yourself:  “Why would Jim DeMint not want to block witnesses from testifying under oath at the BP hearings?”  It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to patch that answer together.

Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives

Today’s idea was sent to me by way of  Carleen (in a viral email quoted below the Astrix’).  
If celebrities can testify before congress, why not Winnie and Duck?  Stephen Colbert, (who I personally adore) may have been too obscure in his rightful and timely message about finding a humane solution for the “least of our brothers” in the illegal immigration debate.  I understood him – but most of our elected officials are either non-truthful, blatantly stupid and/or owned by special interests – none of which coincide with OUR very special interests as beleaguered American citizens .
AND yesterday’s “lecture” to congress by Arnold Schwarzenegger against the special interest lobbyists representing big oil and the factual distortions of the Koch Brother’s (AKA the astronomically wealthy funding-family paying for the AstroTurf carpeting the Tea Party base) — gained him, in my humble eyes, a whole new respect.
Below is something that genuinely confronts the REAL dangers of Big Government.   Not the idiocy coming from the far-right neo-cons.  Read further:
*   *   *   *   *  
Instead of changing amendments that take back peoples’ rights, how about something that limits what congress gives themselves.  This should make for interesting debate in congress…

Governors of 35 states have already filed Suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them.
It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention. This will take less than thirty seconds to read.   If you agree, please pass it on. An idea whose time has come!  For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest was to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform … in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn’t seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law.  I truly don’t care if they are  Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever.  The self-serving must stop. 

A Constitutional Convention – this is a good way to do that. It is an idea whose time has come.  I’m asking each addressee to forward this Email to a minimum of ten people on their Address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.  In three days, most people in The United States of America will have read this message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.
***Proposed 28th Amendment to the  United States Constitution*** 

“Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the  United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the  United States .”

Feel free to cross-post.

So Where does Ducklette O’Hara Turn Next?

I have become fond of the term “fiduciary treason” - I don’t know if anyone else is using it, but I certainly am.  Banking institutions have, through avarice and greed, nearly brought about the total collapse of our nation – while taking taxpayer bailouts and sending jobs overseas.

CitiGroup is one such fine example.

Close to a year ago I renegotiated my mortgage with CitiMortgage and supplied them will all the documentation they required and met all the terms.  I went through a law firm to represent me, as I wasn’t having anymore nightmare transactions with these mortgage criminals person to person.  I was one of those people who refinanced my mortgage shortly after 9/11 when the economy first started lagging, so I could pay off debt.  I went from a $500 monthly mortgage payment to a frightening $900 a month — only to discover after closing I was really saddled with a minimum payment of $1500 per month.  They sure saw me coming.

As President Obama continued the bank bailouts, initiated by the out-going Bush Administration, but at the same time among the programs he attempted to institute was a ‘Save My House Program’ to help people exactly like me, who’d been swindled and hosed by the greedy crooks who inflated the housing bubble.

I’m now finding that my modification was never actually processed by CitiMortgage, and initially they even denied having ever received any of my checks.  They now acknowledge it (after faxing them copies of all my canceled checks) that they did indeed receive my payments – but failed to initially apply them to my account.  All of this adds up to my finding myself in foreclosure.  I’m now a merry member of the ‘one-in-seven’ club of American homeowner’s in foreclosure.  And I don’t think this is any coincidence – even after we, the taxpayers bailed out giants like CitiGroup – it remains in their greedy financial best interests to see the Obama program fail.  In fact to see all Obama programs fail. It’s merely one more tool in the republican arsenal to create a perception of failure directed at the President of the United States.

This is a miniature room I built some years back, commissioned by a client.  It’s a an American Empire reception room.  Reception rooms never have anything small enough to pocket, and are only connected to the rest of the house by one entrance.  Undesirables such as bible salesmen, mortgage felons and the clergy would be “contained” there before being summarily dismissed. Ah, to have a reception room.

CitiGroup is the last of the Wall Street Giants to pull themselves out of the stew they helped brew.  The government (aka, We the People) still own 17% of CitiGroup’s stock.  And “talent” as Wall Street likes to call it, are leaving CitiGroup in droves, as more greedy slices of the capitol-pie are being served up elsewhere in the financial sector. 

How has CitiGroup responded?  BY GIVING OUT ENORMOUS BONUSES TO THEIR TOP EXECUTIVES.  Sorry, I must have accidentally hit the capitAl lock during that last sentence.

With CitiBank executives now poised to “enjoy” bonuses ranging from $2,000,000 to $12,000,000, and most executives drawing an average of $500,000 per year prior to bonuses.  It would seem prudent to hold off on this spending orgy of OUR money.  Or at least until they’d repaid the government bailout in full — and turned a profit that reflected such giddy jubilation.  But no deal.  They’re getting their money now while most of America is frightened to death about how to pay next month’s bills.

I have found CitiMortgage to be the most arrogant, incompetent cadre of stumble-bums ever to stakeout the earth.  After failing to initially apply my mortgage checks to my account, or process a re-negotiation that began in 2009, they’re  now sending me letters of intent to foreclose because they have neglected to do anything they were supposed to do. 

Now I’m in the hands of lawyers with no sense of security about the roof over my head.  And let me tell you, it’s not a fun place to be – 60 years old, out of work, and facing the potential loss of the only real financial asset I’ve ever had.  So how’s that ‘tinkle-down’ economics workin’ for ‘ya?  Not too good from where I stand.

A Litany of Reruns – Sadly

I had a whole different series of WinnieToons set to run.  But as my day got away of me – I decided to retrofit some reruns.  I’d tried all day to get at my computer so I could do a new series – but as more urgent current issues emerged, I decided my personal troubles could wait.  (In spite of the fact that Google has permanently forbidden me to earn any money from my site without explaination)I have something important I need to impart… And even if only ONE PERSON grasps what I‘m trying to say, I’ll have succeeded.

I’m cursed with a ‘Cassandra complex‘.  I listen to experts when I should listen to my own inner-voice, and my inner voice tells me NOT to buy the republican “Pledge to America” - and for once,  I’m listening to that inner voice.  The ’Pledge to America’ is a ‘Trojan Horse’ full of the same self-serving errors that mired us in the economic glue-trap in which we now find ourselves.

The nation is in bedlam whether we want that to believe it or not…  We are at the most crucial juncture we’ve experienced in 80 years.  The 2010 Midterms. 

Greed and a spoiled-lazy belief that short-terms fixes might work, is NOT the tonic that will lead us to success.  But a short-term fix is the very thing being touted by the far right.  Tax-cuts for the richest Americans and an irresponsible disregard toward the excesses of Wall Street.

Yesterday John Boehner and his minions pushed-up their sleeves for a photo-op when they weren’t even on the golf course — so as to trot-out the packaging of their latest lack of new ideas: The lemon-flavored ‘Pledge to America’.  EVEN as the wisest among them realize the far right is on the wrong course, but collectively they stay faithful to the party line in deference to pressure from the extremists in the Tea Party.  It’s not about what’s good for you or me in the eyes of the far right – it’s about regaining power so they can defeat a black president in 2012.  Obama is not the problem.  Whatever you may hear, the hard, painful truth is — we need to suffer through the mistakes of our past errors and find our way home — the hard way — and home is still a long, long way off.

Does FOX News tell you when the Obama Administration makes strides forward?  Of course not. Do they tell you the deficit is down by 8%?  No – they focus on what’s wrong, like Obama isn’t listening to the troubles of the American people. TRUST ME – I’m LIVING the troubles of the American people.  No job, a home in foreclosure  and grasping to afford COBRA, but I’m not stupid or racist, so I don’t lay the blame on the president.  He has us on the right course – it is, however not going to be an easy path.

Our starched-shirted republicans friends, trotted out the latest ‘Contract ON America’, when all they’ve done is alter a word here and there from past failed policies – full of half-truths and intentionally confusing nonsense. (See the earlier post).

All you NEED to know it this:  The republican party led us into our current recession, and the republican party refused to vote for extended health care for first responders to 9/11.  NOW, the republican party is objecting to a request from congress to subpoena witnesses during the investigation of the British Petroleum’s Deep Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico – (implicating Trans Ocean and Dick Cheney’s own pet, Haliburton).  Let ‘em all tear at each others throats on the witness stand – let’s really hear what really happened.  Even THREE MILE ISLAND investigators were allowed to subpoena witnesses.  The Kennedy assignation investigations were allowed subpoena powers.

WHAT THE HELL are REPUBLICAN’S hiding? — AND WHO…?!!!  Draw your own conclusions.  But when you do – think of the future — not just your own short-term comfort.  Vote your long term conscience –it will always serve you better — in the long run, if you hadn’t already figured that one out.

The New GOP Lemon Pledge to America

FactCheck.com urges you to donate, and I whole heartly agree, if you’re in a financial position to do so.  This is valuable information to have under your belt before casting your vote in the midterm elections.  There’s a lot at stake here and a lot of intentionally misleading information coming from the right.

– Beihl & Winnie

Reprinted from FactCheck.org http://factcheck.org/2010/09/factchecking-the-pledge/

Summary

The Republican “Pledge to America,” released Sept. 23, contains some dubious factual claims: 
  • It declares that “the only parts of the economy expanding are government and our national debt.” Not true. So far this year government employment has declined slightly, while private sector employment has increased by 763,000 jobs.
  • It says that “jobless claims continue to soar,” when in fact they are down eight percent from their worst levels.
  • It repeats a bogus assertion that the Internal Revenue Service may need to expand by 16,500 positions, an inflated estimate based on false assumptions and guesswork.
  • It claims the stimulus bill is costing $1 trillion, considerably more than the $814 billion, 10-year price tag currently estimated by nonpartisan congressional budget experts.
  • It says Obama’s tax proposals would raise taxes on “roughly half the small business income in America,” an exaggeration. Much of the income the GOP is counting actually comes from big businesses making over $50 million a year.
For details on these and other examples please read on to the Analysis section.

Analysis

The document, “A Pledge to America” is posted on the website of the Republicans in Congress.

Portrait or Caricature?

The Pledge is full of high-sounding pronouncements such as “America is an idea” and “an inspiration to those who yearn to be free.” We won’t argue with any of that.
It is also full of partisan political opinions. At one point it says that an “unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people.” The GOP is certainly entitled to state those opinions, and it’s not our role to argue for or against them. Nor is it our job to say whether the promises laid out in the document would be good policy or bad policy. That will be debated elsewhere for the remainder of the campaign.
Our role here, as always, is to say when facts cited to support the arguments are false or misleading. And there are plenty of factual claims to check out.
In general the Pledge draws a gloomy picture of the sputtering economy, the horrid state of joblessness, and a federal budget wracked by record deficits and ballooning debt. Many of the claims are true. But as might be expected in a partisan manifesto, this is a lopsided rendering. At times it is more caricature than portrait: any facts that might brighten it are simply left out, and some claims are exaggerated or incorrect.

The Economy

Pledge, page 5: Our economy has declined and our debt has mushroomed with the loss of millions of jobs.

Fact: It’s true that the economy lost nearly 8.4 million jobs from the peak of employment in December, 2007 to the bottom of the job slump in December of last year. More than half (4.4 million) were lost before Obama took office. The economy has regained 723,000 jobs since hitting bottom, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pledge, page 14: Private sector unemployment remains at or near 10 percent, jobless claims continue to soar, and the only parts of the economy expanding are government and our national debt.

Fact: It’s true that the unemployment rate is 9.6 percent, but that’s actually down from the peak of 10.1 percent reached last October. It’s also true that new claims for unemployment compensation – “jobless claims” – continue at a high level. But they are actually running eight percent lower than they did at their worst levels, so they are slowly declining, not soaring.
And it’s not the case that only government is growing. The opposite is true — the private sector has gained a net total of 763,000 jobs this year, according to the BLS.
But at the same time, the total number of government jobs has declined by about 40,000, despite a transitory spike in hiring by the Census Bureau to conduct its decennial head count. That spike is now over. The decline in overall government employment is mostly due to public schools shedding 62,000 positions as local property tax rolls decline due to plunging real-estate values.

Health Care

Pledge, page 26: The Obama Administration has been forced to acknowledge that the new law will force some 87 million Americans to drop their current coverage.

Fact: This is a misrepresentation. It’s true that the president over-promised when he repeatedly told Americans that “if you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan.” As we noted shortly before the bill passed, he can’t make that promise to everyone. It’s also true that after the bill passed, the administration released estimates showing that only about 55 percent of large employers and 34 percent of small employers would be offering the same insurance coverage in 2013 as they do now, under “grandfathering” rules. That works out to about 87 million workers — more or less — whose policies are likely to change in some way.
But it’s deceptive of the GOP to claim that employers of these workers will “drop” their coverage. It would be accurate to say they are expected to change it.
In many cases policies will be replaced by more generous coverage, accompanied by government subsidies to help pay the premiums. Some workers will lose grandfathered status merely because their employers buy substantially similar policies from a different insurance company. In other cases coverage might get worse — plans would lose grandfathered status if they were significantly changed to cut benefits; raise co-insurance payments, copays or deductibles; lower employer contributions; or add or tighten caps on payments. But while the law would allow this, it certainly does not “force” employers to reduce coverage, as many have done in the past.

Pledge, page 27: Skyrocketing medical liability insurance rates have distorted the practice of medicine, routinely forcing doctors to order costly and often unnecessary tests to protect themselves from lawsuits, often referred to as “defensive medicine.”

Fact: The claim that “defensive medicine” contributes to high medical costs is true — but it doesn’t add much. For years the majority of economic studies consistently failed to validate the claim that fear of lawsuits drove up costs by any measurable amount, as we reported extensively in 2004. But last year, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office revised its thinking based on new studies, and concluded that limiting malpractice liability would reduce total national health care spending by about one-half of 1 percent, or about $11 billion in 2009.
The new health care law addresses that by giving five-year demonstration grants to states to come up with alternatives to malpractice lawsuits. The Pledge promises “common sense” reforms to “rein in junk lawsuits.” Just don’t expect them to lower health costs by much.

Pledge, page 28: Roughly 16,500 IRS auditors, agents, and other employees may be needed to collect the hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes levied on the American people by the new health care law.

Fact: This is simply not true. As we reported last March, this figure “stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by outright misrepresentation.” For an eye-opening account of how Republican staff members of the House Ways and Means committee came up with this inflated figure, see our Ask FactCheck item posted March 30. Most of what the IRS will do under the law is hand out tax credits, not collect penalties.

Stimulus Bill

Pledge, page 14: The trillion-dollar “stimulus” spending bill

Pledge, page 15: . . .the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ was signed into law

Fact: The stimulus bill is a big one, but CBO says it won’t cost $1 trillion, even spread over 10 years. CBO’s most recent estimate puts the price tag to $814 billion. That’s higher than originally estimated at the time of passage, but still well short of $1 trillion.

Pledge, page 15: Despite the ‘stimulus’ and Democrats’ promises the unemployment rate would remain below eight percent, the unemployment rate climbed from 7.7 percent in January 2009 to 9.5 percent in August 2010.

Republicans have a point here, as we noted some time ago. Back in July of last year we wrote, “the original projections from President Obama’s economic advisers on what would happen with and without the stimulus plan are still off — and significantly so.” But nobody “promised” that unemployment would remain below 8 percent.
As we also wrote in June of last year, the White House explanation was simple: “They say President George Bush left them a worse mess than they realized” when Obama’s advisers came up with their predictions. And that’s true. The original chart – produced Jan. 9, 2009 — was based on economic projections that were in line with what private economists were forecasting. Those forecasts were being revised for the worse even before any stimulus money was spent.
And for the record, CBO’s experts calculate that the stimulus has had a positive effect on employment. In its most recent report on the measure, the agency estimated that in the second quarter of 2010, stimulus spending lowered the unemployment rate between 0.7 and 1.8 percentage points and increased the number of people working between 1.4 million and 3.3 million.

Small Business

Pledge, page 14: [Obama] also wants to raise taxes on roughly half of small business income in America.

Fact: This is an exaggeration. Republicans are equating “net positive business income” reported on individual returns with “small business income,” which isn’t correct. They rely on a report from the nonpartisan staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (p. 12), which estimated that about 3 percent of taxpayers who have any business income on their personal returns would see a tax increase under Obama’s proposal, and that those 750,000 taxpayers account for about half of all the business income reported.
But some of that income is from big businesses raking in tens of millions of dollars a year. The JCT stated quite clearly that “These figures for net positive business income do not imply that all of the income is from entities that might be considered ’small.’” Some in fact are quite large, and those big businesses account for a good chunk of that income.
The JCT said: “For example, in 2005, 12,862 S corporations and 6,658 partnerships had receipts of more than $50 million.”
Republicans do have a point here. Many small businesses and some large fraction of small-business income will be adversely impacted by raising the top rate on individual taxpayers.
The fact is, though, that the JCT couldn’t estimate how much of the total business income was accounted for by “small” businesses, or how many of the 750,000 individuals affected own “small” busineses. What we do know is that a good deal less than half the small business income, and something less than three percent of small business owners, would be subject to higher taxes.

Taxes

Pledge, page 14: Unless action is taken, a $3.8 trillion tax hike will go into effect on January 1, 2011 that will unravel these policies. A family of four with a household income of $50,000 a year will have to pay $2,900 more in taxes in 2011.

Fact: True, but misleading. What the Pledge fails to note is that Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress have consistently promised to extend the Bush tax cuts for all families making less than $250,000 a year, and singles making less than $200,000. It’s true that hasn’t happened yet, but the reason is that several House and Senate Democrats are agitating to extend the cuts for everybody, even those with the highest incomes.
Congress might yet fail to extend most or all the cuts before they are scheduled to expire next year. As we reported in a Sept. 3 Ask FactCheck item on this issue, there’s always a possibility that Congress will grind to a halt in a stalemate. And sure enough, on Sept. 23 Senate Democrats announced they would put off any vote on extending the cuts until after the election. A spokesman for Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said, “Democrats believe we must permanently extend tax cuts for the middle-class before they expire at the end of the year, and we will.”
by Brooks Jackson

Sources

Republican Members of Congress, “A Pledge to America” 23 Sep 2010.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Total Nonfarm Employment, seasonally adjusted” data from the Current Employment Statistics survey (National). Downloaded 23 Sep 2010.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Total Government Employment, seasonally adjusted” data from the Current Employment Statistics survey (National). Downloaded 23 Sep 2010.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Total Private Employment, seasonally adjusted” data from the Current Employment Statistics survey (National). Downloaded 23 Sep 2010.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Unemployment Rate” data from the Current Population Survey. Downloaded 23 Sep 2010.
Bartash, Jeffry. “Weekly jobless claims rise 12,000 to 465,000; Continuing claims drop 48,000 to 4.49 million.” Marketwatch. 23 Sep 2010.
Robertson, Lori. “Obama’s Glowing Assessment.” FactCheck.org. 4 Mar 2010.
Jackson, Brooks. “President Uses Dubious Statistics on Costs of Malpractice Lawsuits.” FactCheck.org. 29 Jan 2004.
Jackson, Brooks. “Malpractice: Savings Reconsidered.” FactCheck.org. 13 Oct 2009.
Jackson, Brooks. “IRS Expansion.” FactCheck.org. 30 Mar 2010.
Congressional Budget Office. “Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output From April 2010 Through June 2010.” 24 Aug 2010.
Robertson, Lori. “More Unemployment Blues.” FactCheck.org. 2 Jul 2009.
Jackson, Brooks, Justin Bank and Andrew Karter. “Making Sense of Stimulus Spending.” FactCheck.org. 16 Jun 2009.
Joint Committee on Taxation. “Present Law And The President’s Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Proposals Related To Selected Individual Income Tax Provisions Scheduled To Expire Under The Sunset Provisions Of The Economic Growth And Tax Relief Reconciliation Act Of 2001.” 12 Jul 2010.
Jackson, Brooks. “2011 Tax Increases.” FactCheck.org. 3 Sep 2010.

Molested by the Royals? What’s this world coming to…?!!!

This past Tuesday, when I went to the BNI (Business Networking International) meeting at the Palm Restaurant – I was doing-so as a substitute for my neighbor, Debbie, who is a member, and lives across the street from me.  Members need to get a representative if for any reason they’re unable to attend.  Debbie had a photo-shoot, so I was her selected substitute.

Debbie is a lovely and graceful woman who has always reminded me of a cross between Audrey Hepburn and Merle Oberon.  And like both of the aforementioned grand ladies, Debbie had been trained as a dancer.  But for all her poise, she’s has had more than her fair share of life’s hard-blows.  She’s a petite woman to look at, but in the same breath, a cancer survivor.  I have great admiration for her strength, her humor and her generosity of character.  Over the years, Debbie became a dance photographer, as one cannot be a dancer forever.  But a real artist can keep the spirit of the dancer alive inside, as is true with all the arts.  Sometimes her photographs are startling, athletic moments frozen in a flash of time — images of dancers nearly flying with a freedom most of us can scarcely imagine.  Sometimes they’re silhouettes where the body of the dancer suggests Japanese brush-work calligraphy, no doubt in honor of her Japanese mother, who’s deft hand knew it’s way around ink and brushes.  Her mother’s watercolors of flowers were flawless.  But Debbie herself, does NOT have good luck with flowers at all.

In my giving a business presentation at the Palm, hawking the flawed-wares of Google AdSense, I was there primarily as Debbie’s substitute – trumpeting her skills as a photographer — that said, as a guest, I was also granted the opportunity to give my own presentation.  At the end of the meeting during the networking segment, a young woman who represents a local flower shop, handed me a lavish floral arrangement, asking me to take it and give it to Debbie when I saw her later in the day…  Whereupon I launched into the following story, and in my own absentmindedness, promptly forgot and left Debbie’s flowers behind.  My mind is prone to “senior moments” these days…

One Saturday morning a couple years back I ran into Debbie around the corner from our little 19th century Philadelphia alley, hanging onto a brick wall, laughing so hard that at first I thought she was crying.  I approached her with concern and then realized she was in complete and total hysterics, unable to even speak, choking to try and explain herself.  Her laughter was so infectious, that I started to laugh with her, even not knowing what in the world we were  laughing AT.

In-between gasps, Debbie told me she had just been to collect a check from a client who helped to underwrite the expenses of a struggling local dance troupe.  The dancers were so delighted with her work, that they’d asked her to come to their patron’s office to collect her check in person as the ‘pocket-poor’ dancers had been so pleased with the images she’d captured, they pulled their meager funds to show an extra measure of appreciation by way of a gift — there waiting for her. 

To get to Olde City, Philadelphia from where we live in Washington Square West, one always cuts through Independence Hall.  Debbie is never idle for long, and wanted to complete this errand so as to move on to the next task at hand.  Independence Hall can be over-run with tourists, film crews and come-what may.  So she pushed her way through to her destination across town to the vicinity where Benjamin Franklin once operated his famous press.  On arrival, she found waiting with her check, the most beautiful arrangement of exotic tropical flowers she’d ever seen.  It was a HUGE bouquet with soft purples and glowing blues offset with warm magentas. 

This was an enormous expense for these dancers to afford, and nothing had been skimped in this arrangement to show their appreciation.  She knew at once where she’d place it  – on the little vestibule table in the entrance hall of the home she shares with her husband and son.  After exchanging hugs and heart-felt “thank-you’s”, Debbie rushed home to get the flowers into water before confronting the balance of her tasks remaining.  Again she took the short cut through Independence Hall to reduce the time, but the crowd was unusually thick. While trying to work her way through the crush of people, with the flowers held high above her head, an old friend grabbed her saying “Debbie, I haven’t seen you in ages – come with me, I have a special surprise for you.”  She tried to decline but found herself persuaded past velvet ropes and into the glare of television cameras.  Before she could even get her bearings, out came Prince Charles with Camilla Parker Bowles by his side, who without skipping a beat SCOOPED the flowers out of Debbie’s arms and ran away with them.  A slow-motion “NOOOOOOOO…!!!!”  rang inside her ears as she found herself being mugged and robbed by a member of the British royal family on international television.   Cameramen and reporters swooped-in on her pressing her for information on how if felt to have presented such a lavish floral arrangement to the Duchess of Cornwall.  She was so stunned, all she wanted to do was call the police and have the woman arrested, but instinct told her to remain calm and smile…

She stammered out a few polite words into the cameras representing , ABC, BBC, NBC, CBS and FOX, and stumbled home feeling fortunate not to have been robbed of her hard-earned check as well.  That was when I ran into Debbie on the street giggling like a madwoman, with the story of a lifetime bubbling behind her funny bone.

And here I was several years later at the BNI meeting forgetfully leaving Debbie’s flowers behind, calling the Palm to learn they’d been taken by a stranger.  I bought Debbie a new and even more lavish arrangement.  She deserved the flowers, they were, after all, hers.

But in the moments immediately following her being mugged and robbed by the Duchess of Cornwall — and in between sobs of laughter, she asked me “How am I ever going to explain to those dancers what happened to the flowers they’d bought for me?”

I told her the flowers were no longer flowers – they were all the more priceless for their fate.  Her husband, Gene later consoled her by saying – “At least the flowers didn’t do to waste – you know the Duchess went back to her hotel room later and nibbled on the buds”.

A flower lasts but a moment in time, while a good story lingers with a bouquet all it‘s own.

So It Is Written – So It Shall Be Done

This has been a bad week.  I received a letter notifying me of my home foreclosure, in spite of my having sent copies of ALL my cashed mortgage payments to my lender.  And to add insult to injury, Google AdSense(lessness) has suspended my ability to advertise on my blog on the very same day I pitched AdSense to the BNI (Business Networking International) — How ironic — NO — How typical.

On Monday I posted a blog titled ‘A Bad Night’s Sleep’ marking a week which ended with a letter I’d categorize as a “wrongful foreclosure” notice.

Do I hate corporations?   “You betcha“.

“Don’t be evil” is just a slogan so they can screw us all anyway.  That’s clearly outlined in 4pt type in your contract.  2 months ago I contacted Google asking them for help, because I’m vision impaired.  Almost 2 months later they replied – with nothing useful.

Now that THAT’S off my chest, I’d like to talk about the rest of my early week…

Late on Tuesday morning, 5 lovely middle-aged African-American women in calico dresses and tidily trimmed straw hats came to my front door just as I was opening it to leave.  They gave me a copy of the Watchtower and blessed me.  I’ll take good vibes from whomever is willing to send them my way…

But I’m still a deist. 

I too, was spit-polished and ready for my presentation, not entirely dissimilar to door to door salesmanship for the Lord.   I was going to the Palm Restaurant to plug Goodle Ad Sense(fuck ‘em) – and full of positive energy.  I should know at this age, that positive energy is always a bad sign…

As I walked to the Palm, quietly rehearsing my words to myself, my mind wandered…  Here it is the end of September, and Walgreen’s is holding a sale on Halloween costumes and decorations.  “Buy Shit You Don’t Need While the Inventory Lasts – special sale on items produced by political prisoners in China… Act NOW…!!!”

I HATE Halloween.  It never goes away…

I used to go out on the town for Halloween, and once crafted an elaborate Ramses II costume after I’d made substantial progress at the gym – at a much younger age, of course.  Ancient Egypt had become a “camp” discussion with my circle of friends on Fire Island, as we built the pyramids and sphinx out of sand on a summer’s day a long time ago.  My friend Gary and I patted down the sand pyramids with driftwood while Gary threw his voice, pretending to be Joan Collins (crossed with Vincent Price in ‘The Fly‘) pleading to be let out of the pyramids – mocking Howard Hawk’s camp classic – ‘Land of the Pharaohs’ - “Help me my liege, I’m too young to die…”

Recalling that giggling , youthful day at the beach – later, – when Gary was turning 40 (a WAY LONG time ago) - I carefully crafted a pharaoh costume assuming if it fit me, it would fit Gary.  We were having a 40th birthday dinner party in Gary’s honor.

He was puzzled as to why he was being served pigeon-pie and cuscus on his birthday – but when we blindfolded him, and stripped him-down.  Gary cried out (in the presence of some of his closest friends) “I didn’t’ know it was going to be THAT kind of dinner party”.  Meanwhile I applied his faux-leopard wrap skirt, gilded sandals, Faïence necklace and a crown designating him as the God of both the Upper and Lower Niles - (all done with hot glue and art supplies).  As I handed him his crook and flail, Gary called out – “YOU’VE got the FILM…” – when his blindfold was removed, his lover, Don was dressed as an Egyptian slave (leaving very little to the imagination) and all the dinner guests were wearing royal Egyptian crowns.  Even the dogs (dear departed pooches, Buddy and Dorje) were in Egyptian drag as well.

Gary couldn’t believe we’d found a video of ‘Land of the Pharaohs’.  We held a screening party after dinner and watched the movie in Egyptian drag.

Remember video tapes…?

But I digress — back while I was originally crafting these costumes just described — my late friend, Brian called me to go “antiquing” with him through the waft of spectacular old junk stores Philadelphia used to have decades ago.

I said to Brian, “come to my house at noon sharp. Just let yourself in.  The front door will be open.”

I had just completed Gary’s costume, and I wanted to show it off.   So there I sat at noon, all dolled-up like Ramses II with Li’l Buddy by my side patiently wearing his bejeweled canine Egyptian choker.  I’d even made an Egyptian throne and sat still as death, waiting for Brian to arrive.

…and waiting for Brian to arrive…

…and waiting a bit longer for Brian to arrive…

…then we waited a while more…

…I may have napped, while Buddy was at his food bowl…

…but I didn’t want anything to spoil the effect of ME decked-out with Liz Taylor eyes and a fully gold-leafed face as the ‘’Screaming-Queen of Egypt”.  I urged Buddy to take his place at my side as the god Anubis, but he was bored with the role, and went under the sofa when suddenly there came a knock at the front door.  Regally I decried “Enter my humble slave…”

Whereupon the Jehovah Witnesses entered my living room pushing a young child toward me.  Everyone was stunned.  NOTHING was going according to plan – they snapped the child up in their arms and ran out muttering something aloud about the Anti-Christ.

When Brian finally arrived, I was limp with exhaustion from laughter, and my makeup was running like Joan Rivers being presented with an unlikely Oscar.

It took 20 years for the Jehovah Witness to return to my neighborhood this past Tuesday — as I was on my way to promote Google AsSense(lessness).  Word of the Queen Demon must have faded into legend.  That’s what happens over time.  You get covered with sand.

Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage Mrs Palington,DON’T PUT HYOUR DAUGHTER ON THE STAGE…!!!

Today’s post is transchanneled through the dear, departed
Noel Coward, and pretty much sums it up…

Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington
Don’t put your daughter on the stage
The profession is overcrowded
The struggle’s pretty tough
And admitting the fact she’s burning to act
That isn’t quite enough
She’s a nice girl and though her teeth are fairly good
She’s not the type I ever would be eager to engage
I repeat, Mrs. Worthington, sweet Mrs. Worthington
Don’t put your daughter on the stage

Regarding yours, dear Mrs. Worthington
Of Wednesday, the 23rd.
Although your baby may be keen on a stage career
How can I make it clear that this is not a good idea
For her to hope and appear, Mrs. Worthington
Is on the face of it absurd
Her personality is not in reality quite big enough,
     inviting enough
For this particular sphere

Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington
Don’t put your daughter on the stage
She’s a bit of an ugly duckling, you must honestly confess
And the width of her seat would surely defeat
Her chances of her success
It’s – it’s a loud voice, and though it’s not exactly flat
She’ll need a little more than that to earn a living wage
On my knees, Mrs. Worthington, please Mrs. Worthington
Don’t put your daughter on the stage

Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington
Don’t put your daughter on the stage
Though they said at the school of acting
She was lovely as Peer Gynt
I’m afraid, on the whole, an ingenue role might emphasize her squint
She has nice hands, to give the wretched girl her due
But don’t you think her bust is too developed for her age
No more buts, Mrs. Worthington, nuts! Mrs. Worthington
Don’t put your daughter on the stage

Change You Can Bereave In

‘The Young Gums’: Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan along with John Beohner Try to Re-grow a Third of Secondary Set of Teeth with a Newt-like “Contract ON America“ called “The Pledge to America”.  long on pizazz and short on fresh ideas.  Oh, for joy…More like a “Plague on America”.

To quote the National Review: “The confidence that was placed in us was blown,” says Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House’s No. 2 Republican. “We are not under any illusion that this election is turning on the fact that people are pining for Republicans. We get that. It’s all against the other side.” But after four years in the political wilderness, [the pivotal 2 years of of which were on Bush’s watch setting the impossible challenges that faces Obama] - he says House Republicans have “learned from our mistakes,” and are ready to lead again.”. 

REALLY…?!!!

Interpreting the mumbo-jumbo: “Young Guns” who are nowhere near young – but possibly gun-advocates with receding-gums and are trying to counter the ideas presented by the democratic/independent “Young Turks” countering their rivals with no ideas, only criticisms.

Criticism is easy.  Workable solutions are tough. 

The ‘Turks’ while more media and information-driven, are actually young, bright, with new ideas and perspective criticizing BOTH sides of the aisle on how to change the downward spiral of this country.  But I’ll let them speak for themselves, if you visit their website at http://www.theyoungturks.com/. On the other hand,  the Young  Guns counter with the android-speak of the right-wing GOTP -[Grand Old Tea Party] with quicksilver concepts, too mercurial to decipher.

It’s easy to decry what is WRONG with the direction the country is drifting.  It’s difficult, however to stand by workable answers. The Young Gums are less than a decade away from receiving their dreaded AARP cards auto-addressed in the mail.  So what they REALLY are, is the last of the old guard aging ‘gracefully’ with a daily application of “Just for Men, and bronzer albeit it, badly.

Americans have to stop listening to the right-wing chanting the 18th century naïve physicians cry – “Bleeding, I shall made thee work yet!” – but what they propose to bleed is the already hemorrhaging middle-class, by repealing health care reform, giving Wall Street a renewed free hand, and extending the Bush tax breaks for the obscenely wealthy.  ‘The Guns’ parrot the same abysmal failed financial approaches that got us into the depressive mess we suffer today.  Don’t buy it voters…  It’s based on short-term greed for selfish benefits directed at a foolish populace easily won over with wedge issues and diversionary tactics.  The far right is hoping the November midterms will allow them to override the president – and repeal hard-won progressive reforms that actually get to the heart of our long term problems.  And it’s a painful, but necessary path.

This president has set us on the right course – But Impatient voters are just not feeling the benefits yet.  That creates an atmosphere for an uneasy, ‘soft’ populace ready to jump ship, with the ease it takes to change TV channels on their remotes.

History repeats itself, be it a rapid fire stutter, or a long term revival of past mistakes.  It took decades of incompetent judgment to get us in to the soup we’re boiling-in today – lulled into complacently all the while it was happening.  Low-information voters look no further than their noses. Fixing our financial crisis is bound to impact us all.  The great crash of 1929  (now think 2009) didn’t make the populace desperate with panic until 1932/1933.  Is this Obama’s fault?  No, but it has become his responsibility, and we’re not at 2011 yet…

History replays like a broken record.  And those who refuse to heed it’s lessons are doomed to repeat them.  Like the Caesars using ‘bread and circuses’ to divert attention away from the problems of the populace – The Aging Gums are merely greedy politicians in the pocket of the corporations – willing to implement a ’Middle-class Bataan Death March’ toward a failed past.  Their deal is to divert American attentions back to watching second-tier celebrities in bikinis eating earthworms on TV in  non-reality reality shows – or worse, Bristol Palin showing-off her piano legs on ’Dancing with the Stars’… then we’re supposed to visit the local shopping mall depleting our meager savings on useless crap made by political prisoners in China while our own workers stand in soup lines, waiting for unemployment checks. 

Remember, the corporations, through the banks we, were rescued by tax-payers.  Those corporations have turned their backs on American workers for cheaper labor in the east, who work at such “reasonable” rates.

Remember when, Bush in his idiotic flight suit announcing “Mission Accomplished” while stumble-bumbling us into 2 wars that equals the time and exceeded the treasure of WWI and WWII combined.  That is where the vast majority of our national wealth was squandered, exacerbated by decades-old corrupt corporate oversight, allowing the FOX to tend to the hen-house.  What the GOTP doesn’t like about Obama, is he understands both the political gains and the downside games.

Does any THINKING person really want John Boehner, Paul Ryan, with THE ironically named Kevin McCARTHY and 40 toothed Eric Cantor weeviling us back to another false economic bubble? AND touting Boehner at the helm?  Perhaps you do.  But be careful what you wish for…And NEVER listen to Rush Mount Limbaugh instead, watch and old Hitchock film.  They’re scary enough, but no where near as frightening as our own potential future under the republicans working to confound our president at every turn.  Young Guns are trotting out their “new ideas” in a Plague on America – now THAT is change we can bereave-in.