Wednesday, January 13, 2016

State of the Disunion

Call me a problem solver...a helper, if you will...that's really it, I just want to help. I watched the president's final State of the Union address and listened to him highlight his achievements...and then the Republican response, from a governor from South Carolina, discounting those achievements...and one theme...ONLY one...jumped out at me. The divisiveness in our country is stronger than ever, the gap between the right (or people mostly concerned with individual freedom, liberty, opportunity, etc.) and the left (or people conversely concerned mostly with collective freedom, equality of outcomes, peace through compromise) had widened considerably, despite assurances from our leaders of late that we would be seeking common ground above all else.


That did not happen...and as I said, we are more divided then ever and, in turn, weaker and more easily compromised by ne'er-do-wells then ever...but I have a solution. As I told you above, I am a problem solver. What I believe we as a society need to do...is...in the most amicable way possible...is to file for divorce. Yes, I believe at this stage, it's too late for a trial separation and we should for the "good of the children (i.e. future generations)," simply file the paperwork and begin to divide assets (or in this case, liabilities). It's really that simple.


Actually, there should be plenty to go around...as the president stated last night, we are still the most powerful nation on the face of the earth...and it's "not even close." Ergo, there should be plenty for all. We simply need to find the fairest way to ensure that both groups are allowed access to similar (or as equal as possible) resources. Sure, it would be impossible for the shares to be exact, but I believe exceptions could be made...for instance, the right could exchange, some, self defense resources in exchange for, say, several entertainment entities. In other words, folks on the right may be more inclined to place security above something like, maybe, music concerts...and conversely, the left might be averse to the notion that they would even need security, but would be more inclined to provide their citizens a variety of entertainment options.


For instance, many conservatives might have participated in and appreciated a cultural experience like "Burning Man," a annual festival in the Nevada Black Rock desert, described as an experiment in community and art, influenced by self reliance and self expression, community cooperation, and "radical" inclusion. They may want to continue to attend these yearly "conferences," despite the possibility (okay, probability) that "Burning Man," would be one of the divided properties secured by the left. In exchange for this consideration, the right might provide an equal number of police officers or active duty military personnel in order for several of their members to enjoy the festival.


Another example of cooperation might be those liberals who enjoy hunting and fishing. In exchange for members being allowed onto BCLM land, perhaps there could be members from the right allowed to use BLLM land located on either coast for sea side vacations or maybe surfing and skin diving, or perhaps just beach combing. Or maybe conservative members may want to partake of the medicinal benefits of marijuana and they would be allowed...wait, what am I saying? The cannabis clubs would have to be split down the middle...hey, maybe there's still hope...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Letter to Lorne Michaels

Comedian Will Ferrell returned to Saturday Night Live last weekend to naturally, rave reviews. He brought back his celebrated impression of former President George W. Bush...and in case you missed it... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUXIuQbOMMo Well, I thought it was mundane...and contrived...it was obvious the show's "new" writers had never written for Will before...I'm sure the Bush haters loved it...and hardcore SNL viewers probably loved it too...but SNL is supposed to be groundbreaking...out of the mainstream...cutting edge. With that in mind, here's my recommendation to SNL producer Lorne Michaels.


Fade to Crawford, Texas, Will ("W") is seated in a large lounge chair in front of a roaring fire...seated next to him is Laura Bush (Cecily Strong). They are discussing recent events in Paris and San Bernardino. Both expressed sorrow as to the senseless loss of life and how this "war on terror" has certainly become a generational one, much like George himself had predicted only days after 9/11. He assures Laura he takes no pleasure in this prognostication (turns and smiles). She agrees, but says she wonders how the current occupants of the White House are dealing with these terrible times...


Fade to the Oval Office, President Obama (special appearance by Fred Armison) is calmly watching a CNN report on recent events in (both) Paris and San Bernardino. He is surrounded by his cabinet. They appear to be in a "brainstorming session" and are offering opinions as to what they believe the administration's next steps should be. Defense Secretary Ash Carter (Bobby Moynihan) believes the Drone attacks are having the desired effects. Former Chief of Staff (and now former mayor of Chicago) Rahm Emanuel (guest host Pee Wee Herman) states that easy access to firearms by ISIS must be curtailed and strict gun control laws should be enacted. Secretary of State John Kerry (Taran Killam) says he could easily have James Taylor write and perform a "fight song," perhaps putting ISIS to sleep.


There is a knock on the door and suddenly Hillary Clinton (Kate McKinnon) appears. She is escorted by none other than Bernie Sanders, dressed as Larry David. Hillary joins the conversation and says, "you know, what if...I mean, what if, we could find a way to isolate these ISIS fighters and other terrorists...you know, perhaps in a faraway country or a terrain which could, you know, be easily contained like, well, like..." Just then, Bernie jumps in ..."like Iraq." The group laughs...President Obama immediately chides Sanders, saying "I spent countless billions of dollars and thousands upon thousands of human lives getting us OUT of Iraq. Why in the world would I want to go back there...uh, Bernie?" "No, no, my name is Larry...and the answer to your question is because terror WAS contained in Iraq until you gave the terrorists their own passports with (now) US visas attached, that's why."


The room goes silent. Suddenly everyone breaks out in laughter. They all agree the idea is preposterous and kick (both) Clinton and Sanders out of the office. Once they've left, the President shakes his head, "can you believe those two? They sound like, well, like Republicans. The rest all nod and, then Emanuel says, "you know, we could find a sort of 'safe zone' for them...you know, like maybe a gun free zone. We had those in Chicago, you know." "Not a bad idea, Rahm," replies the President, "I'm going to make you my ISIS czar. Just don't go all Dick Cheney on me and try and win this thing. We're only 13 months away from getting out of this, you know?"


Fade back to Crawford, Texas...Laura says to Will, "you know, maybe you should call President Obama and offer to help him." Will immediately says, "no can do, Pookie. That would be too disrespectful to the office." Laura counters, "but honey, what they're doing is bringing the war to our shores. Can't  you please help?" "Well," answers Will, "I suppose I could...but then, wouldn't that be preposterous?" (Turns and smiles)...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

It's about a year away...

The 2016 presidential election is about a year away. I have a certain fondness for presidential elections. After all, it was the impetus for my retirement nearly 7 years ago. It was easy...I mean, really easy to see which direction the country was headed back then. After 8 years of "W" and his inability to stand strong for any real principles, (in other words, allow the Democrat(ic)s to shape, frame (even) invent the narrative and fail to contradict any of their attempts at sabotage because you didn't want to "disrespect the office." Yeah, you saw what we got...


But, on to today...with all the brouhaha regarding the last Republican presidential debate on CNBC. It seems as though nobody liked the debate, the moderators, and especially the questions (asked). If you're a liberal, you hated the way the moderators allowed the candidates to control the debate (which easily countered their attempts to create dissension among the GOP). Truthfully, the moderators' attempts to "make the candidates" look like fools backfired. Conversely, if you're a conservative, you certainly didn't appreciate the overt bias of the moderators, their questions, AND their network. I, however, thought the debate was a good one.


"What?!?! Nobody liked the debate...you're just being oppositional." No, I'm serious. The staged nature of these proceedings often becomes boring, monotonous, trivial even...and this last debate most certainly was not. In fact, none of the debates thus far have been mundane, even the Democrat(ic) debate...and that's the way I believe it SHOULD be...and I think if most people took off their partisan hats and really thought about it, they'd also agree with me. I mean, do you really want a bunch of stuffed shirts standing on a stage reciting data, like some kind of pre-programmed electronic device? No, you do not! You can go on line and get all the candidate's positions on the issues.


But what you can't get from reading pamphlets or perusing a dot.gov web site...is exactly what we got in this last debate. Like him or not, Ted Cruz displayed a quick wit and (almost) a photographic memory when taking down moderator John Harwood for his obvious bias and inappropriate questioning of what should have been an "economic-based" debate. Even Marco Rubio got into the act when admonishing the moderators for baiting Jeb Bush into "questioning his Senate voting record." Chris Christie, when blasting the moderators said, "even in New Jersey, what you're doing is called rude." No, nothing mundane about this debate...


Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus was outraged at the blatant nature of the proceedings, the moderators and their network. He promised to cease all future prospective debates with the NBC network or any of their affiliates. He added the candidates deserve a forum where their ideas and stands can be fully vetted and understood by the public.


Heck, nobody wants that...




Friday, October 2, 2015

Here We Go Again!

Seems as though I could open every post with those four words...but yes, here we go again...another mass shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Latest reports show that 10 people have died and numerous others have been wounded. The media is replete with stories of the gunman and they happily name the scumbag and even delve as deep as they can into his warped psyche and any remote possibility of motivation...as if they could ever figure it out...


...and just like the last one, the President of the United States immediately came forward with his solution...more gun laws...almost as quickly, his opponents counter with the same old, "guns don't kill people," blah-blah-blah. I have to hand it to the "pro-gun" people...they do tend to remain above (away from) the fray and allow the dust to settle whereas the "anti-gun" crowd more often than not immediately jumps on the soap box with their charts and graphs, showing how the US leads the world in mass shootings...


...and no one wants to solve the problem. The president, clearly frustrated, mentions how these shootings and the response is becoming "routine," and then continues, offering more routine solutions to these tragedies. He did, however, tweak his routine a bit, indicating the responses of Congress are "routine" whereas his are, I guess, more heartfelt. Here's the deal, though, the president is the ONLY individual person with the ability to act...and thus far he has not...


...and why should he, right? As long as he can blame Congress...or the NRA...or the throngs of "gun clingers" in this country. I've outlined my response AND my solutions to these tragedies on numerous occasions in this blog and other areas of social media...a lot good it does, sure, but I'll continue because who knows...someday people may WANT to solve this problem and these suggestions are rock solid, can be achieved with little controversy, AND can be implemented by the man at the top...


#1...you control the FBI, ATF, the entire Justice Department...you have a team of constitutional attorneys at your whim...you CAN put resources toward enforcing the Federal Gun Act of 1968 which outlaws possession of a firearm by any felon or person with a mental illness. Start there.


#2...you can suspend portions of the 4th Amendment in dealing with these people AND their complicit relatives...certain people should not have guns, the Gun Act says this...it's time to get serious about not only getting guns out of the hands of these people, but also limiting their access to them...


#3...you can immediately stop naming the suspects, dead or alive, of ANY incident of this sort. The media is complicit in giving these scumbags the notoriety they seek and this can be immediately quashed. Minors, rape victims' names, etc. remain confidential...I say these individuals also need to remain anonymous...


THIS IS JUST A START. There are many, MANY other things which you as President of the United States can do IMMEDIATELY! THEN, we can start talking about all the things you and other people on the left want to achieve without folks on the right immediately thinking confiscation. IT CAN BE DONE!!! So, get with it...




Thursday, September 17, 2015

Again...what NO ONE ELSE is saying!

Here we go again...the minimum wage...the federal minimum wage...again, there have been recent demonstrations by various factions (unions) demanding a $15 an hour federal minimum wage for all, but specifically fast food workers. Again...various factions (business) say such a rapid increase would create a financial strain on businesses resulting in increased unemployment. It seems as though we go through this every few months or years and eventually, a bone gets thrown to the masses and they go away, at least temporarily.


The arguments are ALWAYS the same...maintaining the status quo in the face of inflation or the increased cost of living is unfair to workers who put in an honest days work...and raising the minimum wage will be a hardship for (especially small) businesses. One side says anyone who works a 40 hour week should be able to make enough to at least remain above the national poverty level...and the other says the minimum wage is for entry level, or unskilled, untrained labor who simply need to get their foot (feet) inside the door. Good arguments all...


But what about states and municipalities who have already increased their minimum wage? Doesn't this impact what the federal minimum wage should be? Maybe...but the federal minimum wage is simply a base. In fact, a very small percentage of workers earn the federal minimum wage, less than one percent actually. Again, one side might argue, however, without this "base," overall wages might be driven even lower...while the other says the free market dictates wages, and thus very few workers will actually earn the minimum.


So...what to do, what to do...schedule some federal minimum wage increases over the next few years? Perhaps half a buck an hour every year the next few years...therefore keeping the low income workers below the poverty level and in need of additional government assistance (and naturally future union representation)...AND at the same time allowing business(es) to believe they are not passing along the additional labor costs to the consumer. Then, we can go through this every few months for the next few years...


What if...what if we enacted some sort of "tiered" minimum wage law? The entry level employee would start at (at least) the basic federal minimum wage and thereafter, receive automatic boosts depending on length of employment and documented value to the employer (number of hours worked). Unfair, you say...because it might stifle employee mobility or create an atmosphere where an unscrupulous employer could take advantage of their most vulnerable employees? This would be simple enough to prevent...the federal government already monitors hours worked and where employees actually work. It would easy to monitor these factors and keep track of "if an employee maintains a baseline level of employment."


It couldn't work, right? Because business would balk at the additional responsibility of maintaining employee records and then having to pay higher wages...and government, well, government would naturally be averse to providing any kind of additional service with no direct benefit. On the contrary, business would be encouraged to maintain their employees through savings in training costs, etc. and government would be in line for higher taxes based on employee's higher wages...there could even be a benefit factored in whereby additional taxes paid by these higher income workers would be rebated to the businesses in question (perhaps a 50/50 split with the IRS).


But, isn't making government "bigger" always a problem? Won't conservatives be against anything which increases the size of government? Conversely, doesn't giving more power to the government and employers always come at the expense of the employee? Won't the unions be against something which takes power away from the worker? You're right...I guess the only answer is Bernie Sanders. Now, THAT'S something no one else is saying...yet...




Tuesday, August 25, 2015

...former Americans against the Democrat(ic) Party...

I've been spending a lot of time on social media of late. Go ahead and shoot me, but I like opinion articles. I follow a lot of Facebook pages and Twitter accounts (Instagram I save for fun)...I do appreciate all viewpoints, even from (what I consider) evil pages like Occupy Democrat (yes, I don't know why a progressive, no, an anti-conservative site would leave out the "ic" as in Democrat-ic) and I also like just plain partisan pages like the Huffington Post and Breitbart.com...one thing for sure though...there are A LOT of whack-os out there...


Speaking of the Occupy Democrat(ic) page...they hate it when you call them the Democrat Party, so I'm just trying to be respectful here...but speaking of the OD page, pick a topic, any topic and OD will find a way to blame a Republican (no problem), a Conservative (at times), or all who aren't OD (hold on there, Arlo)...I've noticed it often, but more predominately from the left, that there are a bunch of  "anti" or "against" pages on the Internet...therefore...


I am going to start my own Facebook page, entitled "Former Americans against the Democrat(ic) Party." Well, when I get around to it, that is...at any rate, since we like being against people, places, or things, I thought I'd jump into the mix...sort of like I did with football teams...for instance, the Oakland Raiders...a loyal fan base, to say the least. The majority of Oakland/LA Raiders' fans love to hate other teams (especially the 49ers, the Broncos, and the Chiefs) almost to the point it appears they care less about their own team's success than the fate of their "enemies."


After attending a 49ers-Raiders' game (AT the old Candlestick Park, home of the 49ers) and being seated among at least a dozen Raiders' fans for every 49ers' fan, I witnessed first hand what needed to be done. Raiders' fans were abusive to the extreme and despite it only being a preseason game, they continued berating everyone within earshot, almost ignoring the action on the field (they were winning, by the way), only cheering when a 49ers' player was injured and carried off the field. I thereafter decided to become an anti-Raiders' fan...and would "root for whichever" team was facing the Raiders that particular week.


Many were amused, more were bewildered, and some were (even) outraged that I wasn't a "fan of ANY football team," and chose to spread my allegiances in such a manner. I shrugged my shoulders and thought, "oh well, I've never really been a fan of any particular team anyway, so..." However, seeing the reaction for something as pedestrian (and meaningless in the long term) as football, it appears to be an appropriate mind set to take toward what has (now) become an ideological war (a political football, if you will) in our country today.


So, that's it...I guess it's time to "fight fire with fire." I've always treated this blog with a humorous, quasi-neutral approach to politics, opting not to follow or endorse any candidate or Party. No, not even Donald Trump, a post for another day, but a clear indication the country is sick of the bifurcated nature of politics today, ESPECIALLY in the last 15 or so years. So, "Former Americans against the Democrat(ic) Party," it is...why former, you ask? Well, as I've stated clearly in previous posts, I believe we are past the "point of no return," and the Democrat(ic)s may have already bought the farm. I just hope they understand the harvest doesn't come in the mail each month...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Maybe I AM the problem...

I've been away for several weeks...busy moving...and yes, 2015 marks the first time in years I will not be a resident of the State of California. I know, I know, I wimped out and took the "Gray Train," to Nevada last year...and now, bought a house here (I like to call it Hooterville) and finished moving from our rental a couple of days ago. No, I haven't stayed away from the news in our country, even the happenings in California...heck, I still have family in CA.


However, the news of  the skinny white punk who entered a well known black church in Charleston, SC, and shot/killed 9 worshippers for no reason other than racial animus and hatred, well, it's almost too much to bear. Pundits on both sides immediately pounced...even the President of the United States. The only people not treating the tragedy as an opportunity seemed to be the people of Charleston and the families of the victims themselves. While the president was busy fundraising and calling for "us to do something about gun violence," others were spouting the mental health angle, and still others we're wondering (aloud, mind you) why black youths who commit crime are called "thugs," while white criminals are called "disturbed." Really?


But why am I the problem, you ask? Well, as I observed the country tumbling into a sort of divisive abyss, I felt there was nothing left for me except to simply get out...or get out of the way. Especially in California, if you're not a left-leaning liberal Democrat, or a political/professional elite (you know, actor, athlete, artist, or activist) well, you're really not welcome. What good could I do, I thought? Nobody wanted to work together, certainly not our leaders, NONE of them...


I even contemplated moving to Mexico, but aside from the fact that they don't really want Yanks there either, it wouldn't have made sense to continue paying US taxes while living in another country. Plus, I don't feel that the direction the country is headed warrants such a drastic action. Hey, I'm more Libertarian than anything, so if a collectivist, re-distributive, bloated government is what the people want, I'll make it work for me and my family...I hope. Still, even though I've kept writing my blog and waiting for the proper moment to jump back into the fold, I can't help but feel that I've abandoned my country.


So, how can I help? That's all I ever wanted to do...it's why I chose the line of work I did for 26-plus years. But, how exactly can I help? I'd be pleased as punch to hear from any (either) of my readers with suggestions. Seriously, watching and monitoring the media and calling them out from time to time does not seem to be catching on...it's almost like you "have to" pick a side to be taken seriously, seriously...


...I DON'T WANT TO BE A FOX NEWS BUTT BOY...but quite frankly, they're probably the only media organization that would have me (well, until the "butt boy" comment)...because nobody in the quote-unquote mainstream media wants any kind of oversight, that's for sure...and the left wing media, well, I'd rather slit my wrists (hey, put away that switchblade!). Most of all though, I'm getting tired of inserting my (warranted) perspective into all these tragic stories...when it seems that most others don't give a rat's ass...but yeah, I'm the problem...right...








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