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The World According to Mikey

 

  I enjoy talking  to people who can articulate their position  in a manner that I can understand and the

principles and facts behind it. 'An opinion without facts is just an opinion.'

      

 - Favorite Quotes

 - Favorite Sayings / Concepts 

 - Rants

 - Irony

 

          
Anarchist Left Wing Liberal Centrist Conservative Right Wing Authoritarian

   

Some arbitrary info on stuff that interests me:

    

    - I have a  theory ...     (htm) 

    - US Budget Numbers Only  

   - Clinton Foundation 2013 Form 990 (pdf)

    - Verbal Concepts    (htm) 

     - Liberals vs. Conservatives     (htm)

   - Trump Quotes  (pdf)

  - Human Nature / Principles  (htm)

    - What have I learned lately     (htm)

   - Health Care     (htm) (work in progress)

       

 

   2017                        

Russian

Propaganda

on

Facebook

09/10/17

Facebook announced Wednesday that a Russian propaganda organization used the social media platform to purchase $100,000 of political advertising.

Fact & Opinion:

   

I love it.  "Facebook found 470 inauthentic accounts associated with approximately 3,000 political ads from June 2015 to May 2017. The ad purchases and accounts are affiliated with a Russian “troll farm,” dubbed the Internet Research Agency, which spreads pro-Russian propaganda and false information across the World Wide Web". 

    

Zuckerberg is one of Trump's most outspoken critics and it turns out that FACEBOOK may have actually helped turn the election for Trump.  It turns out that a better case could be made for Zuckerberg colluding with the Russians than Trump.  I'm still waiting (and waiting) for the evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians. 

   

I much bigger and more important issue that doesn't get much press attention is the use of FACEBOOK by ISIS, the Taliban, and other radical groups to promote their own ideologies which ends up in the deaths of many Americans!

 

(fact source: PBS)

 

                           

Charlottesville

and

Democrats

08/13/17

White nationalists and Nazi extremists emerged on Charlottesville under the guise of protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.  A number of counter protesters showed up and a random right-winger murdered and injured numerous counter protesters with his automobile.     

Fact & Opinion:

   

First, news images of the protesters carrying Nazi and Confederate flags is just offensive and disgusting.  End of discussion. While I'm registered to vote in California as a NPP (no political party), you'd think that I would now be a welcome convert to the Democratic party.  It's a no-brainer. 

 

I guess you didn't watch Meet the Press the following Sunday morning.  I was constantly reminded that I'm automatically a racist because I was born white, I'm privileged, and I just don't understand the plight of the African American in history.  Update #1:  I just learned that I'm also tribal and a member of an axis of the right wing.  Nice. Thanks NBC. 

Update #2: I've just been advised by Michael Moore that because I support the presidency, even though I didn't vote for him, I'm also a racist.

Update #3: I've just leaned from Hillary (09/13/17),  that I'm also a white supremest, islamaphobe, and homophobe. 

  

How the hell am I supposed to vote Democrat after watching this crap.  The entire show felt more like a trial (of me) than a news commentary.  I was just plain pissed off being lumped in with a bunch of white racists I have nothing to do with.  At least one commentator on Meet the Press thought the Democrats were "casting too wide a net".  Very wise but too late.  The other panelists dismissed his comment anyway.   Democrats, by nature, constantly "slice and dice" all Americans into nice little groups so they can attack them. Isn't this racist?  I didn't vote for Trump but it sure is getting more difficult to vote for any Democrat. 

 

(fact source: General News and Meet the Press)

 

               

Trump Care

07/07/17

It doesn't look like that there will be any resolution to the healthcare "insurance" crises anytime soon, especially "repeal and replace" as promised by Republicans to their voters in the last election. 

Fact & Opinion:  

It is kind of embarrassing that the Republicans, after bitching for 6 years, didn't even have a replacement plan ready.  Now, the House can't agree with the Senate. Elected Republican officials can't agree with their constituencies.  No one can agree with Trump. Even the Democrats are fighting between themselves.  No one agrees with the CBO.   In fact, no one can even agree on any facts.  It doesn't get any better than this.

   

Now comes the hard part.  Is healthcare a "right" to be administered by the federal government?  Not literally according to the Constitution. Then the question becomes can a wealthy, successful capitalistic society find a way to provide basic health care for everyone.  In my opinion, the answer is yes.  Notice that I said "basic". 

 

The pursuit of extraordinary cancer cures and and other extremely sophisticated medical procedures are commendable but seem to be bringing our health care system to its financial knees. No one will have decent health care if this happens.  Unfortunately, it's going to be tough  to resolve this problem and I don't think we have anyone in Washington DC that can figure this out.  Basic healthcare, especially for communicable diseases and emergencies, should be a right for the protection of all Americans but extraordinary care should not.  I have no clue where to draw the the line but it is going to be drawn. 

 

(fact source: General News)

 

                   

Paris

Climate

Accord

06/01/17

President Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate change.    

Fact & Opinion:  

Ugh.  This will suck all the oxygen out of the room (politically).  Maybe that is what Trump wanted in order to divert attention from other issues.  In reality, this was not unexpected as this is what he promised his base during the presidential election.  Remember, neither the Democrats of the establishment Republicans wanted him for President.  It was his base that put him in office.  

 

The Paris Accord was a non-binding agreement which allowed the U.S. to take a leadership position on world opinion on global warming (if the U.S. was smart about it). While it prescribed CO2 reductions for nations of the world, in reality, it was about the money.  I wish Trump would have just said that.  Maybe he did. The U.S. has reduced its CO2 emissions 18% since 2002 while China and India don't have to start reducing theirs till 2030.

 

Trump's major objection was that the agreement requires the U.S. to pay the majority share of an annual $100 billion climate fund which allocates money to poorer nations including China to help them meet their CO2 reduction goals. Trump believed that would be unfair to the American worker/taxpayer who would actually be footing the bill.  He is not all wrong about that.  

       

As a conservative, I have already installed solar panels, LED lighting, drive a high mileage automobile, and planted a couple dozen trees.  My guess is that most of the climate zealots have not done that so why do I also have to pay for them.   Furthermore, CO2 is heavier than air and the CO2 produced on the ground is utilized by trees and shrubs to produce oxygen (and acidize the ocean), and the CO2 emitted from private jets at 30,000 feet from proponents of climate change flying to climate conferences, remains in the atmosphere and actually does cause global warming. It seems that hypocrisy is running rampant these days.

  

Succinctly, reducing all pollution is a fantastic idea.  The good news is that as you reduce criteria air pollutants (H2S, NOX, SOX), CO2 pollution is also reduced, and after Germany, the U.S. is a leader in this area.  It's just good business to reduce air pollution and companies and states will be financially motivated to continue to do so.  All Trump did was remove the "command and control" mandate. 

 

Update: Did Trump really withdraw the U.S. from the  Paris Climate Accord?  He could have reneged on the agreement and gotten the U.S. out now, but he didn't.  He announced that the U.S. was withdrawing under the termination process written in the agreement.  That process takes at least 4 years before even beginning.  Perhaps Trump just wanted a little time for some renegotiation.  Some European countries have refused to consider renegotiation but at least they have 4 years to think about it.  The general news media doesn't quite get it right again. 

 

(fact source: General News)

 

         

Bill

O'Reilly

Fired

04/22/17

After 50 advertisers withdrew and Fox News paid out over $13 million in settlements, Bill O'Reilly was fired from the O'Reilly Factor.   

Fact & Opinion:  

I knew O'Reilly could be a pompous A-xxxx and there is video of him in the studio blowing his cool but it is the sexual harassment allegations that got him fired.  My problem is that they are only allegations but there certainly are a lot of them.  I'm sure many of the people that do not like O'Reilly would have preferred to get rid of Trump, but O'Reilly was the next best thing.   If O'Reilly actually did overtly sexually harassment these women, then he should have been fired long ago, but so far, even from the accusations, I have not seen anything that rose to that level. (Punishment yes, firing no.)  I wish some of these cases would go to trial so we can find out what really happened and update my opinion with some facts.

 

Obviously, it took a well organized effort to convince the advertisers to withdraw their support of the O'Reilly Factor. I have no facts on who was behind the effort, if anyone.  For the advertisers, this was a business decision.  I do have doubts that the people behind the effort ever watched the program. I work for a company in an industry that is constantly getting sued because people don't like our product (gasoline).  We are a small company and we settle just about every case because it costs us more to fight in court than to just settle.  We are not guilty of anything but we still get sued.  I wonder if a little of this happened to the Fox network. 

     

I was a little slow in responding to this event until I realized that Bill was one of the few moderate forces on the Fox network and I no longer have the opportunity to watch his show. The people who hated O'Reilly, although they never watched him, have now removed my ability and opportunity to watch his show.  Congratulations, you won.  Somehow, in the long run, I feel the people of America lost. 

 

I have a hard time watching many shows on Fox because of their right wing ideology, e.g. Hannity, but the firing of O'Reilly has left the viewing public with a potentially even more right wing network.

(fact source: General News)

 

                  

UAL

Unfriendly

Skies

04/12/17

Social media exposed a passenger (who refused to exit an United Airlines flight) being dragged down the center isle after refusing to give up his seat when asked by UAL employees. Four passengers were randomly selected and paid $800 to take a later flight.  One doctor refused since he had appointments he needed to make the following morning.   

Fact & Opinion:  

Huh.  This is intriguing on many different levels and brings up a bunch of legal issues:

     

  1) How did he get on the plane in the first place.  UAL should have never allowed passengers to get on the plane if they

        didn't have enough space to begin with.  This is just bad policy and procedure. 

  2) Actually the flight was not over-booked, AOL just needed seats to accommodate other UAL employees. Oops.

        Over-booking rules may not apply.  This is just plain old assault.

  3) UAL only offered $800 when they could have legally offered $1,350.  Again, questionable UAL policy.

  4) The security personnel weren't really authorized police but employees from a private security firm.  Do I hear Kidnap?

  5) UAL ran for cover under over-booking regulations even though UAL helped write (or at least lobbied) the regulations.

  6) The fine print of the UAL ticket removes many legal rights from the customer.  I have never believed this to be fair

         and the faster fine print like this gets to the Supreme Court, the better. 

 

The following day, the CEO of UAL libeled the customer by bringing up his character and past history which had nothing to do with the specific situation of being dragged down the center aisle of the jet.  KaChing !!!!! 

(fact source: General News)

 

                   

Sunday

Morning

Political

Shows

04/02/17

The Sunday morning political shows spent more time covering the Russians spreading fake news than any other issue.  

Fact & Opinion:  

Congratulations traditional media.  You just wasted another Sunday morning NOT talking about issues that actually

affect American citizens.  Nice dodge.  Also, you are so concerned that the Russians are trying to undermine

our democracy.  I didn't realize our democracy was so weak.  You don't have much confidence in America, do you? 

 

(fact source: Sunday morning political shows)

 

                   

Fake News

vs.

Phony News

03/26/17

During the 2016 Presidential Election, approximately 50% of news could have been "fake" news.  60 Minutes even interviewed an attorney who was financially successful posting news that he believed to be true but was not based on any facts or truths.  People just ate it up. 

Fact & Opinion:  

I don't understand, but apparently there still is a large demand for fake news.  My theory is that when I watch traditional news (CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX), there are so many incorrect facts, missing facts, and biased facts that it is not a large leap from this traditional phony news to fake news.  It is actually the fault of traditional media that this phenomena is occurring.  Traditional media has become increasingly liberal in the last decade, probably because of Bush, to the point that a lot of what they report simply isn't credible anymore.  Hence, the wide acceptance of fake news. 

 

(fact source: CBS 60 Minutes)

 

                  

Woman's

March

01/21/17

Just watched the Women's March on TV.

Fact & Opinion:  

The irony is that it was the Tea Party that is attacking women's rights and gained lots of seats in the House and Senate last November which had nothing to do with Trump.

    

Trump is quite vulgar but getting rid of him will allow Mike Pence and the Tea Party free reign over Washington. Trump could care less about repealing Women's Choice and Gay rights. All are welcome at his hotels. He's a business person, not an idealog. The Woman's March only weakens Trump's political capital and gives more political power to the Tea Party. Brilliant.

 

(fact source: General TV Media)

 

                   

Meryl

Streep

01/08/17

"Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick us all out, you’ll have nothing to watch except for football and mixed martial arts, which are not arts," 

Fact & Opinion:  

This quote just makes me angry.  It looks like I really am a "deplorable" and, all of a sudden, proud of it. 

    

I sense the Meryl Streep's hierocracy as Trump is married to a lady from Slovenia and all people of all races, religious, and sexual preferences are welcome at his hotels.  He also employs thousands of people from all walks of life.  Does Meryl do that or does she just talk about.  I think I just read that 93% of all directors in Hollywood are male. 

 

A little reality, that night the NFL playoff game garnered 2.5 times more viewers than the Golden Globes.

 

(fact source: Golden Globes Awards)

 

                  

Senator

Feinstein

01/15/17

Feinstein announced that she believes that the election results would have been different if the DNC had not been hacked by the Russians.

Fact & Opinion:  

 - Trump won 3,084 counties, Clinton won 57. News flash, the US consists of more than just California and New York.

 - Comey and the prospect of a 3rd "Obama term" did more damage to Hillary than Putin could have done.

 - The Clintons left the White House broke and are now worth $111 million.  And democrats are worried about Trump!

 - The Clinton Foundation received $144 million in 2013 and $287 million in 2016 while Hillary ran for president.  Hmmm.

 - So far, none of the emails appear to have been modified.  (The Clinton Foundation was a "profit center" for many). 

 - I am stunned that anyone would think that Russia wasn't trying to not hack into the elections.

 - If my password was "Password", to gain access to the database at the company I work for, I would have been fired.

 - Hillary didn't get a lot of votes from disappointed Sanders fans who just didn't show up on election day.   

        (How ironic, Hillary may have lost the election because of another Democrat.)

   

In short, I held my nose and voted for Hillary (I live in a blue state).  Based on the recent Democrat reaction, if the election were held again today, I would definitely vote for Trump without any reservation. 

  

 

(fact source: Meet the Press)

 

                  

Meryl

Antoinette

01/09/17

Marie Antoinette enjoyed an over-the-top lavish life style at the expense of the French people prior to the French Revolution in 1792.  For some reason, Meryl Streep reminded me of Marie Antoinette in her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes Awards.

Fact & Opinion:  

I was stunned by all the glitz, glamour, gold, champagne, and caviar on display at the Golden Globes Awards and the Hollywood A-lists that were in attendance. The decadence was really disturbing in light of what the majority of Americans are still struggling economically.  Her acceptance speech thoroughly denigrated Americans who work, pay their taxes, obey the laws, and are the foundation of this country. (Ironically, some of these people pay to see her movies and are responsible for her success and wealth.)  Both Marie and Meryl had no clue as to the extent of their hypocrisy.

  

 

(fact source: General Media)

 

               

Russian Hacking

01/05/17

17 U.S. Intelligence Agencies are in consensus that Russia hacked the DNC with the intent of affecting the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Fact & Opinion:

Really? Since when is consensus proof of anything?  The U.S. is still licking its wounds from a consensus that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.  5,000 soldiers dead. 15,000 crippled for life.  750,000 other dead in the M.E. $3 trillion drained from the U.S. Treasury.  I don't remember hearing an apology from the Intelligence Agencies on that fiasco.   

  

The Russians trying to hack the US? I thought just about every country in the world was trying to hack the U.S. government and American companies.  I thought the Chinese recently hacked all the personnel records of the federal government.  Haven't they been hacking American companies for decades. Who knew! 

    

"Password"?  That was Podesta's password that led to the hack of the DNC.  Why does Podesta still have a job! 

 

McCain and other Republicans think that the act of hacking rises to the level of war.  What's his end game, dropping bombs on Russia. This guy is truly dangerous. By his logic, should Israel and Germany declare war on the U.S. after we hacked them and tried to affect their elections. 

   

Update: 01/06/17.  Clapper (head of US intelligence) has just announced that Russia was behind the hacking. Clapper has presented no proof to the American public. Julian  Assange (Wikileaks) says it wasn't. The intelligence community unanimously does not believe Assange yet it was Clapper last year who proclaimed that the CIA was not data-mining the American people, yet it turned out that he was.  Let's also not forget about the Benghazi fiasco where the American people were told that the attack was because of a video.  Who am I supposed to believe, an alleged traitor or an American official with a track record of not telling the truth?

   

The good news is that it turned out that none of Hillary's email were proven to be doctored or manipulated.  What Wikipedia published were her genuine emails.  Trump was absolutely correct when he tweeted that the U.S. Intelligence agencies need a change of leadership. 

 

(fact source: General Media)

 

    2016                 

DNC

 Hacking

or

Hillary

12/11/16

The DNC was deliberately hacked by Russia to help Trump win the U.S. election.

Fact & OPINION:

Ugh.  I don't know about Russia but I do know that James Comey, Director of the FBI, threw Hillary under the bus right before the election be stating that the FBI may have found thousands more emails on Hillary's email server.  Nice.  Who needs enemies when you have friends like that. 

 

Yes, the RNC servers were not hacked.  Either the Russians didn't target the RNC or maybe the RNC just simply had better administration and electronic of their servers.  Remember, who was violating federal government email policy?  Hasn't Obama had 7 years to protect the "homeland" from hacking and viruses generated outside the U.S.  Isn't that what Homeland Security is supposed to be doing! 

 

In short, the election was Hillary's to lose.  Hillary had many opportunities to win but chose to focus her campaign on the "Coasts" instead the rest of the country. Wisconsin was a blue state that guaranteed Hillary 10 delegates but she never even campaigned in the state, and as a result, lost the state to Trump.  Even a recount ended up giving Trump 160 more votes. 

 

The fact that President Obama refused to admit that there was Islamic Terrorism in the world, recognize that tons of Heroin was flowing in from our southern border, and recognize that manufacturing jobs were rapidly moving to Mexico from the Mid-West, was also part of the problem.  In retrospect, it seems pretty simple. 

 

(fact source: Meet the Press and General Media)

 

                   

Fidel Castro

 Deceased

11/27/16

Castro is deceased and we first learned about him while watching our 12" B&W TVs over 50 years ago.

Fact & OPINION:

This is too good to pass up.  In Cuba, the citizens are still getting their government news, if at all, on 12" B&W TVs while Americans get theirs on 65", UHD, 4K, backlit LCD TV's. Even poor Americans are watching their own 32" LCD TVs.  Isn't this a metaphor on the economic difference between Communism and Capitalism.  Castro literally took a tropical paradise and turned it into one of the poorest, per capita, countries in the world.  (There were some issues with the Mafia but that could have been resolved with police action, not a dictatorship.)

 

Castro was successful at equalizing all Cuban citizens, unfortunately to the lowest common denominator.  Average wage?  $20 per month.  Castro's own net worth? $900 million.  (But he was for the people!)

 

(fact source: Meet the Press and General Media)

 

                  

Clinton

 Net Worth

11/20/16

Democrat pundits are concerned that Trump will use the Presidency to increase his own wealth.

Fact & OPINION:

On first thought, this is not an unreasonable opinion.  However, I sense a degree of hypocrisy on the part of the pundits promoting this idea. Bill and Hillary Clinton left the White House with little wealth and managed to accumulate $111 million in wealth since then.  Nice. They also created the Clinton Foundation which receives substantial contributions annually  from financial institutions and foreign governments. (In 2012- $51.4 million, 2013 - $144.3, 2015 - $291) Wow. The Clintons don't receive a salary from the Foundation but its seems that the foundation pays a lot of someone's expenses.

 

I do fear that Trump will use his position to reduce his income tax to an extent that it actually jeopardizes the financial integrity of the U.S. economy just like what happened during the last Bush administration.  Famous quote, it's Déjà vu all over again.     

 

 

(fact source: Meet the Press and General Media)

 

                   

Trump

 Wins

11/07/16

Trump won the electoral college and will become the 45th president of the United States.

Fact & OPINION:

That's a big YIKES but when you look at a map of the US (by county), Trump's win was an absolute blow out. 

 

I'm registered NPP, but Trump will be our next president, and I do have some points to be optimistic:  (crossing fingers)

   - Trump is not an idealog.  We could have had Ted Cruz or Bernie Sanders as president.  Thank god!

   - Trump is energetic.  He seems to get things done.  Please, no more lectures.  Professors are for Universities.

   - Trump can see through the crap.  Just because the same worn stories keep ricocheting in Washington DC

          inner circles, doesn't mean they are true.

   - Trump is gregarious and not afraid to meet with his critics.  Obama met with Speaker only 2 times in the last 7 years. 

   - Trump is a lot more liberal than both Republicans or Democrats realize.  He can now go back to common

         sense solutions instead of his "show business" rhetoric.  Republicans will be stunned.

   - Trump may or may not be successful at building a wall but at least there may be a little more security at the

         border which could limit the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.

   - The U.S. relationship with China, Russia, and other countries appears to have deteriorated over the last couple years.

         Perhaps Trump can reboot these relationships.

   - Obama was simply too predictable and was taken advantage of by foreign governments.  Not Trump.

   - Canada and Mexico will not renegotiate NAFTA but they have said they will "modernize" it.  That's already a WIN. 

   - Obama passed more regulations than any other president. More regulations are a huge advantage to large

        corporations over their small business competition, especially in traditional industry. This has got to change.

 

  There is a common theme above. In a fact free election, personality really counts. 

 

(fact source: General Media)

 

     2016            

Trump, SS, and Old

 White Men

10/2916

On a static basis, Trump's tax reduction plan will reduce income taxes by $5.9 trillion (down from $10 trillion).

Fact & OPINION:

Please note that this does not include a reduction in corporate taxes, capital gains, an increase in deductions, and the privatization of hundreds of billions of infrastructure assets already paid for by the citizenry. 

 

How does this affect old white men?  Old white men get the lion's share of Social Security payouts and where do you think the money to try to balance the budget is going to come from!  You got it.  Social Security provides a "huge" cash flow to the federal government and Congress will be forced to dip into it to shore up the US balance sheet.  Hello "needs testing".  And who needs it the least, old white men.  "Hasta la vista, baby."

 

(fact source: General Media)

 

                  

Obama

made

Trump

10/1516

Had Obama not acted so casual or indifferent about very important issues affecting the middle class,

the Republican candidate might have been a different person. 

Fact & OPINION:

It's not the facts or principles, but the feeling that Obama is just not capable of acting in the average working citizen's best interests:

     

     Stop being professorial and explaining issues and start acting like a leader, make decisions, and take action. 

     Yes, you can call the bad guys in the Middle East "Islamist Terrorists".

     I live in an area where 60% of the people don't speak English.  This includes Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders,

           and multitudes of other immigrants.  It's hard to believe that anything is being done about immigration, legal or not. 

     Explain to me why my health insurance cost has more than doubled in the last 8 years under the Affordable Care Act.

     I know your predecessor was responsible for destabilizing the Middle East but can't you act more military-like. 

 

(fact source: General discussion)

 

              

Mike Pence

10/05/16

Mike Pence and Tim Kaine debated each other in the VP debate.

Fact & OPINION:

I may have to give Senator Pence the edge in style in the VP debate.  He certainly had the larger challenge. 

However, there are certain things about Pence that scare the hell out of me: 

   

     Pence is a supporter of the Tea Party movement that shut down the US Government a few years ago.

     Pence wants to privatize Social Security.

     Pence wants to voucherize Medicare. 

     Pence does not believe in evolution. 

     Pence held up HIV Research Legislation in order to add a provision to promote "conversion" therapy.

     Pence defends Trump when he said we're going to punish women for having abortions.

     Pence challenged Putin (that guy's a bully) in the VP debate which is never a smart thing to do. 

 

I realize that many of the points made above are exactly what many Republicans are looking for in a candidate. 

(fact source: General media)

 

                

Clinton/Trump

Math Quiz

10/04/16

Rasmussen announces that the race for President is tied.

Fact & OPINION:

I need to go back to school to improve my math skills.  I seem to have missed a class or two.

 

     A vast majority of "African Americans" will vote for Hillary.

     A clear majority of "Hispanics" and "people of color" (non African American) will vote for Hillary.

     A majority of "white women" will vote for Hillary.

     A majority of "college educated white men" will vote for Hillary.

     26% of Americans identify as Republican and a few percent more as Democrat.  The independent vote is critical.

     A vast majority of "non-college educated white men" will vote for Donald.

 

Am I missing something. (This is just a math test; not a judgment or endorsement.)

At least we will know reality on November 8.

 

Well it's 11/14/16 and I am set to eat crow. I sure got this one wrong.  If you look at a map of the US with all the counties that leaned Trump (red), it was a wipe out for Democrats.  I live in Southern California and along with San Francisco, Seattle, New York and some college towns, there are simply not enough electoral college votes to win a presidential election. I also believe that the Trump campaign was relentless at pointing out Hillary's questionable ethics and that worked very well. 

 

(fact source: Rasmussen)

 

               

Trump is

Really Good

10/28/16

Many polls now have Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton.  

Fact & OPINION:

I know there are a lot of people who literally hate Hillary Clinton but I can't believe that they would vote for a guy that has:

  

     Gone bankrupt 4 times (great businessman),

     Has thousands of lawsuits against him,

     Hasn't paid even more thousands of workers,

     Has 5 deferments (supports the military),

     Has never given a shit about the little guy (and won't if elected president),

     Licenses his name to developers to sell overpriced condos to unwitting individuals,  (who lose all their money)

     Trump University,

     Has had 3 marriages (for you evangelicals),

     Pays no income tax (he's worth billions), and

     Will more than likely use the office of the presidency to further enhance his own wealth. (as will Hillary)

  

This guy is really good. If you can vote for a person with this pedigree, you are a better person than I am.  

(fact source: General media)

 

                 

Bob

Dylan

08/14/16

"Clowns to the left of me!  Jokers to the right!  Here I am stuck in the middle with you."

Fact & OPINION:

Absolutely brilliant lyrics.  However, for the 2016 presidential election, I would modify the lyrics to "Crooks to the left of me, clowns to the right"

(fact source: Internet)

 

                

Gun

Rights

06/1816

60 Minutes recently aired an episode discussing the US government trying to gradually take away our gun rights.  They also discussed the potential issue with smart guns and how allowing them would eventually take away the right to own a gun without "smart" technology.

Fact & OPINION:

I do own a 410 over/under which I keep in storage and use when I go hunting.  I do not keep a gun at home for fear of someone in our family accidentally shooting themselves or someone else.  It happens about 12,000 times per year in the US. I began to get upset when I realized that while the NRA and ardent gun owners are protecting their own rights, they have no problem making sure that I don't have the right to own a smart gun.  This actually pisses me off.

(fact source: CBS -  June  2016)

 

                

Orlando

Shooting

06/1616

"How many mistakes can we make?"

   'It was a mistake to invade Iraq.'

   'It was a mistake to abandon Iraq.'

   'It is a mistake to allow so many, improperly vetted Middle Eastern males into the US.'

   'It is a mistake to allow terrorist groups to use social media (or at least not allow the FBI to monitor it).'

   'It is a mistake to underestimate the power of Shania and the separation of church and state.'

   'It is a mistake to allow people on the "no fly list" to legally purchase guns in the US.'

Fact & OPINION:

Enough said.

(fact source: KFI Radio -  June  2016)

 

                

Who to

Vote for

04/0316

In case you missed it, the presidential nomination process hasn't been a cakewalk for the establishment in either party. I don't have time to bore you with the details but have an observation on how I might vote.

Fact & OPINION:

"I would rather vote for a good person with whom I disagree than a bad person with whom I agree." (In the primary.)  What is a bad person?  One definition, for this purpose, is a person who is deceptive and willingly lies or leaves out the truth for his own personal gain.  Chances are that the bad person, once elected, will change their mind anyway and you will no longer be in agreement. I want your vote so I can take it away.  It happens.

(fact source: General Media -  April  2016)

 

                  

Ted Cruz

Positions

03/0616

Cruz represents the right wing of the Republican party and his positions are very in-line with the party.

Fact & OPINION:

Trade:  Cruz was initially a supporter of "fast track" for the Trans Pacific Partnership (before he was against it.)

Exports:  Opposed the Export-Import Bank which provides low-cost financing to US companies competing overseas. 

    (Definitely don't want to help American companies trying to compete against foreign Gov't subsidized companies.)

Taxes:  Proposed abolition of the IRS and implementation of flat tax.  (The rich are going to become really rich.)

Min. Wage:  The "minimum wage consistently hurts the most vulnerable".  (Does this really hurt the vulnerable?)

Scope of Gov't:  Eliminate Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Commerce, and Dept. of Housing.  (unknown)

Women's Choice:  Supports eliminating all federal funding to Planned parenthood (and all other services for women.)

Healthcare:  "Obamacare is a disaster".  (I can't seem to find his solution for the healthcare problem.)

Immigration:  Opposes Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. (Is this Christian?)

LGBT: Opposes both same-sex marriage and civil unions.  (So much for personal freedom.)

Climate Change:  Opposes EPA.  (How about just reducing all pollution and cleaning up the environment.)

    (The bible states that man is the guardian and caretaker of the planet.)

Middle East:  "Knowing what we know now, of course we wouldn't go into Iraq." 

    (Hans Blix inspected and confirmed that  Iraq didn't have or ever have weapons of mass destruction before the war.  

(fact source: General Media -  March,  2016)

 

                  

Social

Security

Cola

02/2716

Fact: 

Social Security COLA is tied to the Consumer Price Index and SS recipients will receive no increase in 2016.

OPINION:

Really? I know the price of gasoline and the stock market have gone down but that's the only thing I can think of.  My healthcare premium, deductible, and cost of service went up at least 8% in the past year.  My property taxes were up 2%, insurance on my house and vehicles 3%, the general real estate market up 11%, and food at least 10%.

(fact source: General Media -  February,  2016)

 

                   

Ted

Cruz

01/2216

Fact: 

Ted Cruz appears to be the favorite of the most right wing members of the Republican Party.

OPINION:

If I remember correctly, didn't Cruz single-handedly shut down the US Government a couple yeas ago and then try to do it again in September 2015.  Our military, due to sequestration, still hasn't recovered.  Wasn't the cost of the fist shut down over $6 billion.   ISIS couldn't have done a more effective job.   

(fact source: General Media -  December 08,  2015)

 

   2015            (Idea of the year:  The more ideological your are, the less democratic you are !)

Trump

Muslim

Quote

12/0815

Fact: 

" ... total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

OPINION:

Whoa, Trump is being denounced by both the Democrats and Republicans. Once you get past all the miss-quotes, we can try to understand what he was really saying or at least what I think he was clumsily trying to say. 

  - If you don't read the entire quote, it appears that Trump doesn't want any Muslims entering the US... incomprehensible.

  - If you read the entire quote, Trump wants to limit Muslims entering the country until we improve our vetting process.

   

A little background:

  The Immigration Reform & Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 permanently changed the requirements for persons seeking legal status in the US.  Before it's passing, immigrants were vetted on their background and potential contribution to American society.  After the passing, immigrants were vetted on their family connections in the US and any negative documented records.  Vetting emphasis was changed from proving your worth to lack of a documented negative record.  Since many immigrants from 3rd world countries have few records, the US has simply been unable to vet most of the immigrants now arriving in the US and, as a result, has allowed them to immigrate.  Our representatives really don't know what is going on. 

 

I don't know the true motivation of Trump's supporters, but I, myself, feel that the government, especially after some of Obama's speeches on the subject, really doesn't have my, or any other American's, best interest at heart.  This is not a good thing but it is only a gut feel.

   

NEWS FLASH:  President Carter banned all Iranians from coming to the US during the hostage crises. 

(fact source: General Media -  December 08,  2015)

 

     

Benghazi

Hearings

10/23/15

Fact: 

An additional hearing was completed with Hillary Clinton testifying for 11 hours.  The goal was to figure out what happened when 4 Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.   

OPINION:

I don't remember any hearings on the war in Iraq after 5,000 American soldiers were killed in Active duty, another 2,500 killed not in active combat, 15,000 crippled for life, hundreds of thousands suffering mental disorders for life, and at least another 150,000 Iraqis killed.  Gee, I wander why the average American doesn't consider the Benghazi terror attack very important.  Don't forget another 3,500 people killed in the World Trade Center attack.  How about a little perspective.

(fact source: General Media -  October  2015)

 

     

American

People

10/22/15

Fact: 

Whenever a politician explains a position for which they have questionable popular or logical support, they invoke the name of the "American people" as the support for their position. 

OPINION:

This is typically done by Republican politicians who often times do not have my support for particular issue.  I have a problem being lumped in with the "American people" as support for their often erroneous position.  It's been happening a lot lately.

(fact source: Meet the Press -  October 22, 2015)

 

   

Republican

Freedom

Caucus

10/11/15

Fact: 

Republican Freedom Caucus

OPINION:

I don't know how to respond but here is a group of 30-40 republicans that are willing to shut down the U.S. Government if they don't get their way, 100% of the time.  I don't think any of America's enemies could do a a more efficient job of this.  Ironically, the "Freedom" Caucus is effectively about taking away the American people's freedoms including freedom of choice and availability of contraception. Their "my-way or the highway" positions also take away the freedoms of other elected politicians to operate in the legislative process. (Cronyism should not be part of the legislative process.)  Finally, I have a serious problem with Freedom Caucus members invoking the name of the American People as the base of their support.  I believe they are hallucinating if they think they have the majority support of the American people and will inevitably help lose the next presidential election. 

(fact source: Meet the Press -  October 11, 2015)

 

   

Jamie

Dimon

09/20/15

Fact: 

Jamie Dimon, CEO of Chase, quoted that shutting down the government is "just bad management". 

OPINION:

Jamie went on to say that the problem with the current US government is that the citizens keep electing politicians who refuse to compromise or negotiate and are willing to shut down the government in order to get their way (my words).  Jamie nailed it.  I now look at the candidates on their ability to manage rather than dictate their will at the expense of the electorate.  I do not elect a politician to inflict their will on the other elected officials but to run the government for the betterment of the citizens.  Of course, my chosen candidates seldom win, e.g. Mitt Romney.  What a missed opportunity!

(fact source: Meet the Press -  September 20, 2015)

 

    

Pottery

Barn

Rule

09/06/15

Fact: 

The Pottery Barn Rule was created by a news commentator in reference to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.  In short, you break it, you bought it.

OPINION:

Many of the Republican candidates are espousing that in retrospect, given the current evidence, they would not have invaded Iraq.  That's BS!  Hans Blix, U.N. International Nuclear Energy Agency,  inspected all of Iraq in 2002, including temples, and concluded that Saddam had no nuclear weapons of any type.  Period. My conclusion, these Republicans chose to believe the wrong evidence and would most likely do it again today.  Some people just know how to make the correct decisions and these Republicans aren't any of them.

(fact source: General News -  September, 2015)

 

     

Speaking

Fees

08/01/15

Fact: 

Hillary Clinton received over $1.5 million from UBS for speaking fees and then discussed some critical issues with UBS on Swiss bank secrecy.

OPINION:

Dummy me.  All along I thought speaking fees were for speaking.  What a great way to donate over $2,700 to a public and/or political figure without violating any election laws.  You and me, our donations are strictly limited.  Big corporations and wealthy individuals, donate mullions and just call it a speaking fee. I now understand that the term speaking fee is just "code" for legal-illegal donations for access to power.   Nice.

(fact source: General News -  August, 2015)

 

     

Export

Import

Bank

08/01/15

Fact: 

Ted Cruz is relentlessly attacking Senate Leader McConnell for supporting reauthorizing the Export Import Bank.

OPINION:

We already know that US Trade agreements disadvantage American manufacturers.  Now Cruz wants to disable the one institution that helps large American manufacturers compete with other counties who unfairly support their own domestic manufacturing industries.  Nice going Republicans.

(fact source: McLaughlin-  August, 2015)

 

     

Rand

Paul

07/22/15

Fact: 

Rand Paul attaches provision to defund Planned Parenthood to HR22, the Federal Highway Bill.

OPINION:

What the frell do women's rights issues have to do with the Federal Highway Bill.  It is this kind of "extortive" logic that drives me crazy.  I can't, in good conscience, vote for someone with these kinds of thoughts.  It is potentially destructive to American democracy.

(fact source: McLaughlin-  July, 2015)

 

     2015

Electric

Cars

07/01/15

Fact: 

Are electric automobiles really that bad?

OPINION:

A gasoline fueled vehicle that gets 30 MPG, at $2.00 /gal gasoline costs $.066 per mile to operate.  An electric car that gets 3.7 miles per kWh (Nissan Leaf), at $.10 per KWh electricity, costs $.027 per mile to operate.  $.027 per mile is a lot less than $.066 per mile.   

(fact source: General Media -  June, 2015)

 

 

Holy Grail

Issues

  

06/07/15

Fact: 

A position on any one of the "single" political issues below could cost a candidate the presidency in order of public awareness:

OPINION:

     1) Women's choice.    (Mike Huckabee would not rule out US troops to shut down abortion clinics.)

     2) Troops on the ground in the Middle East.

     3) Marijuana legalization.

     4) Gun Control.

     5) Flat tax - most of the electorate doesn't know and doesn't care.

     6) Common Core.

     7) Healthcare - (Jeb Bush also advised that he would phase out Medicare.)

                           (ed Cruz was successful shutting down the US Government over Obamacare.)

(fact source: General Media -  June, 2015)

 

   

Wall Street

Wrong Doing

05/19/15

Fact: 

 A recent survey of Wall Street revealed that employees sign employment documents that they will not report wrong doing to law enforcement. 

OPINION:

All the rules in the world will not solve Wall Street's unethical behavior.  However, making the employees themselves personally responsible instead of the company and the stock holder, definitely would.

(fact source: General Media -  May, 2015)

 

   

Hans

Blix

05/16/15

Fact: 

 Jeb:  I would not have invaded Iraq "Knowing what we know now."

OPINION:

That's BS, not only by Jeb, but by Hillary and all the other members of Congress who voted for invading Iraq.  We (I) knew in 2003 that Sadam did not have any weapons of mass destruction.  Our government, and most Americans, just chose to ignore the UN intelligence of Hans Blix (IAEA) because he wasn't an American.  In fact, the CIA tried to totally discredit him even though he personally conducted a thorough on-the-ground search for WMDs in Iraq and found no evidence of any.  (BTW, can you imagine the fate of any of Saddam's generals if they told him that the Iraq military didn't have any WMDs.)

(fact source: General Media -  May, 2015)

 

   

Obamacare Sign-ups

05/07/15

Fact: 

     Newly insured:                 22.8  million

     Lost insurance:                  5.9

           Net gain:                       16.9

  

   

     Employer sponsored:       9.6

     Medicaid:                             6.5

     Marketplace:                      4.1

     Individual:                            1.2

     Other:                                   1.5

OPINION:

No comment. 

(fact source: Rand Corporation -  May, 2015)

 

      

Clinton

Foundation

05/06/15

Fact: 

Fox News has reported that the Clinton Foundation spends less than 10% of its revenue on actual grants.  The Clintons have denied this accusation.  It is merely political.

OPINION:

Look for yourself.  (link)  In fact, it looks more like 5.9% if you divide grants by total received.  Unbelievable, and imagine nearly $30 million spent on salaries and benefits.  I have no clue what $45 million of other expenses are for and neither does the IRS. 

(fact source: Fox News -  May, 2015)

 

      

Harry

Reid

04/12/15

Fact: 

Harry Reid won't apologize for knowingly espousing that Mitt Romney hadn't paid taxes in 10 years, when he knew it was an untrue statement, and  would not apologize because Romney lost the presidential election.  

OPINION:

Wow, Harry Reid, democratic leader of the Senate, has absolutely no remorse on his knowingly untrue statement.  While I bailed as a member of the Republican party over 10 years ago because of the radical right wing, at least the "tea-party" has principles. Harry Reid has neither principles nor ethics. I am stunned by the lack of blow-back from other members of the Democratic party.  I don't think that it is unreasonable to think that a particular leader of a group represents the mind-set of their followers.    What am I supposed to think about the rest of the Democrats that are willing to throw away ethics and principles for the sake of winning.  I know its not fare to many honest and ethical Democrats, but I have growing distrust of all Democrats and their real motivations based on the current event. 

(fact source: General Media -  March, 2015)

 

      

9.6% of

Income for

health Care

04/05/15

Fact: 

Employees share of medical expenses including premiums and deductibles in 2013 stood at 9.6%.  This is up from 5.3% in 2003.  

OPINION:

This amounts to 4.3% of employees income that can no longer be used for discretionary purchases.  There is no doubt that employers have taken the opportunity of the recession to slide additional financial responsibilities to its employees but I suspect the majority of the cost is based on increased premiums by health insurers as a result of Obamacare. This is the first data that I have seen on the affects of an expanded health bureaucracy.  (BTW, my daughter just got back from a visit to the local Urgent Care, paid on the way out, and had nothing to do with Obamacare.)    

(fact source: Money Magazine -  March, 2015)

 

      

Obama's

Patriotism

02/22/15

Fact: 

Rudy Juliana claims that Obama doesn't love his county. 

OPINION:

Wow, after some introspection, I remember when I totally opposed invading Iraq in 2003 because it would cause problems in the Middle East that we couldn't even fathom, I guess you could say that I didn't love my country either.  Move forward to the present, it looks like my belief was totally correct and everyone else who supported the invasion was totally wrong.  So there!  What a frelling mess.      

(fact source: General Media -  February, 2015)

 

      

Islamic

Terrorism

02/22/15

Fact: 

Obama refuses to use the term "Islamic Terrorism" because he believes the issue with ISIS is sectarian, not religious. 

OPINION:

I can understand the belief that by using the term Islamic Terrorism, you are legitimizing ISIS as a religious force. However, this assumes that ISIS is a unique and separate ideology.  Unfortunately, this simply isn't true. The Islamic ideology permeates the entire Middle East.  For example, the Mullahs are the real power center in Iran.  The Muslim Brotherhood has been a major source of insecurity in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East for decades.  The Sunni and Shia have been battling each other for centuries (e.g. ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boco Haram, and AQAP.  I'm sure there are other examples but the point is that these are "religious" issues, and if not recognized for what it really is by Obama, there will be no effective strategy to resolve the problem.       

(fact source: General Media -  February, 2015)

 

     2014

Twice in

Six years

11/08/14

Fact: 

Yes, twice in 6 years, that's how many times President Obama has met with Speaker of the House Boehner in the last 6 years.

OPINION:

Maybe that's why the mid term elections ended up being a referendum on President Obama's policies.  What the hell has he been doing. Since the future of the United States has been at risk in the last 10 years, in the 2016 elections, let's elect a president who wants to solve some problems more than he wants to play golf and take vacations.      

(fact source: General Media -  November, 2014)

 

      

Republican

Mandate

11/04/14

Fact: 

Republicans just won at least 52 seats in the Senate, 9 more seats in the House, and several more governorships.  Republican pundits claim that the people of the US have given the country a new direction.

OPINION:

Be careful Republicans, very careful.  The real reason the Republicans won is because the Democrats were so disgusted with their current Democrat leadership that they didn't show up to vote.  Depending on how things go over the next 2 years, if they do show up in the 2016 election, the Republicans are doomed.  Republicans please don't do something stupid that could cause a bunch of uninformed  and entitlement seeking voters to vote against you in the next election.    

(fact source: General Media -  November, 2014)

 

      

Minimum

Wage

10/25/14

Fact: 

Setting a minimum wage of over $10 per hour is a major source of derision in our electorate and government.   

OPINION:

First, this issue may best be left to the states and some municipalities.  That's my conservative coming out.  Second, this topic generally pits individuals against business. Not good.  In reality, the minimum wage needs to be set at an amount that benefits the state (or country) the most.  Too much and business suffers, leads to layoffs, and the GDP suffers.  Too little and individuals don't have the buying power and must increasing depend on the government social-net and the GDP suffers.  So what should the minimum wage be?  I would start by recommending that we go back to 1990 and add the inflation rate on an annual basis.   

(fact source: General Media -  October, 2014)

 

      

First Names

10/16/14

Fact: 

Ebola, Benghazi, ISUS, fast-and-furious.   

OPINION:

What do all these words have in common?  Just like popular entertainers that can be readily identified by their first name, each of the above words is an identifier for some botched action that has been made by the current administration.  For people that are politically aware (liberal or conservative), you don't even have to mention anything more than the name and most politically knowledgeable people know what you are talking about.  Now that's politics.

(fact source: General Media -  October, 2014)

 

      

Ebola

10/16/14

Fact: 

President Obama and much of the press believe that Ebola is not really a major problem in the US due to our health care system.   

OPINION:

First a couple facts. The Ebola virus will survive on a flat surface for a couple hours.  Second, the Ebola virus will last in fluid for a couple days.  Think about it!  If someone with the Ebola virus sneezes on you, you will get Ebola.  Why is that not being newscast?  AIDS is rampant around the world but it takes blood to blood contact in order to get it.  That is much more difficult than a "sneeze". 

 

The really scary part about Ebola, is that you have a 70% chance of dying within a month if someone with the virus sneezes on you.  At least with AIDS, with medication, you have a reasonable chance of leading a productive life.  Now do you understand why Ebola is a much more serious issue than we are being led to believe. 

 

Finally, wouldn't the US be better off banning passengers with West African passports from entry into the US.  By eliminating Ebola in the US, more effort can be placed on attacking the virus in Africa.  Once an outbreak occurs in the US, the US will focus on the US and efforts in Africa will be greatly reduced.  This is not a good strategy.

(fact source: General Media -  October, 2014)

 

      

Syria

09/21/14

Fact: 

Most Americans, the media, and the pentagon believe Assad in Syria is the real problem in the Middle East and are determined to remove him from power.   

OPINION:

Yes, Assad is a strong man and has done some very bad things to remain in power.  However, can you name a single Muslim country that isn't ruled by a strong man (dictator, military, or King) that has done a lot of bad things.  Every country with a dictator that the US has helped or allowed to be brought down, e.g. Egypt, Libya, Iraq, has turned into a disaster area.  Any form of democracy simple doesn't work in the Middle East, never has, never will.  Even back in the 1950's, the Muslim brotherhood was trying to enforce it's radical interpretation of the Koran on the people of Egypt until a dictator, and the military, came to power to put things back in order. 

   

Today, the Muslim Brotherhood is still incubating mostly out of sight and assumes the many different names including Alcaida and ISIL.  They represent an ideology that will never go away.  It's kind of like fighting the war on drugs but even more dangerous.  The US should rethink its position on Assad as he understands how to maintain control over most of a Middle East country although it isn't democratic or very nice.  That's just how it works in the Middle East.  Just ask Russia and Iran who, being neighbors in the Middle East, understand how the Middle East works.  The US definitely does not. 

(fact source: General Media -  September, 2014)

 

      

Roger

Goodell

09/14/14

Fact: 

In the last couple weeks, many people are calling for Roger Goodell's resignation due to the Ray Rice spousal abuse issue.  

OPINION:

Regardless of what people think of Roger Goodell, I would like to point out that it was Ray Rice that hit girl friend not Roger Goodell.  These people are more outraged that Roger Goodell didn't resign more than Ray Rice abused his then girlfriend.  Second, isn't this a police issue.  Since when is Roger Goodell a member of law enforcement.  I don't think he or even the Raven's management has the legal authority to arrest anybody.  Third, if an employee of a company is suspected of abuse, does his employer have any legal authority to fire the employee or just report it to law enforcement.  Why would it be any different for the Raven's management.  Finally, NFL management has the responsibility to run the NFL as the management of any corporation would run its business.  They also have a responsibility to cooperate with law enforcement as they have done.  Unfortunately, the Ray Rice issue has simply turned into an opportunity for those who dislike Roger Goodell to express their outrage and divert the attention from the abuse issue to that of firing Roger Goodell.  

(fact source: General Media -  September, 2014)

 

      

Iraq

08/12/14

Fact: 

ISUS terrorists are using tunnels outside Bagdad to launch launch attacks against the Iraqis.

OPINION:

Wow, these same tunnels were used by Saddam Hussein.  We also learned a couple weeks ago that ISUS had captured  a Sarin Gas manufacturing plant and there was actually some Sarin Gas left over in the plant.  We also found out even earlier that the terrorists had grabbed much of the arms and munitions left by the US when leaving Iraq.  My god, what the hell did we do in Iraq.  Even now, ISUS is grabbing and using the US weapons left by the Iraqi arm as they were running away.   

(fact source: General Media -  August, 2014)

 

      

Fund Raisers

07/24/14

Fact: 

President Obama has attended 395 fundraisers since becoming president.

OPINION:

The President has really amped up his attendance at fund raisers in order to raise money to limit the number of Senate seats the Republicans could gain in the November, mid-term elections.  The problem, is that he appears not to be paying attention to a number of major geopolitical and economic issues affecting the US.  We learned in the 2012 elections from the Republicans, that no amount of money can overcome a political leader not doing his job adequately. 

(fact source: General Media -  July 24, 2014)

 

      

Obamacare

04/18/14

Fact: 

President Obama takes a victory lap on 8 million signups for Obamacare. 

OPINION:

Without getting into an argument over the actual number of new insured's, wait till the insured's have to pay their office co-pays, deductibles, out of network costs, and non-covered medical treatment costs.  They'll wonder why they even have insurance.

(fact source: General Media -  April 18, 2014)

 

      

Global

Warming

04/06/14

Fact: 

Lots of books and movies being released on Global Warming.

OPINION:

Don't these people ever learn.  I realize they are dialing for some of the $50 billion given away by governments every year for global warming causes. GLOBAL WARMING IS THE SIDE AFFECT OF POLLUTION AND OVER POPULATION. If you reduce pollution and control the world's population, carbon emissions will reduce themselves.  With all the focus in recent years on global warming, we've taken our eyes off ocean pollution.  Over fishing and ocean pollution is going to hurt mankind on the planet a lot sooner than global warming will. 

(fact source: General Media -  April 6, 2014)

 

      

Malaysia

Flight 370

03/17/14

Fact: 

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 departed Kuala Lumpur Airport on March 7, ascended to 35,000 feet, and all communications ceased except for a random operations ping every hour from its engines.  

OPINION:

Ok, there are a lot of theories on what happened to the flight and these are well covered in other media.  However, the US spends over $600 billion per year in Homeland Security and we don't know where a 777 currently is located !  This is a long range aircraft and could potentially make it to US territories.  You'd have thought after 9/11 that our Defense Department would know were every large commercial jet is located in the world at all times based on the devastation that can be caused by hijacked jet.  It makes me upset that our primary response to 9/11 was to create TSA t pat down babies in  diapers and old women wearing Depends.  (sarcasm but true) 

(fact source: General Media -  March 17, 2014)

 

      

Ted

Cruz

01/25/14

Fact: 

Senator Ted Cruz was born in Canada of American parents and believes that it was the Democrats who shut down the US Government last year and that President Obama is solely responsible for  current unemployment rate. 

OPINION:

While President Obama may not be the greatest "operating" President and I disagree with many of his policies, Cruz's statements damn near make my head explode. First, Cruz is not eligible to be president dui to his birth place.  Period. We learned that from the "birthers" in 2012.  (It's their rule.)  Second, the majority of Americans believe that it was the Republicans that shut down the government.  Let's face it, the Republicans are equally responsible for the over-spending by the federal government and now they want to renege on payment.  Nice.  Second, much of the current unemployment is due to manufacturing moving overseas due to international trade agreements that lay bare the American worker to unfair foreign competition. Another brilliant move by the Republicans. Finally, it was Republican sponsored legislation to overturn Glass Steagall in 1999 that led to unregulated trading and risk taking by the banks that resulted in the financial crises in 2008.  Basically, the Republicans broke it and the Democrats aren't fixing it fast enough.

(fact source: CBS   Jan.26, 2014)

 

      

NFL

Non profit

01/23/14

Fact: 

The NFL is a 501-C non-profit where the commissioner makes $29.5 million per year and the NFL donates $2.3 million to charity, 2.1 million of which is to the Hall of Fame. 

OPINION:

No wander the US is running a budget deficit.  The commissioner should be allowed to make all he wants, just not as a  non profit. It's the owners of the teams that should be concerned. How many more non profits like this are hiding out there.  

(fact source: General Media   Jan.23, 2014)

 

      

George

Washington

Bridge

01/12/14

Fact: 

Chris Christie denies he knew about a 2-lane shut  down of the George Washington bridge in retribution of a New Jersey Mayor that refused to endorse Christie in the prior elections. 

OPINION:

I don't know the facts yet but Christie did cancel the Trans Hudson Express Tunnel in 2010, an $18 billion project to construct 2 transportation rail lines under the Hudson River to relieve traffic congestion in NYC.  . 

(fact source: General Media   Jan.12, 2014)

 

     2013

Affordable

Care Act

Tax

12/22/13

Fact: 

Just got notice from my health insurance company that the Affordable Care Act requires that they collect another 4% in taxes from me.

OPINION:

Does anyone else notice the irony.  My health insurance rate went up 9% for 2014 and now I'm being advised that I will have to pay another 4%.  Really?.  How about calling it the "Unaffordable Care Act..  Add to that that I'm in my early 60's and already pay about $1,300 per month for a policy (includes wife) with a $,7500 deductible.  My insurance company has literally paid out $.18 (that's 18 cents) in benefits in the last 4 years.  What a disaster.  We needed insurance reform, not health care reform. 

(fact source: US Mail   Dec. 22, 2013)

 

      

Obamacare

Transfer of Wealth

12/01/13

Fact: 

Under Obamacare, $250 billion per year will be transferred from Medicare and an increase in taxes on the professional middle class in order to pay for expanded Medicaid and Obamacare subsidies.

OPINION:

Wow, I have never heard paying for Obamacare explained and articulated so succinctly. I don't know the precise numbers but I do know that a whole lot of people are going to get healthcare insurance when they really need healthcare.  Obamacare simply places an additional layer of  profit margin between the individual needing healthcare and the payer.  Also, I can't imagine the 10s of millions of people who don't even turn in an annual tax return so how are they going to be fined for not having healthcare to help pay for the program.  It kind of makes my head spin.. 

(fact source: Fox News Sunday   Dec. 1, 2013)

 

      

Republicans

Obamacare

11/19/13

Fact: 

Republicans continue to rail against Obamacare and are pretty confident that this will give them and advantage in the 2014 election cycle.

OPINION:

What the Republicans don't understand is that although you didn't lay the caca, if you step in caca, you're going to smell like caca. In short, just get out of the way and let Obamacare self destruct on its own.  If the Republicans keep interfering, the democrats are preparing to blame the failure of Obamacare on the Republicans in 2014 and it might just work. 

(fact source: General Media  Nov. 19, 2013)

 

      

Republican

Party

Irony

10/28/13

Fact: 

Republicans in the House have constantly tried to defund Obamacare and now they are demanding a delay in the individual mandate. 

OPINION:

What are they trying to do, destroy the health insurance industry.  Imagine those Insurance Company CEO's thinking that only sick people with pre-existing conditions are going to sign up for Obamacare.  Healthy individuals won't have to sign up until enforcement of the mandate begins a year later.  This is another shot across the bow of business by Republicans.  The Democratic strategists would be well advised to point this out when soliciting donations from business in the next elections. 

(fact source: General Media  Oct. 28, 2013)

 

      

Tea Party

Irony

10/18/13

Fact: 

About 30 Tea Party congressmen made it clear that they oppose Obamacare under all circumstances including defaulting on the country's debt.  (They believe that there is already enough money to pay the debt obligation even if in means underfunding other government obligations.)  There primary principal is to reduce government spending. 

OPINION:

This is where the irony begins.  As a result of their position, the US GDP has been reduced by approximately .3% +, 400,000 employees were furloughed and will be double compensated after collecting unemployment, thousands of contractors will not be compensated and many will go  out of business, thousands of small indirectly related businesses will will go out of business, world opinion of the US will be undermined, and reduction in US credit worthiness will cost the US untold billions in increased borrowing costs.  Nice going Tea Party.  As the saying goes, with friends like you, who needs enemies.

(fact source: General Media  Oct. 18, 2013)

 

      

Obamacare &

Sequestration

10/14/13

Fact: 

The Republicans are refusing to sign a bill funding the US Government unless Obamacare is defunded.  Yesterday, the Democrats countered with reducing Sequestration. 

OPINION:
I can't believe the Republicans didn't see this coming.  By demanding that Obamacare be changed, the Republicans opened themselves up to changes in Sequestration.  What a bunch of amateurs. 

Special bonus: The Republicans now want to open up Social Security as a compromise to Obamacare.  I don't know about you but the Federal Government has been removing 15% from my (and my employer's) compensation for almost 40 years and now the Republicans want to take some of the benefit away.  Nice, and they expect me to vote for them in the 2014 elections!

(fact source: General Media  Oct. 14, 2013)

 

      

S&P US

Downgrade

10/03/13

Fact: 

In  2011, S&P downgraded the US sovereign credit rating to AA+ from AAA.

OPINION:
At the time I was pretty upset about the downgrade.  In fact, S&P was the only downgrade and maintains that downgrade till today.  The US Justice Department is even suing S&P on the downgrade.  Let's move forward to today.  The Republican House and the Democrat Senate are locked in a ideological battle to partially shut down the government and were banging up against the debt sealing. We have a president who doesn't like to negotiate and after 6 years, hasn't even met most of the members of the House and Senate.  I now cant believe the US is still at AA+.  Ask some of those government employees who have been furloughed what they think.  It almost makes you reconsider ownership of treasury bills.  These are no longer fail safe.  I actually see the other governments of the world placing additional emphases on finding an alternate currency. 

(fact source: General Media  Oct. 5, 2013)

 

      

Obamacare

09/30/13

Fact: 

Tomorrow, October 1, is the day that the Obamacare health insurance exchanges go into affect.

OPINION:
Obamacare has already been funded and the irony is that whether or not the Republican House shuts down the economy, it won't affect the implementation of Obamacare.  Additionally, if Obamacare is successful, the Democrats will get the credit and if it fails, the Republicans will be blamed.  By not hooking Obamacare to funding the US government, the Republicans have missed a fantastic opportunity of letting Obamacare collapse under it's own weight and Democrats taking the hit.  Nice strategy. (sarcasm)

(fact source: General Media  Sept. 30, 2013)

 

      

Snowden

Asylum

07/13/13

Fact: 

Snowden has been offered asylum by Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, .

OPINION:
I had mistakenly thought that relations between the US and Latin American countries had gotten better during the last 40 years.  I went to a Catholic high school in the late sixties near San Francisco that was attended by many students from Latin American countries.  It was a very small school and all the students were quality individuals.  However, on a  political basis, some of my friends from Latin America explained that the US was not liked by a majority of their country men.  During the last decade, I had thought things were getting better die to increasing prosperity.  Sadly, based of the offers of asylum from some Latin American counties, it looks like I was really wrong. 

(fact source: General Media  July 13, 2013)

 

      

Egypt

Overthrow

07/07/13

Fact: 

Senator John McCain speaks out against the overthrow of a democratically elected president of Egypt.

OPINION:
Guess who was democratically elected to president of Germany in 1932?  Don't you wish he had been overthrown?  Doesn't McCain ever learn anything from history.  Even today, how about those democratically elected presidents of Venezuela and Iran.  Dictators often use the democratic process to implant themselves in power and then figure out how to stay in power till they pass away. 

(fact source: General Media  July 7, 2013)

 

      

Tax

Rates

06/05/13

Fact: 

The 400 top U.S. taxpayers in the US paid an effective federal income tax rate of 17% in 2007 which is 30% lower than in 1995.  The top 1% or 1.4 million tax payers paid 23% in 2008 down 29%.

OPINION:
Please note that the 1% (working professionals) paid a higher tax rate than the richest 400.  Guess who has more access to the president, legislatures, and lobbyists!

(fact source: General Media  June 5, 2013)

 

      

Unpaid

Taxes

03/19/13

Fact: 

Small businesses in the US fail to pay to $450 billion per year in taxes. 

OPINION:
All cultures try to avoid taxes but as the US gravitates to a larger percentage of small, cash & carry businesses, expect a lot less in taxes to be paid.  The underground economy is about $2 trillion per year and growing rapidly.

(fact source: General Media  April 3, 2013)

 

      

Assault

Weapons

03/19/13

Fact: 

Assault weapon ban stripped from Senator Feinstein's gun bill.

OPINION:
Even Mayor Bloomberg repeated on national TV last week that of the 32,000 + Americans killed in 2012 by guns, 400 were by assault weapons, 12,000 murders by hand guns, and 20,000 suicides by hand guns. 

(fact source: General Media  March. 19, 2013)

 

      

Payday

for Lobbyists

01/06/13

Fact: 

President Obama signed into law a $9.7 billion bill to be used to pay some flood insurance claims from Hurricane Sandy.

OPINION:
Let me get this straight.  If you purchased flood insurance from the government, and your home was damaged by a flood, you may not get paid until Congress approves the payment.  So basically, if you comply with the written insurance contract by making your monthly payments, the government has a choice on whether or not to pay you for your flood damage.  In fact, the Republicans tried to block payment to the flood insurance claimants.  You've got to be kidding!

(fact source: General Media  Jan. 6, 2013)

 

      

Payday

for Lobbyists

01/03/13

Fact: 

Congress just passed the Fiscal Cliff deal limiting tax increases to couples earning more than $450,000 per year. 

OPINION:
America is the land of opportunity.  Lobbyists were able to sneak in $72 billion worth of pork.  Imagine, a $2 billion investment in lobbying producing $72 billion in payout.  Folks, this is better than Las Vegas.

Update: The expected additional tax revenue in 2013 is $60 billion which is $12 billion less (deficit) than the pork that will be handed out. 

(fact source: General Media  Jan. 3, 2013)

 

     2012

NRA /

Video Games

12/23/12

Fact: 

The NRA blames violence in movies and video games on the malevolent use of guns in the US. 

OPINION:
I grew up in the 50's and 60's when many of the movies were about cops & robbers shooting it out, cowboys & Indians shooting it out, and US military and Nazi's shooting it out. I simply don't believe that this had any affect on the homicide rate.

(fact source: Face the Nation plus General Media  Dec. 23, 2012)

 

     

Republicans /

Tax Rate

12/09/12

Fact: 

The Republican party continues to hold its position that the top 2% of individuals not face an increase in the top federal tax rate to 39.6%.  This would be devastating to small business and future employment.

OPINION:
First, your local small business doesn't net $250,000 per year. He'll find enough additional costs to solve that issue.  The top 2% mostly consists of doctors, lawyers, entertainers, sports athletes, and corporate management whose accountants form business structures for their accountants to reduce these tax burdens.

Second,  while the Republicans are focusing solely on the "tax rate", they are not defending a major increase in the dividend tax (which retired persons depend on in retirement), and they are offering up reductions in deductions including the middle class mortgage deduction and state tax deduction.  With friends like this, who needs enemies. 

(fact source: Face the Nation plus General Media  Dec. 9, 2012)

 

     

4 Dead in

Bengasi

11/18/12

Fact: 

While the US Ambassador and 3 others were killed in a terrorist attack Bengasi, over 30 American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan. 

OPINION:
Think about it for a moment.  3,353  soldiers have been killed in combat in Iraq since 2003 . This does not include soldiers killed not in combat and private security personnel killed in combat or not in combat.  It does not include 100,000 soldiers and backup personnel injured for life.  Last time I checked, we are still paying $20 billion per year for soldiers injured in the Viet Nam war. 

(fact source: Face the Nation plus General Media  Nov. 2012)

 

  

CA Refinery

 Status

10/26/12

Fact: 

BP - Intended sale to Tesoro, FTC reviewing based on resulting market share issue.

CHEVRON -  Richmond Refinery cancelled $5 billion upgrade due to pressure from environmentalists.

EXXMOB - Sold off all retail and trucking in 2012. 

SHELL - previously sold half of retail in SoCal.  Expanding ethanol capability of =Carson terminal.

TESORO - Rumor that will shut down Wilmington plant within 4 years.

VALERO - Both CA refineries placed up for sale in October 2012.

ALON -  Edgington plant shut down, difficult business plan with Paramount and Bakersfield facilities.

OPINION:
Way to go CARB.

(fact source: General New  Oct. 26, 2012)

 

     

Chaves

Wins

10/09/12

Fact: 

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wins a new six-year term. 

OPINION:
Chavez provides subsidized oil to Cuba and other political allies and cut exports to paying customers like the United States. As a result, crude production has fallen 30 pct, the debt has ballooned to $50 billion from $3 billion, and a big chunk of production is now committed to China and Japan to repay loans. Many energy companies have left Venezuela after Chavez nationalized their assets.

(fact source: General New  Oct. 09, 2012)

 

   

Voting

I.D.

10/02/12

Fact: 

There are currently numerous Voter ID legal challenges in a number of states across the U.S.

OPINION:

I don't understand how someone can go through life without some sort of photo ID. In short, they’ve never bought cigarettes, never bought an alcoholic beverage, never driven a car, never got married, never registered a child for school, never ridden on an airplane, never held a job, never signed up for Medicare or Social Security or any other government benefit. I’ve always had to show my Photo ID whenever I’ve done any of the above, 

(fact source: General New  Oct. 02, 2012)

 

   

Wages

as % of Econ.

08/22/12

Fact: 

Analysis of graph: 

     In 2000, wages represented 49% of GDP.

     In 2008, wages represented 45% of GDP.

     In 2012, wages represented 44% of GDP.

OPINION:

So much for trickle down economics.  However, the graph may not have been corrected for  benefits including reduced pension costs and increasing healthcare costs.

(fact source: Henry Blodget  June 22, 2012)

 

   

Voter

Fraud

08/22/12

Fact: 

Bill Maher (and the Democrat party) has stated that since 2000, there have only been 10 cases of voter fraud out of 146 million voters. 

OPINION:

I'm confused.  According to PEW:

         Nearly 2 million deceased individuals are listed as active voters.

         Approximately 2.75 million people have active registrations in more than one state. 

There is a simple solution, just stamp indelible purple ink on a persons hand after they vote like they do in most 3rd world countries.  It's simple and it works. 

(fact source: Bill Maher  August 18, 2012  / PEW February 14 2012)

 

   

Disability

Insurance

07/23/12

Fact: 

Over 8.7 million workers are now on disability in the US. The system ran a deficit of $8.5 billion in 2009 and has risen to $25.3 billion in 2011.

OPINION:

Congress enacted legislation in 1956 to add federal disability insurance to the Social Security system.  It is funded by a 1.8% payroll tax that is split between employee and employer.   Obviously, this is a major operational failure.  Doesn't anyone know how to run anything anymore?

(fact source: CNSNews July 23 2012)

 

   

Theater

Tragedy

07/22/12

Fact: 

In the past 3 years, guns have become allowed in the National Parks, on Amtrak trains, and in some states, bars.  Even Mexico is complaining about the 2,000 weapons/day crossing the US Southern border into Mexico.

OPINION:

Where was Homeland Security?  Last week a 92 year old lady at an airport complained about a TSA agent forcing her to remove her diaper.  In the meantime, someone is buying 6,000 rounds of assault weapon munitions without any red flags being raised by anyone. 

(fact source: general Media July 22 2012)

 

   

Obamacare

Mandate

07/97/12

Fact: 

The Supreme Court ruled that the Obamacare healthcare insurance mandate is Constitutional regardless of what you call it. 

OPINION:

What am I missing.  Since I have a job, I'm forced to purchase retirement insurance (Social Security), I'm forced to buy retired persons healthcare insurance (Medicare), I'm forced to buy disability insurance, unemployment insurance, and the list goes on.  Since I pay a lot for healthcare insurance, I'm very happy that others will also be required to purchase healthcare insurance so I don't have to pay for their healthcare costs when they become ill. 

(fact source: Business Week Article July 9 2012)

 

   

Grover Norquist

Tax Pledge

07/06/12

Fact: 

95% of all Republican Congressmen and Gov. Romney have signed Grover Norquist's  "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" which opposes any increases in the marginal tax rate for individuals and businesses, as well as net reductions or eliminations of deductions and credits without a matching reduced tax rate

OPINION:

Very interesting how these politicians place their political responsibilities ahead of their "Constitutional" responsibilities. 

Let's take a closer look at what they're really doing.  They won't raise taxes but have no problem raising "fees" on just about every government service, cutting education so parents are straddled with increasing costs, reducing highway spending so the only way I can get to work is on a toll road, and cutting dozens of other government programs that have made America what it is. (I'm not talking about unpaid for entitlements.) They complain about the destruction of the American way of life.  Congratulations, you have done a great job of helping destroy it. 

(fact source: General News Media  June28, 2012)

 

   

2,000 Guns

per day

06/28/12

Fact: 

The Republican-led House of Representatives voted to find Attorney General Eric Holder  in contempt of Congress for withholding documents in a botched gun-running sting operation (2,000 guns) on the U.S.-Mexico border.

OPINION:

While these hearings were proceeding, over 2,000 weapons per day are heading south over the border into Mexico.  In fact, under current US laws, there is no way to stop the continuing flow over the border.  Nice.

(fact source: Reuters  June28, 2012)

 

   

IRAs

Drop 25%

06/18/12

Fact: 

New Census Bureau data shows that median household net worth, excluding home equity, fell by 25% between 2005 and 2010. That decline was mainly due to plummeting individual portfolios and retirement accounts.  The median home equity value dropped 28%. The current recession has wiped out nearly 30 years of net worth gains for the typical household.

OPINION:

So much for the middle class.  The top 5% will begin to feel the affect of this over the next few years and reduced tax revenue will further affect entitlements.

(fact source: CNN  June18, 2012)

 

   

Oil Prices &

Traders

02/24/12

Fact: 

Banks, investors, and hedge funds (not oil companies) account for 2/3rds of all futures trading on the NYMEX.  . 

OPINION:

The oil industry keeps taking hits from misinformation being circulated by the news media including cable news.  The crude producers are also major beneficiaries of the higher prices caused by the bank traders.  However, the refining and marketing segments of the petroleum industry get financially slaughtered during periods of high gasoline prices. 

(fact source: CBS Nightly News,  February 24, 2012)

 

   

Cayman

Islands

02/15/12

Fact: 

An increasing number of wealthy Americans are moving money offshore. 

OPINION:

The common belief is that wealthy Americans move money offshore to avoid taxation.  According to Smart Money, wealthy Americans pay US taxes based on their worldwide earnings.  The reason they move money offshore is to protect their assets from lawsuits and insurance against the US Government leveling additional levies on their wealth. 

(fact source: Smart Money  February 15, 2012)

 

   

BAC

10% of all Trades

02/14/12

Fact: 

It was just announced that Bank of America traded 10% of all stock trades made on the NYSE last month.

OPINION:

I see nothing has really changed.  Imagine that the trading goes south, and then the government (tax payer) has to bail them out again because they are now really too big to fail.  Whatever happened to acting like a real bank.

(fact source: general news,  February 13, 2012)

 

   

5 Big banks

$25 Billion

02/14/12

Fact:  49 States just settled with the 5 largest banks in the US to provide $5 billion in home loan rebates and $20 billion in reduced principle.

OPINION:

I just learned that the 5 larges banks only hold 10% of all home loans in the US except they service a lot more.  Freddie Mac, Fannie May, FHA, and VA hold 85% of the loans in the US.  However, they are exempted from the settlement.  Wow, again, it's the government that is at fault after blaming the banks (who are not without guilt).

(fact source: general news,  February 12, 2012)

 

   

Freddie Mac

$ Billions

01/30/12

Fact: 

Freddie Mac (taken over by the US government) bet billions against homeowners refinancing their homes.

OPINION:

Politics aside, the biggest problem with our federal government is its inability to manage.  President Obama announced in his State-of-the-Union address that the federal government wants to enable homeowners to refinance their homes.  A few days later, Freddie Mac, with 50% of the US mortgage market, is caught making investments in securities that appreciate if homeowners fail to refinance.  Of course, Freddie Mac just instituted guidelines for homeowners making it more difficult for them to refinance.  Isn't this a major conflict of interest.  Who the hell is minding the store!

(fact source: general news,  January 31, 2012)

 

   

Offshore Tax

Avoidance

01/22/12

Fact: 

The Congressional Research Service presented a paper in September 2010 stating that the annual cost of offshore tax avoidance is about $100 billion. 

OPINION:

This paper is over a year old and I don't know the exact definition of tax abuse but due to the high estimate, I would think someone experienced in these issues would put together a fair and accurate presentation of what is going on.  Mitt Romney may potentially lose the Republican Party Nomination due to his inability to define and present, in understandable terms, his offshore holdings.  

(fact source: Congressional Research Service,  September 3, 2010)

 

   

Social Security

Privatization

01/15/12

Fact: 

It appears that all of the Republican Presidential candidates are in favor of partial or complete privatization of Social Security. 

OPINION:

Think about this for more than a second.  If you get rid of Social Security right now, instead of 55 million Americans on Social Security that paid into the system their entire working life, you would have approximately 50 million Americans collecting welfare checks and unemployment checks because they didn't save enough for retirement.  GREAT!  Wait till you see the budget deficit after this happens.  

(fact source: General Media,  January 15, 2012)

 

     2011

IRAQ

WAR ENDS

12/15/11

Fact:  Effective Thursday, December 15, US participation in the war in Iraq officially ends.

OPINION:

Or did it?  The US Embassy in Iraq started at $750 million and is now estimated ultimately to cost $7 billion and employ as many as 17,000 contractors.  Contractors are a lot more expensive than troops.

(fact source: General Media,  December 15, 2011)

 

     

PAYROLL

TAX

12/10/11

Fact:  Chris Wallace announces that Congress is about to raise taxes, e.g. the Payroll Tax.

OPINION:

Unbelievable!  Congress is about to let the temporary cut in collections for the Federal INSURANCE Contributions Act (FICA) expire and the Republicans claim this is a tax increase.  I get it.  By not collecting the insurance premiums for Social Security, they can help insure its financial collapse.  The fact that Democrats also want to undermine the collection of premiums for Social Security is mind boggling.

(fact source: Fox News Sunday and other general media,  December 10, 2011)

 

     

CO2

 +39%

11/22/11

Fact:  The UN Weather Agency announced that CO2 concentrations in the upper atmosphere are 389 PPM, up 39% from 280 PPM 25 years ago. The latest tests show an increase of 2.3 PPM per year, up from 1.5 PPM a decade ago.

OPINION:

I don't know if the measurements are accurate and if they are consistent.  However, it does appear that the weather conditions in SoCal are warmer today than they were 50 years ago.  I doubt that this warming is caused by man but I am sure that crippling economies is not the solution. 

(fact source: General media,  November 22, 2011)

 

     

900 Bases

130 Countries

11/20/1

Fact:  According to Ron Paul, the US maintains 900 military bases in 130 countries. 

OPINION:

It's difficult to substantiate these numbers because the military uses different definitions for military bases.  However, Politifact believes Ron Paul's numbers are mostly true.  Hey, we just added Australia to the list, another base, another country.  No wonder we have a budget deficit.  Last week, the US successfully tested a flying bomb that can hit any point in the world in less than 1 hour.  Let's build a lot of these flying bombs and scratch half the military bases. Think of how much money we could save.

(fact source: General media,  November, 2011)

 

     

Wall Street

Bonuses

10/12/11

Fact: 

"Amid hard times, Wall Streeters expect higher bonuses"  

OPINION:

Now are you beginning to understand why thousands of people are occupying Wall Street!  (They don't know why, they just know something is wrong although they can't articulate their position.) Let me recap.  After a major bailout, most financial institutions profits have vanished, their stock prices have collapsed, millions of Americans are out of work due to the financial collapse, and most worker's 401Ks sustained 50% hits.  Realistically, according to other sources, bonuses will probably be down about 10%. 

(fact source: New York Business.com,  October 12, 2011)

 

     

Columbus

Day

10/12/11

Fact: 

After 3 hours of programming on a progressive, nationally syndicated talk show on AM radio, not one single "call-in" had anything nice to say about Columbus.    

OPINION:

OK, I can understand why some people might quibble with Columbus "discovering" America since it was already occupied and we've recently learned that other civilizations had previously explored potions of America, but Columbus was the first explorer to document his exploration which eventually benefited all of mankind.  I look at the bigger picture and come to the conclusion that Columbus represents mankind's interest in exploring the unknown.  Of course, those who minimize Columbus's discovery of America are also probably against our manned space exploration program which is now about to expire.  Go progressives!

(fact source: Thom Hogan Radio Show-  October 12, 2011)

 

     

Middle Class

Tax Break

(09/24/11)

Fact: 

One of the main talking points of President Obama is a $1,500 tax break for the middle class is the form of a reduction in the "payroll tax". 

OPINION:

Really! Let's just go ahead and undermine the Social Security program further.  Last time I checked, FICA stood for Federal Insurance Contributions Act.  Basically, it's a hugely successful insurance program (needs some tweaking).  Not collecting money to support the program is no different than not paying the premiums on your insurance.  Sooner or later, it gets cancelled.

(fact source: General Media-  September 2011)

 

     

Warren

Buffet

(09/23/11)

Fact: 

Warren Buffet keeps saying this his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does. 

OPINION:

First, she must be making way over $50,000 per year because 47% of Americans don't pay income taxes.  But let's give this a little more thought.  Buffet receives only dividends from his company which are taxed at 15%.  Since he doesn't take a salary, the total employee cost for his company are equally lower, which results in his company paying a higher income tax at an initial rate of 35%.  Buffet then gets his dividend after his company pays its taxes, and then he pays another 15%.  The net benefit to the federal government is a total 50%although Buffet only personally pays 15% of the total. Oops, I forgot, Buffet's companies are now being sued by the IRS for $billions of unpaid taxes.  Go figure.

(fact source: General Media-  September 2011)

 

     

1:10

Tax Cut

(08/11/11)

Fact: 

In the 2011 pre-Iowa straw poll debate, all 8 Republican candidates said they would refuse to accept a budget deal with a 10-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases.

OPINION:

No wonder the equities markets are down.  With this kind of no-compromise position, President Obama is sure to be reelected. (Why doesn't anyone differentiate between raising tax rates and closing loopholes.  You can raise the tax rates all you want and it won't make any difference if you don't close the loopholes.) 

(fact source: General Media-  Aug 11, 2011)

 

     

Cafe

Standards

(07/3011)

Fact: 

On December 19, 2007, President George Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act which will improve the gas mileage of passenger vehicles to 35 MPG by 2020.

OPINION:

I don't understand,  Why weren't the CAFE standards increased when Al Gore was VP?  Wasn't George Bush supposed to be the bane of environmentalists?  To democrats, it seems like what you say is more important than what you do.

(fact source: Wikipedia -  July 30, 2011)

 

     

Obamacare

Tax

(07/2811)

Fact: 

Beginning in 2013, couples earning wages of over $250,000 per year will pay an additional 0.9% Medicare tax for a total 2.35%.   Investment income (capital gains, dividends, interest, annuities, royalties and rent)  will be taxed at 3.8%

OPINION:

Just thought I would remind the readers. 3.8% is a significant tax on the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy that have saved for retirement. 

(fact source: General News -  July 28, 2011)

 

     

Debt

Ceiling

(07/19/11)

Fact: 
 
   

  Times

Raised

  Approx

Trillion

  Reagan  1980 - 1988   17   $ 1
  Bush 1989 - 1992  8   $ 2
  Clinton 1993 - 2000 4   $ 1.5
  GW Bush 2001 - 2009  7   $ 4
  Obama 2009 -             3     $ 4+
 

   

OPINION:

Nothing like a few facts.

(fact source: Orange County Register -  July 19, 2011)

 

     

60% of

Budget

Deficit

(0717/11)

Fact: 

60% of the current US budget deficit is a direct result of the Bush Tax Cuts, Medicare Part D, and the 2 wars in the Middle East. 

OPINION:

The percent sounds reasonable although it may be off by a few percent. While the US economy is rapidly becoming Obama's economy, as repeatedly pointed out by many Republicans,  It would be difficult for any President to mitigate these massive increases in expenditures.  We're talking trillions of dollars.

(fact source: general new articles -  July 17, 2011)

 

     

US / China

Defense

Budgets

(07/11/11)

Fact: 

The US military budget is over $650 billion per year.  China has the second highest in the world at $95 billion.

OPINION:

I guess if you want to be the world's policeman and nation builder, having a military budget 6 times larger than the next highest is reasonable.  My only issue is that those people that support the budget don't want to pay for it.  Go figure.

(fact source: general new articles )

 

     

Social

Security

Increases

Facts

(06/06/11)

Fact: 

It's nearing election season and Republicans (I'm a conservative) are gearing up to go after Social Security again.   Yes, Social Security will run a relatively small deficit this year, especially because of weak revenue from a weak economy and the payroll tax holiday.

OPINION:

However, there are a number of mechanisms built into Social Security that are correcting its path:

     1) The age to collect full Social Security benefits is increasing every year.  This needs to continue.

     2) Up to 85% of SS is taxed.  Wealthier individuals already pay more tax and receive less benefit. 

     3) Medicare is deducted from SS and these premiums will increase.

     4) The payroll tax is based on a higher a amount of taxable wages every year and should continue.

It's important to remember that most retirees that receive SS, earned it.  This appears to be a program that is working.  It is not an entitlement for most since they paid for it their entire working life!

(fact source: general new articles -  June 06, 2011)

 

     

Economic

Condition

Facts

(06/03/11)

Fact: 

With unemployment rising in May, housing prices falling, and industrial production registering small declines,  the economy is looking a little bleak. 

OPINION:

While I agree that Washington is not taking the actions I would have taken to bolster the economy  (like reviewing trade policy with individual violator countries, and adding a VAT tax while reducing US corporate and individual income taxes), based on actual stock market indications, there has been some progress:

    Jan. 7, 2009   June 3, 2011  
  DJIA     8,769   12,151 Up  38.6%
  Nasdaq     1,599     2,737 Up  71.2%
  S&P        906    1,300 Up  43.5%

The math is pretty basic.  I know my retirement savings are a lot better off today than a few years ago.  Just the facts!

(fact source: general new articles -  June 03, 2011)

 

     

Speculators

6% Margin

(04/13/11)

Fact: 

When a trader speculates in the stock market, they are typically required to deposit 50% of the full value of the security with their broker. However, when that same trader speculates in oil futures the margin requirement is only around 6% of the value of the contract.

OPINION:

Many misinformed Americans still blame the oil companies for high oil prices.  The fact is that Wall Street speculators are responsible for a very large portion of the price increase.  Oil companies must buy crude and sell products based on the fluctuations of the petroleum exchanges. 

(fact source: general new articles -  April 13, 2011)

 

     

Senator Kyl

Planned parenthood

(04/13/11)

Fact: 

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) claims on the Senate floor that 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion. The facts are that it's closer to 3%, When CNN contacted Kyl's office, the response was: “His remark was not intended to be a factual statement, but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives millions of taxpayer dollars, does subsidize abortions.”

OPINION:

When someone quotes a fact, I generally take them at their word.  My opinions are based on fact so it is very important that the facts be true.  When someone purposefully states a fact that they know not to be true in order to support a closely held principle, it tells me 2 things.  First, I can no longer trust what they say and second, their principles are not supported by facts.  In short, you're wasting your time listening or talking to that person.  If that person happens to be a Senator, and it was, the US is in big trouble.

(fact source: general new articles -  April 13, 2011)

 

     

Corporate taxes

CAMT

(04/09/11)

Fact: 

A lot of attention has been paid lately to Corporations not paying their fair amount of taxes, especially since the US is running some very significant budget deficits. 

OPINION:

The best solution to this problem is the simplest.  Just add a Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (CAMT) to all corporations with operations and business in the US.  You'll never change the existing tax code.  Just lay the CAMT on top of the existing tax code.  If the AMT is good enough for  workers in the US, the CAMT should be good enough for corporations.  By the way, make it 15% so that the US is not uncompetitive with other countries. 

(fact source: general new articles -  April 9, 2011)

 

     

US Govt.

Shut Down

(04/08/11)

Fact: 

Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on 2010 budget cuts so the federal government will be shut down.  The Republicans want to cut a few extra billion dollars from the 2010 budget, completely defunding Planned Parenthood but won't admit this to the general public. 

OPINION:

While the abortion issue is a complicated issue and much more should be done to encourage adoption, there is no excuse for Republicans constantly lying about their true intentions.  In short, they're holding the Democrats hostage over funding Planned Parenthood.  Those Republicans will find out in the next election (to their detriment) that 53% of Americans believe in Women's Rights.

(fact source: Rep. Peter Roskam (R0Il) on O'Reilly factor -  April 8, 2011)

 

     

US Budget

Deficit

(03/21/11)

Fact: 

Why do Republicans keep going after Social Security in order to solve the budget deficit!  Social Security has literally financed the government since President began raiding it in the early 80s.  Besides, insurance is a very conservative idea.

OPINION:

Social Security will represent 4.7% of the budget deficit in 2010  Medicare will represent 14.4% and defense over 80% of the deficit.  See link.  Let's go after the 80%. 

(fact source: General Observation -  March 21, 2011)

 

     

Medicare

Funding

(01/21/11)

Fact: 

Current funding sources for Medicare:

     -  Payroll taxes:                             37%

     -  Premiums:                                 13%

     -  General Fund                            43%

     -  Misc.                                           7%

                                                        100%

OPINION:

Medicare really is an entitlement (unlike Social Security) in the sense that the recipients really haven't paid for their benefits.

(fact source: Yahoo Finance Jan 21, 2011)

 

     

Tax Deduction

Reform

(01/17/11)

Fact: 

Congress has a banquet of options in front of it to raise revenue by reducing deductions:

     -  Employer paid health insurance premiums:     131   ($ billion)

     -  401K tax deductions:                                       118

     -  Mortgage Interest deduction:                             88

     -  State & Local tax deductions.                            78

     -  Charitable tax deductions:                                 47

     -  Lower tax rates on investment income:              24

                                                                                486

OPINION:

Uh Oh. In case you hadn't noticed, your tax rate has not been increased in years but many of the tax deductions for the middle class have secretly disappeared.

(fact source: Business Week  - Reform is in the Eye of the Beholder)

 

     

Social

Security

Solvency

(01/07/11)

Fact: 

A same average-wage earner couple will receive $555,000 in Social Security benefits after paying $614,000 into the system during their working years.   That’s about 90% of their total contribution not including interest.  (Note: the differential for Medicare is 211%)

OPINION:

Looks like Social Security is a successful financial program for the Federal Government.  I often wander why some republicans want to destroy the program and I'm a conservative.  (However, Medicare is a disaster.)

(fact source: Steuerle and Rennane)

 

     

Sierra Madre

Float

(01/01/11)

Fact: 

While watching the Rose Parade on TV (from my home in Orange which is just southeast of Pasadena) the float from Sierra Madre won the Governors Award for the "best depiction of life in California".  Of course is was broken down and being towed for the balance of the parade.  

OPINION:

How ironic! Happy New Year.

(fact source: Rose Parade)

 

     2010

Tea Party

Earmarks

(12/04/10)

Fact: 

Tea Party Caucus members have already requested over $1 billion in earmarks.

OPINION:

This is too easy.  After Republicans voted down eliminating earmarks last week, did you really think they were interested in deficit reduction.  Earmarks are the currency for extracting votes for troubled legislation by the leaders of Congress.  At the end of the day, the 2010 mid term elections will amount to nothing more than hot air.  (As an aside, for those who dislike Fox News, they were the ones that broke the story!)

(fact source: Fox News)

 

     

Bonus

Compensation

(12/02/10)

Fact: 

US companies have paid out over  $1 trillion in executive bonus compensation in the last decade.

OPINION:

I had recently heard that just about all increase if value of the S&P 500 over the last decade had been handed out as executive bonus compensation.  If this is the true, no wander there was zero increase in stock value of the S&P 500 in the last decade. 

(fact source: Nassim Taleb  - CNBC)

 

     

Wiki Leaks

(11/30/10)

Fact: 

In the recent document release, no names of American citizens in sensitive positions were revealed.  (I just found out that not a single leaked document was classified as "top secret".

OPINION:

I didn't know that.  I actually thought that many US operatives might be in jeopardy.  The only real confidential information revealed was that our State Department is run by "amateurs" but I should have already known that.

(fact source: John Stossel - O'Reilly Factor)

 

     

One Billion

Classified Documents

(11/30/10)

Fact: 

The US Federal Government classified over one billion documents as secret.

OPINION:

One of the foundations of of a true democracy is transparency.  It's stunning how much information the Government feels it has to hide from the American people.  It's equally amazing how many Americans believe this secrecy is OK.

(fact source: John Stossel - O'Reilly Factor)

 

     

Saving American Jobs

(11/29/10)

Fact: 

You'll hear a lot from Republicans about saving American jobs.

OPINION:

I find it ironic that one of the main reasons for the current unemployment rate is FREE TRADE.  I see a lot of manufactured, high tech products including automobile, arriving on American shores but not much leaving.  Last week, the president of South Korea refused to sign a free trade agreement with President Obama because he couldn't understand why South Koreans would buy American cars although American imports of Korean cars is sky rocketing. It's not only economic, it's cultural.  I have never understood how our political leaders don't understand that foreign countries operate in their own best interests.

(fact source: General Media Quote)

 

     

Homeland

Security

Web Sites

(11/26/10)

Fact: 

The Department of Homeland Security has seized at least 12 domains in a major crackdown on websites enabling copyright infringement and selling counterfeits of trademarked goods.  

OPINION:

Copyright infringement and counterfeit goods are a serious problem but I generally think of Homeland Security as protecting American citizens from terrorists attacks.  What ever happened to the FCC and FTC?  What other agencies does Homeland Security have enforcement jurisdiction over?

(fact source: General News)

 

     

Wikileaks

Info Dump

(11/29/10)

Fact: 

New reports indicate that Wikileaks will produce an information dump of highly secret US government material.

OPINION:

This is dangerous and could lead to the deaths of some Americans.  This is horrible.  However, There is a silver lining!  Is our federal government upset about the leak or that the American public is going to find out just how much secret information is being leaked to foreign governments on a regular basis.  I often wondered how China could so quickly develop a missile that could shoot down satellites in outer space.

(fact source: General Media Quote)

 

     

Al Gore

1st Generation

Ethanol

(11/24/10)

Quote: 

"It is no a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first generation ethanol."  said Al Gore

OPINION:

As the US petroleum industry has been significantly negatively affected by mandated ethanol blending, this is a horrific admission. It has always been my opinion that corn based ethanol is extremely inefficient and that the agricultural acreage used for fuel production will significantly replace acreage for food production, resulting in the starvation of 10s of millions of humans around the world.  Furthermore, once advanced biofuels are developed, the future of the rain forests, especially Brazil, are highly imperiled as their acreage  will be converted to sugarcane production.  As a tree person, I consider this a disaster.

(Please note that I manage a petroleum products marketing and distribution facility in California and am responsible for blending biofuels.)  I've been told I'm an idiot on many occasions. 

(fact source: General Media Quote)

 

     

California

(11/23/10)

Fact / Opinion: 

The draft recommendation of the President's commission of deficit reduction state that its recommendations would drive tax collections up to 21% of GDP from the historical norm of 18.5%.

(fact source: Yahoo Finance Article)

 

     

Taxes

% GDP

(11/22/10)

Fact / Opinion: 

-  In 2010, CA received $.50 of every venture capital dollar invested in US, up from $.42 in the 90s.

-  Did Apple Inc, Google, Twitter,  Facebook move out of state?

-  State & local taxes about 9.7% of the annual state economy - rest of the country averaged 10.5%.

-  In 2005, Californians bailed out rest of America to the tune of about $50 billion & continue to do so.

-  State debt costs are $6 billion a year — total budget $90 billion.

-  The non-partisan Legislative Analysts' Office in Sacramento estimates there's a $136 billion gap in the state pension and benefits system. Size of the state economy? Oh, $2 trillion a year. That's 14 times the size of this gigantic pension-fund gap.

OPINION:

You don't hear about this kind of stuff from people that don't live in California. 

(fact source: Yahoo Finance Article)

 

     

Scanning

Cargo Boxes

(11/08/10)

Fact / Opinion: 

"Fewer than 1 percent of the 14.5 million cargo boxes reaching the U.S. by water are scanned abroad for terrorist threats."

OPINION:

Also this week, TSA revealed new techniques for personnel on how to slide their hands around passenger's bodies in order to detect potential explosives. 

(fact source: Business Week Nov 8 issue)

 

     

Commodity

Speculation

(10/26/10)

Fact / Opinion: 

"Because there is already much more capital available in the world than hard commodities, speculators can increase the price of consumable commodities, like foodstuffs or energy, much higher than traditional consumers and producers can react. "

OPINION:

I think we saw this with the oil markets a few years ago.  Plan on a lot more of this action in future years, especially with corn, sugar cane, and other biofuel crops.  Is this insane or what?

(fact source: Hedge Fund manager Mike Masters)

 

     

Undocumented

Deportation

(10/04/10)

Fact: 

Since the beginning of 2010, the Department of Homeland Security has deported over 400,000 criminal illegal aliens, half of which had created crimes in the U.S.

OPINION:

This is way more deportation that what occurred during the Bush administration.  Until Congress passes some sort of immigration reform, focusing on deporting undocumented workers that have committed crimes in the U.S. or other countries seems like the logical and humanitarian thing to do. 

(fact source: O'Reilly Factor with Janet Napolitano)

 

     

Payroll Tax

Holiday

(09/04/10)

Fact: 

I'm hearing a lot of talk about a "payroll tax holiday" coming from a broad range of politicians in Washington.

OPINION:  

Isn't a "payroll tax holiday" just another way to undermine Social Security.  Democrats want the voters to believe they are doing something about the recession and Republicans believe this to be an opportunity to place a final blow on this program.  We already know that the net flows into Social Security this year will be slightly negative due to the recession and now politicians are trying to reduce the program's solvency even further.

   

Politicians forget that Social Security was originally intended as an insurance program to insure a minimum level of living standard during retirement, not a true tax.  The more you put in, the more you get out.  Many Republicans seem "hell bent" on taking the "security" out of Social Security.  That's really not very conservative.

(fact source: Fox News Sunday Morning)

 

     

Payroll Tax

Holiday

(09/04/10)

Fact: 

I'm hearing a lot of talk about a "payroll tax holiday" coming from a broad range of politicians in Washington.

OPINION:  

Isn't a "payroll tax holiday" just another way to undermine Social Security.  Democrats want the voters to believe they are doing something about the recession and Republicans believe this to be an opportunity to place a final blow on this program.  We already know that the net flows into Social Security this year will be slightly negative due to the recession and now politicians are trying to reduce the program's solvency even further.

   

Politicians forget that Social Security was originally intended as an insurance program to insure a minimum level of living standard during retirement, not a true tax.  The more you put in, the more you get out.  Many Republicans seem "hell bent" on taking the "security" out of Social Security.  That's really not very conservative.

(fact source: Fox News Sunday Morning)

 

     

Ground Zero

Mosque

(08/25/10)

Fact: 

77% of the American general public does not favor the construction of a Islamic Mosque 3 blocks away from Ground Zero.  (Even though they have that right under the US Constitution.)

OPINION:  

History and the current situation in the Middles East cast doubt about the real intentions of the Imam proposing to construct the Mosque. Many Middle East countries:

   

  1) Do not believe in the separation of church and state.

  2) Are not tolerant of other religions.

  3) Do not believe in equal rights for women.

  4) Are increasingly bound with Sharia law. 

   

Of course I could be wrong with the above but I'm hard pressed to find contradictory examples. I have to empathize with the 77% of Americans that simply don't believe in the values outlined above.  There is no doubt that they are contrary to the core beliefs of most Americans and the foundation on which this country was established. At the extreme, construction of the Mosque could be interpreted by jihadists as a symbol of victory over America.

    

In fact, the Mosque may actually be used to shelter members of the Islamic religion from assimilation in American society and ultimately becoming productive members of American society. This is getting too frustrating.  (There are already over 100 mosques in NY City.)

(fact source: Rasmussen Poll)

 

     

Wage

Increases

(08/17/10)

Fact: 

Compensation Increase from 2000-2009  

    Percent:
       Military Personnel:      +  84%
       Federal Civilian personnel:      +  37%
       Private Sector worker:      +   9%

OPINION:  

Joining the military is becoming a viable real career option for young men and women, especially as the US the position of the world's policeman. Working for the federal government is also desirable.  Forget the private sector; the best jobs have already been exported.  Congratulations to the federal government for sticking up for the American worker through open trade agreements.  Not!

(fact source: USA Today

 

     

Lobbyists in

Washington

(08/10/10)

Fact: 

During the Reagan administration, there were approximately 400 lobbyists operating in Washington DC.  Today, there are over 30,000.

OPINION:  

I don't know of any lobbyist organization that represents the "American people".  They all represent special interest groups that often times are at odds with what's best for the American people.  And you wonder why the Congress has a 13% approval rating!

(fact source: Thom Hartman - AM 1150

 

     

Anchor

Babies

(08/08/10)

Fact: 

There has been a 53% increase since 2000 in the number of babies born in the US to non citizens.

OPINION:  

If I were from an impoverished country, I would also want to come to the US.  One of the best ways of staying in the US is to have an "anchor" baby as your new family will be potentially entitled to housing (thru HUD), food stamps, grade school and high school education, and health care at little or no cost.  Sign me up!

(fact source: Face the Nation)

 

     

Mexican

Drug War

(08/01/10)

Fact: 

Since 2006, 24,000 Mexicans have been killed in the war against drugs in Mexico.

OPINION:  

Wow.  I have a friend in Arizona that used to live south of Phoenix.  I recently leaned that he had to sell his property due to nearby Mexican drug and smuggling violence.  It seems like the federal government has no clue what is going on along the border.  I'm also beginning to think that the war along the border places America at a lot more risk than the war in Afghanistan. 

(fact source: General News)

 

     

American

Worker

(07/30/10)

Fact: 

President Obama, as in previous speeches praised the "American worker" and how important he is in creating new jobs.  .

OPINION:  

The American worker who is educated, skilled, and competent is critical to a successful American economy.  However, the source of new jobs is not the American worker but entrepreneurs and individuals with ideas and the dream of providing a product or service.

(fact source: General News)

 

     

Al

Franken

(07/22/10)

Fact: 

Watched a speech by Senator Al Franken regarding the need to reduce Corporate control over the American Public.

OPINION:  

He is absolutely correct that Corporations have gained additional control, especially since the Supreme Court ruled that Corporations have an equal voice with citizens.  This is a serious problem.  However, the government has also increased its control over the American public with unnecessary and freedom reducing regulations.  The poor American public is getting whacked from both directions except we don't have anyone representing the public's interests.  The only people losing this battle is the American Public.

(fact source: Fox News)

 

     

General

McChrystal

(07/04/10)

Fact: 

General McChrystal retires after "bad mouthing" US civilian leadership.

OPINION:  

The fact that US civilian leadership has absolute control over its military forces is one of the things that makes America great.  Many countries such as Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Cuba are controlled by their military which ultimately leads to the loss of human rights and freedom. 

(fact source: General news)

 

     

New Tax

Calculation

(05/15/10)

Fact: 

What will taxes be like based on current legislation for a family making $200,000 / year. 

(Does not include 401K tax credit.)

OPINION:  
       Federal Tax 39.6%      After Bush tax cuts expire.
       CA State Tax 9.8%    
       OC County Tax na    
       FICA   6.2%      The employer pays another 6.2%!
       Medicare   3.8%      After new healthcare tax kicks in.
       CA Sales Tax   8.75%    
       Property Tax   3.0%      Assume $600,000 @ 1% residence = $6,000
             Total Tax:   71.15%      Most deductions are going away at this income level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(fact source: General news)

The average professional middle class person in California really pays 56.6%.   This includes the Federal AMT of  28% + CA State 9.8%, employee FICA 6.2%, employer FICA 6.2% (if not self employed), employee Medicare 1.45%, employer Medicare 1.45%, new Medicare supplement 3.5%, and numerous other smaller taxes not including property tax and sales tax. 

 For those actually earning considerably more than $200/year, your total taxes actually go up to 63.6% if your federal is 35%.

Add in property of 3% and sales taxes 8.75% and you approach 75.35%.

 Remember, you will also have to pay full price for all medical services and your children will never qualify for economic grants for college which could add hundreds of thousands of dollars to your cost of living. This cost shifiting is a whole different layer of costs quietly piled on to the professional middle class.

 

     

Reciprocal

Citizenship

(05/15/10)

Fact: 

The United States welcomes over 1 million immigrants per year  with citizenship.

OPINION:  

I don't believe there is any other county in the world that welcomes as many new citizens.  Perhaps we should require countries like Mexico to allow equal citizenship for Americans.  Then Americans could own property in Mexico.  I suspect the economic landscape (and politics)  in Mexico would change significantly and rapidly.

(fact source: Google Search)

 

     

Nuclear

Disarmament

(04/09/10)

Fact: 

Republican pundits and media are going nuts over president Obama agreeing with Russia to further reduce each nation's nuclear weapons.

OPINION:  

Consider the following:

      1987 - President Reagan and Gorbachev agree to Strategic Arms reduction Talks (START 1)

      1993 - president Bush and Yeltsin signed START 2

      1997 - Clinton agrees to further reductions in nuclear arsenal.

      2001 - President George Bush and Putin agree to reduce warheads to 2/3 of START 2 level.

      2010 - President Obama agrees to further reductions in nuclear  weapons.

Another case of don't let the facts get in the way of your opinion!

(fact source: General Media)

 

     

Jerry Brown

(03/17/10)

Fact: 

Jerry Brown is running for Governor of California.  The good news is that we know how he would act as Governor as he already has had 8 years experience in this position

OPINION:  

Consider the following:

      -  Brown actively campaigned against Prop 13 (limited property taxes to 1.06% of a houses value).

      -  Brown allowed public sector unionization.

      -  Brown cancelled many freeway infrastructure projects. 

      -  Brown cancelled many water supply infrastructure projects. 

      -  Brown cancelled may power infrastructure projects. 

(fact source: General Knowledge)

 

         

Lobbyists

(03/08/10)

Fact: 

Spending by lobbyists on Capital Hill increased 5% in 2009 to $3.47 billion dollars.

OPINION:  

Add this spending to the recent Supreme Court ruling that Corporations, Unions, and other organizations have the same right as individual citizens and it's easy to see why the US is not only in "economic" trouble but potentially in "social" trouble.  Of course, no one is talking about this last potential problem.

(fact source: Center for Responsive Politics)

 

         

Supreme Court

1st Amendment

(01/21/10)

Fact: 

The Supreme Court ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

OPINION:  

I give up!  No, wait a minute, this may become a great opportunity for the citizens of the US to rise up and ban all contributions to political campaigns except by the "people" of the United States.  Let's wait and see if our elected officials have the canjones to enact legislations.  Unfortunately, I'm betting against them.

(fact source: Center for Responsive Politics)

 

         

Northrop

Grumman

(01/05/10)

Fact: 

Northrop Grumman Corp. announces it is moving it's corporate headquarters from Los Angeles to Washington DC to better service its major customer, the US government.

OPINION:  

Obviously, the real priority is the money in Washington DC.  Northrop no longer prioritizes building the most innovative products.  Why should they?  The US aerospace industry is an oligopoly.

(fact source: general industry news)

 

         

Pat

Buchanan

(01/04/10)

Fact: 

Do an internet search on "A decade of Self Delusion" by Pat Buchanan

OPINION:  

This is a great read and many of the facts and claims are "spot on" See below for a few quotes:

    

1. According to the International Monetary Fund, the United States began the century producing 32 percent of the world's gross domestic product. We ended the decade producing 24 percent.

2. The United States began the century with a budget surplus. We ended with a deficit of 10 percent of gross domestic product...

3. Where the economy was at full employment in 2000, 10 percent of the labor force is out of work today and another 7 percent is underemployed or has given up looking for a job.

4.  Between one-fourth and one-third of all U.S. manufacturing jobs have disappeared in 10 years...

5.  While the median income of American families was stagnant, the national debt doubled.

6.  The George W. Bush Republicans ran up the deficit with tax cuts, two wars and a splurge in social spending to rival the guns-and-butter of the Great Society.

7.  We have a government that cannot balance its books, defend its borders or win its wars.

(fact source: Human Events.com)

 

     2009

Lobbyist

Donations

(10/07/09)

Fact: 

In 2008, lobbyists and their represented organizations donated $2.55 billion to elected representatives in Washington DC.  (Keep in mind that 2008 was an election year.)

OPINION:  

Can it get any worse than this!  The US Congress will have great difficulty passing legislation that purely benefits the American people with this amount of money influencing legislation. 

    

Perhaps Congress should pass lobbyist reform before trying to pass highly flawed Health Care and Carbon Reduction legislation.

     

(fact source: Quick Google search)

   

Credit Card

Int. Rates

(09/17/09)

Fact: 

The Federal Government passed new credit card regulations to protect consumers and require CC companies to give their customers 45 notice when the interest rate will be increased. 

OPINION:  

On the surface, a great idea, but hidden in the law is an exemption for variable rate credit cards.  Guess what?  I just got my notices from American Express that my fixed rate credit card (13.9%) was becoming a variable rate credit card and the new effective interest rate will be prime plus 14% or 15.9%.  THANK YOU CONGRESS. 

    

This is a perfect example of how well intentioned, but "well paid off" legislatures can do great harm to the American people.  Is no wonder that so many Americans do not trust any new health reform.

     

(fact source: American Express Credit Card Statement - September 2009)

   

Obama

Birth Cert.

(07/31/09)

Fact: 

42% of conservatives do believe Barrack Obama was born in the US.

OPINION:  

I doubt this stated fact is accurate but my experience tells me that there are still a lot of Americans that believe Barrack is not an American citizen.  A quick Google search unearthed a copy of Barrack's birth certificate although some believe it is fake.  I found an personal in a Honolulu newspaper announcing Barrack's birth at the appropriate time and date of his birth.  Finally, I found an article  advising that if Barrack's birth had occurred in a foreign country, wouldn't his mothers passport contain a Visa for a visit to that country.  The State Department states that such a Visa doesn't exist.  I'm sorry, this is adequate information for me to believe that Barrack is an American born citizen.

 

The fact that some individuals  still believe that Barrack was not born in the US, casts serious doubt about those person's ability to use common sense.  With such a large portion of the population not able to reason, the US may be in serious trouble.

(fact source: Bill Maher  09/31/09

   

Health Ins.

Med. Loss Ratio

(07/10/09)

Fact: 

Health insurance companies pay out less than 80% of their revenue for reimbursement of health services performed (medical loss ratio).  Under the Clinton administration the ratio was about 95%.  The lower the ratio the more profitable the health insurance company.

OPINION:  

Congratulations to the health insurance industry for literally hijacking Congress on health care issues.  This is systemic political corruption at its finest. Lets stop complaining about political corruption in other countries and start focusing on political corruption in our own county.

(fact source: Bill Moyer episode on health care)

   

Iran

Siemens/Nokia

(06/22/09)

Fact: 

Congratulations to a Siemens/Nokia joint venture to supply Iran's government with telecommunications equipment to filter and block internet access in Iran thus influencing the outcome of the recent political elections.

OPINION:  

I don't hear any Washington outcry.  Am I the only one that thinks this is a criminal act on the part of these European companies.

(fact source: Wall Street Journal)

   

Iraq

Real Cost

(06/23/09)

Fact: 

Since the beginning of the Iraq war, 3,500 American soldiers have died in combat, 4,300 if you also count non combat deaths, approximately 15,000 American soldiers are missing limbs (not verified), 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, and 2.2 million Iraqis have fled the country.

OPINION:  

Just a little perspective.  I have noticed that the most ardent supporters of the war, (in general) do not have military experience.  I love Irony.

(fact source: Wikipedia)

   

$5 Billion

Influence

(04/18/09)

Fact: 

In the last 10 years, "Financial Interests" have spent over $5 billion gaining political influence in Washington.  

OPINION:  

I don't know how true the above statement is but if it's only partially true, it explains the reversal of all of the regulations implemented resulting from the Great Depression. This is not a Republican or Democratic issue but a result of the need for all elected officials to generate large sums of money for their election and re-election campaigns.  It's bad but explainable.

(fact source: Senator Bernie Sanders)

   

The Rich

(04/05/09)

Fact: 

The last time the top 1% in the US accounted for 22% of income was in 1929.

OPINION:  

It's amazing how many Republicans believe that taxes should be reduced further for the top 1%.  I do not believe that government should just take money away from the wealthy but this fact illustrates a symptom of a more serious problem, the destruction of the middle class.  In the long term, we will all lose.  

(fact source: CBS Morning News - NBC news)

   

Unemployment

(04/04/09)

Fact: 

4.5 million Americans have recently become unemployed or 8.5%.  Add to that another 9 million Americans that have also become unemployed but are taking part time jobs to make ends meet, and the total adjusted sort-of unemployed stands at 15%.

OPINION:  

Another fine quality job of your elected government officials misinterpretation of economic data.     

(fact source: Meet the Press - NBC news)

   

Intelligent

Design

(02/16/09)

Poll: 

Regarding the Theory of Evolution - Darwin

     Believe:             39%

     Do not believe:  25%

     No opinion:        36%.

OPINION:  

With 61% of the American public not really scientifically oriented, is it no wonder that the American standard of living is being eroded.   

(fact source: Gallup Pole, Sunday Morning CBS)

   

Only One in Five

(02/15/09)

Heard: 

Only one in five Americans believe their children will live better than them (parents)..

OPINION:  

Isn't this the opposite of the "American Dream". 

(fact source: Chris Mathews Show)

   
 

     2008

Commodity Futures Modernization Act

(10/28/08)

Fact: 

The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 provided that financial products offered by banking institutions not be regulated as futures contracts and is often referred to as the "Enron loophole," The "loophole" was drafted by lobbyists for Enron working with senator Phil Gramm seeking a deregulated atmosphere.

OPINION:  

This bill is now partially credited for the financial melt down of 2008 as $50 trillion of credit default swaps have caused a world wide credit squeeze and the collapse of stock markets and personal retirement accounts.  Congratulation to President Clinton, Phil Gramm, and Alan Greenspan are in order!

(fact source: General business news)

   

Bonuses

Cut in Half

(12/08/08)

Fact: 

Several failed financial firms have agreed to cut their bonuses in half.

OPINION:  

If my company failed and had to be bailed out by the federal government, I would be fired on the spot.  The frustration is that the executives of failed financial companies believe they are entitled to a bonus.  Unbelievable, and the American public (and Congress) allow this to continue..

(fact source: general new media)

   

Glass-Steagall Act - 1933

(10/28/08)

Fact: 

The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the United States and included banking reforms, some of which were designed to control speculation. Provisions that prohibit a bank holding company from owning other financial companies were repealed on November 12, 1999, by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,

OPINION:  

Sometimes our elected representative really do good work and then sometimes they undo that good work.

(fact source: WIKIPEDIA)

   

Home Price to

Income Ratio

(10/05/08)

Something to File Away: 

The World Bank considers a ratio of "home price to household income" of 5:1 to be healthy.

A Little Research:  

In 2000, the average house in the US sold for $200,300, the average income was $55,714 (3.6:1).   In 2006, the average house in the US sold for $301,800, the average income was $49,580 (6.1:1).  

(fact source: Business Week (World Bank) 10/13/08 issue)

   

Style

vs. Substance

(10/05/08)

Fact: 

No fact , just a reminder, that when viewing the debates and listening to campaign speeches, try to separate the style from the substance.

OPINION:  

Unfortunately, it's really not that simple. A leader with great substance may not be effective without some style.  A leader with style, though, could do a lot of damage to the country without some sort of substance. 

(fact source: General Info 10/05/08)

   

Bailout Bill

Crap

(10/03/08)

Fact: 

The first house vote on the $700 billion bailout bill failed as 2/3rds (133-65) of republican house members voted against it.  McCain suspended his campaign and rushed to Washington to help round up the republicans.  After adding $140 billon of "crap" to the bill and passage in the Senate, the bill was passed in the House with help from the republicans.

OPINION:  

If you don't think our political system in Washington is seriously in trouble, I have a bridge to sell you. 

(fact source: General Info 10/03/08)

   

Army

vs. Citizens

(09/25/08)

Fact: 

Beginning October 2008, the Army plans to station the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team inside the United States (first time in history) to serve as on-call federal response for civil unrest and crowd control.

OPINION:  

America, any time a central government can use its military against its citizenry, you are bound to lose your liberty. 

(fact source: Democracy Now / Army Times  09/23/08)

   

SEC

Leverage

(09/24/08)

Fact: 

The events of the past year are the results of a SEC decision in 2004 to allow Goldman, Merrill, Lehman, Bear Stearns, and Morgan Stanley to legally violate existing net capital rules from 12:1 to 40:1.

OPINION:  

Excess leverage has resulted in the vast majority of recessions in the US ion the last 140 years.  Way to go SEC. 

(fact source: The Big Picture 09/18/08)

   

Bill

Clinton

(09/14/08)

QUOTE:

"When people are insecure, they'd rather have somebody who is strong and wrong than someone who's weak and right,"

OPINION:  

Apparently, things don't change.

(fact source: Real Clear Politics 01/15/07)

   

US Health Care

16% of GDP

(08/20/08)

Fact: 

Health care cost in the US averages 16% of GDP and are forecast to reach 20% of GDP by 2015.

OPINION:  

Almost 50 million Americans are not insured, a hundred million more are under insured and the US health care cost as a percent of GDP is twice as much as any other country in the developed world.  Congratulations elected officials on a job well done. I don't hear either presidential candidate talking about this issue.

(fact source: Business Week 09/19/08 pg. 72)

   

Bill

Clinton

(08/27/08)

QUOTE: 

"People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.."

OPINION:  

This is a very strong statement and should be one the cornerstone principles of real conservatives.  And it came from a Democrat?  Now I'm really confused. Are any Republicans paying attention!

(fact source: Democratic National Convention)

   

Social

Security

(08/26/08)

FACT: 

The Social Security contribution limit increases each year indexed to the national average wage index. For earnings in 2008, this base is $102,000.

OPINION:  

Most elected representatives fail to disclose that the base increases every year.  Social Security automatically indexes itself to inflation thus greatly reducing the need to "fix" it.

(fact source: Google Search)

   

Real GDP

(per person)

(08/20/08)

OBSERVATION: 

The Gross Domestic Product of the United States has been growing at between 1% and 4% during the past several years.  But, how much has it been growing per person?

OPINION:  

I suspect the GDP per person is a lot less especially if you deduct the 1% to 2% population growth, deduct an inflation rate of 2% to 3.5%, deduct optimistic government statistical adjustment factors, and deduct an uneven trend towards improved income for the top 10%.  Regardless which percentage rates you use to calculate the GDP per person, it's looking particularly negative for the bottom 90% of wage earners.

(fact source: N/A)

   

Energy

Speculation

(07/25/08)

FACT: 

The energy stalemate between Democrats and Republicans continues on Capitol Hill. Senate Democrats failed today to advance a measure to rein in oil market speculators, and rejected Republican calls to expand offshore oil production.

OPINION:  

Oil companies no longer purchase crude and petroleum products on a fixed bases but on a discount/premium to the price the equivalent commodity on an exchange such as the NYMEX.   Anyone can purchase or sell these products in the form of a paper contract.  Thus, the recent run-up in prices of petroleum commodities is more the result of a shortage of contracts (representing real product) encouraged by huge long positions by financial institutions and hedge funds than an actual shortage of product.  (Of course, speculation isn't the only factor causing the run-up in prices.)

PRINCIPLE:  The fact that Republicans blocked a vote to limit some forms of speculation and potentially reduce the price of petroleum commodities is very discouraging and indicative of their lack of interest in representing the American people.  As a conservative, I find this very disappointing and am finding it more difficult to vote for Republican candidates.

(fact source: General News- 07/25/08)

   

Facts vs Policy

(07/11/08)

QUOTE: 

"Government exists to protect us from each other, not to protect us from ourselves " - President Reagan

OPINION:  

What a great statement.  It sums up the "conservative" ideology in one short sentence.  I interpret this statement to also include protecting our government officials from lobbyists whose interests do not not reside with the interests of the American people (protecting us from each other).  This is where the so-called Republicans have gone wrong in the last 7 years.  The growing strength of lobbyists in Washington should more accurately classified as legalized corruption

(fact source: Bill Moyer's Journal - 07/11/08)

   

Obama

Public Funds

(06/23/08)

FACT: 

Barack Obama has announced that he will not accept public funds in the upcoming US presidential election even though he recently advised that he would.

OPINION:  

No one disputes the facts but the Republicans are crying "flip flop".  Good for Obama!  Millions of Americans have donated small amounts to his campaign so why shouldn't he change his mind.

PRINCIPLE:  The term "flip flop" is now being used by both parties to denounce the other. I would much rather vote for a candidate that is capable of changing their view when the facts change.  This is possibly President Bush's greatest failure.  Based on my own principles, I am not a proponent of receiving government funds.  McCain may believe accepting government funds a Republican principle but it is definitely bot a "conservative" principle.

(fact source: general new- 06/23/08)

   

1 MPG =

350 MBPD

(06/14/08)

FACT: 

Reduction of 1 MPG in the US fleet would result in reduced US crude demand of 350,000 BPD.

OPINION:  

This is a cool fact if it is true.  Imagine, a 10 MPG increase would represent a reduction of 3.5 million bbls per day.  The US currently consumes 20 million barrels per day.

APPLICABILITY:  This number is actually achievable in the relative short term.  This would also be the least disruptive action to reducing the cost of transportation in the US.

(fact source: CNN - Out of Gas- 06/14/08)

   

Military Bases

in Iraq

(06/13/08)

FACT: 

The fate of American troops in Iraq and their scope of power hang in the balance of a security deal between U.S. and Iraq, which according to remarks made by Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has reached a "dead end." The U.S. is demanding to remain in full control of security and Iraq is firmly resisting.

OPINION:  

I'm totally confused.  65% of Americans want to withdraw and now Iraq doesn't want any permanent American bases in their country.

APPLICABILITY:  Historians will point to the US leaving Europe too quickly after WW1 but I think this is a totally different situation. 

(fact source: Wall Street Journal - 06/13/08)

   

CAFE Standard

(06/01/08)

FACT: 

From 1985 to 2007, there has been no increase in the U.S. mileage standard.

OPINION:  

Great short term thinking on the part of our elected representatives.

APPLICABILITY:  In the 60's and 70's, a shortage of gasoline resulted in a doubling of the mileage standard and the collapse of crude prices. 

(fact source: KLCS - New Ideas and Technologies for Transportation )

   

Facts vs Policy

(06/01/08)

QUOTE: 

"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?" - John Maynard Keynes

OPINION:  

This quote stands on its own.  I wish some of our elected officials would also abide by this advice.

   

Carlyle

Capital

(03/22/08)

FACT: 

Carlyle had $600 million in capital and borrowed $22 billion.

OPINION:  

Why can't I borrow 36 times the equity in my house? 

APPLICABILITY:  Why do financial institutions and hedge funds have special privileges afforded them by the federal government.  If I run into financial trouble, I get to file bankruptcy.  If a financial institution experiences financial problems, they get bailed out by the Federal Reserve Board and the management gets bonuses. 

(fact source: Meet the Press - Marie Bartiromo )

   

Financial

Leverage

(03/17/08)

FACT: 

Bear Stearns was leveraged 240 times its capital value.

OPINION:  

Wow, you and I can get a loan for 80% of the value of our home.  If you have an investment account you can borrow 40% on margin. 

APPLICABILITY:  Your elected representative have allowed investment houses and hedge funds to borrow 240 times their value.  If they go bankrupt, the federal government rescues them with your tax dollars.  If you go bankrupt, too bad.  Oh, don't forget you still have to pay off your credit card debt.  Regulations after the Great Depression resolved this issue but financial institutions seem to have found a way around these regulations in the last several years.

(fact source: CNBC )

   

Bear

Stearns

(03/14/08)

FACT: 

Bear Stearns gets emergency loan from Federal Reserve due to heavy exposure to sub prime securities.

OPINION:  

For the last several years, Bear Stearns profited greatly from trading in these knowingly worthless securities.

APPLICABILITY:  Why aren't the Bear Stearns executives in jail.  This situation is not a lot different than  Enron and now all of the rest of us who are legitimate and honest have to suffer under the Sarbanes Oxley burden.  This is a perfect example how increased regulations only disadvantage honest companies while the dishonest still get away with fleecing the American taxpayer.

(general news )

   

Homeowner Equity

(03/06/08)

FACT: 

Americans percentage of equity in their homes fell to less than 50% for the first time since 1945 when records were first kept.

OPINION:  

Homeowners borrowing from the equity in their home to finance day-to-day living is going to make the sub-prime problem look like a minor economic hiccup.

APPLICABILITY:  Financial institutions have had free reign in the last decade disassembling margin regulations, loan regulations, and credit card regulations to the disadvantage of the average American.  The previously successful financial regulations were developed from decades of experience and economic mistakes.  The irony is that the financial institutions responsible for destruction of these regulations are now requesting that the government save them from their disassembly.

(fact source: AP )

   

Commander & Chief

(02/23/08)

FACT: 

The President of the United States is "Commander and Chief".

OPINION:  

The President is not only Commander and Chief but also "Educator".

APPLICABILITY:  The great Presidents of the US have all been effective communicators and educators. Being a great educator requires that the person doing the educating have extensive knowledge of the facts and an understanding of the subject matter, something that is currently woefully lacking from many politicians in Washington DC.

(fact source: General News)

   

Drug

Manufacturing

(02/20/08)

FACT: 

Prescription drugs in the US are manufactures from active components of which 80% are imported. 

OPINION:  

The price of the statin drug that I take has tripled in the last several years and is significantly higher than in any other country in the world.

APPLICABILITY:  The current administration has done a great job of protecting the drug manufacturers, even though most of their products aren't even made in the US.  Good lobbyists have been very successful in the US in the last 5 or 6 years.

(fact source: Channel 7 Evening News)

   

Stimulus

Package

(02/08/08)

FACT: 

The US Government is planning on distributing $150 billion, the majority to individual American citizens, in the form of checks amounting to between $300 and $600 in order to stimulate the American economy.

OPINION:  

The sub-prime mortgage crises, financial companies arbitrarily raising interest rate on credit cards, unregulated hedge funds, an erroneous fed fund policy, and unfair lobbyist influence from corporations, unions, and little known international entities, are the reasons for the latest economic problems.

APPLICABILITY:  This is why we need a new President (and Congress) that can identify the real problem and solve the real problem.  So why is the President giving temporary handout!  Why don't your elected officials address the real problems, not just pander to the public for votes. 

(fact source: General news)

   

Federal

Budget

(02/04/08)

FACT: 

President Bush announced that the 2008 federal budget would exceed $3.1 trillion. It does not include $195 billion for the war in Iraq.

OPINION:  

Can it get any worse. 

APPLICABILITY:  This budget is going to make it very difficult for the next president of the United States.  It will also have a negative effect on the American economy and the viability of the US as a "super power" in the long run.

(fact source: General news)

   

Reagan

Legacy

(01/30/08)

FACT: 

In every Republican debate, Reagan's name gets mentioned.  I love the phrase "What would Reagan do?"

OPINION:  

So I did a quick search of Reagan's legacy to find out what he actually did:

 - Reagan's stance toward the Savings and Loan industry lead to the "Savings and Loan Crisis".

 - Reagan's economic policies  influenced the "Stock Market Crash of 1987".

 - Reagan's "trickle-down economics" spurred tax policies that benefited the wealthy but not the poor.

 - The US budget deficit rose from $700 billion to $3 trillion during the Reagan administration.

APPLICABILITY:  Are you sure we really want another Reagan-like president?

(fact source: WIKIPEDIA)

   

Since

1960

(01/19/08)

FACT: 

Since 1960, America's divorce rate has doubled, the teenage suicide rate tripled, the violent crime rate doubled, and the prison population quintupled.

OPINION:   I think the US as a country needs to begin focusing on domestic issues once again and stop trying to change the rest of the world.

APPLICABILITY:  The war in Iraq has been a tremendous diversion from confronting our own domestic problems, especially in Washington.   Whether you believe in the war or not, our elected representative have really ignored some incredibly important domestic issues such as financial industry lending practices, the sub prime melt won, and economic health the of the middle class.

(fact source: The Economist)

 

     2007 

Yuan

up 7%

(12/31/07)

FACT: 

The yuan is set to end 2007 up nearly 7% against the dollar -- twice the amount it appreciated against the U.S. currency in 2006. 

OPINION:   Almost every consumer item I buy is "made in China".  Now it too will be going up in price.

APPLICABILITY:  Unfortunately, manufacturing of consumer items is not going to come back to the US; it will just move to the next cheapest labor country.  Our elected officials have been putting political pressure on China to increase the exchange rate of the yuan which will only cause greater inflation in the US among items we purchase every day.  Thanks again to the federal government for looking after American consumers.

(fact source: Wall Street Journal)

   

US Military

Bases

(12/22/07)

FACT: 

The US operates 700 military bases in 130 foreign countries around the world.

OPINION:   Wow, do we really need that many foreign bases? Is this true?

APPLICABILITY:  It is common knowledge that the US operates bases in countries where we really don't need bases anymore.  I remember President Clinton shuttling down both foreign and domestic  bases in order to balance the federal budget.  Isn't this what the Republicans are suppose to be doing.

(fact source: Ron Paul - Meet the Press)

   

Sub Prime

(12/16/07)

FACT: 

US sub-prime loans amount to $800 billion with undocumented loans representing another $800 billion.  To date, financial institutions have only written off $200 billion. 

OPINION:   How did our elected representatives let this one get by.

APPLICABILITY:  Deregulation or over regulation are equally dangerous.  In recent years, the balance has swung towards deregulation of the financial institutions and the sub prime issue is the result.  Didn't our politicians learn anything after the Savings and Loan crises last decade?.

(fact source: Alan Greenspan ABC News)

     

      

France nuclear plants China

(11/26/07)

FACT: 

France's Areva sold two nuclear reactors to China for US$11.9 billion.

OPINION:   I thought the US was the world's technological leader.  Our politicians think so.

APPLICABILITY:  Lack of political foresight, lack of technological focus by our politicians, and misdirection of national resources has led to the US becoming an also ran in confronting the future.

(fact source: RTTNews)

     

      

France nuclear plants China

(11/26/07)

FACT: 

France's Areva sold two nuclear reactors to China for US$11.9 billion.

OPINION:   I thought the US was the world's technological leader.  Our politicians think so.

APPLICABILITY:  Lack of political foresight, lack of technological focus by our politicians, and misdirection of national resources has led to the US becoming an also ran in confronting the future.

(fact source: RTTNews)

     

      

Syrian Nuclear Bomb Plant

(12/02/07)

FACT: 

Israel's top-secret air raid on Syria in September destroyed a bomb factory assembling warheads fuelled by North Korean plutonium.

OPINION:   I don't remember hearing about this from any American politicians.

APPLICABILITY:  While the US is verbally attacking other countries, the Israelis are taking care of real threats.

(fact source: NY Times

     

      

Republican

Debate -

 Spending

10/21/07)

FACT:  All republican candidates claim that the Democrats will raise taxes and increase spending but the spending by the President and Congress in the last 6 years has been a disaster.

OPINION:   President Bush and the Republican Congress from 2000 to 2004 promised to reduce spending yet spending skyrocketed.

APPLICABILITY:  Just as in the prior two elections, the best defense is an offense. The Republicans are very good at spinning their own performance failures as attributes to attack their opponents.

(fact source: Republican Debate of Fox news channel.)

     

      

Consumer

Bankruptcy

 Policy

10/20/07)

FACT:  Foreclosures are soaring while bankruptcies are running at half the rate in 2003.

OPINION:   In 2005, your elected representative in Congress voted a new bankruptcy law which makes it nearly impossible to get out of credit card debt for any reason if you file bankruptcy.  It's a lot easier to hand your house back to your lender.

APPLICABILITY:  My 20 something child earns minimum wage and receives no less than 3 credit card applications per week.  The credit card companies know that once they can get him to sign up, they can over charge him on interest, late payments, and excess limits.  Perhaps Congress should pass a law making credit card companies partially responsible for issuing credit cards to consumers they know will have difficulty making their payments.

(fact source: Business Week 10/29/07 - Bankruptcy Reform Bites Back)

     

      

US Medical

 Policy

08/15/07)

FACT:  Major changes to the American medical system have occurred in the last 4 years:

 -  It is now illegal to purchase your prescription drugs from Canada or Mexico,

 -  If you place your medical bills on your credit card and you eventually file for bankruptcy, you're  stuck paying those bills forever (and you're probably unemployed). 

 -  If your health insurance provider decides to underpay a medical bill, you as the individual are responsible for the balance with little recourse since you already signed your legal rights away.

OPINION:   The facts are what they are.

APPLICABILITY:  Thank you current administration including Congress.

(fact source: general news)

     

      

US Healthcare Cost - $2 trillion

07/11/07)

FACT:  Americans pay $2 trillian per year in health care costs.

OPINION:   There is momentum building to make sure all Americans have health care insurance. The insurance industry must be getting ready to party as federal and state governments will end up paying the cost to insure an additional 47million Americans.  No wonder the stocks of health insurance providers is skyrocketing. Unfortunately, a lot of politicians don't understand the connection.

APPLICABILITY:  Finding elected representatives that understand the health care situation is rare.  A medical procedure for an uninsured person with money that costs $10,000, costs an insurance company $6,000, and Medicare $3,000.  This is only an estimate of relative payments but it becomes quite obvious that Medicare is being subsidized off the back of uninsured Americans that are able to pay, even at great difficulty.  The federal government has absolutely no incentive to change the system as they are getting the best deal. It's a cost problem, not an insurance problem, although insurance administration costs are a rapidly growing part of the equation.

(secondary fact source: On The Money)

     

      

68%

of Republicans

07/04/07)

FACT:  68% of Republicans do not believe in evolution.

OPINION:   I have a hard time believing that this is an accurate statistic.  But even if is half true, the future of the US will be limited. I grew up with a strong science background including biology and geology.  The issue of the validity of creationism is probably the only issue that I would not debate with a believer in creationism.

APPLICABILITY:  It is already evident that politicians cater to the believers of creationism.  That's why the rights of women are being questioned and the government financing of stem cell research is stalled.  Even NASA funding is under attack.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately), government intervention in minimizing the sciences will some day provide other countries the opportunity to pick up the slack and lead mankind into the future.

(fact source: Gallup Survey)

     

      

25 Lobbyists

Washington DC

06/23/07)

FACT:  There are now 25 lobbyists for every member of Congress,  which haws doubled since 2004.

OPINION:   Did you really think your vote actually counted!

APPLICABILITY:  It's really unbelievable that the pharmaceutical lobby wrote the recent drug program but it now appears that lobbyists have become a permanent and structural part of the Washington scene.  Who do think you elected representative will listen to?

(fact source: Bill Moyer)

     

      

Ryan Crocker

Amb. Iraq

06/17/07)

FACT:  Ryan Crocker was confirmed as Ambassador to Iraq on March 7, 2007. (Not an elected official but appointed by an elected official.)

OPINION:   Heard this Ambassador give an update on the conditions in Iraq on Meet the Press.  The first question you have to ask yourself is what are his qualifications.  I did a quick internet search and it turns out he has a very impressive resume concerning the Middle East.  However, I'm not sure he speaks a word of Farsi and it is no secret that the Middle East has suffered more than its fair share of issues for more than  decade.

APPLICABILITY:  It seems like our elected officials keep appointing, well credentialed, but less than successful individuals to really important positions. No wonder there never appears to be any success, and I'm saying this nicely.

(fact source: Meet the press)

     

      

Support the Troops

$3.18

06/06/07)

FACT:  Congress and the president just passed a $100 billion bill to support the troops when, in fact, only $22.6 billion will be going to the troops.

OPINION:   Why doesn't that surprise me!  Granted a considerable amount will go to private security firms that are now replacing the tradition security function but $18 billion has nothing to do with the war in Iraq.

APPLICABILITY:  The democrats really missed this opportunity to politically attack Bush but they were too busy dipping into the $18, billion along with the Republicans.

(fact source: Tom Hartman)

Gasoline

$3.18

06/03/07)

FACT:  The national average price of gasoline is $3.18 per gallon.

OPINION:   Demand for gasoline continues to rise.  There are basically 2 ways to reduce consumption, increasing CAFE standards or drastically increasing prices.

APPLICABILITY:  GM and Ford have long fought increasing CAFE standards and your elected representatives in Congress have been successfully lobbied to cooperate. The irony is that the Detroit auto makers would be in much better shape, carbon emissions greatly reduced, and gasoline prices much lower had CAFE standards been gradually and orderly increased in the 80s and 90s.

(fact source: general news)

     

      

TSA and

92 Year Olds

05/31/07)

FACT:  Prior to boarding a flight to Denver from Burbank with my 92 year old dad and 2 other 90+ year old men were being padded down by TSA security personnel.

OPINION:   I wish I was brave enough to take a picture.  It would have been a classic. My day had no clue what was going on, he is simply too old to understand.

APPLICABILITY:  It's getting more difficult to believe that our federal government can implement any type of legislated program. 

(fact source: personal experience)

     

      

Iraq

Withdrawal

05/28/07)

FACT:  President Bush insinuated that the US would withdraw from Iraq if the government of Iraq asked us to. (The government of Iraq currently had planned on a 3 month vacation, but that's a different and troubling issue.)

OPINION:   The bipartisan battles in Washington are distracting from the development of a long term plan to consolidate our troops in strategic locations in order to stabilize the Middle East. That's what Congress should be debating, not just when to withdraw. 

APPLICABILITY:  Each party has fronted numerous candidates for the presidential primaries next year and it remains to be seen if any of these candidates has enough understanding of the situation in Iraq to propose a successful and strategic plan to contain the chaos in Iraq and stabilize the  Middle East.

(fact source: general news)

     

      

Sallie Mae

Privatization

05/08/07)

FACT:  Word circulated in the press than Sallie Mae might go private.

OPINION:   My first thought is who will be the lucky, well connected insiders, that will get this money making franchise on the cheap. 

APPLICABILITY:  Sallie Mae was suppose to be a quasi government agency to supply government guaranteed, below market loans to students.  Instead, during the last 6 years, it has become a predatory loan program with not so low interest rates supported with financial kick backs from the schools that promote its loans.  And now our current administration will allow it to go private!  Where is the press in all this unethical mess.

(fact source: general news)

     

      

Payday

Advance

390% interest

03/08/07)

FACT:  Middle class Americans looking for a quick loan till payday pay up to 390% interest if the loan is continuously rolled for an entire year.

OPINION:   I can imagine all of the reasons that your elected officials did away with the usury laws once legislated by our forefathers. 

APPLICABILITY:  This is another case where previous legislation on usury laws was totally over turned instead of being modified and updated to more accurately reflect new financial realities. 

(fact source: Jim Cramer 03/08/07)

     

      

President

Regan

Democrat ?

02/24/07)

FACT:  President Regan worked well with democrats, raised taxes while in office, and signed a liberal abortion law.

OPINION:   Modern day republicans ardently support President Reagan while vehemently rejecting those principals for which President Reagan stood. I'm seriously confused.

APPLICABILITY:  Governor Schwarzenegger of California has fallen out of favor with the Republican Party even though he may have a lot in common with President Reagan. 

(fact source: Economist Magazine 02/24/07)

     

      

Iraq

Refugees

3.8 million

02/14/07)

FACT:  3.8 million Iraqis have fled Iraq to neighboring countries in the Middle East.

OPINION:   I've read where it is really only 700,000 but this situation really illustrates the severity of the problem in Iraq.  

APPLICABILITY:  Get ready for a massive migration of Iraqis into the United States.  This happened at the end of the Korean War and the Viet Nam War and I see no reason why it wouldn't happen after this war.  This will make the fight against terrorism almost impossible.  Remember how Rome was destroyed ... from within!

(fact source: Ed Shultz Show- 02/14/07)

     

      

U.S. Troop

Surge

20,000

02/11/07)

FACT:  (Part 2) President Bush is planning to increase the U.S. military presence in Iraq by over 20,000 troops in early to mid 2007. Current military staffing is approximately 134,000.

OPINION:   I believe I've heard several military generals advise that a troop surge is the wrong strategy, I've heard the leader of Iraq advise that he is against the troop surge but needs more equipment and supplies.  The troop surge during the summer of 2006 was not successful.  

APPLICABILITY:  It would be nice if the American people could elect representative that carefully reviewed the facts first, without manipulation and cherry picking, and then let the qualified persons in government set the strategy.  This would b a refreshing change.

(fact source: Various - Meet the Press - 02/11/07)

     

      

Mr.

Milkshake

02/09/07)

FACT:  Mr. Milkshake shuts down Boston.

OPINION:   I'm sorry, you've got to see the humor in this. The Cartoon Network placed neon signs in 13 different cities across the U.S. and Boston responded as if it were an act of terrorism.   No other cities responded in this manner.

APPLICABILITY:  I remember back in the 50's when Americans believed that there was a Communist behind every bush.  This is for real.  It's amazing at how things remain the same.

(fact source: Various news media - 02/07/07)

     

      

Personal 

Tax Rate

02/078/07)

FACT:  The U.S. economy excels when the average tax rate for all Americans is 18% or less.

OPINION:   Interesting number.  I don't know what the current average tax rate is but I'll keep this number in mind as the average personal tax rate is adjusted by Congress in the next few years.

APPLICABILITY:  It may be that exceeding this rate in the next few years could do major damage to the U.S. economy.

(fact source: Mitt Romney on O'Reilly Factor - 02/07/07)

     

      

U.S. Troop

Surge

01/28/07)

FACT:  (Part 1) President Bush is planning to increase the U.S. military presence in Iraq by over 20,000 troops in early to mid 2007. Current military staffing is approximately 134,000.

OPINION:   During the spring of 2006, the U.S. troop count was 150,000 and during the beginning of 2006 it was 160,000.  Someone explain to me that adding 20,000 troops to a reduced current count of 134,000 is considered a military surge.  Don't forget about the additional 25,000 private security personnel performing functions previously performed by by U.S. troops in other wars.

APPLICABILITY:  Again, American citizens are not being told the real facts of the war.

(fact source: General Media - 01/28/07)

     

      

U.S.

Health Care

01/27/07)

FACT:  The U.S. spends 16% of its GDP on health care.

OPINION:   This is twice as much as other advanced industrialized countries. The 47 million uninsured Americans let the rest of us without employer based insurance pay their medical costs.  The US health care system is a prime example of  "cost shifting" and the federal government promoting an unbalanced and uncompetitive health care industry.

APPLICABILITY:  The U.S. needs to overhaul its current health care system where everyone pays their own fair share, health care providers are subjected to cost transparency, litigation is capped, and some economic consideration is used in determining the extent of medical treatment.

(fact source: Economist - 01/13/07)

     

      

Iraqi

Civil War

01/21/07)

FACT:  Chuck Hagel, and most other politicians, are calling the war in Iraq a "secular" civil war.

OPINION:   This is not a "secular civil war" in the political sense; it is a "religious civil war".  You have 2 different groups of the same religion duking it out with each for the past several hundred years. Under this scenario, there isn't much chance that any outside force can influence a favorable outcome.

APPLICABILITY:  The White House and its supporters have continually mischaracterized the war since its beginning and continue to implement the wrong strategies and tactics as a result of the mischaracterization.

(fact source: Face the Nation - 01/21/07)

     

      

Iraqi

Guns

01/18/07)

FACT:  Iraqi President Maliki criticized the White House for not supplying sufficient equipment to supply Iraqi forces.

OPINION:   We still haven't completely met the needs and requirements of our own military in Iraq.

APPLICABILITY:  There is a total breakdown in communication and implementation between the White House, the US military, and supply operations. If a corporation acted in this manner, it would no longer be in business.

(fact source: Lou Dobbs 01/21/07)

     

      

China

Anti Satellite

01/17/07)

FACT:  China shot down one of its own satellites with its own missile.

OPINION:   Why?.

APPLICABILITY:  US intelligence didn't know anything about this.  In fact they were involved in an intelligence meeting in Washington at the same time and didn't even mention it.

(fact source: Lou Dobbs 01/21/07)

     

      

Budget

Deficit

01/14/07)

FACT:  2005 was the hottest year in recorded history.

OPINION:   Wasn't Al Gore Vice President of the United States for 8 years?  (facetious comment).

APPLICABILITY:  VP Gore and President Clinton were in a position for 8 years to take action on global warming.  Why do they wait till they are out of office before they do something about it!

(source: Al Gore - An Inconvenient Truth)

 

     2006 

Budget

Deficit

12/07/06)

FACT:  The U.S. Federal government will pay out over $1 billion dollars per day in 2006 to cover interest costs.

OPINION:   Wow, only 6 years ago the budget was surplus and interest costs were decreasing.

APPLICABILITY:  Congratulations are in order to the republican dominated Congress for a fine job of squandering America's resources.

(source: Heritage Foundation)

     

Training

Iraqis

11/15/06)

FACT:  Of the 158,000 American troops in Iraq, 4,000 are being used for training Iraqi military and police.

OPINION:   After 3.5 years of military operations in Iraqi whose primary goal is to help the Iraqis learn how to govern and protect themselves, 4,000 trainers just doesn't seem like very much.

APPLICABILITY:  With so little focus on training, how will the US ever be able to withdraw without leaving the country in chaos.

(source: Public Radio)

     

Earmarks

11/05/06)

FACT:  The number of federal earmarks has increased from 4,000 to 30,000 per year in the last 12 years.

OPINION:   I thought republican domination of the executive office and congress would have reduced frivolous and wasteful earmarks.

APPLICABILITY:  So many republicans who call  them conservatives, do not act in a conservative manner at all.  Many republicans repeatedly blame not republicans for their liberal spending attitude.

(source: 60 Minutes- Nov. 05, 2006)

     

Social

Security

10/15/06)

FACT:  The current Republican administration has borrowed $925 billion from the Social Security Trust Fund in the past 6 years.

OPINION:   The Trust Fund was originally set up as the primary source of funding for retired persons.

APPLICABILITY:  The current Republican administration would like to change the Social Security because it cannot financially support the retirement of the baby boomer generation.

(source: Meet the Press - Oct. 15, 2006)

     

Petting

Zoo

09/27/06)

FACT:  The Department of Homeland Security announced in May that it would cut security grants to New York and Washington by 40 percent.  However, the department’s database of vulnerable critical infrastructure included the Old MacDonald's Petting Zoo near Huntsville, Alabama.

OPINION:   This is why real conservatives believe that a smaller federal government is better than a large one

APPLICABILITY:  Unfortunately, in the last few years, the U.S. federal government, especially the Department of Homeland Security, has grown much faster than the GDP.

(source: MSNBC News - July 12, 2006)

     

Oil

Gap

09/24/06)

FACT:  The U.S consumes 25% of the world's oil production although it contains only 5% of the world's population.

OPINION:   Economic supply siders believe that future shortages and resultant higher prices will reduce the demand for oil.  While from a macro view this is absolutely correct, on a micro level, it will cause great personal economic difficulty and potential political turmoil.

APPLICABILITY:  Our elected representatives have consistently failed to enact legislation that would reduce demand and increase energy production which would have minimal negative economic affect. As a bonus, pollution from burning hydrocarbons and carbon emissions would also be reduced.

(source: Multiple sources including (What if: the Oil Runs Out - documentary)

     

Wealth

Gap

08/30/06)

FACT:  The top 5th of American households claimed 50.4% of all income in the US in 2005, the largest gap since the Census Bureau began tracking data in 1967.

OPINION:   A strong middle class has been the traditional backbone of the United States.  However, this number is most likely skewed by increasing immigration in the last few years.

APPLICABILITY:  There is a continuous stream of proposed legislation, especially in Congress, which would allow the gap to become even wider.

(source: Census Bureau as reported in Wall Street Journal)

     

Boeing

C17

08/18/06)

FACT:  Boeing announced that it would discontinue C17 production in Long Beach, CA by mid 2009.

OPINION:   Military spending on major military equipment always seems to be boom or  bust.  In the process, manufacturing plants are ramped up and closed down, employees are hired and laid off, and communities are built and destroyed. 

APPLICABILITY:  Why can't the budget committees in Washington that make the decisions on weapons programs figure out a way to maintain these programs on a limited, rational, long term basis.

(source: Boeing press release)

     

Index

Funds

08/11/06)

FACT:  Goldman Sachs announced that after the October roll on gasoline futures, it would no longer hold a position in RFG futures.  Gasoline fell $.1833 per gallon.

OPINION:   Didn't someone just announce that index funds and hedge funds really don't affect the market? 

APPLICABILITY:  Really doesn't seem like your elected official has the little guy's best interests in mind.

(source: as reported in Opisalerts 08/11/06 - Tom Kloza)

    

Corn

Economy

08/10/06)

FACT:  Of the 45,000 items in an American grocery store, over 1/4 of them contain corn.  Few other plants can produce as much organic matter with the same quantity of sunlight as corn. However, the large quantity of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer that is required to grow corn is running off into rivers and affecting the Gulf of Mexico and Eastern seaboard.

OPINION:   I always thought some kind of pest could jeopardize the corm monoculture. 

APPLICABILITY:  The US legislature has passed legislation mandating the use of ethanol which is primarily produced form corn in the United States.  How about higher CAFE standards instead?

(source: Smithsonian. - Michael Pollan, What's Eating America July 2006)

    

Oil

Investment

08/09/06)

FACT:  Between 1995 and 2005, the 20 largest oil producers in North America earned $366 billion dollars.  During that same period, they invested $550 billion in oil & gas development and distribution.

OPINION:   This fact certainly contradicts with what we hear from the news media and some government representatives.

APPLICABILITY:  Many bills to further tax oil production have been introduced in the past few months.  Will a tax on crude provide a solution? How about higher CAFE standards instead?

(source: Kudlow & Co. - Charles Swanson, Ernst & Young study)

    

Prudhoe

Bay

08/07/06)

FACT:  BP announced that it will shut down its 400,000 barrel per day Prudhoe Bay pipeline due to a 5 barrel leak and discovered corrosion.

OPINION:   Instead of a shutdown of the pipeline, BP could make temporary repairs, reduce operating pressure, and build a parallel pipeline for tie-in upon completion of construction.  The resultant increase in crude prices should place pressure on Congress for additional drilling in Alaska.

APPLICABILITY:  Every time there is a pipeline leak, congressional representatives call for criminal penalties against oil companies and pipeline operators.  A pipeline operator has no choice but to shut down a pipeline regardless of the supply implications to the public. 

When was the last time your elected officious voted for legislation that actually increased supply while reducing demand for energy?

(source: multiple BP Press releases)

    

Democracy

08/06/06)

FACT:  There are 63 lobbyists in Washington DC for every member of the U.S. Congress.

OPINION:   So much for the democratic idea of one person, one vote.

APPLICABILITY:  Every time Congress enacts new election reforms, more abuses occur.  Did your representative vote for the last bill on election reform?

(source: Jim Dean  (chair - Democarcy for America) - Meet the Press)

    

Nuclear

Stockpile

07/26/06)

FACT:  Much of the US nuclear stockpile has a life expectancy of 20 years and efforts are being taken to extend the life another 30 years.

OPINION:   At what point do 3rd world nuclear weapons become ineffective?

APPLICABILITY: The US has made some very serious decisions in recent years based on enemy's of the US gaining access to nuclear weapons.  There has been at least one major intelligence mistake.

(source: US General Accounting Office)

    

Middle

Class

07/25/06)

FACT:  75% of all households in the City of Los Angeles live in either a rich neighborhood or poor neighborhood.

OPINION:   This leaves only 25% of households living in middle class neighborhoods.  Driving through LA will lead you to believe that this is not an unrealistic statistic.

APPLICABILITY: The LA Board of Supervisors has consistently made decisions and increased taxes which has led to the flight of most of the middle class to adjacent counties.

(source: heard on local LA radio)

    

Missile

Defense

07/17/06)

FACT:  US Federal funding for 2nd and 3rd generation missile defense systems has been reduced for during the current fiscal year.

OPINION:   With Iran and North Korea endeavoring to potentially launch nuclear weapons at the United States, I would think that missile defense would become the defense priority.

APPLICABILITY: Congress has no problem increasing military expenditures for military equipment that will do little to protect the U.S. from an errant nuclear missile attack.

(source: heard on Kudlow & Company Show)

    

Intelligence on

North Korea

07/16/06)

FACT:  10% of the American Intelligence community covering North Korea actually speaks Korean.

OPINION:   This may actually be a high percentage compared to American intelligence in other parts of the world.

(source: Newt Gingrich - Meet the Press)

    

Internet

 Gambling

07/12/06)

FACT:   The House of Representatives voted to ban internet gambling in the United States.

FACT:  Under this bill, established casino operations and Indian Reservations in the US may offer internet gambling services.

OPINION:   Lobbying in Washington is very effective.

(source: heard On The Money Show)

    

US Budget Deficit

07/12/06)

FACT:   President Bush announces that the US budget deficit for 2006 will be less than $300 billion.

OPINION:   The President forgot to mention another $200 billion that will be borrowed from Social Security for a total of $500 billion.

 (source: heard on Kudlow & Company Show)

    

US Saving Rate

06/??/06)

FACT:   The personal saving rate of individuals in the US is one of the lowest in the industrialized world.

OPINION:   Savings in 401K, IRA, Keogh's, and Roth's are not included in the savings number.  Doesn't this make Americans some of the smartest savers in the world?

 (source: heard on Kudlow & Company Show)

    

Social

Security

06/??/06)

FACT:   Social Security is an entitlement.

OPINION:   Between an employee and his employer, almost 15% of the employees pay is deposited into Social Security.  This is no different than a forced savings account with deposits made from an employees earnings.   An entitlement is not earned.

 (source: your paycheck)

    

Hydrogen

Cars

06/20/06)

FACT:  700 sq.. ft. of high tech electrical panels will produce enough hydrogen in one week to fuel a car for 175 miles.

OPINION:   Wouldn't  higher CAFE standards be a lot easier and cheaper?

(source: heard on Science Channel)

    

Income Tax

06/02/06)

OPINION:  Without a regressive income tax and a responsible death tax on the most wealthy, capitalism in the United States becomes like the game of Monopoly (©).  At the end of the game, there is only one winner, everyone else loses. 

    

Immigration

05/29/06)

FACT:  In 2005, 28% of the population of California were immigrants.

FACT:  In 1969, 10 % of the population of California were immigrants.

OPINION:   I'll let the political parties worry about this one.

(source: The Economist)

    

Stagnant

Wages

05/18/06)

FACT: In 2005, the average hourly wage of workers with bachelor's degrees, was $24.67 ($51,000/yr), only 1.3% higher than in 2000 after adjustment for inflation.

OPINION:   There is a lot of conflicting information about real wages.

(source)

    

Government

Spending

05/14/06)

 

  2001 

  Now  

  Increase 

Fed Spending

$1.9 trillion

$2.6 trillion

+  37%

Budget

$281 billion surplus

$226 billion deficit

+ $617 billion

gas prices

$1.47 per gallon

$2.91 per gallon

+  98%

 

 

(source: heard on Meet the Press)

    

Intl. Finance

05/12/06

FACT:  Only 1 of top 25 IPOs in 2005 was in U.S.

OPINION:  Sarbanes Oxley has shifted capital growth to foreign capital markets..

    

Unemployment

05/??/06)

FACT:   The unemployment rate continues to decrease as a result of a robust economy.

OPINION:   More Americans are either under employed or are missing from the unemployment rolls since their benefits previously expired.  The numbers are unavailable.

(source: na)

    

Declared Wars

05/10/06

TIME FRAME:        WAR:                            OPINION:

1947 - 1991          Cold War with Russia     Russian people over threw Communism...stay tuned.

1950 - 1953          Korean War                   Cease fire, North Korea now a potential nuclear threat.

1964 - on going    War on poverty              Poverty continues to increase.  Widening wealth gap.

1969 - 1975          Vietnam War                 U.S. retreated; still Communist government.

1983 - ongoing    War on drugs                 Drug use still increasing. Evangelicals influence drug policy.

2003 - ongoing     Iraqi War                       Destabilized Middle East.  Note the price of crude oil.

2001 -ongoing      War on terror                 Significant increase in Islamic fundamentalism in world.

05/11/06