Monday, December 27, 2010

Democrats Force Legislation before 2011

As the year comes to close, the Democrats are working extra hard to ram through a gaggle of bills before they lose their majority in the House come January. Despite the fact that lame duck sessions are usually,well, lame, the Democrats have had quite a successful run so far.

Don't ask, Don't tell was successfully repealed; and a joyous Nancy Pelosi gloated  like a drunken Caesar after another country fell to the power of Rome. The bill itself was just a tad bit confusing from the start, but now that it's gone I have to wonder what the point was in the first place. The only instance in which I can see this being an issue is if in the coming months, soldiers now openly serving find themselves the victims of assault or god forbid, murder. If such incidents arise, we can all point at Nancy Pelosi and  laugh, otherwise, a quick golf clap for a job well done and we move on.

The next contestant on the "bill is passed" is the START treaty. This is a new arms control treaty with Russia, that for some  reason the president was just itching to pass. I don't even know why. Anyone else  think that Russia is such a major  threat that we should try and get them to reduce the size of their nuclear arsenal? With the exception of a couple of small  incidents in the Eastern Bloc, all of Russia's problems  have been internal and nothing anyone should  care about.

We do have Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, a string of Dictatorships in Africa,the list goes on  and  on. None of these countries are major super powers, but  it's not  for  lack of trying. North Korea  and Iran both have nuclear ambitions, and seem quite intent  on using them on their neighbors. If Russia was a threat, we would already have seen quite a few of those Cyrillic branded missiles in the hands of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or Kim Jong  Il.

Congress  was able to pass a bill updating the FDA's  powers  and  authorities. I'm confident this bill will allow the FDA to continue to approve death inducing  pharmaceuticals that  they deem safe, only to ban a few years later. Continue their push to ignore any product on the market that didn't come from Pfizer, or another laboratory willing to throw billions of dollars at them. They will also continue to warn us(along  with the DEA) about any substance that  people find to be  'fun' or 'beneficial'. They will do 'studies' that deem the product unsafe, despite six studies to the contrary, all the while managing to allowing medications whose side-effects are things that we have already released drugs to treat, thus insuring we will be medicated to death so pharma's  can continue to get rich.

We finally saw some health care for the 9/11 first responders. Many of whom have been suffering and dying due to the toxic cocktail of chemicals they inhaled while saving lives so almost 10 years later our government can  deny that we are fighting  Islamic Extremists, and the liberal nut jobs can smear their good name by spewing ridiculous conspiracy theories and ignoring the facts all for the sake of making George Bush look bad. I am not going to go on any long tirade here, I am glad that this bill got passed. The Republicans who were trying to block this need to be  booted out of office as badly as the ones who side with the Democrats on the  issues that Conservatives  feel most strongly against. 

Everyone has heard already about the passage of the Bush Tax cut extension coupled with more unemployment relief. There are many critics of this bill, I for one found it to be a win/win situation. Keeping taxes low will help the economy recover, whereas the tax hikes we are facing will slow economic  growth  to a halt. The unemployment extension, I feel was a necessary evil. I lost  my job with a major defense contractor in February, and I just now at the  end  of December will be returning to a lower rate of pay, and with a  larger workload than my previous job. Hey guys, I''m one of you!, by blocking unemployment, you f***ed me too!

On a happier note, the DREAM act was rejected. Since it  is near impossible for an American citizen to travel across borders, or even board a plane without being sexually assaulted, I feel that passing this bill sends the signal that obeying the law will be  punished, but breaking it will get you a scooby snack. I have no problem with immigrants, I do however have a problem with criminals, drunks, and violent, drug selling gang members invading this country on a daily basis and our government refusing to stop it, and actually encouraging it by trying to pass laws that vindicate the law breakers.

As the new year approaches I have a mixed reaction to what I am expecting to see in 2011. I am disillusioned by the Republicans, the Democrats, and even the Libertarians. No one seems to be getting anything of any use done, and we continue to allow our Republic to crumble all for the sake of a fake sense of progress. If we can not reconcile our differences and get this country back on track, pretty soon all the 'Tea Parties' in the world won't  be able to right this sinking ship. Did I mention the ship is filled with rats, and some of them are carrying diseases?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Internet Censorship and the War On Wikileaks

There are politicians on both sides of the aisle who seem content to dabble in the notion that the internet is the 'exception to the rule' and if therefore ripe for exploitation. Exploitation in the form of ubiquitous, or infringing legislation in the guise of protecting the American people from bad things that they have no control over. In recent years we have seen several pieces of proposed censorship..err, I mean legislation that in one way of the other gave the United States, or some arm thereof, the power to dictate how business is conducted, and information is transmitted across the internet.

The first piece that most of you hear about now and again is 'Net Neutrality'.  Net neutrality is defined as free and equal access for all. The bill is designed to block service providers from limiting or restricting access to sites or applications for any reason so that all internet users are treated equally. This would include P2P applications, torrents, and a host of other applications like instant messaging, or even email. On the surface this sounds like a great idea, however opponents of the bill have a different take on it.
From Wikipedia:
Network neutrality regulations are opposed by noted Internet engineers, such as professor David Farber and TCP inventor Bob Kahn.[8][51] Robert Pepper is senior managing director, global advanced technology policy, at Cisco Systems, and is the former FCC chief of policy development. He says: "The supporters of net neutrality regulation believe that more rules are necessary. In their view, without greater regulation, service providers might parcel out bandwidth or services, creating a bifurcated world in which the wealthy enjoy first-class Internet access, while everyone else is left with slow connections and degraded content. That scenario, however, is a false paradigm. Such an all-or-nothing world doesn't exist today, nor will it exist in the future. Without additional regulation, service providers are likely to continue doing what they are doing. They will continue to offer a variety of broadband service plans at a variety of price points to suit every type of consumer."[52]
Bob Kahn, one of the fathers of the Internet, has said net neutrality is a slogan that would freeze innovation in the core of the Internet.[8]
What I gather from these arguments is this: A seemingly innocuous bill that on the surface appears to be a striking victory for free internet advocates, P2P enthusiasts, and torrent aficionados, is actually designed to guarantee that these technologies stagnate, and that the propagation of new technologies is stunted or altogether halted. I would love to believe this bill on it's surface, I really would. I truly believe that it is inherently wrong for Internet Service Providers to limited bandwidth or access to any technology because of possible legal concerns that may arise from it's use.

Usenet, P2P, torrents, websites, forums, and file storage sites all can and are used to spread illegal or copyrighted materials across the internet.Your ISP may attempt to block one of more of these avenues, but in the end, the information still gets found. The real problem is that legitimate information is passed around using these technologies as well, so blocking one, blocks the other and now you are committing censorship. Linux and game manufacturers have been using torrent to distribute their products for years, and will continue to do so for as long as the technology is viable.

The second initiative on the table is ACTA(Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is a proposed agreement that would establish an international network of countries, who could voluntarily join to establish standards for intellectual property rights. This organization would operate outside of existing standards organizations such as
World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the United Nations. This new organization would not be held to the same standards of checks and balances as would other groups of this nature. EFF(Electronic Frontier Foundation)has expressed concerns as to the possible effect of this agreement being forged.
From EFF:
While little information has been made available by the governments negotiating ACTA, a document recently leaked to the public entitled "Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement" from an unknown source gives an indication of what content industry rightsholder groups appear to be asking for – including new legal regimes to "encourage ISPs to cooperate with right holders in the removal of infringing material", criminal measures, and increased border search powers. The Discussion Paper leaves open how Internet Service Providers should be encouraged to identify and remove allegedly infringing material from the Internet. However the same industry rightsholder groups that support the creation of ACTA have also called for mandatory network-level filtering by Internet Service Providers and for Internet Service Providers to terminate citizens' Internet connection on repeat allegation of copyright infringement (the "Three Strikes" /Graduated Response), so there is reason to believe that ACTA will seek to increase intermediary liability and require these things of Internet Service Providers.
 It seems abundantly clear, at least according to the leaked document that this organization could have powers far beyond what most Americans would consider favorable in the context of the liberties provided by our Constitution. This clearly degrades our own sovereignty, and leaves the ability to access information on the internet in the hands of an international organization that doesn't necessarily have to obey the laws of any one of it's host nations. Kind of the failure we now have with the United Nations, one of the most worthless piles of tripe ever conceived. Let's hope this monstrosity never gets off the ground.

The third piece of unholy censorship is S. 3804 Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. This bill has so far overcome all hurdles, including bi-partisan opposition to be passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill, which essentially allows the attorney general to turn off any website he so chooses, and gives Homeland Security, and ICE unprecedented over internet websites and their owners.  Even before the bill got this far, Homeland Security/ICE had shut down dozens of websites, and caused many torrent sites to scurry to web hosts outside the United States.

Opponents of this bill have made it clear that it is such a bad piece of legislation that Obamacare could be considered an epic piece of awesomeness compared to CIOCA. Detractors say the bill is unconstitutional, is outright censorship, gives to much power to the government, and would stifle innovation. Some even claim that this bill could effectively "break" the internet. EFF and other online advocates for internet freedom are up in arms over this horrendous piece of sludge. If you haven't figured out what COICA could do, just look at the case of Wikileaks.

Since Wikileaks lost it's hosting on Amazon, had their donation accounts on PayPal and moneybookers suspended, and Mastercard also shut down any kind of monies going to Wikileaks through their financial network, the online community responded in kind, launching attacks on some of these sites, and having some success. The reason this online war is waging is solely because groups like Amazon and Paypal denied Wikileaks their rights to operate and receive donations based solely on a perceived notion that they were committing illegal acts. Under COICA, the United States government could shut down any website they want based on those same conceived notions. 

In my opinion, this is a war that will not be cut and dry. Their is actually a faction of hackers that attacked wikileaks for posting those secret cables online. This attack, couple with the actions of Amazon and Paypal caused another group, known as "Anonymous" to launch a counter-attack. In the end, Wikileaks is now operating on 1697 mirror sites across the internet(As of 2010-12-10) and it's supporters are continuing to donate money and do everything they can to keep Wikileaks operational. While I disagree with much of the community surrounding Wikileaks(mostly anti-war liberal nutjobs)I am torn because I myself believe that the internet, and the free flow of information it represents should not, under any circumstances be controlled by any group or government, and that it is the duty of those of use who believe in those principles to rise up and to thwart any such attacks on the greatest bastion of free thought the world has ever known.

Wikipedia:Network Neutrality
Electronic Frontier Foundation:ACTA

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Pelosi-Same as old Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi, the defeated former speaker of the house may not be able to rely on her own words, as it appears her own colleagues want her to to keep Obama in check, and make sure he doesn't work too closely with Republicans. While this is not surprising news, it does lend more weight to critics assertions that with the Republican majority in the House, and only five seats shy of a majority in the Senate that gridlock will ensue when the 112th Congress convenes.

After the crushing defeat the Democrats suffered on November 2nd, there were calls from the left side of the aisle espousing a new era of unity and bipartisanship. The president expressed his feelings on working with the Republicans in the new Congress, a sharp turn from two years ago when he told Republicans "I won." during a private debate on tax policy in January of 2009. Nancy Pelosi herself said just after the November elections "Democrats will strive to work with the new Republican majority to create jobs, strengthen the middle class and reduce the deficit." and in an Op-Ed piece she stated "Republicans and Democrats must work together, with President Obama, to prepare for our nation for the 21st century while creating clean energy and infrastructure jobs."

But, as a recent AP headline suggests "Pelosi's new mission: Limit Obama deals with GOP" her job, at least according to her peers, will be to stand over the president with a ruler and whack his knuckles when he tries to read any piece of legislation whose author has an (R) by their name.God forbid Obama approves of anything that the GOP is doing. In my mind Barack Obama needs to start working with his foes across the aisle, or he guarantees himself a single term as president. It is still unclear just how much influence the Democrats expect Pelosi to have over the anointed ones dealings with congress, but it is clear that she is being tapped for her past performance as a staunch taskmaster, and not because she has a sterling image with the American people.

The more that we look at the situation, we realize that nothing's changed from two years ago when Barack Obama took office giving control of all three houses to the Democrats. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the rest of the stooges in Washington are committed to using their new found power to push through a slew of bills that are not good for the American people, and not good for America. Luckily two years of this nonsense cost and great awakening in the American people, we saw the rise in the Tea Party movement, and in November that energy and momentum gave control of the house back to the Republicans and put them within five seats of a majority in the Senate as well.

Obamacare, a host of new taxes, the gestapo like tactics of the TSA, and the recent crackdown of alleged counterfeit product sites across the Internet by ICE and Homeland Security even without the actual authority that would have been given to them in the COICA Bill currently in the Senate are all part of the agenda that the Democrats are ramming down the throats of the American people before they lose their power in January. I am confident that we will see more garbage like cap and trade, a possible resurgence of the fairness doctrine, and other socialist policies put on the table and hastily passed before the Obama train comes to a crashing halt next year. And running interference for the Democrats will be none other than minority leader Nancy Pelosi making sure that president Obama has limited contact with the Republicans.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Americans 'Opt Out' of TSA Molestation.

Since 9/11 every year has brought us new and more absurd regulations from the TSA. The one time I got on an airplane and took a flight was Christmas 2005. The procedure than was not nearly as harrowing and invasive as it is now, but I did get to experience the royal treatment. After removing my shoes, belt and jewelry, I placed my bags on the conveyor and stepped through the metal detector. BEEP! Looked through my pockets and found a gum wrapper and a dime. Tried it again. BEEP! I knew this was going to get bad.

The security person told me to step over to the side and another person came over and began to scan my body with the wand. After a thorough 'wanding' I was allowed to put back on my shoes and jacket; gathered my stuff and was on my way. This took quite some time and I barely made it on to the flight. I do have to say that the day did hold a small victory for me. After I reached my destination and got to my hotel room, I began cleaning out my luggage. Contained in my green backpack was a lighter, a pack of matches and a small pocket knife. Since the miniscule container of shampoo I had wasn't flammable, those things wouldn't have allowed my to hijack a plane anyways.(Not that I was trying.)

Since then, a few new regulations have cropped up, one of them caused a flurry when the 'secret' plans for these new TSA regulations were leaked to a couple of bloggers who got a visit from the feds and had some explaining to do. As I looked over those new regulations I started to realize there was a problem with all these regulations. They don't address the problem at all. They are broad reaching, and blind to the problem at hand. Scandinavian grandmothers, circus performers, children, nor wheelchair bound paraplegics have ever tried to hijack an airplane and fly it in to a building. Yet they were subject to rigorous scrutiny by the ever vigilant TSA.

I understand that it is unfashionable to mention that it was, in fact, Muslim males who did hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings, and bombed the U.S.S. Cole, and dozens of American embassies around the world, and subways in Britain and Spain. It was Muslim males who attacked Mumbai, Paris,
Moscow, Turkey, and Argentina. There have been a few isolated incidents involving Muslim women as well, but few were as successful, or as widely publicized as the 9/11 or Mumbai attacks. I'm not saying we shouldn't be on the lookout for other threats to our airlines, but it seems prudent to be most aware of the dominant group of people who wish to kill Americans.

Some on the left will of course counter my argument with a statement condemning me for failing to mention 'Jihad Jane', Ted Kaczynski, Olympic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph, or Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. While 'Jihad Jane' was a Muslim sympathizer she wasn't a convert, and she was mentally unstable, as were the others on this list. Individuals with broken minds who committed acts of violence for their own reasons. The terrorists the TSA seek to stop are adherents of Islam, and they commit acts of violence in the name of their God. There is no greater kind of illness, than killing in the name of Religion.

Things aren't always black and white. On Christmas day 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab detonated a bomb in his underwear to destroy Northwest Airlines Flight 253. The bomb malfunctioned and only succeeded in burning Abdulmutallab's genital area. A Dutch passenger, Jasper Schuringa
, witnessed the failed bomber's smoking crotch and tackled him, sustaining burns himself in the process. This should be cut and dry, but it isn't. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is not the textbook definition of a Muslim. He wears no beard, and his skin is very dark color. Umar is from Nigeria, and while there is plenty of violence happening in Nigeria, most of it directed inward, so this attack was a bit of a surprise.

In the wake of the 'crotch bomber' the TSA enacted even more stringent regulations,even using more body scanners, making life harder for all of us who use air travel. Many people were incensed at the idea of more regulations, claiming that we had more than sufficient methods at keeping the skies safe. Political mouthpiece James Carville had a slightly different take on the whole affair. He said he had a novel idea on how we could make flying safer. He suggested that he have his genitalia measured and than they could simply use it a reference point every time he flies, thereby avoiding a full body scan. Carville opined ““What I want is, let me pay for something, give me a safe flyer card, and then y’know, go measure my penis and let me get on the airplane.”

Now many months after Carville's unique approach to flight safety, the TSA is restricting flight even more. In addition to the ubiquitous metal detector, you now have to also choose between full body scan, or full body pat down. The former could conceivably allow TSA agents to see you naked, and the latter would allow TSA agents to fondle your private parts. Neither sounds the least bit amusing, and has started a flurry of news stories about the horrors of airplane travel. This could be the breaking point for many Americans. Perhaps AMTRAK might have a shot at being successful after all.

The now viral cell phone video of John Tyner, the 31 year old software programmer, whose now famous quote “You touch my junk and I'm going to have you arrested.” started an altercation with airport security that ended with the TSA threatening to sue him, and fine him 10,000 dollars for NOT being able to touch his proverbial 'junk'. He was ejected from the airport, but not before being harassed some more by another agent of the airline. I feel sorry for anyone who gets treated this way all because they don't wish to be sexually molested in an airport by an authorized government grope trooper.

I can assure you, the TSA are even more vile than this. 3 year old daughter of a reporter is patted down by an uncaring TSA agent as she screams in terror for help from her parents, after she set off the metal detectors twice. A 6 year old boy was brought to tears when he was patted down at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The boys father posted on the blog We Won't Fly, “He was pleading for me to help him and I was admonished for trying to comfort him,” “His genitals area was groped. He walked down to the plane in tears." There are many more horror stories like this one, more than enough to make any parent weep.

This overreaching government nonsense has even sparked a national “Opt Out Day” There is little else we can do except to keep informed, voice our dissent, and hopefully get this nonsense stopped. Congressman Ron Paul has just introduced H.R.6416: American Traveller Dignity Act of 2010. There is a wealth of information on We Won't Fly and the Opt out Day websites. Please feel free to check them out so you can tell everyone that you are part of the “Informed Voter” coalition.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Republicans achieve Super-Majority in Broome County Legislature.

Things are about to be shaken up in Broome County come next year. Democrats had 14-5 majority on November 2nd, but after the absentee ballots were tallied, the Republicans came out ahead 13-6.

On election night, it appeared to many that Broome County had some losses on it's hands. Michael Schafer, who was running against incumbent majority leader Gene Labare, appeared to have lost. After the absentee votes, the tides had turned and it now appears that Schafer has won. This means that the Democrats not only lose the legislature, they also have to pick a new minority leader.

Lebare wasn't ungracious, however, and seemed content by the will of his constituents.

"It's up to the people. I don't have a problem with winning or losing. People chose to go in a different direction," LaBare said. "I congratulate my opponent."
Democratic Committee Chairman, Tony Fiala said of Labare: "It's a very unfortunate loss of a great public servant."

This upset gives the Republicans a 'super-majority' in the legislature meaning they can override a potential veto from Broome County Executive Barbara J. Fiala. The democrat was the first woman ever to be elected to a county wide office when she was elected County clerk in 1997, and made history again in 2005 when she became the first female to hold the office of County Executive.

Gene Labare is part of a growing list of Democrats in Broome County who will be retiring, or finding work in the private sector come January. The list of unemployed legislators includes:
Richard Materese, Mario Nirchi, Donald Moran, Suzanne Messina, Barry Klipsch,and Suzann Buchta. With the exception of Materese and Buchta, most of these legislators had only served since 2008.

Democratic Broome County Legislature Chairman Dan Reynolds is optimistic that he can work with the Republicans, but adds that he believes the Republicans control is only temporary and that "it'll swing around in a couple of years I'm sure."

Fox40 WICZ

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Iran loses bid For U.N. womens Council Seat. Saudi Arabia And Democratic Republic Of Congo Get Voted In, Despite Rampant Human Rights Violations.

Well, it appears that the United States got it half right. The US and her allies lobbied against, and won a bid to deny Iran a seat on the U.N. new women's agency. This new agency is dedicated to women's rights throughout the world. This human rights agency did, however manage to elect Saudi Arabia and Democratic Republic of the Congo to seas on the council. Both of those nations have their fair share of human rights violations themselves.

In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive, and can not go to a gym and get exercise. The Saudi government even went so far as to remove workout rooms from hospitals where women could go to rehabilitate themselves after giving birth. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, even rape is common among women. What's worse is, in many Muslim countries, women who are raped are the one's who are put on trial and imprisoned. In some cases they are even put to death.
Those harmed by harassment and rape by relatives at different ages are often the minors or young girls of divorced mothers. The problem usually begins with the father obtaining custody of the girls. The father himself becomes the first to abuse them, followed by brothers, then more distant relatives, and there are even cases of rape and pregnancy, whereupon the girl may be tried and imprisoned. The abusive male is rarely punished, unless it happens to be a case drawing attention, whereupon the criminal is jailed for a short period, then returns to carry out his crimes again. Al-Arabiya, September 11, 2007,

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo things don't appear to be any better for women.  Human rights violations are rampant. Sexual abuse, child and slave labor, along with sexual violence against women are widespread.

Amnesty International reports:
High levels of rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence remain pervasive in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in the east. Government soldiers and police, as well as Congolese and foreign armed group members, are the main perpetrators. Many rapes, notably those committed by armed groups, have involved genital mutilation and other extreme brutality. Perpetrators of sexual violence are NOT brought to justice. Rape survivors are routinely stigmatized, and suffer social and economic exclusion. Few have access to adequate medical care. The ongoing rape crisis is also part of a broader pattern of violence and endemic discrimination against women in the Congo.

The United States seems happy with their victory, despite the fact that it's effect is solely political, and not at all based on any altruistic goal of a shiny, happy world for women.

According to the Toronto SUN: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice welcomed Iran’s defeat, saying: “They lost, and they lost handily.”

The article also states:

Rice was asked why the United States had not lobbied against Saudi Arabia’s candidacy given that Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi has said that the situation for women in Saudi Arabia is worse than in her home country.
“I am not going to deny that there were several countries that are going to join the board of U.N. women that have less than stellar records on women’s rights, indeed human rights,” she said.

Author's Opinion:
This kind of statement should make most compassionate people sick to their stomach's. Rice does not condemn or chastise these countries, she simply states that they have "less than stellar" records. Rape, torture, genital mutilation, child labor, or even some good, old fashioned genocide are nothing more than blemishes on the record of countries that are true champions of human rights.

Monday, November 8, 2010

DioGuardi "Unaccountable Congress" Review

  I started reading Joe's book last week. So far I am impressed at the wealth of knowledge this man has about our economic system and the government's inability to be fiscally responsible. I highly recommend you find this book and read it. However if you are not convinced, click on the title below and read the full review.

“Unaccountable Congress” DioGuardi’s Tea Party Manifesto On Cleaning Up Congress

By Robert A. Fois
U.S. Senate candidate Joe DioGuardi has been warning Americans about public debt and wasteful spending for over 20 years. New York’s pied piper of fiscal common sense is a certified public accountant who authored a primer on cleaning up public finance in 1992.

Unaccountable Congress” does for the Tea Party movement what Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” did for the American Revolution.
This was a call to action that preceded the “Contract With America” by two years. DioGuardi’s story is drawn from events and life experience before Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980.
Two terms in Congress left DioGuardi disillusioned and determined to change things:
“If every American understood how Congress – and, frequently, the Executive Branch as well – relentlessly disguises and hides fiscal reality from the people, that knowledge would escalate citizen contempt to an even higher level”
Constitutionalists, conservatives and fiscal reformers alike can gain something from this book on how to stop those “cooking the books” in Congress and our statehouses around the country.
 Read the full article at

Saturday, November 6, 2010

President Obama Says India Creates Not Steals U.S. Jobs

According to the AP, President Barack Obama announced that India is a creator of U.S. jobs, not a poacher. He claims that new trade agreements with India will create 54,000 in the United States. While India is a major importer and exporter of good between our two countries, much of what we import from India was once able to be cheaply produced here in the United States, and was in the minds of many, some of the highest quality goods ever produced. Why is our president looking to poorer countries like India to boost our economy?

Perhaps he is trying to make up for the poor foreign relations policies of George Bush, or perhaps he is huge fan of receiving technical support from people whose only English consists of a matrix of scripts that lead you nowhere and rarely, if ever solve your particular problem? I am not trying to infer that India is incapable of producing goods that Americans might need, but with the exception of textiles, most of what India gives us could be made in American factories that will end up employing tens of thousands of American workers and in turn strengthen our own economy. We must reduce our dependence on foreign made goods that were once a major part of American history.

My grandparents came from Italy and Czechoslovakia to work at the once famous Endicott Johnson shoe factory. Thousands of immigrants once flooded in to this country knowing only one phrase in English "Which way, EJ?" Leather, Steel, pre-fabricated parts for almost any contraption imaginable, and a host of other blue collar enterprises that helped shape this country during the early part of the 20th century. These things were a part of my childhood, and now all of them are but a memory.

I grew up in Endicott, NY the birthplace of IBM(Yes, that IBM.)The home of Endicott Johnson Shoes, and Union Forging. Endicott Johnson started in 1899 and by the mid 1920's employed over 20,000 people. Their employees enjoyed health insurance, a pension plan, affordable housing, and many parks and recreational sites built by the company for the benefit of their employees and the surrounding community. By the boom years of the 1940's, they had increased their workforce considerably, and at the height of their prosperity produced over 52 million pairs of shoes a year.(Take that China!)

Here is a small part of what Endicott Johnson brought to the table that most companies today couldn't even match. From Wikipedia:
George F's reign was dominated by his Square Deal version of welfare capitalism that, like progressive movements of the early twentieth century, advocated providing parades and churches and libraries to "uplift" workers. George F's Square Deal consisted of worker benefits even in harsh economic times that were generous and innovative for their time, but also meant to engender worker loyalty and discourage unionizing.
For workers, the Square Deal consisted of a chance to buy E-J built and E-J financed homes, a profit sharing program, health care from factory-funded medical facilities and later (built in 1949) two worker recreational facilities. But the Square Deal was more than an employee benefit program. E-J and the Johnson family also provided or helped to finance two libraries, theaters, a golf course, swimming pools, carousels, parks and food markets, many of which were available to the community without charge. Reminders of the source of that generosity were inescapable. :
  • Endicott was a community planned by E-J and incorporated in 1906. It was named after Henry B. Endicott (one of the grade schools was named Henry B,) who owned the business that became E-J. Lestershire was renamed Johnson City, New York in honor of George F. All of the tanneries and the vast majority of the shoe factories were located in Endicott with a few satellite locations in Johnson City and Binghamton. The Johnson's lived in Endicott and George F's mansion was donated to the Village after his death and became the public library.
  • Most of the jobs were classified as "piece work". Racks of shoes moved though the factories with "coupons" attached to each rack. When the worker completed his/her operation on the rack of shoes, he or she removed the appropriate coupon which was worth a few pennies. At the end of the week the worker turned in his coupons from which the payroll department calculated pay. The work was hard and the pay was low but the extensive benefits were offsets. The windows in the factories were painted so workers wouldn't be distracted by the outside. The company needed a large labor pool and initiated a recruitment program aimed at southern Italy and the Slavic countries and so Endicott became a small town with a rich ethnic mix. Many of the sons and daughters of these immigrants graduated from Union-Endicott High School and went on to become teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers,and successful business people. Very few went to work in the factories.
  • The entrance to Johnson City on Main Street from Binghamton is marked with a stone arch embossed with Home of the Square Deal. There was a corresponding arch on the other end of Main Street that served as the entrance to Endicott. E-J workers paid for and erected these arches. Both arches were dedicated on September 6, 1920.
  • One of the E-J swimming pools was shaped in the outline of a gigantic shoe sole. 
  • The Triple Cities contain a number of statues of the Johnson family, including Johnson City's statue of Harry L. Johnson (the youngest brother to George F.), and Binghamton's statue of George F. Johnson in the George F. Johnson Recreation Park, and, also in Recreation Park, the Harry L. Johnson memorial. 
  • Endicott had En-Joie Park (with E and the J capitalized to evoke E-J). The Triple Cities Parks contained a carousel called "merry go rounds" and they also contained playground equipment,a baseball diamond and picnic areas, a large swimming pool and a band stand. In the summer,the Endicott-Johnson workers band performed concerts every Sunday Evening in the Endicott En-Joy Park. 
  • There were also Recreation Center buildings in Endicott and Johnson City. They contained subsidized bowling alleys in the basement and a large banquet room on the main floor. Retirement dinners were given on a regular basis in the Recreation Centers. Any employee could attend the dinners for $.25. 
  • Various roads and bridges refer to the Johnsons, including CFJ Boulevard in Johnson City, and the C. Fred Johnson Bridge over the Susquehanna River (part of Expressway Route 201) which was named in honor of Charles F. Johnson (an older brother of George F.) 
  • The word Ideal appeared in many places, including E-J's first (1901) factory in Endicott, Endicott's Ideal Home Library (contributed to Endicott by George F) and Ideal Hospital. The library was later demolished to make room for municipal facilities and relocated to George F's former mansion.
Around 1959 Things began to change and the company went in to slow decline. they slowly withered until their last manufacturing plant closed in 1998. By than all of the innovations, the hospitals and the like were closed as well. Their donation of Carousels and a few parks are all that remain of their once great empire. We are still the Carousel capitol of the world, and tens of thousands of the homes they once built for their employees are still standing.
 From Wikipedia:
The reason for their decline and eventual demise:The demise of the E-J was rooted in many economic changes. Its founding principles of valuing labor were threatened by the availability of cheap foreign labor and the rise of global shoemakers such as Nike
 How about IBM? In the late 1800's three companies merged to form Computing Tabulating Recording (CTR) Corporation.CTR was incorporated on June 16, 1911 in Endicott, New York. Their production facilities are still a major part of the framework of downtown Endicott, though much of the buildings are empty or being leased to other companies. They were incredibly prosperous, and they employed so many skilled people that it was impossible to live in Endicott and not know or be related to someone who worked there.

However, by the 1990's they hit a slump and began to sell of useless arms to their company like typewriters, copy machines, etc. Downsizing followed. This led to other controversial cuts, promised pensions were slashed, and employees were let go before they were eligible to collect those pensions.

As we all know, IBM is still around and growing again at a steady pace, but their revival came to late for Endicott. IBM eventually sold off their PC computer division to Chinese company, Lenovo.
Union Forging was another integral part of the Endicott landscape. There is little information available online about this company but here is a little of what I was able to dig up from
Beginning in the late 1800’s, Union Forging made custom
steel products on a 13 acre facility in Endicott, NY. Union
Forging thrived over the years until the 1990’s when they
were forced out of business by cheaper imported parts
 Are you seeing the trend here. Globalization has it's good points, but not if we let it destroy our economy. While I am a proponent of free trade, I am by no means an Anarcho-Capitalist. There needs to be guiding principles that lead to responsible trade, ones that ensure the continued solidity of the American infrastructure. We used to be a country that was proud of the products we made. Now American flags are produced in China, a major kick in the pants to anyone with even a shred of pride in their American heritage. I can't even buy pacifiers or teething toys for my daughter that aren't made in China. You know, the country that puts lead paint in kids toys.

Our entire history is forged from the sacrifice, hard work, and innovation of it's people. Even when we were the underdog, or sorely unprepared for a surprise challenge, we rose up to those problems, we innovated, and with the determination of a Pit Bull we pressed on, and we were victorious. We won our freedom against the most well trained, well funded army in the world at that time.

We again overcame the might of the German war machine during WWII. We used our ingenuity to build machines of war that we had never needed before. We quickly trained an army of a size we had never had a use for. Although ill prepared in comparison to the army of highly trained soldiers that Germany spent many, many years readying for battle, we did the impossible, and saved Europe from the greatest threat modern man had ever faced.

All of these things were made possible by American workers, using American parts, and American ingenuity to create superior products that the world once envied. Our president however is convinced our economies future lies with India. A country with a 66% literacy rate, and a currency that trades at 44.12 against the dollar. In contrast the Peso goes 12.20 against the dollar.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Republicans Have Health Care Plan.

The buzz around the internet is that now that the Republicans have taken control of the house, gridlock will ensue and nothing will get done. That is fine with me, considering that nothing good has gotten done in the last two years anyhow. I would have preferred if even less of the nonsense the Democrats have forced down our throats had failed to launch in the first place. The problem I have with all of the hoopla from Washington is not that they are proposing ideas in such arenas as health care, it is that they are doing it blindly; and also ignoring the vast array of different ideas that have come to them only to be summarily rejected.

I am, of course referring to the 30 health care bills that the Republicans had proposed as of the end of 2009, all of which were ignored by the Democrats in congress. The president would make his address to the people and say that the Republicans have brought nothing to the table. They don't have a plan for health care. Obama would proudly say that they did have a plan for health care. They even admitted that none of them had even read it, yet they assured us it was good for the country and the economy.

I wonder what the 30 bills the Republicans proposed would do for the country and the economy. Let's take a look, shall we? (Summaries of each of the bills will be provided as a reference. Some summaries have been shortened, please look to the full text of these bills for more details. References will be provided.)

For reference, here are the bills currently proposed by the Republicans that have been ignored by the Democrats.
H.R. 77; H.R. 109; H.R. 198; H.R. 270; H.R. 321; H.R. 464; H.R. 502; H.R. 544; H.R. 917; H.R. 1086; H.R. 1118; H.R. 1441; H.R. 1458; H.R. 1468; H.R. 1658; H.R. 1891; H.R. 2520; H.R. 2607; H.R. 2692; H.R. 2784; H.R. 2785; H.R. 2786; H.R. 2787; H.R. 3141; H.R. 3217; H.R. 3218; H.R. 3356; H.R. 3372; H.R. 3400; H.R. 3438; H.R. 3454; and H.R. 3478.

H.R.77(Darrell Issa) Health Care Incentive Act - Directs the Secretary of Labor to allow any employer in interstate commerce that is required by federal or state law to pay a minimum wage rate higher than the current federal rate under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to include the value of creditable health care benefits in determining the required wage.

H.R.109(Jeffrey Fortenberry)America's Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 - Authorizes a health insurance issuer to apply to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to certify health insurance coverage policies offered in the individual market in any state as Health Benefit Plans. Allows certified plans to be offered to individuals in all states without regard to state and local laws respecting mandates for benefits. Requires such plans to cover inpatient hospital services and physicians' surgical and medical services. Requires the Secretary to review the impact of this Act on the availability and purchase of health insurance coverage. Amends the Public Health Service Act to increase the authorization of appropriations for FY2010-FY2014 for grants to states for the creation and operation of qualified high risk health insurance pools. Conditions eligibility for receiving an operating grant on a state submitting to the Secretary evidence-based information on the operation of such pool for purposes of creating best practice guidelines. Requires the Secretary to: (1) recommend and publicly post a list of best practices on the operation of qualified high risk pools; and (2) give a bonus grant to states that demonstrate that their pool was operated in accordance with such best practices.

H.R.198(Clifford Stearns)Health Care Tax Deduction Act of 2009 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow individuals a tax deduction from gross income for health insurance premiums and unreimbursed prescription drug expenses paid for the benefit of the taxpayer, the taxpayer's spouse and dependents.

H.R.270( Robert Latta)TRICARE Continuity of Coverage for National Guard and Reserve Families Act of 2009 - Makes a member of the Retired Reserve who is qualified for a non-regular (reserve) retirement at age 60, but is not yet 60, eligible for health benefits under TRICARE Standard (a Department of Defense (DOD) managed health care program for members of the reserves). Terminates such eligibility when the member becomes eligible for TRICARE Standard at age 60. Includes immediate family members under such coverage. Requires members to pay a premium for such coverage.

H.R.321(Jeffrey Fortenberry)SCHIP Plus Act of 2009 - Amends title XXI (State Children's Health Insurance) (SCHIP) of the Social Security Act to require a state child health plan to provide for the offering of any qualified alternative coverage that a qualified entity seeks to offer targeted low-income children through the plan. Revises requirements with respect to authority for payments to a state for the purchase of family coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan that includes coverage of targeted low-income children. Prohibits a state child health plan from requiring a targeted low-income child to enroll in such coverage in order to obtain child health assistance under this Act. (Thus requires enrollment to be voluntary.)

H.R.464(Tom Price)More Children, More Choices Act of 2009 - Amends title XXI (State Children's Health Insurance) (SCHIP) of the Social Security Act (SSA) to require a state SCHIP plan to specify how it will achieve coverage for 90% of targeted low-income children. Prohibits SCHIP payment for children with family income above 250% of the applicable poverty line. Sets forth special rules for SCHIP payment for children with family income above 200% of the applicable poverty line. Provides for standardization of income determinations. Applies citizenship documentation requirements to SCHIP beneficiaries, and increases the federal matching rate for citizenship documentation enforcement under SSA title XIX (Medicaid) and SCHIP.

H.R.502(Michele Bachmann)Health Care Freedom of Choice Act - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow the tax deduction for medical expenses without the gross income percentage limitation.

H.R.544(Edward Royce)Flexible Health Savings Act of 2009 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow up to $500 of unused health benefits in a plan or other arrangement that provides for a health flexible spending arrangement to be carried forward to the next plan year or be contributed to a health savings account or a qualified retirement plan, without affecting the status of such plan or arrangement as a tax-exempt employee benefit cafeteria plan.

H.R.917(Brett Guthrie)Amends the TRICARE program (a Department of Defense [DOD] managed care program) to require that, when a member of the Armed Forces dies on or after September 11, 2001, because of a combat-related injury incurred while on active duty for a period of more than 30 days, the member's dependents receiving benefits under a contract for medical and dental care shall continue to be eligible for benefits under TRICARE Prime.

H.R.1086(John Gingrey)Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2009 - Sets conditions for lawsuits arising from health care liability claims regarding health care goods or services or any medical product affecting interstate commerce. Sets a statute of limitations of three years after the date of manifestation of injury or one year after the claimant discovers the injury, with certain exceptions. Provides that nothing in this Act limits recovery of the full amount of available economic damages. Limits noneconomic damages to $250,000. Makes each party liable only for the amount of damages directly proportional to such party's percentage of responsibility.

H.R.1118(Marsha Blackburn)Health Care Choices for Seniors Act - Amends title II (Old Age, Survivor's and Disability Insurance) (OASDI) of the Social Security Act (SSA) to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a procedure under which an individual otherwise entitled to benefits under part A (Hospital Insurance) of SSA title XVIII (Medicare) may waive such entitlement and be automatically enrolled in the Medicare Alternative Voucher Program (MAV Program).

H.R.1441(Kenny Marchant)Ryan Dant Health Care Opportunity Act of 2009 - Amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act, as amended by the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, to give states the option to disregard certain income in providing continued Medicaid coverage for certain individuals with extremely high annual lifelong orphan drug costs.

 H.R.1458(David Camp)Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2009.

H.R.1468( Michael Burgess)Medical Justice Act of 2009 - Sets forth provisions regulating civil actions for an injury or death as the result of health care. Sets forth limits on: (1) the non-economic damages that an individual may recover from health care practitioners and health care institutions; and (2) the total damages that a person may recover from any single liable health care practitioner. Declares that an insurer of a health care practitioner or health care institution that rejects a reasonable settlement offer within policy limits is not, by reason of such rejection, liable for damages in excess of the liability of the insured. Sets forth requirements for qualified expert reports.

H.R.1658(Todd Tiahrt)Veterans Healthcare Commitment Act of 2009 - Prohibits anything in current law provisions authorizing the recovery by the United States of the cost of certain medical care and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans for non-service-connected disabilities from allowing the United States to recover or collect any charges from any third party for care or services furnished to a veteran for a service-connected disability.

H.R.1891(Rodney Alexander)Sunset of Life Protection Act of 2009 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a deduction from gross income for 50% of long-term care premiums without regard to the 7.5 % adjusted gross income limitation applicable to other medical or dental expenses. Allows individual taxpayers to claim such tax deduction regardless of whether they itemize other deductions.

H.R.2520(Paul Ryan)Patients' Choice Act - Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to convene an inter-agency coordinating committee to develop a national strategic plan for prevention. Provides for health promotion and disease prevention activities consistent with such plan. Sets forth provisions governing the establishment and operation of state-based health care exchanges to facilitate the individual purchase of private health insurance and the creation of a market where private health plans compete for enrolls based on price and quality. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a refundable tax credit for qualified health care insurance coverage.

H.R.2607(Samuel Johnson)Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2009 - Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to provide for establishment and governance of association health plans (AHPs), which are group health plans whose sponsors are trade, industry, professional, chamber of commerce, or similar business associations, and which meet certain ERISA certification requirements.

H.R.2692(William Thornberry)CAH Designation Waiver Authority Act of 2009 - Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act with respect to the Medicare rural hospital flexibility program a state may establish. Authorizes state designation of a Medicare critical access hospital (CAH), even if it does not comply with the requirement that it be located more than a 35-mile drive from another hospital, if it is certified by the state on or after enactment of this Act as being a necessary provider of health care services to residents in the area.

H.R.2784(William Thornberry)Partnership to Improve Seniors Access to Medicare Act - Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a student loan repayment program for qualified physicians and nurse practitioners participating in Medicare who agree to accept Medicare individuals who seek the services of such health professionals.

H.R.2785(William Thornberry)Health Care Paperwork Reduction and Fraud Prevention Act of 2009 - Establishes the Commission on Health Care Billing Codes and Forms Simplification.

H.R.2786(William Thornberry)Patient Fairness and Indigent Care Promotion Act of 2009 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow certain medical care providers a tax deduction for uncompensated medical care provided to individuals with income below 135% of the poverty line.

H.R.2787(William Thornberry)Medical Liability Procedural Reform Act of 2009 - Authorizes the Attorney General to award grants to states to develop, implement, and evaluate health care tribunals. Defines "health care tribunal" to mean a trial court or administrative tribunal.

H.R.3141(John Sullivan)Strengthening the Health Care Safety Net Act of 2009 - Amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to establish a disproportionate share hospital (DSH) redistribution pool from unexpended Medicaid DSH allotments to fund an increase in allotments for low DSH states. Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award demonstration grants to health access networks to improve access, quality, and continuity of care for uninsured individuals through better coordination of care by such networks.

H.R.3217(John Shadegg)Health Care Choice Act of 2009 - Amends the Public Health Service Act to provide that the laws of the state designated by a health insurance issuer (primary state) shall apply to individual health insurance coverage offered by that issuer in the primary state and in any other state (secondary state), but only if the coverage and issuer comply with the conditions of this Act. Exempts issuers from any secondary state's laws that would prohibit or regulate the operation of the issuer in such state, subject to certain restrictions imposed by such state.

H.R.3218(John Shadegg)Improving Health Care for All Americans Act - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax credit for the amount paid by the taxpayer for qualified health insurance coverage, excluding any employer subsidized coverage, and for medical care. Amends the Public Health Service Act to provide for the establishment and governance of individual membership associations (IMAs) to make available health benefits coverage to all members of the IMA.

H.R.3356(Samuel Johnson)Medicare Beneficiary Freedom to Choose Act of 2009 - Amends title XVIII (Medicare) to revise requirements for the use of private contracts by Medicare beneficiaries under which no Medicare claims shall be made. Requires any such contract to be in writing and signed by the Medicare beneficiary. Allows individuals to choose to opt out of the Medicare part A (Hospital Insurance), and makes them eligible for health savings accounts.

H.R.3372(Tom Price)Health Care OverUse Reform Today Act (HealthCOURT Act) of 2009 - Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to propose to Congress a formalized process for the development of performance-based quality measures that could be applied to physicians' services under title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act.

H.R.3400(Tom Price)Empowering Patients First Act - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax credit for qualified health insurance costs to residents of a state that implements a high-risk pool, a reinsurance pool, or other risk-adjustment mechanism. Amends the Public Health Service Act to provide for the establishment and governance of individual membership associations (IMAs) to make available health benefits coverage to IMA members and their dependents.

H.R.3438(Darrell Issa)Access to Insurance for all Americans Act - Directs the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to administer a health insurance program for non-federal employees and to apply to such program the provisions governing the federal employee health insurance program to the greatest extent practicable. Requires OPM, for each calendar year, to enter into a contract with one or more carriers to make health benefits plans available to eligible individuals.

H.R.3454(John Sullivan)Medicare Hospice Reform and Savings Act of 2009 - Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to revise payments and coverage for hospice care under the Medicare program. Prescribes conditions for recovery by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) of repayment demands from a hospice program for any accounting year during the four-year period ending on October 31, 2009

H.R.3478(Louis Gohmert)Patient-Controlled Healthcare Protection Act of 2009 - Establishes an Advantage HSA (health savings account) program to provide payments to individuals in lieu of benefits under the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP, formerly known as SCHIP) of the Social Security Act.

Hell of a list, right? Now why would I put the summary of all of these bills in this post? I want to give everyone a good idea of what the Republicans have been trying to do with health care for some time now. Now I don't know how good most of this stuff is, but I will be going over these and attempting to pick out the best of them to see if any of these bills would make a good substitute for the monstrosity known as Obamacare. I see a few already that look pretty good. If you see any you would like for me to investigate further, please leave a comment.

Here are a couple of good resources where you can see the full text of all of these proposed bills and decide for yourself if your elected officials are trying to do what's best for the country, or if they are pumping out the same slop as the Democrats have been. (Currently has all bills from 1947-2008) (Senate Bills)

NY, You Should Be Ashamed!

It appears the critics have been right all along. As Michael Savage so bluntly put it "Liberalism is a mental disorder." So true Mr. Savage, so true. So it was the case this year in the Empire State. New York voters left their craniums at the door and went down to their local voting place and filled in the circle next to "Yes, I do wish to be anally violated for another four years, please." Despite Carl Paladino's brash stylings, and severe case of potty mouth, he never screwed over a whole country. Sadly, Andrew Cuomo has.
As Secretary of HUD, Cuomo promoted the practices that directly led to the housing crash that caused out economy to collapse in 2008.
During his tenure, he called for an increase in home ownership. He also pushed government-sponsored lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy more home loans issued to poor homeowners, in an attempt to end discrimination against minorities.[3] Some believe that this helped lead to the current subprime mortgage crisis.[2][3][4] Edward J. Pinto, former chief credit officer at Fannie Mae, said "they should have known the risks were large. Cuomo was pushing mortgage bankers to make loans and basically saying you have to offer a loan to everybody."
Andrew's stay at HUD cost this nation dearly. Yet, oddly enough he wasn't though yet. After a failed bid for Governor in 2002, Prince Andrew got a job as the Attorney General of New York. He wasted the people's time and money by becoming a champion of Facebook users everywhere when he declared Facebook isn't safe enough for minors. You know the 14 year olds who take half naked pictures of themselves in erotic poses and post them to their Facebook account, then wonder why creepy old men want to come over and give them some really delicious candy.

Andrew Cuomo also attacked USENET, a bulletin board style system that predates the WWW, where users form groups and discuss varying topics in said groups. USENET allows for binary encoding of files into those messages, which made some groups a haven for software pirates and child porn aficionados. So Andrew the Benevolent went after that too, causing Internet Service Providers to either limit or abandon offering USENET services all together. As a long time user of USENET for it's discussion community, I was offended to learn that I am no longer able to get a vital, and integral part of the internet as part of my internet experience from my ISP. Sure USENET is still available for free online, but if you want quality service with speed, retention, and file completion you have to pay for it.

This is of course the so-called good things he did for us as AG, but what about the accusations of corruption, bribery, and favoritism. Cuomo has not prosecuted many criminals, even though in some instances he chastises them for their nefarious deeds, yet does nothing about them, included in his list of "Get out of Jail Free"card holding members are two Democrat Politicians, Pedro Espada, and Vito Lopez.

Maggie Haberman of Politico has a neat list of Andrew's failures:
FACT: Steven Rattner was given immunity from criminal action in the pension fund kickback scandal. New York Times 1JUN10,

FACT: Andrew Cuomo accused Pedro Espada of "siphoning money from a charity", a crime that is "especially reprehensible." Yet, there is no criminal action pending against Senator Espada; only a civil action that would entail no jail time. New York Times 20APR10,

FACT: Assemblyman Vito Lopez has stolen millions in public funds through his patronage empire in Brooklyn. Yet Andrew Cuomo calls him 'my good friend' and has taken no action against him; because he needs the New York City Democratic machine to drive turnout. New York Daily News 5OCT10,

FACT: Andrew Farkas was caught stealing $7.6 million in HUD funds that was supposed to be used for maintenance of housing for poor people. Village Voice 29AUG06,

FACT: Cuomo called Farkas a 'slum lord', said the action against him was the 'biggest in HUD history', and that Farkas was 'using HUD for his personal ATM', all indisputable quotes not included in a New York Times whitewash on the subject by in-the-tank David Halbfinger. Village Voice 29AUG06,

FACT: Farkas was allowed by Cuomo to return less than he stole and admit no wrongdoing, permitting Farkas to go on milking HUD programs and flip his low-income housing portfolio for $910 million. Village Voice 29AUG06,

FACT: Farkas gave Cuomo $1.2 million after Cuomo left office, and over $900,000 in campaign contributions. In Buffalo, that's called a bribe. Village Voice 29AUG06,

FACT: Cuomo has announced no action in the scandal surrounding the Aqueduct Bid rigging scheme involving the Governor, the Secretary to the Governor, the Senate Temporary President, the Senate Democratic Leader, the Secretary to the Senate, a former Senator, a gaming company executive, consultant to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Hank Sheinkopf, Governor Paterson's top aide and the chairman of the state racing and wagering board - all Democrats. These men were caught in an exhaustive investigation by State IG Joseph Fisch - why does Andrew do nothing? New York Daily News 21OCT10,
With this kind of record, only mentally deficient people would vote to make this guy their next governor. Yet, inexplicably, they did. We could even say we had a warning about the way Andrew Cuomo would run the state from the sins of his father, Mario Cuomo. One only needs to look at his handling of the state to see that his son would probably follow in his father's footsteps. We wouldn't want to disappoint daddy, now would we?

Mario Cuomo was against the death penalty. He was pro-choice. He was a strong proponent of 'Social 'Welfare'. Cuomo has even acted as a lawyer for liberal film maker Michael Moore. Let's not forget that Mario Cuomo kicked off a steady stream of cigarette taxes in his heyday, a trend that has continued today, allowing a single pack of cigarettes to reach 10 dollars in the State of New York. These prices are now the highest in the country.

Which brings me to the next topic of this article. Third time is not always 'the charm'. Elliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace after it was discovered that he was using taxpayers money to buy prostitutes, one of which worked for Notorious New York madam, Kristin Davis. Davis ran for governor this year on the 'anti-prohibition' line. She failed to win the governor's race, but did garner 22,879 votes as of today(Nov. 4th). Spitzer is replaced with his Lt. Governor, David Paterson.

Paterson, who is blind, wasted no time in admitting to the world that he had an extra-marital affair. Within a few months of him taking office, the budget deficit increased by 1.4 billions dollars, and by 2009, New York faced a budget deficit of $15 billion, and state debt approaching $55 billion. Here is a lovely list of ridiculously insane taxes that David Paterson is in favor of:
  • An "Obesity tax", which would add an extra tax of over 18% on all non diet soft drinks such as regular soda, and energy drinks[115]
  • New 4% Taxes on digital music downloads, videos and pictures downloaded or the "itax"[116]
  • A tax increase on malt-flavored beverages, beer, and wine[117]
  • A 4% tax on taxi rides, car rentals and limousine services[118]
  • A tax on movie tickets[115]
  • A new 4% 'personal services tax' on haircuts, beauty salons, health club services, and weight loss programs[119]
  • A 4% tax placed on cable and satellite TV, pay per view movies[120]
  • Additional fees for fishing, and camping[121]
  • New fees on items ranging from boilers, to explosives, to jewelry, to sporting events[122]
  • A 4 percent sales tax on clothing and shoes under $500, except for two weeks out of the year[123]
  • Additional fees on automobile purchases, registration and driving fees.[115]
  • The Ravitch Commission recommendations, which include tolls on the city-owned East River and Harlem River bridges (which has never been done before), and levy an annual driver's tax based on vehicle weight[124]

 Paterson enacted a hiring freeze in 2008, by 2009 the state had hired 8,000 new people, including 104 people making over 100,000 dollars a year. Paterson even hired a friend of his, whom he frequently partied with at New York night clubs.

By the fall of 2010 Paterson had increased the taxes on cigarettes to the highest levels in the country. Revenue 343 million less than projected, 4.9 million New Yorkers are on Medicaid, the unemployment rate is at 8.2 percent, and no good news on the horizon. The cigarette tax increases that were supposed to generate a ton of money failed to live up to the hype:

The go-to plan for cash-strapped states—an increase in the tax on cigarettes—has some holes in it. In July, the New York State cigarette tax was increased to $4.35 a pack, which becomes $5.85 when combined with the city's own levy. However, the Post reports that revenue from cigarette sales was only $125 million last month, compared to $119 million from the same month a year before—hardly equivalent to the 58% increase in tax, and barely helpful to the $9.2 billion state budget deficit.
Convenience store owners report that cigarette sales have fallen anywhere from 25-35% since the hike, and New York State only sold 28.7 million cigarette tax stamps this July, compared to 43.1 million in July of 2009. The logic of the tax is sound—that because cigarettes are addictive, consumers will have no choice but to throw down the beans no matter the price tag. Consequently, any decrease in the number of sales after a tax is usually more than made up for by the increase in revenue. But did this tax go too far?

 Now, this is the state we live in. A state ruled by Democrats, most of whom reside in New York City, who seem to care little for the rest of the state, and who have so far proven to be useless at closing budget gaps, lowering taxes, or doing much of anything useful. So what do we do? We elect another Democrat to represent us in Albany. Fantastic. I didn't think it was possible to brainwash that many people(outside of a communist country) into thinking this is a good idea. Yet here we are. About to be pounded into the dirt for another grueling four years. My greatest hope is that I can somehow find the money to move to one of the more prosperous(Republican controlled)states.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

George Soros Loses Big On Election Night. ACORN Files For Bankruptcy.

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN10 - George Soros, Cha...Image via Wikipedia
 Poor George Soros. He has been shelling out every dollar he can to push his socialist agenda on the United States for years now, and for years we've been putting up with this kind of political nonsense. Well not any more. ACORN just filed for bankruptcy, His secretary of State project only got 2 of 7 candidates in to office, and all the money he threw at Proposition 27, which would have given California's state legislature redistricting power didn't go the way he planned.

George Soros has been at it for a long time. He is now 80 years old and looks about 105. If he short for this world he is going to recklessly spend his fortune to see his evil dreams come true before he takes a dirt nap. So while it looks like ACORN may be gone, or at least on hiatus until they do some restructuring, I am confident Soros will find new and inventive ways to push his liberal utopia on the people of the U.S.
Election night was a bad night for Democrats. It was even worse for their financiers. 
Billionaire George Soros, the Hungarian-born businessman known for bankrolling liberal causes, saw a slew of his pet projects and candidates get wiped out in the Republican-red tide on Tuesday. 
Not only did Soros-sponsored call the results "devastating," his Secretary of State Project suffered its worst losses since its founding in 2006. 
The Secretary of State Project, which sprouted out of the Soros-backed Democracy Alliance, was built as a vehicle to support "reform-minded" candidates for secretary of state. Since these often-overlooked officials have authority over state election rules, they can play a huge role in close or disputed political contests. 
Though the initiative went four-for-four in the 2008 election, only two of its seven endorsed candidates won their races on Tuesday. The trend coincided with historic losses for Democrats at the state and federal level. Republicans seized the U.S. House of Representatives, picked up at least six seats in the U.S. Senate, won a majority of the gubernatorial races and made a net gain of more than 500 state-level legislative seats.