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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Time For Government To Do Its Duty & Provide For the Welfare of the USA

      Fixing America would be so simple if Congress knew and understood the Constitution. Especially in regards to how the word Welfare is used.  It was certainly not used in the same context that it is today.  If it was a derogatory word I do not think they would have used it in the Constitution.  In this day and age Welfare is spoken of like some parasitic scourge on society.

      There is a problem with the government in America today.  It is broken and no one seems to know how to fix it.  It has come to a grinding halt.  It is effecting not only the countries economics, but the ability to create jobs which sustain the system.  It is my belief that part of the problem stems from a misunderstanding of what the Constitution says and what it is suppose to do.  If you will read the Constitution it is pretty clear what the Founding Fathers expected those who came after them to do.  The opening sentence says it all.

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

      What many Americans do not know or understand is that the war with England had been over for almost five years before America decided to create the Constitution.  During the five year period from the end of the war till the Constitution the colonies operated under the Articles of Confederation.  The problem was that under the Articles there was no central government that had any authority to force any state to do anything.  Each state operated independently.

       However a situation arose after the war and even during the war that made the need for a central and unified government apparent to the former colonies.  As soon as America declared Independence from England a state of war existed.  England therefore no longer protected the ships of the colonies on the high seas.  In fact England started attacking them.  American ships traveling in the Mediterranean Sea were open to attacks by pirates. That is where the verse in the Marine hymn, "The shore of Tripoli" come from. With the end of hostilities the former colonies had no Navy to protect American shipping.  The pirates being aware of this situation attacked American ships without fear of attack.  It created a situation that made the former colonies realize the need for a military force to protect American interests.  England, France and Spain were also occupying the western territories that were supposed to be America’s after the war.  Section Eight directed the newly formed government to create an Army and a Navy.  These things the new Congress did.    

      In fact the new government did four out of the five of the things mentioned in the opening sentence very well.  It is the fifth one that kind of got over looked or misinterpreted.  The Founding Fathers understood it and within three years of the ratification of the Constitution they started building the White House and the Capitol in Washington, DC.  In other words they started creating infrastructure.  Much of it was damaged in the War of 1812 and they immediately started the rebuilding process.  They did not hesitate to maintain the infrastructure.  The nation and the infrastructure continued to expand.  The sale of land in the west funded much of the governments growth.

       At the start of the Twentieth Century a new method of creating funds was put in place by the government.  It was the income tax.  It was approved by a Constitutional Amendment.   The real reason for the creation of  the tax was somewhat hidden for years but the government had no problem with spending the money. That issue is covered in one of my earlier blogs.

        The problem was that none of the funds raised were dedicated to maintaining the infrastructure in America.  What was and is needed is a permanent plan to maintain and expand the infrastructure to meet the needs of the nation.  A well maintained and current infrastructure adds value to the nation.  That is not and has not been the practice in America.  During the Great Depression programs were put in  place to create jobs.  It helped some, but as soon as World War II broke out it was forgotten.  At the end of the war things started getting back to normal.  During the Eisenhower Administration a program was created that helped keep the economy moving forward.   It was the interstate highway system.  Which was followed by several wars and the space race.  The economy kept going for some time, but then things started to slow down.

       Government for the sake of government started expanding and no new programs that created jobs or industry were being built.  In fact a trend started of sending American jobs overseas to take advantage of cheap labor.  What should have happened at that point did not.  Companies should have been taxed or had high duties placed on their goods coming into America.  It should have been enough to maintain America’s standard of living, but it did not happen.  Government has continued to grow, while the tax base that should have been supporting it has started and continues to shrink.  The standard of living for the first time in American history is declining.

      It is not that America quit being the leader in creating new industry and jobs.  It was and is that American business became hooked on the cheap labor.  That in and of itself is not bad.  America needs to create a new program for rebuilding its infrastructure and upgrading for the future.  It may take a new tax dedicated solely to infrastructure, but is has to be matched by a downsizing of the Federal government and its out of control spending.  Cutting the programs that help those hurt by the changes is not the answer.  It will take reexamining all of the governments expenditures.  Do we need the size military we now have?  Do we need to spend billions on a drug war that is not accomplishing a thing.  Especially when some states like Colorado are actually taxing and creating a revenue base off of a product that the Federal government can not seem to control. Supposedly Colorado not only created jobs regulating medical marijuana it collected seventy million dollars in taxes. It expects that amount to increase. If you multiply that times fifty states it would create well over three and a half billion nationwide. That is just on medical marijuana.  Legalization would allow the creation of many more products from hemp rope, to canvas and even bio-diesel. That is not to mention the hundreds of thousands of jobs, growing, processing into products and tax enforcement. It will grow on the worst ground and even in ditches.  The potential to create billions of dollars of trade revenue and taxes, not to mention jobs is something that needs to be seriously looked at.  Giving billions of dollars in unemployment and food stamps to people to do nothing but sit on their asses is not exactly productive either.  That money could have been spent to start infrastructure programs but it is easier to give it away and increase the debt level of America.  It is time to start thinking outside of the box we seem to have gotten ourselves into.

        Our  prisons full of drug abusers.  Is that a sound way to spend money?  Why make criminals out of citizens that have a substance abuse problem.  If that is the answer why not round up the drunks and those who smoke cigarettes.  Why because the government taxes those commodities.  Why not legalize and tax drugs and those products made from the residue like canvas and rope for starters. It would be more Christian and humane to give treatment to the ones who totally abuse the drugs.  Addicts would no longer need to steal and break into homes to get the funds to support their high dollar habits.  Aren’t the lives worth saving of those who are being killed by using polluted drugs.  Dealers cut and dilute drugs with who knows what to increase profits.  Take the profit out of it and the drug dealers will be gone.  Admittedly they will just find a new way to make money.  However they will not be dealing dirty drugs and killing people.  Take a look at prohibition. Thousands died from polluted alcohol.  The stories of out of control gangsters is American legend.   Did they keep selling booze when liquor was legalized?  No they did not.  They created the drug industry.  It is time to cut the money off from the gangs.  It is time to start saving lives and creating new legal industries and products to sell overseas.  Not to drag religion into the issue, but even the Bible in Genesis 1:29 says every herb with seed was given for man to use.  Don’t you think God knew the potential effect of every plant and its ability to be made into a drug.  It is strange that almost every continent has plants that can be used to ease pain and suffering of people with illnesses.  Why should people be forced to become criminals to ease their suffering or forced to give up everything they own to get medical attention from an out of control health care industry.  Sure some people abuse drugs just as they do alcohol and tobacco.  From another perspective though some of our Founding Fathers grew marijuana on their properties.  Thomas Jefferson and George Washington  are just two that are documented.  The final point in this argument is that it should be an issue decided by the states.  The Constitution gave the right to decide issues not covered in the Constitution to the states.  Drugs are not covered in the Constitution.  The Federal government has violated states rights in creating laws that take away states rights.

        America can not legislate morality. It did not work for alcohol during prohibition and it is not going to work for drugs. The government also needs to realize it can not spend its way out of debt.  Things need to  change or America will become another third world country.  A short quote from the Declaration of Independence shows the intent and thoughts of the Founding Fathers.

“and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.-”

     They did not attempt to guarantee Happiness, but the right to pursue it.   They based that on rights endowed by their creator and the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God. Based on those statements I am sure rights given by God to use all plants bearing seed for mans benefit, should not be revoked by the laws of man.

       Having said all this it seems to me that it would make better sense to legalize and tax the use of drugs.  Then at least the ones using the drugs are the ones paying for the treatment and regulation of the drug industry and not the taxpayers who do not, and will not use drugs regardless.  Think about this a moment.  If you do not drink, smoke or use drugs are you going to use them just because your government says you can?  If you answered yes to that question you need some serious moral and values training.  So why should you be taxed to waste money trying to enforce laws that do not and will not work.

    Based on all the above the government needs to create a program to provide for the welfare (needs) of America.  A person who provides for the welfare of his family is one who provides shelter, food, clothing, protection and even safe paths. (Even if it is only to the outhouse)  Should the nation provide any less for its citizens. I think not. Welfare is a duty of the government under the Constitution.  It is time for Government to do its duty.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Iran, The Real Problem, It's Not Nuclear, It's Economic

    With the title of this it is my obligation to prove I am right.  Some may argue with me, but I do not think even Iran would be stupid or crazy enough to commit national suicide.  Even if they have a bomb they have to be smart enough to know that if they were to use it, it would be the end of Iran as a nation.  My feeling is that it is more of an  "Old West Mindset."  They live in a bad neighborhood and packing a piece is one way to feel safer. In the old west it felt good to know the sheriff was around, but having self protection made one feel safer.  If you lived in hostile territory, knowing Cavalry was near helped.  However if your group of people were not liked by the Cavalry you kind of wondered if they would really come and help you.
     The history of the United States and Iran are full of problems and irritants that might make Iran question if the world's police force (USA) would act in their national interest.  With the USA having troops in countries on two of their borders and a fully armed Naval Force off of their coasts. It might be understandable if they were or are a little nervous.
      At this point a little history might help shed some light.  During World War II the United States and Britain  used an overland route through Iran to get military supplies to the Soviet Union who at that time was our ally.  Britain had dominated the area and what the Iranian concerns were did not matter to the parties involved.  This was all fine and dandy till the end of the war and Russia getting their own nuclear bomb.  After the war ended Britain became unhappy with the democratically elected government of Iran.  They felt the government was a little to cozy with the Russians.  Britain came up with a plan to alter things and try to make things more favorable to themselves.  They tried to get the United States to help them but the Truman Administration said they were not interested.   When Truman left office they asked the Eisenhower Administration and they agreed to help.  This was the first screw up.  Letting Britain lead us into anything.  We came here to get out from under their control.  We got sucked into the Middle East in the late 1700's because of our relationship or lack of relationship to England.  Till the Revolutionary War our merchant ships were protected on the high seas by Britain, but after the war started and our victory.  Britain no longer protected our ships.  Which is how we came to have a Constitution.  A neat story, but a long one.  Time to get back on track.
     The United States helped Britain overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953 to put a more pro western government in power. Britain was worried that the original Iranian government was to friendly with the Russians. Britain in turn felt this threatened their oil holdings in the Middle East.
      In 1979 a bunch of Iranian students overthrew the American Embassy and held the occupants hostage for almost 400 days. They felt it was a payback for overthrowing their government.  They turned the hostages loose the day Ronald Reagan came into office.  Needless to say this made for hostile relationships between the two countries.  The Shah of Iran was also kicked out of the country when the Muslim revolution took power.  The relationship has been hostile every since that time.  America also supported Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein in a war with Iran from 1980 to 1988. Which amounted to payback for the payback. In the period of 1985 to 1987 the Reagan Administration was found to be involved in the Iran Contra Affair the CIA was selling arms to Iran to fund a war in Central America.  So in essence we were selling guns to both sides, which is a real Christian thing to do I suppose.  I had intended to say that the United States was and is a peace loving nation.  However when I ran the timeline.  I found since 1776 the United States has been in a war or occupying some country, some where all but eleven years out of 235 we have been around.  So I backed off on that statement.
     At some point after the Iraq-Iran war ended we severed ties or quit supporting Iraq.  Saddam must have felt the United States would not stop him if he invaded Kuwait and took their oil.  He was wrong and felt the full force of the United States military.  Iraq also received sanctions and was under some kind of sanctions right up to the start of the war in Iraq.  Saddam Hussein found a way to circumvent some of the pressure of the sanctions by going to the United Nations and getting permission to sell his oil for Euros instead of dollars so he would not lose so much money when making currency exchanges.  This is what led to his ultimate downfall.   He messed with the dollar.  For more info on how all that came about and why I encourage you to read my 4/15/11 blog on WMD's and you will have a better understanding.  The first thing the USA did after defeating Iraq was put their oil back on the dollar.
     Which brings me to my  final point. Iran is still selling their oil for Euros as are many of the "Axis of Evil" nations.  Taking their oil off of the dollar and selling it on world markets has made the dollar much weaker and not quite so "almighty."  That is the real reason the USA is so uptight about Iran's nuclear program.  They want to sell it as a WMD which it truly is, but like I said at the start.  Is Iran really going to commit national suicide.  Sure they would love to take out Israel.  That can be averted by simply making it clear that any attack on Israel will be considered the same as an attack on the United States of American and will be retaliated against the same as if it was American soil.  I may be naive, but I do understand why Iran does not trust the United States.
       When you consider almost half of America was not born till after the events mentioned in this article.  It is understandable how the government can dupe the public into thinking they are truly concerned about nuclear weapons.  The reality says that it is not really and issue to worry about.  If I was going to worry about nuclear weapons it would be the ones that already exist in Pakistan with a terrorist friendly government.  The news today shook the dice in Korea and who know where that will go.  Hopefully some of the facts I put in here will help Americans make sound decisions.  Maybe if we just apologized to Iran for overthrowing their government and tried to back it up with "some act of Christian friendship" the situation would defuse itself.  It won't happen as long as we have an in your face attitude though.  The whole Middle East is a powder keg waiting to blow. What happens when the Arab Spring hits Saudi Arabia and takes their oil out of the equation.  Then we have a problem.  Especially if the USA does not start moving toward an energy independent position.

Time to Stop the Economic Bobsled to the Bottom

      Recently the statistics were released and it seems like 28.6% of all home loans are underwater.  Is that number going to get better or worse.  My money is on worse.  Why?  First all the people that have been barely surviving on unemployment may be losing their unemployment.  That will force many of them into bankruptcy.  Second the job market is not really getting better.  They say the number is going down.  The question is that because jobs are being created or because people are falling off the unemployment rolls cause they are no longer looking for work.  My bet is the second.  I have had three family members laid off just in the last three months.  Another hardship is starting to take its toll this year that I had not seen before.  My son in law has several rental properties and he has several people who have been complaining to him.  They say with rent and utilities they no longer have any income left for food and other necessities.  These are people who are working every day, but can not find better paying jobs.
      As if these problems are not enough the government is getting ready to dump many, more onto the unemployment rolls.  They are doing it two ways.  The U.S. Postal service is down sizing.  Second the U.S. Military is downsizing as they bring troops home and no longer need as many to meet their mission.  Also the government is cutting military budgets which will force more into the unemployment pool.  So things do not show any sign of getting better any time soon.  If you would like an interesting read as to how we got into this mess I invite you to read my blog of 4/15/11 on WMD's,  know this that my definition of WMD is really Wealth Melt Down.  The blog goes back almost sixty years to the start of the whole problem.  It has been a snowball that has been growing and growing and is finally getting a life of its own.
     The only way to solve the problems facing America is to get the government back into the confines of the Constitution.   The Federal Government is regulating and creating laws that control or regulate issues the states are supposed to control.   The most obvious one for this is the War on Drugs.  The Constitution gives the Federal no authority to legislate morality.  However, that is exactly what it is spending billions and billions of dollars to do.  Not only is it spending funds it should not be spending.  It is effectively losing the war and putting the burden on the states.  Many states have decriminalized pot.  The whole left coast of America has enacted exemptions for medical marijuana.  Yet the Fed wants to challenge the state laws.  Colorado is already taxing and controlling medical marijuana.  It is creating thousands of jobs in production, distribution, taxing and controlling the markets.  Which is far more enlightened than throwing people in jail and adding that burden to the taxpayers.  It is a proven fact that those who desire to smoke pot are going to do so.  The Federal Governments Enforcement of Drug Laws has been about as effective as the Keystone Cops of the silent movie era.  Prohibition should have taught the Federal Government that you can not legislate morality.  Many of the west coast states have adopted the philosophy that pot laws are Federal Laws.  So if the Feds want them enforced they better do it themselves.  The states are not going to waster their time, money or resources to enforce laws they have effectively repealed and that should be their right to decide.
      There are several blogs on these issues and I encourage you to use the search bar at the top of my blog and read articles that may interest you.  If you do not like things the way they are, maybe it is time to get involved.  In the Army we had a saying.  "You are either part of the solution, or part of the problem." There is no middle ground.  You say I do not care, well that clearly makes you part of the problem.  Write you Congress Person.  They get enough complaints maybe they will do something.  Drown them in mail.  Especially the kind that tells them they will soon be unemployed if they do not do "something" even if it is wrong.  The present system certainly is not working, maybe a third party would change things or at least stop them from getting worse.   The last third party candidate to win in America was Abraham Lincoln.  That definitely changed things in America.  Maybe it is time to try it again.
      The payroll tax cut is not really solving a thing.  They are doing it by cutting the amount of Social Security Tax they are taking out of your pay check.  It does not take a rocket scientist to know that, that is definitely nothing more than kicking the can down the road.  They are trying to kick it so far the average person does not see that it is being taken from their retirement funds.  It does not matter which party gets the credit.  It is a stupid and deceptive way of dealing with a problem.  What we need is real solutions.  The ones I offer in my blog at least help unemployment or reduce our energy dependence.  Which is a heck of a lot more that what is being shoved down our throats by the so called leadership in Washington.  The ship of state is rudderless and is either going to hit a big iceberg or run aground.  Americans need to take back control of the ship and put people in charge who know the difference between kicking the can and recycling the can.  The present Congress does not know the difference and does not have a clue how to solve the problem, mainly because they do not see the problem.  Which is half of the problem.  Any American waiting for this congress to fix the problem,  is part of the problem.  Sad but true.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Prof? Newt Put Foot In Mouth & Other Things

       Been trying to stay away from the political process.  However, Newts commented on the Palestinians being invented shows a lack knowledge and a willingness to pontificate on things he has not a clue about.  It is hard to believe people pay him money for his "ideas"    Wonder if they get somebody to check the facts before they act on them.  The Palestinians were validated by the Prophet Joel in chapter three verse four.  In fact around 800 BC they accused by the prophet Joel for the problems that will face the world at the end of time.  The Bible appears to be more correct than Prof? Newt.  What I can not understand is why the media is giving him a pass on it.  The Bible has been proven to be historically accurate.  The media are either predominately atheists or more ignorant than Newt.
 
       The debates are proving one thing.  The only way the Republi-can'ts have a hope of winning is drafting a candidate at their convention. It is not without precedent.  Warren Harding was selected when the convention became deadlocked and no candidate could win the majority.  There were people screaming it was unfair then and there will be now, but it has happened in the past and is the only hope the Republicans have of winning.  The problem is finding a non running Republi-can't that not only the party but the voters can rally behind.  At present the only two have been mentioned Ryan and Cantor have said they will not run.  So even that may not work.  

     My personal view is the only thing that might get a Republi-can't elected is a complete collapse of the economy.  That is not entirely out of the question.  However even a Republi-can't will not help in that situation.  It is going to take some totally outside the box and radical ideas to get the economy going again and neither side seems to be able to find any.  It will take the efforts of  a third party or a revolution.  The problem is that we are probably to far into the cycle for a third party to register.  At least with a chance of getting a following.  A good third party candidate would be able to pull the backing. Americans are fed up and would jump at a viable alternative,  Maybe America ought to draft Joe the Plummer. he could not do any worse than the present pack of incompetents.   From what I hear he is running for office in Ohio.  If he accidentally wins the election it will mean my theory is right. Time will tell.

    If either Newt or Mitt is the best that can be put up.  Obama will be serving a second term.   From my background and understanding of history a candidate can be nominted at the Convention. That is how Harding got into office.  Nobody was happy with the candidates running.  America can not survive four more years of this do nothing politics from the top down.  It is time for a change.  I did not vote for it the last time, but I totally agree we need change now.  Well that is my two bits on the political situation.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Commercial Driver's License, A Good Thing?

       Things have changed a lot over the last few years in trucking.  My career ended in 2004 from a heart attack.  I may be a has been past the point it matters to me, but I have had time to look at the changes  that happened before I was forced to retire.  Many of the guys I knew who hauled produce, had driver's license's in several states, that allowed them to spread the points around and keep driving. The Century Club required a ticket in excess of 100 MPH for membership.  Produce hauling has probably changed a lot, but the fact that it is a freight that should have been there yesterday.  Has not changed.  Also spent time hauling swinging chickens.  Another job that pushed the envelope. Over the years I worked for several companies.  Some were very strict about following the letter of the law.  Others always wanted it to look good on paper.  That was still going on when I quit.  My company was pretty tight on the law, but some of us figured ways to stretch it.  One thing that really changed the way trucking did business was the satelite systems that they put in the trucks.  If you had an accident they could tell just how you had been running.  They knew if you were where you were supposed to be.  Still the juggling of the comic books went on.  It got a little more creative.  Personally I got cured of cheating by realizing it was not worth it. 
        It happened on a run from Los Angeles, California.  I was empty and had a satelite system on my truck.  The local agent had a load of computers going to Raymond, New Hampshire it required a truck with satelite'.  She called me and offered me the load.  It paid excellent.  She wanted a team operation.  When I told her the only way I would haul it was if I could legally log it she said she would get back with me.  An hour or so later she called me and told me she got he delivery appointment moved back three hours. She said she had run it on her computer and I could legally log it. I had to be the only satelite equipped truck in the area.  Unfortunately I took her at her word without checking myself.  No dispatcher had ever lied to me and technically she did not lie.  Yes you could log it.  You could drive ten hours on eight hours off and make it with one hour to spare.  The problem was that it allowed no time for fueling, eating, showering or anything else.  At 4 PM Friday I left Los Angeles and at 7 PM on Tuesday I delivered in Raymond, New Hampshire.  When empty I pulled outside the gate and slept for over thirty hours straight.  Never again did I make a run without double checking.  It was my duty to make sure I could actully do what I committed myself to do.  That was one of the last times I went out west.  The rest of my career I spent running from Illinois to New England once a week.
     The point of the story is that safety was and has been improved by some of the changes.  Yes there are going to continue to be rule breakers and some who abuse the system.  One trucking company in my area had a contract for a regular run from California to Baltimore.  They ran teams and they guaranteed 72 hour delivery.  They actually did it, but they went through drivers like they were water.  They also are no longer in business.  In the early part of my career I worked for a union flatbed company hauling stone.  At contract negotiation time we were talking with the company owner on the front steps.  He made the comment, "Truck drivers are a dime a dozen."  My reply to him was, "You may be right, but you are going to spend three rolls of dimes to find a good one."  What I did not say that I wish I had was, "That for what he paid he was not going to get that good one as they knew what they were worth.  Keep on trucking.

Obama Kicks Can Down The Road, As Problems Continue To Grow.

      Most  people know that Congress is putting off fixing any of the problems facing America.  They are finding many reasons, but if they are going to use the Obama plan, maybe they need to reconsider.  The way the Obama tax break works is that instead of taking out 6.2% of your check for taxes.  Their solution is to only take out 4.2% which in essense means they are giving you back your own money,  The worst part of that is that they are kicking that "can" twenty to thirty years down the road.  It means the money needed to pay your retirement check is being given to you now.  THAT IS NOT A SOLUTION, IT IS A DISASTER in the making.  There is another sign in the economy that makes it an even worse problem.  The statistics for the third quarter of 2011 showed that consumer spending was up.  That is good?  No that is bad.  The reason is that consumer savings were down.  That means people are in such hard times they are taking their savings to just make ends meet.  It means with all the inflationary costs the average persons paycheck is not meeting their needs.  Why is that bad?
     The reason the housing bubble burst in the first place.  The continual and slow growth of gas prices pushed the average person to the point they had to make choices between a house payment and the other necessities of life.  They chose the other.  They also started cutting back and as fuel prices fell they started building a hedge.  Paying off things like auto loans and credit card debt.  Many Americans took advantage of the slight break to put away some money.  Now as prices for fuel go back up.  The price the necessities of life are going up too. The average American was using that little bit of savings to make ends meet.  With no solutions to the job crisis in sight things do not look good.  Most people are still getting the tax break till the end of December, but it is not enough.  They are still coming up short.  If the Congress fails to extend the tax cuts it is going to cause a massive shortage quickly for the average American.  Even if they do pass the tax break the bleeding will continue, but slower.   The two million who might lose their unemployment will no longer be able to scrape by.  They will have to make the same decision that those who lost their homes during the housing bubble made.  Do I eat or pay the house payment.  Most people find eating far more important than shelter.  They can always move to a cheaper place or adjust in some way. 
     What does all that mean?  Well for one the mortgage foreclosures will start rising again and the price of real estate will continue to collapse.  More and more people will be upside down in their homes.  The ones who are lucky enough to have them paid for and have plenty equity may be okay.  Another thing that happens is that the local and state taxing bodies will come up short of projected revenues.  That means they can not pay their bills.  They will start cutting back even more.  The Fed is in no position to help because they are doing nothing to solve the problem.  They are simply pointing fingers at each other and saying, "It is his fault."  The truth is that it is all of thems fault.  Some of my other posts show ways the system could be kick started.  The problem is that there comes a point where even those ideas will not work.  It will not matter if gas goes back down to $2 or even a $1 a gallon if nobody has the dollar to buy it.   That was what happened during the Great Depression.  Depression means down.  Prices went down to ridulously low levels, but nobody had money to take advantage of it.
     The Fed is not working at all.  The real problem is that there is no action to produce a solution,  If it continues on its present course it will not matter where the stock market is at.  It is just a number and the reality is that it means nothing to the average person.  If the account you put your retirement funds in is going dry and paying no interest.  It is being sucked dry by the markets and there incompetence.  There are things that could help, but the present system is not looking outside the box.  They continuing to make the same mistakes over and over and expectind a different outcome.  There is a definition for doing that.  It is called insanity.  It definitely seems insane that having so much at their disposal the politicians can do nothing to solve the problem.  That is why we need a third party that does think outside the box.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Congressional Lights Are On, Is Anybody In Charge

       Man so much is happening it is hard to tell where to start.  The unemployment rate might be a good one.  That is the most bogus number put out by the Federal Government.  Do they draw it out of a hat.  It certainly has nothing to do with reality.  People who have fallen off the unemployment rolls and are no longer looking are not counted.  It does not mean they are no longer unemployed.  They just do not matter or they just do not count.  I am not sure which is the right way to put it.   The way it works they could have it down to a nice six to five percent by the election in 2012.  All they have to do is not approve the unemployment extensions and then the people do not count.  They need a more realistic system that counts all the unemployed and even the under employed.  Also all those holding three minimum wage jobs, with minimum hours that are just trying to survive.  The real number is probably well above the fourteen million they are claiming it is.  It could be above twenty million but nobody will really know because so many people do not count. 

       Well on to the second topic which is  somewhat related.  The Postal System is definitely going Postal.  My blog of 21 September deals with it in more detail, but nobody is in charge anymore.  The Constitution says it is Congress duty to set up and run the postal system.  It is a Constitutional obligation.  It is not an option.  What I find strange is that the Postmaster General can dump as many as a 100,000 employees into the unemployment pool and Congress does not even react.  Eliminating overnight service to save supposedly around two billion dollars was real smart.  The one type of mail they may have been making money on they dump.  Why not dump the junk mail they fill my box with.  How about seeing if Fedex and UPS want a piece of that action.  I sincerely doubt it.  My earlier post told how to deal with the problems, but who cares.  The idiot in charge is not smart enough to figure out that all his package service will probably follow the overnight mail to another service.  Most businesses do not like doing multipal mail systems.  Actually I am for the Postal System charging a lot more and dealing only with mail.  They need to adapt to the electronic age though.   There are ways they could make some serious money.  However that is not how they are set up.   Well they are supposed to at least be self supporting.  That is not happening because they do not know what good business practices are.  Giving away boxes to customers when they can buy their own and take a tax right off is really a sharp move.   Then they give a discounted rate and wonder why they are losing money.  So now we not only have an incompetently run mail system.   They are going to dump a hundred thousand people onto the unemployment rolls.  So even if Congress does not grant the extensions for the people who have been on unemployment for two years or more.  The cost of doing business is going to go up.  Also if the Congress fails to extend the unemployment for the two million people, you can probably figure on another million or so homes going into foreclosure as they long term unemployed have no way to  pay their house payments. 

      Of course all of this is happening while Congress is blowing out all the stops to create a job explosion across America.  Hope you do not really believe that.   They have the only jobs they are worried about and that is theirs.  Thousands of citizens are sending in plans to help, but they fall into a black hole.  I have personally helped support the post office by sending ideas to the Congress and you do not even get back the autographed picture anymore that you used to get during the Reagan administration.  On top of all the crap I have been whining about.  The government will hit its spending cap again this month. Then we will get another credit downgrade.  Then they wonder why the world economy is not getting any better.  Get a life, really they need to get off their dead, dying asses and do something.  Even if it is wrong so we know there are still living bodies up there.  Otherwise shut out the lights and save us that much money.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's The Big One,,,World Economy On Life Support

     Well it may have finally happened.  The stock market is up over 400 points.  That is good?  No this tiime it is bad.  The world economy has just been put on life support.  Why?  Well yesterday the borrowing cost hit a point they had not seen since the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008.  In panic Central Banks around the world pumped billions into the markets trying to stabilize things.  Which was about like trying to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun. Better yet  it was the equivalent of hitting a dying patient with a defibrilator.  This time the shock may not do any good though.  They have done nothing to address the real problems.  Oil is at $100 a barrel. which makes me wonder why gas prices are down.   They should be hitting the $4.00 mark, but I am not going to complain.  If the price of oil stays where it is, it will eventually suck the prices back up.  Basically the patient(economies) have blown a hole in a major blood vessel and are starting to bleed out.  Only the best surgeon in the world has any hope of saving the patient..  Unfortunately none seem to be available.

      This is truly one of those Deja'vu moments in history.  Back in 1929 just a week or so before the crash JP Morgan and other bankers saw the imminent collapse  of the market.  They tried to push huge sums into the market. They tried to push or support the stocks of key companies like U.S. Steel and others they considered key to the markets survival.  It did not work though as people scared of a collapse started pulling their money out of the markets.  As much of it was done on borrowed money, many loans could not be covered(paid) and the crash was on.   Once in a while I hope I am wrong, but history does repeat itself, over and over.  As they say the hand writing is on the wall.  This stock rise is just a dying man taking his last breath.  Can it be saved?  I doubt it, but I hope so.  It grieves me to think of all the misery a totally collapsed world  market would cause.   Only time will tell in this one.

       Not to change the subject.  Actually it is right on subject.  America considers itself a "Christian" nation.  In the Bible God laid out a list in Deuteronomy chapter of all the blessings that would fall on nations that followed his Word and the curses on the nations that didn't.  Their are 14 verses of blessing, however the remaining 54 verses deal with the curses.  A few I directly apply to America.  Verse 7 says the enemies of a blessed nation shall flee before them seven different ways. Verse 8 says their storehouses shall be blessed and verse 12 says a blessed nation shall lend to many nations and not borrow money.  Of course all these same things are addressed in the cursing part and reversed in outcome.  All the above used to apply to America.  However, simply looking at verse 12 and our national debt, one might ask if America has fallen from grace. When I look at all the things America is involved in I can believe it has fallen or is in the process.

      Here is a trivia thing that probably means nothing to most people, but I find it fascinating.  In Revelations the last book of the Bible that talks about the end times and the end of the world.  It forecasts that there will be a number that all must take.  A "mark of the Beast" so to speak.  It is given a number, which is 666.  Here is where it gets interesting.  If you give a numerical value to the letters of the alphabet.  Such as A is 1, B is 2, C is 3 and so on and translate it to the Hebrew or Jewish alphabet.  The sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet translates to the English equivalent of W.  So the WWW of the world wide web could be translated into the number 666, but that is just a coincidence or is it.  As each name is numbered in a way by the internet system. Think about it. The Bible says that Satan could fool the very elect of God himself, if that were possible.  It also says "God's people shall perish from a lack of knowledge"  Are we knowledgeable or are we being duped by the system.  The day of every person having to have a number so they can not circumvent the world system is definitely in the realm of possibility.  This is off from the market issues, but it filled out my post in what I find as an interesting way.  Maybe it will give people something to think about. 
In the words of the famous Paul Harvey,  "Have a nice day."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Already Working Job Solution, That Needs To Be Applied Nationally

      It seems everytime you access a news source anymore the issue is jobs.  There are solutions.  In fact this solution was sent to President Obama immediately after he took office.  It is something that is already working and simply needs to be implemented nationwide.  If the President truly cared, all it would take is a signature.  Most of expenditure would be done by private enterprise. It would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.  What is it?  Simply converting many of the trucks moving across country to tandem operations.  What is a tandem truck?  See the picture above.  The arguments I got did not listen to what I was saying at all.  How would this create jobs?  It would do it several ways.  Much of the equipment moving up and down the highways today can easily be adapted.  This would create jobs.  However before I get into the jobs issue let me cover the benefits of going to this system.  First it would reduce the number of trucks running up and down America's highways.  Second it would slow the wear and tear on the infrastructure nationwide. Thirdly and most important from my perspective is that it would save millions of gallons of fuel.  This would reduce our dependence on foreign fuel.  Moving us toward energy independence.  Many people I talk to who only drive cars are intimidated by the size ot the trucks.  That really should not be a problem.  It is mostly psychological.  Having driven trucks most of my life I can argue against that idea. 
     At present the Department of Transportation allows a maximum overall vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds for a single trailer unit.  The states that already allow it to be used allow a gross vehicle weight in the area of 140,000 pounds.  My goal would be to create to unique classes of vehicles.  The Eagle Class that would pull two trailers, but yet stay under 80,000 pound limit.  There are many loads that meet that criteria.   These are what I call high volume low density freight which is what I specialized in hauling to survive my last years of trucking over the road.  The freight rates are higher as these are high dollar items like furniture, appliances, electronics and many other items.  While a desk or fridge might seem heavy to the individual, but you can not put that many into a trailer and when fully loaded they might be in the 9,000 to 12,000 pound range.  A vehicle hauling two completely loaded trailers would be under 60,000 pounds gross weight.  The single tractor on a cross country run would save about 323 gallons a trip.  This would equal a yearly savings of around 16,798 gallons.  This could heat as many as 28 homes just on the savings of one truck.   The other class of trucks would be the Condor Class, they would haul the loads that exceed the 80,000 limit but still meet the per axle requirement as esstablished by the DOT.   Several states already allow the tandem system to be used. New York on their turnpikes, Montana and Oregon to name a few that I have actually seen the longer tandem trailers.  Many states allow the twenty-eight and thirty foot trailers.  This system in the states mentioned allow tandem forty-eight foot trailers.  My goal would allow the Eagle Class to haul tandem fifty-three foot trailers.
     My goal here is not to get bogged down in the descriptions, but to show how it would create jobs instantly.  The technology already exists and it works.  My correspondence with the director of Wal-Marts transportation division verified to me that it does save them energy and they do use it everywhere they are able to use it.  It saves energy which helps them cut costs.   So it is not my pie in the sky idea.  It is a system that has already been proven to work.  Well how does it create jobs.  Vehicles that already exist can be adapted to work with the system.  Each system requires a tandem axle system that fits under the rear trailer and connects it to the front trailer.  Thousands and thousand of these would have to built requiring tons of steel, thousands of tires and many specialized couplings and hardware.  Also at certain places all across the country special parking areas would have to be built to assemble and breakdown the units where they get on and off the interstate.  The tandems are an interstate only arrangement and they are not feasible on secondary roads.  It would not eliminate trucking jobs either.  It would require a skill level increase and drivers would have to be licensed to pull the units.  The real benefit of these units would be long haul and cross country runs.  Therefore to get maximum benefit they would require team drivers to keep them moving. 
     It would not happen over night but the jobs to get it started would be immediate.  If you count in all the suppliers, manufacturers and construction workers anyone can see that it would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.  Supposedly there are over eight million trucks on America's highways.  This system could realistically cut that number by over a million.  If more of the small straight trucks pulled more trailers this would create savings also.  The energy savings would be in the millions of barrels.  This is not the only way America could save energy.  I plan to post several other energy saving ideas.  Some of it would require government involvement , but most would be generated and done by private industry, what they need is a change to the rules so they can implement it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The 10/20/30 Tax Plan

       CARP(Constitutional American Reform Pary)which is my own personal party, has a tax proposal that I feel is sound.  It will have to be evaluated and possibly be adjusted, but I think it addresses most ot the problems. The Program is the 10/20/30 Plan.  First thing is that anybody living below the poverty level in America will not owe any taxes under this system.  They will be taxed at the lowest rate but will recieve all their money back at the end of the year.  Most of the people in the lower brackets already pay nothing.  Those earning from the poverty level to the $100,000 dollar level will pay 10% of their income in taxes.   Those making $100,000 net income and up to the $10,000,000 level will pay 20% of their net income.  Those making more than $10,000,000 will pay 30% of their net income, including that from capital gains.   The tax rate for businesses will be a flat 20% of net income.  All loopholes and subsidies that do not directly benefit each and every American equally will be eliminated.  This should generate enough comments for me to address.

     Creating an honest budget would or will be a necessary part of the process.  The budget should be limited to 90% of annual income.  The remaining 10% should be used for emergencies, debt reduction, infrastructure or whatever it is necessary to do that does not fall within the budget.  A plan to bring America into compliance with this plan within ten years should be put in place.  Any expenses that exceed those guidelines should be cut out immediately.  Each dollar spent should be evaluated as to whether it benefits each and every American equally.  If it does not, it is pork.  That means eliminating all corporate subsidies immediately.  Also eliminating all loopholes and exemptions for businesses and corporations.

       The only problem with the plan is that it is based on the idea that the more blessed you are the more you should  pay.  The reason being you can afford more.  Not to preach but the Bible says we should labor to give.  It also says if a man will not work he should not eat.  A few verses to reference are: Ephesians 4:28, Micah 6-8 and James 2:15-16.  The Bible has a lot to say about giving.  If one does not believe the Bible that is okay, because everyday life shows that sharing and helping others pays off.  Henry Ford paid his employees a wage high enough that they could afford to buy the cars they made.  Which was higher than the average wage for the time. Many business men have benefited and built empires.  They did so by being willing to give others the opportunity to work. Two of the richest men in American history and one in the present day spent much of their time giving away the fortunes they made.  Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockerfeller made their fortunes before an income tax existed.  Bill Gates made his fortune inspite of the income tax and he is actively sharing his wealth in projects to benefit mankind.  These few are contrary to the normal Wall Street attitude of get all you can.  You can not take it with you, so why not share it and make the world a better place to live.  The starvation going on in the world does not need to be happening.  There is enough food for every person on the planet.  The problem is with the distribution and greed that keeps it from being shared.  A problem America could conquer if it could get over its greed and me first attitude.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The CARP Party Platform, Offering Solutions To Fix America

       The CARP Party Platform, Offering Solutions For Helping Fix America

       CARP is the Constitutional American Reform Party...CARP is about solutions.  Solutions to the problems in America. Whether the problems are leadership, energy, budget, taxes it is CARPS goal to rise up and find a workable solution to the problem.  CARP is meant to be a Progressive party seeking change for the better and bringing the government back in line with the Constitution.  Our goal is to get government back under control of, to, by and for the people.  The present two party system is out of control and is not answering to the needs of the citizens of the United States.  With areas of the economy, housing, jobs, infrastructure and energy in a state of chaos or crisis it is time for solutions.   Yes solutions do exist. Some can be done by private industry by repealing restrictive regulations and some by government sponsored and directed programs. Some of them require thinking outside the box and some require biting the bullet and making tough choices.  Choices that are geared to restoring America to where it was. It is time for a party that cares about the people and what is good and right for America. The two present parties have problems.  The Republicans, or as I call them, the Republi-can'ts will not face the fact that to get out of debt requires spending money to pay for the debt that they doubled during the Bush administration.  They raised the debt but provided no funds or way to pay for the expenditures they made. The rule is you spent it, you pay for it.  Who benefited from their expenditures? Certainly not the poor or middle class Americans.  If anyone has benefited it is big business and the wealthy Americans.  Much of it was spent to support countries that not only hate us, but hold values that totally oppose everything America stands for.  America is in economic bondage to countries that not only despise America, but are financing those that would destroy us and what we do stand for.  The other party the Democrats are not much better.  The Dum-ol-crats as I call them have never seen a program that they did not want to raise the funds for.  They won't cut spending and the Republi-can'ts know that.  Every dollar increase in taxes will be spent on new programs and not to reduce the debt.  This has to change.

      The following ideas are laid out as guidelines and goals of CARP.  Most have already been addressed in my blog.  You can see my blog at http://rictheturtleryan.blogspot.com/  and most of the following issues have at least one blog entry dedicated to and explaining my or the party point of view.  Yes a couple of my ideas are out there radical ideas, but I think if most people will think about what I say they will agree with me.  If they do not, I eagerly await their input. Some issues need more detail and clarification.  My goal was to get the ideas out there for discussion.  At present I have no goal to support or push anyone for president.  CARP's goal is to force changes and direction to the present system.  Eliminating existing programs and waste may accomplish more than passing new programs.  Therefore it is not the parties idea to pass new legislation, but to make sure what is already in place and proposed in the future is sound.  Not only sound but in the best interests of all Americans and America as a whole.

      It is my opinion that the average American sees the problem and is willing to do whatever it takes to put America back on the right track

1. Constitution:  Any and all programs, actions and legal activities of the party will comply with the Constitution.

2. Taxes:  The first issue is the economy.  CARP has a tax proposal that I feel is sound.  It will have to be evaluated and possibly be adjusted, but I think it addresses most ot the problems. The Program is the 10/20/30 Plan.  First thing is that anybody living below the poverty level in America will not owe any taxes under this system.  They will be taxed at the lowest rate but will recieve all their money back at the end of the year.  Most of the people in the lower brackets already pay nothing.  Those earning from the poverty level to the $100,000 dollar net income level will pay 10% of their income in taxes.   Those making $100,000 net income and up to the $10,000,000 level will pay 20% of their net income.  Those making more than $10,000,000 will pay 30% of their net income, including that from capital gains. The inheritance tax will be eliminated.  You earned it, it is yours.   A tax rate of 10% of net income for all businesses with gross revenues below ten million dollars.  Businesses making over ten million gross revenue will be taxed at the rate of 20% of net income.  All loopholes and subsidies that do not directly benefit each and every American equally will be eliminated.  This should generate enough comments for me to address.

3. Infrastructure: Based on the Consitution's Article 1, Section 8, paragraph one. States that the Fed has the responsibility to raise taxes and levys, provide for the security and the welfare of the United States.  They have failed to perform on the welfare requirement.  Welfare means meeting the needs of the country, just as any individual would meet the needs of his family.  Shelter, clothing, food, education and even a path to the outhouse if necessary. This was not suggested by the Founding Fathers, it was a duty.  A program will be established to create a perpetual and long term system of dealing with and funding the infrastructure problems in America.  This is addressed in my blog as a fuel tax.  Yes it is a seperate tax and the money goes directly to the states.  It is a Federal program only in that they give oversight to make sure all funds collected are used for what they are intended for.  That is infrastructure.  This program is immediate and will help solve the job problem in America.  It is my belief that American's will be willing to bite the bullet and pay this tax if it really helps solve the problems in America.  It has to be written and done in a way that the Fed has no access to the money involved.  The Fed will get its share from the increased tax revenue as American's go back to work.  With the failure of the supercommittee to solve the problems facing America it is guaranteed that the problems facing America will get worse and not better.  As people are cut off from unemployment, more homes will go into foreclosure.  This will drag down the markets further and slow the economy even more.  The revenues the Federal government has based its projections on will start to shrink.  Federal income will drop as it did during the Great Depression.  Prople who are making nothing, pay nothing.  That is not totally true they still have the duty to pay their property taxes.  However with no income they go into foreclosue and bankruptcy.  At some point that reality will hit home.

4.Balanced Budget: The government must have a completely balanced budget within ten years.  Balanced from my point of view means paying no interest on debt. 

5. Debt Free: The government must be debt free in twenty years.  Which means running on what it takes in.  This means all programs must be paid for as they go and not dependent on borrowing from one program to support another.

6.  Four Day Week...This is self explanatory.  It can maintain the forty hour week, but by cutting the days worked it should open opportunities for more workers.  The main goal of this is energy conservation.  Closing businesses, schools, parking buses, reduced commuting to work,  when added up nationally total an awful large amount of energy savings.

7. Military: Bring all troops home to the United States.  Not just from Iraq and Afghanistan, but also from Korea, Germany, Italy and all the other places we have them stationed around the world.

8. Medicare:  Make the medicare program pay 100% of all medical bills. Also enforce the government getting a discount for bulk buying.  At present the government gets no discount for buying large quantities of medical supplies and medicine.  The government pays top dollar.  Example if I buy a ninety day supply of one of my meds thrrough the VA it costs $24 dollars and they send me pills that I have to cut in half to get the right dosage.  If I buy the same meds at Wal-Mart.  They come in the right dosage. They come packaged in sheets of thirty and it costs me only $10.  As you can see veterans and the taxpayers are getting ripped off by the pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

9. PAC:  PAC's Political Action Committees will no longer be allowed to donate funds to any candidates campaign.  The risk of buying influence needs to be eliminated.  They can advise, but not give or contribute to candidates financially in any way.

10. Legalize All Drugs:  This is probably my most controversial position.  This is a First Amendment item.  The 1st Amendment guarantees the freedom of religion.  Genesis 1:29-30 says God gave "every" herb bearing seed, upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for meat...I have given every green herb for meat...Our government is spending billions of dollars every year trying to stop and wipe out God given plants.  If one simply looks at prohibition you will realize you can not legislate morality.  However you can tax it and you can set quality standards.  How many thousands of people die every year because of using contaminated drugs.  Drugs contaminated so the dealers can make extra profit at their customers expense.  Their attitude is who cares if a junky dies.  They are right in that the government certainly does not care.  Then there is the issue of incarceration of hundreds of thousands of people and the cost.  What they really need is guidance.  My argument is that if the churches were reaching out to families and teaching the value of life, maybe people would not get messed up to start with. My final argument for legalization is that there are many products that can be made from the plants.  Marijuana for instance can be made into rope, canvas (look that word up in Webster and see where the Can in canvas came from) and clothing material.  Legalization takes away the profit motive. Why would you pay ridiculous amounts for something you can grow for yourself free.  If there is no money in it the dealers are not going to mess with it.  Do you see any alcohol dealers on the corners?  Sure some sell to minors and they get sent to jail and they should.  Taxing the drugs allows them to provide money to take care of the drug abuser, with their money and not ours.  Legalizing all drugs lowers the cost.  Even the phamaceutical drugs being legalized will reduce medical costs.  Sure some can hurt people, but often you know what you need but you have to pay some doctor to give you a piece of paper to legally get it. Getting medical costs under control is going to take some major changes and adjustments in attitudes.  What is needed here is education not regulation.

11. Home Schooling:  Is it time to start home schooling all kids.  Taking them to school periodically for testing.  The internet could be used for this.  Some say children would not be able to socialize.  Go to church.  Get involved in community sponsored leagues.  Only kids that desire to do so get into sports.  Why should taxpayers have to subsidize it. Think of all the energy savings and the cost of "not" building schools.  This one may come about on its own if the government does not get it together and fix the problems.  When unemployment hits 30 to 40 % it could very well happen because of a lack of taxpayer revenue.  You say that can not happen.  Well in the Great Depression many cities had 50% unemployment.  The national average hit over 25% for middle aged white males.  All other age, sex and racial groups had much higher levels of unemployment.  So it already has happened and it can happen again. 

12. The party will limit support for CARP party candidates to 8 years in the house and 12 years in the senate.  The party will not support candidates attempting to continue in office.

13. Eliminate the Electoral College and have direct popular election of the President and Vice-President

14. All citizens will recieve full rights at age eighteen.  A person who is willing to serve and die for their country deserves full rights of a citizenship.  All rules requiring a citizen to be twenty one will be amended to be effective at eighteen.

15.  Repeal the light bulb bill and eliminate agencies involved in creating such lunacy.

16.  The Congress will serve the last two weeks in January in Washington, DC and then will return how to serve their constituency.  They will return to Washington in the last two weeks of March, May, July, September, and last two week meeting of Congress for the year will convene the first Monday after Thanksgiving.  They will do their communicating by phone, computer or how they see fit. This will ensure they serve their constituents and not the lobbyists.  The less time they spend in Washington may actually benefit the country. 

17. A survey and review will be done of all government programs and spending.  Programs that can be eliminated will be.  Laws and regulations will be reviewed and revoked when not needed.  Government will be reduced to its minimum operational level and all possible programs will be administered and run by the states with the Fed acting only in an advisory capacity.
     In closing let me say that the only thing that is going to fix America is citizens getting involved and making the things happen that need to happen.  There are things that could be improved through new legislation and accomplished by the private sector.  Some things could be done by the private sector by getting rid of regulations that strangle business.   It is not going to happen with the present two party system and that is a fact. I read somewhere that the United States has the best government money can buy.  The wealthy do not care who is in charge. As long as they have a price and they can get the politicians to vote your tax dollars to pay for it.  Which is probably the one of the most honest appraisals of our government ever spoken.

   CARP is for all Americans.  It does not discriminate because sex, race, age, sexual preference, disabilities, marital status, or your service to America.  However neither does it, give special breaks or attention because of your status in any of the groups mentioned.  Your status is simply that you are a concerned American, and concerned about the direction the nation is going.  There is still time to set up and get the party recognized in many states before next years elections.  Anybody that would like to help set up state chapters, spread the message, get involved or donate to the cause, your Help is welcome.  It is my desire to get in contact with the Occupy Wall Street movement and hopefully we can help each other.  This is all new to me, but it needs to get moving.  If you have any comments, suggestions, or other input.  You can message this blog or send me an E-mail my address is ric.f.ryan@gmail.com .  Thanks for any and all support and interest.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Stock Markets Are About To Get Sucked Down, By The Ship of State

The Republi-can'ts and the Dum-ol-Crats Maintain The Do Nothing Quo!!!!!

     Surprise, Surprise the politicians on the super committee have accomplished nothing.   The best cuts they could come up with are ones that simply slightly reduce future increases. Then you add on the President's pay tax cut which is simply robbing future revenues from Social Security and shipping the problem down the road.  It is sad, sad, sad and all America is about to find out how sad.  Some say it won't be that bad.  Well if the past is any indicator it will be.  Even if they do not cut our credit rating it is not going to sit well with the stock markets.  It would not surprise me if the market falls below 10,000 by the 28th.  It will not surprise anyone if the market goes down.  The question is how far down it will go?  This is one time I hope and pray I am wrong,  If American markets closed under 10,000 it could trigger absolute chaos in the world markets.  Hope I am wrong.

      The Obama administration says it is not that bad and it is getting a little better.  Excuse me but the economy is still bleeding.  Maybe not as bad as in the past, but it is still bleeding.  As more and more people fall off of unemployment the foreclosure problem will continue.  It is not because there are not solutions.  There are plenty of solutions.  However that would require action by both the President and the Congress and they are not so inclined.  I have personally sent letters to both Obama and members of Congress containing ideas and plans that will create jobs.   You can find those ideas in other posts on my blog.  My next blog page will be the platform for my attempt at starting a third party.  The party acronym is CARP, which means a type of fish or to complain.  Both are appropriate.  The full name is the Consitutional American Reform Party.  As the name implies it is a constitutionally based party.  Its platform is Progressive.  It promotes change not just for changes sake, but for the countries sake.  Changes that will put America back on its feet and start us moving forward toward a better America with a solid future.  One that is not mortgaged on our children's backs.   We need to deal with our problems, not pass them on to our children and grandchildren.  Changes will and do need to be made.  Some will be forced on us regardless somewhere down the road, especially energy problems, but they can be met.   It will take a party that not only has the will, but the desire to sit America's house in order.  Some of it is going to hurt no matter how we do it.  The truth is though if we do nothing  it is going to hurt a lot worse.

       I truly believe that the averge American does care about America and the direction in which we are headed.  The present two party system is "NOT" working.  They are too tied to special interests and lining their own pockets to care about what it is doing to the nation as a whole.  They just want to get all they can out of the system before it goes down.  They have no intention of fixing it.  The Republi-can'ts are the true fools in this whole fiasco.  They think protecting the rich will in some way help them.   They are to stupid to see that when the ship goes down the wealthy will be in the lifeboats with all their wealth.      
The Republi-can'ts will quickly learn that those they made wealthy have no intention of saving them as they get their fingers smashed by the oars when they try to get in lifeboats they helped create.  Unfortunately for them the poor that planned well enough and survive are not going to be willing to help them either.

      The government is bankrupt whether they are willing to admit it or not does not matter.  It can get a lot worse and it can do so quickly.  America is only surviving because other countries are willing to store their excess money in America.   They are earning virtually nothing for doings so.  When the world market collapses they will need that money and will call for it.  We do not have it to pay and they will quickly learn that and send no more.  Even China will come to the conclusion keeping their money at home and getting no interest is better than paying the exchange fees to get nothing in America.  That day is soon approaching.  The failure of Congress just may be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back.  Sooner or later  America will break that straw.  Having moved down the road of life for a long time and been through a bankruptcy myself.  A day of reckoning comes sooner or later.  What congress does will determine which it is.  It is looking like that by their inaction they are pushing for sooner.

      Average Americans do not want the government to fail.  They also do not want the hardship that is being dumped on America by actions or lack of action in some cases of their elected officials.  Americans need an alternative and a way out.  The last third party president America had was Abraham Lincoln.  It about tore the nation apart.  Unfortunately we are at a point in history where it is going to take that kind of forceful action to save America.   It will take a new party with foresight that understands the problems and is willing to step up deal with the problems no matter how much it hurts.  If it is not done in the short term, it is going to hurt much more in the long term.  The thing is that by the frustration with politicians and their low poll ratings it is clear that Americans see the problem.  The trouble is the present two party sysem offers no solution.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Cost of Stuff-itis, It Can Make or Break You

       Some people might say what is stuffitis.  It is stuff.   How we get it, and what we do with it shapes our lives and our destiny.  The question is do you have stuff or does stuff have you.  If you have ever watched one of the programs called "Hoarding" you are witnessing stuff-itis out of control.  Hoarders are created several ways.  Some people look at everything they ever purchase as an investment.  Therefore is has value and should be kept no matter what.  Other hoarders no that the stuff they have accumulated has no value anymore but they can not decide what to get rid of.   Yet others consider anything they get as adding to their wealth and making them better off.  Many of us fall at some level into cracks between the extremes.  All stuff has a cost.  Sometimes to acquire it.  Sometimes to keep it.   Sometimes it is because it is kept.  When it gets out of hand and is infested by insects, rodents or mold it can even effect the health of the hoarder.

       Most of the time I see it, in my opinion, as a failure to understand how to manage money.  Often times hoarders are virtually destitute even though they have a big enoung cash flow to meet their needs.  The problem is it is mismanaged.  If a person has never been taught how to save money they purchase items they do not really need simply because they have the money to do so.  It is this last bunch that the media advertising dollar is targeted at. 

      In my own case I have far more than I actually need, but I have discovered how to use stuff-itis of others to meet my financial needs.  Being on disability and some months not having enough to get by my solution was to go to yard sales and auctions looking for "good deals" that I could by for pennies on the dollar and resell for a profit.  My goal is to get it for a fifth of its value and sell it for as much as possible.  Hopefully for at least half its new value.  Even if I only sell it for two fifths of its value I have doubled my money.  If you can double your money and keep doing it consistently you should get ahead sooner or later.  The trick is learning to buy only stuff you can sell, and that you will sell.   If you end up keeping it yourself your losing ground.  Also just because it is cheap does not always mean it is a bargain.  Some stuff is cheap because nobody wants it.  Which means you will not be able to sell it no matter how cheap you got it.  I learned this lesson the hard way.  At one auction I got five couches for five dollars.  After a year I had sold one for ten dollars.  The rest of them I wound up burning so I would have room in my shop for new stuff or at least more stuff.  In the end my accomplishment was to pay to remove someone else's trash.  So even though I doubled my money it was really a loss.  Fortunately it happened early in my career of selling "Stuff."  Several years later I have learned to leave many things sitting even though they are cheap.  If you can not sell it you are simply paying to become a hoarder.

     It is not always about used stuff.   Many people have to stroke their ego and drive a brand new car.  That new car will lose several thousand dollars in value the moment it leaves the showroom floor.  If your ego needs it and you consider it worth it go for it.   It might be a lot better investment to buy a slightly used version of the same car and put the thousands of dollars in your pocket.   A compromise way to buy a new car and one I have done myself is to buy last years car.  When the 2012's come out you simply go looking for a new 2011.  The best time to actually buy it is just before tax time in 2012.  You still have a car only you have driven.  While also saving some on taxes in many states.  The taxes are less on a technically two year old car.  The goal is to save money.  Part of the trick to that is get your own preapproved credit so you can shop and know how much you have.  If you have been shopping since the 2012's first came out you know what a 2011 was really going for.  You can make an offer several thousand dollars below the asking price. When you tell them you have your own financing and your offer is a take it or leave it offer.  They will probably deal.  You might have to haggel a little, the secret is knowing what it is worth and what "You" are willing to pay.  Dealers hate letting a sure deal walk out the door even if they do not make anything on the car.  Their goal is to move it, if it is last years model.

     When I go to yard sales and auctions I see stuff sold for pennies on the dollar.  The people are trying to get rid of something they no longer need and in many cases never needed in the first place.  One of the things I see this on the most is excercise equipment.  Tread mills, excercise bikes and weight benches.  Most of them have been sitting for years and the only excercise they saw was as a coat or clothing rack.  The trick to this whole deal and how make money from Stuff-itis is knowing what people will buy and really need.   A couple things I always, eventually, sell is baby beds, chest of drawers, rockers and recliners in good condition.  It is a learning process, but it can supplement your income to some degree.  It could make a lot more if  one pursued it, but for me it is a way to make gas money so I am not stuck at home all the time.

      The next time you are having a yard sale do a quick.  See how much of the stuff you have out for sale that you never really needed in the first place.  Also when you are planning to make a purchase of some items you do not need right away, but that you know you need.  Take a small tablet and write the price of the article down at several competing stores.  It can save you  a lot of money over impulse buying.  Hopefully this will help someone get in control of their stuff-itis.

Monday, November 7, 2011

How To Not Go Down A Hill..or..Murphy's Law At Work The links go to similar stories


                             How To Not Go Down A Hill..or..Murphy's Law At Work



     Sometimes you can kill more than one bird with a stone.   It requires taking a hard look at the problem and believe me I have had many years to look at it.  I learned to drive a truck OJT in 1967 in Vietnam.  That education went on till I retired in 2004.  Over the years I had some, let's say, interesting experiences.  Shippers who were paying for the use of the truck always tried to get their money's worth.  One time I hauled a load of lumber from Louisville, Kentucky to Phoenix, Arizona.  Unfornately I went to load with a half full tank of fuel.  The shipper loaded me to my maximum legal limit.  Which at that time was 80,000 pounds.  This created a problem as if I filled my tanks with fuel I would be almost 800 pounds over weight which would get me fined if I pulled on a state scale.  It was a hassel stopping for fuel several times, but it all went okay until Flagstaff, Arizona.  Then the fun really started.

    A few miles south of Flagstaff on I-17 near Sedona is a long steep grade.  Shortly before the top of the grade there are signs that warn of a very long grade ahead.  It also advises all drivers to  pull into the rest area before the grade and adjust your brakes.   This is good advice.  However if it was marked like Emigrant Pass in Oregon it might be a lot safer.  On Emigrant a sign tells you what gear to go down the hill in based on your gross weight.  This being my first time driving down a long mountain grade, at least first in a civilian truck, and having been trained OJT, the lack of formal training would become an issue.  Being a good little trucker I pulled into the rest area and adjusted my brakes.  Well a couple of them anyhow.  I mean how steep and long can a hill be.

      After taking what I considered an adequate break I got back up into my Cabover Cornbinder.        (trucker slang for an International brand of truck, oh yeah a cabover is one where you sit above the engine and there is no hood.) and pulled out of the rest area and started off the top of the grade.  As soon as I went over the top it occurred to me that adjusting all the brakes might have been a better way to go.  The start of the grade is very steep.  All of a sudden a pickup pulling a camper went to the right shoulder then back across to the left shoulder.  I could tell he was out of control.  Suddenly he cut back right to quick and his trailer went over on its side and pulled the pickup over with it.  Being only a couple hundred yards behind I was standing on my brakes.  While I was slowing down it did not seem enough. The camper finally slid to a stop across both lanes of traffic.  My truck stopped about ten feet from the wreck.  First thing I did was yell on the CB for somebody to stop the southbound traffic and why.  Then I helped the elderly couple crawl out of their truck.  They were shaken but okay.   I went back to my truck and moved it a couple hundred yards down hill to a small dip where their was a little rise.  As I walked by my trailer I could smell that my brakes were hot.  It was twenty to thirty minutes before the state police showed up.  I had been directing the  traffic that had come down the hill.  There was barely room to squeeze past the wreck on the shoulder.  Once the wrecker showed up, about an hour later, the state trooper told me to leave and that they would take care of the problem.

     After saying goodbye to the couple I walked back down the hill to my truck.  Again I could smell the brakes. I started easing down the hill and in second gear my truck could hold itself back with the engine compression.  Feeling a little more confident I pulled out into traffic and started shifting  gears.  Rule one is keep a steady pressure on the brakes.  However not knowing this I kept speeding up and then using the brake pedal to slow down.  It seemed to be working except I kept having to push the brakes a little harder to slow down.  Just as I was feeling pretty confidant about it all.  A voice came over the CB, "How about that southbound load of lumber.  Do you have your ears on?"  "Yes" I replied and he kind of burst my bubble.  He said, " You might want to check your rear view mirrors.  You have a problem.  As much as you are smoking you are not going to make it to the bottom of this hill."  I looked in the rear view mirrors and sure enough I was smoking pretty good.  "Thanks," I said.'"This is my first time going down a hill like this.  What do I do?"  He replied,  "I would stop if you can. If you can't I would start praying."I did  and it would not be the last time.

    Suddenly I realized this might not be a good day.  I tried to stop but couldn't but slowed, almost, to a stop.  I tried to down shift to a lower gear but kept missing it.  My speed was picking back up as I was out of gear and free wheeling.  Finally I got it in about seventh gear.  As I pressed on the brakes the pedal started melting into the floor.  Even with the pedal all the way down I was picking up speed.  This was suddenly not fun.  I looked in the rear view mirror and so much smoke was rolling out behind me I looked like one those World War II bombers you see in the war footage going down in flames.  Not sure what to do I remembered the Emergency Brake knobs on the dash.  In desperation I pulled them.  Nothing really happened except the amount of smoke increased dramatically and my speed was steadily climbing.

    The chatter on the CB was not comforting.  They were taking bets on how far down the hill I would get before I lost it.  Suddenly a voice from heaven started talking on my CB.  It was a trucker right behind me and he knew the hill very well and asked me how I felt about it all.  His voice was very soothing.  He asked me how my brake pedal was feeling and what I had done so far.  He told me to push the emergency knobs back in as all they would do is get all the brakes hot.  He said so far most of the smoke was coming from the trailer.  He asked what gear I was in and I told him.  He said regardless of what happened leave it in gear.  He said the worst that could happen was I would blow up the engine.  The speedometer slowly climbed and the engine was over revving quite a bit, but I seemed to steady out a little.

     He advised me to let off the brakes entirely as we were getting into a stretch that was not as steep.  The truck started to slow a little.  That was a relief.  He started explainng what we were going to try to do.  Now I believe a big part of the talking was to keep my mind settled down.  The shallow grade ended and we started off and another steeper grade.  My engine had gotten back into its RPM range which made things feel a little better.  He told me there was an escape ramp another little bit down the hill and that I should use it.  Finally the escape ramp came into view, but their was a problem.

   Some older couple was out walking their dog.  However their car and camper trailer were parked directly in the path I needed to take.  I debated going through the trailer and at the last second decided somebody might be in it.  Cursing the elderly as I passed, my speed started to build again and the engine was almost off the tachometer.  I kept waiting for it to explode.  The steering wheel started vibrating from the engine shaking so hard.  We made it to another area where it leveled out a little.

     He told me there was a rest area ahead and the road went through a little upgrade stretch and maybe I could get it stopped in the rest area.  As the grade leveled out my engine slowed down quite a bit.  He talked me through how I should rev the engine to downshift to a lower gear which would help me slow down even more.   It worked and I kept at it as quick as I could.  While I was going much slower I realized I could not go into the rest area because if someone pulled out in front of me I would not be able to stop.  Finally I got down to second gear.  All that was left was granny and I knew I could not hit it.  Slowly I pulled to the shoulder in front of the rest area.  As I looked to the right I saw many people watching and waving.  My situation was going down the hill, no pun intended, by radio even faster than me evidently.  My truck slowed, and slowed and just before I hit the crest where the hill would start down again I stood on the brakes.  However stopping was evidently not meant to be.  At about 5 miles per hour my truck crossed the crest and the hill started down again.

    Slowly I started building speed.  My guardian angel started talking me down the hill again.  I discussed that this was not exactly a ship and I thought maybe it was time to jump and let the ship go down by it self.  He told me we only had a few more miles to go and if I could make the next corner ahead we would make it to the bottom.  We made the corner and out in front of me was a couple of miles of straight but down hill grade.  Looking harder I could see that once you hit bottom it started back up grade.  Slowly my speed started building.  My angel talked me through using the gears as much as possible.  Finally he told me to put it in high gear and to hold on.  The speedometer passed 75 and then 80 which is as far as it went.  I was gaining on the cars in front of me with no way to slow down.  Suddenly I saw my path.  I pulled over on the right shoulder and down the hill I went.

    The RPM guage was way past the end mark and the truck was vibrating like and excercise machine.  I figured my speed had to be just over a 100 miles per hour.  Finally I was down and crossed the bottom of the hill and started up the next one.  My guardian angel told me not to stop under any circumstances.  If I did, he informed me, the brakes would catch fire.  It was several miles of upgrade and I rode as far as I could before I stopped.

      When I did my guardian angel pulled over and told me how the road was the rest of the ways to Phoenix.  While the truck cooled off I took a much needed break and when the truck was cool enough I adjusted the brakes.  However there were problems as a couple wheels were covered with oil on the inside.  My angel informed me that the heat had gotten so hot the wheel seals had melted.  He gave me some oil and showed me how to add some which I had to do a few times before Phoenix. The next morning I unloaded the lumber and took my truck to a shop to get checked out.  They had to replace several seals and all the brake pads.  The repair bill was well over $2000 dollars.  To me the only thing that mattered was that I was alive to tell about it by the Grace of God.

     It was several years before I ever went west again.  When I did I sat down with several experienced drivers and absorbed all the knowledge they could bestow on me.  This was a life changing experience, but being honest I had a worse one in Viet Nam and a couple not quite so bad ones after, but I did finally get it figured out.  The old saying is.  "You can go down a hill too slow a thousand times, you can go down too fast once."  It is the truth.  Slowing down solved my problems.