Saturday, February 12, 2011

Snow Removal and Political Ideology


Articles Posted: 3  Links Seeded: 1
Member Since: 8/2009  Last Seen: 2/02/2011

It dawned on me today that you can see how the country operates as a whole through the different ideologies just by looking at how cleaning of driveways takes place in your local neighborhood.
One night a heavy snowfall blankets the neighborhood. That morning the Libertarian gets up early and heads out to the garage. Starts up his snowblower and quickly sets about clearing his driveway. He knows that the fresh fallen snow is still rather light and powdery and is easily removed from the top of the asphalt, leaving just a fine dust of snow that will melt away quickly in the slowly rising sun. In about a half hour of personal work, he finishes his driveway. He knew that where he lived he could expect a good 5 or 6 good snowfalls every winter and spending $400 for a snowblower upfront would pay for itself quickly with just a buck worth of gas to clear each snowfall. As he is finishing up and ready to head inside, he waves to his Republican neighbor who is pulling his car out of the garage and heading off to his business. The Republican doesn't worry about clearing his own driveway. He pays a private company $50 bucks to come out whenever the snow falls to do it for him. About 9am that private company shows up and plows the Republican's driveway quickly in about 15 mins, leaving it sparkling clean. About 10am, the Progressive comes out his door, complains about the snowfall and wonders if any of his students will even bother showing up for class today at the local college. Still, he gets in his car and drives off.
As the sun shines down, the two driveways that were plowed early have completely melted off and dried by noon when the Liberal finally drags himself from bed. He quickly dresses, complains about the snowfall and the hangover from his late night of partying and then leaves for his part-time job at the local fast food joint. At around 3pm, the local snowplowers union shows up to plow the Progressives driveway. Two men in a single truck takes them 30 minutes and 2 coffee breaks to clear his driveway. They do a decent job considering the snow has already began to change to ice and only charge $120 for the job, for which the highly paid Progressive professor doesn't mind paying from his public salary. After all, he can always ask for a raise and the college can just increase tuition to pay for it.
After spending his 5 hours at work complaining to anyone that would listen about having to shovel his driveway when he gets home and how unfair it is that the 'rich' guy across the street doesn't have to lift a finger to clear his driveway, the Liberal gets home at 6pm. Having set all day sublimating, the snow now has a nice icy layer underneath that is practically impossible to remove. He grabs his $5 plastic shovel that he bought because he didn't want to waste his meager amount of money on something bigger when there is beer and weed that is much higher on his priority list. Of course, the shovel won't even budge that layer of ice and the little bit of snow that it does take off just makes that ice even more slippery. Frustrated, he finally gives up and goes inside. Also wanting to use a union company, he calls the local union company to get a price. $120! He can't afford that and just decides that the driveway will melt away on its own eventually. At 7pm, the Republican and Progressive come home from a long day at work.
The Progressive sees that Liberal didn't plow his driveway and feels the need to look out for him and comes up with a plan to help the Liberal and himself in the process. The next day the Progressive contacts the Homeowners Association and discusses with the bureaucrat in charge that to make the neighborhood more attractive everyone should have plowed driveways when the snow falls and that the high cost of snow removal is preventing some from doing so. So they come up with a plan. The Homeowners Association will set up a contract with the local union company to do the snow removal for EVERYONE. Isn't that great?! Since they are doing a bunch of driveways all at the same location, they might even discount the price to just $100 per driveway, and the fees can be collected by the Association. So they set it all up and announce to the residents of the new plan. The Republican and Libertarian protest, but the Liberal and Progressive side with the HOA bureaucrat to make it happen anyway. Now when the snow falls, the union comes eventually about 3pm to plow everyones driveway for a cost of $400 for all four driveways. The Progressive is happy, as his cost is $20 cheaper. The Republican is upset as his cost has doubled. The Libertarian is extremely PO'd because he went from $1 in cost to $100 dollars, plus the money he had already spent on the snowblower. The Liberal, who can't afford even the $100 for the driveway now complains AFTER the contract has already been voted in, that the cost is just too much and that the fees to the HOA for the snow removal should be based on the home values. So the HOA can't alter the contract deal with the unions, so just decides to change how the fees are collected from the neighborhood residents. The Liberal, who has the smallest house, will only pay $30. The Libertarian, who has the next smallest house, will pay $70. The Progressive will pay $100, and the Republican will pay $200. That seems fair now doesn't it. The Liberal is still PO'd because he still has to pay $30 and blames the Republican for being in bed with big business for it. The Libertarian is PO'd because while his cost might be lower than it was, its still seventy times more than if he just was allowed to do it himself. The Republican is PO'd because his cost is now four times what it was. The Progressive is also now PO'd, even though he still is saving himself $20 bucks, all of his neighbors are getting upset with him and give him dirty looks whenever he goes by. Two months later, the Liberal moves out as he can no longer afford to live there. He lost his job because he spent so much time complaining about not earning a living wage, that he kept screwing up orders at the drive-thru. So now, the HOA must increase the costs on the remaining three to honor the contract.
Tell me that this isn't exactly why the country is so messed up and everyone is upset all the time?

“The right to Keep and Bear arms”

< 2nd Amendment, U.S. Constitution >

The interpretation of this one small phrase has been
growing in length and breadth since its penning.
As with the entirety of our Constitution, the imagined
intent of the document’s creators is commonly the
center of any debate regarding said Document.
Historically, this one phrase has allowed some subtle,
and not so subtle, defense of our Country. This is not
going to turn into an American History discussion.
There are four (4) words in “the Right to Keep and
Bear Arms” that should be examined for their
 definition , and probable intent.
v First, the word “Right”; I doubt anyone
           has a skewed assessment of this word.
v Second, the word “Keep”; meaning to
           have, possess, be at the ready, or be
           available for use.
v Third, the word “ Bear”; meaning to
           hold, carry, brandish in self-defense.
v Fourth, the word “Arms”; in this case,
           fire-arms, individual weaponry.
The Federal Government, and to some degree each
State, is charged with the Defense of our Borders
 and Interests. To that end, we have the need for a
standing Defense Force, and, of course, they need to
be sufficiently “armed” to defend our Country against
 any, and all, attacks. It is they, and they alone, who
have the “right” to carry Military style firearms;
semi-automatic, fully automatic, individual or crew-served.
It seems so very obvious that our Founding Fathers did
not intend for Billy Bob Johnson, from Arkansas, to
own and carry a “Glock-9” anti-personnel, assault weapon.
The same rings true for Juan Fredrico Gonzales from
Miami, Antonnio “three fingers” Lapessio, from Brooklyn, NY,
and an unnamed 10 year old from Ohio. There are an
 over-abundance of weapons that do safely and reasonably
 fit this small phrase to a tee. Military and Military style
weaponry is for the Military, not the General Public.
Based on shear numbers, and the realities of enforcing any
sort of restrictive law, there are too many gun purchasers
 and too many guns to attempt prosecution of these levels.
The only logical solution is to restrict the Manufacturers
form distribution of Military style firearms to the Military.
I understand the hurdles of doing this, but the gun
manufacturers in this Country, and abroad, are quite literally
killing us: especially our children.
A piece of the Nation dies with each shooting of each child.

The Palestine Papers.....

....or How Everything You Thought You Knew About the Peace Process Was Wrong
Thursday 10 February 2011
by: Max Ajl, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis
Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat. (Photo: Seeds_of_Peace)
Common wisdom is that the 20-year-old peace process has been edging towards a two-state solution, based on a formula that half the world can recite verbatim: borders following the pre-1967-war armistice line with minor and mutual adjustments, a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem and a land bridge between Gaza and the West Bank, with refugees either repatriated or given adequate compensation. Common wisdom has frequently assumed that resolution has been prevented by Palestinian rejectionism, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiators make one unreasonable demand after another to their Israeli counterparts, while American mediators helplessly try to cajole the two sides closer and closer to peace.
With the publication of the Palestine Papers - a massive document trove leaked to Qatar-based Al Jazeera consisting of 1600 maps, meeting minutes, transcripts, strategy reports and various other documents from the Palestinian negotiating team - what used to be common wisdom should now, very publicly, be understood as common delusion.
What the American press presented as peace negotiations facilitated by an impartial American government are now clearly perceptible as negotiations over the terms of surrender. Waving the white flag was Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, speaking for the PA. Dictating the terms of surrender were various Israeli governments, from Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni to Benyamin Netanyahu. And pushing along the process with humiliating prods were American negotiators like Condoleezza Rice and George Mitchell.
On every conceivable front, Palestinian negotiators prepared to concede baseline Palestinian demands. And on every conceivable front, those concessions were met with Israeli counteroffers to treble the concessions, and then with American calls for compromise between what were already compromised Palestinian positions and the bigger compromises Israeli negotiators demanded.
Take the simplest area of conflict: the size of the Palestinian state. It's deliberately obscured history, but in 1988, the Palestinian National Council made what many call its "historic compromise," through the Algiers Declaration: recognition of Israel in exchange for a rump state on 22 percent of historic Palestine.
In March 2008, 20 years later, Udi Dekel, Olmert's chief negotiator, insisted that, "We don't see the 1967 border as a reference." Later that month, he added that "the parameters are facts on the ground." With such "facts" - and not the internationally recognized Green Line, or the post-1949-armistice line - taken as a starting point, Livni would insist in June that the "7.3 percent offer [of the West Bank] by Olmert is the most generous, and will be perceived by Israelis as the most fair." The Palestinian offer also deviated from the pre-1967-armistice lines. As Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei, or Abu Ala, put it, "We offered 1.9 percent. It is reasonable. We included the settlements inside Jerusalem - Pisgat Zeev, etc. It's the first time!"
Israeli negotiators, however, insisted that the willingness to cede 1.9 percent of 22 percent of the 100 percent of historic Palestine that had been Palestinian territory before 1948 was insufficient. As Dekel explained, "We are not talking about 'giving' and 'taking' ... we are talking about realities.... We didn't take anything from you. No Palestinian state existed before." The issue was not Palestinian intransigence, as is frequently portrayed in the American press. The issue was and is Israeli denial of even minimal Palestinian national aspirations.
As Livni said in May 2008 when she asked Palestinian negotiators why they insisted on a maximum of two percentage points of the West Bank to be given to Israel in any settlement, "Why do you insist on 98 percent? Why not 92 percent? ... My question is why you cannot have a state that represents most of your aspirations?" Dekel added that the Israeli point of view was that Israel has rights to the land it illegally occupied and illegally built on beyond the 1949 armistice lines, emphasizing that, "You believe 242 says rights and that settlements are illegal; we don't. We believe we have rights in these territories. The way we see it, we need to make mutual concessions. We don't see that we have something to give back to you. We are not of the position that we took something from you that we have to give back."
What the Israelis reject are Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which emphasize the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by means of force. Israeli rejection of international law is not just tacit. As Dekel put it in March of 2008, "The international community is not relevant here ... we are agreeing with you on the border between us."
Debates about borders inevitably go hand in hand with debates about Jerusalem, the epicenter of the conflict. East Jerusalem, it is generally agreed, would be the capital of any Palestinian state in a two-state resolution. It's the hub of Palestinian cultural and intellectual life, the home of Palestinian and Muslim holy sites. And it's also been increasingly encircled by a belt of settlements that nearly cuts it off from the rest of the West Bank.
Palestinian negotiators said, in the words of Erekat, that "It is no secret that on our map we proposed we are offering you the biggest Yerushalayim in history," tellingly using the Hebrew word for Jerusalem rather than the Arabic word, Al Quds. What the Palestinian negotiators could not offer was Maale Adumim, a massive settlement bloc situated east of East Jerusalem, which very nearly seals off the capital of the seemingly stillborn Palestinian state.
Aware that Maale Adumim might nearly sever East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, Dekel insisted in February 2008 that, "The situation is difficult, and that is why we have to be creative." By "creative," Dekel meant to refer to what Israeli negotiators call "functional contiguity," or contiguity by means of tunnels or rail systems. Livni's response was that, "God gave us bad cards to play with," as though the expansion of settlements east of East Jerusalem was an inexorable organic progression rather than conscious Israeli policy. Nonetheless, Livni insisted, "the idea we have is not to block Jerusalem completely."
In response to Livni, Abu Ala replied: "We do not want to live in enclaves."
The Israeli negotiating position in response to this dispute is revealing. When, in a rare show of rashness, PA negotiator Khalid Elgindy said, "When you say tunnels, would you consider connecting your settlements with the same kind of tunnels that you propose - and are actually building on the ground - for Palestinian villages that are separated?" Israeli negotiator Danny Tirza responded, "Yes. We can consider." Elgindy then asked: "So why aren't you connecting them using tunnels? Why take empty land to connect the settlements?" to which Tirza responded again, "Because we have security concerns. Tunnels are present [sic] a security concern. We don't frighten you."
The notion that Palestinians - lightly armed, under military occupation for 44 years, under siege and without even a mechanized army - do not have security concerns, while Israel - the regional titan with a nuclear trump card - does, is not credible, and makes it still clearer that the approach Israeli negotiators were taking to the negotiations was not compromise but rather the presumption that Palestinians would cave in to Israeli demands.
To get a sense of the Bush administration's light-touched brokering in reaction to this impasse - the impossibility of Palestinians accepting a Jerusalem cantonized by Maale Adumim and the Israeli refusal to extricate its illegal settlers from the illegal settlement - Rice said in July 2008 that, "I don't think any Israeli leader is going to cede Maale Addunim [sic]." Abu Ala responded: "Or any Palestinian leader." To which Rice responded, "Then you won't have a state!" later adding, "Both states will be ugly.... I don't think 7.3 is the number. But 1.9 or 2.3 is not.... I think you will have to find an answer to Maale Addunim [sic]. And we will need to find an answer to Ariel."
The "7.3" Rice referred to is the percentage of prime West Bank land Israeli negotiators wanted to annex in return for land swaps abutting the Negev in the southern part of the West Bank or near the Gaza Strip; the "1.9" was the Palestinian counteroffer. Rice was insisting that Palestinians accept the unacceptable enclosure of East Jerusalem while promising to do something about Ariel, another Israeli settlement further north that juts a full eight kilometers into the West Bank. It is the frequent occurrences of this kind of American good-faith facilitation that has prompted commentators to refer to America as "Israel's lawyer."
An accurate depiction, as long as we remember that lawyers sometimes push their clients slightly beyond their preferred negotiation positions. As Rice insisted in July 2008, "On security and borders, they need to come to you. But on borders, you need to move too.... They made an offer; it's not good, but it's not bad.... Are you really going to stop a Palestinian state on a few percentages?" With the magnitude of the projected Israeli state four times that of the Palestinian state, Rice's question betrays the partisanship of the American negotiating team, a political position that has led Noam Chomsky to argue that "serious negotiations would be conducted by some neutral party, with the US and Israel on one side, and the world on the other."
The PA also made a large concession on refugees, a touchstone of the struggle - roughly as many Palestinians live outside of the borders of historic Palestine as within them, and two-thirds of Gaza's population is made up of refugees or their descendants. A 2007 PA internal memo argued for a symbolic 10,000 refugees to return to Israel each year, pending Israeli approval of ongoing renewal of the policy. Crushingly overpopulated Gaza alone produces 60,000 new children a year, most of whom have legal refugee status.
For Israel, where Al Nakba - the Palestinian's word for the 1947-1949 bout of ethnic cleansing that removed them from their homeland - is still fiercely disputed, even that diluted demand was met with angry commentary from Israeli negotiators. Tal Becker commented in June 2008 that, "We have a major area of disagreement about responsibility. In our point of view, this is basically asking us to take on their narrative." Or, as Livni said later that year, denying Israeli responsibility, "Return; I think that the answer is the Palestinian state." Later, Israel would offer the right of return to 1,000 refugees each year, a number amounting to little more than a rounding error.
Rice, the American "honest broker," later commented that, "The refugee mechanism cannot possibly be so sensitive!" adding that, "Bad things happen to people all around the world all the time. You need to look forward. The first compensation is a state.... Israel had to put away some of their aspirations, like taking all of 'Judea and Samaria.'" Meanwhile, PA negotiators kept on conceding to most of the Israeli positions. Unelected president Mahmoud Abbas stated that, "On numbers of refugees, it is illogical to ask Israel to take five million, or indeed one million - that would mean the end of Israel." Abbas took an only slightly firmer stance in reaction to the Israeli offer of 5,000 refugees over five years. "This is even less than family reunification and is not acceptable," Abbas said.
What's most striking when reading through the archives is to see that Israeli rejectionism was accompanied by Israeli humiliation of the Palestinian negotiators and Palestinian kowtowing to the Israelis. As Livni said in November 2007, when Palestinian negotiators threw up their hands in frustration at the impossibility of dealing with their Israeli counterparts and said they'd just fight for one state, "There is also two states, with one on the other side of the Jordan." Livni also said that Israel was making its fair share of negotiations, in particular reprising the Palestinian "historic compromise" of 1988 in which it recognized Israel. "We did not want to say that there is a 'Palestinian people," she said. Israeli negotiators were clearly willing to cross theretofore uncrossable lines at Annapolis.
The pattern is clear: Israeli maximalism is met with a counteroffer that moves some way away from minimal Palestinian demands towards maximal Israeli demands. That counteroffer is then rejected by Israel, and the rejection is encouraged by the American peace brokers. With the publication of the Palestine Papers, no one can ever again say - without lying - that the problem is Palestinian rejectionism in the face of Israeli accommodationism. Clearly, the problem is the reverse - or worse.
By letting Israel encroach on core Palestinian national demands, writes former negotiator and Oxford professor Karma Nabulsi, "A small group of men who have polluted the Palestinian public sphere with their private activities are now exposed." Nabulsi added that, "The release into the public domain of these documents is such a landmark because it destroys the final traces of credibility of the peace process," as well as the American self-appointed role as a reliable interlocutor of the mutual interests of Israelis and Palestinians. Endless talking, wheeling, dealing, document-drafting, conferring and jet-setting: that has been the peace process, now frequently referred to as an "industry" by dispassionate observers.
Like any industry, the most important concern has been to keep its gears whirring smoothly along. One of the gears is Israel. Another is America. And the third, against a common misunderstanding, is not the Palestinian people, but their unelected rulers: the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Annapolis and the subsequent Obama efforts have been attempts - perhaps half-hearted - to bring to fruition the failed Oslo process: the creation of a Palestinian collaborator class to manage the occupation for Israel, and to serve as a beachhead for normalization of Israel in the Middle East. In the process, this collaborator class would secure enough stability to enable the continuance of the Arab dictatorships, especially the crown jewel, Saudi Arabia, and a Middle East free-trade zone administered from the Gulf sheikhdoms and Tel Aviv.
As Adam Hanieh of the School of Oriental and African Studies comments, in that failed vision, the PA was to have played "the role of policing the several-million-strong reserve army of labor locked behind the walls and checkpoints of the Palestinian territories. In return, the PA leadership will wield the trappings of a state, obtain for itself the privileges to travel and move freely, and earn a stake in the profits that flow" from the free-trade zones where global capital, flowing through Tel Aviv, could profit from captive and desperate Palestinian labor. Israel and the United States alike were generally willing to let the Palestinians have a demilitarized statelet with an economy totally dependent on that of its neighbor, and to describe it as they wished. And it is within that vision that one can understand Livni's 2008 comment that, "I agree that post-Camp-David is a failure that none of us want," and Abu Ala's promise that, "We will also be the bridge for Israel to all countries in the region." The PA went as far as it could to accommodate Israeli demands, but even for collaborators, there are limits: in this case, something they could sell to the underlying populace.
Indeed, Israel and the PA still pine for a negotiated outcome, even as they conflict on the particulars of borders, refugees and Jerusalem, but it's probably too late. That's why, as Cairo is awash in tear gas, aflame with Mubarak's Molotov cocktails and teeming with military tanks massing on its streets, Israel is asking its regional allies to tone down criticism of the Mubarak government. And that's why Netanyahu told his ministers, "We are closely monitoring events in Egypt and the region and are making efforts to preserve its security and stability." He knows that a dictatorial Egypt guarding Israel's southern flank is the best insurance for continuing the occupation or coddling the PA into selling out its people. Without Mubarak or a likeminded substitute - perhaps, they pray, as the situation in Egypt slips out of control, Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, will maintain the peace treaty - a reconfiguration of the regional map looms, and with it will come an end to the Israeli occupation.
For that reason, among others, Israel and America are both hoping that Mubarak is able to beat back or tamp down his people's revolutionary surge, or at least prevent any real change in the matrix of power in Egypt. As revolution and counterrevolution duel in Tahrir Square, the outcome of the struggle is far from determined. But one can be sure that Israel, the PA and America alike are watching closely and intervening as they can, desperate to put the regional system of Israeli-American domination in stasis, and worrying anxiously that the insurrection in Egypt will succeed and bring that system crashing down.

“Our Shipp has sailed.”

< in response to:  NY Times. Friday, February 11th, 2011: “State Secrets Versus….., Author:  Charlie Savage, A19 >

   When you come of age and start making Career decisions as a young adult, of all the choices you could make, working for Uncle Sam seems, at face value, to be a reasonable, challenging, and secure form of employment. There are many employment opportunities offered by our Government that afford a great deal of pride, responsibility, and recognition. Mr. Kevin M. Shipp bought into the promise and the ideal,
and attempted to make his job at the C.I.A. his lifelong endeavor.
   The Schipp family story sound fairly isolated, at first glance. No one I know could possibly make me believe such drivel. An incident, yes. An isolated one, no. There have been numerous similar accounts, just in my tiny slice of the World. People of all means have, at one time or another, been exposed to Government-created hazardous living and working conditions. Having lived by coastal waters, I well recall both professional and amateur fishermen pulling old, unexploded ordinance to the surface. On the rare circumstance that one detonated, life and limb have been sacrificed.
   All well, and good, one may think. After all, it’s our Government who put it there, and we trust them, because we voted for them. Until, that is, you find out years later that the owners of these Life-changing hazards have pled “not guilty”, and have been found without reproach by their own lawyers and Judges. Imagine, if you would, that your child buried a cache of “fireworks” in the town park, and “forgot” about it.
After ten years, someone else’s child digs up that forgotten cache. There is just enough active material to ignite the powder, and this child is maimed, or killed.
   You would normally expect an investigation and some sort of Legal action to ensue. Upon conclusion of the investigation, there is enough hard evidence to seek indictment of your child; now an adult, and professing no knowledge of that old fireworks cache. Legal actions are initiated. But, wait! Turns out that you are your child’s lawyer, and the Judge is your brother. According to our Government, in matters such as this, your child never sees a day in court. All charges are dismissed. There is no right of appeal. All documents are sealed, or shredded, to cover the trail. Your child goes on their merry way, and some poor family has to bury their child.
   We in America vote for our governing officials. Their sole raison d’ĂȘtre is to work for us; that’s right, they are our employees. Think long and hard about our Schipp family. What your “employee” did to them, they could land you in same boat, some day.

Submitted: NYT, Op-ed, “In Response”. 2/11/2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Made-off vs. Social In-Security

Why did Bernie Made-off go to prison? To make it simple, he talked people into investing with him. The trouble was, he didn't invest their money. As time rolled on, he simply took the money from the new investors to pay off the old investors. Finally, there were too many old investors and not enough money from new investors coming in to keep the payments going. Next thing you know Made-off is one of the most hated men in America, and he is off to jail. Some of you know this but, not enough of you. Made-off did to his investors what the government has been doing to us for over 70 years with Social Security. There is no meaningful difference between the two schemes, except that one was operated by a private individual who is now in jail, and the other is operated by politicians who enjoy perks, privileges and status in spite of their actions.
 Do you need a side-by-side comparison here?  Well here's a nifty little chart.
Takes money from investors with the promise that the money will be invested and made available to them later.
Takes money from wage earners with the promise that the money will be invested and made available later: much later.
Instead of investing the money, Made-off spends it on nice homes in the Hamptons and big yachts, slow music, and fast women.
Instead of depositing money in a Trust Fund, the politicians  transfer it to the General Revenue Fund and use it for general spending and vote buying.
When the time comes to pay the investors back, Made-off simply uses some of the new funds from newer investors to pay back the older investors.
When the time comes to pay the investors back, the politicians simply uses some of the new funds from younger and newer investors to pay the older geezers.
When Made-off's scheme is discovered all hell breaks loose.  New investors won't give him any more cash, and the plan comes falling down around him.
When the Politician’s scheme is discovered all hell breaks loose. The politicians try to force the taxpayers to send them some more; or they cancel  S/S to all those who paid into it.
Bernie Madoff is in jail for life.
Politicians remain in Washington with fat salaries, medical and retirement benefits guaranteed for life.
                   The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but                 
                   doesn't have to take the civil service examination.'          
                   "If you put the federal government in charge of the  Sahara Desert , in five
                    years there'd be a shortage of sand."     ~ Milton Friedman
Our elected representatives no longer represent "We The Peeps". Its time, folks, to start a concerted effort to replace a lot of these buttheads. Just watch them in High Definition TV, and you will see how full of crap they are......they all have brown eyes!

Montana Restaurant- True Story

A woman said that a few years ago, while visiting her cattle rancher uncle in Billings , MT , she had occasion to go to dinner at a restaurant that does not take reservations. The wait was about 45 minutes, and many ranchers and their wives were waiting.
Ted Turner and his ex-wife Jane Fonda came in the restaurant and wanted a table. The hostess informed them that they'd have to wait 45 minutes.
Jane Fonda asked the hostess, 'Do you know who I am?'
The hostess  answered, 'Yes, but you'll have to wait 45 minutes.'Then Jane asked if the manager was in.
When the manager came out, he asked, 'May I help you?'
'Do you know who we are?' both Ted and Jane asked. 
Yes, but these folks have been waiting, and I can't put you ahead of them.'
Then Ted asked to speak to the owner.

The owner came out, and Jane asked, 'Do you know who I am?'
The owner answered, 'Yes, I do. Do you Know who I am? I am the owner of  this restaurant and I am a Vietnam Veteran. Not only will you not get a table ahead of my friends and neighbors who have been waiting here, but you also will not be eating in my restaurant tonight or any other night. 
Good bye.'

Sir Scott's Oasis Steakhouse, 204 W. Main, Manhattan, MT 59741,
 (406) 284-6929
 If you ever get there, give Scott a sharp salute, buy a steak, 
and tipthe waitress.

The Recession hits everybody.....

I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.
CEO's are now playing miniature golf.
Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.
A stripper was killed when her audience showered her with rolls of pennies while she danced.
I saw a polygamist with only one wife.
If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you call them and ask if they meant you or them.
McDonald's is selling the 1/4 ouncer.
Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America .
Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.
My cousin had an exorcism but couldn't afford to pay for it, and they re-possessed her!
A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico .
A picture is now only worth 200 words.
When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.
The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.
Congress says they are looking into this Bernard Madoff scandal. Oh Great! The guy who made $50 Billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 Trillion disappear!
I ordered a “memory foam” mattress online. By the time it arrived, it had Alzheimer’s and didn’t work.
And, finally...
I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Pakistan , and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.

ObamaCare Faces Supreme Court Defeat

by Michael A. Robinson
Dear American Wealth Underground Reader,
I can honestly say you heard it here first. Of course, I am writing about the thrilling – and common sense – decision by a Florida federal judge to strike down ObamaCare as unconstitutional. Clearly, this is a momentous decision in favor of American liberties that protect us from an overzealous federal government. And, why is this important for investors? Because without constitutional restraints, a federal government drunk on its own power can do virtually whatever it wants to with your wealth. After all, it took a total rout of the Democratic party last November to get Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts and temporarily fix the alternative minimum tax that threatened to pose a financial strain on millions of American families. This ruling should serve as a wake-up call to all fiscal liberals and to President Obama in particular. Oh yeah, and their media lapdogs.
Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that will occur. Indeed, when I predicted last March that ObamaCare would be declared unconstitutional fiscal liberals snickered. Of course, they did. They've shown total disrespect for the bedrock of our freedoms – the U.S. Constitution. If that weren't true, then why did former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her cadre of limousine liberals shove healthcare reform down our throats along strictly partisan lines? I have said from the beginning this ill-considered, poorly written, bureaucracy-building law cannot stand. Consider that no law of this scope or magnitude has ever passed without bipartisan support. As financial failures go it's hard to top Lyndon Johnson's Great Society program. But at least it had strong Republican support. Do Americans really want to be governed by a federal phalanx created through legislation no member of Congress actually read? Trust me on this folks, any law that's 2,500 pages long and that was adopted unread has lots of hidden booby
If you support ObamaCare, stop and ask yourself this question: ‘If Republicans gain a supermajority of Congress next year should they be allowed to force all adults to buy and carry a Smith & Wesson revolver’?  Why not? They certainly could argue that self-protection enhances interstate commerce by cutting down on crime. Now we find Mr. Obama laying 5-4 odds his signature "achievement" will survive scrutiny by the U.S. Supreme Court, which will almost certainly take up the matter. Mr. Obama is betting he can convince Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often the high court's swing vote, to side with the president's poor legal reasoning. We know this is true because the Obama administration immediately said it would continue to implement the healthcare reforms despite the fact the federal judge struck down the entire program.
The time has come for Mr. Obama to shed his arrogance and abandon his liberal idealism so the nation can move forward.  Will America really be well served for two more years of political wrangling over a deeply unpopular law? The U.S. House has voted to repeal ObamaCare. More than two-dozen states sued and beat the pants off the president in court. Senate Republicans show no signs of  backing down from their attempts at repeal, the first round of which was scheduled to occur around deadline today. They seem like a pretty determined bunch to me. I predict they will continue slipping repeal amendments into as many bills as possible for at least the next two years. Meantime, the Obama administration is quietly letting dozens of employers opt out of the healthcare program. And, why, you might ask?
Because, ironically, the president's opponents are correct: ObamaCare is simply too expensive and has too much red tape. Let me close by with another prediction. The Supreme Court will eventually take up ObamaCare and will strike it down by a 5-4 vote. And for a very simple reason: It really is unconstitutional.
Michael A. Robinson
Editor, American Wealth Underground

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You may have seen this in a PBS documentary a couple years ago.  I did, but these two segments were just as riveting as the first time I saw them. Each segment is about 10 minutes and is well worth the time to watch, even if you have seen it. This is some gripping stuff...
This is very unnerving to some as these guys land on a deck pitching up and down 30 feet at night and low on fuel.  
These videos show the difference between Naval Aviation and any other kind.  The links below are two outstanding videos about F-18 carrier operations aboard the USS Nimitz during weather that causes a severely pitching deck, which you can see in the videos.  It's more dangerous than most combat missions and the tension in the pilots and crew is very apparent.  Watch Part 1 first, then Part 2.  Great videos.
I guarantee this will definitely hold your attention.