Archive for January, 2009

What Is Government? Who Pays For It? How Can We Make It Work For Us?

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Types of Discrimination

Types of Discrimination

By Joseph. J. Kusnell

published in Boomeryearbook.com

Types of Discrimination

I guess it’s time we asked ourselves a few questions. Everyone wants something from the federal government whether it be subsidies for agriculture, oil exploration, green fuels, the aged, the poor, the sick. Plus we need services like a military, like national roads, like national parks. And then we need a working government with employees and elected representatives and even, yes even a President who needs a paycheck. So where does the money come from to pay all these bills? Where does the government get the trillions of dollars that it needs to function?

Well, for starters, half of all Americans don’t pay any federal income taxes. None at all. Yes they pay FICA tax but that’s for the continuation of social security (which itself needs more money). We don’t count FICA withdrawals because that money has a specific purpose and is not SUPPOSED to go into the general fund.

So half of all Americans pay no taxes. That means the other half - along with businesses pay all the taxes and I am sure you all think that’s just fine. BUT - and there’s always a but - BUT if those businesses don’t make money, they go out of business and you have no place to work and so then what do you do?

It’s easy to say take the money from the wealthy, which is what Democrats always pretend they are going to do. That’s to fool the silly sap sucker sitting safely on his sofa. (I like that alliteration.)

But sadly, there aren’t enough wealthy to carry the load and besides they are the ones that create the jobs we all need to survive. And any of you who think the government can do that is kidding himself. Mostly when government sticks its hands into something, they screw it up. Why? Too many hands in government spoil the soup, as they say. The Federal government is just too big, too unwieldy, too wrapped in red tape to be efficient at anything it does. Plus there aren’t that many truly smart people in the world and most of them aren’t in Washington, D.C.

So we tax the rich and we tax them pretty good. Maybe we even adopt a ‘confiscatory income tax’ like we had back in the sixties and seventies. Back then, the top rate for income tax was 70% and before that 60%. Now I think it is 38%. So we can raise it. What that does is basically say you can only make so much money. After that, the government is taking most of it.

Now what’s important is the cutoff bar. How much is too much? Well, for sake of argument let’s say 50 million is the cutoff. That means once you make 50 million in a single year, anything over that amount gets taxed at the top rate, whatever it is. Let’s say it’s 70%.

So it would look like this:

Amount Earned Tax Amount Kept

50 M 38% 62% 31 MILLION

60 M 43% 57% 34 MILLION

80 M 50% 50% 40 MILLION

100 M 54% 46% 46 MILLION

200 M 62% 38% 76 MILLION

Now wealthy people will say “why should I earn more if the government is going to take it all?”

But that’s not what’s happening. What is happening is you are getting to keep 76 million dollars A YEAR for yourself and the rest is going back to help the country that is making it possible for you to earn all that money in the first place. The first fifty million is taxed at the normal rate (38%). Income over and above 50 million is taxed at the “confiscatory” rate of 70% but you are still getting to keep 30%of that extra money. So if you earn 500 million in a year (and who is worth that much money), you pay 38% on the first fifty million, and 70% on the remaining 450 million so you get to keep 76 million dollars every year, live with it.

The whole idea behind this confiscatory tax is to convince the people at the very top to use some of their profits to help their businesses. Why take it home if Uncle Sam is waiting there to take if from you. This should encourage a different approach to money on the part of the people that control it.

Okay, so we do that. Is that enough? No, it’s not. Taxing individuals is one thing, but corporations are another. Individuals only need so much money but corporations need all they can get so they can re-invest their money in their business and grow which means more employment. So we need special tax laws relating to corporations which let’s them re-invest profits without taxation as long as the re-investment is in America. We need to do this and we also need to encourage greater participation for labor in the future of the corporations for whom they work. Profit sharing is one way to do that.

Okay, so now we understand. Most working Americans don’t carry the tax load. It is not their tax money that supports our government, it’s is the money from the top earners that does that. Therefore, we don’t want our government to become the enemy of our top people. That would be plainly stupid and self-defeating. We want our government and our top earners to be partners. Partners but within a fair system that works for everyone.

The world belongs to everyone and everyone has the right to at least be sheltered and have food on the table. We only live one life and it shouldn’t be lived in misery if we can avoid it. Notwithstanding that, some of us will walk, some will drive cheap cars and some will drive luxury cars and that’s all fine. But the guy with the luxury car doesn’t need six of them. Nor does he need six houses, or six airplanes. He has no use for that many and if I am President, he isn’t going to have them.

Corporations are the lifeblood of our free Capitalistic society. I happen to think it is the best economic system in the world, far better than Socialism. But it still has to be monitored.

First, let’s talk about taxes. I want taxes on corporations to be cut in accordance with the number of American jobs they create as a part of their worldwide employment. That’s important. Tax rates will be set in accordance with how many Americans you employ as a percentage of your world wide employment. And if most of your money is being earned outside the country or by use of cheap foreign labor, you are going to pay at the top of the tax ladder. But if your money is earned in America or by products build in America and with American labor, then you are going to get a huge tax break to help you pay for that American labor. We all know American labor is more expensive than foreign labor so we are going to help YOU afford US.

But that’s for corporations. Small businesses, or mom-and-pop stores, are different. They may be taxed as individuals; hence, they would be subject to the ordinary tax rates and that includes the confiscatory provisions. We may not want that since we want them too, to expand their businesses and grow.

Therefore, I would delay taxation on profits of a small business (unincorporated) for eighteen months to allow an active owner/operator (active participation in the business) to find ways to re-invest this money tax free in this or another business. As long as the profit is reinvested in any business in America, that money would be tax-free.

I would also tighten up the tax laws as they relate to business expenses to wit: personal expense accounts over a certain amount would be considered income. I would not allow companies or corporations to use their taxable profits to buy luxuries, which are then placed at the disposal of executives. The use of these luxuries would be considered income. I would then place limits on the amount of money that can be used and deducted for things like naming ball parks, buying season boxes to ballparks or other expenditures of this type. If the corporation executives want to do that, let them do it with their own money, not the government’s.

And still, these moves won’t solve the problem. Because at the heart of the problem is excessive government spending. Congress is filled with jackasses that can’t see beyond their nose. They wouldn’t recognize a calamity if it came up and bit them in the butt. They are so confused they really don’t know that “pork” is supposed to be something you eat, not something you steal from taxpayers.

Now before we get too uppity about “pork-barrel legislation”, we need to understand not everything that is labeled “pork” really is “pork”. Some things congressmen and congresswomen slip into their bills are really good ideas. I remember someone brought up a heated tunnel in Alaska which ran from one part of a town to another. Democrats pointed that out as an example of Republican “pork”. Nice try, guys.

Alaska is bitterly cold. In cities like New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Washington D.C., where it also gets pretty cold, there are a lot of underground walkways and shops and all manner of things built to escape the cold weather above. Alaska is that, and more. It is utterly, bitterly cold so much that a heated shopper’s tunnel might be absolutely necessary for economic survival. Heck, they have them in Canada. So would this properly be called “pork”? I don’t think so.

But there are a lot of social programs that are favorites of one group or another and they find their way into otherwise serious legislation and that has to stop. At the very least, they should be brought up separately and included in a general “pork” bill so everyone can see them and take a look at them and then judge them on their merits. Things look better in the light of day so let’s shine a bright light on all of this type legislation and then live with the result.

Subsidies are another area that has to be looked at very carefully and non-politically. Government must find ways to reduce its costs. It must find ways to cut its spending. Not by a little, by a lot. Subsidies are a good place to start.

To begin with, let’s take a look at one of our biggest “sacred cows”, military spending. What happens when you attempt to cut military spending is this, the Pentagon immediately cuts some thing vital so they can say, ’see, we told you so’. They never cut the perks.

That’s because the Pentagon and its Military/Industrial Complex are living high on the hog and they will stop at NOTHING - not even murder - to protect all that money. And I am not exaggerating. We are talking about billions of dollars here and I don’t have to remind you of the number of people murdered for much, much less than a billion dollars.

I would levy the same exact charge at the Pharmaceutical Industry or NASA. They all involve billions of dollars and they aren’t giving that money up without a fight. Both are high on the government’s list of abusers.

Dwight David Eisenhower was a military man. He was Commander of the Army during WW II. He then became our President and served two terms in office. President Eisenhower was very much loved and respected by most Americans.

When President Eisenhower left office, he made a speech. It was one of the most important speeches ever given by an exiting president and it got publicity But not too much publicity and not for too long because certain powerful interests didn’t want it to be heard.

Ike, as he was called, warned the American people of what he called “the Military/Industrial Complex”, an unholy alliance that exists between the users of military equipment and the manufacturers of military equipment. Both of whom benefit richly from taxpayer dollars. “Ike” warned us to be wary of the connection between the two and his warning was honest and accurate. Money is power and a lot of money is a lot of power and the military gets a lot of money to spend. We need to look deeply and carefully into where that money is being spent, on what, and by whom. And then, is it really necessary. It would be my guess that a lot of that money is going down the drain.

Another governmental agency which has become fat, dumb, and happy is NASA. Yes, that’s right, NASA. NASA has become a self-fulfilling prophecy which is playing the greatest video game in the world - space exploration – at taxpayer expense. (See “Space Exploration - A Journey To Nowhere” on this site.)

NASA too should be looked at carefully. There may be a need to expand our knowledge into outer space but there is too much money being spent on projects like manned space travel that very likely, will never happen. My recommendation would be to continue exploring our solar system with unmanned robots, not with people, and I would also limit our explorations into deep space until there is actual scientific evidence to prove we will one day have the capability of exceeding light speed which is necessary for us to get there. Because if we can’t, and right now we certainly can’t, than any money spent on deep space is a waste when there is so much to do here on Earth to save our people and our planet.

Everyone in Washington has an agenda and usually that agenda has to do with money and usually it means money coming TO them FROM us rather than from them TO us. That includes NASA.

Don’t believe everything you hear. Always use this test to evaluate: if what you hear has as its desired result, YOU giving THEM money, be very cautious. If the desired result is them giving you money, run like hell. You are being scammed. Which you do think is more likely to occur?

So, government needs to cut back and not cut back vital services. Government needs to cut back perks, and waste, and graft and political paybacks. That’s what has to be cut back. Find the waste, find the excesses, find the graft and cut that. Find duplications of services and over-staffed departments and cut them. Find all those cozy little perks like the best medical health insurance in the world at taxpayer expense. That’s where to cut spending.

None of this is easy. Old habits are hard to break. Old bureaucrats are hard to dispossess. But it can be done if government puts its mind to it. Of course we are asking the fox to put up safeguards against foxes, so that might not work too well. Maybe what we need is an outside, independent agency to house clean our government. Don’t hold your breath.

Finally, there is this: politics. Right now, the average congressman or congresswoman (it doesn’t make any difference which), and the average Senator spend half of all his or her time raising money for their next election. Now think about that. You have a job and every day you take off at noon for the rest of the day, in order to look for a better job. Think you would get away with it? Me neither.

But that’s what they do. Our elected representatives, while being paid to do their job spend four hours a day, half of their time, raising money for their next political campaign. (See “Your Government Is For Sale To The Highest Bidder” on this site.)

They do it in a lot of different ways, but they do it. If they didn’t, where do you think they would get all that money they need to win re-election to those cushy jobs ”serving the public”?

Then, when they DO get the money, they OWE big time. The more they raise, the more (favors) they owe. It’s called ACCESS. The guy with the deepest pockets buys ACCESS to your congressman or congresswoman. YOU of course don’t have ACCESS because you don’t have lots of money. So, who then do you think your elected representative will listen to, you or him?

But it’s not their fault, it a systemic problem. We need to find another way to elect our representatives. So, let’s look at taxpayer funded national elections with lots of controls. And by the way, you can’t just have integrity and honesty for the other guy. YOUR guy has to have it too. It’s not all right to cheat and steal elections when your guy does it, but not when the other guy does it, it’s either okay or it isn’t. If you want honesty, if you want integrity, it starts with you.

JFK stole the presidential election with those 7:00 AM boxes of Democratic votes found in Chicago. That was a joke. People talk about Bush’s election in Florida but I have never seen any independent confirmation of anything illegal that was done there but if there was, then we condemn that too. We either have it or we don’t.

We need honest government. We also need open and honest elections. Do we have them? I doubt it. So what do we do? Well, a start would be to get the money out of the process. Obama just won the presidential election by spending more than half a billion dollars. Half a BILLION dollars on one election. And if you think that money came to him legally and from ordinary working people, I have a bridge to sell you in Alaska. Obama’s base consisted of college kids, working poor, and African Americans. They were a big part of it. Last I looked, these people weren’t loaded with cash. No, Obama’s money came, like Bill Clintons before him, from illegal sources, to wit: well funded groups, rich individuals, and foreign sources.

Politicians take the money no matter where it comes from – unless they get caught then they give it back. If we want honesty in government, we have to want it from both sides and all the time. Not just for the other guy and not just when we lose.

I believe we start fixing our government by getting the special-interest money out of the process, whether from groups or from individuals. Let the taxpayer pay for it and control who gets how much and how much they can spend and force everyone else out of the process. And that means everyone. No outside money and limited political messaging by anyone on behalf of any candidate. I would ban all such advertising the last 30 days of any national campaign. From that day on , let the candidates speak for the candidate. If politicians don’t have to kiss ass to get the money they need to get re-elected, maybe then they will be able to do the job for which they were elected. It’s not that complicated.

America is hurting and so is the world. But most of this crisis STARTED with democratic politicians putting themselves into a process about which they knew nothing – financing mortgages.

Bill Clinton with the rewriting of the CRA, ACORN with its dirty money, Senators Dodd and Schummer and Representative Barney Frank, all Democrats, along with Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson conspired to give “no-doc” mortgages to minorities that could never hope to replay them. (A “no-doc” loan means no down payments, no credit checks and no employment history check.) When the economy slowed up, when housing prices fell just a little, these millions of “social” mortgages began to fail and since they were the mortgages used to back “mortgage backed securities”, the investment community around the world which had purchased these securities, also began to fail. .

And why did this happen? Because Fannie Mae stood behind these minority sub-prime mortgages without ever telling investors that they had changed the mortgage guidelines making it easier for unqualified people to get mortgages. They never told the investors this and so the investors bought these loans and went down with them. All because of these minority “no docs”. Was greed involved? Certainly, greed is always involved. But the finger points directly at the cause and the people at the center are the people I named. They should all be investigated but they won’t be because they are Democrats in a Democratic Administration that owes its election to them. As I said, if you want honesty and integrity in government, it has to be for both sides, all the time. Where is the outcry over this fiasco? I don’t hear it.

The economies around the world are hurting. Imagine all this because of the uncontrolled actions of just a few Democratic politicians coupled with greed.

How sad is that.

Joey

Is Your Brain Deficient or Efficient? A Fun Baby Boomer Assessment

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Online Optical Illusions can ward off Alzheimer's and Dementia

Online Optical Illusions can ward off Alzheimer's and Dementia

by BoomerYearbook.com

Count every ‘F’ in the following text:

FINISHED FILES ARE THE RE
SULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTI
FIC STUDY COMBINED WITH
THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS…

How many did you count on your first go? Three, four, or more? There are actually six ‘F’s in the ‘finished files’ phrase. The “trick” attached to this Online Optical Illusion teaser is that it is difficult to locate all of ‘F’s on first glance. The reasoning behind it is varied. The text that accompanies this online optical illusion/brain game tells the participant that “the brain cannot process ‘of’”. Well, we all know that is hardly true. We read the word ‘of’ quite often. The brain is perfectly capable of processing any combination of letters, whether ‘real’ words or ‘nonsense’ words. Early literacy testing consists of having children read combinations of letters in a timed assessment, and they do not come to a screeching halt when they reach the word ‘of’. (The word ‘of’ appeared 10 times in this first paragraph. Now 11. Did your brain see them?)

What is actually happening is your brain’s instinctive ability to screen information for its importance and pass on by what it has decided your complicated world can do without. We have learned when we scan text for content that we can make sense of the words by filtering out the ‘unimportant’ words like a, an, the, of, and so on. It is an efficient little trick our brains have developed to focus our time and energy on the important stuff. If we spend our time on each and every incoming message we would never get through the day; and if we did, we wouldn’t be sane.

Sorting out information and categorizing it as relevant or irrelevant can be used for fun, like online optical illusions and brain games, but it can also be used to study the effects of aging. What has been discovered in the baby boomer population is that as people age, their ability to focus on important information while ignoring unimportant information becomes increasingly strained. Alzheimer’s and dementia patients show similar characteristics in behavior, particularly at the end of the day. What has been happening is that their brains have been running on overload all day trying desperately to manage the overwhelming amount of information they are receiving. Because their brains are already compromised with mental illness, they are simply not able to cope by the end of the day. Hence, the “sundowning” effect reported by health professionals and family members.

Although we may not necessarily be able to prevent certain forms of dementia, there are some suggestions to help redirect our attention and help us focus on the important information we come into contact with in the course of the day. As stated in a March 19, 2007 article on Forbes.com entitled “Gaming’s Health Benefits”, one way to help you tune out the sensory static is to give your brain a workout by playing online optical illusions and brain games. But baby boomers be warned, as six hours of PlayStation every day won’t help you ward off dementia. It’s the brain teasers such as the online opitical illusions and psychological games found on Boomer Yearbook that will keep your brain at its best well into your Golden Years.

Now that you know where to find these games and online optical illusions, there’s only one thing left to do:

Sign Up for more psychological games

Come join Boomer Yearbook and continue to challenge your brain with Online Optical Illusions and brain teasers? And let us know which Online Optical Illusion you’ve found to to be the most mentally rewarding? Game on!

The Real Danger May Not Be Afghanistan or Iraq – It May Be Mexico.

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Crisis in Mexico

Crisis in Mexico

What’s Going On In Mexico And Why It Should Concern Us?

By Joseph J Kusnell for Boomeryearbook.com Something is dead wrong south of the border. Mexico is falling into a depression. The reasons have a lot to do with us and the consequences may be dire.

Many things are going wrong in Mexico these days, but a few stand out. First, the tourist industry has gone into reverse. They can’t give hotel rooms away. This is, in part, because of the failing world economy but it is made significantly worse by Mexico’s collapsing government. (Did you know that there are some seventy Americans missing down there and no one knows what has happened to them? The most common assumption is that they have been kidnapped and are being held for ransom. If so, kidnapping might be on the way to being a lucrative, tourist industry.)

The second calamity is the loss of revenue from the United States. Remember all those immigrants – both legal and illegal – that flooded America for jobs? Those people sent money back home each and every month to help support the families they left behind. Mexicans are big on families - and Mexican families are big – so the money amounted to billions of dollars. So much money was sent back to Mexico that immigrant money became Mexico’s second biggest source of revenue.

With the recession in America, those jobs have dried up, the influx of money has stopped, and those poor Mexicans have gone home. Back home not only have they ceased to generate money for the government, but now they need assistance from the government in order to survive. They have turned from an asset to a very big liability. So Mexico has suffered a double hit here.

Next, Mexico produces a lot of oil. They are, in fact, our second biggest supplier of oil. Well two things have happened in the oil industry that adversely affected Mexico: (1) people used less oil and (2) the price of oil went down. It was a double hit for the government. (We need to keep in mind, if the Mexican Government goes bad; whoever controls that government also controls the oil coming from Mexico and the revenue coming back. Not a pretty thought. It signifies that Mexico may be on the verge of a financial and a political disaster that could have serious implications to the United States.

In addition to the problems the recession is causing the Mexican government, it is also causing a problem for the American government. American corporations invested a lot of money in Mexico when Bill Clinton signed the NAFTA agreement so they have a huge investment down there and though the losses are in Mexico, they do affect parent corporations in the United States. Equally important, the American manufacturing capability in Mexico is a significant portion of America’s total manufacturing capability. If we lose that, the hit back home will be significant. What looked like a good idea some time ago may turn out to be a very bad idea now. If so, we have painted ourselves into a very tight corner and we are nowhere near as strong or as independent or as rich as we once were. Hence, we are a lot more vulnerable than we ever were before in our history.

Today, in what may turn out to be our biggest problem in the world, the Mexican government is losing control of the country to the drug cartels. The only consistent money coming in to the country is coming from the drug industry. Drugs seem to be a recession proof business. Cartels can still sell all the drugs they can smuggle into America. Drug sales give them more and more power. (To cut them off at the post, America may want to consider legalizing the growing and distribution of marijuana in the United States. It would cut the heart out of the drug cartels and give the legitimate Mexican Government a hand up. If we don’t want to do that, we’d better get ready for war because it won’t be long before it will be necessary for us to invade Mexico in order to restore legitimacy to its Government. They are far too close to be allowed to become an outlaw state. )

Some years ago, the US government, in its infinite wisdom, provided weapons and training for Osama bin Laden’s fighters to help them fight the Russians. The fighters were known as The Mujahadden. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. As it turned out, it was not.

Not long ago we did it again, this time it was Mexico. We trained an elite group of military men known as Los Zetas. They were trained to be the swat team for the Mexican government in the war against the drug cartels. Guess what happened on the way to the beach? The Mexican government got weaker and less well financed, and the drug cartels got stronger and much better-financed, so the cartels were able to recruit a number of the American-trained Los Zetas as mercenaries and to use them to recruit and train their own fighters. Sound familiar? Today, the cartels are almost strong enough to challenge the Mexican Government.

How’s that for a potential problem? A county which shares 2,000 miles of open border with us, run by drug cartels, with a military trained in the United States and armed with the best and most expensive equipment available. If that doesn’t send chills down your spine, you aren’t paying attention.

The result to Mexico would be catastrophic. With so much money in the hands of the Cartels and so little in the hands of the government, the government will find it can no longer pay for certain vital services – police, fire, health care - which will cost them the loyalty of those employees. Think of the police having to skip paychecks because the government is out of money. Or fireman who can’t respond because there is no money. What would happen if a drug boss came along and offered to ‘help an officer out’ in exchange for a small favor or two? Or pay the fireman as a “public service”. What about putting them all on the payroll the way Al Capon did in Chicago years ago? And what if they “helped out” a military commander or two? Money has a very loud voice.

Not many years ago during the depression, the city of Chicago fell into the hands of Al Capone and the Mafioso. Booze was king and Capone was the King of Booze. So he had pockets full of money when nobody else had much. Capone began to ‘help out’. He gave money to cops, to detectives, to reporters and to judges. After a while, he owned the cops, the detectives, the reporters and the judges. In fact, he owned the city, lock stock and judges.

I point this out because it happened here and it can happen just as easily in Mexico.
Their declining economy combined with the strength of the cartels makes it very possible. It happened before in Columbia, if you remember, but they weren’t our next door neighbor nor were they nearly so large. So we could deal with it. What eventually brought Al down, was the non-corrupt US Federal Government, not the State of Illinois. Well bad news, kids, Mexico has no such Federal Government to step in, so, we may have to do it for them.

Should we? Why not? It really is our problem. Were it not for us, the cartels would be out of business.

As the number of individual Mexican officials taking drug money increases (as it will), the drug lords will acquire more and more power and influence. In essence, they will become the real government of the country. And remember, if challenged in Mexico, the drug lord can make a fine argument to his Mexican friends: “if Americans want to buy drugs and we have those drugs to sell, why is it we should not benefit from their vice?”

It’s a strong argument and truly, I am not sure how to answer it. I can see where Mexicans who are hungry, or whose families are hungry, would find it all but impossible to deny. They are under no obligation to save Americans from their own stupidity. (Read, “Is It Time for America to Consider Legalizing Drugs?” on this blog.)

Update: January 28, 2009 – The head of a Mexican police chief was delivered to his colleagues in an ice box in the country’s latest drug-related violence.
The incident came as 16 other people were also killed in Mexico’s northern state of Chihuahua in attacks the authorities believe are linked to the country’s drug wars.

In the past, drug cartels in Central America have killed cops, reporters and high-ranking officials often with impunity. That is what is shaping up for Mexico today. We can not let that happen. We cannot sit idly by and watch it happen. Mexico is much too close, too big, and shares too many miles of common border with us to be left to its own devices.
Nor should we forget that they are our number two supplier of oil.

As for the Mexicans, don’t expect them to fight the drug lords alone. Who would there be who could stand up to them and live even if he tried? Who would be safe from their vengeance? Whose family would be safe? The answer is – no one. As long as Americans must have their drugs, the drug lords will have the cash needed to corrupt the system. So you might say we are at fault. And you would be right if you did.

This could get ugly. The cartels are mean, murderous, and well funded. And our borders are hardly well maintained. Somewhere in the Pentagon war room, I hope they are drafting plans for a military excursion deep inside Mexico.

Two years ago, the drug cartels made a run at the Mexican government. With our help, the government survived. Remember items like this?
“Fourteen assassinations attributed to narco gangs were carried out May 20 in Mexico City, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Guerrero, Sinaloa and Oaxaca. Additionally, federal army troops exchanged fire with 20 gunmen with AR-15 automatic rifles, bullet-proof vests and uniforms of the Federal Agency of Investigation (AFI) at a checkpoint on the Apatzingán-El Alcalde road in Michoacán.”

Today, we seem headed backwards. Thu Jan 15, 2009
By Mica Rosenberg
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Corrupt officials inside Mexico’s security forces have leaked U.S. anti-drugs intelligence directly to drug traffickers to help them escape raids, a senior U.S. law enforcement agent said. A recent anti-corruption sweep showed the infiltration of Mexican police forces had reached alarming levels, with several high-ranking investigators and a presidential guardsman arrested for selling information to drug cartels.

The Democratic Party wanted illegals here so they left our borders open. President Obama still says he wants open borders. If he insists on that, he is making a mistake the likes of which he will regret for years to come. We must seal our borders and do so with troops. Armed military units. We need to secure those borders for the entire 2,000 miles. It will require a lot of money and a lot of resources but it must be done; Either that, or let’s just invade the country and take down the war lords. If we make up our mind to do it, we can. But the picture I have in my mind is not a pretty one. I see our brave soldiers defending the border with hoards of Americans behind them, crowding them, with their hands out begging for drugs. Sickening isn’t it.

But it may happen and it may end up with two governments confronting one another. Once the Mexican people come to realize that drug sales are keeping them alive, they will fight to protect their source of income. We might see the Mexican army defending the Mexican smugglers against us. Drug runners will cross the border, do what they have to do, and then retreat into Mexico where, if we try to follow, we will confronted by the Mexican army. This could be another Cambodia.

You remember Cambodia, don’t you? North Vietnam planes would fly into Cambodia and then into South Viet Nam. They would then engage in air combat or bomb our forces and when beaten, scuttle back across the border. Our democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, prevented our planes from crossing the Cambodian border in hot pursuit thereby allowing the North Vietnamese pilots to escape to return another day.

It was devastating; at least until Richard Nixon decided he had enough. Nixon removed the safe haven restriction and instructed our flyers to follow hostile aircraft into Cambodia in hot pursuit. That ended that little farce.

Of course the Democrats sucked their pacifiers and shouted how terrible this was and how terrible we were, and how we were violating the sacred borders of Cambodia, the Geneva Conference and the Holy Bible. They always do that. They whine like babies.

Fortunately, Nixon ignored them and let his order stand and that ended the threat. The North Vietnamese air force stopped using Cambodia as a “safe house” and the Democrats predictably ripped into Richard Nixon for exposing them for what they were.

Nixon had the nerve and he had right on his side. But he was roundly criticized by the liberal media and the Democratic Party. But not by me. I thanked him for two things: (1) being strong enough and smart enough to attack the enemy where he was and (2) having the guts to stare down those wimps in the other party. Eventually, Nixon was out and we ran from Viet Nam like scared rabbits, leaving behind almost TWO MILLION South Vietnamese who worked with us, to die at the hands of the North Vietnamese murderers.
The Democrats should hang their heads for that one.

This withdrawal was not because we had been beaten, it was because we cut and ran. We quit under pressure. And who was it that quit? The party that almost always quits: the Democratic Party. Remember Harry Reid two years ago telling President Bush ‘the Iraq war is over, we lost and you just won’t admit it.” Harry the wimp, I call him. But Harry is typical of Democrats. Just read your history. They are the best at cutting-and-running and the worst at fighting for what they believe in. Not ordinary patriotic Democrats of course – just the politicians they put into office.

Back to Mexico. This is the problem that is developing south of us. And remember, thanks to our national policies, Texas is now over 40% Mexican. California is about the same. New Mexico is about the same. Arizona isn’t far behind. Those four states have a combined population of about sixty million people and if 40% are Mexicans – legal and illegal- then we have 24,000,000 (twenty four million) Mexican nationals living in the four states which share borders with Mexico. How many of these people are involved with drugs? How many live in poverty. How many would be loyal to America if we had to engage in conflict with Mexico? How many would even understand why we were doing it. Who knows what they would think or what they would do.

Do you know that the local governments in some Texan communities along the Rio Grande forbid government employees from cooperating with the U.S. Immigration Service? That’s true. Just as happened in San Francisco. And over the years, our government has done nothing about it. Makes me wonder if we have the will to do what has to be done even now.

Are you getting the picture? We have a problem with no easy solution in sight.
The Mexican drug lords don’t care one whit how many people they kill or they cause to get killed, they will just buy more and more poverty-stricken Mexicans to fight for them. Sometimes we will stop them, other times they will get through. The more that get through, the stronger and more powerful the cartels will get. This is a war. Maybe a little different type of war, but a war nonetheless. What do we do about it? What can we do about it? And when do we start? Think the Democrats have the will? If so, it will be the first time. Well, somebody better to do something because the problem isn’t going away.

Certainly, an improved economy would help. Mexicans would come back, things could improve. Increased revenue back to Mexico would help the Mexican government fight off the influence of the drug cartels. But it still won’t solve the problem because it doesn’t cure the real problem that is America’s lust for drugs. Until we do something about that problem, we aren’t winning anything. It all begins at home.

And if you haven’t thought about it, here’s something else to consider. If the drug cartels in Mexico control big parts of that country, with their money and their paramilitary, they can act as a conduit for drugs from Central America, thru Mexico, and into the United States. . We sure don’t need that.

I mentioned before what I think may be the easiest and best solution for right now. Just legalize pot and let it be a controlled business. License growers and distributors (like state stores) and tax the sales. If people want to use pot that badly, let them. It will cut the heart out of the drug trade and end up saving a lot of money and a lot of lives. Might as well get it done.

Joey

The Baby Boomers Guide to Lucid Dreaming

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Does Lucid Dreaming Exist?

Does Lucid Dreaming Exist?

by BoomerYearbook.com

To sleep, perchance to dream. These words made famous through Hamlet by William Shakespeare may have been our official introduction to lucid dreaming. Was Hamlet aware that he was dreaming? What was he really seeking by falling asleep and dreaming? Those who are able to dream lucidly may be able to answer with authority what it means to be aware while dreaming.

Lucid dreaming can be defined as awareness by the dreamer that they are dreaming. With an awareness of dreaming, the dreamer then may experience any number of behaviors and results. With the awareness comes the ability to manipulate and generate not only the content of the dream but also the outcome. Reasons for attempting, and succeeding, at lucid dreaming vary among those who either desire to engage in or have been successful at lucid dreaming. Some of those reasons include:

• Engaging in an otherwise impossible activity. Perhaps you have a deep desire to rub shoulders with the Hollywood elite on the red carpet. Through lucid dreaming, you can use the abilities within your own mind to control your participation in after-parties and festivities attended by all of those on Hollywood’s A-list.
• Standing up to the enemy. Maybe your co-worker is an office bully or your in-laws are unconscionably disrespectful. Lucid dreaming gives you the power to voice your opinion without the threat of retaliation.
• Combating nightmares. Nightmares make our sleep restless and uncomfortably. With the ability of lucid dreaming, nightmares can be ceased at will and (hopefully) eradicated for good.

Whatever the dreamer’s desire to engage in lucid dreaming there is not necessarily a sure-fire way to experience lucid dreaming. There are many theories behind how to elicit a lucid dreaming state. Some of the most common suggestions for being successful at lucid dreaming are:

• Journaling. Write down or audio record your dreams as soon as you wake. By documenting your dreams you are better able to organize them both mentally and thematically and you will encourage your mind to put a more intense focus on dreaming.
• Napping. Sleep for a period of time, wake up and perform some physical activity, and then return to sleep. Lucid dreaming is thought to come easier after some type of activity and regular sleep intervals.
• Testing. Do some basic reality check tests to see if you are really dreaming. Some of the tests include checking your image in a mirror (mirror images in dreams are blurry), look at your hands (hands in dreams have too many or too few fingers), or pinch your nose and try to breathe (nasal obstruction does not affect breathing in dreams).

The results of lucid dreaming vary among those who experience the practice. However, some general changes that may be seen include a greater awareness of surroundings and events, a more intense sense of control over one’s own life, and a reduction in stress brought on by the challenges of daily living. Through lucid dreaming, the dreamer learns to analyze, accept, and alter the progression of dreams. As a result, in an awakened state the dreamer can put into practice those behaviors that were successful during lucid dreaming.

It has been reported that everyone dreams. Are you part of the dreaming elite who are able to experience lucid dreaming? Would you like to become a lucid dreamer? Tell us what you think at BoomerYearbook.com.

www.boomeryearbook.com is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist, Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit.

The Baby Boomers Guide to The Financial Crisis

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Are mortgages building society or is the US for sale?

Are mortgages building society or is the US for sale?

Who Caused it? – Who Can Fix It?

By Joseph J Kusnell for Boomeryearbook.com

INSERT: JANUARY 26, 2009:

The following article is going to discuss how America got into this financial mess. It was written a few months ago. The article is going to say that the Democratic party of Bill Clinton, Chris Dodd, Chuck Schummer, Barney Frank, CEO’s Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) along with the complicity of Democrat-funded, felony-prosecuted ACORN, brought about this total collapse by handing out mortgage loans to people they knew couldn’t afford them. Not George Bush. Not the Republican Party – but the Democratic Party was solely responsible for what happened.

The insane loans in question were dubbed “no docs” meaning no documentation: no credit checks, no down payments and no job history checks. They were given out like candy not for financial reasons but for political reasons. I have made that point over and over.

But now, finally, someone else is saying the same thing: that these bad loans – trillions of dollars worth of them – is the root cause of all our economic trouble. THEY are what brought our economy to a crushing halt. And this time the Democratic Party is going to be hard pressed to argue with the guy who is saying it because he is truly one of their stars. He is the guy behind the guy on the stage, the guy who sponsors the ACLU and Moveon.org, and other liberal causes: billionaire leftist financier: George Soros. The guy who slept in the Clinton White House time after time until he broke with the Clintons calling them pathological liars – and switched to Barack Obama. This is what Mr. Soros had to say today:

“For more than a year, the United States has been crippled by a recession that was triggered by a housing market downturn. Last summer, financial institutions with exposures to securities backed by bad mortgages began to buckle.” George Soros, January 27, 2009

That’s what happened. Investors bought these Fannie May guaranteed mortgage packages thinking they were good as ever, not told that Fannie had changed the rules to accommodate subprime borrowers. The rest is history.

And the suckers went to the polls like sheet, and put these guys back in office for four more years. Wow.
.
Now back to the original article.

Come on guys, let’s get serious. You are all supposed to be smart people, so when are you going to start acting like it? When are you going to learn that the most charismatic speakers are also the best “con artists’. What is it we say, “Talk is cheap”? Well, it is. There is often a huge difference between what people say and what they do. I recommend a little caution here. Let’s take a deep breath and see what transpires with our new President. Messianic adoration belongs in Church not in politics. It tends to blind one to reality.

In the recent election, the Democratic Party had ‘talking points’ that they used on you every single day during the election and many of you sucked them up hook, line, and sinker. For example: who do you think caused this financial meltdown? George Bush? Who caused the economic downturn? “George Bush?. What single event is most responsible for our current problems? “The war in Iraq?”. And so it goes. They sold it and you bought it and now, the Democratic Party owns the US government, lock, stock and barrel (which is to say the Presidency, The US Senate and the US House of Representatives).

You may be sorry about that.

What you never heard was that just buying foreign oil cost us six times more every month than the war in Iraq. And why did we have to buy so much foreign oil? Because the Democrats refused to allow us to drill for the oil we have here in America. Nor did you hear much about the real reason we are in this financial turmoil. Democratic politicians blamed it all on Bush. In fact, they blamed everything in the world on Bush. And what they didn’t blame on Bush, they blamed on those greedy CEO’s, some Republican and some Democrats, that took millions from failing corporations.

So let’s take a moment to talk about those selfish and greedy CEO’s. It has been my experience that selfish and greedy people exist at every level of business, sports, entertainment and/or politics. They get by in good times and cause a lot of trouble in bad times. If they are corporate CEO’s, the often rob their corporations blind. But if the shareholders are making money they don’t seem to care.

These corporations are or have always been private enterprise. So the money they are getting (or stealing if you prefer) is the shareholders money and if it’s okay with the shareholders, I guess it’s okay with me. Of course, I don’t approve of greed but it is one of the original seven deadly sins and no put me in charge of the world.

Where this becomes a problem is when the CEO’s are getting all this money for piloting their corporations into the dirt. Still in all, they are private companies and it it only affects their own shareholders and if the shareholders don’t care, than I can’t see where I should care. As I said, I am not in charge of the world.

Unless and until our politicians decided out of the goodness of their hearts, to give OUR money to those Corporations – billion of dollars in fact. Then it does become my business – and yours as well. I still don’t know why we decided to do this but since we did, the least we could do is demand those CEO’s who needed this money for their corporations, return part of those millions they took while their ship was sinking. Then I think I’d want those millions back and I might even sue to get it back. And sure, those guys were looking after Number One – and that’s greed with a capital “G”.

Nit having said that, I don’t want to confuse this type local greed which affects a limited number of people in a few corporations with the stupidity in congress that recently has affected the entire world. The one bit of foolishness is much more serious than the other. And “the other” is trying like hell to focus the blame on “the one”. But that is putting the tail in the front of the dog.

CEO’s didn’t create this economic mess - not the Republican CEO’s and not the Democratic CEO’s (like Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines to name a few Democrats that walked away with millions. Not, this mess belongs firmly In the laps of the Democratic politicians that ruined our economy by forcing lenders to make bad mortgage loans to people who could never hope to repay them. That is the root cause of this disaster made worse of course by greed, selfishness and stupidity on the part of a lot of people. But the root is the root so let’s concentrate on the root. Who and what caused this mess and why? We can sue the CEO’s later.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are quasi-governmental agencies that buy mortgages from banks and other lenders so those banks and lenders can get cash to make more loans. That how the system works and that’s why these agencies were created. Fannie buys the mortgages from the lenders and then packages them and sells them to investors as long term investments. That’s what they are talking about when they say “mortgage backed securities” As long as the lenders follow Fannie Mae guidelines for making the loans, Fannie will buy them. Because of this tight control of loan criteria, securities backed by Fannie Mae home mortgages have long been considered a fairly safe investment.

Fannie’s guidelines historically have affected things like down payments, credit histories, work histories and the ratio of debt to mortgage payments. In order to sell their paper to Fannie, lenders had to follow the guidelines. Fannie Mae would then package these loans and sell them to investors who had long before developed trust in Fannie’s products.

But then, something unusual happened, something not shared with the general investment public. Fannie Mae loosened its guidelines. First, Clinton Democrats rewrote the CRA, the Community Reassessment Act. This was done in Bill Clinton’s words with a good heart to permit more minorities to qualify to buy their own homes – homes they could never get under existing guidelines. He made no claim to its wisdom.

Next, Fannie Mae changed its guidelines concerning down payments, work history, and credit worthiness. All were loosened specifically to make more home loans available to minorities.

Lenders - assured that Fannie Mae would buy their paper - began to issue home mortgages in greater and greater numbers to buyers who barely qualified even under the extended guidelines. In keeping with its promise, Fannie Mae then bought those mortgages from the lenders, re-packaged them, and resold them to investors as they had been doing for years. The only thing that was different was that these “subprimes” were much riskier than investors knew.

Still, the “subprime mortgages” were earning a high-risk return and they were sold by Fannie Mae, and that made them “hot” investment properties around the world and so they found a ready market. Every lender wanted to make these loans, the government wanted them to make these loans, investors wanted to hold these loans and since the borrowers were also happy, that made everyone happy. It looked like a universally quid pro quo arrangement and the loans were packaged into derivatives and sold far and wide with few knowing that Fannie Mae had changed the guidelines under which these loans had been granted.

Before I proceed, let’s name the people in congress who have the principle responsibility for overseeing the Nation’s banking industry and these kinds of affairs because they are the culprits in this sad ordeal: In the US Senate, it is “The Senate Banking Committee” chaired by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT). In the House, it is “The House Banking Committee” chaired by Representative Barney Frank (D-MA).

Running Fannie Mae during the Clinton years and into the Bush years were two Democrats: Jim Johnson who served in the Obama campaign and Franklin Raines. Both men retired with handsome ‘golden parachutes’ despite the Obama rhetoric about the practice.

Under the new relaxed Fannie Mae “guidelines”, plus inner city pressures from ACORN backed by Senator Dodd and other Democrats, lenders made trillions of dollars worth of these questionable mortgage loans which Fannie then bought and resold to the aforesaid worldwide investors.

For a little while, nothing happened but then as the economy began to slow down these “no-doc” homeowners began to default. They had to, there was no margin for error in their loans. Anyone with half a brain should have known it was just a matter of time before this happened but these Congressional Democrats apparently didn’t have half a brain and so they didn’t They continued to push their ill-fated program.

Now I am no financial expert so while I can tell you about what happened next, you would need an expert to describe in detail why it happened. Allt I can give you is enough information so that you will generally understand how this root problem spread not only throughout our own financial community but also through financial communities around the world. But it’s a little like the ‘blind leading the blind’.

It’s an old truism that people with money look for places to invest it and that a favorite investment has long been mortgage backed securities, preferably securities backed by Fannie Mae mortgages. Strangely, these mortgages are not sold as units as you might expect. Instead they are “sliced up” and spread over a number of ‘derivatives”, i.e. separate investment packages. I assume this wais done to spread any risk across a large number of investors but to me it also make it almost impossible to really know what you are doing. Just imagine a group of people buying pieces of all the mortgages in your neighborhood with no one owning all of any one mortgage. It seems an over-reach to me.

Nevertheless, that’s how it’s done. So, the sub-prime mortgages were “sliced and diced” and their pieces spread over millions of derivatives which often were repackaged and resold into millions more. Because of this, the bad money acted like a virus soon infecting half the world.

And all because of a political decision made for the financial community by politicians who were acting under a very strange set of accounting principles no one else ever heard of. And behind it were Democrats Reid, Schummer, Dodd, Pelosi, Frank, Johnson and Raines. Call them “the gang of seven”. Yet has any one of them had to stand up and explain their actions? No, of course not. That’s because they are Democrats and the American public is not terribly bright. The put the fox back into the henhouse.

(Today, in an attempt to shift blame from themselves, Democrats call these lending agencies ‘predatory lenders’ because they pushed these higher interest loans but in a capitalistic society who wouldn’t take the investment that brought in the best return? All guaranteed by Fannie Mae? Any one of us would. None of this could have ever happened had it not been for ACORN and the “gang of seven”.

When the economy slowed down, it landed squarely in the laps of those poor people who really should never have been given these mortgages in the first place – mostly minorities. They quickly began to miss payments and soon they were in default. As that happened, home value declines and they were then upside down in their homes. That means their mortgage balances were higher than the market value of their homes. So many of them just walked away. After all, what did they have to lose? The had nothing invested in the first place.

With that, derivatives around the world began to lose tons of money and investors panicked. The more the sub-primes faltered the more the panic spread. And because the subprimes had been cut up and divested around the world, the losses spread like wildfire. Even foreign banks that had purchased derivatives on the assumption Fannie Mae loans were good loans now began to lose money. And who did they blame: they blamed the US government that had deluded them by selling them bad loans. By changing the lending criteria for mortgages without advising them of the danger of these new mortgages, Fannie Mae had all but defrauded them.

And who were the geniuses behind this? I told you, all Democrats. Bill Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Jim Johnson, Chris Dodd, Chuck Schummer, Franklin Raines and Barney Frank.

Didn’t anyone see the danger that was brewing in all of this? Well yes, someone did. George W. Bush did. He saw it and he tried to get legislation passed in 2004 to stop it but he was voted down by the Democrats. Then in 2005, John McCain tried to do something about it and he was all but called a racist by Democrats because he was trying to prevent minorities from owning their own.

When you hear that this mess was caused by Republicans or by Wall Street or greedy CEO’s and all of that – take it with a grain of sale. It’s not true. Certainly investors jumped on the gravy train but why not? That’s what you expect them to do. The higher interest rate was bait and everyone wanted to make more money. So they jumped on board. But, the people who were responsible are the people now pointing fingers at everyone else, the Democrats in Congress beginning with the two men who are guilty of a conflict of interest: Senator Chris Dodd and Representative Barney Frank.

These two abrogated their congressional responsibility to oversee the banking industry and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. So it should come as no surprise that,
during the election campaign Fannie gave the most money to Barack Obama, next largest amount to Senator Chris Dodd, and next to Representative Barney Frank. If that isn’t a conflict of interest, I don’t know what is.

I think all these guys plus ACORN should be under investigation for criminal fraud. But they won’t be. We have a Democratic President now and a Democratic congress and they already have enough problems with ethics.

By the way, organizations have a lot of ways to hide political contributions. The amount given to these guys by Fannie Mae is listed and it’s not a huge amount of money. But if you take into account the money donated “by the employees of Fannie Mae”, you find out Obama got damn near a million dollars, Dodd got about eight hundred thousands dollars and Frank over half a million dollars. What a strange coincidence that these ‘friends’ happened to get all that money.

In addition to campaign contributions, Senator Dodd also got a sweetheart home loan from Countrywide. With all this, how unbelievable is it that the American people should turn around and vote these same guys back into office to try to straighten out the very mess they created. You know what bothers me? I am not sure these guys are bright enough. If they aren’t, America has shot itself in the foot, for sure. Americans don’t understand what they have and how hard it was to get it and how easy it will be to lose it. I am afraid they will learn but it may be too late.

So the reality is that investors and investing houses around the world were cheated by our Democratic congress and we had to make that good or foreign governments would have nothing to do with us ever again. We had to make those bad investments good and I agree. Our paper was purchased in good faith and had to be honored. So some of that trillion dollars that has disappeared and which is not being explained, I assume went to foreign banks and investment houses that were holding our toxic loans.

And that’s the truth. For a couple of years, it seemed to be working out okay but then when the economy began to slip, all this bad paper hit the fan and the financial community came down like a house of cards. All made possible by of a handful of Democratic congressmen who whether truly motivated by greed or altruism or a combination of both, have almost destroyed America. And still they hold their jobs. They should be in jail. But as long as the American public sucks up the political pap, they don’t have to worry. Their jobs are recession proof.

I have written an article with suggestions on what we might do now. That article is found on this site. Some of the suggestions might not be very good but some might be. All we can do is offer them up.

Now let’s take a look at another problem: jobs. We are losing jobs. Why? Well, first of all, far too many Americans buy far too many products made overseas. Whoever thought this was a good idea wasn’t too bright. This global economy works just as long as there is some parity in wages among certain classes of workers - particularly among manufacturing workers. If there is parity in wages, products compete on a more level playing field. But if one country will supply a degreed employee fort $25,000.00 while American degreed employees cost $75,000.00, where do think that job is going to go?

People need to have jobs, earn decent salaries, and feel confident they are going to keep those jobs in order to feeling confident about buying things. Today that feeling doesn’t exist. So you can throw as much money as you want at the problem and you won’t accomplish much. You need to solve the basic problem: how do we keep American manufacturing jobs here in America. Here’s my suggestion: (1) drop all corporate taxes for companies that employ American workers tying the reduction to the percentage of jobs in the company filled by Americans in America. (2) move health care out of the business community and fund it otherwise perhaps with a national sales tax. (3) Finally, I would eliminate the capital gains tax and cut back on government spending In no case, would I raise taxes.

America’s problem is the people at the bottom of the economic ladder. They need jobs and those jobs are increasingly being lost. One of the major employers of this segment of the population is retail sales. But retail is suffering. And now there is a new problem i.e. Internet shopping.

On line shopping takes people out of local stores. This destroys neighbors and neighborhoods because it lowers local sales and hence local employment. Maybe the guys selling from a warehouse can sell cheaper because they don’t have to have those employees, they don’t have to rent those stores, and they don’t have to worry about contributing to the local neighborhood watch – but how does that help any of us and how does it help America?

Where do YOU live? When you go ‘into town’, what do you want to see? A save and active community? A place where you can shop, interact with your neighbors, get out of the house for half a day? Or would you rather never go downtown, never go to the strip mall, never go shopping anyplace other than on your computer? And when you do that, what happens to all the people in your town who might have had jobs in those stores that no longer exist?

Now I know about the “free market” and “protectionism” and why they don’t work. But the other side of the coin is this: do you want a healthy community in which to live or don’t you? Do you want local jobs for your kids, your neighbors, or even for yourself – or don’t you? Let’s get real. Nothing is easy and new things are not always better than old things.

I think the Federal and State governments need a new department: “The Department of Local Enterprise” devoted to re-energizing our local towns and down town city areas. I also think we need to tax online sales heavily enough to actually discourage them. Yes, I said discourage them. They have an unfair competitive advantage that is going to destroy us. We have to thwart that.

Internet marketing to your local store, is the same as foreign labor is to our American workers. The Internet store is cheaper just as the worker in Korea or China may be cheaper. But so what?

Look at it like this. Suppose someone invented a machine in one industry that immediately could do the work that is being done today by 5,000 people and the machine sells for $1,000.00. Let’s assume 5 million people work in this industry.

For the cost of 1,000 machines (one million dollars) you can put five million people out of work and save your company maybe fifteen billion dollars. Good, right?

Well, good for you but bad for your country and bad for those five million people that now are unemployed. Someone is now going to have to take care of them. They will need unemployment compensation and health care and in time, welfare of some sort.

They will need help with their mortgage and car payments. Tons of businesses are going to suffer, some will even fail, because these people no longer have the disposable income they once had. In fact, everyone suffers except the guy who owns the company.

Is this progress? Is this good for a nation?

Society has many functions and many purposes. But to be viable a society must provide jobs for its citizens. “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop” and if you have five million people walking the streets joining the other fifteen million that lost their jobs in other areas, you are breeding violence. And for what? That one guy or one company can get richer? There has to be some social responsibility in conducting business since we all share this same planet.

So what I am driving at is this: you need to protect your country and its citizens and you do that by providing gainful employment for them. And creating a community for them where they can be happy and secure. And that’s the job of government. Yes I favor free markets and capitalism, but not at the expense of the folks at the bottom of the economic ladder. We have to have an acceptable floor for everyone before we lift the ceiling.

I would therefore, not license that machine. I know this is a dangerous position because, it takes away the profit motive from some of our most energetic and innovative people, but making money while important is not the only thing that is important. To my way of thinking, I don’t care that much what the ceiling is but I do care where the floor is. Everyone needs to have enough to live and be warm and well fed and after that, then everyone else can make all they can make.

So where the Internet is concerned, I would impose surtax on Internet sales to make their price equitable with those at neighborhood stores. Yes I know the arguments – I can hear them now – this will stifle grown and ingenuity and progress. Well maybe, but there are tradeoffs. Not everything new is better than everything old. You are allowed to pick and choose. I choose to keep people employed, save our local communities, help people by giving them opportunities to better their economic condition without giving them too many handouts which cripple ambition.

We need to think of the people first. Take this matter of cheaper foreign products flooding America. We are buying them to save money even though that puts our neighbor out of a job. That’s not right. We want competition because that usually produces better products but what good are better products if half our country can’t afford to buy them because they lost their jobs?

I am well aware of how difficult this problem is. Tariffs don’t work. Protectionism is fraught with all kinds of perils. So what can we do to right this imbalance? In America, workers need higher salaries to live than do workers in many other countries. So our labor costs are going to be higher. So how can American companies compete? We have to figure out something.

Throwing good money after bad is not the way. Where companies come begging for Federal (taxpayer) dollars, they must come with a plan showing how they can do better with our help. No free money without oversight. Helping to make things better is fine. Trying to save dying companies, dying enterprises, or personal fortunes is not fine. Neither is giving homes to people that they can’t afford.

It’s time we all got a little smarter and a little more realistic. Start speaking up. Make you ideas known. And forget political correctness. The only correctness is that what you say be the truth. In that case, don’t worry about who doesn’t like it. Letting the loudmouth’s rule the world is a sure formula for failure.

Last week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she wanted to put a Windfall Tax on all stock market profits (including Retirement fund, 401K and Mutual Funds! Alas , it is true - all to help the 12 Million Illegal Immigrants and other unemployed Minorities!

This woman is frightening. Here is what she said: “We need to work toward the goal of equalizing income, (didn’t Marx say something like this), in our country and at the same time limiting the amount the rich can invest.”

When asked how these new tax dollars would be spent, she replied: ?We need to raise the standard of living of our poor, unemployed and minorities. For example, we have an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in our country who need our help along with millions of unemployed minorities. Stock market windfall profit taxes could go a long way to guarantee these people the standard of living they would like to have as ‘Americans”. (

If this wasn’t so serious it would be funny. Pelosi wants to tax your IRA or your 401 retirement plan so she can give it away to the poor including those illegal immigrants who want an American standard of living they can’t earn for themselves. Is this woman Robin Hood? She wants to take from the producers and give to the-producers? Does she think this is a way to encourage them to go out and work for a better life? If she does, she has lost touch with reality.

Yet we do have to do something for all our citizens to guarantee them a minimum standard of living. Perhaps raising the minimum wage will help. I know all the arguments but they are mostly just arguments. We have raised it before with no dire consequences. Let’s do it again and make the raise meaningful.

After all the more then earn, the better off the rest of us will be.

But in the final analysis, nothing is easy.

Joey

Articles in Joey’s Comments and Controversy are the express opinions of Joey and not Boomeryearbook. However, while non-members can read articles on boomeryearbook.com only members can make comments. Joey’s section is called Joey’s Comments and Controversy for a good reason. In Joey’s words, “I hope I’ve given you food for thought and you will join boomeryearbook and respond”.

Boomer Yearbook is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with online optical illusions and brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the baby boomers definition of how to connect for fun and profit.

The Baby Boomers Defined

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Baby Boomers Defined

Baby Boomers Defined

By Boomeryearbook.com

Baby Boomers Defined are those individuals who were born after the Second World War and prior to the Vietnam War (1946-1964) - a time when economic prosperity was at its highest. Prior to the boom in birth rates, for both financial and logistical reasons, many couples delayed marrying, and many married couples held off on having babies during the years of the great depression and World War II. Along with the end of the war and accompanying economic surge, there was a sudden, previously unheard of boost in the birth rate; defined baby boomers. The war was over, husbands and lovers returned from battle, economic growth provided people the opportunity to attend college and obtain higher paying jobs, maintain a higher standard of living and support more children.

There are plenty of classifications for the term “baby boomer defined” and none of the definitions are entirely incorrect. Some authors and experts on the subject choose to define baby boomers on the basis of their characteristics, but a greater majority of the experts rightly classify them according to the years during which they were born. Thus it is generally accepted that “Baby Boomers Defined” are those born in the period between 1945 and 1957, and “Shadow Boomers” or “Echo Boomers” are those born between the years 1958 and 1984.

The baby boomer defined generation was also responsible for the rapid growth in the infrastructure of the country. Because of the sudden boost in the population, many defined baby boomers had to move out of the cities and into the suburbs which prompted the rapid construction of shopping malls, hospitals, schools and houses etc. Unlike any previous generation, the baby boomer defined generation had great influence on society and because of their greater majority they were able to boldly defy the rigid norms and customs of their parents and grandparents. This defiance and rebellion was mirrored in their opinions, behavior, preferences to music, fashion and political activism. The rift between the baby boomer defined generation and the previous generation was undoubtedly huge and this gap was elegantly mirrored in the 70’s catchphrase, “don’t trust anyone above 30”.

The baby boomer defined generation fearlessly grew their hair long, listened to rock music, took lots of drugs and never shied away from non-marital sex. This freedom of spirit was mainly because of the fact that the baby boomer defined generation lived in a time of economic prosperity and thus they had fewer economic worries. Back then there were ongoing cultural wars between children and their parents, each accusing the other for moral indiscipline and being untrue to oneself.

The baby boomer defined generation today is up against the wall as the American and global economy is in downward spiral. The life of the defined baby boomers has been one that triggered many social and economic changes and the financial situation faced today is another chance for the defined baby boomers to reinvent themselves and come out victorious. History is witness to the fact that the baby boomers defined have the knack, experience, passion and mindset to pull off greatness – Can they do it again? That’s a question only the defined baby boomers can answer.

If you have an opinion, a story, an idea or a fresh viewpoint on us defined baby boomers then join our group by visiting www.boomeryearbook.com.

www.boomeryearbook.com is a social networking site connecting the Defined Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Defined Baby Boomers connect for fun and profit.

Online Optical Illusions

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Spinning Girl Right Brain Left Brain Dominace Test

For boomeryearbook.com

Some of the most amazing and spectacular visual illusions are those that originate from the brain itself. The brain is a super powerful and highly complicated piece of hardware which is responsible for taking cues from the senses in order to interpret the outside world. At times the brain, when taking its cue from the eyes, can lead us to believe we are seeing something different from what’s actually true – this is called an optical illusion and optical artists like Dali and Escher have exploited these optical glitches beautifully in their works.

Optical illusions have proved time and again that the old saying “seeing is believing” is not entirely correct because the brain does have a tendency to misinterpret the cues coming in from the eyes and as a result, some visual illusions can be so convincing that people often mistake it for trickery. There is an array of explanations as to why these phenomena occur – some of them being very straight forward and others intricate and complicated. The fact of the matter is that the explanations given by experts vary from case to case and in some of the more advanced optical illusions, there would either be a general uncertainty among experts or the experts would disagree altogether.

The online world has made it possible for everyone to experience the wonder of optical illusions without making too much of an effort. One of the greatest optical illusions is the Spinning Girl Illusion which seems to be spinning both clock-wise and anti-clock-wise at the same time. A person who predominantly uses her right brain will see the girl spinning clock-wise whereas someone who is more of a left brain thinker will see the girl spin anti-clock-wise. “Right brain” people are the artists, the philosophers and the creative geniuses. “Left brain” people are more logical, conceptual and pragmatic. People normally tend to believe that optical illusions have no practical value but optical illusions such are the “spinning girl” can reveal important information about ourselves and how we normally tend to think. How does the “spinning girl” seem to be moving both ways? The answer: the image of the girl is not spinning at all. It’s a 2-D image and it’s merely moving back and forth. But since our brains are not built to register 2-D representations of the world, it assumes that the image of the spinning girl is a 3-D representation by picking up as many clues as possible from the image itself – in the case wherin there are insufficient clues, the brain uses its own patterns to fill in the details and come to a conclusion about which direction the girl is spinning.

There are a plethora of such optical illusions available online which can not only amaze and astonish but can also aid in developing self awareness.

If you know of an interesting online optical illusion that could leave us thinking about our thinking then share it with us by signing up for www.boomeryearbook.com and joining our online baby boomer community.

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www.boomeryearbook.com is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit.

What Kind of Brain Do Have? Let the Spinning Girl Tell You

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Spinning Girl Genius Test

Spinning Girl Genius Test

Are You Right On or Left Out?

By Boomeryearbook.com

Okay, there is this little trick, an optical illusion as it is called, known as “The Spinning Girl.” The first thing that may come to your mind when you hear about “The Spinning Girl” is a lurid vision of a scantily-clad pole dancer or the newly-crowned champion on the Polish version of “Dancing with the Stars.” But, no. She is a well-sculptured image of a full-body female silhouette who is spinning around on one foot. What’s the big deal? you might ask. Well, there’s not one. It is an optical illusion, not a cure for cancer or the solution for peace in the Middle East. But she is quite the center of many a conversation. Let’s see just why that is, shall we?

Take a gander at our little animated friend and decide what you see: is she spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise? Can you see her spinning in either direction at will? Or, try as you might, can you not change her direction with your mind’s eye, regardless of whatever direction you see her spinning? There are theories regarding the direction your mind sees in The Spinning Girl’s rotation. Those who see a clockwise rotation are said to be “right brain” folks. Right-brainers are the artsy folks who let their feelings get in the way of good, sound judgment. Those who see a counter-clockwise rotation are “left brainers”. The left-brain group is filled with logical rule followers who just need to let their hair down every once in a while. And what if you can see her spinning in either direction? Are you a math whiz who lives on the edge by daring to use a PEN to factor equations? (Of course, you might even wonder if the blood flows in opposite directions in the different hemispheres when it drains downward.) What has been determined by the naked girl silhouette experts is that the right brainers are spur-of-the-moment adventurous individuals who may not give a hoot about what the rules are, while the left brainers write down the rules in bulleted lists and laminate them for future reference when they are challenged by the right brainers. ‘Just do it’ versus ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’, you might say.

So what does all this left brain versus right brain psychological jargon tell us? It tells us that we are willing to stare at a fictitious naked lady spinning in midair to figure out what we probably already knew about ourselves. Most of us know if we like jumping out of airplanes or working Sudoku puzzles. But, the appeal of comparing ourselves to others is too tempting to pass up. What do we do with the information we gather from this little experiment anyway? Do what you want to with it. A great suggestion is to seek out other optical illusions and mind games to test yourself further and see if they confirm or refute the results of one another.

For other optical illusions and brain boosters, visit the Games section on boomeryearbook.com. Maybe you can find your opposite brain buddy while discussing which way The Spinning Girl rotates! And if you invite Dr. Karen to be your friend she can teach you the trick of how to make Spinning Girl rotate in any direction. Yes, Virginia, there really is a way to make her turn at will .

www.boomeryearbook.com is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist, Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit.

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You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks! New Hobbies For You

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Boomers! Try a new hobby.

Boomers! Try a new hobby.

By Boomeryearbook.com

So you’re finally at the place where you know how to confidently manipulate the world to suit you and your lifestyle. You have your routine down pat, and time management and achieving goals are simple tasks. But, you’re human and you soon grow bored of the routine. If you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone, here are a few things to try:

Learn to Dance: With so many different forms of dance expression, you’re bound to find one you’re a natural at. Latin Dancing, Line Dancing, Modern Dance etc. There are free classes as well as classes you can take from those who are professionally trained. A bonus is that dancing is a cardio workout that is healthy for your heart. Take your inspiration from ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and get out there on the dance floor!

Snorkeling: Why wait until your vacation? If you live near the coast, get some gear and go discover a whole new world. A step up from scouring the beach with a metal detector, you will sharpen your swimming skills and widen your knowledge about the underwater world. As you become more experienced, consider volunteering with your local coast guard to help clean up polluted areas of the coast - a cool way to go green.

Learn to Surf: Admit it, you’ve always wanted to! Now’s the time to be one with the waves. If your swimming skills are rusty, then brush up on those first. Get advice about which board would be best suited for your body and your skill level, then shop around for the best price. This is an activity you can get into with friends- group rates are cheaper and you get to learn from each others’ mistakes. Surfing will also tone your body and help to maintain flexibility. Surf’s up dude!

Mountain Biking: If your community has more mountains than beaches, biking through them can be a fun and heart-healthy alternative. You’ll be able to go where you can’t with a car and much farther than if you were on foot. Discovering new and different routes to get around will improve your memory as well as give you safe alternatives if the need ever arises in an emergency. Make sure to invest in a good bike, and be sure to always carry water or some liquid to keep properly hydrated. Some bikes even come equipped with GPS for your safety.

Go Skiing/ Snowboarding: Rather than staying wrapped up inside, get outside and get warm by taking part in an activity that will get your blood pumping. The snow is like the big slide at your playground as a child - scary at first, but it gives you a thrill that you become absolutely addicted to. Hey, if you conquered the slide, what’s stopping you from conquering this? (Plus, the snow gives way more cushion than the grass at the bottom of that slide).

Wellness Activities: If you’re looking for a hobby that will mellow you out and give you better focus then you can try karate, tai chi, yoga etc. They allow you to release stress while pushing your body way beyond where you may have thought it could never go. Revel in your new-found balance and flexibility as well as discipline, improved posture and your positive attitude to perseverance and discipline. You can practice alone, in a group or seek out professionally taught classes.

Whatever hobby you choose, be sure to get professional advice and instructions and to use the proper equipment. Take time to get into the groove, the learning process will be just as fun as doing the actual hobbies. Have fun!
Do you have any other suggestions for ‘out-of-the-box’ activities for your fellow Baby Boomers? Share with us at BoomerYearbook.com.

www.boomeryearbook.com is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit.

Boomers FYI: Meet Reloxin, The Cheaper, Better Alternative To Botox

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Better Botox Alternative

Better Botox Alternative

By Boomeryearbook.com
With the recession upon us, there are some sacrifices that we have to make. Thankfully, having wrinkled skin is not one of them. The hundreds of dollars you once had to pay for younger, firmer looking skin may be a thing of the past. A recession-proof derma-filler is currently up for approval with the FDA this year. Reloxin, as it is called, is a product Europeans have been using for years and it has finally made its way over to our American shores. The question really is does it really work and is it just as good as Botox?

Reloxin, also known as Dysport in Europe and South America, is a derma-filler like Botox and it is administered much in the same way-by injecting it into specific areas of the skin. Originally developed to be a muscle relaxer, it works by paralyzing the muscle that causes wrinkling. Sounds familiar? Reloxin is just like Botox, except better and cheaper!
It was reported on the ’Today Show’ by Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s Chief medical editor that Reloxin results can be seen faster than that of Botox. In some reports, it is claimed that results for Reloxin can be seen in 1 to 2 days beating out the 3 to 4 days Botox requires. It is also claimed that the results last longer when you use Reloxin- varying reports give a 3-6 month span as compared to the 6- 8 weeks in between your regular Botox appointments.
Reloxin has one more up on Botox by being cheaper. It may be up to $200 less than a Botox treatment; news that would make anyone rejoice - especially in these times. You may not have to suffer from cutting back your beauty budget after all.

Some consumers still seem to prefer the more natural-looking derma-fillers that add collagen to plump the skin and lift the wrinkle rather than immobilizing it as Botox and others like it do. The entire details on the effects (both positive and negative) of Reloxin are yet to be full determined and consumers are discouraged from using it until the FDA gives their full approval. There have been many suggested substitutes and alternatives for Botox in the past couple of years not approved by the FDA resulting in disastrous symptoms for some patients.

Keep your ear to the ground for more news on Reloxin/Dysport and whether the FDA approves it or not. In the meantime, cross your fingers, there is hardly greater news than a recession-friendly Botox alternative. And smile! You can have younger, firmer looking skin during the recession- Yes, You Can!
Are you excited about the prospect of a more affordable alternative to Botox? Tell us your opinion at BoomerYearbook.com.

www.boomeryearbook.com is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit.