Tuesday, November 29, 2011

al compartir lo poco que hay, recibimos plenitud

Events both good and bad sometimes fall together in a way that allows one to shine. Sometimes those moments are sorely needed.

My son had a tonsillectomy performed the Friday before Thanksgiving and doctor’s orders necessitated his remaining calm. No running or jumping. He loves every holiday wildly and acts in just that manner. While most of the time he listens well to me and my wife, we knew Thanksgiving would turn into a day of calling him down if he were unleashed into the wilderness kingdoms of either of his grandparents houses. Evasive action would need to be taken, so my lovely and I threw a Thanksgiving coup. We contacted the parents explained the situation and asked that we have Thanksgiving in our home this year.

My mom agreed immediately already having to acquiesce Thanksgiving for Friday years ago, as my gender cheated her out of her yearly stuff them until they die fest, knowing protocol in our families insisted the husband attend the in-laws feast. My mother-in-law was a little more hesitant, because it meant a lack of control, the menu wasn’t going to be her anti-Southern stance it had been in past years and most of all my progeny would be in a controlled setting where jabs at parenting skills would come much harder. (It should be noted at this point and not just to save my ass, my mother-in-law is a good person, but a strong personality that thrives on sucker punch type vocal jabs and therefore one must be on their feet or be made sport.)

To describe the two Thanksgivings my wife and I come from is to see the differences in our backgrounds. My Mother’s family put on a feast of casseroles and spices and to stand back and look at the spread was to know the King’s stores had been opened. Green beans, potatoes, yams, corn, okra, carrots all treated in some way with a cream based something or other and a myriad of cheeses melted in, onions, garlic and some cayenne. Just to look at the colors and smell the mixed aromas was to make a mental note that one may want to make a check up appointment with their doctor before Christmas. On the far sideboard lay the still cooling pumpkin pie, chocolate fudge pie, and mincemeat and vinegar pies. The only foods that actually made it to the dining table were the platter of meats and a huge basket of yeast rolls. Yes, I said meats. The turkey was present of course, and it was flanked with country and city hams. The other platter contained the yield of the land. Dove breasts, venison, catfish, and rabbit and occasionally squirrel. Eight to ten was the usual number at this annual event and there existed enough food for thirty. We would eat this meal for days and be miserable. The conversation hit all the social faux pas it could cover politics, religion, deaths, infidelities, and a general critique of life’s direction.

My wife comes from two Midwestern Catholic families and many years attended two Thanksgivings. Both meals consisted of traditional Thanksgiving staples followed by apple pie and pumpkin pie. Both families were large in number and personality. The foods were prepared with the number of attendees in mind and the more aggressive made quick work of anything that looked to be a potential leftover. A much more conservative common sense approach to a celebration of gluttony could not be found.

With my family there are no place cards or floral arrangements, you grab your own chair hopefully next to someone less annoying than one’s self and the beauty to behold is how intricately the many samples of food have been placed or piled. Experts know all the gravy items should occupy the same quadrant. There exists no choice of wine with the meal, if one is of drinking age than they are pretty well pickled by the time the feast begins.

At my in-laws it is much more formal. The table looks like a magazine spread. Place cards are in place. As has become the tradition I have never been placed by my wife or son. I did sit next to my daughter once, but she had been an absolute brat all morning and I am pretty sure she was shuffled to my corner keeping us both in check. One of my first interactions with the family was Thanksgiving. I was placed next to a family friend and what would soon be my sister-in-law, it was her first appearance as well. Everyone was asked to state what they were thankful for which I assumed was family tradition. I later found out that was the one and only time that occurred. Seems the hillbillies sitting in the cheap seats received their first sucker punch test. The conversation remained civil and shared old family memories and the occasional spar with my mother-in-law, but never approached the fire brand debates I was used to preparing for each year.

This year the feast was mine to plan and execute. I can cook and needed to do something that showed I had some form of talent. It has been a bad year for me as far as job outlook and future plans and I had been feeling particularly sorry for myself. There would be ten in attendance. I was determined to show my mother that you could send leftovers home with everyone, but at a more reasonable portion, and to show my mother-in-law that a little decadence was good for the soul. I knew I needed to put a meal on the table that both groups would be comfortable with, but something different enough that my own abilities made their case.

First was the logistics of having ten folks in a small cape cod rife with rehab projects. A general cleaning took place as both matriarchs have spotless well appointed homes. We have the projects, hobbies and unhung art work, and toys taking up much of our abode. Once that was performed I realized without the above diversions we were kind of monkish. Sparse matrix came to mind as I looked at the open paths and walls. The only seemingly out of place things, the very large desk I scored at the Habitat store for mere dollars, my treasured 1971 Panasonic Multiplex Hi-Fidelity system and my son’s collected hawk feathers that he demanded we pretend were turkey feathers for the day. The ‘Big” table received its extra leaf and the kids table was placed nearby. Leaves were collected and taped underneath a roll of butcher’s table on the floor while the kid’s colored fall like colors on the top bringing the leaves forms to bear on the new table runner. A simple flower arrangement was placed in the middle of the table. The two inherited china sets one a lace white and silver, the other a sienna and cream toile were mixed for the day. No place cards, but a balance of the two histories.

Finally the food! Traditional tweaked to my liking. Home made cranberry sauce with ginger and orange zest. Stuffing made with Spanish Chorizo and pears. Mashed potatoes mixed with parsnips and shallots. Oven roasted Brussels sprouts in pesto and parmesan. Asparagus roasted in sea salt and olive oil served with simple balsamic vinegar. A roux and white wine based gravy. The nod to my mother-in-law a perfectly cooked twenty pound bird and no other beast to take away from the turkey. (I stopped shooting at animals about the same time I first dyed my hair blue-black, donned an overcoat and began to write rhyming suicide notes I called poetry.) In my moms honor the corn pudding. Carbed over with yeast rolls and finished off with pumpkin pie, chocolate-nut and bourbon pie and a cinnamon sweet potato tart.

There we sat the traditional Republican couple from the Midwest, the Liberal Democrat couple from Kentucky, their married slightly anarchic couple. My brother -in-law and sister-in-law (Teabag republicans) backed out. The Panasonic belted out the vinyl versions of Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Gershwin Song Book and Miles Davis’, The Birth of Cool. The conversation only briefly touched politics. I explained why the Occupy movement is smart by not making demands. A slight discussion about the new Catholic mass, no death or infidelity discussions or vocal sparring and hours of family memories while I watched the two matriarchs soften into comfort and being pleased someone else had the reins I knew the experiment had proven successful.

Maybe it was the first time I was thankful at Thanksgiving or for the past few months. Either way the coup was in place. As a good friend of mine would say, “The day sir is yours.”

Monday, November 14, 2011

You'll Wind Up in Some Factory

You'll wind up in some factory that's full time filth and nowhere left to go…

The above phrase danced through my MP3 player on a night a couple of years ago when I was trying to determine a path for my life.

I had been in a job I never cared for nearly 15 years. I tricked myself into thinking the good money (and it was), the good healthcare (it was great), and the chance for advancement were all things important to my family. I did not include me in the equation simply because my position in that building was me atoning for perceived past sins. The part of me that remained true to myself never spent time thinking of retirement. That part of me turned its back when certain promotions were offered when I saw the gains required of me to let go of ideas that were purely my own. It required of me to step on others. When a restructuring occurred that took a quarter of my pay away, changed the health package to one of the worst I have heard of, took away 50% of my earned time off and presented a production schedule that was based on forced overtime to get to the next layoff on time, I jumped ship.

This led to a two year journey of a return to school and getting a base level degree to go back to work. I hoped to find something more charitable, a heart payer. While my education still chugs on I have reached that first level goal, but have entered a job market that is truly a nightmare. Then the job I hoped for came along and I was lucky enough to gain an interview. It appears that I did not get the job. The shell that I was carrying around until I met my friend for a coffee a couple of weeks ago would have thought myself a failure, but the fact is the dream job exists and it will open again and I will try again.
The coffee I mentioned I thought would just be a pleasant outing, but it became quickly eye opening. I found out I was not alone, that we shared some situation in which we put on ourselves some pain or humiliation that we intuitively credited to someone else. As I listened to her I realized I was mistaken and so was she. Our transgressor had done nothing more, but be rude or arrogant. Showed his true colors when no witnesses were around and I and my friend internalized his actions and started the process of allowing it to get to us. Finding out you are not alone really isn’t a surprise, I think back and that epiphany comes again and again in my life.

I wasn’t alone in leaving college in my youth to pursue something that meant more to me. I started a music label. It was semi-successful, my partner and I after two years did not agree on directions and I left. The label went on through his efforts and following our original plan for another decade. I am not the first person to follow such a path. I counted my leaving originally as a failure. I look back now and I was true to myself. Shortly after leaving I met a girl and we dated, as I was about to leave she told me she was pregnant. I did what I considered was right and married her. We lived in misery until she slept with a mutual acquaintance seven years later effectively ending the marriage. In that time our son was still born due to doctors trying to make sure they met an insurance quota (yes, they do exist, I have the documentation). The marriage and my son’s death were two things I internalized as my fault and let them dictate a nearly decade long disappearance on my part. I meet people all the time with similar stories and reactions and realize again I am not alone. I had an active role in the outcome of the marriage, and in the birth I was a helpless bystander. I owe it to me to have learned from both.

I forgave someone. In that act they asked me to make some promises, which I thought was bold and arrogant on their part, but I agreed because I wanted to move on. I at that time made a second promise to myself that I would not be blindsided again by this person. The very promise that was asked showed me this was necessary. More and more signs popped up and I realized to keep the promise I must vacate the situation. Any distaste I held for the person, or any supposed trespass against me was all my doing. My coffee date showed me that.

So coffee lady (she had wine), I say openly to you. Being true to yourself first, is good for you, for your family (blood or engineered), and poison to villains. Failure I am seeing is a necessary tool in success. You and I my friend are never alone.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Set 8 for Tea Please

I watched the Tea Party Republican debate last night with the sick fascination of a rubber necking driver passing an accident scene on the highway. I do not claim a side. I never have, but the place the Republicans have gone in the past decade has made me appear to be way more liberal than I probably truly feel comfortable with. CNN hosted the event with Wolf Blitzer as the mediator. The questions were posed by proclaimed Tea Party members present at the debate and in 3 other cities via remote. While many questions were very well stated I feel Mr. Blitzer was way too involved in reshaping the content of the question and directing how certain candidates would address them having said that, I will give the full disclosure I am not a big Blitzer fan. Here is the score card. I cannot repeat verbatim the answers, but I jotted down the parts that caught my attention. I am sure the dialogue is available word for word on the internet, so feel free to check it out. Question 1: Social security and Medicare changes. Santorum: Will reshape the both programs. He stated repeatedly he has been at the forefront of predicting the problems in both programs, and that he tells the truth. Gingrich: Obama scares folks everyday. We cannot allow President’s to threaten to withhold checks. Paul: People need to go on their own. He would not take anything away from the current receivers. Perry: Would not change for the current or about to receive, but it would change and be reformed for the middle career folks and there on. Romney: Asked Perry if he had a change a heart since Perry’s book released 6 months ago said both were unconstitutional and need to be done away with. Bachman: She would reform them, claimed Obama robbed Medicare of 500 billion dollars, and that it would be bankrupt in 9 years. Cain: Privatize social security. Huntsman: The fixes already exist in the Ryan Plan. Question 2: Balancing the Budget and cutting spending: Santorum: Prescription benefits for seniors would stay in place; cutting out fraud will accomplish the budget. Gingrich: Modernizing the government will balance the budget. Getting back the 500 billion Obama took as well. Paul: Make necessary cuts and end the unnecessary wars. Perry: Eradicate government fraud. Romney: Spending cuts. Bachman: Balanced budget amendment, stop all bail outs, people take personal responsibility and take ownership. Question 3: Plan for the Economy Gingrich: People create jobs not the government. Paul: Cut spending and remove government hindrance. Perry: Would not approve any 800 billion in giveaways, create jobs, and deregulate to allow the private sector to make the jobs. Romney: Undo NLRB blocks, reform the tax code, balanced budget amendment. Bachman: Do away with the debt ceiling that gave Obama a blank check to spend more. Cain: Install 9-9-9 plan, do away with tax code. 9% corporate tax, 9% personal tax, 9% national sales tax. Huntsman: Do away with Obamacare, end most personal tax deductions, end corporate loopholes. Question 4: Pro Business or Pro Worker Cain: Pro worker because he was one before he was an executive, his father was a janitor, worker and chauffeur all at the same time. Huntsman: Pro both, we need more workers. Question 5: Should the Fed be audited? Santorum: Should be changed from its double charter back to a single charter as it originally started. Perry: Stands by his statement Fed chair Bernanke has conducted treasoness acts. Romney: Fix it yes, but do not give Congress control. Bachman: Reduce its power greatly. She was against the bailout. Cain: Audit it and fix it. Question 6: How much of the dollar I earn should I get to keep? Gingrich: Get rid of Green tax credits. Huntsman: Reform tax code, end many personal deductions and close loopholes. Question 7: Where do you stand on the fair tax? Romney: Reduce middle class taxes. Question 8: Executive Orders: Santorum: The Texas policy is wrong and should be opt in instead of opt out. Paul: Executive orders are legal, but should not be used to legislate. Perry: I will use it to get rid of Obamacare. Bachman: Obama has used it to force insurance companies to provide the morning after pill for free. Question 9: How will you reduce the cost of healthcare? Paul: The cost comes from frivolous law suits and a weakened dollar. People should be free to choose and live by those choices and not expect the government to take care of them. Perry: Obamacare and what Massachusetts did is wrong. Romney: People need to be aware of what it cost, to them you pay a deductible then it’s free. Bachman: Repeal Obamacare, we do not need socialized medicine. Cain: Repeal Obamacare and end frivolous lawsuits. Question 10: Immigration: Santorum: Secure the border, build a wall. Perry: The federal government has failed miserably; putting 4500 pairs of boots on the ground will help. Question 11: How will you gain the Latino vote? Santorum: I am pro immigration as the son and grandson of Italian immigrants. We need to make English our official language. Perry: In Texas, if you have lived 3 years regardless how your parents brought you, if you are going through the steps to be legal citizen, then you get tuition money for school to keep you off the government dole. Romney: Latinos do not want handouts they want opportunity. Bachman: There should be no handouts, the liberals changed the immigration laws in the 1960’s that has caused these issues, and we need to go back. Huntsman: In Utah we provided a driver privilege card that was not to be used as personal id. Question 12: Energy Independence. Cain: Remove federal government blocks, rein in the out of control EPA and deregulate. Question 13: Would you decrease military/defense spending? Santorum: We need to stay put, Jihadist want to kill us and bring an end to our way of life. Gingrich: We need to refocus on the true threats. Paul: We are involved in 130 different countries militarily, defense and military spending are two different things, we need to cut unnecessary military spending and go forward with defense. Question 14: How will we secure safety for the woman and children of Afghanistan? Perry: We need to have prescience there, but bring our men and woman home. We need to help with infrastructure and build schools for those young ladies. Huntsman: We need to get out of Afghanistan and fix problems here first. Question 15: What personal thing would you bring to the Whitehouse? Santorum: I have 7 children so probably a new bedroom and more beds. Gingrich: More music and a chess set. Paul: A bushel basket of common sense. Perry: Most beautiful first lady this country has ever seen. Romney: I would return the bust of Winston Churchill back to the Oval office. Bachman: A copy of the Bill of Rights, a copy of the Constitution, and a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Cain: A sense of humor America is too uptight. Huntsman: My Harley Davidson and my trail bike. As I stated these are just phrases that caught my ear and by no means do I represent them as complete answers. If some of them seem a little crazy given the question, in most cases it is because Blitzer kept interjecting and changing the question as the candidates tried to answer. I state this again specifically to the two assclowns that want to send me personal emails rather than hit the comments section. For the rest of you I actually have two trolls that want to call me a socialist and Nazi every chance they get in email form, but never just leave a comment. At times the debate got heated and Romney and Perry dominated the evening. Santorum was more even keeled tonight than normal, but hit his ignorant place again with the Jihadist comment. I think Obama was mentioned way too often. We get that you don’t agree and never will. Kudos to CNN for not jumping on yet another gaff by Bachman, but I will not let it slide. Mrs. Bachman, the Bill of Rights are the first 10 amendments of the Constitution, they are not separate documents. Bachman also brought up the 500 billion stolen phrase again. She loves to perpetuate the blind sides that have been proven wrong. Obamacare does not bankrupt Medicare in 9 years according to the CBO it adds 8 years of solvency that currently does not exist. We also found out in a Bachman and Perry spat (that I think Bachman whooped his ass on) that Perry cannot be bought for $5000.00. Sadly he did not report what his going price is, but looked cock sure he would get it! Romney, Cain, Huntsman, scare the bejeezus outta me, but came off prepared and informed. Perry was attacked on all sides and did well fighting back for the most part. As I said I believe Bachman dug up a weak spot on him and exploited it well. Gingrich, was good for jabs at Obama, but looked like an also ran the whole debate. Ron Paul said some brilliant shit, and some scary stupid shit like he always does. His brilliance does not play well with his party, the scary stuff we’ll get to in a second. Santorum as I said hid his usual self through most of the debate then opened the idiot box at the end. Now the scary, Blitzer set a scenario where a young man in his twenties decides since he is healthy he did not need major medical insurance, gets in an accident, and goes to ICU and is in a coma for 6 months, who pays? Paul started out with, ownership and accepting the consequences of your decisions. Blitzer asks, “So you just let him die?” Now it wasn’t a big section, but some of the audience whooped, hollered and yelled “YES!” This is just a few days after another group cheered the fact Perry in his stewardship of Texas has executed more death row inmates than any other governor. Good pro-life stances! No mentions of Gay marriage or God tonight…kind of surreal!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lenny Bruce is not afraid....

A little over a decade ago the world prepared itself for the end of modern civilization. The binary code which has always existed in defiance of the tower of babel had nothing to say for the new millennia. Communications, alarm systems, power drives would all cease to be at the stroke of midnight on January 1st, 2000 and our long dormant hunter gatherer backgrounds would resurface.

While many of my friends (even the sane ones) had stored water, bullets and genetically engineered foodstuffs, I myself was ill prepared. I had not stocked up on anything. I spent the evening alone with a bottle of Bush mill’s Black with Billie Holiday, The Gun Club, This Mortal Coil, and Morphine and Johnny Cash alternating on my soon to be dead, 5 disc changer. Twelve midnight came while Billie was pushing my soul to look at the “Strange Fruit”, and oddly enough she didn’t stop coaxing me. A few minutes of car horns and firecrackers from a few streets over was the only other sound and then my cell phone rang. Y2K, the invisible monster had not made the scene. I had survived the end of civilization.

Cut to last Thursday. A friend I have not talked to in a while called. He said he wanted to talk to the few that mattered, because Armageddon had begun. “What do you mean it has begun?” I asked. “Yeah, Iran has two warships going through the Suez Canal on their way to Syria! You, know Egypt is on its ear right now, so that just leaves the Iranians to do what they want, and Israel will blow those rafts outta the water!” , came his excited reply. He is a paper carrying political scientist that is hardly prone to conspiracy theory and can recite most modern Middle Eastern history without pause. He expounded on how the revolutions of democracy in the Arab world would be the United States undoing. Mostly because just as tired as they are of dictators in that part of the world, they are tired of having no money and will look to new avenues of gaining funds. Currently the only way to buy Arab oil is with US dollars. Meaning every country in the world has to use their funds to buy US dollars. There are those in the European Union which would like to see the Euro, become the currency of choice and China would of course like to see the Yen, but in Oil rich world the impoverished are tired of their lives and would like to see some hope come their way, so maybe the massive move to a more democratic reality will bring a call to have their own currency take the helm.

How will this be our undoing? We do not have to buy dollars we print them. Oil will go through the roof for us in price if we have to buy someone else’s currency as our already fictional dollar values will vanish. Most of our population depends on cities, which depend on supply to meet our demands and supply means oil. Are we on that verge? Have the last 35 years of debate over alternative fuels, greenhouse emissions, and dependence on foreign fuels without quick action finally kicked our keisters? Possibly, and possibly we had no choice in the matter.

The Mayans and the Hopis have given us the end of time scenarios. There is a lot of… to put it nicely “stuff” out on the net now that the Bible puts the final battle between good and evil in 2012. Predictions of solar storms picking up in that year will be knocking out power grids and taking down satellites at an alarming rate. The “super volcano” in Yellowstone has been swelling and the ground has lifted over the last few years. Although scientist say we are not in emanate danger, the calendar created by folks whom with stone tools measured the lunar year to within 34 seconds of accuracy may suggest otherwise. Thrown in that we are overdue for a major catastrophe according to some physicists and the poles magnetic fields are on the move and the recipe starts to take on the form of congealed doomsday gravy that cannot be ignored! Or can it?

Can we ignore the end of times long enough for 12/22/2012 to happen? I would like to give you the sober and sane answer of yes, but know one here truly knows. I will probably be just as ill prepared the night prior, but unlike some I will have done things a little different leading up to that day.

My spirit will be good. Take that religiously, philosophically, or politically. I have already apologized to those I should. Those that I love know it. Unlike most of my fellow Americans, the race of acquisition for the sake of acquisition is over. My family is currently in the process of saying no to life on credit and eating foods brought to us by diversified conglomerates. We are searching ways to live on the grid, without being chained to it.

I am doing what I want to do, and starting to pursue the aspects of life I ignored. I am in my first band in years and I don’t have to be the singer, it has no plans of being “signed” will probably never be goofy enough to play a show, and it’s my favorite music project I have ever come to be a part of. I am writing fiction in the wee hours and reading the books I always said I would. I am practicing 3 new languages with plans for a fourth. My children are being given opportunity to set their ambitions without my over lording their dreams. The twins want to be artists, and the six year old currently wants help building a “machine that will make vegetables taste like hotdogs!”

I am watching my politicians thoroughly decimate what we got right in this country and have come to the conclusion that my own decisions in every scenario is what got me to the place I am in. A beautiful family, extraordinary friends and sorry if arrogance hurts you, but an understanding that I live in a time when not being a sheep and having an intellect above the rush of many is seen as treason. Oh well.

This is how I hope it plays out. The last week of the world as we know it the family and I will read books, eat some adventurous meals, and listen to some of our favorite music and talk. I will hope to take my wife to a nice restaurant; you know the kind before kids. The friends should all don their best ironic t-shirts and have a party. Maybe the goofy band could play a song or two. Many snobbish hops elixirs should be consumed that evening. If or when the sun rises on the 22nd of December 2012 and my eyes open I will only have two things to determine if I need to start building a tribe or if breakfast will be healthy or fried.

Here are a few sources you may want to visit before obliteration:

http://www.2012store.net/?gclid=COz1vbHemacCFYGW7QodAymccg they are still allowing credit card transactions at this time!

http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Quizzes/BeliefOMatic.aspx the belief-o-matic helps you determine what religion is right for you!

http://www.secretsofsurvival.com/survival/collapse_of_civilization.html Know the secrets!

As of this writing you have 668 days 16 hours and 54 minutes to put a plan of action together. Good luck!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Comfort Food for the Soul

I do not make resolutions in the implied sense of sitting down and going through a laundry list of things that need refurbished in my life. I often embark on such adventures without any plan and like the well plotted courses of others I have failed and I have succeeded.

Entering the New Year there was on my mind a resolve to react differently in the world, I knew I would return to these “broadcasts” when the static of our state of hyperbole had eased within me a little. A dysfunctional government, the shootings in Arizona, the Middle East in a new turning point I was getting unsure of when the time would come.

Then it dawned on me the time was easing in through all those situations and more to come. The static is controlled by me alone. I have always lived by fight or flight, and in most cases of flight it was only after I had my word. I realized my influence in this world is beyond my control. My actions and words only impact those who allow it. I will no longer spend time debating my own decision with someone outside the situation. No crazy making on my part and I will demand that rule of my interactions as well. I will always be available as a friend, but I refuse to take part in debate and argument that has an outcome of no consequence to the world.

3 days ago I went out with 12 other folks. We represent a wide range of socio-economic, philosophical, political, and religious backgrounds. Our in commons have been bolstered by life experience. I have another similar group of friends that combined with the first group makes up the arranged family we all look to when our own does not fill the need. Thinking of both groups the disagreements are few or dealt with quickly, the laughter is organic and the “lets do this again,” is sincere. Each one of these folks are beautiful to me in ways both unexpected and needed. This family makes one rich the kind of wealth that actually matters when the final tallies are taken.

I will still be challenged, craziness will present itself, but I know what I have in life makes me happy. My resolve now is simply never losing sight of this wealth.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

President Obama...I Get It

To all the progressive liberals crying in their Wheaties, today about Obama’s tax deals cut with the GOP , reap it babies! You have had two years to change it and you could not. It is not up to Obama alone to win over a miniscule amount of Republican votes to move on legislation, he has had a majority for the last two years that has been completely partisan in every aspect and done little reaching across the aisle. On the midterm elections the Donkey party ran from Obama and the few accomplishments the administration has gained and now openly criticizes the President’s Clintonesque deal. The party of “pretty please” has never mustered enough strength to overcome the Republican blockade and paid little attention to moves made by the GOP on their side of the aisle.

The midterm elections have swept both parties out of the house in recent history because of imbalances of policy. Clinton moved to the middle and forced into the public eye the fact that the Newt Gingrich led Republicans were blocking all progress in our government and had to meet Clinton or commit political suicide. Yes letting the tax breaks end was popular in most polls, just as a little over half of America support the Healthcare reforms in polls, but as your President pointed out yesterday Gallup Polls do not run America, Congress does. We the people may support ideas, but it is achievement we vote for.

Democratic Representative Grijalva yesterday was quoted as saying, “I think the Republicans would have caved.” A couple of left leaning blogs today are crying the Republicans would have reinstated unemployment before Christmas. I say you are delusional. The Republicans do not melt. They dig in, a Christmas without unemployment and a stall in the economic recovery may be caused by the GOP, but they would point to the Democrats not creating jobs and taxing the top job creators as the reason it all went down. Then it is back on the Democratic plate to explain, and you cannot explain it. The numbers are plain for all to see, but all the Republicans have to do is say the numbers come from biased sources and not fact based and most voters buy into it. It’s a load of bunk, but it has worked since Reagan and it will continue to work as long as the Democratic party fails to communicate to the voter. Rush, Beck, Coulter, and Palin collectively have proven that you can appeal to worst fear scenarios without a factual base and American voters (not necessarily the people) buy in. The Tea Party membership on a whole has displayed the total inability to understand what legislation actually helps so the 4 personas mentioned above are more than glad to step in and create an understanding.

The numbers and outcomes are published for all to see, but few go to look. I wonder if our Democratic leadership even takes the time.
Here are the findings of the Congressional Budget Office and the Center On Budget Policy Priorities, both non-partisan entities that the GOP comes out against anytime the numbers do not meet Republican goals as partisan. Never mind both groups have equally bad reports on Democratic aims.

The short-term effect on letting the tax cuts for $1 million per year and above lapse and extending unemployment, child tax credit, earned income credit, and the higher education tax credit. $30 billion less added to the deficit from 2010-2015 than extending all the tax cuts. 500,000 more jobs created in the first year.

The long-term effect of making the above tax credits permanent and letting the tax cuts lapse. $441 billion less to deficits in the years 2010-2020 and 1.2 million jobs created next year.

We the people have been fed the crap for years that allowing the top to keep more money creates more jobs. It was called trickle down once upon a time. Clinton taxed the top and economic growth happened. Why? If the middle has the money the consumer market moves. The top works in the world of profit margin. If they are paying the same tax as the rest of us then they hire to meet the demand and make their margin. If they can make their margin by paying lesser taxes and the middle does not have the money to buy not only does the job creation incentive go away, but profit margin increase can only occur by cutting jobs. Have we seen jobs created grow in the last decade since these magic tax cuts have happened? No, the Democrats have failed to jump up and down on this, but Republicans have beat that drum until everyone is singing along.

In 2009 the CBO produced a report on the distribution of income from Reagan through the end of 2008. The top 0.01% (11,000 households) earned an average of 8.6 million per year and accounted for 411.9 billion dollars of income per year. The bottom 20% (24.1 million households) earned an average of $17,000 per year and accounted for 384.5 billion dollars per year.

Looking at the top 0.01% their income level rose 384% over the top 0.01% in 1979. The 20% of Americans that are in the exact middle of American income had their income raise 15% in the same amount of time. Looking at the dollar tells the story even more. A gallon of gas in that time frame has seen a 115% price change, milk 147% change, bread a whopping 320% change. See the top 0.01% dollar has not lost but gained in spending power while the rest of us have lost. 44 cents of the dollar earned by the top is earned through capital gains which is taxed at 17% ordinary paychecks are taxed at 35%. Combine the amounts the top is paying 26 cents on the dollar in taxes while the middle is paying 35 cents. Give your self the same tax break on your annual take home pay and you will see how much nicer your life could be.

Something for nothing, no incentive to get a job, rewarding the lazy, all talking points in the conservative media for not extending unemployment benefits to the unemployed. Never mind that the GOP just forced a possible repeal of estate taxes on the wealthiest that could more aptly wear the above talking points. The unemployed are in a job market where the odds are against them getting a job, five applicants for every one job. Let alone many good job opportunities are being advertised with the words “unemployed need not apply.”

Wake up Democrats, your ass whooping came a month ago, and the Republicans make everyone of their shortcomings look like your fault. You are only feeding their machine by bemoaning your president’s actions. The economy will profit (most likely not prosper) with the UI extension. The many tax credits that were saved yesterday will make a difference in the middle as well. When the Republicans take over next month and start working on killing the extension and the credits it will be up to them to explain why the middle needs another punch in the gut while the top gets a fanny massage. Unfortunately they will explain it in a united front filled with gloom and doom about Obama’s socialist agenda and the American voter will buy it. Even more unfortunate the Democrats will still be standing with mouths agape with no argument whatsoever.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Diver Down

It was a beautiful night in an unbelievable setting spent with old friends until the wee-est of hours. We swapped the remember when tales, the innuendo banter and the lexicon of pop culture addiction like pros. Like most nights like this or in predictable scripts of ensemble casts the moment came where someone saw either the opportunity to show off a little or invite their friends into a spiritual experience.

Our idyllic setting possessed cliffs and emerald waters below with a platform inviting one to throw their self into Neptune’s embrace. There was one and then two, both of which beckoned to us onlookers to come on, it was life changing, freeing pure wonderful. Number three lined up and froze, again and again, but would not be denied and finally took flight. Then four and five all sharing in the thrill and chattering like squirrels in their excitement.
I got the, I’ll go if you go, and then another source told me I would be sorry and finally the wuss label. None of which has ever really worked on me. I was actually getting all the enjoyment and spiritual bliss I needed watching the others go. The daredevil stuff has never given me that rush or opened the door of life experience. I have my history with it some of which was in pretty destructive times. The ole, look at me! I need your help! Not my friends though. These were grown adults doing something that freed them for not just the few seconds before the splash, but actually letting go of some of those unseen bonds we all carry.

My desire I am learning to pursue once again. I am choosing desires from a more rational place than before. Purges of a life’s collection of things, actually learning to sleep, become a more social creature that requires little attention. My past was based on self destructive behaviors and I was the poster-child of look at me histrionics and self fulfilling fates. Pushing the world and all things good for me as far away as I could was the regimen, bad boyfriend, bad friend, bad attitude and a death wish was my view for a good number of years. It wasn’t working for me anymore. Short of death what could one do? I became the complete opposite; working jobs I loathed fighting to climb ladders I despised and every time the prize was in reach a change of direction. I never jumped off a cliff to shed fears, but I would readily throw myself off one as a way of keeping myself to me. I layered myself in pity, objects, clothes and body to push the world away. Trading destruction for destruction until a few years ago, when I realized how few people knew me. That for someone who was semi well travelled, who had history with so many folks along the way I had very few friends. My family only saw me intermittently between shifts at work. I had a huge pile of stuff that had more bad memories connected to it then a sense of accomplishment.

So I decided I needed to shed the layers get to know the world around me and be a part of it. I am a better friend, father, and husband. I am finding the not so secret adventures offer the same thrills as the daredevil ones of yore. I am realizing the fear I could not pin down was succeeding at life, like I would be a sell out for being happy as opposed to living the sell out life in misery. I’ve learned I can still be all that I envision and involved with the world at the same time. It seems like a silly epiphany, but the utter distrust I have carried all these years it is my cliff dive. It was a step in a spiritual direction which I shared with good friends from the past and the present on a beautiful night in an unbelievable setting in the wee-est of hours.