Wednesday, July 28, 2010

John Kerry's Taxes

Have you heard about the tempest in a teapot regarding John Kerry and the taxes on his yacht? (Yeah, I know -- tough times, tough times.) Apparently he recently bought a $7 million yacht (manufactured in Europe; New England shipbuilders are complaining that it could have been produced domestically, but that's another story), and instead of docking it in his home state of Massachusetts he's leaving it in Newport, Rhode Island.

The reason? Well, that all depends on who you ask. Kerry says it's better for its maintenance and upkeep to be in Newport. Others point out that if he keeps the boat in Massachusetts he'll owe about $500,000 in taxes (yikes!). That's a one-time sales tax of about $437,000 and annual excise taxes of about 70 grand. Rhode Island apparently has discovered a niche market and doesn't apply these taxes to yacht owners in its waters (or at least not to this extent), thereby benefiting its citizens who operate businesses that take care of these luxury launches.

Today Kerry has announced that he will "voluntarily" pay $500,000 in taxes to Massachusetts.

Okay, here's the surprise: I think Kerry should keep his boat in Rhode Island and not pay any taxes on it at all to Massachusetts (unless it's determined that he owes them, of course).

Taxes are necessary evils, taking money from those who earn it (well, Kerry didn't, but I'm talking in generalities) and distributing it to those who don't. Oh, sure, some things are important -- national defense and such. But I could slice and dice government down real fast and our debt problem would be a thing of the past and our tax rates would go down, too.

A $437,000 sales tax on a boat purchased overseas is piracy (ha ha). If one state has a ridiculous tax system, it should pay for it. Kerry did the smart thing (or tried to) financially, if not politically. If enough folks do what Kerry did, maybe Massachusetts would look at its tax system and decide that it's overly burdensome. Competition is good for consumers and competition between state tax systems is good for citizens.

High-tax states like California are paying dearly for their tax systems, as businesses decide in ever-increasing numbers that it is more economical to operate in lower-tax environments (like Texas). I'm not sure when we decided that no one should experience any consequences for their actions. Government today seems to be all about keeping people as insulated as possible from the results of what they do. If states have been spending at levels that are not sustainable, well, they need to deal with that. Cut programs, for crying out loud.

Anyway, I think Massachusetts should be punished for its punitive tax system. John Kerry is caving (for political reasons; I'm not really blaming him here), but he has my sympathies. I'm going to dock my yacht in Rhode Island.

More later...

[Update: I should mention that John Kerry can easily afford to pay this tax; according to this he's worth about a quarter of a billion dollars. So while I sympathize with him, it's more of a theoretical sympathy. I'm not sending him a contribution or anything.]

[Update II: I should also mention that Kerry has no problem voting for new taxes on the rest of us who are somewhat less able to pay them (or to avoid them). And for that reason I do feel a little schadenfreude. :) ]

Friday, July 23, 2010

Consequences

All I'm going to do here is post a link to a column written by Bill Kristol. It's not long and you'll be glad you read it.

Yes, A Period of Consequences

More later...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cap and Trade

Have you heard those words? "Cap and trade"? Do you know what they mean? Maybe you know they're something bad, but you don't quite have a handle on exactly why. And maybe you've even heard that Congress is probably not going to get around to doing anything about cap and trade this year.

In quick-and-dirty layman's terms, cap and trade refers to emissions trading.

Here is how it works. The government allows everybody to pollute a certain amount. If your business pollutes the air/water/land more than the amount the government has allowed, you have to buy the allowance that is owned by someone else. (See -- the government "caps" the amount you can pollute and if you go over the cap you have to "trade" with someone else.) Companies that operate in industries that pollute very little will have extra pollution credits and they can sell them to big, bad polluters.

Before we go on, let's remember that since the EPA began measuring such things, our air, water, and land have never been cleaner. We live in about as pristine an environment as it is possible to live in and still enjoy civilized inventions like electricity and automobiles.

Okay. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Big, bad polluters. Well, unluckily for us, many of the companies who will run afoul of the pollution police are energy companies. Since we're not big on nuclear power over here, most of our energy comes from fossil fuels. In a bizarre twist, a court has decided that carbon dioxide (you know -- the stuff you're exhaling right now!...and right now!...and right now!) is a pollutant. Fossil fuels emit CO2 (you know -- Al Gore, Inconvenient Truth, drowning polar bears), so the companies that create your electricity and your gasoline "pollute" more than the government says they should. They will have to buy the carbon credits that belong to someone else. And guess who will ultimately pay for this?

If you guessed "The Consumer" you may stop holding your breath and exhale.

But wait! Didn't I just say that Harry Reid & Co. are probably not going to pass any cap-and-trade legislation this year? Well, yes. Yes, I did. But that's okay. Because the courts have decided that the EPA doesn't have to wait for Congress. They can start regulating CO2 just as soon as they see fit.

Just the other day I was thinking, "Boy, my electric bill is just way too low. I think I will send an extra hundred bucks along to Alabama Power next month to show my support for their fine work!"

Okay, I wasn't saying anything like that. In fact, I was kind of shocked when I saw our power bill (Bruce and Alex, who walk around in sweaters and can be heard muttering things about meat lockers will be less surprised). Our federal government, however, is going to let allow suggest force me to do that very thing. When gas bills rise precipitously and when your power bill goes up (the average family will see increases of as much as $1800 annually), just remember to thank President Obama. When he was campaigning he admitted that his plan would make electricity bills "necessarily skyrocket." This is one campaign promise that it looks like he'll be keeping.

More later...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Post-racial President My Giggy

Barack Hussein Obama was supposed to be our post-racial President. The guy that would show us that skin color doesn't matter. I think that perhaps he has turned a corner and is now rushing our nation headlong into a period of racial disharmony that will take decades to undo.

By imposing unpopular and draconian social programs on America and exhibiting a fiscal irresponsibility unheard of by a national leader, Obama has not exactly endeared himself to the American psyche.

He had the Justice Department dismiss the case of voter intimidation against The New Black Panthers despite their outrageous behavior caught on tape And despite the fact that they had already been found guilty. What non-racial motivation could there possibly have been for this dismissal? This case was described as the most blatant case of voter intimidation ever caught on tape.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, an organization whose name screams racism, is crying racism every time a leaf blows by. The NAACP released a video allegedly showing racism within the Tea Party movement. They omitted the part of the video that shows the offending person being ousted from the rally by true Tea Party members.

Obama's expansion of social programs at the expense of working America is also likely to cause further tension as more and more of our paychecks are diverted to those permanently on the dole, generation after generation. The elimination of this class should be a priority but has not even been addressed.

Anyone who opposes Obama or his policies is automatically labeled racist. This abuse of the race card is inflammatory and will escalate racial tension. As Obama scrambles to preserve Democratic votes for the November elections, he is turning to the Hispanic and black votes and abandoning the white liberal left. He seems to think that the Hispanic and black vote are all he needs. Well go for it Mr Obama. Just beware the consequences of igniting a race war. It will be very ugly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Giggles

I find it interesting that my computer is smart enough to know that it is in Europe but stupid enough not to know that English is still my native tongue. I'm glad I remember a little Deutsch from when I served in Germany over half my life ago (and that I remembered that the link for a new post is in the upper right corner).

Since I've been gone, I've picked up little odds and ends that are interesting, at least to me. It has been said that Europe is still in love with Obama, but I am getting more mixed reviews. I certainly am not feeling the love. I think maybe the news just travels to remote regions more slowly.

I see the racist crap continues from the New African American Panthers and Mel Gibson. I also see BP may have slowed down the tarball creation that Barry is going to have a ridiculously hard time getting through his digestive system before November 2nd. I see that Obama is blaming Bush for George Steinbrenner's death. I see Obamacare is using my money to pay for abortions in Pennsylvania except in cases of sex selection abortion.

I see a lot of ugly still happening back there. Here, on the other hand, I have not heard a siren, have not seen a policeman since I left the airport, have not seen an ambulance, have not heard any racist comments, have had no tarballs wash up on my balcony, have not heard Bush blamed for a thing.

I do miss my motorcycle, I miss my work (isn't that odd?), and most importantly, I miss my people a lot. I decided not to do a lot of in depth research tonight because, well, I'm on vacation. I hope all is well in your specific square yard of the Earth. I'll talk to you some more when I get back. Until then, ring and run Sharon's house a few times just for giggles.

:-)

HAHA! If there are spelling errors, then you'll just have to deal with them. My computer thinks every word not shared with the mostly German speaking Swiss is spelled incorrectly. I am fairly certain I have never had a spell checker go this insane on me before.

Be well my friends!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Are You A Christian? ARE YOU?

It's Freedom of Religion, Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton. The First Amendment of the Constitution of The United States of America is very clear on this point. It says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

The word used is "Religion". Before you accuse me of splitting hairs (Ronco makes a wonderfully sharp hair splitter), words matter. There is an ocean of difference between "religion" and "worship". An oily, stinky, gulfy-like ocean, but an ocean, nevertheless.

Freedom of religion is used to refer to the tolerance of different theological systems of belief, while freedom of worship is defined as freedom of individual action. Last November at the memorial service for the Fort Hood shooting victims, Obama used the term “freedom of worship” instead of "freedom of religion". He did it again just days later in speeches in Japan and China. In December Hillary Clinton also used "freedom of worship" three times in a speech at Georgetown University. Not once did she say “freedom of religion”. In January while addressing senators, Clinton used the phrase “freedom of worship” four times.

This is not accidental. This is a deliberate distortion of the language of our Constitution by the President of the United States of America and a former first lady and sitting Senator who well know the correct verbiage.

Freedom of worship might allow church services, but leaves out protection for Christian schools, publications, and Christian ministries. Freedom of religion means that ministries designed to help the homeless or felons change their lives, or to help those less fortunate or from blighted areas train for jobs, can teach what the Bible teaches. Under freedom of worship, these ministries could become illegal, as they are in many parts of the world.

Do not believe for a second that these two professional politicians have accidentally juxtaposed words. You must ask WHY are they intentionally changing the wording of our Constitution from Freedom of Religion to Freedom of Worship. They are deliberately presenting to the world a change of a fundamental right of U.S. citizens. We enjoy the fundamental right to Freedom of Religion.

This President is no longer even being subtle about his agenda to change the United States to a Socialist state with substantially less individual freedom. This treasonous behavior must be stopped. Most Americans claim to be Christians. November 2nd we Must take back the House of Representatives and the Senate. If you vote for a liberal, a democrat, you will be complicit in the destruction of this nation and the disintegration of our fundamental right to Freedom of Religion. As a Christian man that believes that Jesus died for my sins (aplenty), I will not sacrifice my right to Religion. I will not deny my God. I will die rather than have a power-hungry government tell me I cannot worship and do all the other things God calls me to do.

Are you a Christian?

Are you a Christian?

Are you really a Christian?

Read All about...Some Stuff

Did you know that Obama has tasked NASA with making the Muslims of the world feel good about themselves? If you didn't, you can read about that here. And, no, the link is not to The Onion, although you might be forgiven for thinking that this was all a not-very-funny joke.

But that's not what this post is about.

If you get your news from the mainstream media (MSM), you wouldn't know about this. I think I read twenty stories on this bit of lunacy the day after Byron York first reported it, so I figured everybody knew. But I watch no network news, almost never go to the NY Times or WaPo web sites unless I've been linked there from somewhere else, and get about 95% of my news from online sources.

I was sitting in line at a drive through this morning and picked up my iPhone to pass the time. (What did I ever do before the iPhone?) Power Line has an awesome iPhone app so I was scanning their blog and came across this interesting story.

Here's the money 'graph:

Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program in the New York Times: 0.

Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program in the Washington Post: 0.

Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program on NBC Nightly News: 0.

Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program on ABC World News: 0.

Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program on CBS Evening News: 0.



Is it any wonder that voters elect the candidates they do? They rely on the MSM (and all too often they don't even rely on them). It's a sin and a shame, as the saying goes.

I mentioned on Facebook that I am going to run for political office on a platform of requiring a basic knowledge of civics before one can vote in a national election. Several friends offered to vote for me often--and even to cast ballots from states in which they do not reside! I've got great friends.

More later...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Working for Uncle Sam

Neither my husband nor I have ever worked for a government entity. Consequently, we have no pensions (which are becoming rare, unless you work for a public employer). I am not whining; this is not a surprise to either one of us and my main retirement plan is to have Bruce keep working until he drops dead and then to throw myself on the mercy of our son. I have a back-up plan, of course. It involves me dying first. And my Plan C is a complicated program that begins with me sending out broadcast emails to all my friends and asking them for recipes involving cat food.

Funny thing, government jobs. The average federal employee earns a salary of $79,000. The average private-sector worker? About $50,000. Controlling for educational differences, federal employees are still paid an average of 22% more per hour than those in the private sector. And I haven't mentioned benefits. Once you add those in, federal workers earn about 40% more than private-sector suckers. (Did I type that out loud?)

Job security? Bruce, who regularly has recruiters and CEOs beating his door down to try to get him to come and work for them, has lost multiple jobs. The economy, office politics, you name it. Federal employees, of course, don't have to worry about the economy and civil service rules make it almost impossible to dislodge a federal employee for anything, including bad behavior, after they've passed their probationary period. From 2007 to 2009, unemployment in the private sector rose from 4.2 to 9.4%; the percentage of federal employees who lost their jobs peaked at 2.9%.

Allow me to walk a tightrope here. I believe I can claim that I am not whining about the salary and benefits that Bruce and I receive and yet still gripe that feds are, for the most part, overcompensated. After all, Bruce produces a product that people want and are willing to pay for. I provide a desirable service for which I am compensated. Federal employees, on the other hand, are paid from money that comes right out of my pocket (and all too often perform services that I wish they wouldn't). If the bloated bureaucracy that is the federal behemoth is overstaffed and if that staff is overpaid, I believe I can stomp my foot and point a finger without there being a reflection on me. And that is what I am doing.

I have not mentioned non-federal public employees--those employed by state and local governments. The feds want to shell out another $50 billion to keep "firemen and teachers" employed. Really? If things are bad at the state and local levels are the first cuts made going to be to get rid of firemen and teachers? (Although, in all honesty, education is another area of great bloat and could use some selective cutting.) Let 'em fail, I say. I want to stop shoving the hard choices forward, putting off until tomorrow what we ought to do today. If your government has grown beyond your means, the solution seems clear (well--clear to everyone outside of Washington). I know this means pain and suffering. Better pain and suffering now, though, than a crash of inconceivable proportions tomorrow. And better for us to take our medicine than to push it off on the generation now in high school who have done nothing (yet) to deserve what we're creating for them.

More later...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Study, Pray, Learn

My pastor preached an unusual sermon (for him) on Sunday. He treads very carefully when it comes to preaching politics; the first time I can remember him saying anything really political was a bit after the passage of Obamacare (he's against it ;). This Sunday's sermon was somewhat less specific, but he did not hold back when it came to matters of leadership.

What should Christians do regarding politics? There are many things, of course, and I'm not trying to be all inclusive, but here are some ideas to start (I'll get back to Steve's sermon in a bit). First, we should study God's word. Too many Christians think they know what Scripture says but are, at best, making hopeful guesses (many don't even pretend to know; they just want what they want and figure it OUGHT to be in the Bible whether it is or not). Everything we do must be under the umbrella of Scripture or we are tilting at windmills (and worse). To understand what a biblical worldview is, one must know the Bible. This is obvious, of course, but the left will hurl proof texts at Christians as admonitions of what one must or mustn't do ("judge not lest ye be judged" is a particular favorite). If we don't understand the context of the verse (who's speaking, to whom is the message addressed, from what passage was the verse plucked, etc.) we are defenseless. And trust me--they almost always have the intent wrong (I was going to write that they always have the intent wrong, but I suppose that somewhere out there a leftie used a Bible verse correctly; I have not seen it personally, but the odds are that it happens now and then).

Second, we must pray. Perhaps I should have made this the first thing, but I made it second because reading the Bible will enlighten us regarding the things for which we should pray. Here is the hard thing--the thing that I fail at utterly, the thing that I don't want to do well, the thing that I must change my attitude toward: we must pray for our leaders and we must love them. Yes, I know. Barack Obama, the man I despise so much that I have still never seen a complete speech given by him because my blood pressure rises to unhealthy levels (I read the text later), is to become an object of my love. My attitude toward him is one of sin; I confess in front of all of you and ask for forgiveness. My prayers regarding Obama must be that he would become a Christian (honestly--does ANYONE out there think he's really a Christian, in the meaningful sense of the word?) and submit himself to God's will. Could you imagine how radically things would change if he did this? If I think about it, I get goosebumps. And so this must be my most fervent prayer--that Obama (Reid, Pelosi, et al.) would see God's truth, be converted, and submit to Him.

This must not be my only prayer, however. As Christ taught us we must pray that God's name be hallowed and that His will be done. And this is where Steve's sermon comes back into play. When we pray that God's will be done ("on earth, as it is in heaven"), we are not asking for meek, mild, gentle acts. There is nothing more important to God than His glory and there is nothing less sought after in Washington DC than that very thing. We should--we must--pray for change (change WE can believe in). As we have seen over and over in the Bible (and as we can see by reading Revelation), God enforces His will in dramatic fashion. No quiet, docile Savior is depicted in John's vision, but a warrior King, coming to dispense justice and to dispose of anyone who gets in His way. As Steve said, "If it is right for Jesus to do it, it is right for us to pray for Him to do it sooner, rather than later." Lord, remove anyone who gets in the way of your will.

The other things that Christians should do are not much different than the admonitions to anyone who desires to be a good citizen. Inform yourself regarding the issues. Vote. Write your congressmen (I found an iPhone app that makes emailing senators a piece of cake). Contribute to candidates. On and on--you know the drill.

More later...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Utterly Mindblowingly Unbelievably Obama

Barry Soetto, I mean Barry "Barack" Oblahblah has charged Charles Bolden, NASA's administrator, with three tasks. The first task makes sense. To help re-inspire children to want to excel at math and science. I can live with that. That is honorable and decidedly Nasa-like. Get those kids thinking. Way to go, Barry. I'm feeling it, dude.

The second task makes me scratch my head a little bit, but I can almost get there. Not quite, but almost. Barry asked Mr Bolden to expand our international relationships. OK. We're doing joint stuff with other countries with the space station. We want to make sure we keep talking to them despite us mothballing the space shuttle. They aren't mad. We're cool.

Now, the third task strikes me as downright absurd. I ain't jiggy with it and I don't see myself getting any too jigged at any point because the third directive is ludicrous. Barrack Barry Hussein Soetto Obama actually instructed Charles Bolden, the head egghead at Nasa, "to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and math and engineering," Bolden said in an interview.

Yuh huh. Right. The Muslims that force their women to wear burkas? The Muslims who stone to death women who have sex before marriage? The Muslims that are fighting to preserve their third world existence in Afghanistan? Maybe the Muslims strapping bombs to their chests and walking into crowded shopping areas and blowing themselves to smithereens. Are these the ones you are talking about, Barry? These highly evolved, non-aborted, highly scientific, donkey riding dirt dwellers? Their contributions to math and science and engineering? OK, Barry. Have NASA come up with that for you.

What a putz.
<---(Not Barry)