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Archive for December, 2011

Whoever said that politics is an ugly business deserves a medal. It’s ugly because it’s a power game by the mighty to maintain their domination of the weak…I think I read that somewhere but I don’t remember the source. It’s probably the most “no holds barred” game that countries can play. It seems that there are no rules of fair play in this contest for power. As conservative syndicated columnist, Cal Thomas, puts it, “One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are.” And once that power is achieved, it appears to automatically go right to the head!

In the 2012 United States (ha, that’s a joke) Presidential election, the ugliness has already reared its head. Have you wondered whatever happened to Ginger White, Sharon Bialek and Karen Kraushaar? Who, you ask. These are the three cookies who ‘came out’ to accuse Presidential hopeful Herman Cain of sexual harassment or affairs, along with three unnamed employees of the National Restaurant Association. You see, Happy Herman was making inroads into the voting blocs of some of the other candidates, most notably Rick Perry. Therefore, Herman had to go. Now, I’m not saying that there were leaks from any of the camps of the Republican Presidential hopefuls, but it sure was fast the way those three ladies crawled back under their rocks…and we never did get the names of the three NRA staffers who made accusations against Cain. Well, Herm, back to the pizza parlor because the boys and girls in the back rooms, the ones who have the real power, saw you as a potential threat and could not let you win. You were probably marked as “uncontrollable” and ended any hope you may have had.

The amount of mud that has been getting slung around during round one of this presidential political year is remarkable. I love the way candidates are saying, “Hey, it’s not me; must be someone on my staff, but I don’t know who and I’m not responsible.” Sure, maybe it’s the three unnamed people from the NRA who have now taken up a new cause. As long as it remains “unnamed people,” everything is cool for the candidate. Can you imagine that kind of response from a United States President…”I didn’t push that button; must have been one of the staffers.” Meanwhile, the bombs are “bursting in air,” so to speak. Thankfully, the chances of a staffer ever getting that close to “the button,” are less than nil…at least that we know of.

The next attacks will probably be on Representative Ron Paul. While considered by some to be too radical, Paul has been making significant gains in the polls. That means he has to go. Paul, however, is 76 and if you wish to trot out some chippies who say that he dallied with them, it will undoubtedly backfire. After branding the two front runners, Romney and Gingrich, as Flip and Flop, Paul is about to wind up in the crosshairs of the power brokers. It really should be interesting to see the manner in which they will discredit him, although with the way Ron Paul sometimes runs his mouth before engaging his brain may make the big boys’ task a bit easier.

“I think it’s a terrible shame that politics has become show business,” the late great producer director Sydney Pollack said shortly before his death. No one could have put it any better. Newt reminds me of formers Speakers of the House, Tip O’Neill and Sam Rayburn…a good ole boy who just wants a shot at getting things done. It’s the tilt of the head, his beautiful and well-coifed mistress by his side, and his “aw shucks” attitude that reminds me of some of the old Southern political hacks in the movies of old. Mitt seems to be doing a somewhat conservative caricature of Jack Kennedy…never a hair out of place, open shirt collar, and an “I’m just one of you folks.” That’s right Mitt…one of the people who has no problem making a $10,000 wager with one of your opponents. That was as big a political gaffe as Rick Perry forgetting the third department he was going to eliminate.

No matter who wins the 2012 Presidential race, the big loser will be the American public. We have problems that, while not unsolvable, are being approached unrealistically. “No more spending and reduce the national debt now,” screams Eric Cantor and his tea partying cohorts. He epitomizes what that great statesman, Benjamin Disraeli, meant when he said, “In politics, nothing is contemptible.” Sometimes, it’s necessary to spend money to reduce debt. As insane as that sounds, it’s the truth. Should the Republicans regain the White House, they will blame Obama, the one-term President. Should Obama win and not regain a Congressional majority, we will once again be exposed to a do-nothing Congress, hell-bent on making…not the President…but the Black President…look bad. That’s right, I’m playing the race card because anyone who says that a lot of people don’t like see a Black man leading the country is telling it like it is.

As for me, I’m sticking with Lady Bird Johnson…“Every politician should have been born an orphan and remain a bachelor.”

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If I get pissed off, take a gun, and shoot you dead, I get life in prison, probably without the possibility of parole. If I shoot my spouse because she irritated me, I’m probably going to get 25 years to life, and if I have a decent group of lawyers, I’ll probably wind up getting paroled early. If, however, I’m drunk and cause an accident or hit a pedestrian or something along those lines, I can expect anywhere from three to five years. It seems to me there’s some inequity here.

Killing is killing; taking the life of another is eliminating that person from existence. Whether it was done by intention or by accident, that person won’t celebrate any more birthdays. He or she won’t celebrate any more Christmases or Chanukahs or whatevers. There are wonderful arguments for not punishing the person who did the killing. She was being abused. He was drunk. It was an accident. The only ones I’m going to buy are that it was self-defense because if you (assuming you’re the killer here) didn’t kill, you would have been killed; if you’re in war and it’s a kill or be killed situation. And, there’s one other: If some drunken, drugged-up, or just plain idiot jumps if front of your car for shits and giggles, and you’re a foot away, that’s the idiot’s problem. Ninety-nine percent of the others I refute. The killer took the life of another person and should forfeit his or her own life. Whoa! Come on! Are you nuts? No, I’m not crazy. I’m merely trying to make people more responsible for their actions.

I recently read where a young man was sentenced to five years for killing another. The guilty party was driving drunk, hit a man on a scooter and killed him. Now, let’s think about this for a minute. He killed the guy, drove away, got married, went on a honeymoon, finally got arrested, never confessed, and waived to his parents as he was being led out of court. No remorse, no nothing. Five years; he gets out when he’s 29 and gets on with his life. He’ll probably drive drunk again. What the hell, it happened once and it just took five years out of his life. Hell, that’s nuthin! I’m terribly sorry if you think I’m being harsh but I think this guy should forfeit his life for the one he took.

Anyone who has ever read one of my blogs knows that I’m as liberal as the next guy on most issues. Taking a life is an issue on which I’m far more than conservative. I don’t believe there is any reason under the sun to do it, except in war or in self-defense. Someone asked me not too long ago while we were discussing this very topic, “Well, what about your own brother? He took someone’s life in a fit of road rage.” I’m certain it shocked the shit out of my questioner when I replied, “He should have been executed.” They thought I was kidding. They were wrong.

An eye for an eye was a part of the Hammurabi Code. “The law of equivalency,” I believe it was called. Is it totally fair? No, probably not. It’s like all of these lawyers and judges who maintain that capital punishment is not a deterrent for criminals. I don’t happen to believe that either. If someone is drunk and drives a vehicle, killing another, and that person is put to death for taking another’s life, I really think it’s going to make people stop and think before getting behind the wheel if they happen to be shitfaced. Of course, if they happen to be shitfaced and want to drive, perhaps it’s just a way of cleansing the gene pool.   

Years ago, a former friend of mine was driving drunk. He hit a solder, home on leave and killed him. He did three years. He lost his wife and children and lived a miserable existence after that. He died young because of the guilt. He died twice as a matter of fact. He’d become homeless and was found in the gutter, drunk and dead. They revived him and he lived a few more years…homeless and drunk.

Yes, I know that my thinking is pretty harsh, but longer sentences don’t seem to be the answer. More prisons aren’t the answer. Maybe fear really is an answer. Prison overcrowding in some states is so bad that some prisoners are being freed. Some of them go out and commit the crimes for which they were originally imprisoned all over again. Why, why would they do this? Why wouldn’t they say, “Oh, shit, man, I don’t want to do that again.”

My arguments are radical. The arguments against capital punishment are radical. If only God has the right to judge whether or not a person should die, let’s give these people an express ticket to God so that he can make that judgment. We can make all the excuses in the book for not taking the life of a killer, but that’s exactly what they are…excuses. We give people an out. We allow them not to accept responsibility for their actions…and that’s wrong.

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On man boobs

Gwyneth Paltrow is a fine actress. She’s also a very funny lady. It seems that when she was starring in “Shakespeare in Love,” she had to do a nude scene…her first in film. Fearing that some members of her family might be shocked, she went to her uncle and tried to explain what she was doing. He interrupted with, “Ah, two fried eggs, sunny side up. I already seen ’em” I’m guessing that uncle was not one of the more ‘shockable’ family members!

I mention this because coming out of the shower today I noticed that my man boobs are larger than Gwyneth’s. Man boobs are not supposed to be larger. I always thought that if you “worked your pecs,” you wouldn’t develop man boobs. Not only that but I appear to be about seven months pregnant. Now let’s get something straight here…I work out. I work like a dog when I work out. Admittedly, much of my workout is designed around cardiovascular health, but still…I have man boobs, a “pregger” belly, a flat ass, and big quads and calfs. To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, “I’m an enigma wrapped in blubber and looking for a place to eat!”

Here’s the problem…I hate diets…and I love food. Right away you can see the problem. I suppose I could buy one of those wraps that goes around my middle and guarantees that it will take off fat by the pound until I’m svelte and studly-looking. Or I could buy one of those dumbbell thingies that allows me to shake the weight away. However, I see a couple of problems with this. I’m willing to bet that I can eat sufficiently to make the wrap snap and I’ll wager that my arms will fall off before the weight does. On further reflection, I have to ask…why the hell do I want to look like a stud anyway?  I’m 77 years old – that’s right, old – and have a shaved head. My ice-blue eyes just don’t attract ‘em anymore the way they used to…it may be the cataracts. My feet are flat and even Viagra has given up on me. What, somebody wants me to look like the late Jack Lalanne? Sorry; too late; I would have to have started over half a century ago…and even then I don’t think it would have worked.

Sure, most of us would be better off if we lost some weight. We’d have more energy and we’d be able to do more. My question is…more what? Seventy-seven is not old and despite the bullshit you hear, it is not the new 50; it’s 77, period. I truly admire these octogenarians who are riding bikes competitively and running marathons. It’s just wonderful…for them. We do what we do when we can do it.

Now, all of that being said, get off the goddammed couch and put a little exercise in your life. You’ll hate it! Well…you’ll hate it at first. Once you get that first release of endorphins, you won’t want to stop. It’s a high unlike any other…no drugs or alcohol ever gave you such a trip…and it’s good for you! Don’t be stupid in your approach, however. Check with a doctor first and see just how much exercise is good for you. Me, I was told to do what I could without overdoing it. If that’s not a “cover your ass” statement, I never heard one. The first time I tried an elliptical machine, I lasted just about five minutes. I now do an hour and most of the time I love it. Sure, there are days when I’m not up for it so I turn around and go home. However, the next day I need it…like a druggie needs a fix.

So…if you’re looking for a New Year’s Resolution to make, why not put exercise at or near the top of the list. Losing weight could be up there too, but tough decisions are tough decisions. I’ll continue to try to lose, and I’ll continue to exercise. I really don’t think the man boobs are going to go away, but maybe I can shrink the belly a bit.

There are a couple of other things I’d like to say in regard looking and feeling your best. If you smoke, stop. I smoked for 51 years and I’m paying for it with three heart attacks, five stents, emphysema, and COPD. If you drink, make certain it’s in moderation. I worked with a recovering alcoholic several years ago. We did a series of articles about what it’s like; it ain’t pretty…moderation, folks, moderation.

Twenty-twelve is almost upon us. It’s the year the world is supposed to come to an end. Frankly, I’m a bit in doubt about that. I look at this year as a new beginning; a time when I’ll be 78. It won’t be until September, but I’m still looking forward. Life is the greatest gift of all. Take advantage of all that it has to offer and have a Very Happy and Healthy New Year!

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I am a killer!

“Wow; he’s admitting that in writing,” you ponder to yourself. “A killer? Really?”

Yep, that’s me, Killer Dick, The Big Bad….Person!”

“Who do you kill?” you ask.

“Aha,” I reply, “You’ve been watching too much CSI, NCIS, Dateline Discovery ID, and all those other gory programs. Therefore, you believe me to be a murderer of who, not what…and it is what that I kill on a regular basis.”

My late wife was not a killer. She was more what I would call an involuntary ‘manslaugherist.’ You see, we together could kill things that if others tried to kill, they would be unable to do so. Take philodendron, for example. Philodendron is extremely difficult to kill. For us…no problem. Going away for vacation and need someone to kill your plants while you’re gone? Call me; I can do it in a week. Hell, I walk into a room and plants quake. Most of them begin to write out their leafy wills the moment they spot me. It’s a gift.

I had two cacti sitting on the ledge of the bow window in the front room. One of them had belonged to Joan’s mother. After her death, my late wife took care of it. This means that cactus had nearly 30 years of careful tending by the involuntary manslaughterist and she didn’t kill it. Frankly, I think it was a record; either that or she hired someone behind my back to tend to it. I finally gave in and bought her another cactus plant to care for. Even that one survived while she was still alive.

The other day, my girlfriend brought the two cactus plants into the office where I was working – I call it an office, but it’s actually a spare bedroom where we put the computer…no big deal. She confronted me with two wizened cactus plants. “You know,” she began – she’s a plant person, but we keep the front drapes closed so I don’t think she’d ever seen the ‘cactii.’ “You know, even in the desert they have flash floods.” Long pause as she stared at the two plants. I said nothing. She broke first. “You killed these,” she uttered. What could I say? It was true enough. I had left them in the front window; in the face of the broiling afternoon sun…with no access to water other than what I probably should have given them once every month or so. I had claimed two more plants; nothing but a couple more notches in the plant stand. I know that I should have been ashamed [or something], but I felt no pain. I have to admit that I am heartless when it comes to house plants…live, die, do your own thing, whatevah!

My attitude was fine as Joan had my back, but she’s not here. She would have kept the cactus alive, but she’s not here. Instead, they were left in the hands of a killer. However, now comes a new problem. The lady who now lives with me, whom I love and loves me, not only has a green thumb; she’s green all over.
She can make a rock grow flowers…beautiful flowers. She has transformed our back and front yards into floral paradises. In addition to the floral beauty of the yard which began with the crocuses blooming through the snow in January of last year, we had fresh fruit and vegetables all summer. She tends to her plants and to me the way a new mother tends to her newborn. Now that she’s found out I’m a killer, I have to watch myself very carefully. There are three plants in the office. When she comes in, she doesn’t look at me first; oh, no, the first place her gaze falls is on the plants. I can hear her mind churning: “Has he tried to kill you guys yet? Don’t worry; as long as I’m around, he won’t get the chance.” It’s terrifying; I go to bed at night, wondering if I’ll awaken with an amaryllis protruding from my chest. Shades of the Alien movies when the little monster pops out of the guy’s shirt!

I think we’ve worked something out, however. I stay away from the plants – even the ones in the office – and she leaves one of the dead cactus plants where I can see it every time I walk into the office. It’s sort of a “Don’t you touch anything killer, or it’ll be the last thing you touch.” It’s just a bit intimidating, but what the hell, as long as she keeps creating the beauty both in the house and around it, I’m just going to sit back an enjoy.

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“It’s a season of love.” Boom, go the bombs outside of a Catholic church. “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Seven found shot at the breakfast table in Texas. Love, love, love, love, love, and more love…bullshit! We are not a world that loves anymore; we are a world filled with hate. “You’re wrong,” you say? If I’m so wrong, how come less than a week after the American troops pulled out of Iraq, there were bombs going off in Baghdad and a warrant had been issued for the arrest of the vice president of that country. If I’m so wrong, why are Nigerians, Syrians, Egyptians, Americans, and people of almost any nation you can mention killing each other on a daily basis. No, I’m not wrong; I’m a realist.

We, as a world, are degenerating back into “wild kingdom” where it’s kill or be killed. This killing can be literal or figurative. In many of the lesser developed nations, it has more of a literal bent – killing is a way in which to ensure one’s own survival. In the developed countries of the world, it takes a more figurative bent. The have’s deprive the have nots of the opportunity to become haves. Look at the problems in Italy, Greece, Ireland, and several other members of the European Union. Open warfare hasn’t yet become a solution, but don’t bet your bunker that there aren’t some major players considering it as a way to regrow their economy.

We’ve gone nuts as a world. As transportation, communication, and manufacturing have shrunk the world, they have also fostered hatred. It’s sad but it’s also true. When Communism died, a few far-thinking individuals jumped in and scooped up the spoils left behind. Industries became monopolies. The Russian Mafia, held somewhat in check by the Communists, came out of the shadows and began infiltrating all sorts of business in Russia and the satellite countries. The motto became, “If you can’t take it legally, kill those who can and take over.” It’s not only Russia; it has happened all over the world. Muslims won’t be happy until Sharia law is in place everywhere. Are all Russians or all Muslims or all this or that to be tarred with the same brush? Of course not, but the tragedy is that those who are violent; those who will bomb, kill and maim to make their point are the ones who are grabbing the headlines and terrifying the peace-loving who have yet to experience the reality of terrorism.

As a nation, America thought it was safe until the Oklahoma City bombing. Heck, we still thought we were safe after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing…”See, those idiots don’t even know how to bomb properly. They’re no threat!” It took an event of the magnitude of September 11, 2001, for us to pull our collective heads out of the sand and realize that no matter how much foreign aid we give; no matter how much cannon fodder we send to other countries, we are still hated to a degree that no one in this nation can possibly imagine. If we have learned one thing from Korea, Vietnam, Central and South America, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and every other country to which we have sent economic and military aid, it is this: We can’t fucking win. We are the Great Satan. We are the country where everyone drives around in Cadillac’s and Lincolns. We are the nation where everyone has three solid meals a day and closets that are filled with clothing. We are the nation where everyone is a movie star. We are the most prosperous nation in the world and, as a consequence, we are the most hated nation in the world.

I’m not exactly certain why America is considered so affluent. Is it because we do send aid, both economic and military, to those countries that are less fortunate? Meanwhile, American children are dying from hunger every day. Our homeless people die on the street every day. Our poverty level is rising every day. Our national priorities are screwed up…every day

I would love to see America in a position to be of assistance to developing nations that want our help. It would be great to realize that there will be no more dictators in the world who can kill their own people just for shits and giggles, and that we helped to rid their country of that kind of leadership. It would really be terrific…but we can’t. We can’t do that until we take care of the problems that are confronting our own nation

We, as Americans are great ones for charity. We give millions, perhaps billions of dollars to help stamp out disease. We have food pantries and welfare systems to help those less fortunate. We have charity in our hearts and larceny in our souls. How much of the money we give to stamp out disease actually goes into the research and how much goes into some executives’ pockets? How many people are there who cheat the food pantries and screw the welfare system, and who will sit around on their fat asses all day watching Dr. Phil and company telling us how to solve all of our problems. If their newspapers should accidently fall and open to the help wanted section, they run like hell to another room!

We’re beginning to see the results of our efforts in Iraq…not quit zip yet, but let’s see what a decade will bring. We will see the same thing when we leave Afghanistan; it will return to what it was 2500 years ago. As for Iran, it will get its nuclear weapons no matter what we do Libya, Egypt and all of the Arab Spring nations will revert to in-fighting and continued killing. I’m terribly sorry to say this, but we’ve just killed a few thousand more young American men and women who might have gone on to do wonderful things, but we’ll never know. It happens all the time; when old men get mad at one another, young people die.

I do wish we could pull ourselves together as a nation; to see that we have many of the same problems we’ve confronted in other countries. Rarely have we solved them there. Perhaps, we should turn our eyes inward and look hard at how bad America has become. No one is asking for micro management, but hell, there doesn’t even seem to be anyone around with a macro view. How sad.

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Wouldn’t you love to have been a fly on the wall as the Republican House members debated what to do yesterday? All week John Boehner and company have been saying that nothing could be done unless the Senate was called back. After approving a 60 day extension on tax cuts for the middle class and extending the unemployment benefits, it appeared that House Speaker Boehner had some kind of epiphany that insisted he change his mind. That’s okay, Mr. Speaker, we need a bit more proof that you and the rest of your Congressional colleagues are, in fact, Washington’s idea of comic relief. Perhaps I’m being somewhat unfair here. John Boehner is a good man; he’s an honest man. It’s highly unfortunate that he is surrounded in the House of Representatives by people like Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Majority Leader. Cantor is like the kid who causes the trouble but runs away when the trouble starts. He, along with his tea party ship of fools, doesn’t really understand how government is supposed to work. In that regard they are not dissimilar to the Occupy movement. That is, “We know what we want but we have no real idea of how to achieve it.” As a result, in the case of the tea party, they turn to badgering the people in their own party who are in positions of genuine leadership. They coddle, cry, threaten, and moan, and in order to maintain peace in his own party, the leader attempts to mollify them to the detriment of Congress as a whole and the entire 99 percent of the American public.

To call this a major victory for President Obama is, perhaps, something of an overstatement. Truth to tell, Obama didn’t really bring to bear all of the pressure that I believe he could have. His is a leadership style that we haven’t seen in some time. To me it appears he has seen that the heavy hand rarely works and that consensus is the only way for progress to be made. Unfortunately, there are those in Congress who don’t believe in consensus decision-making and who will do everything possible to ensure its failure under this particular administration.

It will be very interesting to see what happens when Congress reconvenes in January. Personally, I believe that it’s time for Representative Boehner, in consort with President Obama and a few of the cooler Republican leaders to take the tea partiers one-by-one on a trip to the woodshed. At the very least, they could be told that there will be no leadership assistance during their next run for office. As the comic line in the old German spy films noted, “Ve haf vays!”

It really is a crime that our government has come to this impasse. We can’t reduce a multi-trillion dollar budget deficit “because it’s the other guy’s fault.” We can’t agree on a jobs bill that would put more Americans back to work “because it would give the other guy a win and we can’t let him win even one.” We can’t pass a one year tax cut bill “because that would look like we’re caving in to ‘them.’” Who the hell “them” is happens to be far beyond my ken. As I understand it, we are “…one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” In my limited understanding of the English language, ‘all’ means every man, woman, and child in the country. So to Eric Cantor, the Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Georgia delegations, which appear to be the largest groups of tea partiers I would say this, “Stop wasting the time and money of America. Start doing something right for a change rather than just bitching and wailing and wringing your hands. You are behaving like a group of spoiled children. You are not entitled to bring down government because you want something you cannot have. You are not entitled to get your own way every time you open your smarmy little mouths. Grow up and get with the program.”

As for you, Mr. President, lead the way to the woodshed for these people. Let them know exactly what steps you will take; just how far you will go; exactly what resources will be expended to ensure they are not returned to Congress. Like spoiled brats they will run to the newspapers; let them; like the little troublemakers they are, they will call you a bully; let them. And then, move ahead and jam those of your legislative packages that will help the country as a whole right down their angry little throats. We know it’s not going to be easy, but dammit, you’re the leader of the greatest country in the free world. It’s time you showed Congress that, along with the velvet glove, you also have a mailed fist!

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That the United States Congress must be replaced in 2012 is a given. While it would be possible to list precise reasons why each of the 535 members should be ‘laid off – off to the unemployment line boys and girls – editorial opinion pieces are not allowed to ramble on forever. Since the vast majority are already far above the poverty line, I really don’t believe the $174,000 annual salary as being an absolute necessity. It would be a different story if the 112th Congress could demonstrate to the American public precisely how they have served the interest of the population in toto. Since they cannot do that, it might have been item number one on the Occupy Movement’s agenda rather than sputtering the glittering generalities about greed.

Truth be told, we stand as a nation divided. This division has nothing to do with North v. South. It has nothing to do with slavery, although slavery does still exist in this country and I defy anyone to get in a debate with me about that subject. No, this division concerns the haves and the have not’s. The problem is that the Legislative Branch of our Federal Government, the people who are supposed to be looking out for the interests of all Americans have been purchased by the haves and now have to ask permission from some lobbyist, bank chairman, or the head of a huge corporation just to go to the bathroom.

Let me give you a single example of just how bad things have become: According to a recent report by Public Campaign, a national non-profit, nonpartisan organization, “…thirty big corporation…paid more to lobby Congress than they paid in federal income taxes for the three years between 2008 and 2010, despite being profitable.” In addition, “Despite making combined profits totaling $164 billion in that three-year period, the 30 companies combined received tax rebates totaling nearly $11 billion.” The report also states that, “Altogether, these companies spent nearly half a billion dollars ($476 million) over three years to lobby Congress – that’s about $400,000 each day, including weekends.”  The figure that really bothers me is that, “These corporations …spent lavishly on compensation for their top executives – $706 million altogether in 2010.”

Who are the 30 companies studied in the Public Campaign report? Let’s begin with General Electric. GE received $5 billion in tax rebates. Corning received $4 billion. Twenty-seven others received tax rebates. Con-Way posted profits of $286 million…paid no taxes; Wells Fargo  had profits of $49 billion…paid no taxes. Of the 30 companies studied, only one, FedEx, paid a three-year tax rate of 1%. There is something extremely wrong with this picture. Not only were these companies raking in huge profits but they were also laying off workers. Verizon topped the list with 21,308 laid off. Boeing (14,862), Wells Fargo (6,385), GE (4,158), FedEx (3,800), American Electric Power(2,600), and Honeywell International (968) were also in the subset covered by the report.

The campaign contributions made by these companies to influence elections and/or legislation that favored them totaled over $22 million. There is no statement more indicative of how our Congress has been bought and paid for. “We have the best Congress money can buy,” Will Rogers once stated. He was talking about yesteryear. Imagine what he’d say today.

Congress doesn’t represent you an me. Congress represents those who pay them, and they are paid well. The average American just isn’t getting a fair shake. It’s just too bad. Come 2012, let’s show our displeasure at the polls.

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