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Archive for the ‘Big Money’ Category

In the last session of Congress, the Democrats proved their inability to govern when the other party had control of one of the houses that comprise the law-making body for our government. Now, knowing that they will lose any ability at all when the next Congress convenes, the Democrats are using the same tactics that were employed by the Republican House. If this isn’t the most scurrilous, contemptible, dysfunctional, and hypocritical bunch of children at play, I honestly don’t know what is. If they were children on a playground, the nuns would be hauling them back by the ear, one in each hand, and rapping their knuckles until the blood flowed.

The photograph on AOL of Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell putting their heads together like a couple of long lost brothers is nothing short of obscene. Some political novice once asked a sitting Senator how he could rail against the actions of another Senator during the day and then go to dinner with the person the same evening. “That’s politics,” the Senator told the confused. I would postulate that it’s not politics; it’s bullshit, and it’s an affront to the voting public…oh, that’s right; I forgot that the American voting public is “stupid.” Oh, Lord, what have we allowed our government to become in this, The 21st Century? In the 224 years since we became independent, wouldn’t you think that somewhere along the way, we would have found the correct way to make our government work without having to go through this deceitfulness that has become an everyday occurrence?

This last minute $1.1 trillion bill that has been passed to keep the government up and running is also loaded with riders that would turn the stomach of a flesh-eating zombie. It’s a win for the trucking industry because it eases the restriction on the number of hours a truck driver could stay on the road; now we’re back to sleepy drivers and higher incidents of truck-related accidents. CitiBank wrote the rider that “…relaxes regulation of high-risk investments known as ‘derivatives’ – rules that were imposed to reduce risk to depositors’ federally insured money and prevent more taxpayer bailouts.”

Another rider on this spending bill, “Allows some pension plans to cut benefits promised to current and future retirees. The change is designed to save some financially strapped plans from going broke. It applies to multiemployer plans, which cover more than 10 million people mostly at small, unionized employers, often in the construction business.” Hey, how did these plans become financially strapped in the first place, and why should the entire burden be placed on current retirees…another smack in the face for the elderly.

Here’s another winner. Under this new spending bill…to keep the government afloat of course…is a rider that allows more money to be given to political parties. The bill will allow each of the “superrich donors” to give nearly $1.6 million per election cycle to political parties and their campaign committees. “The comparable limit for 2014’s elections was $194,400.” Hot damn; as Will Rogers and Mark Twain both said, “We have the best government money can buy.” I can just hear an old-timer telling a first-year Congressman, “Don’t worry son, you may have spent a lot of money on your campaign, but you’re sure to leave here a multi-millionaire!”

To be certain, politics is a game of give and take. “I’ll vote for your bill on this if you vote for my bill on that,” and that’s the way it’s always been and always will be, but for God’s sake, let’s use a bit of common sense. The Republicans get pissed at the IRS so they cut their budget by $350 million? Why, because some of their Tea Party right-wing groups were getting too closely scrutinized? Oh, that’s a great reason. Of course, there isn’t one person on the right side of the aisle who would ever admit that, and the American voting public is too ‘stupid’ to catch on (like hell we are).

We have set term limits for our Chief Executive. It’s about time that the American voting public, this group called ‘stupid’ by some MIT asshole took a stand and demanded that term limits be set for Representatives and Senators. If you can’t do what needs to be done over a period of – and this is an arbitrary figure – ten years, get the hell out of politics and let fresh blood take over, because it’s for damn certain that you have only your best interests at heart; not those of the people who put you into

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Is a seat in the United States Senate worth over 100 million dollars? Is it worth $86 million? How about $78 or $72 million? What is worth spending those kinds of dollars? It seems that ever since the Supreme Court struck down the ruling on campaign contributions, PAC’s of all types and sizes are going wild with the money they are throwing around to get their candidate into a Senate seat. Senator John McCain was disgusted when he recently spoke to a Washington reporter. McCain, as we know, was one of the authors of campaign finance reform.

Back to the big bucks…Democratic incumbent Senator Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis, the state House Speaker who is challenging her, could retire for life with the money that is pouring in from their party as well as from “independent” sources. In Colorado, Democratic incumbent, Mark Udall and his challenger, Republican Cory Gardner are wooing voters with over $86 million. And Udall is in trouble, in part because of his support of the Affordable Health Care Act.

If the Republican Party takes control of the Senate as it has the House of Representatives, it’s time for many people to be frightened. Obama might as well take the next two years off because he sure as hell isn’t going to get any bills passed by a Republican Congress. Senior citizens may as well take classes in shoplifting and other crimes to supplement what will surely be a reduction in Social Security…if it’s not cut altogether, along with Medicare benefits. Am I sounding like an alarmist? You-are-goddamned-right, because while Obama care is not perfect, the Republican House tried more than 40 times to get it repealed and failed each time. Can you imagine how fast it will go down the tubes if the entire Congress is controlled by Mitch McConnell and John Boehner? Neither has the courage to stand up to the Tea Party extremists like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Joe, “You’re a Liar” Wilson and other crazies who put themselves ahead of their constituents and the Republican Party they are supposed to represent.

If the 113th Congress was the least productive group ever to occupy the halls, the 114th will be one of the most productive, and Barack Obama may go down as the President who vetoed the greatest number of bills. The question then becomes, will Congress, with majorities in both houses be able to override those vetoes? If so, what will that mean to Mr. and Mrs. Average American?

How have we come so far away from where we started? Our founding fathers didn’t agree on everything that appears in the Constitution, but they at least had the ability to discuss questionable phrases and clauses within that document. In addition, there has always been a certain degree of rancor in both houses, but in the overall, things were accomplished, and we, the people, were better off because of it. That’s not so today.

Twice I voted for this President. I believed his rhetoric, and I still believe that he has the best intentions for the nation in his heart. Today, I believe he was not ready for the job; today, I believe that if he had waited; had gained more experience; had learned to listen to some of the more seasoned members “on the hill,” that he would have been better prepared. His failure to involve members of Congress from the onset of his presidency has cost him dearly with both parties. His inexperience in foreign policy has alienated many of our allies. His choices for department and division heads have been questionable, at best, and downright stupid in a number of cases. Could I have done a better job? Don’t be ridiculous. Could Hillary Clinton, his opponent for the nomination, have done a better job? I have no idea. Personally, I believe that Mrs. Clinton has a long list of people who did not serve her husband during his time as leader of the free world, and should she ever win the presidency, those folks would be wise to hunker down and hide.

I shudder to think how much money will be spent on the 2016 Presidential campaigns. My singular hope is that between now and then, a campaign finance reform bill will be passed by Congress, one that the Supreme Court will find acceptable, and that will make campaign spending more respectable. It’s time that “We the people” take back our rights; that instead of being led like sheep, we begin to howl like wolves and say that the rich may not be allowed to buy the United States Congress; that the rich may not be allowed to buy a President they can control; that there is a middle class in America, and we are sick and tired of being screwed by those who believe they can control us with their money.

 

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I suppose that if we really wanted to, the United States could always find a way to keep its population from growing by sending its young men and women to die somewhere. Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria, Columbia or any Central American country, or any other African country for that matter, and we could send in the cannon fodder, just for the hell of it, right?

What is wrong with us; no, not us; what is wrong with the President, the Congress, the Department of Defense, and the rest of the idiots who believe that we, the United States of America, must stick our noses into the business of other countries? Isn’t that why we have a United Nations? Just because that operation happens to be headquartered in New York – a fine place from which spies from other countries have a field day studying American processes – does not mean that we are the chosen one to send our children out to die. Why don’t we headquarter the UN in someplace like Berlin or Paris or Moscow or Milan? Let those people take the lead in interfering with what’s going on in other nations? Why not; the answer is simple; they wouldn’t. They are too intelligent to interfere. It’s a freaking wonder we haven’t sent some troops to Gaza and some to Israel…just to be fair.

These “wars,” for that’s what we seem to be calling them, are costing us billions of dollars. However, I really don’t care how many goddamned dollars we’re spending, we’re also killing and maiming our young men and women, and that, my friends, is the real tragedy of war. Oh, look, isn’t that wonderful; we’ve created an entire new charity; it’s called the Wounded Warrior Project; give now, and support our veterans. Bullshit and I’m not saying forget the wounded warriors. I’m saying that we should stop interfering in things that don’t concern us in order that we not have a need for programs like the Wounded Warriors. We have the technology to create arms and legs, hands and feet; we don’t have the technology to mend the minds of these young men and women. We cannot take away the memories of what they have seen and what they’ve been forced to do to protect themselves.  Post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] has become an ingrained part of our vocabulary. We hear it every night on some ‘news’ program or other. We ‘find’ the causes of it, but no one, as yet, has found a cure for it. Therefore, because we have the ability to do so, let us lessen the opportunities for people to endure it.

There are so many things that are in need of support here at home and America still has to find away to insert itself into the business of people abroad.  I kept hearing that we went to Korea to stop the “red menace” from taking over the country and then moving on until all of Southeast Asia was under the iron fist of the communists. I heard basically the same thing when we went into Vietnam. Then what happened? The bastion of communism, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ went kaput. The red menace was a menace no more…at least that’s what we believe. With KGB’s Killer Putin in charge, one never knows what to expect. The Middle East is a different story. We have no business interfering with tribal warfare. Let them kill each other; it’s just adding a bit more bleach to the gene pool. We have enough problems at home to take care of. How about spending fewer dollars on defense and a few more on (a) increasing the minimum wage to something above the poverty level; (b) protecting our borders to  the south from an immigrant invasion that is going to cause us nothing but problems in the future; (c) strengthening our infrastructure so that every time I drive over or under a bridge, I’m not terrified that the damned thing is going to collapse under me or crash down on top of me; (d) revitalizing cities like Detroit and others that have been allowed to go to hell in a hand basket; (e) revamping our educational system in order to allow future generations to compete on a world stage that is becoming smaller and smaller; (f) rewriting our tax laws to allow average Americans to at least attempt to live the American Dream; (g) taking a hard look at our immigrant population and getting rid of those who are abusing what we have to offer without buying into our language or culture – yes, there is such a thing as being too nice.

Does all of this mean that I’m opposed to a strong military? Absolutely not, because we need a strong military if we are to survive.  We require a dedicated military that can respond at a moment’s notice to threats directly against the United States. My military service was limited, for the most part, to reserve activities. However, I spent a tour at the Pentagon, and it was one of the most rewarding times of my life. For many, the discipline and structure of military life are critical, and we have the best damned military of any nation in the world…but let’s not waste their lives so generously or to protect the assets of a few wealthy people. That’s wrong, and as a country, we should know better.

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A panicked Senate Majority Leader sent me a four-page hysterical appeal the other day. He expects me to send money to stop the Koch brothers from buying the United States Senate in the November 4th elections. Now you have to understand that the Koch brothers have a net worth that exceeds $100 billion. There’s an old Tanzanian proverb that says, “Little by little, a little becomes a lot.” Okay, fine, but Mr. Speaker…that’s Harry Rein from Nevada…your own net worth is between three and ten million dollars. How much of your own personal fortune are you committing to ‘stop’ the Koch brothers?

It seems to me that American politicians are bought and sold on a pretty regular basis, depending on what bills are before Congress or what bills might come before Congress. Since, Mr. Speaker, your own net worth has more than doubled since you went to Washington, isn’t it fair to say that you, too, have been bought and sold a few times? Heck, the Koch brothers are just the latest in a long line of carpet baggers that have sought to line their own pockets with a few more shekels and enrich a few other people who believe as they do.

Another assumption you have made that I I don’t understand, Mr…oh, hell…that I don’t understand, Harry is why you address me as a “…fellow Democrat.”  That just straight out isn’t true. I’m not a party person – at my age, in more ways than one – but Harry, I’m not a Democrat. I am an independent voter who supports candidates, not parties. You’ve been in the Senate long enough to have heard Tip O’Neill say, “Country first; state second; party third.” You and your colleagues – on both sides of the aisle by the way, have changed that to be “Party first; me second, state third…and the nation a distant fourth.” The number of ethical violations of which you have been a part lead me to believe you’ve either completely bamboozled the voters in your state or that you have spent even more money to ensure they don’t know of your ethical abominations.

If you are so interested in defeating the efforts of the Koch brothers, why not turn to that great Democratic supporter, George Soros. Granted, he is getting along in years, but he certainly has much of the money required to dull the sharp blade of the Koch swords. You state in your letter that the Republicans are “…outspending us 3 to 1 in must-win Senate battlegrounds! Join us in the fight to retain our Democratic majority!” Well, hell, Harry, you don’t want me; I’m one of those senior citizens living on a fixed income. You need to turn to the big guns you’ve turned to in the past.

Although I’m quite certain you will say it’s a right-wing propaganda machine, Investors.com, states that “Right after the Supreme Court’s decision to lift limits on campaign contributions, Democrats and their left-wing supporters assaulted the decision as a boon to Republicans, “the party of the rich.”

“This of course is part of a far-wider narrative — slavishly repeated by largely unquestioning liberal media — that the GOP outspends Democrats on campaigns thanks to big-buck donors like the billionaire Koch brothers.

“But, as it turns out, that’s a lie — as big a lie, in fact, as “you can keep your insurance,” “you can keep your doctor” and “ObamaCare will bend the cost curve down.”

“By almost every measure, in fact, it’s the Democrats, not the Republicans, who are the party of the rich.

Start with Congress itself. Who are the wealthiest members? Well, there are 269 millionaires among Congress’ 535 members. And most of them are Democrats.

“And contrary to the hand-wringing on the left about the Supreme Court’s 5-4 McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling Wednesday, Democrats far outspend Republicans on elections. It isn’t even close.

“According to OpenSecrets.org, from 1989 to 2014 rich donors gave Democrats $1.15 billion — $416 million more than the $736 million given to the GOP. Among the top 10 donors to both parties, Democrat supporters outspent Republican supporters 2-to-1.

“But what about the villainous Koch brothers, those conservative plutocrats supposedly seeking to control American politics? They rank 59th on the list of big givers — behind 18 unions and No. 1 Act Blue, the massive left-wing fund raiser that gives only to Democrats.

Now there is no question in my mind that figures don’t lie, whether they are presented by left-wing extremist such as you and many of your colleagues or by right-wing radicals such as Rand Paul, Mario Rubio, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, and company. But it’s a known fact that liars do know how to figure. You paint a portrait of disaster if the Senate should be taken over by the Republicans. Perhaps having them do so would not be quite as disastrous as you think. It just might rattle the American public sufficiently that they will begin to think once more about who should be running the country. If health care disappears for millions; if Medicare and Social Security sneak off into the sunset; if our children suddenly find themselves being taxed to death, then it won’t matter what the Tea Party and their Republican allies do to the planet, everyone will be dead and there will be no one left to care.

In your diatribe you state that “Republicans don’t care who gets hurt in the crossfire as long as they get their way. And trust me, their Tea Party and Super PAC’s must not have a free ride to spew their nonsense.”  I’m sorry, Harry, but that kind of scare tactic went out with Herbert Hoover. To paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt, “We have nothing to fear but the scare mongers,” and that is exactly what you have sent to your “fellow Democrats.”

Senator, it’s you and your ilk, along with Mitch McConnell and his ilk that have brought on this terrible gridlock in Washington. Drop the scare tactics and begin discussing issues. Don’t tell me to fear the Koch brothers. Give me honest answers about why I should give you and your colleagues my vote.

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According to the American Correctional Association,1 “Prisons have four major purposes. These purposes are retribution, incapacitation, deterrence and rehabilitation. Retribution means punishment for crimes against society. Depriving criminals of their freedom is a way of making them pay a debt to society for their crimes. Incapacitation refers to the removal of criminals from society so that they can no longer harm innocent people. Deterrence means the prevention of future crime. It is hoped that prisons provide warnings to people thinking about committing crimes, and that the possibility of going to prison will discourage people from breaking the law. Rehabilitation refers to activities designed to change criminals into law abiding citizens, and may include providing educational courses in prison, teaching job skills and offering counseling with a psychologist or social worker. The four major purposes of prisons have not been stressed equally through the years. As a result, prisons differ in the makeup of their staffs, the design of their buildings and their operations.”

That sounds pretty reasonable to me. If someone commits a crime that is punishable by time in prison, that is where that someone belongs should be sent. It doesn’t really matter what gender that someone may be; it shouldn’t really matter what race or creed that someone is {wink, wink}. Social status should not be a consideration regarding whether or not that someone is put into the prison system. Put in the more popular vernacular, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

Are we on the same page so far?

Recently, there have been two reasonably high-profile cases that have made a joke of our crime and punishment laws in this country. The first was the case of a 16-year old Texas kid who, while driving drunk and on Valium, plowed his pick-up truck into another vehicle, killed four people and seriously injured several others. His alcohol level was three times the legal limit for the state of Texas, probably from the two cases of beer that he and two of his ‘buddies’ stole from a liquor store. His penalty is ten years probation. The judge maintained that it was not his fault; that his parents were to blame because they didn’t instill any values in their son. In other words, he was the spoiled little rich kid whose folks are so wealthy that rules don’t apply. In fact, the defense attorney indicated that the boy was so spoiled that he didn’t know the difference between right and wrong. There was so much controversy surrounding the initial sentencing that the judge refused reporters and cameramen inside her courtroom as she reaffirmed the sentence. One psychiatrist who testified for the defense coined the term “affluenza” in describing the boy. Had this kid been a minority or a young man from a middle class family, his ass wouldn’t have seen the light of day until he arrived at the Pearly Gates. In fact, the same judge, Jean Boyd, sentenced a 14-year old Black boy to 10 years in prison for killing another person with just one punch. What Judge Boyd is doing sitting as a county judge is beyond my understanding.

The second case concerns one of the heirs to the DuPont fortune. Robert H. Richards IV, unemployed and living off his trust fund, was convicted of raping his three-year-old daughter and assaulting his two-month old son. It appears that none of this would have become public had his ex-wife not filed charges accusing him of the crime. Richards was initially indicted on two counts of second degree child rape, felonies that carry a 10-year prison sentence for each count. In her decision, the judge said that Richards would benefit more from treatment and that he “will not fare well in prison.” Despite being six-four and 250-275 pounds, you can bet your butt that Richards would not have fared well in prison. There are few people more despised by prison inmates than child molesters, and to my mind, it’s highly doubtful that Richards would ever have left prison alive.

 

All of this points up a serious problem. Are the one-percent of the American population going to continue to commit crimes and use their wealth as an escape from the justice system? It seems to me that judges like Jean Boyd in Texas and Jan Jurdan in Delaware would do well to find another profession. At the very least, they should be forced to read the American Correctional Association purposes for prisons.

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For more than 125 years, the American Correctional Association has championed the cause of corrections and correctional effectiveness. Founded in 1870 as the National Prison Association, ACA is the oldest association developed specifically for practitioners in the correctional profession. During the first organizational meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, the assembly elected then-Ohio Governor and future President Rutherford B. Hayes as the first President of the Association. The Declaration of Principles developed at the first meeting in 1870 became the guidelines for corrections in the United States and Europe. At the ACA centennial meeting in 1970, a revised act of Principles, reflecting advances in theory and practice, was adopted by the Association. At the 1954 Congress of Correction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the name of the American Prison Association was changed to the American Correctional Association, reflecting the expanding philosophy of corrections and its increasingly important role within the community and society as a whole.

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                             Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.                                                                                           Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s rather difficult to take issue with the longest serving first lady of the United States and, without question, the most politically active and decisive woman ever to be in the White House. However, the quote above is one with which I must disagree in that it is often the ideas of great minds that sets in motion events that, if not disruptive to the nation as a whole, can certainly prove disruptive to thousands of others within our nation itself.

Perhaps the most recent idea that had to have come from some reasonably great minds is the General Motors debacle over the problems with their automobiles.  For example, can you possibly believe the Rick Wagoner who chaired GM from 2000 – 2009 did not know about the problems with the 1.3 million cars that were built between 2003 and 2007? He was chairman and CEO and this was kept hidden from him? Puh-lease, give me a break? So, what happened after he had milked GM for $63.3 million during his tenure, excluding a $10 million retirement package, and was finally forced to resign by the White House? Another of GM’S ‘old boy network, Fritz Henderson took the reigns – well, at least for eight months he held onto them. The Board forced him out and put the Chairman, Ed Whitacre, in his place in a move that shocked the automotive industry…can you say, “Old boy network continues?” Oh, and by the by, still no action on faulty cars that have been rolling off the assembly line. Daniel Ackerson, another GM board member succeeded Whitacre with an eye to improving GM profits.

There’s a pattern forming here that should be obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense. The emphasis was in turning the company around without bothering to examine how this was being accomplished. Bottom line became more important than quality of product.

It is solely my opinion that the men of General Motors, finally realizing just how badly they had messed up, even while bringing the company out of bankruptcy, decided they needed a sacrificial lamb on whom they could lay all of the product problems that were plaguing the company. Welcome to the head of the class Mary Barra, Chief of Product Development, to which I say, “Just put your head right on this block My Queen, Dear Antoinette; it will only hurt the first time!”

It may be wrong of me to believe this, but it’s the way my mind works. I’m betting that all of these men from the old boy’s network intentionally through Mary Barra into the number one position solely so that she will take the heat for their errors. Guess what, boys, Mrs. Barra has more guts and more courage than any of you, because she will stand up and admit that GM really messed up between the years 2003 and 2012, and that her job is to make it right. She will also resolve that nothing like this will ever happen again on her watch…and it won’t.

Now that the secrets are no longer, perhaps it’s time that the White House stepped in once more and revoked the $10 million retirement package given to Rick Wagoner. Perhaps liens on his assets to the tune of that retirement compensation could be used to partially compensate the families who lost members due to the failure of those GM vehicles. New research is saying that it is no longer just 12 people who lost their lives and the number may climb to over 300. Perhaps liens should also be place on those who succeeded Wagoner up to time that Barra took over. Will all of this bring back the family members who lost their lives? Will this bring “closure” to the families? Lord but I hate that word, “closure.” There is no such thing because closure would mean having daughters, sons, mothers, and fathers back as living, breathing, laughing, and loving members of families, and that’s just not going to happen.

I’ve seen your videos Mrs. Barra. You’ve been kind to your predecessors, but as you have noted, you’re not just the first woman to head a major automotive giant; you’re a family person, a mother of four, and someone who knows what this loss really means. No one is asking you to micromanage, but everyone is asking that you become more involved than your predecessors about the day-to-day operations and engineering designs. I’m certain you have the ideas about which Mrs. Roosevelt has spoken. You bring to the table much broader experience than the boardroom boys. Let me put it another way: I think you’ve a hell of a lot smarter, tougher, and more empathetic to the consumer than your recent predecessors. Go get ‘em, Mary; give ’em hell!

 

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“I cried because I had no hat till I saw a man who had no coat.
I cried because I had no coat till I saw a man who had no shirt.
I cried because I had no shirt till I saw a man who had no socks,
I cried because I had no socks till I saw a man who had no shoes.
I cried because I had no shoes till I saw a man who had no feet.
I cried because I had no feet till I saw a man who had no legs.
I cried because I had no legs till I saw a man who had no life.”

The author of this poem, to be best of my research and knowledge, is unknown. Some say that it’s somewhere in the Holy Bible, although no one seems to be able to find it. Others attest that it is an ancient Persian Proverb, and there is research to support that thinking. Attribution to a single author, however, is sadly lacking. Whatever and whoever may be responsible for this aphorism, it is something with which each and every person should identify.

I’d love to have a larger pension; then I talk with someone whose IRA was stolen by this crook or that, and now they have damn near nothing. I’d love to be able to go someplace warm in the winter; then I hear about people who have lost their homes to foreclosure or to tornadoes. I’d love to get a new car, and then I see the people who don’t have cars and rely on public transportation. I’d love a lot of things, but I read that proverb and think, “You really are one lucky son-of-a-gun; you have three children who are successful; you have nine wonderful grandchildren; you have a roof over your head, reasonably good health, and twice you have been blessed by women who love you and whom you love. What the hell more could you want out of your life? Go ahead and die tomorrow ‘cause it doesn’t get much better than this.”

Lately, the Boston news media have been covering the situation of David Ortiz, the designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox. Ortiz was a great acquisition from the Minnesota Twins when the Red Sox traded for him. He has been a wonderful addition to the roster and certainly has, in part, been responsible for the success of the team over the past few years. Ortiz, however, has a bit of a problem. It seems that a $12.5 million dollar a year contract is not enough money for Ortiz to stay in Boston. He wants the Red Sox to either ante up or he’ll go where the money is. Ortiz is 37-years old, and in major league baseball parlance, that’s getting near the end of a career. Ortiz’s net worth is $45 million; that sure seems to me to be enough to put his three kids through college; to buy a few homes here and there; and  still have a couple of bucks left to buy a new car or two each year. If, per chance, you don’t agree that Ortiz should be making much more money than he is, you are, in his own words, a “hater.”

On the one hand, Ortiz says that he loves Boston, that it’s his city, that he loves playing baseball here; after the Marathon Bombing last April, Ortiz addressed the Fenway faithful, saying in part, “This is our fucking city. And nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.” That it came from the heart, there can be no doubt; that he went on to have a great season, there can be no doubt; that his contribution to the 2013 World Series Championship, there can be no doubt, but David, I have some words for you…”You didn’t do it alone; I can’t begin to name every other player, but each one contributed in some way to that World Series win.” Twelve point five million dollars a year is a lot of money for anyone to be making, particularly when there are so many who are making less than twelve thousand dollars per year. Yes, Ortiz, like any professional athlete, can suffer a career-ending injury at any time, but with a current net worth such as his, there should not be a problem.

Should Boston allow Ortiz to go elsewhere? No, no, this is a case where John Henry and company should ante up. Ortiz means a great deal to this city, but to be really great, both sides should come together before the start of the season in a sensible fashion. That means that Ortiz stops publicly speaking about his salary and that the Red Sox make a fair and equitable offer that will allow him to finish his career at Fenway Park.

Perhaps I’m wrong to pick on David; in fact, I’m not really picking on him. He just happens to be the most public figure on the greed scale at the moment. I was talking with Ted Williams years ago. We were walking across the campus at Babson while his son was speaking with folks in the Admission Office. We talked about a lot of things, but I remember Ted saying how much he loved playing baseball. “Where else can you have a job that is playing a kids’ game every day, outdoors in the sun, and they pay you money for doing it?” he asked…or words that were certainly very close to that. I later heard some line like that in a movie and it reminded me of Williams.

Times have changed since the Williams days. I’m not certain that there isn’t more pressure to build that bank account because who knows what’s around the corner; what the economy is going to do; what climate change may hold for us. It’s a “Get it while you can” mentality and that may be fine, but what’s enough? How much is too much? What do we do to help those with nothing? Better yet, how do we help those who have given their body parts on our behalf…the men and women who have defended our country and paid for it so dearly? We may cry because we only feel deprived; how about those who have actually been deprived?

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