I can’t break my record—it’s been over a year since I failed to post during the week.
I was wiped out yesterday with sinus headaches most of the day. I think the front that passed through was the culprit. The headache woke me yesterday and I was still groggy from lack of sleep. I spent the night in my old snooze 15 minutes then wake up, snooze, wake up. It’s not restful by any definition.
Getting back to trends. I’m reading Tom Kratman’s Countdown. It’s Mil-Fic instead of SF. It draws on Kratman’s experience as a retired Army officer, Ranger and troop commander. I’ll not spoil the book other than to say it’s about a hostage rescue.
The book does present some of Kratman’s views. One such view is that civilization is falling. I would say that our present world situation is close to that at the end of the Roman Empire. Nation-states are failing and collapsing into factions, factions are collapsing into tribes and clans. We even see evidence of that here in the US.
In the US we have three, maybe four main factions—liberals, conservatives, parasites and a smattering of other smaller groups. The liberals are the elites and statists, mostly members of the democrat parties, unions and their hidden socialist supporters like Soros and others. The conservatives are members from the republican, libertarian, and the Tea Parties—fiscal and social conservatives.
The parasites are those who are out to get whatever they can from either of the other two sides. You have the welfare class from the democrats along with members of the establishment like Lindsay Graham and the two Maine twins, Snow and Collins.
The result of these factions is the situation we have in Wisconsin. The electorate booted the liberals from the state legislature and the Governor’s office. When it came time to balance the budget, the dems/unions/liberals who had run the state for decades could not just abide by that decision. The disloyal opposition fled the state to create an impasse rather than heed the voice of the public.
Wisconsin is not the only state in this situation. It’s just the first. Kratman is not optimistic about our future. I see where he could be correct but I believe we can still change our national course—if we have the will. Kratman doesn’t think we do. I’m willing to wait and see.
….at least in Wisconsin!
I am quite taken with the struggle going on in Wisconsin. It must be one of the more illuminating spectacles of recent memory. ‘Illuminating’ in the sense that it is showing us the heart and soul of a swath of fellow-citizens that is antithetical to what I have always believed.
The ‘democracy’ protests in the Middle East are great theater but I don’t think they have much to do with democracy. By the time they are through we’ll have a wide swath of scary retrograde Islamist countries there and we’ll be standing around wondering who will sell us some oil. We won’t think to find our own here, either. On the other hand, the protests here are strictly about money and political clout and no amount of conflating these two protest types (by the media) is going to work. It’s difficult to compare an annual salary of $1,000 (if you can get work in Egypt) to $80,000 a year plus another $25,000 or so in ‘benefits’. And that $100,000 or so is paid for by taxpayers.
[Up front I’ll say I am married to a retired municipal employee and the mother of a state employee, so perhaps my opinions don’t fit well with our reality.] The Wisconsin teachers and public employees provide necessary and important services for the citizens there who pay their salaries. It would be nice if we could pay all teachers huge amounts of money for the important work they do. The problem is that those paying the salaries and benefits don’t have nearly as sweet a deal as the public employees. Folks work hard (if they have work at all), pay for their own retirement funds and a good chunk of their check goes to insurance. They now see that the public employees pay miniscule amounts into their insurance and pension and are throwing a fit about contributing a tiny bit more. I must admit it doesn’t seem quite right….especially when the states having to pony up the cash for benefits have a choice of raising taxes to cover this or to trim their payrolls. [what good is it to hold on to those benefits and perks when your employer can no longer keep you on?]
If I were a state, municipal or school district employee and enjoyed what I did and my choices were to pay a tiny bit of my insurance and pension costs–or be trimmed from the payroll and/or watch my coworkers laid off–I believe I’d grit my teeth and opt for a little buy-in to my own welfare.
Where I work we went through something like this a few years ago. We’ve gone several years without any increase in pay accompanied by increases in insurance costs. We’ve even seen quite a few of our coworkers let go which makes more work for those of us remaining….not to mention the fear that we would be next out the door. This is the reality for folks everywhere around the country….unless you’re a public union member. That’s why I think there’s now quite a bit of resentment against those who work for us but make more money and have job security to boot.
But we know, deep in our hearts, that the orchestration of these protests is not entirely about the money….it’s about politics and union power. And therefore it’s about power for Democrats and the president. That’s why the president couldn’t help but insert himself in the middle of the Wisconsin difficulties.
I also believe that if I called the very nice woman who is my supervisor at work and said I was ill and then she spotted me screaming on a corner on the Plaza she’d have, at the very least, some negative things in my file very shortly. If I did it again–lying about taking a sick day–I might well find myself out of a wonderful job and wondering how to buy groceries. That seems like a fairly ethical situation to me, as opposed to teachers calling in sick, waving signs and screaming, and getting paid by taxpayers to do so. It’s just not right.
It will be interesting to see how this all works out. I am so looking forward to the elections in 2012 because I believe we’re tired of these sorts of things—and especially tired of an administration which finds its power by pitting groups against each other and fomenting class warfare. He has always talked about ‘fat cats’ and ‘rich folks’ paying their fair share and now I think I agree with him. It’s apparent to me that the guys in spats and monocles are the 7th grade science teachers and high school orchestra instructors.
Borders Books filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this Wednesday. Their stock has fallen below $1/share (last I looked it hovered around $0.10/share.) The CEO has promised a recovery. The company will close 1/3 of the existing stores and “reorganize.” This time last year, there were three Borders stores in the KC that I know of—two on the Kansas side and one in Lees Summit, MO. There may have been another north of the river but I’ve never seen it.
Border’s CEO sent the message below via e-mail to everyone who was in the “Border’s Bucks” program.
I’m a “Border’s Bucks” program member. It has saved me some money of the past few years. But I’ve not bought a dead-tree book since last summer. I’ve gone digital.
Border’s website is…I’m a loss for words to describe how cumbersome, slow, inefficient, slow, crippled it is for ebook users. For example, to sort by author name is not an option. You can browse through ebooks by author name A-Z or Z-A, by release date (current to past and vice versa), by price (low to high and high to low), but you have to jump through numerous hoops to list ebooks by a single writer.
Brick ‘n Mortar stores are fading. On-line is in and if Borders wants to survive, the first thing they’ll do is replace—in its entirety, their website.
I hate to see any bookseller go under. But Darwin’s law applies to business as well. So far, Borders is not surviving.
It’s been a few days since BO presented his budget proposal and we’ve had a chance to look it over (if the dems still controlled the house, we’d never see it and it’d be declared a State Secret!) The budget contains all the usual lies and obfuscations, increased taxes, and MORE spending.
There are a number of liberal media programs about to get the ax if the house ‘pubs have their way—the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NPR, and the various “National Endowments…” will have their funding zeroed. Not in BO’s budget.
I guess Juan Williams would approve.
Obama submitted his version of a “deficit cutting” budget. It does nothing to cut the debt although he claims it will reduce by $1.3T. The problem with that statement is that his proposed budget has $1.6T of spending and dissolves the Bush Tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.
All told, the new taxes total $1.5 trillion over 10 years — ranging from new levies on small-business owners and corporations to taxes on energy and banks. Passed as is, the Obama budget would make economic stagnation and 9% unemployment the status quo.
Yet, in his “Budget Message” released with the numbers, the president says that his spending plan “lays out a path for how we can pay down these debts and free the American economy from their burden.”The White House pledge to “pay down these debts” is beyond absurd. The expected deficit this year alone — $1.6 trillion — is greater than all the “deficit cuts” Obama has in 10 years. — Investor’s Business Daily, “Obama’s Gutless Budget Proposal“, 02/14/2011 06:52 PM ET
Obama said that he’s cutting discretionary spending. He does this by re-classifying projects to move them into the non-discretionary category. In addition his tax increases are targeted against the small businessman—the sole proprietors, those who make up the bulk of job growth.
In short, Obama’s cuts nothing and contains more spending, more taxes and further attacks against the earners, those who pay for all the governmental waste coming from Washington.
Even Obama’s buds in the Black Congressional caucus, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, the corrupticrat from KC, condemns Obama’s budget—for the opposite reason. It doesn’t contain enough spending for key liberal agendas.
“Cutting funding to programs that assist hard-working Americans, help families heat their homes, and expand access to graduate-level education seems to conflict with the notion of winning the future,” Cleaver said in a statement. “We cannot win the future by leaving our most vulnerable behind. Our success as a Nation is interwoven in the success of every community. Until we grasp that concept, as a nation, we will never see the full potential of this country.”
Speaker of the House John Boehner says the Obama Agenda is dead. Let’s see if his word is good.
On another topic…why bother with a CPAC meeting when it’s hi-jacked by the Ruling Class and ineffectual libertarians? A complete waste of time. Palin and Hannity were both invited and wisely stayed away. From my observations, CPAC is now nothing but another farce whose prime purpose is to preserve the power of the Ruling Class republicans. With few exceptions (Allen West and maybe Haley Barbour) the speakers were RINOs like Romney and Palenty. Even Huckleberry had nothing pertinent to say.
The Tea Party is having a planning session coming up. I wonder who will be speaking there? Palin? Bachman? That will be an interesting gathering.