Info Ink Retrospective

So ends another year and a time to look back on whether Info Ink is doing what I originally intended……

I started my blog as a way to rehab after my leg was crushed thanx to that bitch Katrina….I also wanted to try help people understand politics, theory and philosophy a little better….not trying to convince people to my way of thinking (but if they did I would be eternally grateful)…….I hope I have succeeded a bit and have been helpful……

In the beginning it was a place for me to cut and paste info from Middle East newspapers during the last Israel/Lebanon conflict….since the days of my employment in the Middle East I still read read Arab language newspapers and there was reporting that was seldom seen in the US….so I decide to let their own words speak to the conflict……

But once I began posting I realized what a great outlet for my talents of observation….and began writing on subjects that I had tried to leave behind years ago…politics and economics……and it has become more successful than I had thought it would be…..I thought it would just be my rambling thoughts with little or no interest…..I was wrong!

I have tried to give my readers information that I feel they need know to be knowledgeable voter and citizen….in doing so I have not had the success that I had anticipated…..I cannot decide if people just do not care or have I misinterpreted what people want to read…I believe it is the later more than anything.

I have wrestled with myself with the idea of changing the content of Info Ink and deciding on a possible new direction…..but what direction?  Would it be more gossip?  Or maybe more tech stuff?  In trying to decide I fell back to something my grandfather said when I first started writing…..”It is better to write for yourself and have no one than to write for everybody and have NO self”……so my decision was made, thanx to my grandfather, I will continue on this line of posting and not compromise my principles……

As this year ends I would like to post on what is happening at Info Ink….it has been an excellent year, I got new and prolific viewers….Larry at Woodgate’s View, Spinny at Spinny Liberal, Hansi of Hansishallucinations, Phillip of Darklynoon, vjack of Red State Progressive, jolly roger of Plutocrap, Dusty of Leftwing Nut Job, Kendrick of Prince and Little Prince, Don of Doninmass  all to go with my long time regulars like Quin of Quintessential Havoc (who has since decided to leave), Terrant of My Corner To Rant and Chris of Why We Worry (who is taking a sabbatical)…..you can go to blogroll and visit all these sites….they are interesting and well informed…..go…visit…often!  We have had many guest over the past year and some really great comments and participation……and if I left anyone out…I apologize.

To date I have gotten 97,226  hits,  10, 111  comments,  posted 4844  posts and blocked a whopping 199,168       spam….I also started publishing a daily paper, The Daily Agitator (go to blogroll and visit it when you have the time)………all in all a GREAT year!

Thank you everyone!  I appreciate and enjoy our times together and I hope to have a long and fruitful friendship with you all….may we all have a good and fruitful 2012….it may prove to be an interesting year……I think it will to silly as well as interesting and entertaining….I look forward to everyone’s input.

Also if you have any ideas you would like to see me do on Info Ink, please feel free to let me know and I will see what I can do……may we all have a great 2012……once again Thank you all!

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Winner! 2011 Anal-Ocity Award!

As the year draws to an end…..it is time for the announcement of Info Ink’s  annual Anal-Ocity award, the “Assie”,………I would like to thank all those who participated in determining the winner……and now with all that behind us….

First runner up was…….#5………

Newt Gingrich (again)–“I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

In 2nd place……….#3………..

3–Rep.  Paul Broun of Georgia–“In fact, Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent his advisors, his close friends, his cabinet people to go visit with Stalin in communist Russia to study what he was doing, what Stalin was doing there so that FDR could replicate it here in the United States.”

And now……(may I have a drum roll please)……..the winner of the 2011 “Assie” Award is………(pause here for effect)………#1……our favorite whack-a-doodle…….Newt…..

”You have a very poor neighborhood. You have students that are required to go to school. They have no money, no habit of work,” Gingrich said. “What if you paid them in the afternoon to work? What if they became assistant janitors, and their job was to mop the floor and clean the bathroom?”

Thank you one and all for your participation and Mr. Newt Gingrich will be getting an email from Info Ink informing him of his prestigious win….

Thanx again, my friends……

Lies About Social Security

How long have Repubs been trying to kill Social Security?  As long as many can remember….they have tried almost every ploy to make it look like SS is a dying policy……and as a Baby Boomer I am sick of my generation being blamed for killing the program….it is NOT an entitlement it is a debt owed to me by the government…..

The Economic Policy Institute has compiled a rebuttal to all the lies spread by the GOP….

Social Security costs are escalating out of control. No. Costs are projected to rise from roughly five to six percent of GDP before leveling off.  Americans want benefits but aren’t willing to pay for them. Wrong again. Americans across political and demographic lines support paying Social Security taxes. They also strongly prefer raising taxes over cutting benefits as a way to close the projected shortfall. The most popular option is raising taxes on high earners, since earnings above $106,800 aren’t taxed. But Americans prefer to close the gap on the revenue side even if asked to pay more themselves.  Our children and grandchildren will drown in debt if we don’t cut the social safety net. No, future generations will drown in debt—their own or the federal government’s—if we don’t address health care cost inflation. Cutting Medicare or Medicaid benefits just pushes costs onto the private sector. And there’s no reason to lump Social Security in with other programs since it’s funded through dedicated taxes and prohibited by law from borrowing.  The Baby Boomers will sink us. No, we saw them coming. Social Security began building up a trust fund in the early 1980s in anticipation of the Boomer retirement. The trust fund will keep growing for another decade to around $3.7 trillion, enough to last through the peak Boomer retirement years.  We’re living longer, so we need to work longer. No—only some of us are living longer, and most of us are already working longer. Gains in life expectancy have been concentrated among people with higher incomes and more education, especially men. Meanwhile, the labor force participation of older workers is close to the postwar peak.  We just need to save more for retirement. That’s a reason to expand Social Security, not shrink it. The average household has a retirement income deficit of $90,000, a conservative measure of how far behind they are in saving and accumulating benefits for retirement—and that’s without further cuts to Social Security. Retirement insecurity is increasing due to earlier Social Security cuts and the shift from secure pensions to do-it-yourself retirement accounts. (If anything, budget hawks should look to trim 401(k) tax breaks, two-thirds of which go to taxpayers in the top fifth of the income distribution and have little impact on saving.)  Seniors are greedy. No, they’re struggling to make ends meet. By any reasonable measure, seniors and other beneficiaries are worse off than working adults, so it makes sense to increase contributions rather than cut benefits. Older households have incomes roughly half those of working-age households. The “greedy geezer” myth rests on the fact that seniors have lower official poverty rates than children and working-age adults, though an improved measure that takes into account higher medical expenses for seniors shows that the three groups have similarly high poverty rates. In any case, cutting Social Security would increase poverty for all. Also, while older households typically have accumulated more savings than younger households, these savings are not enough to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living through retirement.  Benefits are generous. No, they’re modest and shrinking. The average retirement benefit is $14,000 a year—less than a full-time minimum wage worker earns—and benefits constitute two-thirds of income for the average older beneficiary. For a medium earner retiring at 65, benefits replace 41 percent of pre-retirement earnings, down from 52 percent in 1981. This replacement rate is scheduled to drop in the next 15 years to a meager 36 percent.  We’ll just cut benefits for people who don’t need them. No, proposed cuts would hurt the middle class now and the poor later. Because benefits for high earners are modest and wealthy retirees few, supposedly “progressive” plans actually go after middle-class benefits in order to yield significant cost savings. Social Security’s enduring popularity rests on the fact that people earn the right to participate by working and contributing, in keeping with core American values. Moving from a universal social insurance program toward a need-based one would doom Social Security to the same fate as targeted programs like Medicaid, which are being squeezed even as demand for them grows. An even worse idea is cutting cost-of-living adjustments, which would have an impact on all beneficiaries, but especially the oldest old, who are also the poorest old.  Social Security won’t be there for us. Only if we fall for these arguments. Social Security can pay full promised benefits for another quarter-century. Even if nothing is done to shore up the system, Social Security can continue to pay three-fourths of promised benefits after the trust fund runs out. Though this would be far from ideal, it’s certainly no reason to preemptively cut benefits. Instead, we should devote a small portion of the economic growth projected over Social Security’s next 75 years to continuing to build economic security on the cornerstone laid by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Social Security is not the bastard program that all the Repubs want you to believe….know the facts before you give people the power to control your retirement……vote smart….for a change!

Did Conservatism Die?

College of Political Knowledge

There have reports, articles even books that have said that conservatism is dead.  And then there has been a wealth of articles, reports and books that have disputed the claim.  Especially, in the last couple of elections, it does seem that there are NO real conservatives left……but to answer the question….NO conservatism is not dead….but it is on life support and the far Right has their hands on the plug.

The tactics of conservatism vary widely by place and time. But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy are better people than they are. Modern-day liberals often theorize that conservatives use “social issues” as a way to mask economic objectives, but this is almost backward: the true goal of conservatism is to establish an aristocracy, which is a social and psychological condition of inequality. Economic inequality and regressive taxation, while certainly welcomed by the aristocracy, are best understood as a means to their actual goal, which is simply to be aristocrats. More generally, it is crucial to conservatism that the people must literally love the order that dominates them. Of course this notion sounds bizarre to modern ears, but it is perfectly overt in the writings of leading conservative theorists such as Burke. Democracy, for them, is not about the mechanisms of voting and office-holding. In fact conservatives hold a wide variety of opinions about such secondary formal matters. For conservatives, rather, democracy is a psychological condition. People who believe that the aristocracy rightfully dominates society because of its intrinsic superiority are conservatives; democrats, by contrast, believe that they are of equal social worth. Conservatism is the antithesis of democracy.

The sine qua non of a conservative is someone who rises above his personal self-interest and promotes moral and economic values beneficial to all. Alternatively, a conservative is willing to learn and advocate the insights of economics and the morality of the Bible for the benefit of all, recognizing that the Bible is the most logical book ever written. Specifically, conservatives seek or support:

Does any of this sound familiar?  Personally, it is not dead or dying….it is trying to re-define itself and that could lead to a break among the members of the party….but the aristocratic thinking of the conservative will remain.

Steven Haywood has an excellent point……

It might seem that the long-standing conservative project to shrink the New Deal welfare state by starving it of tax revenue, reigning in entitlements, and limiting its reach into the lives of American families and businesses – begun in the Reagan years and continued fitfully through the first and second Bush presidencies – might be ready to recommence. And perhaps, this time, with help from the fervour of the Tea Party, conservatives may even finish the job.

For those willing to probe a bit deeper, however, it should quickly become apparent that we badly need to take stock of our position. Conservatism, despite these impressive electoral victories, is failing on its own terms. Start with the social indicators, which are the most important to conservatives. The US’ fast-growing and largely minority underclass shows limited signs of progress or assimilation to middle-class American life. And the white middle class – the bed-rock of conservatism’s political strength and social vision – is showing signs of social stagnation and economic regress that should be sounding ominous claxons in conservative meeting halls but, so far, have attracted only the attention of Charles Murray. Stagnant income growth and mobility and a shrinking middle class are considered unhealthy by most conservative understandings of social health, cohesion and well-being. While conservatives have plenty of macro ideas for increasing economic growth, they have fewer ideas about how to secure a wider distribution of new wealth.

While conservs may see the need to re-think their positions….none have the cajones to admit it out loud….after all there are elections to be won…….so, NO conservatism is not dead, but it is walking with a limp……

An Anniversary Post

In August 2005 I lived through the longest day of my life….Hurricane Katrina, all 14 hours and 37 minutes of it….I say long because most hurricanes last about 6 to 8 hours….I am sure everyone remembers the photos and the tape of the devastation ….I was working for the state of Mississippi at the time and was a first responder….myself and 4 other men worked endlessly to sure up houses that could be saved so people could live there…..I continued to work in houses to make them ready for habitation and on 26 December 2005 while working from a ladder it shifted and threw me onto a concrete slab….my leg was broken in so many places I had to have surgery to repair…….

I tell this tale because of the bitch Katrina I had a long rehab and on 27 December 2006 I started my blog….in those days it was called “Studies And Observations”……I had been on many discussion forums and found that people are idiots….NO one wanted to debate issues and such but rather spent most of their time belittling anyone who did not agree with them……I used my name, Chuq and because I would write stuff about the Middle East I was immediately an Arab infiltrator…..I thought people would be interested with a perspective from an American that had worked in the Middle East…I was WRONG!  After many months of trying to be reasonable I decided to give it up and write a blog with the hopes that people would respond to the posts and we could start a substantial conversation…..

I still read Arab newspapers and their point of view is very different from that of Americans….so I began cutting and pasting articles that showed an opposing opinion to what the mainstream media was giving the American people……I feel people need to hear opposing points of view so that understanding can be had and in doing so make the world a little better….that was my hope.

After awhile of cut and paste I decided that since I had given up on political analysis years before I would try it again by posting my personal point of view……that was FIVE years ago today.

MY first post was an Introduction……

Hello and welcome–I will be posting my political studies and observations as often as I can. Hopefully people will find it thought provoking and interesting. I look forward to any and all comments.

So far it has been an amazing time for me…many good people stop by and offer their points of view and we have exchanged ideas on many topics…Info Ink has many excellent participants and I look forward to more and more….

Thank you, my friends!

Arrest The SOBs!

I wish I could write something good about GOP candidates….I really do…..but they just cannot keep their mouths shut long enough for us non-GOP types to find something positive.

As a historian, I really would like a historian to be in the fore front of politics, but I wish in vain….we do have a historian running but he is such a douche that I could find nothing good to ever say…his historic fats are steeped in revisionism…..he sees history the way he wants to see it and NOT from anything near reality….

Yes, I am talking about Gingrich!

His latest f*ck up is about judges…..he said…..

SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this and we’ll talk about enforcing it, because one of the things you say is that if you don’t like what a court has done, the congress should subpoena the judge and bring him before congress and hold a congressional hearing. Some people say that’s unconstitutional. But I’ll let that go for a minute.
I just want to ask you from a practical standpoint, how would you enforce that? Would you send the capital police down to arrest him?

GINGRICH: If you had to.

SCHIEFFER: You would?

GINGRICH: Or you instruct the Justice Department to send the U.S. Marshal. Let’s take the case of Judge Biery. I think he should be asked to explain a position that radical. How could he say he’s going to jail the superintendent over the word “benediction” and “invocation”? Because before you could — because I would then encourage impeachment, but before you move to impeach him you’d like to know why he said it.
Now clearly since the congress has….

SCHIEFFER: What if he didn’t come? What if he said no thank you I’m not coming?

GINGRICH: Well, that is what happens in impeachment cases. In an impeachment case, the House studies whether or not — the House brings them in, the House subpoenas them. As a general rule they show up.

Let me help out a bit…….Article III is designed to guarantee independence from people like Gingrich so that judges can rule in favor of the Constitution and, yes, at times take positions disliked by the majority.

Scary, apparently Gingrich does not grasp the concept of three separate branches of government and he is a historian!

Again, I apologize for I really want there to be a descent candidate….but you guys are soooooo SCREWED!

On Christmas Day

Today is the day we set aside to worship at the alter of consumerism….the true meaning of Christmas has been lost forever…….a day to set aside our petty differences and enjoy the day of food, family and fun…..but do not forget the protesters that may be out in the weather….do what you can after all they are fighting for all of us…..

I want to wish all my readers, both of Info Ink and The Daily Agitator, for their support and their loyalty….may all of us have a joyous day and all the good feelings and hopes of the season…

Congrats to Univ. of Sou Mississippi on their Hawaii Bowl win over Nevada……24-17!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good day!