Closing Thought–11Jan17

It’s all those damn “welfare queens”……..

Has anyone noticed that the dullards on the Right have not moved past the Reagan years?  35 years after the “Great Ronnie” and they still hate anyone that needs food stamps or help surviving.

And they are still pushing their “patriotic” stuff about the military….they worship those vets and will thank them for their service whenever the cameras are on.  But basically that is as far as the “patriotic” theme goes.

So my question is…..how do they feel about soldiers families that cannot survive without assistance like food stamps?  Are these people as worthless as the Ronnie “welfare queens”?

25 percent of the nation’s total active duty and reserve personnel – that are seeking aid from food pantries and other charitable programs across the country, according to a rare inquiry about the food insecurity of troops and veterans conducted by Feeding America, a hunger relief charity, that will be released Monday. Another 2.37 million households including veterans receive assistance from food pantries that are part of Feeding America’s network (this figure doesn’t include households where both a former and current service member reside).

The help is sought for various reasons, experts say: For active duty, pressures include low pay, poor financial planning by junior soldiers, the difficulty for spouses to hold steady jobs amid base transfers and deployments, and the higher costs of living in some states.

Now that we have a new “ruler”, a Congress dominated by the GOP I am sure that food stamps will be in the firing line…along with Obamacare….

Basically, who cares about those damn soldiers and their families?  They should have made better choices with their lives, right?  (Hopefully you realize that that statement was sarcasm)

To be fair (something not known on the Right) there have been reports that our newly elected prez will do something about the military pay….what that is is anyone’s guess….but hopefully he will do the right thing for the troops and their families.

Closing Thought–10Jan17

A Dollar For Your Thoughts…….

I have said in the past in oh so many rants about the work ethic of our elected officials…that they are no more than part-time employees and should paid as such.

But I found an even more pathetic way for them to attack people…..

The Republican House majority proposed and passed a rules package on the eve of the GOP seizing control of the House, Senate, and the White House, and it contains more than a few surprises.

Republicans received widespread constituent outrage in response to a proposal to gut an independent congressional ethics office and bring it under the thumb of lawmakers, and they rolled it back in response. But the rules package contained other significant changes , including rules expanding Congress’ power to haul private citizens to Capitol Hill for testimony, and the revival of an obscure rule that would allow Congress to individually target and slash the pay of government workers and programs.

The Holman rule, named after the congressman who first proposed it in 1876, was nixed by Congress in 1983. The rule, now reinstated for 2017, gives any lawmaker the power to offer amendments to appropriations bills that could, legislatively, fire any federal employee or cut their pay down to $1 dollar, if the lawmaker so chooses.

Source: New House rules allow Congress to slash the pay of individual federal workers

If anyone in Washington deserves to have their pay cut to $1 it is those slackers in the Congress….I mean think about it…..they work 110 days last year and get full time pay…..

Can you think of anyone that deserves the pay cut more?

The Magical 401(k)

Remember to plan for your retirement…….

Back during the reign of “King Ronnie” and his big push to privatize everything…the big new plan to help people retire was the advent of the 401(k).

This was a way for business and government to get out of the business of pensions…..but since those days in the 1980’s this idea has proven to be as bad an idea as sneaking arms to the Contras…….

The only people that this horrible idea benefited was stock traders and fund managers…the individual was only a tool to extend wealth and not for the individual……

When 401(k) plans emerged in the ’80s, they were supposed to complement pensions, not replace them. But as the Wall Street Journal reports, only 13% of workers in the private sector today hold pensions thanks to the 401(k) revolution—and original proponents of the tax-deferred savings plans are now saying they may not be the best way for people to shore up for their golden years. “We weren’t social visionaries,” says Herbert Whitehouse, an ex-J&J exec who was also an early 401(k) promoter. Not only are the plans—which let workers sock away pretax money—vulnerable to stock market declines (defined-benefit pensions are guaranteed payouts for life), they’re also subject to costly manager fees. And Forbes notes that longer-lived retirees may need enough funds to last 30 years or more, making it even more critical that retirement cash can be stretched for the long haul.

One economist says at first she’d tell workers they’d be set if they saved just 3% of their salary—but that was based on projected 7% annual investment returns, an overly optimistic calculation. Plus, per an Employee Benefit Research Institute researcher, only 61% of workers who could be saving for retirement are currently doing so. Based on Boston College calculations, 52% of US households are “at risk” of not being able to live comfortably during retirement. Not that 401(k) plans are complete failures: Advocates say if people start using an employer-offered 401(k) early enough, it can lead to substantial savings. Still, fixes are being proposed, such as mandated savings plans run by either employers or the government. “There was a complete overreaction of excitement and wow” in the early days of the 401(k), laments a retirement services exec. (Research has pointed to this “alarming” anti-401(k) fact for a few years.)

As usual none of these “miracle” plans ever fully assists the individual.

“It Costs How Much”?

I have spent most of the time here on this blog, IST, bitching about the waste of money by the government and the costs of all the wars we seem to want to fight.  My hope was people would see what I was saying and start demanding that their be my accountability by our elected governments, no matter which thief is elected….

A story is developing around the NDAA….that magic piece of legislation that makes our defense contractors rich by no amount of imagination….speaking of the cost of a pint of American blood or a pound of flesh…..

Congress wants every taxpayer to know just how much of their money went to wars over the last 15 years. Tucked into the annual defense authorization bill — expected to become law in coming days — is a provision requiring the Defense Secretary and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner  to post online all of the costs, “including the relevant legacy costs, to each American taxpayer of each of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.” –Military Times 

There is more……..

How much has the US spent on war since 9/11? That’s been a matter of major debate, with no real official figures on the matter, and estimates varying wildly from low-end reports on the cost of the literal deployments to much larger all-in figures covering the war and aftermath.

We’re going to finally get an official figure at some point soon, however, as the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has been revealed to include a provision requiring the Pentagon and the IRS to both figure out the overall cost of the wars and make that figure publicly available.

Like most NDAAs, the 3,000+ page 2017 version includes a massive number of requirements which were neither publicized before the fact, or indeed widely known once the bill had passed, with analysts still digging through it and finding new details.

Congressional estimates have put the Iraq and Afghan wars at $800 billion and $700 billion, respectively, while some analysts have suggested that once the costs for medical care for the massive number of wounded is factored in, the cost could be many trillions of dollars. The Pentagon and IRS may be in a better position to know for sure, and the pressure is certainly going to be on with this legislation for them to come clean about the matter.

(antiwar.com)

I will wait to see how far this goes…..I m not liking the chances that it will become known to us mere mortals anytime soon….that is unless we find another whistle-blower that will sack up and turn the info out.

One last thought…….

Closing Thought–15Dec16

Trump Craps On Flying Brick!

I have been ranting fort a couple of years over the amount of cash being pissed away on a new fighter, the F-35….or as I call it the Flying Brick….why?  I seems to be not very good at continuous work without a massive and expensive  repairs….

At least there are a couple of things that I can agree with coming from Trump’s mouth….he seems to see what a piece of crap the f-35 is and will continue to be…….

Last week, Donald Trump criticized “out of control” costs for Boeing’s 747 Air Force One jets. On Monday, the president-elect took a new swing at the Pentagon, this time coming down on the cost of the country’s fighter jet program, the Wall Street Journal reports. “The F-35 program and cost is out of control,” he tweeted. “Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.” Although no specific company was mentioned, Lockheed Martin—the nation’s largest defense contractor—is the developer of the F-35, and its shares dropped 4% after Trump tweeted, Reuters reports. Shares of United Technologies and BAE Systems, both suppliers to Lockheed and the F-35 program, also dipped after Trump’s remarks. Trump didn’t elaborate on how he’d save those billions.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has come under fire before for high costs—the GAO has called it the Pentagon’s “most costly acquisition program,” per the Journal—with 2,400 replacement planes on the DOD’s shopping list at a cost of nearly $400 billion (a pilot’s helmet by itself could cost $400,000). Jeff Babione, general manager for Lockheed’s F-35 program, says the company is open to any questions Trump has about the program and that it “[understands] the importance of affordability.” Babione told reporters in Israel they’ve been trying to cut down the jet’s price by 70% from the original planned cost. “We project it to be about $85 million in the 2019 or 2020 time frame,” he said. No one’s sure what spurred Trump’s criticism, though CNNMoney notes that defense chief Ash Carter is in Israel for the delivery of two F-35 jets and that Trump often tweets “relatively quickly after seeing something reported on TV.”

For all my bitching and now the future president is doing it also…there will be NO stopping the program….even Israel has bought some these worthless and unreliable toys.

A great waste of taxpayer dollars….but that is what Washington does and will continue to do…..even under the guidance of his manship…..

Is Trump A Socialist?

Did you hear that?  That was the sound of millions of Trump supporters asses slamming shut!

Please read the post and not just the title like so many do…..

Ever read something that makes sit back and have a good chuckle?  Well I found one over the weekend……

Surely you have heard about the deal the Trump made with Carrier (UTC)…..the one about the jobs….ring a bell yet?

Don’t strain that sleeping brain……

With his deal to keep Carrier’s factory in Indianapolis open, Donald Trump has fulfilled a big campaign promise, saved 1,100 highly paid American jobs—and, once again, created an enormous controversy. Carrier, which had planned to shift production to Mexico, will receive at least $7 million in financial incentives from Indiana. Critics say this sets a dangerous precedent, and wonder whether Trump is planning to make deals with every company that threatens to move jobs overseas. A round-up of coverage:

  • Trump praised the deal in a visit to the factory Thursday, CBS reports. “Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences. It’s not gonna happen,” he said.
  • United Technologies, Carrier’s parent company, “took Trump hostage and won. And that should send a shock wave of fear through all workers across the country,” Bernie Sanders writes in a Washington Post op-ed. With the deal, he writes Trump has endangered previously safe jobs by signaling “to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives.”
  • White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the deal is “obviously good news,” but hardly comparable to the 804,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector he said President Obama created, the Guardian reports. Trump would need to “make 804 more announcements just like that” to equal what Obama did, Earnest said.
  • Trump revealed to Carrier workers that despite his promise to keep jobs there, he hadn’t really been talking about that particular factory. “I said Carrier will never leave,” he said. “But that was a euphemism. I was talking about Carrier like all the other companies from here on in.” He said he decided to get on the phone to execs anyway “because of the love affair I’ve had—this has been a very special state to us.”
  • Jimmy Pethokoukis, an analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, didn’t pull his punches in an interview with CNBC. He said Trump’s remarks were the worst economic speech since Walter Mondale’s attack on Reaganomics in 1984. He says it is “absolutely chilling” that American corporations will now have to make business decisions based on “fear of punitive actions based on who knows what criteria exactly from a presidential administration.”
  • NPR notes that United Technologies makes a lot of money from government contracts, suggesting “strong-arm” tactics played a role in the deal. Analysts including George Mason University professor of economics Tyler Cowen, a libertarian, warns that “crony capitalism” could prevail under Trump, with plenty of rewards flowing to companies that please the president.
  • But at the Carrier plant itself, the mood is unsurprisingly jubilant—and pro-Trump. The announcement was a “Christmas miracle,” Jeffery Blackford, who was worked for the company for 25 years, tells the Indianapolis Star, which reports that under the deal, the average wage will be $30.91 an hour. “Hopefully this right here will be a start of a new beginning, where we can stop manufacturing from leaving this country.”

That should catch you up…..

A leading conservative writer has stepped up and given what Trump has done a name……

GEORGE WILL: So far Donald Trump’s style is personal, not to say visceral, and ad hoc. And what that adds up to is a kind of use of presidential power absolutely unconstrained by law and statute and all those other niceties. The problem is when you have, in the Carrier case, political power used to bring pressure upon a privately held corporation that has a fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder value and drive them off with political pressure from making economic decisions about economic assets, you are, in effect, at the end of the day, getting the federal government involved in capital allocation. There is a name for that, it’s called socialism.

This ought to put the conservative writer on the shit list of all those slobbering Trump supporters……

After accusing the Left for decades of being a socialist group and plotting to somehow install a socialist government….we find the Trump is more socialist than the Left…..according to Will.

I cannot wait for the mindless dribble that should come my way…..but…….

Please before you slugs on the Right have anything to say….leave me out of it…..your point of contention is with George Will, a fellow conservative….all I did was show that not all conservatives are willing to kiss his ass like you.

Where Did The Money Go?

I along with so many others are tired of the waste of cash by the Pentagon…they get all the cash they want and then set off to piss it away…..we all know the horror of a $60 hammer or a $300 toilet seat…..

But there are times that the Pentagon is just wrong and how can a “small government” GOP Congress allow it to continue?

What am I going on about?

The good news: A Pentagon-requested study on administrative waste turned up plenty of fodder for officials to work with in streamlining operations. The bad news: The study found so much internal waste—$125 billion worth—that Pentagon officials seemingly tried to squash it, based on interviews and secret memos seen by the Washington Post. The report, issued in January 2015 by the Defense Business Board, found what the Post refers to as a “bloated bureaucracy,” with nearly a quarter of the defense budget used on overhead and administrative costs like HR and accounting. The study offered the DOD a five-year plan to save that $125 billion (including through attrition and maximizing its IT capabilities), at which point it appears enthusiasm for the report waned as Pentagon brass worried future military funds would be cut if Congress and the White House got wind of the results.

The Post details how the Pentagon went into downplay mode, restricting the study’s data and taking down a public summary. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, the Pentagon’s No. 2 official, commissioned the report—even after one board member warned him “you are about to turn on the light in a very dark room”—but his stance shifted when the study was done. “There is this meme that we’re some bloated, giant organization,” Work told the Post, noting the study “vastly overstates what’s really going on.” He noted it’s not easy to carry out some of the board’s suggestions, including getting rid of federal jobs, though he says the Pentagon will partly implement some of them to bring an estimated $30 billion in savings by 2020. “We’re the largest bureaucracy in the world,” Work said. “There’s going to be some inherent inefficiencies in that.”

Not only are the Repubs bullshit specialists but they also cover for this sort of thing when it comes to the Pentagon…like they are somehow above having to account for the taxpayers money they are given…..

Will this new upcoming Congress be any different?  (the sound of raucous laughter)…..maybe a good place to look for help with the deficit would be the Pentagon…..

Republicans are always railing against “government waste” in their never-ending quest to cut government programs. Well, the Washington Post has presented them with the quintessential example of what they can tackle as soon as the new Congress is sworn in: an almost unfathomable amount of taxpayer dollars being wasted at the Defense Department.

The Post’s Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward published an incredible investigation on Monday uncovering that the Pentagon itself commissioned an internal report aimed at identifying wasteful spending within its bureaucracy. The auditors, which only looked at the agency’s business and support operations, found a staggering $125bn that the Pentagon was wasting.

Source: If Republicans want to cut fat, they might start at the Pentagon | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian

The Air Force has a dud of a plane (which I have written about extensively) and the Navy has ships that it cannot afford….

The U.S. Navy today has only 272 deployable warships — a decline of more than 50 percent in just the last three decades — of which fewer than a third put to sea at any given time. Although the U. S. Navy remains by far the strongest force of its kind, current fleet trends call into question its future ability to meet inflated global missions that include tracking Russian submarines in the Arctic, patrolling the Persian Gulf, and defeating China on its home seas.

Rather than rethink those missions, the Navy is clamoring for more appropriations to pay for budget-busting weapons systems. For example, the Navy wants a dozen new ballistic-missile-carrying nuclear submarines at an estimated cost of about $140 billion. A single new Ford Class nuclear aircraft carrier will cost taxpayers nearly $14 billion — and that doesn’t include the inordinately expensive aircraft it will carry or the support ships needed to help protect it.

Source: New Navy Ship Leaking Tax Dollars – Consortiumnews

Trump has promised the best equipment and weapons….but does that include drains on our vital resources?

Just a thought that will get NO consideration from a GOP controlled Congress.