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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Yellow Brick Road

I can make the following remark because I am neither Democrat or Republican.
“No one, not even those Republican-bashing Democrats way out in left field who support the present administration’s policies can deny our country is in debt, big debt.”

Nobody sneezes at thirteen plus trillion bucks in the hole.

So what is the Fed doing about it? In all their so-called wisdom, they are printing more money. They’re buying debt with debt, according to Bob Livingston. “It’s shuffling money piles around. It’s taking money from one pocket and putting it into another.”

Meanwhile, writes Laurence Kotlikoff of Bloomberg News, the International Monetary Fund declares the United States is essentially bankrupt.

Bankrupt!

I can remember back in the post war years reading how well the automobile factories up North paid. The amount was a few times the $3,900 I earned my first teaching year in 1959.

Don’t misunderstand. That’s no complaint. I could’ve moved north for one the jobs, but I opted to teach. So, I’m not complaining.

It is just that over the years, I noticed, as I’m sure you, the increasing number of imports, some good, some shabby, but all produced at a wage considerably less than what I made as a teacher. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that during any year in my career, if I’d had that income and lived in one of those countries, I would have been considered wealthy.

That’s when I began to wonder when the bubble would burst.

Now it has.

And our government isn’t really helping us in the long term by continually printing up money and handing it out.

On the one hand, I’m glad for those teachers and firemen and police the last bailout bill helped. But then, I resent it because the 39 billion is not paid for. It is just another chunk added to the debt.

The bill kicked unemployment up to 99 weeks, almost two years. If I were in the unemployed shoes, I’d be grateful for it, but what will help more than the benefits are jobs.

It is a Catch 22!

What is so disgusting is that there are businesses wanting to hire workers, but cannot find qualified employees.

According to the Personal Liberal Digest, Mechanical Devices, which supplies parts for heavy equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar, say they’ve been looking for $13 per hour machinists for months. If they could hire forty, the company’s sales would increase by as much a 20 percent.

Trips to job fairs have been almost fruitless, said Mark Sperry, co-owner of Mechanical Devices. Many of the applicants just go through the motions so they could continue to collect unemployment checks.

A 52 year-old mechanic in North Carolina told The Journal he had turned down more than a dozen offers in the 59 weeks he’s been unemployed because they didn’t pay more than the $450 a week he collects for unemployment.

This is happening all over the country, said Bob Livingston. People used to making fifty to sixty thousand a year are not willing to take a thirty thousand dollar a year job when they can sit home drawing $23,000 per year and do it for two years.

Jobs are out there. Maybe not the plush jobs, unless you’re a federal employee. Federal civil servants earned an average $123,000 per year in salary and benefits in 2009 compared to the private sector that made about $61,000.

The present administration, in an election year vote-buying scheme, prints more money, passes it along to certain states to save state jobs. I told you who received the money in those states, teachers, firefighters, and police, each with unions that were among Obama’s and the Demo’s biggest supporters. (no, Texas isn’t one of those states)

What the present administration is doing is creating an ever-growing dependency class of government workers and handout takers, all of whom just happen to be voters. And for whom do you think they’ll vote? Not George W!

Don’t anyone try to convince me we aren’t on the yellow brick road to socialism!

What else can you call it?

Tell you what. Read Ecclesiastes 10:2.

Think the Lord doesn’t know what He’s talking about?



rconwell@gt.rr.com
www.kentconwell.blogspot.com

Saturday, August 21, 2010

writing courses-

Writing the Novel

This course will provide a basic understanding of the craft and art of novel writing. By the end of the course, the student will have developed a premise, a beginning, end and the characters to fill the middle of the novel.
Date: 9/14 – 10/19 Days: Tuesdays Time: 6 – 8pm Tuition: $79
Instructor: Kent Conwell

Social Networking : Building an Audience
Learn how to establish an online social media platform for making connections in the publishing industry, promoting yourself as a writer, and promoting your work. Though this class is geared toward writers, the lessons apply to artists and small businesses alike.
Date: 8/24 - 9/28 Days: ONLINE Tuition: $79
Instructor: D.B. Grady

Write for Children and Tweens
The basics of writing for children. By the end of the course you'll be primed and pumped to find your niche in the children's writers' market.
Date: 10/4 – 11/8 Days: Mondays Time: 6 – 8pm Tuition: $79
Instructor: Wendy Lanier

Nonfiction Bootcamp – Get Published (The Basics)
This course covers the basics of nonfiction writing. Participants will learn by doing, and come away from this class with the fundamentals of being a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers. Date: 9/2 – 10/7
Days: Thursdays ONLINE Tuition: $79
Instructor: Jessica Ferguson

Fiction Writing to Sell – Part I
Designed to familiarize the student with the basics of all the elements from opening hook to resolution.
Date: 8/23 – 10/4 Days: Mondays Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm Tuition: $79

Fiction Writing to Sell – Part II
In part two, we are going to expand on those areas most critical to the writing success and get into those areas we didn’t have time to cover as thoroughly before—such as plotting, subplots, structuring for conflict, building tension, weaving in clues and red herrings, etc.
Date: 10/14 – 11/18 Days: Thursdays Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm Tuition: $79
Instructor: DJ Resnick


Contact Continuing Education for Registration:
409-880-2233 Continuing Education
409-880-1832 PO Box 10008
http://www.lamar.edu/ce Beaumont, TX 77710

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ponzi Scheme Deluxe

Did you know that 142 million Americans paid absolutely no income tax this past year? That’s right. Forty-seven percent of all taxpayers ended up owing a big fat zero. Zero, as in nothing, zilch, goose egg, Sweet Fanny Adams.

How did they manage to pull off this miracle?

They did it because the tax codes and generous benefits Obama has provided the middle class and lower income citizens.

Now I took exception when I read the previous paragraph. Being retired, I consider myself a fairly middle class, not even upper middle, and yet I paid a few thousand in taxes this past year.

Be that as it may, it is obvious why the government is cutting lower income earners and hiking the upper earners. President Obama has made no bones about taxing the upper class until it hurts.

According to CNN, nonpaying status used to be a sign of poverty, but Congress and the president changed the laws enough that much of the middle class is becoming part of the pool of nonpayers.

Now the income level at which a family of four will owe no taxes tops $51,000. Oh, you’ll pay in during the year, but you’ll get it all back.

This isn’t just a tax matter. It is much larger. If you can’t see what’s happening, I’ll tell you. The present administration is using taxes as a social policy in an effort to draw more voters into their devious web of the socialized existence our leader envisions for us.

Now, hold on, don’t shout me down right now. Follow me here. Those who pay no taxes do get money back because of various credits. They look, according to CNN, not at April 15 as the dreaded tax day, but the payoff day. They have put nothing in the game, so they don’t give a hoot what the government does as long as it pays off.
What is the difference in that and various entitlements?

Now I’m not including S.S. because we pay into it. I’m talking about the social welfare that has become so monstrously inefficient and hopelessly bureaucratic that it wastes billions of dollars annually.

And where does that money come from? Not just the fifty-three percent like me who pay taxes.

You remember old Bernie Madoff and his unbelievable Ponzi scheme. He used money from clients to pay off other clients. Worked great until it blew up.

And the schemes always do!

The government is doing essentially the same thing.

The money it gets from its taxpayers obviously does not cover the expenses of running the country. That’s why we have a deficit.

To get the money to cover the deficit, the government sells Treasury Bonds that they pay for by simply printing up more money. If it weren’t so serious, I’d laugh at the idea of those presses up in Washington running day and night until the bearings burn out printed 696 million bucks a day.

Here it is very simply. Say they write a thousand dollar check, then next day print two thousand to cover it, then the next day three thousand, and so on and so on.
Right now, they’ve printed thirteen trillion plus with no collateral. According to Bob Livingston, right now debt is paying for debt.

If you aren’t worried by now, you should be.

Obama and his party are perpetuating this outrage. They’re counting on tax cuts for the lower incomes, amnesty for illegals, ignoring terrorists, and increased welfare to built a voting base for their agenda.

IBD quotes a poll that says 51 percent want the Bush tax cuts made permanent. Just 28 percent do not. Republicans by more than four to one and independents by two to one want them permanent. Democrats, by 40 to 38 percent, do not.

The president has his vacations, golf, dinners, concerts; his wife exotic vacations to Spain; Nancy Pelosi spends 600 thousand dollars a year just to fly back and forth from California to Washington.

And hey, the Republicans are just as uncaring.

We can solve the problem. All we have to do is watch those we put in. If they are not prudent with our money, then vote them out.

Sure, it’ll cause us a little extra work, but I’m not any too anxious to spend twenty bucks for a bottle of soda water, are you?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Showdown at Juniper Pass

I wanted to let all my friends and readers know my fifth historical western published by Leisure Books will be out this month. It is the third Jake Slade novel.


When halfbreed Jake Slade and his Apache brother, Nana, ride into the High Lonesome to bury their brother, Paleto, they are sidetracked in the Sangre d' Cristo Mountains when a band of scavengers hurrah the town of Juniper Pass while waiting for a hundred thousand dollar gold shipment.

.

The fast paced story is filled with action that takes an unexpected twist at the end.


The novel is available at major book stores and online. As the previous two westerns, it will come out on Kindle also.


Avalon is publishing my net Tony Boudreaux mystery, Murder Among Friends, and I was fortunate enough to sign another contract with them for my next Avalon western, Retribution at Dead Apache Springs.


Good reading


The Other Four-Letter Word

The other four-letter word? Spin!

You know what Spin is. You relate facts in such a manner to make yourself look good.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll readily admit that Spin is the technique that keeps me wondering just exactly what is going on in this state of confusion surrounding us today.

Give some guy or gal ten, twenty, or more years in an elected office, and they automatically put a spin on everything that rolls off their lips. Those snake-oil-smooth guys could make the sinking of the Titanic appear the fault of the current sunspots bombarding us or the result of George Bush driving a tractor on his Crawford, Texas ranch.

Take a look at what happened a couple weeks back when the Labor Department made its July report.

A caveat here. You and I both know the economy isn’t leaping forward.(a common spin) ‘Slogging ahead like a slug with a broken leg’ would be a better description.
But, take a look at the spin the government puts on job creation.

‘Unemployment holds steady at 9.6 percent!’

What they do not say is that an additional 5.9 percent have given up looking for jobs. Isn’t that group still part of the unemployed? Washington obviously doesn’t want us to think so.

The reality? 16.5 percent unemployment and holding steady.
Why give only partial figures? Naturally, to look good.

This same report states a loss of 131,000 jobs and the creations of 73,000 during July. In his speech, the president only mentioned the 73,000. He ignores the 131,000 jobs lost. Major spin.

As I see Labor’s report, there was a total job loss in July of 58,000 jobs. Why can’t they explain it like that?

This is the kind of biased spin put on information spouted by politicians kissing up to their constituents for re-election.

And that is the reason so many fail to tell the entire truth. Re-election!
But what if that reason were removed? What if they knew their time in Washington was ‘but fleeting’?

Thomas Jefferson urged a limit on tenure to be included in the Constitution, “to prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by continuing too long in office.” The article also stated ‘no person shall be capable of being a delegate(to the continental congress) for more than three years in any term of six years.”

Richard Henry Lee said that the absence of legal limits to tenure along with other features of the Constitution as ‘most highly and dangerously oligarchic’, a structure in which power rests with a small segment of society. . .royalty, wealth, family ties, or, heaven forbid, career politicians.

George Mason stated ‘nothing is so essential to the preservation of a Republic’, our type of government, ‘as a periodic rotation.”

Unfortunately, in the final ratification, the measure was not included in the Constitution. I don’t know who kept it out, but I have a feeling that if you did a genealogy tree on those long termers up in the Magic City, you’d probably find some of their ancestors played an instrumental part in deleting the recommendation.

Don’t think so?

Take a look at what’s happening now up in that over-the-rainbow World of Oz they call Washington DC. A couple long term politicians are under the gun, accused of ethics violations.

They are not by themselves. You don’t have enough fingers and toes to count all the politicians guilty of such a violation, and invariably, they had one thing in common, multiple terms.

Will term limits ever come about?

I doubt it.

Too many up there covet the largesse passed out by the oligarchic class the wields the power today.
But it is a darn good idea.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Zip Up Your Pocketbook

Sometime back, I did a column on the overwhelming plethora of taxes that will jump up and smack us right between the eyes come the first of this next year.

A portion of these taxes are cuts the previous administration had enacted and that our present administration refuses to renew. That means we pay more taxes. Pure and simple. Yet Obama promised time and again, no tax increase.

Given the all-people-being-equal-even-if-they-don’t-work obsession of the ruling party in Washington these days, even a dummy like me can understand why the cuts haven’t been renewed. By not renewing them, the government is forcing more of the middle class to assimilate with those who constantly seek entitlements. One way or another, Obama is going to make us all equal, except for him and his elite clique of untouchables.

The decision is simply another cog in the current socialist-inclined wheel making everyone equal, everyone except the ruling party and its pals.

Such idealistic pie-in-the-the-sky nonsense has been around since the beginning of time. This current version might have had its genesis years back up in Harvard when Obama and some his classmates sat around in their BMWs on the beach at Bar Harbor posturing idealistic philosophies and theories that would save the world. Each probably swore that one day, he would be the one to right all injustices, to make sure no one did without, and to save the American way of life—you know, like Superman.

The major fallacy in such a scenario begins with those who initiate it. I figure it unlikely any of those young prima donnas had any concept of the middle class life, a life, according to Henry David Thoreau, ‘of quiet desperation’, whose owners went ‘to the grave with the song still in them.”

Like most Utopian concepts, when romantic theory meets harsh reality, theory crumples under scrutiny.

Of course, all of you, especially those who jumped on the ‘change the world’ bandwagon Mister Obama was driving, remember how he time and again proclaimed anyone making less than $250,000.00 would not see a tax increase?

You want to know how many he lied to? He lied to every last one of us who pay taxes. That’s right.

Just for a beginning, if you pay taxes in the lowest bracket, yours will increase from 10 to 15 percent; the next bracket increases from 25 to 28 percent, and the old 28 percent bracket jumps up to 31 percent. For those of you on the higher end, 33 percent jumps to 36, and 35 percent up to 39.5 percent.

Those of you with over a million dollar estate and who want to leave it to your heirs, well, I hate say it, but you best go to the grave before 2011.

Why? Under the previous administration’s cuts, your estate tax would be zero, zilch. Next year, because the man who wants to save the nation insists, your taxes will be 55 percent. That’s right. At the stroke of midnight, December 31, you can raise a glass of champagne to celebrate a jump in taxes on your estate from zero dollars to 550 thousand dollars. That sure makes for a Happy New Year, huh?

That isn’t all.

Not only will the marriage penalty return (where a couple pays a higher tax on the same income than a single filer), but also deductions for youngsters will drop from one thousand to five hundred.

And capital gains taxes increase from 15 percent to 20. Dividend taxes jump from fifteen to 39.6, and both will increase in 2013 when the healthcare reform bill ads a 3.8 percent Medicare tax for those making $200,000 and joint filers $250,000.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, by Obama permitting the previous administration’s tax credits to expire will increase taxes $115 billion next year, and $2.6 trillion through 2020.

How is that for ‘no tax increase?’

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks.

Unless you’ve been in a cave the last year or so, you know the staggering debt the government has run up. We’ve got to stop this madness. I’m not talking party, but individuals who support such wasteful ideas. Starting in November, we have to throw those wastrels out and then keep a close eye on those we put in.


rconwell@gt.rr.com
www.kentconwell.blogspot.com