Goodbye Barry - Welcome Home AMERICA!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How To Get RICH For Doing Absolutely Nothing! Part I of II

The short answer: Get elected to the House or Senate.
The current salary (2011-2012) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year.
  • Members are free to turn down pay increase and some (damn few) choose to do so.
  • In a complex system of calculations, administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, congressional pay rates also affect the salaries for federal judges and other senior government executives.
  • During the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin considered proposing that elected government officials not be paid for their service. Other Founding Fathers, however, decided otherwise.
  • From 1789 to 1855, members of Congress received only a per diem (daily payment) of $6.00 while in session, except for a period from December 1815 to March 1817, when they received $1,500 a year. Members began receiving an annual salary in 1855, when they were paid $3,000 per year.
Congress: Leadership Members' Salary (2011-2012)
Leaders of the House and Senate are paid a higher salary than rank-and-file members.
Senate Leadership
Majority Party Leader - $193,400
Minority Party Leader - $193,400
House Leadership
Speaker of the House - $223,500
Majority Leader - $193,400
Minority Leader - $193,400
A cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase takes effect annually unless Congress votes to not accept it. (Yeah - like that happens!)
Benefits Paid to Members of Congress
You may have read that Members of Congress do not pay into Social Security. Well, that's a myth.
Prior to 1984, neither Members of Congress nor any other federal civil service employee paid Social Security taxes. Of course, they were also not eligible to receive Social Security benefits. Members of Congress and other federal employees were instead covered by a separate pension plan called the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). The 1983 amendments to the Social Security Act required federal employees first hired after 1983 to participate in Social Security. These amendments also required all Members of Congress to participate in Social Security as of January 1, 1984, regardless of when they first entered Congress. Because the CSRS was not designed to coordinate with Social Security, Congress directed the development of a new retirement plan for federal workers. The result was the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986.
Members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits under the same plans available to other federal employees. They become vested after five years of full participation.
Members elected since 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Those elected prior to 1984 were covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). In 1984 all members were given the option of remaining with CSRS or switching to FERS.
As it is for all other federal employees, congressional retirement is funded through taxes and the participants' contributions. Members of Congress under FERS contribute 1.3 percent of their salary into the FERS retirement plan and pay 6.2 percent of their salary in Social Security taxes.
Members of Congress are not eligible for a pension until they reach the age of 50, but only if they've completed 20 years of service. Members are eligible at any age after completing 25 years of service or after they reach the age of 62. Please also note that Members of Congress have to serve at least 5 years to even receive a pension.
The amount of a congressperson's pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of his or her salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member's retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary. (Even if they don't get a pay bump in 5 years, 80% is $117,600... for what?)
According to the Congressional Research Service, 413 retired Members of Congress were receiving federal pensions based fully or in part on their congressional service as of Oct. 1, 2006. Of this number, 290 had retired under CSRS and were receiving an average annual pension of $60,972. A total of 123 Members had retired with service under both CSRS and FERS or with service under FERS only. Their average annual pension was $35,952 in 2006.

My questions:
1. Why do national office seekers spend millions of dollars to get a job that pays $174,000 per annum?
2. What have any of these elected officials done to improve the condition of the nation in general?
3. Why do "We the People" permit this to continue?
4.  Why does Congress get to vote on their own pay raises? Shouldn't their employers - We the People - be doing that?
and my answers:
1.  First one must understand that seeking political office is not about the money. Government is about the ability to control the masses, and with that control comes power. Historically, those in control have the higher standard of living, and significant money behind their campaigns. This money may be family money, or investments by corporate and/or individual "contributors" - each expecting something in return should their candidate be elected. The USA has the best government money can buy. Nobody in politics does anything just because "it's the right thing to do."  Where does the "rich" part come in then? Bribes, kick-backs, gifts, contributions, etc.
2.  In a word... NOTHING. In it's first 175 years our Republic grew at a tremendous rate!  No country on Earth could duplicate what we had accomplished in that relatively short period of time.
3.  We the People are either too stupid to see and acknowledge that there is a problem, or we are too complacent to do anything about it.  We'll just wait until it collapses and see.

Yes, Barack, you did that!

Part II to follow shortly...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Making The Case For INCREASED Gun Ownership

There is a city in Cobb County, GA called Kennesaw  – where gun ownership is mandatory. It’s not the “Wild West” like some people predicted when it passed a mandatory gun ownership law. “The city of Kennesaw was selected by Family Circle magazine as one of the nation’s ‘10 best towns for families.’

In 1982 the city passed the following ordinance [Sec 34-21] which was in response to a handgun ban in Morton Grove, Ill.

(a) In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore.

(b) Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony.

The city's website states that Kennesaw “has the lowest crime rate in Cobb County,” one of the most populous counties in Georgia. In fact, from 1982 through 2009, Kennesaw had been nearly murder free with one murder occurring in 2007.

There were three murders in 2010 committed by the same man in what is described as a “school safety zone,” an area extending 1,000 feet from any school, including adult colleges and technical schools. This means that even though Kennesaw has the most liberal gun laws in the United States, employees at the facility where the murders were committed could not have a gun on the premises.

Statically, it has been shown that - nationwide - as legal gun ownership by law-abiding citizens increases, violent crime decreases.  Yet the left (including the socialist-dominated United Nations) constantly argues for greater restrictions on private firearms ownership.

There is a discomfiting pattern developing in the USA.  One of increased government intervention in, and control of, our Constitutional rights. One of collusion on an International scale, and one which could very easily permit Obama to abrogate his presidential responsibilities in favor of UN demands. The left-wing Obama administration is "chomping at the bit" for an opportunity to sign on to the UN's Arms Trade Treaty. That way - when the international gun grab begins - Obama can maintain a high degree of deniablility from the actions. There is much more to the UN ATT than meets the eye. It is worded in such a fashion that loopholes large enough to drive a military tank through exist... possibly for the purpose of actually driving military tanks through them, and down Mainstreet, USA, as the jackbooted, blue-helmeted UN thugs kick down doors and confiscate whatever they determine to be "illegal firearms". The goal of the "United Nations" is WORLD DOMINATION, and the majority of the 192 country/states that make up the UN are inimical to the USA, our successes, our freedom, and our way of life in general.

Contact your Senators and demand that they OPPOSE the UN's Arms Trade Treaty. It's not good for American citizens, and it's not good for the USA. In WWII, the Japanese decided against a land battle within the USA because - according to Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy - "You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass." It is our ability, as a nation, to defend our country, our culture, our sovereignty and our Constitution, particularly at the individual level, that keeps us free from land invasions (other than via our southern border, anyway. Mexico has been invading us for decades!).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Deconstructing Our Constitutional Republic

Just so we're all on the same page, and have the same (or, at least a similar) understanding of the term "deconstructing", this is a definition:

Definition of Deconstruct:

de·con·struct (verb \ˌdē-kən-ˈstrəkt\)

transitive verb
1: to examine using the methods of deconstruction
2: to take apart or examine in order to reveal the basis or composition of often with the intention of exposing biases, flaws, or
3: to adapt or separate the elements of for use in an ironic or radically new
4: destroy, demolish deconstructing themselves >

For the purposes of this post, I will be using definitions 2-4 (since def #1 is a rather vague, circular, and DTYS generalization) as I see them applied to the demolition of our once-great country.  The successful deconstruction of a Constitutional Republic, such as ours, must be done in the same manner as one would eat an elephant... one bite at a time.  Our current administration is engaged in deconstruction, following the tenets of the Cloward-Piven "Strategy of Manufactured Crisis".

Despite the mass media news blackout, a series of books, talk radio and the blogosphere have managed to expose Barack Obama's connections to his radical mentors -- Weather Underground bombers William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis and many others. David Horowitz and his Discover the have also contributed a wealth of information and have noted Obama's radical connections since the beginning.

Before the 1994 Republican takeover, Democrats had 60 years of virtually unbroken power in Congress - with substantial majorities most of the time. Can a group of smart people, studying issue after issue for years on end, with virtually unlimited resources at their command, not come up with a single policy that works? Why are they chronically incapable?

One of two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unbelievable morons, who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit.

I believe they fully understand the consequences. For many it is simply a practical matter of eliciting votes from a targeted constituency at taxpayer expense; we lose a little, they gain a lot, and the politician keeps his job. But for others, the goal is more malevolent - the failure is deliberate. Don't laugh. This method not only has its proponents, it has a name: the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It describes their agenda, tactics, and long-term strategy.

The Strategy was created by a pair of radical socialist Columbia University professors, Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. David Horowitz summarizes it as:
The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.
Cloward and Piven were inspired by radical organizer [and Hillary Clinton mentor] Saul Alinsky:
"Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules," Alinsky wrote in his 1989 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system's failure to "live up" to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist "rule book" with a socialist one.
Newsmax rounds out the picture:
Their strategy to create political, financial, and social chaos that would result in revolution blended Alinsky concepts with their more aggressive efforts at bringing about a change in U.S. government. To achieve their revolutionary change, Cloward and Piven sought to use a cadre of aggressive organizers assisted by friendly news media to force a re-distribution of the nation's wealth.
In their Nation article, Cloward and Piven were specific about the kind of "crisis" they were trying to create:
By crisis, we mean a publicly visible disruption in some institutional sphere. Crisis can occur spontaneously (e.g., riots) or as the intended result of tactics of demonstration and protest which either generate institutional disruption or bring unrecognized disruption to public attention.  (e.g., the "Occupy Movement".)
No matter where the strategy is implemented, these are it's hallmark characteristics:
  1. The offensive organizes previously unorganized groups eligible for government benefits but not currently receiving all they can. (e.g., ACORN)
  2. The offensive seeks to identify new beneficiaries and/or create new benefits. (e.g. championing illegal immigration)
  3. The overarching aim is always to impose new stresses on target systems, with the ultimate goal of forcing their collapse. (e.g., unrestrained government spending, borrowing, and devaluation of our currency)
Capitalizing on the racial unrest of the 1960s, Cloward and Piven saw the welfare system as their first target. They enlisted radical black activist George Wiley, who created the National Welfare Reform Organization (NWRO) to implement the strategy. Wiley hired militant foot soldiers to storm welfare offices around the country, violently demanding their "rights." According to a City Journal article by Sol Stern, welfare rolls increased from 4.3 million to 10.8 million by the mid-1970s as a result, and in New York City, where the strategy had been particularly successful, "one person was on the welfare rolls... for every two working in the city's private economy."

The vast expansion of welfare in New York City that came of the NWRO's Cloward-Piven tactics sent the city into bankruptcy in 1975.  Rudy Giuiliani cited Cloward and Piven by name as being responsible for "an effort at economic sabotage."  He also "credited" Cloward-Piven with changing the cultural attitude toward welfare from that of a temporary expedient to a lifetime entitlement, an attitude which in-and-of-itself has caused perhaps the greatest damage of all.

How long can a city - or nation - survive under such socioeconomic stresses?  In 2012 several other large U.S. cities have filed, or are on the verge of filing, bankruptcy. Scranton PA (F), Sacramento CA (F), Compton CA(F), San Diego CA (V), NYC NY (V), San Jose CA (V), Cincinnati OH (V), Honolulu HI (V), San Francisco CA (V), Los Angeles CA (V), Washington D.C. (V) and Newark NJ (V), among others.  Last fall, Jefferson County, AL filed the biggest Chapter 9 bankruptcy in American history. There seems to be a pattern emerging there.  The larger the welfare rolls, the fewer productive taxpayers. The fewer productive taxpayers, the greater the possibility a city/count/state/nation will become bankrupt.

Cloward and Piven looked at this strategy as a gold mine of opportunity. Within the newly organized groups, each offensive would find an ample pool of foot soldier recruits willing to advance its radical agenda for little or no pay, and expand its base of reliable voters, legal or otherwise. The radicals' threatening tactics also would accrue an intimidating reputation, providing a wealth of opportunities for extorting monetary and other concessions from the target organizations. In the meantime, successful offensives would create an ever increasing drag on society. As they gleefully observed:
"Moreover, this kind of mass influence is cumulative because benefits are continuous. Once eligibility for basic food and rent grants is established, the drain on local resources persists indefinitely."
The next time you drive through one of the many blighted neighborhoods in our cities, or read of the astronomical crime, drug addiction, school drop-out rates, and out-of-wedlock birth rates, or consider the failed schools, strapped police and fire resources of every major city, remember Cloward and Piven's thrill that "...the drain on local resources persists indefinitely."