Tag Archive | "government bailout"

Baloney!

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Youth equals naïveté.  In our youth, we accept things presented as fact, even if they are untrue, because of our inexperience.  We assume that as we mature, we will be better equipped to separate fact from fiction.  This assumption leads to the perception that we will significantly reduce the baloney told to us, and/or perpetrated by, others.  But when the baloney is stacked high enough to fill a cold-cut factory and then some, we fight a losing battle.


Case in point:


Our law states that any person born in the United States, who holds U.S. citizenship, may run for public office.  While the letter of the law is factual, the underlying truth is that only the wealthy can compete effectively in a political race.  Big bucks allow candidates to air advertisements and bash their opponents on TV and radio.  Big bucks allow candidates to flit about the country, waving the flag, shaking hands, and kissing babies.


While Washington claims that our government is penniless, our two-party candidates are projected to spend $2 billion currying votes for the 2012 Presidential election.  Sixty-eight million of that staggering sum has already been amassed by our incumbent President, who has once again hit the campaign trail.  Since average citizens don’t have this kind of money, the wealthy slip like butter into political office.


Movies such as the classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington have perpetrated the baloney that honest, everyday people represent us in Congress and the White House.  Clearly, they don’t.  In the current Presidential debates, it’s plain to see how candidates prostitute themselves to achieve the Holy Grail (a lifetime in office).  And to retain the Holy Grail, once in power, legislators build their war chests to perpetuate their jobs.


The legislators are, of course, in bed with Corporate America, who continues to slice and pile the baloney high.  We taxpayers are told that Corporate America is sitting on billions of dollars, waiting to see what the future holds for them.  If the past is indeed prologue, like it says on that statue in Washington, DC, then the future looks rosy for Corporate America.  Who among us has forgotten the special tax offered to big business, not to mention $710 billion in bailout money handed out freely like candy on Halloween?


And what did the average taxpayers get?  We got the shaft, that’s what we got!  In return for robbing us of $710 billion in tax money, Corporate America never stopped outsourcing jobs to foreign countries.  Had Corporate America been grateful for the bailout and returned manufacturing to the U.S., countless Americans would be gainfully employed and our economy would be a hell of a lot stronger.  So much for JFK’s pointed directive to the nation, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”


It’s nothing but baloney.  I like my bologna with mustard on rye, not spewed by lying, backstabbing weasels in government and big business!


Bastille Day, Revisited

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Recently, I caught an old Lewis Black performance on the tube.  Dating back to 2004 and performed in the lovely Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway, our hero decried, and provided his unique solutions for remedying, the status quo.  Anyone familiar with the work of this acerbic stand-up comic knows that it’s largely political in nature, and that the reason he’s won the hearts of the general populace and the grudging respect of politicians is that he is unflaggingly honest: no deserving elected official, candidate, or governmental agency is ever spared his stiletto tongue.   I was a little startled, however, when Lewis quipped that he finally understood why Marie Antoinette had lost her head, and why her constituents had wanted that head so badly.  You see, I myself have been muttering over the past few years that it’s inevitable that Bastille Day is repeated here — and soon! — on America’s shores.


When the noggins of the CEOs of Corporate America, who ripped us off to the tune of $710 billion dollars, and those of the politicians who stole that money go rolling in the streets, I’ll shrug it off to karma.  I don’t advocate violence and I certainly won’t contribute to it, but when it happens, I won’t be surprised.


Just this week, I uncovered evidence that we’re inching a little closer to Bastille Day. Vive la France!


In my mind burned a simple legal question whose answer I already know, but I wanted the particulars just for my own edification, as well as a lawfully sanctioned weapon.  Specifically, I’d wanted to know the legal parameters for maintaining the temperature of a privately owned office complex, in which a group of unrelated business tenants pay rent.   I called 411 to get the number for the State Department of Labor; the robot that answered informed me that I’d reached the Department of Planning.  Another call to Information — and yet another call to my phone provider to secure a credit for the incorrect number — also yielded an incongruous Department.  I got a robot there, as well, so I was beyond all human help from Trenton … as any New Jersey taxpayer has been since time immemorial (Governor Christie’s recent efforts to the contrary notwithstanding).


Truth to tell, I think Trenton has purposely organized its phone system this way to significantly reduce the number of complaints through which to sift, much less to track and investigate.  Okay.  I honestly wasn’t expecting much from the most corrupt State capital in the nation … with the exception of Washington, D.C., that is.


Getting nowhere at the State level, I then attempted to contact the Middlesex County Department of Labor … where I received a robotic menu.  Guess what?  My area of inquiry apparently is not covered at the County level, either.  Next, I called the local Department of Unemployment, assuming that their reps must be cognizant of labor laws.  There, I got yet another robot (damn, they breed like rabbits in Jersey!).  Disgustedly, I hung up and, in desperation, called the Legal Aid Society.


Now, I could have traded all of this frustration for another brand of angst, simply by calling my private attorney.   But I know from hard experience that it will take me an average of two weeks to get a response from him … despite my leaving several messages a day.   So, in desperation, I phoned Legal Aid.


And this was interesting, to say the least.


Legal Aid, it seems, no longer trucks in employment legislation — at least, not on a case-by-case basis.  Now they deal only — or at least my branch does — in family law, personal injury, and immigration law.  Just as I was wondering if Information screwed up and gave me the number for the ACLU, the robot stated that “for all other inquiries” I should direct my queries to their website (another non-human).  I did, after two attempts, for the address that the robot gave me was utterly incorrect.  When I finally arrived at the correct site and clicked on Employment Legislation, the page read “Under Construction.”  The site suggested I contact the American Bar Association.  Well, if I’d wanted to go that route, I’d have called my lawyer in the first place!  That’s when I screamed loud enough for the people in the next town to hear, “Off with their heads!!!!”


For the Legal Aid’s site, you see, was truly my last straw.  Initially, before reaching out to Trenton, I’d attempted to get my answer online, via bing.com, yahoo.com, and google.com.  What popped up on all three browsers, in response to my carefully phrased and then repeatedly re-phrased inquiry, was a plethora of sites concerning the employment rights of illegal aliens!   There were a few sites that also deal in inquiries concerning immigration law, but that’s like trying to separate a rich man from his money: the two are intertwined like conjoined twins.


I’ve never broken a major law.  A blind poll of my colleagues, family, friends, and even clients will attest that I’m a conscientious soul and a generous one.  I pay my taxes; I give to select charities when I can.  I try to “do the right thing.”    As a native-born American, all I wanted was a simple answer to a legality; an answer that I should have been able to receive long before I opened the window and, like Alice’s Red Queen, called for a lopping off of heads.


What happened here, and when?  When did the interests of illegal aliens — read that phrase again for its mind-numbing dichotomy — supplant those of native-born American taxpayers?   Why can’t a native-born American get a simple answer to a simple legal question, without incurring a 60-minute attorney’s fee?  Five’ll get you ten that if I were here and working illegally, I’d get all of my questions answered in a heartbeat   Hell, I’d have to; even the Internet caters to those who disregard and disrespect U.S. law!


What is happening here?   Is this a culmination of internal and external forces leveraged with the specific aim of toppling a nation that’s lost its focus, its morals, the very tenets upon which it was built?  And is it indeed a massive plot designed to frustrate U.S. citizens to the point where we no longer question what is legal and what is not?   Is it a diabolical plan to give the “haves” even more and the “have nots,” such as your run of the mill taxpayer, even less?


If we stop questioning, we’ll never get answers.  And knowledge is dangerous.  Now re-read that statement and let it sink in, like slow ice.  If we have the answers and don’t like them, why hell, we might just do what the citizens of France did on Bastille Day.  We might just revert to what we, as a budding nation, did in bucking the system more than two hundred years ago, when we established a free and independent country that is, in essence, fast disappearing from the face of the Earth. 

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