Entries Tagged as 'Politics'


I’ve realized something.  SOPA and PIPA together  do a Wonder Twins formation to create OPPA:  Oppress People via Piracy Act.   I mean where else would you use a law that was designated for white collar embezzlement and make it so scary on the Internet that we’re no better than some of the countries that we speak openly against on the international stage?   I mean, let’s think about this.   North Korea has no Internet, but if they did, they would definitely make a show here.  Iran?  Same.  Can anyone say Syria?  Crazy stuff really.   What gets me is that the people that actually want this passed almost always have no technical or legal background, and don’t seem to realize that the vague wording of it makes it just…. un-American.

Yes, that’s right.  I question your patriotism if you pass SOPA/PIPA or that type of legislation.   We’re supposed to be a superpower.  We’re supposed to be about democracy.   We dislike dictators and corruption.  We’re supposed to take the higher road.

Unfortunately, I guess some of us didn’t get the memo.

Why Mergers Rarely Create Jobs

WASHINGTON - MAY 11:  AT&T President and CEO R... It’s interesting that sometimes you read about politicians trying to sell a sales pitch that is completely false. In this case, five Democrats are pushing the President to push the AT&T merger through without any regards to the DOJ’s decision, and the FCC’s decision. What’s more is that in their letter, something blatantly jumps out.

Job creation.

I have never seen full-time jobs created for a merger. Granted, there are many jobs that are contracted out. These are usually the same jobs that are let go and then contracted back out for the transition period. There is never an actual merger that doesn’t require some heads being chopped. Just look at Sprint and Nextel. Sprint themselves did a study on this, and having been with one of the vendors that was severely hurt by the backlash of the merger, I can say from personal experience that Sprint knows what they’re talking about. What’s worse is that one of the Representatives find themselves at the top of the list…. from my state. Rep. Heath Shuler (D, NC) is one of the leads on the letter above, trying to point out how many jobs it would create.

Has he not seen that the the Wells Fargo buy out of Wachovia meant that Wachovia laid off people along with temp jobs being created for the transition? Does he not know about the 2,000 jobs that are about to be lost due to the Duke Power and Progress Energy merger?

Sometimes, you have to wonder whether people actually do their homework when serving SIGs. If you’re going to push for someone that isn’t hiding their money trail very well, it’s probably a good idea to not be affiliated with them. In this regards, every party that has been rooting for AT&T has actually had cash donations to their causes.

Outside of antitrust, and monopoly ruling, I believe that AT&T chose the worst possible time to try to pull off this merger. When times were better, it would have probably been a no-brainer for the government to push it through unless they had some severe antitrust issues. But in the state of bad economics when unemployment numbers are even skewed lower than the reality (contractors, and P/T people are not counted in those figures), and people are hurting, they try to roll themselves back into Ma Bell of which was the original antitrust suit that broke them up. The irony.

Why Congress Is Not As Good As You Think

So the latest and greatest news right now in politics is that the 2011 budget has yet to be decided. So far, the Republicans are talking like big shots to the public about how there needs to be spending cuts, and how Democrats aren’t willing to step across the line. While this doesn’t make Democrats any better in the whole big picture, I think that there are some things that need to be said.

First, the House always passes bills first and then it’s sent to the Senate. So you technically could write whatever crazy and stupid thing you wanted. Republicans could go for broke here because they know Democrats wouldn’t allow it through into law. Everyone must get $100k a year. Everyone can have free cars for life. Et cetera. Thus, you can be entirely and stupidly nutty and make ridiculous claims and still get away with it as long as the American people buy it hook, line, and sinker. That in general vilifies the Democrats even though it’s complete bullshit by the Republicans.

Historically, there hasn’t been one single party that actually promotes spending cuts that the other side wanted. Democrats have always pushed social programs, and Republicans have pushed business and defense. Neither side ever cut their own stuff much so of course they’re going to talk about how the other parties are evil, and yadda yadda. It was boring when I could first vote, and it’s still boring.

Next, the fiscal year for the government is half over. You’re still deciding on a damn BUDGET? Give me a friggin’ break. And then they’re talking about the 2012 budget before the 2011 one is solved. Seriously? You budget for the year before you get to it, not when it’s half over. Solve the issue at hand, you morons. That’s like trying to drive a automobile before you put on wheels. Brilliant.

The entire government shutdown is a huge joke. You know how to get this done? President should basically tell Congress that none of them get paid until other federal workers get paid. You don’t get to see lobbyists, you don’t get your salaries, you don’t get anything. Amusingly, this is the same deal as any other corporation where the top people make a huge deal about how there are issues, but they’re always the people that are paid first, not last. But if you stick it to them, and tell them that they won’t get paid, then people are less likely to act like complete A-holes.

That’s why I think the entire thing is a complete joke and I get more and more cynical with elected officials. They’re always spouting how they represent their constituents and they’re attacking the problems, but never have you seen one single person step up and say…. hey… I acknowledge this issue, I’m accountable for it, and I won’t take any pay until I get this sucker fixed. Never. They’re all in it for their own agendas. Don’t believe it? Follow the money. Money never lies. The day that some Congressional person steps up to the plate and does the right thing regardless of party lines is the day this country will again move forward instead of being in a stalemate that solves nothing.

Do Illegal Immigrants REALLY Contribute to Social Security?

Modern Social Security card.
Image via Wikipedia

So I read this story in the Washington Post about how illegal immigrants help Social Security and without them, that program would be in more turmoil than it is now.  But in all honesty, is that even a true statement?

I mean, with all the statistics that op-ed throws out there, it misses a crucial fact:

Employers pay part of Social Security.

Here’s the point.   I was watching a story on CBS a while back about illegal immigration and they interviewed the farms that basically hire almost all Hispanics for seasonal jobs.  One of the most interesting takeaways from that was that the employer would deduct SS and all necessary fees out of their pay, and what those workers did with it outside that was their issue.   If that’s the case, then at least 33% of the statistics is paid for by the employer and has to be taken out.  The rest is conjecture since there’s no way of knowing how many fake SSNs are out there and while estimation is a great thing, let’s look at the rule of thumb in the business world.

If I pay you in cash, usually people do not pay their social security on that.   Nor do they pay their any other income tax on it.  In fact, forget illegals.  How many Americans do you know that actually pay taxes when they’re paid in cash?   I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone.  Not even people high up in society.  Everyone knows the “unspoken” rule.

So the only actual part that you can really deem as indirectly contributed to the Social Security program is what the employers pay because they have to pay it.  It’s part of hiring a labor force.  But that could be attributed to any single individual, and does not have to be an illegal immigrant.

If that’s the case, do illegals really contribute to Social Security?  Or is it just in the mind of this op-ed columnist that hasn’t really thought out the actual employer/employee process?  Maybe I’m just crazy, but if I were an illegal immigrant, I wouldn’t pay a big red target on myself and collect Social Security or pay the taxes.  I’m already a ghost in the system.  Why put myself on the radar and put my family and me in danger?   Just saying.

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Why Politicians Need To Wake Up and Smell What They’re Shoveling

Image by roberthuffstutter via Flickr

“Seriously. What the hell, Mr. President?” , is the question I want to ask.

It’s funny how in several years, the United States will take all the progress its done and piss it all away. Truthfully, I don’t think the Republican Party could have asked for a better screw up as the health care reform, but even the consideration of VAT tax is the nail on the coffin.

Here’s the key. In living in one of the states with the highest unemployment rates, I’ve found that the government really doesn’t care about me. Or you. Or anyone else. It’s not really that crazy, all in all I believe that GOP has solidified November and will continue to grow stronger as long as they don’t open their mouths and say something stupid. That’s still a possibility, but overall the Democrats have really shot themselves in the foot with this one.

First, you don’t pass something that you know you can’t pay for. Especially in times like this. If we could pay for it, then why are we considering the VAT tax option? And second, the point of VAT is to replace the antiquated sales tax. It’s not an additional tax. I’ve been working in financial markets for long enough to know that the value-added tax is just a multi-tiered system that allows the percentage of tax to be collected at multiple levels throughout the product cycle. This ensures that the government gets more of the percentage in case someone skimps on paying sales tax instead of a all or nothing scenario which is what we have in the United States currently.

The state of government seems to be screwed up by politicians that don’t take the time to understand basic concepts before they start pushing them. Which is not only frightening but also very sad. The fact that I read last night where there was an amendment to the Whistleblower Act in 2009 from the Senate that capped compensatory damages as opposed to punitive damages just made me extremely annoyed. I mean, seriously? You don’t know which word means what and for what logic? Whistleblowers serve a purpose and capping the loss compensation basically would remove any reason to blow the whistle on bad behavior. I thought the point was to protect the little guy when the big guy is doing something inherently wrong. Guess not.

I suppose I should have known better when I myself got sick of the financial market ruin created by bad laws passed by the GOP majority. Which means this stupidity problem falls on both sides of the aisle. Politicians need to start removing their heads from wherever they are and start realizing that you actually need to know what the hell you’re talking about instead of being the salesperson. Looking good for the camera doesn’t help you when you can’t understand basic concepts that even “I” can understand. And I don’t claim to be a graduate of any Ivy League or an expert in anything legal or political. If Joe the Plumber understands that you’re screwing up somewhere, doesn’t this mean that you need to stop to think before you pass something stupid instead of gunking up the toilet? It’s time to wake up.

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Amazon Tax Not Doing Anything for North Carolina

North Carolina State Capitol.
Image via Wikipedia

Apparently, the online tax for North Carolina hasn’t been bringing in the money that it was supposed to and the thinktank, Tax Foundation, has published a report that says that not only does it hurt the state in the short term, but it also hurts the state in the long term too.

Noooo kidddding.

Amusingly, this is basically the “I told you so” parts where the legislation made decisions on things they knew nothing about and spent budget money that they didn’t have. Again. Nothing new here, folks. Politicians that don’t understand technology and business? Like we’ve never heard that one before.

Interestingly enough, although to no avail, I had spoken about this issue time and again during the time when the “Amazon Tax” during the time period when it was passed and how our legislation thought how wonder it would be to gain some figure in the sky millions in some sort of pot of gold wish.

I mean, seriously. They still continued to budget and spend for this year as if there is this money coming in although there is nary a word from the North Carolina Department of Revenue on whether or not there actually is significant tax revenues coming in due to this tax. I suspect that there is little to nothing, considering they had targeted Amazon, and Amazon cut their ties with North Carolina affiliates and hurt the state in the process. Amusingly, the bad guy that Amazon was made out to be wasn’t so bad and in the end the politicians seemed to have stuck their own foots in their mouth if this study from Tax Foundation has anything to say about it.

From my perspective? Well, one of my businesses just didn’t carry as much revenue this year. Instead of having to pay taxes on the income, it seemed that it was more of a write off this last year. Oh well. Tough cookies for the North Carolina bare coffers.

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When Politicians Don’t Represent Through Conversation

The House Financial Services committee meets. ...
Image via Wikipedia

I have to say that overall with national politicians, there’s a pretty easy litmus test to find out if your particular representation is actually listening and serving your needs.

E-mail them.

In the past, I have had responses to emails from former Senator Edwards, and Senator Burr, but never anything from former Senator Dole. I also have received responses recently from Representative Mel Watts and Senator Burr (kudos here for always generating conversation) but nothing from Senator Hagan’s office.

Call it strange, but Hagan replaced Dole so I wonder what that’s about. In any case, in regards to my email, Senator Burr’s office contacted me directly and had a short but very responsive contact. Representative Watts though sent me a letter that basically said that he’d love to support my needs, but since no legislation was brought up in Congress about it, he’ll keep a look out for it. For the most part, it was a generic form mailer. Which, while I appreciate feedback, it’s one of those… ehh… what? It was almost answering a question like: “Is the sky blue?” with… “I’m sure your color has merit, and when the general consensus talks about a sky color, I’ll support yours.”

You sort of have to laugh at it and wonder exactly what politicians do. You’re either for, or against a certain ideal. Perhaps there is merit to either side and you could be swayed to one end. But without actual conversation, the generic stop letter is just not the way to go. Maybe that’s just me from a personal perspective, but it’s only slightly better than the total constituent ignore only because you’re getting it on Congressional letterhead.

Today, this issue really isn’t about Representative Watts’ letter and I apologize to him for using his letter as an example. But from a state where the general populace has been beaten down to a bloody pulp when it comes to employment and trade, the cynicism starts to grow when you don’t see conversations being started by even the aides of the representation. Call it strange but you would hope those are the individuals that are fighting for you in the big city of politics.

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Discrimination and Politics

OPINION: You Can Put Lipstick On The Economy, ...

Show me a world without politics, and I’ll show you a world where pigs fly.

Sometimes, I have to smile when I get frustrated that everyone seems to live in this ideal world where everything is supposedly dandy and we’ll have all of our problems fixed because in “today’s society”, we shouldn’t have to deal with these problems. Call me a cynic, but it’s been a long time since I have felt that way, and a long time before I ever will feel again like that.

Let’s be frank. You have to deal with certain unfair scenarios in life. It’s just like for some, they have all the luck. It’s not that people cannot achieve their dreams, but for every single person that does succeed in making their dream a reality, there are countless thousands that do not make it. That’s just a cycle of life. But the sooner you realize this cycle, the better your odds become at beating the cycle.

And that’s where the idealism comes in. I can’t stand it when people want to cry at every single turn about discrimination in the work place. Apparently, this happens to the Asian American community too and I’m sure it does. But to even have a term called the “bamboo ceiling”? I mean seriously, this just bugs me. Of all the stereotypes in the world, I was lucky enough to end up with the one that really doesn’t have too much of a negative connotation, and stereotypes exist just as everything else does. And now people want to play the fact that racism plays a factor in promotions of Asians? Come on. If you want anything that plays a factor, it’s politics. The political play is more eventful, more powerful, and when it comes right down to it, way more legal.

Seriously, who the heck plays the race card anymore? If you are, you’re not too bright considering all of the alternatives in the work place. In a dog eat dog world, the entire corporate structure relies on strategy and tactics that not only pits external competition against each other, it also creates internal conflicts where the strongest rules. It’s always been this way, and it’ll always continue to be this way. If you don’t like it, then join the ranks of the upper crust and you won’t have to deal with it.

Otherwise, there are many that believe that today is entirely black and white and have gone beyond politics where there are sweets and rainbows. The day that politics ceases to play in the corporate environment is the day there ceases to be corporations. And at the rate capitalism is going at right now, I’ll have to bet against the odds of that happening.

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More Layoffs Means Economy Still Down Toilet

sun Still think that the economy is improving? If the shutdown of the Dell plant around here isn’t enough to scoff at that mindset, let’s look at an even larger one. Sun Microsystems is looking to layoff three thousand more employees. Now, while layoffs are inevitable during mergers and acquisitions (in this case with Oracle), this also represents something a little bit larger.

It says that until corporations or the government gives a nice jab in the arm on hiring, the overall percentage of buying power has been reduced. This hurt can and will be felt through both retail and financial markets since people without jobs cannot pay loans and mortgages. And let’s face it. Saving the financial institutions do not amount to squat if the people that the money is being loaned to can’t get work to actually pay it back. This is not only brings financial players to a grinding halt, but it shows that politicians do not understand the basics of economics. Everything starts with the beginning of the food chain, not the end.

What’s worse is that until someone does actually gain this bright idea, all of the injection of federal funding is for naught. That means that the taxpayers bear the burden of a costly mistake, of which becomes more and more weight per each individual as more and more people cannot find work. And you wonder how Congress can sleep at night with a twenty or so percent approval rating.

Can the Views of Conservative and Liberal Flip?

So I was thinking about the word definitions of conservative and liberal. And I had a crazy thought. Would it even be possible for society to dictate these two words as the opposite of what they currently mean? I mean, why not? Conservative basically means that people wish to have the status quo, and liberal means that they wish to have change.

conservative – disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
liberal – favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.

So I was sitting here thinking about how the values of conservatives have actually changed throughout history and how there is more acceptance towards being flexible than it used to be. Even by a historical sense, the right in politics have strayed more towards the middle ground as has the left. So is there a point where this could change?

Well, if by chance there were enough people that deemed that change was the status quo, then the definitions would flip. Mainly because if you’re always promoting change, then to reform “change” is to stay in its own place. And thus while the definitions of the words remain the same, how it is viewed in society today would be the exact opposite of what it would be in the future. Crazy thought, isn’t it.