What Do They Think Will Happen? – Stop 3 of 4, The Crazy Train

Today’s Crazy Train article is going to be about Social Security Income (SSI). There is a well focused and well funded media campaign trying to achieve multiple goals, and all of them not good if you aren’t incredibly wealthy. Because otherwise you, or someone you love are going to need to rely on SSI for something.

Let’s look at a few of the myths:

SSI adds to the deficit – This, of all the negative statements about SSI, makes the maddest. We have all these crazy “deficit nuts” out there screaming that SSI is causing our country to go further into the red. This is just a bald faced lie and I wish everyone who ever said this would be treated to a little enhanced interrogation. SSI runs a surplus, and will for many years to come. The truth is in the publicly available trustees report. SSI is solvent for multiple decades to come, and even then – it would be able to pay 80% of the benefits without taking a dollar from the general fund.

So why are people lying about SSI? – OMG, this is so hard to believe but some blood sucking rich guy wants to make billions, maybe trillions off of our stable, well run, and life saving SSI. If they can make believe that SSI is in trouble and sell us on privatization, they can get huge management fees off our hard earned SSI dollars. It will reduce the amount of money to be paid out, but hey, the rich guys will get a huge cut of what they don’t have right now, so that’s okay right?

They will argue that privatization will allow better management, but where is the data to support that. We have data showing that the pensions which have been prioritized have made those fund managers rich but haven’t increased the value to the shareholders. Meaning we got the shaft and rich guys get to pocket the difference. It happened that way in Poland and we saw the same thing in my home state of New Jersey. The fund managers made a fortune, but we didn’t see a gain in terms of the net value.

So why privatize SSI? Because rich guys see a huge pile of cash they can’t get too, and who needs more money if it isn’t the rich guys?

The bottom line is that SSI does not add to the deficit, is not insolvent and is a life saving program we should all fight to preserve.

SSI is a ponzy scheme – I’m going to keep this on short. Don’t be dumb and listen to right wing hate, this is just another bullet point for them to try and achieve goal #1 above.

SSI is should be like a 401K – They want to make SSI a personal retirement account and allow some degree of variance in payments and choice of investments (depending on who you are getting the proposal from). So why is this so bad? Lets start with a simple basic fact. The people who need SSI the most are usually the poorest and the oldest, and may of them may have a gap in income because of disability and or age related issues (at both ends of the spectrum, the young and the old).

How does this help the rich? (Which is really the question you should ask when trying to figure out why these proposals are what they are.) First of all someone needs to manage these types of accounts, and that means massive management fees. Secondly, this could actually be structured as a tax haven for dollars that are now theirs, not dollars that go into the general fund. They don’t really care about us, or your grandma, or your cousin who is disabled, they just don’t want a single penny of theirs to feed or care for someone they consider a taker.

In Summary:

SSI is solvent for the near future and should not be privatized. If you want to fix SSI lets remove the income cap on the tax. Tell me a single valid argument as to why someone making a 108+ a year should stop paying into SSI? Oh, I know, because the rich guy shouldn’t have to pay into it because he’s less likely to need it. It is funny how they throw that argument up on this front, but if I start to point that that the military budget should then be a tax based on your net worth, they go nuts. If I have a bigger house my security system costs more. If I have a billion dollars, or a trillion dollar company, lets divide up all the costs for national security each year and whatever % of wealth you have, you pay that as your tax on those dollars spent.

Oh, wait, that would be unfair for some reason – because the rich guy would pay less. But when paying less benefits him its fair.

Vote, don’t let the working class be ground to dust!

 

 

The Walking Dead (Season 4, Episode 16, Season Finale)

Episode 16, A

Summary:

A kicks off with a flashback to the prison, then cuts back now and then to Hershel showing Rick how to domesticate animals and raise crops. Hershel tells Rick he needs to pull Carl back, away from the violence if he is going to be saved.

Back in “current time” Rick, Carl, and Michonne are out in the woods and apparently starving. They are at the camp we saw Daryl and the Maruaders at. (The Marauders want Rick for the man he killed in the bathroom.) Just after Rick and team find some lunch they hear someone screaming, surrounded by walkers. Carl wanted to help, but Rick pulls him back. They don’t have the ammo or the strength to save the pour soul. Team Rick runs back out to the tracks but finds themselves surrounded. Walkers ahead, walkers behind…

Team Rick clear the tracks real quick and move away from the larger band of walkers behind them. They are still hungry, even after they eat the rabbit, but at least they found an SUV to sleep in. The question is, when do the Marauders catch up and what does Daryl do? He better kick some *ss for and save Rick.

And then the marauders sneak up and take Rich & Michonne at gunpoint – but Carl is still in the SUV.

Just when you think Rick is going to go down Daryl offers himself up  in exchange for Rick’s life. The good old boys go to town on Daryl as Rick tries to talk the Marauder out of it. Things go a little crazy then and Rick shows everyone why you don’t mess with him.

Unfortunately after Rick saves everyone I think there is a bit of post traumatic stress. Rick looks like hell. He is covered in blood but Daryl gives him some rags to clean up before he tells Rick about Beth. Daryl feels bad, but Rick tells him they are brothers, and the only thing that matters is that they are back together as a team.

After a short time watching over Terminus Team Rick jumps the back fence and sneaks inside. A creepy female is broadcasting a message of safety as Rick & Team barge in. Gareth greets them and there are some short introduction. Gareth tries to be friendly, but he wants everyone to put down their weapons. There is a pause and then Rick & Team put down their guns.

Gareth tells them they are “good” people and then they let them keep their guns. Rick sees Hershel’s watch, Maggie’s pack?, and Glenn’s riot gear, and pulls his gun, taking one of the Termini People hostage.

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The Termini People are lying, they don’t want to say where they got the stuff. Rick & Team run but the Termini People ahve too much fire power and too many people. Rick & Team are being herded, and that can’t be good. As they run we see piles of bones behind a fence and hear people banging on cargo containers.

Rick & Team get herded right into an ambush. Guns everywhere. They are screwed.

My current theory is that the people of Terminus are keeping prisoners as meat. You don’t spoil until after you are dead. So if they keep you alive, you will last longer. Let’s see how it plays out.

Team Rick puts down their guns and Gareth tells them all to get in the train car one at a time. Then the door is shut and Team Rick is in the dark. Glenn, Maggie, and other are in the train car.

 

Things I loved about this episode…

  • Daryl coming out of the darkness and telling the Marauders to hold up, not to kill Rick, Michonne, and Carl.
  • Rick taking a chunk of flesh out of the lead Marauders throat with his teeth. That was totally BA.
  • Hershel telling Rick he needs to change things to save Carl. (In the flashback)
  • Rick telling Daryl that they are brothers.
  • Michonne talking to Carl after the violence with the Marauders and telling him that its okay, he doesn’t have to be afraid of his father. It was a touching Michonne moment – even if Carl ruined it by saying he was a monster too. Which I think means he identifies with his fathers violence?
  • The contrast between the two kids as Carl cleans guns and the other kid plays with Legos in the flashback – proving Hershel’s point from earlier. I also love the fact that Rick says the same thing to Carl about no needing the guns as Hershel said to him.

Things that I didn’t like about this episode…

  • The marauders gun is way to clean.
  • Why in the hell would Daryl think the monsters he’s with would ever trade his life for Rick’s and put down his weapon. Just dumb.
  • I miss Hershel.
  • Rick when they reach the overlook above Terminus. “Spread out but stay close.” What?
  • Carl’s hair.
  • Why the hell would Rick and his whole team go in at once? Let Rick go in or Daryl and and wait and see what happens. Make sure everything is okay first.

Watch Season 1 Instantly:

Watch Season 2 Instantly:

Watch Season 3 Instantly:

Balls Of Steel – Saving Yourself From A Fire Edition

First of all, holy f*ck is this construction worker lucky to be alive, and brave as a well.

Watch at the minute mark to see him do a hanging swing jump to get off the balcony when it gets too hot.

The firemen are there, and just in time, another minute and he would have been screwed. At the end he’s like screw this, and climbs across, knowing that time is running short. I am glad he made it and hope he is doing well.

Saturday Movie – Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Grosse Pointe Blankis one of my all time favorite movies. It has everything you want when you’re looking to curl up under a blanket and get our fill of action, a bit of a love story, and an awesomely satisfying ending.

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John Cusack’s Martin is a tortured man who has grown tired of his work. He is a hit man who no longer enjoys his work and is trying to find some meaning in his life. A series of incidents bring him back around to where it all started, back to his home town where the long lost love of his life has been living ever since he left her on prom night.

“Spring of ’96. Two young lovers with frightening natural chemistry. A girl sits in a seven hundred dollar prom dress on the front steps of her house, waiting for the most romantic moment of her young life. Boy never shows up. Not until now.”  – Debi Newberry

Martin struggles with being honest with Debi and those around him while at the same time procrastinating over the contract that brought him back to his hometown. I’ll leave off there as I don’t want to ruin the movie. Watch it, you will love it!

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What Do They Think Will Happen? – Stop 2 of 4, The Crazy Train

Stop 2 of 4, The Crazy Train

So last Wednesday we took a ride on the Crazy Train and went down the “what if” path when it comes to getting rid of social services and support programs. Read the article here.

Today we are going to go down the other path.

What would happen if you raised the minimum wage, took the cap off the income limit we collect SSI at and changed the tax code so that millionaires and billionaires paid their fair share, including corporations?

Today we are going to concentrate on the minimum wage…

What is the impact of raising the minimum wage? I think the first statement is fairly easy to defend. If you raise the minimum wage you reduce poverty. If you really want to read the article, here it is.  The second important impact of raising the minimum wage is the “Ripple Effect”. This basically shows that raising the minimum wage has a positive impact on jobs near the minimum wage, by creating wage pressure to pay those individuals more. The naysayers would like us to think that jobs would be killed, or that the minimum wage hike would only impact teens. For the first statement, I think if you needed 3 staff to do the job and you had 4, you can’t fire one just to keep your costs at the same point, and if your business is really so marginal that the hike kills your business, I don’t think it was viable to begin with. Sorry, just some tough love there. The other point, that minimum wage only impacts teens is just plain false. More than half of minimum wage earners are 23 or older. 

OMG, what if raising the minimum wage increases the cost of my burger? Great, maybe people on the borderline won’t eat there. Make it cheaper to buy and eat grocery store foods and you will help everyone. What would the impact on obesity, heart disease and cancer be if people ate less fast foot? I don’t know for sure, but I’d love to find out.

And the last point I want to make is that by increasing the minimum wage you will stimulate the economy. Giving a rich person a tax break doesn’t mean they go out and buy a new television or laptop. They have disposable income and may just park that money in their bank account, which doesn’t help the economy. Now give someone a few extra bucks who is on the verge. They are going to go out and buy something. New shoes, clothes, furniture. They will take their SO out to dinner or maybe move to a nicer apartment. You give the working class money and we spend it. It is who we are.

Give us the cash, and we’ll plow it right back into the economy.