Monday, November 29, 2010


Debt is dumb. Not to sound overly preachy, but I can not describe how liberating it feels to have shredded my credit cards 5 weeks ago. I had always been attached to them, they were my crutch and my sprain at the same time-- sounds familiar, huh? Kinda like addiction...can't live with it, blah blah blah.

The cutting of the cards came about at the close of an episode of Suze Orman which happens to be the start time of a show called, "Til Debt Do Us Part." Now I watch them both every week, probably to feel as if yes there are folks worse off than we, so after Suze I knew what was coming. Out of the clear blue sky I got up, went upstairs where I had hidden all 6 cards from myself and proceeded to destroy.

(Hint to all: I cut each card into 4 sections- first name, last name, security code on the back, and half of the card number. I threw away each section in a different place- Home, work, store, friend's place.)

Let me just try to say how STUPID I feel for waiting so long. The crap I was spending credit on- I don't even miss and can't even really name. Restaurants mostly. And since none of them had really reached a zero balance until this year, I suppose I have been paying interest on food I've eaten since 2000! Today, some of that food is still with me but most of it has been in the sewer for a very long time. Talk about waste!!

So anyway, what is my point? My point is that if I can do it, so can the government. Should we tax the rich? Should we spend less on government programs? Should we incentivise saving and limit borrowing? Well, all of the above of course.

Look, Republicans want to keep rich taxes low and cut spending. Democrats want to raise rich taxes a little and 'reform' entitlements.

DO BOTH. For now, raise rich taxes halfway and put a limit on entitlements. End tax breaks on mortgage interest. People who want to own a home will buy their home regardless of deductions. To balance the loss of deduction (except for grandfathered present mortgages), quit taxing our savings interest! Geez- I only get 1 stinking % per year, leave it alone. You may find more money in banks, less money in McMansions, and voila- less bailout urgency as a bonus.

What about me? I am a landlord. I would pay more if the mortgage interest deduction were discontinued. Now please refer to past post where I said we should cut income tax to a flat, deduction-free 10% anyway, and begin a 10% federal sales tax [on everything but survival needs- food, clothing, primary residence].

Just amend the idea to exclude taxing savings gains. (BTW, capital gains should also be 10%.)

Anyway, now that I personally feel nearly euphoric every time I pay off a card, and get giddy when checking the steadily decreasing balances, I advise Washington to do the same. Spread the Joy! Get rid of your credit cards!! Will you have to reduce spending? Yup. Start with congressional and IRS salaries. Identify, document, and tax illegal immigrants. More on that next time... Peace.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Big Babies!

The soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts: there is no argument that the middle class income-earners will not see an increase when the Bush tax rates expire. The hullabaloo is over the idea of whether those earning over $250,000 per year should soon be required to pay 39% in federal taxes rather than the current 36% implemented under W.

Before I reveal the ridiculously simple solution, I'll make both arguments.

Dems: "We have to recoup the national debt- and middle class families should not be the ones to have to do it because it was the middle class who was hit so hard by the Great Recession which began during the Bush administration."

Reps: " There should be no increase in taxes for any income bracket during an economic downturn because the more money people have, the more they will spend. And, if employers have to pay more taxes, they will not be able to create jobs."

Dems: "The rich have had the 36% rate for years. Where are the jobs? If middle class workers are confident that our national economy is getting on track by reduction of the deficit, they will be confident to spend, and businesses with more customer traffic will hire more help."

Tea Party: "Obama is a communist. There shouldn't be any taxes for anyone."

Pragmaticlanders: "The right wants 36%, the left wants 39%, GO TO 37.5%!!!!!!!!!!!! Man, you people are STUPID!!"

Have a Great Day.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One Would Think...

A friend told me about a blog by a feminist named Jill. Jill recently wrote about a law in UAE condoning domestic violence as a means of protecting the family and keeping a wife under control if abstaining from sex with her didn't straighten her out. No, seriously.

In America, some jurisdictions do not charge batterers if the victim of domestic violence refuses to press charges. Within the past few years, my own city changed that law. Police who are called out for DV can now press the charges and arrest the perp.

Why, you might ask, would any victim refuse to press charges against the person on whom they just had to call out the cops? Fear. They do need [usually] him to quit and calm down and can not make that happen alone. But if [usually] she were to have him arrested, we all know what he would do when his buddies or his boss or his mama bails him out. So, the only recourse many victims have legally is to run.

Battering is a sickness. They mean it every time they apologize. Still no excuse. Does it make sense that a victim and her children should be forced into fear and hiding because there is not enough legal protection available for them? In the United States of America, doesn't physical safety count as an inalienable right? Even if you did sign up to live with the person? Here is my solemn promise-- no person lives with a violent batterer because they enjoy receiving beatings. There is NO place for blaming the victim in a domestic violence situation.

While I can't exactly call this solution a compromise, because I don't know of any reasonable person who wants to protect someone's right to murder the heart and soul of his family, it is a pretty fair and reasonable solution.

On second thought, perhaps this is a compromise between those who would condone capital punishment for batterers and those whose hearts bleed all over the batterer's dysfunctional childhood. (Admittedly, that very conflict exists within my own self.) Or possibly a compromise between the human-protective and the budget-conscious...

If a DV call is made, and the responding officers see an obvious victim, and are given a verbal statement, they should be required to remove the perp. Let him cool his heels in the drunk tank, because the odds are good he will be chemically altered in some way. The state or county will bring charges of battery.

So, to keep people safe, the one delivering the abuse must be compelled to vacate the premises. He may pack his clothes and toys, but no furnishings. Upon a guilty verdict, he relinquishes his legal right to any community property.

Where does he go while waiting for trial? To a therapeutic facility. He probably can't help being an asshole. Schedule his trial for 1 year after his arrest, giving him a full year to learn techniques for keeping his hands to himself and possibly address an addiction. He should also keep his job and send 75% of his pay back to the family. This way, even if he is acquitted, he still received the therapy and did not have to lose his livelihood. The victims will have a safe year to get it together and relocate should they choose.

What if she makes it up you ask? Remember I said obvious victim. Blood, bruises, defensive wounds, fear, distress from her...addiction, anger, cut up knuckles, etc from him.

So now the Republicans want to know who is to pay for the protection of citizens? Why tax payers, that's who. That is precisely what tax money is for. Cut the prison budget, reallocate that money to rehabilitation. Many batterers had the example set for them, and it is imperative that the same example NOT be set for his children. Removing the abusive person from the home will eventually reduce the violent prison population when the next generation does not follow in certain footsteps.

Now to address the issue of drug-related abuse. Apparently the fact that drug use is illegal is not sufficient to protect people. So, every drug-affected baby should be immediately and permanently removed from the addicted mother. Of course there will be exceptions made for mothers using prescribed drugs which her doctor said would be OK; I am talking about crack, heroin, alcohol, etc.

Those babies should be eligible for adoption without delay, to enable healthy emotional bonding, by sober, responsible people, and should be eligible for medical and psychiatric assistance as well as case worker monitoring. Pay social workers like we pay disrict attorneys. Don't cry for the rights of the biological mother. Once she chose to keep the baby and continue the pregnancy, that construes her promise to take care of the fetus and child. Using harmful drugs, hurting the child makes her unfit.

How will taking away a crack baby solve domestic violence? The child will not be raised in an addictive dangerous environment where his mother is possibly trading favors for drugs, associating with bad people, and abandoning the child emotionally and quite possibly physically. If she can't stop using while pregnant, she will use after the birth. This attracts bad men, and bad men do bad things to children.

So to wrap up- remove the perp, give him therapy, allow him to work (with an ankle monitor), have him send money home (if he really is as sorry as he always claims to be he won't mind helping support his family). If the family moves, the money is sent through the court and the perp does not get to know where they are. Advise them to use fake names online and avoid posting pictures! He gets charged by the state regardless of whether the victim is too afraid. If convicted, he does time in minimum security (because he is not likely to pick fights with men his own size). If acquitted, he has received a year of therapy.

She would have to be really stupid to take him back. If she does, and he starts his crap again, he goes to jail for a LONG time, and works hard labor to repay the state. The state can sub out cheap labor to private contractors. Minimum wage. Every penny of his 90% net goes back into the system.

What do you think? Safety with compassion? Punishment when appropriate? Consideration for future generations? Protection of the innocent?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day

Not that the day has chosen the topic, but today's compromise is a very easy one. You have to wonder why the geniuses leaving and the geniuses about to enter Congress have not thought of it yet. Gay rights.

Isn't it ironic that in America there are still citizens who have to "earn" their rights from others? Just saying.

Let's begin with Don't Ask Don't Tell. As much as I loathe Bill Clinton as a walking talking insult to the female species, his DADT was at least a step in the right, ahem, proper direction on the path toward compromise. If you are a person, you will most likely be assumed a heterosexual until you indicate otherwise. So therefore, most members of the military are assumed to have an attraction to the opposite sex. Both sexes definitely serve in the armed forces, and most of us agree they do a damn fine job carrying out the orders from the government-- with which we may or may not agree. As I understand it, (and I am no soldier) there already exists a no-fraternization rule. Can't the rule be enough? If men and women are disciplined somehow if caught "fraternizing" let's let the same rule apply to 2 women or 2 men. If there is a rule prohibiting sexual relations between 2 soldiers, then enforce it. Why is it relevant whom a soldier might want to have relations with?

As a female who has been "checked out" by a few idiots with one-track minds (and aren't we all?), I can understand the straight soldier's discomfort at the idea of undressing and showering with a person who might have naughty, unwelcome ideas in their head. If the women don't have to sleep in the same dorm with the men, the heteros should have the option to not sleep with the gays. It sounds fair...

Allow me to acknowledge one fact. Most convicted rapists are straight men. I do not believe straight male soldiers have as much reason to fear their peers as female soldiers have, but I can empathize with their discomfort at possibly being ogled.

So now it seems the issue comes down to sleeping and showering arrangements. Not being a soldier and not knowing the logistics of these things, the best I can say is offer 10% extra sleeping space, 2 showering shifts, and let the guys figure it out between themselves who sleeps where and showers when. I doubt the female soldiers have the same problems with each other.

Uniformly enforce the current rule regarding fraternization.

Marriage. So much easier than the politicians want you to think it is. When you enter into a legally sanctioned partnership arrangement with another consenting adult, call it a "Partnership" or a "Union." If you would like that Union blessed by a religious figure, go for it. If your church calls it a "marriage", no problem. You can even have both the legal authority and your religious authority at the same ceremony. Either disallow religious figures to sign legal Union paperwork, or allow (not require), by law, religious figures to sign ALL legal Union paperwork. Guarantee- we will begin to see churches which bless gay Unions.

All legal Unions, currently called Marriages, will be afforded the same benefits as they currently have. Property, naming the children, beneficiary and pension, living will, etc.

Doesn't seem like much of a compromise to some conservatives, you say? Look at it from the perspective of 3 things: One, monogamy. Gay couples will be as faithful as straight couples. Two, freedom to decide morality for oneself. We can not be Free AND impose personal morality on others, because NONE of us wants to be controlled by ideas we do not agree with. Third, and this might sound sarcastic but is not, population control. Hear me out. For a person to conceive without a sexual partner is very expensive. Hopefully, more couples who want children will consider adopting unwanted children so there will be fewer children who feel unwanted, (therefore less crime too) and a slowdown in population growth. There are facilities in China full of discarded little girls. Their only crime being the possession of a vulva. It can get expensive to adopt internationally or domestically, but so can artificial insemination. And this way you don't have to endure pregnancy!