Wednesday, June 30, 2010

THIS TOWN AIN'T BIG ENOUGH FOR THE BOTH OF US (SO THE ACLU HAS GOT TO GO)

More misinformation on the Arizona immigration bill, this time from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Hard to imagine the ACLU using lies and sensationalism to push their agenda, huh?

The nation's top “civil liberties group” on Wednesday issued travel alerts for Arizona, saying the state's new law cracking down on illegal immigrants could lead to racial profiling and warrantless arrests.

American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in Arizona, New Mexico and 26 other states put out the warnings in advance of the Fourth of July weekend. The Arizona chapter has received reports that law enforcement officers are already targeting some people even though the law doesn't take effect until July 29, its executive director said.

The nation's top civil liberties group on Wednesday issued travel alerts for Arizona, saying the state's new law cracking down on illegal immigrants could lead to racial profiling and warrantless arrests.

If the ACLU wants to issue a travel alert, issue it to the illegals crossing from Mexico, and warn them that it’s really hot here in the summer so they may want to bring sunscreen and water.

For them to create the impression that the law enforcement officials in the state target individuals of Latino origins is simply a joke, only the joke isn’t funny as it is simply adding to the untruths that have been circulated for several months.

American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in Arizona, New Mexico and 26 other states put out the warnings in advance of the Fourth of July weekend. The Arizona chapter has received reports that law enforcement officers are already targeting some people even though the law doesn't take effect until July 29, its executive director said.

As for the Arizona chapter “receiving reports” that some people are “already being targeted,” are you kidding me? Let’s see these reports! I’m sure that the Arizona police have nothing better to do, especially since the state has had such a history of racial tension. Oh that’s right, it hasn’t had such a history. Strike two, ACLU.

The ACLU was formed to protect aliens threatened with deportation, along with U.S. nationals threatened with criminal charges by U.S. Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer for their communist or socialist activities and agendas. Their stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States."

So help me, ACLU, with why you are objecting to a law that models the Federal law, which you have not objected to? The goal of this law is to enforce the Constitution, specifically the responsibility of Congress under Article I Section 8 to secure the border. Why would the ACLU be against that?

If anyone reading this is an ACLU contributor, please look for a better way to donate your money. Lies and sensationalism are not the way to facilitate change-they only seem to work for Republican and Democratic institutions.

But I would recommend anyone considering visiting Arizona this July 4th weekend to reconsider. It’s going to be hotter than Hell-go somewhere cooler!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

SOCIAL INSECURITY

Do you ever wonder how your Social Security account is performing?


Each week, the Federal government takes 7.5% of your salary and another 7.5% from your employer as a contribution towards your retirement plan.

When you contribute to a 401K, your money is put into an account, and the fund manager has a fiduciary responsiblity to manage that fund for you, keeping it separate from other funds.

Where is the money you’ve paid into Social Security? According to FDR, it was going to be set aside for you. How is the Federal government managing its fiduciary responsibility to you?

Roosevelt envisioned a plan through which workers would contribute and provide for their own future economic security, and he specifically disdained the idea of reliance upon welfare.

The original SSA embraced the idea of Social Security being an insurance program under which a group of individuals were insured against identifiable risks: disability and old age.

It was also meant as a supplement, never to take the place of individual savings efforts.

Some describe Social Security as a transfer payment--transferring income from the generation of workers to the generation of retirees--with the promise that when current workers retiree, there will be another generation of workers behind them who will be the source of their Social Security retirement payments.




Or you could say that Social Security is a pyramid scheme (the man in the photo is Charles Ponzi, by the way).

If the demographics of the population were stable, then the current system might have worked.

However, since the 1950’s, population demographics have fallen, and through modern science people are living longer, which has thrown a bit of a monkey wrench into the Ponzi scheme.

No problem-we’re investing the excess contributions, right?


During periods when more new participants are entering the system than are receiving benefits there tends to be a surplus in funding (as in the early years of Social Security).

Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, which means that the taxes that come in each year are used to pay benefits for retirees that year. There is no mechanism for investing any excess funds that are left over.


Surpluses, which in theory should fund benefits for future retirees, are instead raided by Congress and squandered on unrelated spending programs.


Here's how the raid works: The surplus payroll tax dollars go into the Social Security Trust Fund, which in turn uses them to buy special issue bonds from the U.S. Treasury.
Then Congress can use those dollars, in the Treasury, to spend on anything it wants.


All that Social Security has are the bonds. The bonds pay interest, but Congress raids the interest, too, by simply placing more bonds in the trust fund.


The trust fund itself is a filing cabinet in West Virginia — it doesn't have any real funds in it and you probably shouldn't trust it.


President Bush explained this pretty well in a speech in 2005: "You pay your payroll tax, we pay out to current retirees, and then we spend your money on other government programs."

This should make Americans mad. Really mad. But it seems as if everyone is confident that the money to pay them is going to be there when they need it.

I hate to sound all doomy and gloomy, but how can it possible be there? The system is already insolvent (more liabilities to people like you and me than it has money to pay) and in a few years it's going to have a cash flow problem.

During periods when beneficiaries are growing faster than new entrants (as will happen when the baby boomers retire), there tends to be a deficit. This vulnerability to demographic ups and downs is one of the problems with pay-as-you-go financing.


Unfortunately, a majority of people anticipate that Social Security will form a significant part of their retirement income. And the demographic winter we’re on the brink of is the problem with that assumption.


When Social Security was implemented, there were 16 workers for every Social Security recipient; today there are 3.3 workers for every recipient, and it is estimated that by 2030 there will be only two workers for every recipient.

Not a very sustainable model, huh? Where is the money going to come from to pay out benefits to the baby boomers?

Well, how does a government “earn” money?

It can tax us, it can borrow it, or it can print it.

Most people would agree that higher taxation is a bad idea, yet it is actually the preferable of the three options. Government borrowing and the Federal Reserve’s ability to print money will be the topic of future posts, but they are ways to hide the wealth redistribution agenda. At leats with a new or increased tax, it’s out in the open.

I know that most of this is not new to people, yet I hear alarming statistics about the number of Americans who are relying on Social Security to fund their golden years.

If you want some gold in those golden years, you may want to invest in real gold now while it’s affordable.

Friday, June 11, 2010

WHO'S BOYCOTTING WHO?

I was thumbing through this week’s Rolling Stone…

I know that the above-typed phrase is probably not what you would expect, on this, the first post of my political blog. Surely you must be on the DiscConnected music blog by mistake?

No need to check the URL. Read on, and all shall be made clear. I think.

In the very left-leaning music magazine, there was a story about the state of the concert industry, how acts were cancelling shows this summer due to lack of ticket sales.

The very next story spoke about the Arizona Senate bill 1070, and the brave crusade (that’s sarcasm folks!) by musical acts like Cypress Hill, Kanye West, Sonic Youth, Joe Satriani and others who have signed onto the Sound Strike, a commitment to boycott performances in Arizona, organized by Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha.

"Fans of our music, our stories, our films and our words can be pulled over and harassed every day because they are brown or black, or for the way they speak, or for the music they listen to," de la Rocha wrote in a press release announcing the strike. "We are asking artists the world over to stand with us, and not allow our collective economic power to be used to aid and abet civil and human rights violations that will be caused by Arizona's odious law."

Sorry, Zack-if you’d read the law, you’d know that that is not what it says.

Now, in light of the previous story, and considering that many of the acts named are somewhat past their peak popularity (that’s PC for has-beens), I found the threat to punish Arizona by not performing for money to be amusing, but more on that later.

What really gets to me, and what prompted this post, is the fact that everyone opposed to the bill is obviously reacting to the soundbytes. They have not read the bill. Based on what they are saying, they can’t possibly have. You can find Senate Bill 1070 here. It’s about sixteen pages but most of what is relevant is in the first few pages. But read it before you make a decision to call everyone in Arizona a Klansman.

Here’s the first provision:

A. NO OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE MAY ADOPT A POLICY THAT LIMITS OR RESTRICTS THE ENFORCEMENT OF FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAWS TO LESS THAN THE FULL EXTENT PERMITTED BY FEDERAL LAW.

Get it? That means the state is adopting the Federal law as the state law. Now Emperor Obama and the US Attorney General have both called this bill unconstitutional. See a problem there?

Let’s review- Arizona is adopting the Federal law as the state law. So if the Arizona law is unconstitutional, then would not the Federal law also have to be? Yet we don’t see King Obama’s panties in a bunch over that one.

Wanna read some more? Here we go!

B. FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).

Again we’re following Federal guidelines. Yet, there’s all that bile comparing Arizona to Nazi Germany. Well if you’re gonna compare someone to Nazi’s, shouldn’t it be the Feds. They’re their laws.

I have two problems with that, though. One, the Nazis, albeit evil, almost conquered the world. The Federal government can’t even conquer Iraq, nor can it make headway in cleaning up an oil spill, nor could it provide relief to Katrina victims. In short, the Federal government may not be as evil as Nazis, but they are idiots.

Two, the Nazis were fascicsts*. The Federal government is socialist. How else do you explain them actively pursuing a policy of wealth distribution (under every regime…pardon me, administration, regardless of party rhetoric) and being the majority owner of General Motors?

But I digress…plenty of time to get into that in future posts.

Now I suspect that what many of the people who have read the law (all five of us) and still object to is the possibility for abuse under section B. A police officer with an axe to grind against Latinos could abuse his power with this law.

Anyone can already be pulled over and harassed every day. If you are na├»ve enough to think that a police officer cannot come up with a reason to pull you over anytime, you’re kidding yourself.

Under Arizona’s Motor Vehicle code, section 28-1595, a police officer already has the right to ask anyone in a vehicle (passengers included) to produce identification.

I do feel sorry for Mexican-Americans, and Mexican nationals here legally who will be inconvienced by this law. The southern part of Arizona is more rural than I could imagine, having lived half of my life in Philadelphia. Residents of these remote areas near the border report repeated burglaries and recently a rancher was murdered (although I do not know for sure if it has been established he was killed by an illegal alient).

The United States Constitution (remember that one?) does not charge the Federal government with much. Their operation of schools, automobile manufacturers, food and drug administrations, health care, social security, unemployment and welfare (to name but a few) are power grabs-there is no authority in the Constitution for this, and any power not expressly given to the Feds by the Constitution is either reserved for the states or the people.

The Constitution does grant the Prez the power to call forth the Militia to repel invasions; That, my friends, is the whole point of Arizona Senate Bill 1070:

The President (and many who came before the incumbent) is not doing his job. So the Arizona governor decided to step up and make sure it got done, because it needs to be done.

So to Tom Morello, no, Arizona is not the second coming of Apartheid, and nor is this just like lynching (he actually says this in the RS article).

Tom, I want you to know that I am happy to recommend to anyone who will listen to refuse to buy your music at retail unless it is a used copy (promotional copies are plentiful in used CD stores), and to make copies of it available to anyone for free. I’ll even reimburse them for the blank CD’s.

As for the whole boycotting concerts idea in a summer where the live performance industry joins the recorded music industry in the toilet? Well I’m a little suspicious that maybe these shows are being cancelled because you guys aren’t selling tickets. And maybe the whole boycott thing is a means to some free publicity.

After all, Los Lobos and Hall & Oates aren’t exactly household names anymore. Neither is Rage Against The Machine. And are Morello’s Nightwatchman albums topping the charts?

I have news for you gentlemen-if you’re not able to sell tickets, you’re not boycotting Arizona, Arizona is boycotting YOU!


*as Stephen McCarthy points out, yes the Nazis were socialists, but the paragraph reads better my way...