Saturday, August 30, 2014

This is like Heaven, But not Good Enough for Progressives

Photo: Andrei Pandele
My 1977 English teacher who said I would never amount to anything because my English was not British enough, taught me how to type on an old Remington typewriter with each letter attached to a striking metal arm. These armed letters often tangled if I typed too fast. When the school was allowed a few IBM SELECTRIC typewriters, I felt like we had arrived. I could type really fast, 85 words per minute. One of the big shots in the Communist Party had a child in our class and nothing but the best was provided for his progeny; so all 36 students got lucky.

Come to think of it, maybe my English teacher in Romania was right. In my 30th year of teaching in the U.S. my supervisor gave me a pretty shocking evaluation possibly born by her total scorn for my conservative, anti-communist bad attitude. On a scale of 1-5, 5 being the best, she rated my ability to speak, read, and comprehend the English language as a 1. At the same time, one of my colleagues who hailed from a Central American country spoke very grammatically poor English, with students who struggled to understand his lectures, received a 5. He was sincere enough to brag about it.

It was hard to describe to my blue collar parents what an electric typewriter looked like and how fast we could type government-approved propaganda. To top it off, we learned short-hand just in case we were required to take dictation. I can’t say I’ve ever used short-hand except in college but I used typing constantly. It was probably the most useful skill the commies taught me. My daughter still remembers me practicing short-hand with my fingers in the air when she was a child. I have not forgotten the symbols to this day.

I could never see myself as a secretary, typing all day for a commie apparatchik boss because I could not sit still that long and I got bored easily, I needed intellectual stimulation, but that was the only option for the child of blue collar parents unless I could win one of the few seats available at the university. College education was free but numbers were limited and controlled. It was not that blue collar children were not smart, capable, or great achievers in school; the children of Communist Party members of the right pedigree received priority over the rest of us, the proletariat.

Today I get frustrated when something does not download fast enough or gets stuck in cyberspace. I have the world’s libraries and books at my fingertips. Very small children are adept at using and programming computers. Taking a trip one day in elementary school to the computing ministry was an experience I will never forget. The computer that I hold in my lap or in the palm of my hand today occupied then an entire building. I think my cell phone probably has more capabilities today than the building housing the data cruncher for the country then. Our car onboard computers are probably more sophisticated. They can self- diagnose, have a black box, can be manipulated from afar, and makes driving a comfortable breeze. Why would an against-the-people government with an environmental agenda want to restrict our freedom of mobility by taking roads out of commission, not maintaining them, not repairing bridges, and taxing us per miles driven? How is it better to go back to walking, biking, wagons, and horse riding? Who is going to benefit from reverting to less civilization?

Not long ago, when I did my doctoral dissertation at 28, I had to use computer-punch cards.  One single search with carefully chosen key words produced an entire drawer of cards. They had to be kept in the right order for them to be properly read. All it took is dropping one bundle on the ground and the search work had to start all over again for $28 per search.

I never dreamed that one tiny cell phone in the 21st century would be my TV, computer, radio, calculator, game board,  picture album, correspondence, file cabinet, friends chat, flash light, agenda, grocery list, scanner, camera, notebook, library, store, shopper, recorder, and compass. This global positioning system device comes in handy when I get lost and it helps NSA keep track of where I am, what I say wherever I happen to be, what I do, whom I am doing it with, what I think, and keep a general tab on my life. One ad was promoting on radio the idea that Utah should turn their water off and the spying would stop.

In the 20th century, the commies had to do hard work to spy on us – hire snitches, informers, detectives, plant listening devices in walls, bug personal belongings, phone receivers, interrogate us, open and read our mail – an entire army of employees on the payroll of the dreaded Securitate, a junior KGB arm. It kept people off the streets, “gainfully” employed, and meagerly fed.

Even a one-year old knows now what a remote control does. Back then we had to get up out of the uncomfortable wooden chairs we owned and switch off the channel by hand to the other channel. The president was on both channels spewing communist propaganda lies, but we had TV. Once a week, the entire block would gather to watch a movie or soccer game at one ground-floor apartment that had a black and white TV large enough for a big crowd. When too many showed up, the TV was moved outside which was a bit unfriendly on account of the nearby dumpster and flies buzzing around. But the cheap home-made wine and beer were plentiful. The stores were always empty of basic foodstuff but wine and beer were never in short supply.

We played outside in dirt, mud, and snow with total disregard for our heads. Nobody thought about buying us helmets or covering the one electric plug to protect a curious and investigative toddler who might stick a pin inside the socket. Two hundred and forty volts deliver a pretty serious and painful jolt but, some of us survived. I still remember the excruciating pain though. I was bored watching mom press clothes with her wrought iron with a handle, heated every so many minutes on the open flame on the stove. It was progress from grandma’s version that had a chamber filled with burning coals. It is not hard to imagine we wore clothes sometimes with the curious shape of the iron in a brown-burned outline.

We had one notebook, one pencil, one eraser, and one pencil sharpener when we went to school. It was really special if we had a pen or a nice fountain pen with black ink. Blue ink was much cheaper. A rudimentary quill was made of wood and the replaceable metal tips we dipped in ink to write with were expensive. No calculators to perform the most sophisticated operations in calculus. We had to use our brains and basic skills of computation, no Chinese beaded abacus.

Uncle John, studying engineering, had a slide ruler that made complex calculations. I never took the time to learn how to use it although I was familiar with the compass and other simple tools used in geometry.

Laundry was painfully done by hand with lie soap in the tub when water was available and the tub was not occupied with chilling watermelons and wine bottles. Those who could afford a fridge were hampered by its dorm size. In the country, laundry was done with the washboard and a wooden tub by the river. Today the old country has washing machines but everything comes out extremely wrinkled. Although available, driers are not used because the electricity to drive them is too expensive and EU rules mandate power use in such a way that it short-circuits the entire block if someone does try to use a drier in conjunction with another kitchen appliance.

I sit in the elegant and clean metro car ferrying Washingtonians to their bureaucratic jobs and I remember the crowded, overflowing buses, with bodies hanging out the open doors, filled to capacity with the stench of sweaty bodies mixed with Diesel fumes. They were building a metro when I left in 1978. I am told that it is extremely crowded today.

The comfortable and mostly on time VRE trains whisk Virginians comfortably on their daily commute to work and home. Every time I see one pass by, I still see in my mind’s eye and can smell the soot of the commuter train I took for three years to the university long time ago in another life. It was standing room only for 60 km. We knew each other by name and where we commuted. Once, a fellow passenger, a railroad employee, saved my life. The train had started to slowly move and people were still jumping on. I did the same, I did not want to miss the five o’clock but I miscalculated the iced steel handle. My hands slipped and I would have wound up under the train tracks had it not been for this man grabbing the fur collar on my green winter coat and pulling me up inside the train. Thank God I weighed so very little back then!  I still remember the train’s whistle that day. I get nauseous just thinking about it.

I can get in my car and go anywhere I want today as long as I can find and have money to buy gas. There was always a longing to go places when I was growing up under communism. But we were only able to go on a small radius, as far as our meager salaries allowed, most of which was spent on food, rent, and utilities. No luxuries for travel or fancy clothes, just enough to cover our bodies and keep us warm. No designer shoes, no purses, no style changes every three months. Everyone got one pair of sandals and one pair of winter boots each year until we outgrew them or they wore out. It was an odd curiosity to watch the president’s wife carry a purse. Generally women carried a shopping bag. My first purse was a black beaded clutch Dad bought me for the prom. I still have it today. I could not stand to part with it no matter how many other purses I may own.

We get mad when our flights get canceled or delayed. We were so exploited and controlled by the commie elites, we could not fly anywhere. We were not allowed to go outside of our national borders and passports were refused for travel. Only exceptional athletes, musicians, translators, actors, ballerinas, and Communist Party members of the upper echelon could fly but each had a security detail and assigned tails at all times.

I remember gawking at an artistic display of fruits in Galleries Lafayette, on a trip to Paris as an American. They were selling cherries on Christmas Day for 80 euros a kilo. Nobody gives it a thought and takes it for granted how well most Americans live today. They’ve never had to suffer hunger or shortages of anything. They get annoyed if they have to stand in line to pay for their groceries. They should thank God for living in a country that is so successful and most things are abundant and available year around.

We take for granted the electricity in our homes and clean water. We expect lights to come on and water to flow out of the tap. It is a disaster when a storm strikes and these services are temporarily interrupted. Nobody stops to think what it would be like when electricity and water will be rationed because of the misguided push towards solar and wind energy, parasitic forms of energy that would never supply the power needed for our huge economy and swelling population.

Even the most decrepit hospitals in this country are considered Club Med in most countries and everybody, legal or illegal, gets free care in the ER. Yet progressives don’t think our system works, it is “socially unjust” just like our entire country, we must nationalize health care, ration it, and force the formation of black market medicine with envelopes stuffed with cash.

It is heaven how we live today but it is not good enough for progressives because spoiled brats have no point of reference or baseline to compare to and appreciate their windfall of prosperity.

Forgotten are the wagon trails, the pioneers who sacrificed so much in the 19th century, the early 20th century prospectors, farmers, cattlemen, businessmen, industrialists, miners, steel manufacturers, road and bridge workers, and other laborers who built such a prosperous nation while living in squalor, poverty, uncertainty, exposed to the elements, without light and water, on horse and buggy, or covered wagons, riding horses, riding trains that were often robbed, walking, suffering and sacrificing so that the brats of today can complain with a Starbucks latte in one hand and a smart gadget in another what a terrible country America is, how unjustly crony capitalism exploits the 99 percenters, and how ashamed they are of being American. I don’t know what’s stopping them from giving up their passports and moving to the socialist paradise of their choice.

They should be ashamed of their appalling ignorance of their own history and of their blind allegiance to foreign and domestic nefarious elements who are out to destroy our civilization that others before them had built with sweat and tears, never demanding “entitlements” they had not earned.

 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Butler on Business, August 27, 2014 Climate Change and Other Lies from the Left

My radio segments with Alan Butler on Climate change, other lies from the environmental left, and disability insurance. I come on at the 34 minute mark.
http://host1.cyberears.com//27504.mp3

The Agricultural Resource Management Plan in Virginia

Coming soon to your state!
Martha's Liberty Farm Photo: Martha Boneta 2014
My late father-in-law was a successful farmer and cooperative extension agent with 40 year- experience who advised farmers in his county on crop management, land and water use, fertilizers, soil analysis, pests, and plant and animal disease.  He valued the land he owned and knew that it was very important to properly care for the soil, the water, and animals in such a way that it would not compromise the environment and the success of his farm in the future. His knowledge was based on his Master’s degree, research developed at nearby universities, and personal experience in farming for decades.

Virginia Cooperative Extension also offers an array of professional advice to farmers with their co-op extension agents who are knowledgeable and offer their expert advice. They include among many services: marketing, animal husbandry, crops and soils, environment and natural resources, finance, food, nutrition, health, lawn and garden, nursery, greenhouse, turf, specialty agriculture, and 4-H. http://www.ext.vt.edu/

It was thus very surprising when Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on August 25, 2014, a new Agriculture Resource Management Plan. This voluntary program “encourages farmers to increase their use of conservation best management practices while providing the community quantifiable credit for the practices they already have in place” and “better tracking the programs that farmers already have in place.” I am not sure what this quantifiable credit is going to do, but I do understand the word “tracking.”

The program, a partnership between “natural resource agencies and the agricultural community” will ensure that farmers will be “good stewards” of our “precious natural resources.”

Representatives present at the ARMP promotion were Virginia Farm Bureau, the Virginia Agribusiness Council, the Virginia Dairymen’s Association, the Virginia Cattlemen Association, the Virginia Poultry Federation, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

The Agricultural Resource Management Plan (ARMP) was actually approved in the 2011 General Assembly session to “advance water quality improvement” and to provide farmers an “opportunity for some regulatory assurance.”

ARMP “encourages farmers to have a private sector RMP developer create a plan for their farm or any portion of it. The plan will incorporate the property’s current stream buffer, soil conservation, nutrient management and stream exclusion practices and recommend other practices needed. Once the plan is approved and implemented, the property is deemed to be in compliance with state nutrient and sediment water quality standards. This certainty remains in place during the plan’s nine-year lifespan.” (Who is not eager to have their farm activity locked in environmental compliance for nine years and a private sector bureaucrat tell them how to run their farm?)

Delegate Steve Landes (R-Augusta) was pleased that ARMP was “approved with support from the agricultural and environmental community.”  

“Virginia is the nation’s fifth state, and the first in the Chesapeake Bay region, with an agricultural certainty program.

Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta County), pointing out the need  to credit farmers for their stewardship of Virginia’s natural resources said, “Protecting our farmers and our natural resources are one in the same.” Except when natural resources are protected, environmentalists tend to take the land out of production or place many strings attached to production, while farmers are interested in producing food on their land.

DCR is “accepting applications for certified resource management plan developers.” These bureaucratic developers, who are yet to be hired, will help famers “to apply for the development of a plan on their property.”  

Money via the Virginia Agricultural Cost Share program will fund “both the development and implementation of RMPs (Resource Management Plans) and the practices needed to complete one.”  Notice that the word “agricultural” has disappeared from the acronym RMPs.

Applicants are encouraged to contact their soil and water conservation districts or the DCR’s website under “Soil and Water.” www.dcr.virginia.gov

Why the duplication of services and the waste of money when Virginia already has expert advice for farmers via Cooperative Extension Offices and farmers already know how to protect their soil and water and how to be more efficient and profitable? Because it is about regulating farming, compliance with environmentalist demands, about control and tracking of the food supply, the water supply, and land use. It is another environmentally-driven encroachment of our lives.

 

 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lies and Dang Lies Environmentalists Tell

Alaska
Photo credit: Florentina Cimpian, 2014
“Romantic love is often blind. This is nowhere made more evident than in the environmental infatuation, if not worship, of a natural world which the modern greens will never be able to save no matter how totalitarian the movement becomes.” – R. Mark Musser, author

The green infatuation and Gaia worship were prominent in Hitler’s time. Musser talks about “the green Nazi motive of the Holocaust” in his book, Nazi Oaks. “Unbeknownst to many, the highway to modern environmentalism passed through Nazi Germany. By 1935, the Third Reich was the greenest regime on the planet.”
Environmentalists have been busy for quite some time misinforming the public in a targeted assault against civilization and economic development, private property, and our way of life, under the guise of healing the planet and protecting future generations. As we saw, many influential individuals have become rich beyond belief on the platform of anthropogenic global warming and of the alarmist eventual demise of the planet due to the melting of the ice caps and glaciers flooding the world and swallowing most islands and lands bordering the oceans.

Rep. Hank Johnson went as far as saying during a House committee hearing that he feared the Island of Guam would “become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize” from the weight of 8,000 additional Marines stationed in Guam. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNZczIgVXjg

Environmentalists told us and especially our impressionable children that polar bears were drowning when the ice floes melted. Never mind that polar bears are really good long distance swimmers and their numbers have quintupled. Even the Discovery Channel, a source most viewers believed to be scientifically accurate, irritated the public by presenting fake docudramas in an attempt to “save the sharks.”

The environmentalists assured us that solar power is cheap, clean, and friendly to the planet. But the energy is far from safe, clean, or cheap. The environmental damage to the desert tortoise and many species of birds is alarming. Workers at the solar plant called Bright Source Energy at Ivanpah Dry Lake, California, have named the birds that fly into the plant’s flow of concentrated sun rays “streamers.” The birds that burst into flames in mid-air leave behind a smoke trail.

Wind farms chop millions of birds, including rare and endangered species, and affect animal and human behavior and health negatively as confirmed by Mark Duchamp, President of World Council for Nature. In numerous instances around the world and in Denmark, farmers had to put down animals that attacked each other, had numerous still born, and gave birth to deformed puppies.  www.wcfn.org

When Ronald Reagan was president, the German environmental party, Die Grünen (the Greens,) was blaming him and the U.S. economy for the acid rain that was allegedly killing trees in Europe. A campaign sponsored by the Greens featured a button with a dying tree and the words, “Stoppt Sauere Reagan,” which meant, “Stop Acid Rain,” but the German word for rain is spelled “Regen,” not “Reagan.” It was a play on words, deliberately misspelled to point the finger in the wrong direction, certainly not based on any scientific data.

Rosalind Peterson, President and Co-Founder of the Agriculture Defense Coalition in California, addressed the United Nations on the topic of Geoengineering and Chemtrails.  She explained the weather modification programs covering thousands and thousands of miles using ground base chemicals that are shot into the air or dumped by airplanes, affecting microclimate and the growing season, and crop pollinators.  

Sulphur and other chemicals are dumped or shot into the atmosphere in geoengineering attempts to “help the planet and supposedly mitigate weather warming” but they are hurting agriculture crop production by reducing the amount of sunlight necessary for photosynthesis.

Peterson testified that persistent jet contrails exacerbate global warming because they trap heat and cause serious man-made clouds, changing our climate. She explained that “one persistent jet contrail can spread to 4,000 km and last for 20 hours.”

Persistent jet contrails were unheard of in the 50s and 60s and appeared in the late 1980s. “NASA studies show that part of our global warming problem could be attributed to these types of contrails and the jets that leave them.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5is16A8pfw

In addition to sulphur, nano particles of barium, aluminum, and strontium are sprayed in the upper atmosphere worldwide in a program called atmospheric geoengineering achieved by stratospheric aerosol (chemtrails). Ted Gunderson, the late former FBI Chief, made a passionate plea to stop the “death dumps” because they are killing trees, plants, sea, and animal life worldwide. He mentioned the two locations from which unmarked airplanes fly to do the dumps, Air National Guard in Lincoln, Nebraska and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR6KVYJ73AU&feature=endscreen&NR=1

“We have hardly any sun anymore and all of our trees are dying. When you hike through the woods and walk through your towns and cities, you will see that the bark on the trees is turning black, cracking, and in case of the oaks here in NYC and Long Island, the bark is completely falling off!”

It is a fact that wind and solar energy are “parasitic power producers” because they need back-up energy produced through the burning of coal, natural gas, or nuclear and hydro-power generation.

It is also a known fact that large wind and solar power plants can only be built with large government subsidies and the electricity generation is inadequate for our huge economy, it is expensive, intermittent, and unreliable. Many solar power plants have gone bankrupt around the world in spite of government subsidies.

The claim that global warming causes oceanic acidification can be easily debunked because there is insufficient CO2 in the atmosphere (0.04 %) to make a difference in the oceans’ alkaline pH of 8. In order to significantly modify the oceans’ pH, CO2 must come from other sources such as underwater volcanoes.

CO2 dissolved in tap water (seltzer water) is a weak, unstable acid. If you leave a soda can open, the CO2 dissipates and what is left is sweet colored water.

What about the “greenhouse gas effect?” Greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone) are defined as “gases in an atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range” in a process that is presented as the “fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect.”  It is believed by environmental science “consensus” that these “greenhouse gases affect the temperature of the Earth.”

Ka-Kit Tung, adjunct professor of applied mathematics at the University of Washington and Xianyao Chen of the Ocean University of China proved in their study published in Science magazine that 30-year global warming and cooling cycles are caused by sun-warmed salty water from the tropics, traveling along ocean currents. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6199/897

Upon reaching the North Atlantic, the saltier tropical water sinks due to its greater density. The process is called warm saltwater subduction. “When [the water] sinks, it goes straight down, and the sinking carries heat along with it.” According to the study, “about 90 percent of the Earth’s heat is stored in the oceans due to the atmosphere’s limited storage capacity.” We are currently in a cooling cycle. Oceanic currents seem to be a thorn in the anthropogenic CO2 global warming agenda. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/oceans-hid-the-heat-and-slowed-pace-of-global-warming/

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recognizes that oceans, covering 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, “play a major role in regulating the weather and climate of the planet.” Water cycles, surface and deep ocean currents, ocean density, atmospheric winds, oceanic convection, and the Earth’s rotation are variables affecting temperature, weather events, and climate. http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/pd/oceans_weather_climate/welcome.html

While we are forced to cut back on carbon dioxide, the gas of life that plants need in order to grow and thrive, horticulturists add CO2 to their greenhouses in order to accelerate the growth of plants and vegetables.

The sun is an important variable that affects global surface temperatures and is conveniently overlooked by the global warming scientists.  During the 20th century there was a record solar activity that has not occurred in 3 millennia which happened to peak during our global warming period.

“The climate models of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seem to underestimate the impact of natural factors on the climate change, while overstate that of human activities.”

The two sun events that have direct effects on the globe are solar flares, sudden increases in electromagnetic wave and particle emissions, and coronal mass ejections, erupting filaments at speeds of hundreds to thousands of km/s. Both disturb the “solar wind, the Earth’s magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere systems, causing geomagnetic storms when entering interplanetary space.” http://csb.scichina.com:8080/kxtbe/EN/volumn/volumn_6360.shtml

Carbon is not a pollutant, it is a chemical element and as such, it cannot be released into the atmosphere by itself. C02 is the gas needed for plant life and it is exhaled by all living, breathing animals. Methane is a gas released by all animals. Methane and CO2 are constantly belched by volcanoes on land and under the sea.

At the end of the day, all the rhetoric that environmentalists are bombarding us with every day, using different euphemism to play our heart strings has the common denominator of total control of our daily lives. Even John F. Kennedy made a speech on September 25, 1961 to the U.N. General Assembly, envisioning “satellites as key to global communication and weather control.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajbhi_IIX71Xt=34

The Washington Post publishes almost daily articles promoting global warming/climate change and demonizing those who are skeptics. Apparently “climate change deniers are short on scientific literacy.” We do believe in climate change – it has been changing for millennia. We just don’t believe the progressive version of anthropogenic global warming/climate change. It does not matter how hard the “Green Team” is trying to convince the “God Squad” that humans changed the climate. God and variables in nature are in control. (Washington Post, What, me worry about climate change, George Marshall, August 24, 2014)

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” It would be nice if progressives would remember this rhetoric they fancy before they spend the next trillion dollars we do not have that we must either print or borrow. (Washington Post, Jay Fisette, Cities fighting climate change may finally get help, August 24, 2014)

This summer has been so unusually cool; leaves are changing color already in August in Pennsylvania. Environmentalism is not about common sense, factual science, or saving the planet, it is an agenda of “consensus” pseudo-science and enslavement to the wishes of a few.  In the process of implementing this agenda, the politicians and global elites who heavily promote the global warming scam and pass legislation to force the entire planet into compliance are becoming millionaires and billionaires, using our ignorance and stupidity.

 

 

 

Diability Insurance and the Social Security Stripping of Funds

John Q Taxpayer wrote in a commentary on the web:

“I woke up this morning and the whole world was backwards. Right is now wrong, illegal immigration is an act of love, self-defense is not permitted, the rich are evil, God is banned, the government of the people is out to get the people, the truth is forbidden, the ignorant are in charge of the intelligent, communism is good, robbery is overlooked, free speech is regulated, money is evil.”

Illegal aliens have more rights and benefits than American citizens, personal property is fair game because it was not earned, it was stolen from the lazy and uneducated, living and breathing causes the earth to go into global warming Armageddon, criminal enemies and jihadis are welcomed with open arms through the southern border with a Club Med socialist red carpet to speed up our demise, sovereignty is selfish and passé, speaking English is offensive to invading ethnic groups, we are now global citizens, the flag, the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance are racist, our culture and Christianity are insulting to primitive cultures who should have stayed in the hell hole they came from if they are offended,  and being American is shameful and socially unjust.

“Somebody wake me up, this must be a nightmare.”

Unfortunately it is the “new norm.” We are brainwashed to this “new norm” every day through manufactured crisis after manufactured crisis. The low information voters are convinced that our economy is booming, we don’t have almost 100 million Americans out of work, there are no discouraged workers, unemployment went down below six percent, and life could not be better as long as the welfare checks keep rolling in. Would the cash cow not run out of money eventually, even printing them ad nauseam?

Data from the U.S. Treasury show that “Social Security retirement and disability programs have dedicated resources sufficient to cover benefits for the next 19 years, until 2033. However, the projected depletion date for the Separate Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund is only two years away, in late 2016.” Because in 2016 “dedicated revenues are projected to be depleted and will only cover 80 percent of scheduled benefit payments,” the report recommends that “legislation will be needed to address this financial imbalance.”
http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2587.aspx

At the end of 2013 11 million people were receiving DI payments. The number of people receiving DI benefits grew by 0.9 percent. This growth increase reflects the gradual aging of the population as well as increases in the insured population. (pp. 35-36) http://www.ssa.gov/oact/tr/2014/tr2014.pdf

According to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), an employer must withhold three separate taxes from employee wages:

- 6.2 percent Social Security tax

- 1.45 percent Medicare tax

- 0.9 percent Medicare surtax for employees earning over $200,000 (began in 2013)

The FICA law requires employers to match the 6.2 percent Social Security tax, the 1.45 percent Medicare tax, but not the 0.9 Medicare surtax. http://www.bizfilings.com/toolkit/sbg/tax-info/payroll-taxes/employers-responsibility-fica-payroll-taxes.aspx

Social Security Disability Insurance protects more than 160 million American workers with an average benefit of $1,146 per month (May 2014), slightly above the 2014 federal poverty line for an individual of $972. “For more than 80 percent of beneficiaries, Disability Insurance is their main source of income. For one-third, it is their only source of income.” http://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/SSDIBrief.pdf

Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew testified before Congress in August 2014, proposing a change in Social Security funding.  From the 6.3 percent contribution, 9/10 of one percent goes to the disability insurance fund which is so tapped that will allegedly be insolvent by mid-2016. Secretary Lew wants to shift a couple of tens of one percent from the Social Security fund to the disability fund.

According to Dick Morris, the disability insurance (DI) fund is stressed by the extra 20 percent increase in disability recipients. Why is there such a sudden increase of disabled people under this administration when the U.S. population grew by only 4 points “since Obama became president?”  Morris explained that this growth is attributed to “shaky diagnoses that are highly subjective such as back pain, psychological conditions, migraines, and not from serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.” He is of the opinion that funding such subjective claims by “stripping money from Social Security is a horrible decision.” https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/147f417f22124eda

Social Security’s establishment 80 years ago was necessary to “ensure the security of the men, women and children of the nation against the hazards and vicissitudes of life.” It is those who take advantage of the system dishonestly who can actually work but choose not to, and illegal aliens who draw benefits that are problematic.

 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Butler on Business, August 20, 2014 Ferguson, MO and the American Family

Alan and I discuss Ferguson, MO and the degradation of the American family. One of the ads in between the two segments is most interesting, referencing the water used in Utah. I come on at the 34 minute mark.
http://host1.cyberears.com//27426.mp3

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mount Everest and Pollution

Mount Everest, en.wikipedia.org
Environmentalists have switched their assault on the world economy to a new frontier, previously unaffected by their agenda – peaks, Mount Everest to be more specific, located between China and Nepal in the Himalayas. The 29,029 feet mountain is in danger. What is the crisis? According to the National Geographic team, the mountain is “overcrowded with inexperienced climbers and polluted with waste.”

The nature of the pollution includes human corpses, human excrement, garbage leaking from glaciers, abandoned equipment, and overcrowding. How crowded could it be? Mark Jenkins described at 26,000 feet the dangerous inconvenience of more than 100 climbers moving slowly, forcing everybody else to move at the same pace. 

The humans who perished were left where they died; some were pushed by wind and ice by the side of the trail and some wound up in crevasses. Mark said that the “mountain is mobbed” by inexperienced climbers. “The two standard routes up Everest are not only dangerously crowded but also disgustingly polluted.”

He bemoans the days when in 1963 only six climbers made the arduous trek compared to 2012 when over 500 “mobbed the summit.” The National Geographic team reached the summit on May 25 but was unable to stand due to overcrowding.

Climbing the highest peak is not as glamorous as it used to be, he said. The club is no longer rarified – there are almost 4,000 who successfully reached the peak, some more than once. Guided climbers who pay $30,000-120,000 on expeditions to reach the top have created mounds of human excrement and left behind discarded equipment, other trash, and corpses.

Nepalese Sherpas remove their own trash, leaving little footprint behind. They even pick up some of the garbage left by climbers even though collection work is difficult in sub-zero temperatures.

What kind of micro-management do environmentalists propose in order to save this natural wonder, the mammoth toy that tests the mettle for the few and moneyed?

-          Restrain low budget outfitters by limiting the number of total permits per season and the size of each team (perfect weather data causes crowds on the mountain, all vying to reach the top during the same nice weather conditions)

-          Show respect for the mountain (I would think, that would be hard to do when caught in a storm and trying to survive)

-          Issue ID scanner tags with every permit (QR code) that might save a climber’s life (Would that reduce corpse pollution?)

I would never understand why humans push themselves to test the limit of their survival endurance in unforgiving environments, often paying with their lives, but it is a remarkable accomplishment that few have attained and I am not trying to minimize the extraordinary physical shape these men and women attain and the grueling training and dedication involved.

Previous pioneers have escalated peaks and treacherous territories trying to find new lands, develop maps, rescue lost teams, or to find mines of gold, silver, and other precious resources. They left behind discarded equipment, wagons, tools, ships, tents, and cooking utensils.

I wonder if environmentalists consider mountains polluted if they are covered with wildlife, their poop, and their carcasses. Animals are killed off, die of natural causes, sometimes partially or completely eaten; their remains and fecal matter decompose scattered on the ground. Is that environmentally hazardous to the mountain?

Civilized people love a clean environment and strive to keep it that way. At the end of the day, is it about pollution really and “showing respect for the mountain,” or is it about denying and controlling access to a natural wonder so that future climbers with a big ego, plenty of cash, and a burning desire to reach the peak, survive, often cheat death, and live to brag about it?