Open Letter to Congress and the President

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am a tax payer. I demand legislation to eliminate the tax free status of all churches in America.

It is wrong for my government to force me to financially support a group of people who advocate for the death of me and my fellow Americans as the Verity Baptist church is doing in Sacramento. Terrorist threats are a violation of law. I should not forced by my government to support these vile terrorists with my tax money.

 

Most Sincerely Cranky

The Latest Crap About $15 Minimum Wage

So I got this tweet, which is a kind of typical, doltish tweet from someone with an opinion and no critical thinking skills.

SpiRals‏@ToroidalSpirals

@Grant_Writer They said the same when they raised it to $7.25 an hour…

It’s full of general language, unsupported, that appeals to weak-minded people  too lazy to fact check.

He/she says, “They said” “the same” thing when “they” raised it (minimum wage) to $7.25 in 2009. The inference of course is that we’re comparing apples (raising the minimum wage from $6.55 an hour to $7.25) with apples (raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.00 an hour).

It is obvious to even the most limited intellect that we are not comparing apples to apples, or even apples to pineapples.

Of course he/she uses “The same” to say that people complained about the increase in 2009 and therefore if people complain today the basis for the complaint is the same, it is meaningless. The trouble is that the argument this time is not the same and it is not meaningless. Increasing the minimum wage from $6.55 to $7.25 is the not same thing so reducing the arguments to irrelevant complaints is just plain lazy.

Here are the facts about the minimum wage from 1977 to today.

The minimum wage in 1977 was $2.30 an hour.

The average annual increase in the minimum wage per year from 1977 to 2009 = $0,15 per hour.

The proposed minimum wage in 2016 is $15.00 per hour.

If this is accomplished, the average annual increase from 2009 to 2015 (from $7.25 to $15) will be $1.11.

The difference in the amount of the increases in these two spans in (1977-2009 and 2009-2016) is 152%.

The increase to from $7.25 to $15/hour  is a 70% increase, not even close to the increase from $6.55 to $7.25, an increase of 10%.

To say the increase $15 is”the same” is a lie at worst, and ignorant and stupid at best, no matter what “they” say.

 

Socialist Arguments for a $15 Minimum Wage

All right, so I’m getting a lot of crap online from bleeding hearts about this $15 an hour minimum wage crap.

Here is how I see the arguments I am given.

What I think What I am told (the crap) What I think about what I am told
Minimum wage should be an entry level wage that enables you to gain a job, allows employers to hire a bunch of people, and is the first step on the ladder upward as skills, education, and experience are gained. Minimum wage was put into place to ensure that people weren’t left in poverty by unscrupulous business owners and should be today a “living wage” that enables people to enjoy all the benefits of living in the USA including housing, healthcare, family, etc. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and the federal poverty rate is $11,700 a year. If someone works full time (2080 hours a year) at the minimum wage they will earn $15,080.  If the purpose is to keep people above the federal poverty guidelines, mission accomplished where it is now.

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act that put the minimum wage into effect did have the goal of keeping people out of poverty at $0.25/hour. This was 1938, the height of the great depression, and it was designed for factories mainly. Since that time companies use the minimum wage to offer entry level employment to unskilled and otherwise unemployable people.

Minimum wage will increase the costs for all people and the bulk of the costs will be paid by the people doing most of the buying, not the rich. The CEO’s are making SO much money and should take pay cuts to pay for the increase in minimum wage. This is so stupid I don’t know why people say this crap. McDonalds employs about 760,000 people. The CEO made $8.75 million dollars last year. If McDonalds increased salaries from the federal minimum wage ($7.25) to $15 it would need over 6 billion dollars more to pay the increase. Even if the CEO was paid zero, that leaves McDonalds short $5,991,250. So do the freaking math people. The CEO may make a lot compared to you, but compared to the reality of $15 an hour he makes nothing.
Seven states in 2012-2013 according to the National Education Association paid starting teachers less than the annual pay someone who works full time at $15 per hour would earn ($31,200).

Montana $27,274
South Dakota $29,851
Missouri $30,064
North Carolina $30,778
Nebraska $30,844
Idaho $31,159
Mississippi $31,184
Comparing the minimum wage to teacher salaries who are underpaid isn’t fair. Underpaid according to whom? You’re talking about a market-based, negotiated salary level as opposed to a government imposed salary level based on nothing more than someone pulling a number out of their ass. Raising the minimum wage for uneducated, unskilled workers to the level of a teacher is an insult and a disincentive to undertaking higher education.
Even if you raise the minimum wage to $15 and everything goes up 35% or more, there’s a well-established practice in labor relations called “me too” and if you raise McDonald’s workers above teachers, teachers are going to scream (rightfully so) and the salary will have to be raised. That means higher taxes in addition to the higher costs of commodities and services. But people deserve a living wage for a full days work. Wrong, everyone deserves a full day’s pay for a full day’s work. The level of pay is determined by the market, the skill involved, the effort, the education and training required. With $15 an hour, everyone loses and then gains, and eventually, the balance settles again to make the minimum wage of unskilled people right where it should be again in relation to all other wages, at the bottom, where there is incentive to raise yourself up. What isn’t going to change are the profits and high salaries earned by the shareholders and CEO’s.
Minimum wage should be low enough so that enough people can work to raise themselves up, go to college or tech school, gain the skills and the work experience needed to enter the work force at a higher level. THE VICTIM MODEL

But not all people can work their way through college, they didn’t finish high school, they have family obligations and situations that prevent them from accomplishing a higher education.

True, everything isn’t equal. But the USA never promised equal outcomes, only equal opportunity to reach those outcomes. If you can’t go to college because of life obligations, then them’s the breaks. Do the best you can, work at it more slowly over time, do whatever you can. Not everyone who is successful went to college, but they worked their asses off without excuses until they made it.

 

I am not a fan of victimization. I hate the notion. It is handicapping. It is often debilitating. It is a curse on people who should instead be encouraged and supported to achieve. Why do we think that giving unskilled and uneducated people a salary that is higher than a starting teacher or a Certified Nurses Assistant that make only $12.39 an hour on average nationally (US Dept. of Labor) is beyond me.

The astronomically higher minimum will create a class of servants who have no incentive to move up and improve their education and skills. It is primarily a socialist redistribution of the limited wealth of the middle class! It is not redistribution of the wealth of the 1%. With this $15 an hour minimum wage, all we will accomplish is to beat the economic living crap out of everyone in the middle class under the flailing banner of Bernie Sanders’ socialist propaganda bull shit.

#DotheMath – $15 Minimum Wage is Socialism

$15 minimum wage is socialism and Bernie Sanders likes it.
$15 minimum wage does nothing to reduce the gap between rich and poor.

No wonder Bernie Sanders likes the $15 minimum wage, it has the impact of raising the bottom while pulling the middle down. It is a leveling. It is a forced redistribution of already limited wealth of the middle class. It has nothing to do with capitalism and market forces. It has nothing to do with what made America great, that being offering opportunity that encourages people to rise.

Bernie likes the $15 minimum wage because he is a socialist. Perhaps he is at heart a communist. Afterall, if you pay people in servant jobs enough, people with no job skills or education to rise, you rob them of ambition, you rob them of motivation to be entrpreneurial. Why should anyone rise if the government will raise the minimum wage and use it to take from the middle class to give to the poor.

Bernie Sanders thinks he is Robin Hood. In the sample above, you can see how the rise in minimum wage impacts the price per pound of apples. Yes it is a fictitious example, but notice that if the farmer’s profit stays the same we all pay more. And there are a lot more middle class and lower middle class people than rich people who buy apples. You are going to pay this raise, not the rich. They will keep their profit margins intact.

Is Bernie going to give everyone else a raise to pay for all the higher prices? No, he thinks this is great, that the bottom is lifted up and the middle is brought lower while the rich are not affected, SOCIALISM people. #DotheMath

Can Someone Question Santa Claus Bernie?

Bernie is expounding on the $15 an hour minimum wage and his crowds scream with glee behind and in front of him as he does. But nobody is asking him about the apparent contradiction in all this horse shit. His $15 dollar an hour raise is not going to be paid for by the rich, it is going to be paid for by all the screeching adolescents attending his rallies. They don’t realize they will have less money in their pockets, not more. $15 an hour is only spreading their limited wealth downward and ensuring that people earning minimum wage have less incentive to improve their lot, get educated, and move up the ladder.

Hey Bernie, I want to ask him, WHO is going to pay the price for this $15 an hour “living wage” for guys who dropped out of school, illegal immigrants with a 5th grade education, and a lot of other people who are unemployable in most other circumstances for lack of education, job skills, and a host of other reasons. I worked at McDonald’s starting at 15 and a half because it was a starting job, a good starting job. McDonald’s is now staffed by people who find themselves in a situation in which the best job they can get is dropping frozen potatoes into hot oil. It’s a career move, not a starting job.

I want to ask Bernie who he thinks is going to pay for the raise for these people. Are the rich going to pay? You bet your sagging ass they’re not going to pay. You think the rich will absorb this cost and not raise prices? You think the rich are eating at fast food joints? You think the rich are shopping at WalMart?

Uh, yeah right, that’s how it will go Bernie. Bernie Sanders is asking us all to keep less of what we earn to give McDonald’s workers a raise. We’re all going to share more of our income with a bunch of people who should be working their ass off to get an education and rise above the role of potato dunker.

But nobody questions the lies about the minimum wage that Bernie and others are selling. The imbeciles at his rallies don’t ask questions, they cheer him. Yay Bernie, Bernie, Bernie, feel the Bern, Bernie Bernie, Bernie. IMBECILES

I don’t want to give my money to people who didn’t work their way through college and earn a degree, the people who didn’t work their asses off to pay their student loans off, the people who for whatever reason have relegated themselves to a flipping burgers and emptying grease pits. I graduated from high school and worked my way through college in minimum wage jobs.

I am so sick of this Bernie Sanders’ bullshit, his crowds of people without the ability to think critically, the smoke and mirrors of a multiple-term Senator who talks as though he just arrived on the scene with these new and “brilliant ideas”. I am sick and tired of Santa Claus Bernie’s promises of free stuff for everyone. He’s not telling the truth, he isn’t Santa Claus. Like Santa, “Bernie” is fiction.

And his supporters stand there stupid and smiling, they squeal with delight in full childish expectation of the gifts and ribbons and bows and wrapping and labels that most assuredly WILL NOT be coming to them. Time to grow up and get to work.

Trump Begins Move from the Angry Right to the LIVID MIDDLE

In the debate last night in Texas, Donald Trump said something revealing, more revealing than anything else I’ve heard him say. He asked Ted Cruz if he was the angry zealot Cruz accused him of being, it struck me as a lot closer to the truth of Cruz than of Trump. Coupled with Chris Christie throwing his support him today, it suddenly occurs to me that Trump, whether by accident or by design, has tapped into a previously unrecognized voting block, the LIVID MIDDLE.

Think about the TEA Party which has managed to stay relevant through virulent talk radio and a few wealthy supporters. The Angry Right is what Rubio and Cruz and the conventional wisdom of the GOP said would carry that side of the ticket when Bush (establishment) failed to gain traction. Bush wasn’t tapping into the angry right, he was too moderate, too comfortable in his establishment skin. But the angry right isn’t what kept Bush out, it is his failure to recognize that his own level of comfort with the status quo isn’t shared by most of the people in the middle.

Last night Trump revealed that he isn’t really with the Angry Right so much as with a Livid Middle. When he asked Cruz if he referred to himself as an angry zealot the light went on for me. Trump isn’t one of them, he’s already starting to move to the middle. His comments on Planned Parenthood and stated willingness to make deals between the sides of the aisle further confirm for me that Trump is already leaving the angry right behind for Cruz and Rubio. It isn’t a large enough voting block to get him into the White House and he seems to be the only relevant candidate who knows it on the GOP side.

Democrats have not recognized this LIVID MIDDLE yet either for that matter. They’re still too intent on painting Trump as a crazy right wing lunatic. But they are missing the evidence for the LIVID MIDDLE in their own race. If Trump can pull some of the angry middle supporting Bernie into his camp, the Democrats are done, and so are the Republicans because Trump is for Trump.

The thing is this, the right thinks they own anger. The religious zealots like Cruz think that separation of church & state is contrary to the intent of the founding fathers. Cruz was raised on dominionism, that Christians are to take over all aspects of society and bring it to heel.

But the LIVID MIDDLE is plenty pissed and our anger is only fed by the right’s dream of asserting dominion. We don’t want a religious zealot as president or senator, we like government and church being separate. We don’t want someone who fetches and carries for the Pope or the Preacher, or Wall Street, the Oil Industry, or any other industry either.

The LIVID MIDDLE got screwed in the collapse and we’re getting screwed in the recovery. And, the establishment thinks we should thank them for it. Obamacare for whatever good it has done also did some things none of us liked and they act like we forgot. I lost my insurance plan because of Obamacare, the great plan I HAD went away because of Obamacare and is no longer available. I REMEMBER that and don’t think I’ll forget when it comes time to vote.

I want the Supreme Court to uphold the rights of all, it is supposed to be a bulwark against the anyone misusing the law to deny rights to anyone. But the angry right seems to be forgetting that too. They crow and wail about popular votes designed to limit the rights of minorities as if the majority has a constitutional right to assert its bias and bigotry against anyone they don’t like…dominionism at its worst.

The Livid Middle is pissed that nobody actually went to prison for the crash of the economy. We REMEMBER and WE ARE PISSED.

We are sick and tired of lying, cheating, two-faced politicians who promise the world and do nothing.

We’re tired of the do-nothing Congress.

We’re tired of big money in politics.

We are sick and tired of the rigged game and yes we know it’s rigged for the rich from the criminal justice system to the insurance companies to the IRS. We’ve all been screwed and WE KNOW.

We’re tired of hearing that we need more war toys and less social security.

We’re tired of bad roads and illegal immigration and growing poverty and homelessness.

We’re sick and tired of hearing all politicians talk about reforming the tax code and getting rid of the IRS and doing nothing about it.

We’re tired of our parents coming to the end of life and finding there’s no Medicare support for decent long-term care.

We’re tired of right wing conservatives who portray themselves as originalists but can’t explain the contradiction between originalism and their “supposed” support for the 13th Amendment.

We’re tired of hypocrites who hold the Bible in one hand and lie, steal and fornicate with the other.

The TEA Party doesn’t have a monopoly on anger. The LIVID MIDDLE is larger and we’re pissed at lots of things including the TEA Party.

If Trump tapped the LIVID MIDDLE on purpose, then maybe he’s a hell of a lot smarter than I give him credit for being.

Why Trump and Bernie? Because Progressive Sucks Flo

Dear Flo,

Progressive Insurance Company is screwing my son and his partner out of their car. Their client pulled onto the freeway right in front of my son’s partner causing an accident. The Progressive Insurance Company’s Client was cited for an “unsafe lane change” and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department’s report indicated that his car windows were tinted very dark. Progressive even told me Flo that their client didn’t see my son’s car coming when he pulled onto the freeway because of the dark window tinting. So this guy negligently tinted his windows too dark for safe driving, and he was too lazy to roll down his bloody window to look before he pulled onto the freeway.

But it gets even better Flo. My son’s partner did “nothing improper” according to the Sheriff’s report.

But guess what? Progressive still decided that “nothing improper” means she is 40% to blame for the accident! Ain’t that a peach? And they have the nerve to tell me they aren’t only looking out for the company’s interest in this decision.

Why you might ask would Progressive Insurance Company say she’s 40% to blame? (It was only 20% at first)

That is easy Flo, it is because A) my son allowed his insurance to lapse, and B) because his partner was not injured. That means A) there’s no insurance company lawyers on our side for Progressive to fight with, and B) it means that no lawyer will take on the case against Progressive without a big retainer. My son isn’t rich and neither am I.

So we’re without an advocate and Progressive is empowered to do whatever the hell they think they can get away with. We’re told by Progressive Insurance Company that not only will they not change their assessment of their client’s liability, they don’t even have a process for appealing that decision. Without a lawyer we are at Progressive’s mercy Flo. They’re screwing us and there is nothing we can do about it.

That’s why people are pissed off Flo and that’s why Trump and Bernie are doing better than anyone ever feared. Us little guys are pissed off at being so powerless, at being taken advantage of by corporations, government and their lawyers. If you aren’t a lawyer, or rich enough to buy one, you’re screwed in this country, you are powerless.

We’re screwed unless someone like Bernie or Trump gets elected by all of us, people who are sick and tired of getting the crap kicked out of us every time we turn around. We are tired of the rigged games in this country.

So Flo, maybe you can help get your company to act in a fair and equitable matter. Maybe you can make them care about leaving a young family without a car due to the negligence of their client. Maybe you can talk to the rich and powerful people who hire the lawyers to train the staff to make decisions that screw people out of their cars when they did nothing wrong.

Can you do at least that much Flo? Come on Flo, I’ll even buy you some ice cream with sprinkles if you help us.

Sincerely,

Screwed by Progressive Insurance Company in Arizona

Downton Abbey ING of America

Service jobs and served privilege are the focus of Downton Abbey. America is in danger of becoming Downton Abbey where there are people with money who can afford to be served, and those who serve them.

Raising the minimum wage to $15/hour contributes to the Downton-ing of America. If you want people to shut the hell up and serve the gravy, you’ll pay them just enough to limit their opportunities such that they’re afraid to let go. And with the machination of everything from grocery checkout to bank teller, there will be nowhere else to go, many decent skilled jobs are now done by machines.

One subtext of Downton Abbey is the rising of people above their servant circumstance. Tom the chauffeur who marries into the “Lords” family, a maid who studies typing and becomes a secretary.

America needs a return to decent jobs making things, jobs in which people who aren’t cut out for college can excel. The industrial revolution has turned into the industrial avoidance of human labor. Sure there are reasons, among them cost and reliability. We can’t afford not to return to people making things. What else are people going to do except be servants to increasingly privileged classes?

Throwing money at service jobs is not the answer unless all we want is servants. America is in danger of becoming two classes, like Downton Abbey, the served and the servant. Putting a “living” minimum wage in place only ensures that lord and servant becomes the status quo. Pay the hamburger flipper at McDonald’s $15 dollars an hour and he/she will flip your burgers for life. McDonald’s was an after school job when I was a teen and it paid $1.05 an hour. McDonald’s wasn’t a career choice it was a way to learn important job skills, a way to earn a car and money for dates.

Denial of False Reality is a Good Thing

Do not mistake my title, I do not advise denial of reality. But I urge you to consider what reality is. I am talking about denying the reality that others, a society or a culture would impose on you. I am talking about denying the judgement that false reality dictates. I am talking about discarding all the shame, guilt and limitations that result from adopting a schackling reality.

Deny it. Deny it all and live your reality. That you are the most beloved of the most high God, a perfect creation of His, not a flawed interpretation of someone else’s imperfect reality.

I see people living in shame, disability, in poverty, in all kinds of states of reality that have no relationship to their true nature. I know the reality they live beneath is false because I see people in the same circumstances who deny that limiting reality and live fully conscious, fully grateful and fully alive.

At six this morning I passed a man who leaned on a cane alone at the darkened entrance of a social service agency. At the curb was what I presumed to be his car, a beaten-up car with a license plate that said disabled person. The sign on the door showed a 9 AM opening time. He intended to wait in that doorway on a old rainy morning for three hours. He would still be there by the time I peeled my morning banana.

I walked along pondering this man. Was he disabled or just living a disabled reality? Did he limit his ability to be abled by accepting someone’s judgement that whatever is wrong with him limits his ability to live fully? Has he integrated a warped reality into his mind and his way of living? It occurred to me that if a man can get out of bed and dress, and if he can drive downtown and stand in a doorway, in the rain, for three hours to be first in line then he is indeed abled and capable at least of three hours work.

Denial causes lots of heartache when harm and hurt and wrongs are denied. Wrongs can be put right when reality is faced and different paths are chosen. But when we are the ones who are harmed or hurt or wronged, we must deny we are fundamentally changed. We must refuse to revise our concept of ourselves as abled. We must not adopt a shattered image of our wholeness. Our reality is what we decide it is, and that we are whole and abled is a powerful guiding reality.

So deny, deny, deny and live your true reality. Reject shame for forgiveness, bitterness for gratefulness, judgement for grace, anger for joy, and loneliness for love. You are complete and accepted by God, just as you are.

Cranky Since 2008