Friday, November 09, 2012

Why Is Staten Island and New York in general – forgotten? The Shame of the New York City and State Administration – The grief, the neglect and the Looting continues.

Fox News Staten Island Fends for Itself - November 8th, 2012

New Yorkers, especially those in Staten Island, continue to try and survive a hurricane that struck the east coast on October 29 – life and property were destroyed, and the largest City in our nation had been disabled. The problem is that many Burroughs are still without adequate resources, and although the “establishment news” suggests that all is going along swimmingly – the simple fact is there is much to be done. Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg imposed Gasoline rationing: His rational:

New York City and Long Island will institute gas rationing starting tomorrow, officials announced, to help ease long gas-station lines, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The new rules will allow cars to fuel up, only if the last number of the license plate matches the day's date.

"This is designed to let everybody have a fair a chance [to buy gas so] lines [are not] too oppressive," Mayor Bloomberg said

"But we have to do something and this is something that is practical and enforceable and understandable."

He added: "Doing something is a lot better than doing nothing."
(New York Post)

The question is this, with streets clear and power on, 250,000 fewer cars (destroy), and interstate access to the City – why isn’t there sufficient gasoline for New Yorkers? Nearby States such as Massachusetts, which has little to no impact from Sandy (comparably), sees plenty of gasoline and prices dropping. Less than a 2 and a half hour drive south, New York City must ration gas?

The incompetence of the entire government in New York – from the Mayor’s office to the Governor’s mansion in not directly dealing with the situation, is evident in some news reports.

As residents are homeless and some are being evicted from homes deemed unsafe by FEMA, as the Nor’easter approached - FEMA shut its doors and went home for the night. (NY Post)

Looting remains rampant in some Burroughs, as those who have not, and the mentality that they are owed by everyone –are being met by resident who are defending themselves as of yesterday – there is chaos in the City (CBS Local)

The Governor, sitting in Albany, has at least fired his chief of NY Emergency Management for having crews remove trees from his yard first during the height of the storm, but those inside affected Burroughs have heard nothing from their state government and with FEMA in place are not overly trusting of their federal government.

Staten Island has been left to fend for itself – the reporting from Fox News (Here), is astounding - these reports (as those who feel Fox is the equivalent of the Anti-Christ in News) are video’s shot and reports by those living the nightmare that is Sandy. They are calling Fox because they are getting “no attention” from the State Media.

The New Yorkers, fed up with the State and Federal response, therefore, are trying to help themselves – see this article here in Jewish Weekly

What are we hearing about New York and Staten Island from the “press”? - Obama Wins, in photo finish on Staten Island.

That’s what apparently is important to the news organizations. Which makes one wonder why, with a disaster that is economically and humanly worse than that of Katrina (give both those affected, and the dollar amount placed on the recovery in several states), where is the outrage, the daily call from all news networks for assistance for those on Staten Island and other Burroughs that are freezing, hungry and now homeless – two full weeks after the event. With the criticism over the Bush Administration’s handling of Katrina, one might assume those who’s fingers were pointed at then President Bush for failures that did not exist, (given the Governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans were incompetent and blocked the Federal Government in a power struggle for days.) that those same ivory tower incompetents would have found out a way to deliver aid faster, move mountains quicker to get, at the least, basics to those affected – blankets, food, temporary shelters.

Of course, there was a campaign to run and to win, and one photo opp in the State of New Jersey, was all it took to start singing Khum-bay-yah while New Yorkers froze, went hungry and had the need to protect what was left of their homes – alone.

No outrage? Yes, there is outrage, and it’s in New York, and it is Growing in leaps and bounds.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Massachusetts – Commonwealth May Cut Services as Tax Revenues Fall Short for the 4th Straight Month - Harry Reid promises the nation higher taxes - to compensate for National Debt

Tax Increeases Likelyy? - John Boehner, all partisanship aside with President Obama, in like mind - Boehner announces will work with President on tax increases and budget cuts. - Image CBS News

One may have missed the monthly report from the State of Massachusetts Budget office with the hoopla surrounding the general election the day before the monthly report was released, however, The Boston Globe, has reported that the that tax collections for October, were off by $48 Million dollars.

Apparently the glowing reports that Massachusetts was in full recovery, were a bit inflated, considering that the State Budget has lost, this year, $250 million in tax revenue according to Governor Deval Patrick’s administration. Secretary of Finance and Administration, Jay Gonzales, noted that there would have to be cuts made in order to meet budget expectations. Currently there is a hiring freeze at the State Level, and Gonzales suggested that due to the economy , “ businesses are “in a holding pattern right now and not making the types of investment in their businesses they might otherwise make” due to the uncertainly over how and where Congress might make budget cuts. (Wicked Local – Wareham)

Those businesses were not hiring because of the weight of regulations and the cost to comply with regulations that were pending, the tax increases that are pending as a result of the expiring Bush Tax Cuts, and that was prior to the re-election of President Obama. What is most disconcerting is that for the past 8 years, everything that is Massachusetts politics has been exported nationwide – and if Massachusetts is in trouble, then one can imagine what is happening elsewhere. That said, it remains to be seen how many more businesses will either pack up and head for states that are more “tax-friendly” now that government taxes are a certainty (See Speaker of the House John Boehnerwho has promised to work with the President to make the cuts and raise the taxes necessary to bring the spending under control. Boehner has suggested these cuts will be across the board, so that every single household will be impacted Should the President and Congress not extend the Bush Tax Cuts, but rather load taxpayers, both corporate and individual with additional taxes, those who are working will be tightening belts that are already stretched to the breaking point. In addition, the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (NV) has stated that the President’s reelection is a mandate to raise taxes. With the Senate in full control of the Democrats, and the House Republican's ready to play ball with the administration – the promise of higher taxes, and according to Reuter’s news, the President will be able to expand the reach of government, one can expect to be living in a rather larger version of the Bay State.

What happens with higher taxes and regulations that are stifling businesses is an example of Massachusetts' year long, month after month, increasing revenue shortages. Therefore, businesses in general will be less likely to hire, there will be higher unemployment and as a result of less tax revenue as businesses close and individuals are out of work or underemployed, then those that depend on everyone from food, to transportation and communications (cell phones) will be in for a rude awakening. Those whose jobs are dependent upon the government will also be subject to cuts, eventually.

Of course, this scenario could be avoided should the President take a sharp turn to the center right and extend the Bush Tax Cuts, go further and cut the corporate tax rate, and give incentives to those companies coming back to the U.S. in cutting their regulatory dilemma. For example he might exempt certain business from the mandated health care reform law, as he did for several unions and states.

One has to sift through the partisan rhetoric, to get to the simple math, when one has no income of their own (any Government) and spends like crazy (the Government) then one is going to run out of money and be unable to continue to be as generous to those who depend on the them (the government).

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

President Obama Win’s Reelection – Republican’s Retain Control of Congress, Democrats Increase Gains in House – Romney – An Opportunity Lost - Let the 2016 Speculation Begin

President Obama, his children and First Lady Michelle Obama-on his reelection - image New York Daily News

In what should have been an upset according to some pollsters and simple math, turned into a, yet to be determined percentage of the vote in President Obama’s win of a second term. According to the New York Times, the current electoral vote count stands at President Obama with 303 electoral votes, and former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney with 206 electoral votes, 29 are currently undecided. The popular vote, according to the Times, is still ”tight” in a scenario where some pundits over the past few days believed that Romney might win the popular vote and lose the electoral college, or vice versa. What this shows those in the middle – or the moderates – is the deep divide that exists in this nation based on political ideology. One can anticipate that this division will continue throughout the next four years, and the struggle between those fiscal conservatives and those that believe bigger government is the answer, will continue.

Mitt Romney, in his concession speech, continued his theme of unity,

“I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters.

This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.


The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.

We look to our teachers and professors, we count on you not just to teach, but to inspire our children with a passion for learning and discovery. We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family. We look to our parents, for in the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes. We look to job creators of all kinds. We’re counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward. And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics.

(Full Text of Mitt Romney’s Concession Speech here Via the Boston Globe)

The concession speech given by Mitt Romney was typical of his governance of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the opportunity for the nation to have a truly bi-partisan leader has been lost, unfortunately, there are few moderates left in the great political divide that is our nation, the balance being far to the left or far to the right, with little room for discussion and party unity placed before the people whom they are supposed to represent.

In the end, however, it is what it is, another election come and gone, with disappointments and jubilation and to that end, it is hoped that President Obama, with the campaign behind him and in his final term, become the moderate he had presented. It is also hoped that the economy will improve, despite the conventional conservative wisdom that there will continue to be fewer jobs, taxes will increase exponentially on the middle class and the weight and regulations of the Affordable Health Care act will affect the middle class and specifically seniors in both taxes as well as decreased care.

The economy, and the focus on the economy, is not about greed nor rich nor poor, it is, unfortunately, the sad truth that, at one time every American had a chance at personal gain, and that chance has become narrowed, as those who do go onto college find themselves burdened with debt and little in the way of qualified jobs to sustain that debt. The fact that there are only a finite number of taxpayers to the huge demands of the ever growing federal government is of concern as that affects the poorest in this nation. When the tax base is narrowed, and those dependent upon government, the employees of that government (including teachers, firefighters, etc.) and the poor (those receiving benefits) may end up finding themselves with fewer opportunities. The debt of the nation, which is everyone’s reponsiblity through the tax system, will fall short without an overhaul or equitable tax reform. There simply are not enough “billionaires and millionaires” to support the system. It is hoped, that with the election behind him, the President with four years left, will abandon his base, and lead from the center. It may be that those on the right that feel that the President is too far to the left ideologically are dead wrong. It is the hope that they are, as the socialist ideology is one which cannot be sustained in a nation of this size, regardless of the “dreams” of those Progressives who in ivory towers still hold the Soviet Union up upon some sort of pedestal.

Therefore, this is President Obama’s opportunity to truly unite the nation, to become the moderate he has marketed to a majority of American’s. To date, many of us how lean to the right, might have reason to be unconvinced, yet one hopes to be proven wrong, and one prays that the President, and those in the Senate and the House, will temper there “crazy” side and look towards he American people with both compassion for the poor and a need to work towards a common goal of recovery.

That said, it really does go against the grain of human nature as well as the political machines that run the nation, which brings up the need for reform on the political side, and a real need for a third party – a party of the middle, not to the right nor the left, but one that bases its ideology on the side of fiscal sanity. As to the social issues that drive both sides of the aisle, they have all been duped – and why? There will be no movement on Abortion, Gay Marriage, women’s ‘equality”, simply because those are the “political footballs” of both parties, nothing will, nor should it change, as many of those are also religious issues. Therefore those who feel strongly that abortion is morally wrong, that gay marriage is morally wrong, may want to realize these are religious preference issues, not issues belonging to a government that is, in truth, too vested in the political process to change.

As to 2016 – and yes, it starts now, one to watch is the newly elected Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, or as her Progressive supporters believe, the next President of the United States. As to the Republican side, it is too early to tell, but one should watch Mark Rubio, the Florida Senator. What is unknown is the “third” party candidate, for there should be a third party within the next two years, which rejects the status quo.

Finally, as to those that are emotionally vested in an election, it is fine to be disappointed in a loss, however, it is really only politics, and it is not the end of the world as we know it (unless of course, one is deeply vested in the Mayan Calendar, this all of the aforementioned is a moot point). Find your inner sense of humor, and look at the opportunities ahead, for they are there simply because these United States of America remains a free nation, the only free nation that exists. If however your concern is such that you are compelled to get up and move – head to Arkansas: which has become a solid Republican state (NY Times), the first time since the Reconstruction of 1865!(Historyworld).

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Final Hours of the 2012 Election – The Polls: Too Close to Call, the Reminder to be Kind to One’s Neighbor regardless of the Outcome.

The American Presidents, a long history of who, we, as a nation, have hired, and fired in some cases, admired and despised, right or wrong, left or right, (or down the middle)both those long dead and those living remind American's what a great nation we are lucky enough in which to reside - image

This morning as most on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States prepare to go to the polls, it is not without a bit of excitement that, we, as American’s get to enjoy the opportunity to cast our vote for the next President of the United States. Although one might support one vision of American over another, or the popularity of a candidate, or maintain a blind allegiance to political party, it is our privilege to go to the polls and cast a vote for the individual who we, as a people, will hire to do the job as the Chief Executive Officer of these United States. It is a job that most of the nation would not want, despite the lofty title, and the aura of some sort of royalty (a cast off from our Colonial days), and that desire to serve, regardless of party, should be admired no matter if one is an also ran in the various primary contest, or the winner or loser of today’s election. Those who run put their lives and fortunes ahead of everything, for the love of the country, for the love of a vision that the individual firmly believes is the best course for the nation, or the world.

Those who support one candidate over another may become so heavily vested, emotionally in the person as well as the ideology that they may become a bit saddened or depressed should the outcome not be as they had hoped.

Therefore, with less than an hour before the polls open in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it is with a bit of concern for those neighbors, both here and in other states that have fought so hard, on both sides, that one is compelled to ask everyone to be kind to those who may support either candidate. One will win, one will not and despite the aura of partisanship that pervades every nook and cranny of this nation, we all must try a bit of compassion rather than derision once that outcome is known. From personal experience, it has gone either way over the course of voting for President’s in elections since 1976. Some of those for whom I voted, did disappoint once elected, some of those whom I feared were grossly incompetent, pleasantly surprised me, and there were those who had little or no effect – the “safe” Presidents, who ran the nation seamlessly, working closely with a united or divided Congress. It is no secret, if one has read my various rants and essays, that I support Mitt Romney this year. It is also no secret that I believe the election will be a repeat of the 1980 election, with a few less states going to Mitt Romney than Ronald Reagan (the one who I feared, more than the one who disappointed, making a selection of a third party imperative in 1980, and a vote for Reagan a necessity in 1984). In all honesty, however, as strongly as I personally feel this is certain (given the polling, and the obvious similarities between 1980 and 2012 in both polling as well as the beliefs of the candidates), there has to be room for error and a realization that should the analysis be correct, there will be many family and friends who, for whatever reasons, are emotionally vested in the reelection of President Obama. Those family and friends will, if the scarier of the predictions prevail, need consoling, not derision, should the President not gain reelection.

What if the results are not the same as I anticipate? Then it will be another day, like any other day and in four years, there will be the opportunity for another campaign and candidates from which to choose. I don’t for a moment agree with the President’s positions on just about anything, and that is my right and prerogative, however, as of today, he is my President, regardless of whom I support. It was with pride that I wrote the day after the 2008 election about how far we, as a nation had come, and it was with great hope that I wrote about the possibility that perhaps, just perhaps, this President would not disappoint. However, history does repeat itself, and for some reason, the specter of James Carter, the man whom I voted for with relish in 1976, a man with little experience , turned our nation into a fiscal disaster, our foreign policy into a nightmare, bailing out auto industries, wasting billions on jobs bills, which produced more government and fewer taxpayers, ad naseum. It was with a bit of shock that I watched as this President followed so closely the path taken by Carter, it began to appear as if one could predict the next move and the outcome.

Mitt Romney on the other hand, did nothing but irritate me as the Governor or the State, that’s the independent anti-tax, side of the coin. He did institute fees, and those fees nagged – but, when the picture emerged, and as I employed “Google new Archives” a different Romney than one I had thought, emerged. He ran the Commonwealth with an eye towards a business, and not with compassion for those who needed a hand up. He improved our schools, balanced our budget and wanted those unable to afford health care, an opportunity. He mostly drove those on the right – crazy and those in the middle were quite happy, while those on the left, well, nothing he did that would have qualified him as “liberal leaning” would satisfy those who are political activists.

Therefore, when the Gallup polling by state showed a job approval map that indicated the President was not doing his best in 40 of the 50 states, for three consecutive years, it was the time to take a hard look at those who, on the Republican ticket, would be his eventual replacement. Mitt Romney prevailed over a blistering primary, and he rightly won the nomination of his party.

I find it interesting that he is home, here in Massachusetts; casting his vote in the state he has called home a variety of times during his life, but also a state that may not cast their vote to elect him as the next President. It is however, the site of the Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill and Concord, all of historical significance. Although I had hoped that Massachusetts would deliver for the former Governor (and contend that the race here is actually a lot closer than one might image in)there, will, in all likelihood, (with the rampant dead voting, etc.) go to Obama, but by what margin? It is also one of the 10 states that Obama was project to win without a poll taken – “Safe Democrat” is the automatic label.

It is not discouraging, as I go to the polls and proudly cast my vote, in a state where one might think it is not worth voting when one is not a Democrat, there is the hope of the People’s Seat that continues to pervade and the fact that less than two years ago, MA stood up and rejected what was not truly history, but a political machine, and elected Scott Brown to the Senate. Therefore, I’m on the fence, but more confident in the states that do matter, in any combination, it hardly matters. It will be a long night of watching the polls, and should the east coast fall as projected, the rest of the nation will roll with it, and there will be a President from the Bay State tomorrow morning. The states: WV, VA, NC, SC, GA, Florida – will tell the tale of how the election will pan out. And that will be the writing on the wall. I have discounted the northeast, and Pennsylvania as those are considered “safe” and should Pennsylvania endorse Romney, it will, at that point indicate a landslide, if not, merely a win.

When this is over, and the final votes tallied, win or lose, it should not be taken personally, it gives either side an opportunity to take a break, celebrate or be disappointed, and then carry on as American’s are wont to do.

Monday, November 05, 2012

GMO’s – What’s in your Food and why the Sudden Scrutiny? – Could it be the Pesticides?

One of many maps showing GMO Free areas in the EU - from the website:

Over the past few weeks, one may have heard about a ballot measure in California, Proposition 37, which would effectively force food producers such as Hershey, to label products that contain Genetically Modified crops. One might think that Genetically Modified food should not be an issue, the argument against the California Proposition (mainly by food producing lobbyists) suggests that food would simply cost a great deal more if it did not contain this type of corn, soy, etc.. On the one hand, the economy is in shambles and people need to eat. On the other hand, do people really want to eat food that has been modified? Simply put, in simple terms, this is corn, or soy, that has been grown to produce its own pesticide, letting the plants thrive. That may not sound so horrific, but think about eating Roundup every day in every product one uses.

There is a reason that nations around the world are banning these types of crops, used in food, including Russia( The California proposition is being fought tooth and nail by the producers of the modified food, as well as the producers of the food stuffs that use them. According to Forbes Magazine online firms such as Monsanto and DuPont, are spending heavy against the measure, and they are joined by the Grocery Manufactures Association, representing: Kellogg’s, PepsiCo and General Mills, among others.

That should many anyone with a sense of sanity a tad nervous about what might be contained on one’s food products. But what are the serious effects? The nations in Europe and Asia have already banned the use of GMO’s, and or insist that these products be labeled (as are Hershey products that are shipped overseas.) However, are there any studies that might indicate that eating food, made with corn or soy that has inbred pesticides, has any adverse side effects? A European Study suggests that the food products fed to lab rates, and containing Roundup (which is what is in the food products) causes cancer and shortens the life span, but is pooh-poohed by the FDA and “leading experts”, which includes Monsanto who produces the Soy, Beets and Corn used in over 80% of the U.S. food supply. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Therefore, that sounds a tad suspicious to anyone who might consider ingesting even minute amounts of roundup, daily, for say twenty years – dangerous.

The argument that is being sold this morning (on the early news shows, which is what prompted this blog), is that the food produced without the GMO’s would be more expensive for consumers. Really?

More expensive than illnesses, such as cancer, in the long run? One has to make a decision as to how to go about daily life, with or without ingesting this type of product. Therefore, it might behoove anyone who’s a tad nervous about eating poison, (i.e. roundup), to find alternatives, which may prove difficult.

Here’s a regulation against, that should be before Congress, lobbyist for the Chemical Manufacturers who produce the seeds, and the farmers who use the seed, and the Grocery Manufactures, that make the cereal, bread and Lord knows what else (Soda!), have perhaps more sway than a mom or pop who’s trying to better the health of their family - perhaps it's not as easy to avoid as one might think. There are products available, Look for “contains no High Fructose Corn Syrup, labeled organic, and basically “real Cane Sugar”for a start. Or buy products coming from Europe, or other nations that don’t use GMO’s. There is a handy guide, in PDF or download as an ap, at How to Avoid Foods Made with Genetically Modified Organisms by the Center for Food Safety. The brands that do contain GMO’s are listed – prepared to be shocked.

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