“If you like your bomb, you can keep your bomb; period.” After listening and reading these past several days to news and views of the current Iranian nuclear negotiations – and I use the word loosely – I’m hoping the details of the framework turn out to be as reliable as the sales pitch Obama gave the hapless citizens of the USA when he promised we could keep our healthcare plan and doctor if we liked them; “period.” Of course we all now know that was rubbish.
Perhaps when all the rules and regulations emerge in detail from the framework agreement, the Iranian leadership will read them and say, “Wait a freakin’ minute. I thought you said …” And when that day comes, we’ll see rioting in the streets of Tehran rather than the delighted Iranian youth we saw punching the air as they drove through the streets of the city celebrating their negotiators’ success. If it were not so serious, it would be funny to imagine the Ayatollah wondering what went wrong when his negotiators sat in Lucerne listening to Team-Obama yodeling. He thought they got all they wanted in return for which they gave up a $25 Starbucks gift card to each member of their 6-nation negotiating opponents.
Alas, and from all that I have read and heard, this framework is an embarrassing and dangerous fiasco. I’ve previously invoked George Orwell’s name and mentioned his famous book, “1984”, to illustrate how politicians love to re-write history; even when what they said is only a few days old and on video clips all over the Internet. But Obama breaks new ground. He’s a unique blend of Orwell and Aesop. Obama spins a fairy tale, makes outrageous predictions and when the facts come rolling in, he crafts an entirely new fairy tale that fits perfectly with his interpretation of facts; not the actual facts that the rest of us hear, but those that he can twist and make us think we have a hearing problem.
In the book “1984” the government-controlled news media would re-write yesterday’s news and re-publish it to fit better today’s actual events. With Obama, he doesn’t even bother with real-world events; he creates a world of fantasy. So not only is his original fantasy out of step with reality, so too is every version thereafter. The universe in which Obama lives is not even parallel to ours. His disappears off in random directions. Listening to him breathlessly extol the key points and virtues of this historic non-agreement was hilarious; for a brief moment only.
Apparently his team in Switzerland has extracted what will be “unprecedented” access to Iranian nuclear facilities as a means of ensuring they remain honest; that they will be forced to abide by the terms of an agreement that will unfold between now and the end of June. Really?
Cuckoos In Switzerland
From my point of view, two things are wrong with this picture – actually three but let’s ignore the fact that we elected this idiot in the first place – the first being that we have been told “sanctions don’t work” and the other that the choice the world faces is either a deal or war: no middle ground here, just a deal or a punch-up. On the first point we should all be confused. Apparently sanctions are what drove Iranian’s to the negotiating table. We also hear from the lame-stream media that these sanctions have been crippling. Cool. So explain to me again why Obama and Kerry (God that man is stupid too) insist that when Republicans and others suggest imposing even tougher sanctions, they apparently “don’t work”?
On point number two, this choice between a deal and war is at best fatuous. Obama, using his most sanctimonious tone of voice, invites people to offer credible alternatives to his approach. The problem is he and Kerry get to decide what is and is not credible. They can dismiss any and every reasonable alternative –such as tightening the thumb-screws on the Iranians – and so perpetuate their narrative that to avoid war, he had no choice but to accept Iran’s offer of a cuckoo clock for everyone on his team. After all, it’s better than war. Right?
Unless this deal, scheduled to unfold by the end of June, turns out to be as big a lie to the Iranians as ObamaCare was to the US tax-payers, Iran can look forward to the Obama-Bomb they want. Only this time Obama will deliver on his promise.
We all know, and have little choice but to accept, that taxes are a part of life; indeed one of the two certainties of life, the other being death. Now that we are in the midst of tax season and by April 15th we’re all supposed to have our tax returns (or extensions thereof) filed, I’m reminded of the stark reality of just how much money Government picks from our pockets.
Philosophically I have little issue with the concept of paying some money to the Government so that it can pool it with others and spend it on things that are of national benefit; such as defending our Liberty; keeping us safe as it were. My issue with taxation is that more and more of it erodes our income while the money is spent on who-knows-what. Those we elect are incapable of keeping their hands out of our pockets. It seems to me that once in public office they feel theirs is a solemn duty to tax us for causes we didn’t know existed, and they never mentioned, when they ran for office.
The big taxes are obviously Federal and State; where those States have them. But other, smaller, taxes at the County and City level are insidious. Yeah, we all know about sales tax. We know about tax on the purchase of a leased vehicle that gets taxed again if we buy the car at the end of the lease. And let’s not forget those property taxes that increase with the value of our homes but didn’t decrease when the economy hit the skids; at least not mine.
Counties and Cities like the same action as the Feds and the State. I live in Walnut Creek (California). It’s grown since I first migrated there in 1994. We have over the years acquired some high-value stores: like Tiffany and Neiman Marcus. We have some of the country’s finest restaurants in our bucolic little city. So you’d think we’re not short of tax revenue. But like the Federal Government we have a revenue problem. Not a spending problem mind you; but a revenue problem. Our elected officials are spending the money faster than it’s coming in so we need to “git some more”. Can’t stop spending; oh no, no. So let’s go and pick some more pockets to support our binge spending.
“A Sin Tax”?
Back in 1996 when I first met my now wife, she mentioned along the way something euphemistically called a “sin tax”. As best I can remember it was a tax on things that “Government” decided were a sin; cigarettes, alcohol etc. The idea being that this tax would discourage people buying and consuming these sinful products. So say’th those faceless bureaucrats who apparently know better than we what is best for us.
Now enter the “Bag Tax”; coming to a city near you. If you live in a city that does not yet have this tax, hold your breath fore it’s a-comin’. Toward the end of 2014 the City elders of Walnut Creek decided – in their infinite wisdom – to not only ban the use of plastic bags for things like groceries (and something Dear Gerry is considering for State law), but legislate that at least 10c must be added to your grocery bill if you chose to have your groceries bagged in paper. Worded differently, the previous and decades old choice of “plastic or paper” has been reduced to “paper and that’ll cost you 10c”. So not only have these elected officials taken away one of those two options, they have taxed (ooops, my bad, it’s a “fee” not a tax) the only left.
I’m all for trying to keep our environment clean. Although I’ve not bought into this man-made “Climate Change” phenomenon (that used to be called “Global Warming” until we figured out the globe wasn’t warming), I have to admit that keeping our planet cleaner is a good thing. So I endorse the Walnut Creek City Counsel for banning the plastic bags that frequent our creeks, rivers, ponds, and other waterways etc. But why the 10c tax on a paper bag? With a little research I discovered that the Council wants people to go “BYOB” (Bring Your Own Bag) shopping. They obviously consider paper bags made from recycled paper bags to be environmentally unfriendly and therefore a sin. So either, bring your own bag, go without, or be forced to pay for one if you forgot. So we can add another sin tax to the list with this 10c per bag tax. Sorry, there I go again, I keep forgetting it’s a FEE not a tax. Silly me.
He Who Has Not Sinned
If Government really wants its citizens to quit being sinful, then be honest and ban the product. Taxing it in the hopes it will persuade people to change their habit is hypocrisy. Wow. Who would have thought politicians could be hypocrites?! Back to the point: the 10c tax/fee is all about revenue disguised as some greater environmental good. It is not. It’s about taking more money from the citizenry to swell the city coffers. They banned plastic bags so they could equally ban paper bags and remain faithful to their environmental agenda. But all the while the council is content to collect revenue – and therefore profit – from some perceive sin, it’s nothing more than a sin-ful tax.
People who know me well, know that I walk about the house or office when I am on a phone call using a mobile phone; cordless or cell. I don’t know why I like to walk about because I am equally comfortable sitting down if I have to use a phone that has a cord attached to it. In loose terms, I am peripatetic; a wanderer. Not a follower of Aristotle.
Now that I work in San Francisco, and travel to and from work by train (BART), I no longer witness the travesties of Californian drivers. Instead, I witness an entirely different group of idiots; cellphone users. Back in the day in London when I traveled by train everyone was silent as they sat, or tried to stand while the train stopped and started and rattle down the tracks, and read the morning newspaper. No electronic devices back then! If you were standing you could look down the long rows of seats and see nothing but the front and back pages of papers being held by a pair of disembodied hands. No faces; just hands and newspapers. But when the train stopped and people hurried off the carriage, they folded their papers, stuffed them in their briefcase or handbag, and hustled off to work.
Today: no such phenomenon. Not a newspaper in sight. Everyone seems to have a cellphone. They are either reading, listening to music, playing video games or sending messages to someone; probably the person sitting next to them. After all, texting is the new conversation with close friends and family over dinner so why not the colleague next to you on a train.
And when it’s time to get off BART, the only change is the posture of the people; not what they are doing. They get up, get off the train, head for the exit, and all the while continue reading, listening to music, playing video games or sending messages to someone. They barely look up to see where they are going.
“And your point is?” I hear you mutter. The point is, these idiots are so engrossed in their little electronic world that they frequently fail to see where they are headed: mostly toward someone with the same double-digit IQ and equal lack of attention. Truth be told, I don’t care if they bump into one another, walk into a post, or trip over the edge of a water fountain. In fact, I sometimes dawdle in the hopes of witnessing an event like that. It would brighten my day. But I care when I’m the one they are walking toward and I have to doge out of their way.
Once in a while I’m taken by this flight of fancy wherein I just stop and watch to see if the moron walking toward me playing Candy Crush will at some point – before the collision – actually notice that there is another human on the planet. And at 6’ 3” weighing 210lbs, I’m not someone easily missed or knocked over. No one has yet bumped into me but they have stopped short and looked at me alarmed and irritated. “How dare there be life outside my little world and standing right where they shouldn’t.”
That they walk into one another for my amusement is of no consequence but I get pissed when they look indignant at me for apparently being in their way when they are texting and walking. I may be peripatetic at home or in the office when on my cellphone, but these self-indulgent, lemming-like, cellphone users are nothing short of peri-pathetic.