THE BIG PICTURE!

Do you have ALL of the pieces?

(Part one of a two-part series)

The Big Picture

“No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.”– Brian Tracy

As we progress in life, we grow in knowledge and experience and as a result come to understand that things aren’t always as they seem, or aren’t really they way we believe them to be. Adults understand more than children. Teachers understand more than their students, up until the student totally masters the subject and moves on. As long as we have air in our lungs, we still have opportunities to educate ourselves and improve our lives. Knowledge, like money, is power. Just as the rich ‘rule over’ the poor, the smart ‘rule over’ the stupid. The problem is there are more uneducated people in the world than there are educated ones. There are more lazy people then there are industrious. There are more unsuccessful people than successful.

One piece of the puzzle.

Big Picture 1

What if I told you that the photo above was a picture of a priceless work of art, valued at almost a billion dollars.  You’d look at that picture, scratch your head in wonder and confusion, and probably say that only an idiot would pay that, or that you could paint a better picture and deserve the money more.   

America has a free market, capitalist economy. As a result, we have created more wealthy, successful people than any other country in the world.

The American oil magnate John D. Rockefeller became the world’s first confirmed U.S. dollar billionaire in 1916, and still holds the title of history’s wealthiest individual. The majority of billionaires and millionaires in the world are Americans.  

Last month, Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY said a society that allows billionaires to exist while some Americans live in abject poverty is “immoral.”

Becoming rich, educated, and successful doesn’t happen by accident, or overnight. It takes years and hard work.  Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest man on Earth. He started Amazon.com twenty years ago, selling books on the internet, from  his home. He took advantage of the law of supply and demand, and overtime built the powerhouse that his company has become. Simply put, he gave people what they wanted, at a price they were willing to pay, and made a profit doing it.

The second piece of the puzzle.

Big Picture 2

What if I told you that the picture above was the exact same piece of art. Again, you’d probably compare the two, say they were different, that the second was better than the first, and that both were worthless, and that you could do better.

As I stated previously,  There are more uneducated, lazy, unsuccessful people in the world than those who have decided to improve their lives. In some countries, it is impossible to rise above one’s lot in life, and that is why so many foreigners desire to immigrate to America. In the USA, you have opportunities to succeed beyond your wildest dreams, IF you’re willing to work long and hard to achieve those goals.  Unfortunately,  Saul Alinsky’s protégés  have used his playbook to stir up class envy among the poor and uneducated masses, those he refers to as ‘useful idiots’.  The same  Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY also stated just hours after getting elected as the youngest  state representative EVER that she was NOT ABLE to afford to pay her rent for a new apartment. According to cheatsheet.com , at 29 years old, the young congress woman’s net worth is under $7,000. She was only making $26,600 annually before being elected and has been paying down college debts. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez now receives an annual congressional salary of $174,000.  She was able to bamboozle her constituents to electing her by essentially offering them free lunch.  If she has no understanding of  microeconomics, is it any wonder she is mystified by macroeconomics?

If you’re unfamiliar with those two terms, very simply put:

  • Microeconomics are personal financial issues such as planning your vacation, budgeting your money , paying your rent, etc.        
  • Macroeconomics are large scale financial issues like how business and even entire countries handle their economies.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio both lobbied long and hard to bring AMAZON to NY. Massive tax-break incentives were offered and as a result, a deal was struck for a proposed location in Long Island City.

aocnoamazon

Days ago,  Jeff Bezos abandoned this proposed plan to build a new AMAZON distribution hub and second headquarters in Long Island City, Queens NY because of opposition created by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  She was enraged that the richest man on the planet was going to receive a $3,000,000,000 tax BREAK to open this new location. A TAX BREAK. He was not getting three billion dollars from the city, he was getting a discount on future tax liabilities!  Yet this buffoon Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez killed the deal by insulting Mr. Bezos, his company, and his employees, and inciting protests.  The new location would have created 26,000 new jobs, with benefits , starting at $15 per hour, and paying up to six-figure salaries.  There is  no estimate on the incalculable  collateral damage to the city’s economy.

aocdumass

 

The BIG Picture!

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If you step back far enough  to see THE ENTIRE PICTURE, everything makes sense.  The Mona Lisa is a half-length portrait painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci painted in 1503. It’s located in France in the Louvre Museum (since 1797). It’s one of a kind, like the USA.  There are millions of artists in the world, and many of them can work in oil paint, and even reproduce a decent facsimile of the Mona Lisa if they really wanted to.   There are also ‘artists’ that use animal dung, or urine as a medium. And there are dummies who would also pay for such works of ‘art’ produced by so-called ‘artists’.  There is ONLY ONE Mona Lisa, and ONLY ONE America. There are many idiots in the world that hate both, and believe they could produce something ‘better’. President Trump sees the BIG PICTURE and is doing everything that needs to be done to repair the damages done by prior administrations and by career politicians intent on seizing as much power as they can. 

There are also some people who claim to see an ‘even bigger picture’.  There are many conspiracy theories out there that claim unknown, unseen forces are conspiring to destroy the USA, and that these same forces are behind creating THE FED, the massive government debt, and the political smear campaign that is being waged against President Donald J. Trump by various media outlets. I don’t really buy into conspiracy theories, but as comedian George Carlin once said, “you should never underestimate the power  of stupid people   in large groups.”   For those who choose to believe in a ‘BIGGER PICTURE’ I’ll discuss Q Anon, the Illuminati, and other popular conspiracy theories next week in the second half of this article, A GAME OF KINGS. Until then, keep watching the skies! As always, I wish you success and happiness!  

How Radical!

Saul Alinsky’s protégés!

HOW RADICAL

“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence — and not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”— President Donald J. Trump,  2nd SOTU Address February 5th 2019

The United States is the most prosperous country in the history of the world, and all of the freedoms we enjoy in this country are a direct result of the protections of liberty that were written into the constitution by our Founding Fathers. It is the duty of the President to follow and protect the constitution, and to protect our great nation from all threats both foreign and domestic.  We are a nation of immigrants. There is a very small percentage of our population that is actually descended from the native American Indians. (Unlike senator Elizabeth Warren, who claimed for years to be one.)    Even those original native Americans are theorized by archaeologists to have been immigrants from Asia who crossed over an ice bridge that once existed thousands of years ago.    

         

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! —Psalm 33:12 ESV 

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; — Psalm 1:1 ESV 

It comes as no surprise that most of the Founding Fathers were devout Christians, although most college students today are being taught the opposite. They are also being taught that the USA is a horrible nation that was stolen from the noble native Americans, that socialism is better than capitalism, that God is not real, that the Bible is an outdated book filled with contradictions, That president Trump is an evil man liken unto Adolf Hitler, and even that we ourselves caused the events of September 11th 2001 because of the way our country treats other nations.  Sadly many of the youth of our nation have been targeted by liberals from a very early age, and they lack the knowledge and the moral compass to see though these lies.

Let the Liberal turn to the course of action, the course of all Radicals, and the amused look vanishes from the face of society as it snarls, “That’s radical!” Society has good reason to fear the Radical. [Every shaking advance of mankind toward equality and justice has come from the Radical. He hits, he hurts, he is dangerous. Conservative interests know’ that while Liberals are most adept at breaking their own necks with their tongues, Radicals are most adept at breaking the necks of Conservatives.”– Saul Alinsky from his 1st book  Reveille for Radicals (1946)

Saul David Alinsky (January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) was an expert at stirring up discord and organizing discontented mobs to use them to overthrow authority. He preached his message to the counter-culture movement during the 1960s. His tactics have been used time and time again by liberal Democrats to attempt to destroy our great country.  Alinsky wrote three books, a biography of John L Lewis, founder of the CIO, and his most infamous book Rules for Radicals, which is an expansion and update of his first book, Reveille for Radicals.  

Saul Alinsky’s Rules

  • “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”
  • “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”
  • “Whenever possible go outside the expertise of the enemy.”
  • “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”
  • “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
  • “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
  • “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”
  • “Keep the pressure on.”
  • “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”
  • “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.”
  • “If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.”
  • “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”
  • “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Using these rules to organize the mob, Saul Alinsky then believes a nation can be converted to socialism is just 8 steps:

  • 1) Healthcare — Control healthcare and you control the people
  • 2) Poverty — Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.
  • 3) Debt — Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.
  • 4) Gun Control — Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.
  • 5) Welfare — Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income).
  • 6) Education — Take control of what people read and listen to — take control of what children learn in school.
  • 7) Religion — Remove the belief in the God from the Government and schools.
  • 8) Class Warfare — Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.

Does any of this sound familiar? It comes as no surprise that EVERY Democrat in power today has read and used his template to attempt to turn the United States into a socialist nation so that they can seize permanent power and be in charge of everything while claiming responsibility for nothing.  It is the goal of every member of the Democratic party to remain in power for life.

I would also like to point out two last things to those who STILL think Saul Alinsky was such a wonderful person:

He credits Satan on his dedication page of his last book

 “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins— or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom —Lucifer.” —SAUL  ALINSKY

and

(In an interview with Playboy Magazine.)

 “if there is an afterlife, and I have anything to say about it, I will unreservedly choose to go to hell.” —SAUL  ALINSKY

When the USA began, the creators of our great nation envisioned that government leadership would be temporary, not a lifelong career.  Every president with ONE exception has served NOT MORE THAN two terms. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), a Democrat and the 32nd president is the ONLY president to have served FOUR terms, dying in office as ‘President for Life’ on April 12th 1945. His unprecedented power grab was excused away as being a necessity as the nation was in the middle of World War II.  The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution  now limits a president to the tradition two terms established by George Washington.  FDR  is responsible for creating many of the government welfare programs like social security which have enslaved many of our citizens to ‘cradle-to-grave’ government dependency, much like Woodrow Wilson (also a Democrat) enslaved our nation to debt.   The greatest presidents of our nation in every century have all been Republicans. The only exception to this is our First President, George Washington (a Whig) and this is only because the GOP wasn’t created yet.

  • 18th Century – George Washington #1
  • 19th Century – Abraham Lincoln #16
  • 20th Century – Ronald Reagan #40
  • 21st Century – Donald J. Trump #45

I became a Christian in college, and I am a lifelong Republican. I have supported President Donald J. Trump since day one, and will continue to do so until my dying breath.  I’m not going to tell you what I think about people who hate my God Jesus, my president, or my country. It isn’t a very nice thing to say.  I will tell you that Donald Trump is a great man who is working hard to undo many of the damages caused by liberal Democrat socialists who have been trying to destroy this great nation. I will tell you that God is real, and the Bible is true, and that anyone who lacks God in their life doesn’t have much of a life at all. God is good always.  As always, I wish you success and happiness!

The Bank That Woody Built!

It’ll be the ‘DEBT’ of you!

the Bank That Woody Built

 

(This is the second of a two part article. For part one, read A FEDERAL CASE?)

 “I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” ― Winston S. Churchill

The State Of The Union

Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution states that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The first two presidents, George Washington and John Adams presented this address in person. Thomas Jefferson the third US president felt that proclaiming the state of the nation personally to congress was akin to a king addressing his subjects. Since the Revolutionary War was about freedom from tyranny, the similarity bothered Jefferson. He began the tradition of mailing the written State of The Union address to congress so that they may read it at their leisure and study its contents to best determine how to serve the national interests. This tradition lasted for more than a century.

“I turn to matters of domestic concern. You already have under consideration a bill for the reform of our system of banking and currency, for which the country waits with impatience, as for something fundamental to its whole business life and necessary to set credit free from arbitrary and artificial restraints. I need not say how earnestly I hope for its early enactment into law. I take leave to beg that the whole energy and attention of the Senate be concentrated upon it till the matter is successfully disposed of. And yet I feel that the request is not needed-that the Members of that great House need no urging in this service to the country.”– Woodrow Wilson, State of the Union Address December 2nd 1913  

Progressive Democrat Woodrow Wilson was the 28th president of the US. One of his many personal goals to ‘improve’ the nation was to reform the banking system, and to establish a federal income tax. Wilson was so passionate about establishing a new national banking system that he decided to ‘buck the system’ and personally deliver  his State of The Union address in person. He was the first president to do so since John Adams in 1800. Wilson believed that his oratory skills would convince congress to pass the bank bill.  Unfortunately for our nation, he succeeded.  In addition to getting The Federal Reserve Act passed In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the constitution was also ratified that same year, permanently legalizing an income tax.

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Over a  century of financial slavery!

All banks in the USA are required by law to be members of the Federal Reserve Bank, according to the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. As members, they are required to own debt to the Federal Reserve Bank A.K.A. ‘The Fed’ . The Fed is a privately owned bank, owned by private stockholders, and NOT affiliated with the United States government in any way, except for the fact that the US government must own a certain amount of debt to The Fed, and that the US president must appoint a chairman to The Fed. Candidates on the list for consideration by the president have been hand-picked by The Fed, and he is required to choose ONE from that list. He can’t pick anyone not of the list. So, based upon the candidates offered he would choose whom he felt was the best qualified, even if no one on the list has any qualifications to speak of what-so-ever.  If you’ve ever wondered why the president appointed a certain person to chair The Fed, and not someone else, it’s because he never really had the choice to choose anyone else in the first place.

To explain it better think of when in the Bible, Pontius Pilate presented Jesus and Barabbas to the crowd and asked them whom they wanted set free.  In all four gospel accounts, Pilate lobbies for Jesus to be spared his eventual fate of execution, and acquiesces only when the crowd refuses to relent.  Pilate tried to stack the deck in Jesus’ favor by putting him up against a known murderer and insurrectionist. This should have made the choice an obvious one.  Yet, the crowd chose to free Barabbas over Jesus, whom Pilate was then forced to crucify, and the rest is history.

The Paper Trail       

Banks make money through service charges and debt-loans, the latter ranging from unsecured personal loans and  credit cards, up to  various secured loans such as home, auto, or business. These loans are provided by the magic of fractional reserve banking. Banks are loaning out more money than they have based upon the premise that the debts owed will return more money overtime than the original amount financed, thus earning a return on the investment, or ROI.

Nearly the entirety of the money banks loan out has, in turn been ‘borrowed’ from the Federal Reserve Bank, which sells the debt to the smaller banks.  As for any cash deposits that banks receive from its customers, they are required to retain a fraction of the deposit, and they can loan out the rest. All deposits are insured up to $250,000 per account, so even if the bank should become insolvent and fail, the Federal Reserve will make good on the deposit.

Where does The Fed get all this money that it ‘loans’ to banks?

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Roll the presses!

The US dollar is really just a promissory note, printed by the US Mint for The Fed. It is not backed by any form of precious metal such as gold or silver. It is just backed by goods and services equal to its value. The Fed tells you that the paper note they had the US Mint print has value, but in reality it’s just a  paper I.O.U. Without a hard currency standard fixing its rate, the dollar is susceptible to inflation when the costs of goods rise, devaluing the dollar requiring you to need more dollars to buy the same item when the price is raised.  So this essentially worthless paper labeled as a ‘Federal Reserve Note’  is merely a tool, a place-holder that is exchanged for an item of value despite having no real value of its own, only the say-so of the Federal Reserve telling you that it’s worth a dollar. Whenever a member bank requires a loan from the Federal Reserve Bank, the Fed either orders the Mint to print more money to be shipped to the bank for its needs  if physical bills are needed, or just adds a credit note to the ledger of debts owed. Like when a credit card issuer  tells you your credit limit has been raised so you can spend more money you don’t have on things you don’t really need.

Think of it as ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’. It’s a vast ponzi scheme that could collapse at any point. This is why runs on banks cause mass hysteria when large numbers of customers try to withdraw all their funds at the same time, and the bank doesn’t have enough physical money on hand to meet the demand because they are only required to keep a fraction of collected money in its vaults while the rest is loaned out, and interest is changed.

An even worse realization is that the US Government gets all of its money directly from taxes collected , and any budgetary shortfalls short falls are borrowed from the Fed, which charges the US government interest on the loans.  When you control the currency of a nation, you control that nation. The borrower is slave to the lender!  

As the amounts of debt owed by the government now exceeds $25 trillion dollars, the interest alone is greater than the total amount collected from all tax payers! National security not only applies to a border wall to prevent illegal immigration, or a strong military to defend us from potential enemies, it also applies to financial security.  Only a fool spends more money than they earn. This is why budget cuts are not only needed, but MUST be allowed to happen.  The country is broke, and if our loan is ever ‘called’ this nation is in serious trouble. As always, I wish you success and happiness!

A Federal Case?

What’s in a name?

(part one of a two-part series on The Federal Reserve Bank.)

a federal case

‘I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government; I mean an additional article taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.’– Thomas Jefferson, (from a  letter  sent to John Taylor on Nov. 26, 1798.)

When most Americans see the word ‘federal’ they automatically associate it with the US FEDERAL Government. By viewing the word as synonym instead of as an adjective, it has led to a confusion of meaning. Adjectives describe persons, places, or things, BUT describing something is not always the same as being something, and there are also subjective as well  as objective descriptions which can be led by emotions verses facts. In a very broad example of what I mean, let’s consider the following example: Susie calls Bobby a lazy boy at a birthday party. Her season for the statement was because she didn’t care for the way he wrapped the birthday gift. Does this mean that Bobby IS lazy? Bystanders at the partying overhearing Susie’s statement quickly take sides, some agreeing with Susie, others standing up for Bobby. None of these emotional reactions are proof of the original subjective and possibly slanderous statement made by Susie against Bobby. Yet this seems to be the modern mindset in contemporary society.  It’s like calling Trump supporters racists. If you FEEL someone is something, does that automatically make them that thing? If you hear someone else describe something, does that make it the same for you? While some things may be immutable,  others can vary widely over time or circumstance, and change from person to person.

If you asked the average person in the USA if the Federal Reserve Bank is part of the Federal Government, they would more than likely say yes, and they would be absolutely wrong.

According to Collins Dictionary of English, the number one definition of Federal is:

  1. Federal–of or formed by a compact; specif., designating or of a union of states, groups, etc. in which each member agrees to subordinate its governmental power to that of the central authority in certain specified common affairs.

The shipping company FedEx was originally called Federal Express before the company name was shortened in 2000 to its current moniker. The company was founded in 1971 by Frederick W. Smith and is currently the eight-largest private employer in the US.  Mr. Smith chose the name because  he believed the patriotic meaning associated with the word “federal” suggested an interest in nationwide economic activity. He also hoped the name would resonate with the Federal Reserve Bank, a potential customer.

The Federal Reserve Bank is NOT part of the US government.

The Federal Reserve Bank was the third attempt by representatives of the US Government to create a central banking system to oversee the nation’s financial needs. Unlike its predecessors, this current bank was NOT restricted by a twenty-year charter, and its many economic policies over the past century are directly responsible for the skyrocketing government debt which now exceeds  $25.2 trillion. That amounts to over $81,000 per citizen, or $139,000+ per tax payer (Since not all citizens pay taxes.)     

A bit of history

The First Bank Of The US

The first secretary of state, Alexander Hamilton was a great admirer of the Bank of England and was pressing President Washington to sign a bill creating the First Bank of the US. Washington had grave misgivings against signing the ‘bank bill’. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison  were strongly opposed to the measure.  Ultimately, after considering many opinions on the matter, and having decided that the bank bill was constitutional, Washington signed the bill into law on Feb 25th, 1790. The building for the newly created bank was built in Philadelphia in 1791. Twenty years later, In 1811, the U.S. Senate tied on a vote to renew the bank’s charter. Vice President George Clinton broke the tie and voted against renewal, killing the institution.

The Second Bank of the US

Modeled on Alexander Hamilton’s First Bank of the United States, the Second Bank was chartered by President James Madison in 1816 and began operations at its main branch in Philadelphia on January 7, 1817 managing twenty-five branch offices nationwide by 1832.  President Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the US, elected in 1829, was absolutely hated the bank, arguing that the  bank was a corrupt institution which failed to produce a stable national currency, was unconstitutional, and was dangerous to American liberties. He managed to convince congress NOT to renew the charter for the bank in 1836. It folded in 1841.

A political cartoon from 1833 shows Jackson destroying the bank with his “Order for the Removal,” to the approval of the Uncle Sam like figure to the right, and the annoyance of the bank’s president, shown as the Devil himself.

1832bank1

“That is to say, under the old way any time we wish to add to the national wealth we are compelled to add to the national debt.

Now, that is what Henry Ford wants to prevent. He thinks it is stupid, and so do I, that for the loan of $30,000,000 of their own money the people of the United States should be compelled to pay $66,000,000 — that is what it amounts to, with interest. People who will not turn a shovelful of dirt nor contribute a pound of material will collect more money from the United States than will the people who supply the material and do the work. That is the terrible thing about interest. In all our great bond issues the interest is always greater than the principal. All of the great public works cost more than twice the actual cost, on that account. Under the present system of doing business we simply add 120 to 150 per cent, to the stated cost.

But here is the point: If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good. “– Thomas A. Edison

The Federal Reserve Bank

The Federal Reserve Act was signed into law by President Wilson on December 23, 1913. It created and established the Federal Reserve System, the central banking system of the United States. It also gave the newly established system legal authority to issue Federal Reserve Notes (U.S. Dollar). The act had far reaching implications including the internationalization of the U.S. Dollar as a global currency.

Unfortunately the massive downside is that since its creation the Federal Reserve, (or sometimes  just called the Fed)  is directly responsible for the national debt, and the devaluation of the US dollar of 92%. The money the USA ‘borrows’ from the Fed is money that is ‘created’. They just order the mint to print more money. Then they charge interest on the created money. Currently the US can’t even afford to pay the interest on the money it’s loaned.

The fact of the matter is that the government NEEDS money to run, but it was no way to produce money. You can’t create prosperity by spending yourself into debt. Consider that over the next week, and come back next Sunday for part two of this long blog post on the Federal Reserve Bank. As Always, I wish you success and happiness!  

One Piece At A Time!

Good fences make good neighbors.

one piece at a time

There has been a lot said recently concerning the most recent partial shutdown of the US government.  Just before Christmas, on December 22nd, 2018 President Trump ordered the shutdown in order to secure the funding needed to complete a barrier wall that spans the southern border of the USA from Mexico. The  continental border between the two nations is extensive, spanning 1,954 miles (3,145 km). On our side, the area affects four US states: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. There are many sections of existing barrier wall, and even natural  barriers such as rivers and mountains. There are ‘virtual’ barriers policed by National Guard, SWAT teams, and video surveillance. Sections of the border have been fenced off one piece at a time over the years, and the US Border Patrol has been doing its part to stem the flow of illegal aliens.  Some sections of the existing walls are steel, some are concrete, and some are just barbed wire. The main point is that because of the piecemeal security measures   our southern border is currently vulnerable at some points to incursions by illegal aliens. A country without borders is NOT a country. President Trump understands this point and is committed to securing our border with Mexico, despite resistance from Democrats  and  constant criticism by liberal media outlets.  

One Piece At A Time

“I’d get it one piece at a time

And it wouldn’t cost me a dime

You’ll know it’s me when I come through your town

I’m going to ride around in style

I’m going to drive everybody wild

Because I’ll have the only one there is around.” – One Piece at a Time, song from 1976, lyrics sung by Johnny Cash

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The United States is a country that was founded by immigrants, and is a melting pot of cultures and ideas. Each year, we welcome new immigrants who enter our country legally, many of whom go on to become naturalized citizens. A foreign born person can become a legal US citizen, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is a process, and it does take time. Unfortunately, there are also foreigners who ILLEGALLY enter our country each year, breaking the law and sneaking across the border. The vast majority of illegal aliens are of Mexican origin. There are quotas for immigration. America is a great country which provides levels  of freedom and prosperity not found in other countries. We are the longest lasting constitutional republic in the history of the world, but we can’t fit everyone. By most accounts, there are over six billion people on this planet, and just 195 countries. One third of these people live in China and India, which have about a billion people each. The population of the USA is about 350,000,000. There are very few people who hate their homeland. If you ask Swedish citizen what the best country is, most likely they’ll say Sweden. A person from Wales will reply, Wales. A German will say Germany, and so on. It’s human nature to love your home, and I love my country very much. I firmly believe that president Trump  feels the same way and is doing everything he can to ‘Make America Great Again’.  There are various pieces of the wall that have been built, that are being built, and that still need to be built.  The government gets it’s income from taxes, I pay my fair share of taxes, and I want my tax money to be spent on the defense and security of my homeland. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t support the president, you don’t support this nation, and you are not a true American. You should immigrate to one of the other 194 countries, pick one I don’t care which as long as you aren’t living in mine.   

A ‘Mending Wall’

The phrase ‘Good fences make good neighbors’ is a line from the 1915 poem Mending Wall by Robert Frost. The poem concerns two neighbors who meet regularly to repair a stone wall that divides their two properties. The neighbor argues for the wall, stating that ‘Good fences make good neighbors’. Frost counter-argues that there is ‘something that doesn’t love a wall’, and that he wants to know what’s being walled-out and walled-in. That kind of sums up the mindset in the USA currently. One side (which includes most conservatives and Republicans) wants the wall. Democrats and other liberals, do not, and are strongly against it for various ’emotional’ reasons.  Democrats claim there is a small number of people who will be negatively affected, and somehow feel walls are ‘immoral’. Conservatives want protection for our legal residents, barring vicious criminal elements from entering our country. It’s becoming a battle of wills, and I for one am glad our President has the back-bone to stand up to these breeding heart liberals who have been systematically compromising tradition American values. In exchange for funding the wall,  Donald Trump has offered various compromises on other issues that Democrats support concerning DOCA and illegals currently living in the US, but Democrats refuse to negotiate, and try to blame him instead for the government shutdown.  This is now the longest shutdown in our nation’s history.

There is a basic goal of the US government stated in our constitution to provide for the general welfare of American citizens. We are entitled to health, peace, morality, and safety as cited in the preamble to the constitution, and as president, Donald J. Trump has sworn an oath to uphold the constitution and to  defend  our nation from all enemies,  both foreign and domestic. Nancy Pelosi must have missed that part when she read the same Oath of Office.

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Brick by Brick.

“I’m building a house where I can think

And have some balance and dignity

I’m building a house where no one can hurt me

I’m building a house where the weak are strong

I’m building a house with a real song

I’m using faith that is immortal

I’m building it with simplicity

And the way that we feel, you and me

I’m building it with what I believe in. ” – Brick by Brick song from 1990, lyrics by Iggy Pop

Walls exist not out of malice, but for compassion. They keep unwanted elements out, while protecting what lies within. The locks, doors, and walls of your home are there not because you hate the people outside, but because you love the people inside.  If you believe that barriers are somehow immoral, than you’re very naive and you’ve missed the point entirely.  Piece of mind is a wonderful thing to have and knowing that  one is safe a and secure is an essential component towards that feeling of tranquility.  As always,  I wish you success and happiness!

FREE LUNCH?

Beware of wide-eyed loons!

freelunch

Exposing the dangers of wealth redistribution.

There is an old adage about  ‘being too young to know any better.’   The average millennial was born after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and there are really only four true socialist nations following Marxist-Leninist principles  remaining in the world today. They are:

  • the Laos People’s Democratic Republic
  •  the People’s Republic of China
  • the Republic of Cuba
  •  the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

I am not including countries that have multi-party systems where a socialist faction has taken control of the government like in like Venezuela or Greece.   

There has been a dangerous trend among young people in the USA to idolize socialism as being morally and economically superior to capitalism.  The vast sea of young idiots on campuses across the county have been duped by the unsubstantiated claims of ‘true equality’ which can be achieved by embracing socialism being spouted by the likes of newly elected NY state rep Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, or Bernie Sanders, the failed presidential hopeful. For me, the truly amazing thing is that in the USA, more people than not possess powerful hand-held computers, AKA ‘smart-phones’, which could be used to research the truth  behind these fictitious claims. Instead, these young empty-headed numbskulls use their ‘toys’ only to text, watch videos, or play game apps. When I was a young boy, we didn’t have smart-phones.  You either learned the information to succeed in life, or you didn’t, and chose instead to blame others for your shortfalls.  

The only place you’ll find success before work is in the English dictionary.

“In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat.” – Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky was a Russian revolutionary, Marxist theorist, and Soviet politician. Despite helping create the Soviet Union during the October Revolution of 1917, he was exiled after the death of Vladimir Lenin 1924, and ultimately assonated under orders from Joseph Stalin in 1940.

To explain socialism in very simple terms, the Government owns EVERYTHING, and distributes it equally i.e, a re-distribution of wealth to insure fairness. Under such an assumption, if a man worked hard his entire life to save a million dollars, and he had 999,999 penniless neighbors, it would be just for the Government to seize his million dollars, and give everyone one dollar so they could all ‘share the wealth’ and all be poor together. Does that make sense? Where is the incentive to work if all my assets will be seized, and given freely to people who don’t work. Under such a ridiculous system, it would behoove me to not be productive and receive my ‘free’ dollar instead of working hard to earn a million dollars and being punished for being successful.

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Socialism pretends that it can solve all of humanity’s problems by ensuring ‘equality’. Socialism only works by stealing from successful people, and giving it to lazy, stupid people because ‘they’ are ‘entitled’ to it. Only a wide-eyed loon would believe such non-sense. Recently the aforementioned NY State Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez proposed a 70% tax on the rich to fund her ‘free’ programs. This is the same woman who after winning her $174,000 a year job whined that she couldn’t afford an apartment in Washington D.C.  How is she going to afford anything once she pays the $121,800 in taxes under her 70% rate? A better question to ask would be how much of MY money does the government feel actually belongs to me? Taxation is theft!   

Free does sound good, but there is another old adage, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is a lie.’ There is no such thing as a free lunch. Socialism promises omelets for all, but only delivers broken eggs, and dead chickens.

Knowledge is power.

Capitalism by comparison, rewards the intelligent and hard-working with  success and financial gain. Individuals own everything, not the Government. You get to own private property, such as housing complexes which you can rent out, business which create both goods and jobs. Quality and value are rewarded by the accumulation of capitol. Competition drives the successful to new heights while punishing those who can’t or won’t compete. If you’re stupid and lazy, you won’t go far in life.  Free market capitalism is the number one system for building wealth. Socialism only creates poverty. Last year, President Trump was lambasted by both the liberal media and celebrities for referring to Haiti as a ‘Shit-hole country’. Haiti is one of the poorest nations on Earth, and is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Eighty percent of its citizens live in poverty, and live on under $1000 per year. Certainly doesn’t sound like a place where I would hang my hat. Beginning in December 1972, a stream of Haitian “boat people” fled the brutal Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti for the United States. Desperate Haitian refugees braved a  dangerous  830 mile ocean trip to seek refuge in the USA, albeit illegally. Needless to say  Cuba, a Socialist nation was only 250 miles from Haiti, and they passed right by it. If a socialist nation is such a great idea, why risk life and limb to travel over three times the distance to escape to the USA? Answer number one: Because The USA is better than Cuba. Answer number two, because Capitalism is better than Socialism. Answer number three, because we wouldn’t shoot them like the Cubans probably would.

Bottom line, if you want to be rich, work for it, and don’t take candy from strangers. The USA is a wonderful land of freedom and opportunity. If you feel the need to back political candidates who offer you ‘free stuff’, it’s because you lack the backbone to work for what you want in life. Don’t be the type of person who believes they are only entitled to the scraps someone else offers them. There is opportunity everywhere   in this country as long as you are willing to work for it, because fortune favors the bold.  Like Napoleon Hill once wrote, “THINK AND GROW RICH”. As Always I wish you success and happiness.  

Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

A handout or a hand up?

brother can you spare a dime

A popular song  from 1930 was ‘Brother, can you spare a dime?’ sung by Bing Crosby.  During the Great Depression, many Americans were down on their luck and struggling to make ends meet. (The ‘Fellow American down  on his luck’ was later personified by Humphrey Bogart in the film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948, later spoofed in the 1950 Bugs Bunny cartoon short  8-Ball Bunny.)  A dime doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but when you get enough of them they do add up. It was probably  a combination of this song on the radio, and the movie newsreel serial THE MARCH OF TIME that inspired Eddie Cantor to coin the phrase ‘The March Of Dimes’ to help raise donations for Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938, for his National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, to combat polio. The catch phrase eventually replaced the clunky name of the foundation, which has been know as The March Of Dimes ever since.  The poorly run charity still exists today despite the near extinction of polio, having changed its mission to fighting birth defects.   More than 80% of funds collected go towards overhead,  and the CEO of the charity  is paid over $500,000 annually. What started out as a good intention morphed into a bureaucratic nightmare that doesn’t seem to help anyone except the staff.

The American Dream vs. the Welfare State.

Americans are guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nowhere in the US Constitution is it listed as being the job of the government to provide any form of  social welfare assistance, cradle to grave healthcare, cheap housing, free phones, or free food.  

Following the stock market crash of 1929 and the resulting Great Depression, certain well-intentioned government officials began creating the modern welfare state that exists in our country today. The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. The WPA, Works Progress Administration, put unemployed and unskilled Americans to work in return for temporary financial assistance from 1939 to 1943. For four years during the Depression, the first Food Stamp Program fed 20 million people at one time or another in nearly half of the total counties in the nation.  Food stamps were eliminated in 1943, but in 1961 they were revived when President Kennedy signed his first executive order bringing back the program. Food stamps would also eventually be re-branded as SNAP, a Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, with benefits being distributed electronically on a EBT card to reduce ‘social stigma’.     

Government entitlement programs account for more than half of the national budget.  Whenever we reduce taxes, we also have to make  corresponding cuts to the budget, and associated entitlement programs.  The problem is there is a large portion of the population that has become entirely dependent upon the existence of those same entitlement programs which must be eliminated.  Ever since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt offered Americans his New Deal, the cornerstone of the Democrat political party platform has been to eliminate poverty through widespread, government social welfare programs. As a result of the created dependency generated from these same welfare programs, poverty has actually increased while the Federal budget deficit has skyrocketed. We have also created generational welfare dependency with children living in the same housing projects on public assistance as their parents and grandparents.  It is impossible to eliminate poverty, and believing that poverty can be eliminated amounts to calling Jesus Christ a liar.

“The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have Me.”– Jesus Christ,  The Bible written in John 12:8,  Mark 14:7, and also Matthew 26:11

Charity begins at home.

​“With great power there must also come — great responsibility!” —Stan Lee

Besides being God, Jesus Christ was a rabbi, or teacher. By speaking that the poor will always be among us, He brings to mind other scripture verse.      

“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be…For the poor you will always have with you in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’” (Deut 15:7-11)

Before the government social welfare reforms of the twentieth century were instituted, taking care of the poor was largely a function of the Christian Church. Churches had ‘poor boxes’ with the donations collected destined directly for the poor.  Even today, churches provide free meals, food pantries, and other donations for the poor. As Christians living in the most prosperous country in history of the world, it is OUR responsibility to pass on our blessings as we have been blessed. With all the opportunity and freedom abundant in the United States, there really is no reason to be poor unless we choose to be. According to motivational expert Brian Tracy, “The sad fact is that people are poor because they have not yet decided to be rich. People are overweight and unfit because they have not yet decided to be thin and fit. People are inefficient time wasters because they haven’t yet decided to be highly productive in everything they do.”

I grew up poor, both my father and step-father died when I was a young boy. My mother never worked to better herself and always relied upon social welfare programs.  As a result, I grew up in a roach-infested apartment in NYC, eating Government cheese, getting food with food stamps, and eating free meals at school. My mother died in the same poverty she chose to embrace, but I made a vow long ago to never be poor when I was an adult.  Success is always present, but never given, you have to work for it if you really want it. Doing so places you in a position to help the less fortunate, offering a hand up instead of a handout.  There are many worthy charities for every sketchy one that claims to help the poor, and if you do your research, by separating the wheat from the chaff your donations will do the most good.  A good rule of thumb is to focus locally and give what you are able to give freely and gladly. You should take care of your family, friends, and other people who live close to you before helping people who are living further away or in another country.  If every Christian in the USA did their fair share, there would be no need for government welfare programs. As always, I wish you success and happiness.

The Path to Prosperity!

Keeping America Great!

The Path To Prosperity

An Editorial opinion–

“Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric.” ― Thomas Sowell, Knowledge And Decisions

Full disclosure, I am a conservative Republican and Christian, and I fully support President Trump. 

We the People of the United States

Tuesday November 6th 2018 is Election Day in the USA this year. Registered voters will be voting across our great nation to elect representatives to legislate on our behalf. With the power of our votes, we have the ability to support or change the current socio-economic state of our country and pass on to future generations a country we believe they will want. Because our votes are crucial to this process, it is imperative that we fully understand the ramifications of our political views, and how they are shaped.  In the USA, our capitalist economy, our religious freedoms, and the laws of our land are all entangled forming a tightly interwoven way of life. Changing one aspect threatens the other two legs of the platform, and many uneducated persons are in danger of making ill-conceived decisions based upon poor information.

“The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.” ― Thomas Sowell,  noted economist

in Order to form a more perfect Union

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American writer and philosopher who wrote two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. She was an atheist with little use for religion. Although her fiction is interesting and some of her ideas have merit, she really didn’t understand people much because she lacked the critical spiritual component needed to fill the God-shaped hole ever-present in the hearts of man. Although she passed away in 1982 at the age of 77, many libertarians, and some  right-wing conservatives are still intrigued by certain aspects of her personal philosophy, which she termed ‘objectivism’. Objectivism is fully secular and absolutist; it is neither liberal nor conservative nor anywhere in between. In a perfect world,  objectivism might work, but we do not live in a perfect world. Nevertheless, she had some good ideas. She supported laissez-faire capitalism, believed facts were facts independent of a person’s feelings or wishes, felt that reason was a man’s basic means of survival, and held that we ourselves were responsible for perusing our own self-interests and happiness.

UNFORTUNATELY,  many people today lack the discernment needed to sail through the vast sea of information, and lack the skill to avoid being blown off course by the hot air and smoke of certain politicians and entertainers as they try to steer for those islands of reason. Truth is always true, and it can stand up to criticism. If it is YOUR ‘truth’ and you have no evidence to back it up then it is not truth, but rather your feelings based on an emotional response.  As long as you continue to make snap emotional decisions to immediate problems, you will continue to make the wrong choices and will suffer greatly in the long term. I can’t tell you who to vote for, or what to believe, I only ask that you examine your convictions to see why you believe what you believe, and be certain that your ideology is fact based. The road to Hell is paved with ‘good intentions’.

“Socialism is a wonderful idea. It is only as a reality that it has been disastrous. Among people of every race, color, and creed, all around the world, socialism has led to hunger in countries that used to have surplus food to export…. Nevertheless, for many of those who deal primarily in ideas, socialism remains an attractive idea — in fact, seductive. Its every failure is explained away as due to the inadequacies of particular leaders. ” 
― Thomas Sowell

Establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

Our government is based upon three principals:

  • Inherent rights:  Rights that anyone living in America has.
  • Self Government: Government by the people.
  • Separation of Powers: Branches of government with different powers.

It is NOT the job of the government to run businesses, provide welfare subsidies, or redistribute wealth. Your ‘feelings’ are not the concern of the government.  Its only job is make sure that its citizens are safe, healthy and prosperous. Citizens have a legal right to live in this country,  Illegal immigrants do not. If they entered this country illegally, they do NOT belong here. A country without borders is not a country.  This is a great country and we have the freedom to live as we chose and pursue our own interests.  There is no reason to be poor in this country where every opportunity is available for you to pursue. BUT YOU HAVE TO DO IT, no one can make you do the right thing. According to a report by the Brookings Institute ( https://www.brookings.edu/research/work-and-marriage-the-way-to-end-poverty-and-welfare ) published in way back in 2003, if you don’t want to be permanently poor in this country, you only have to do three things:

  1. Finish High School
  2. Get a job
  3. Don’t have children out of wedlock.

The only thing preventing you from being successful is you yourself. Don’t blame anyone else for your bad choices.   If people don’t agree with you, it’s called disagreement, not hatred, sexism, or  bigotry. Mature adults don’t insult or attack people who disagree with them. 

This Tuesday I will be voting straight Republican. I’m doing this because I fully support the current President, and totally agree with him 100%. In the past two years since he won the 2016 election, my net worth has skyrocketed. To give a comparison, my investment gains since Trump became president less than two years ago  have nearly equaled the total gains earned over the entire 8-year Obama administration.   I dare you to tell me the economy is not booming.

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I am financially stable, I am debt free, I have cash on hand to do with as I please. This includes charitable giving and I am not bragging when I say I willingly donate thousands of dollars each year to worthy Christian charities, and other concerns.

If you are jealous of wealthy successful people, you are in serious need of a reality check. I grew up poor and worked hard for everything I have. I was not poor because someone else was rich. Wealthy people create jobs and opportunities for others, they don’t take them away. There is no ‘white privilege’, no ‘glass ceiling’. They are just figments of the imagination created by the real enemies who want to destroy this great nation.  Don’t allow yourself to be misled by their lies. You can rise to greatness   if and only if you wholeheartedly decide to.

This coming election, ( as well as all future elections ) is about safety and prosperity. President Trump has Made America Great Again, and we now have the lowest unemployment rate in the history of our country and things are getting better every day. On Tuesday November 6th 2018, you need to make the correct decision and vote Republican, it is the only way to keep our citizens safe, prosperous, and free. For the sake of our freedom and for future generations we need to keep the momentum going and Keep America Great.  As Always, I wish you success and happiness.

Do You Wanna LYFT?

Is using your new car as a taxi really a good idea?

lyft

I grew up in New York City which has an extensive public transportation system that covers a significant area. However there were times when waiting for a bus or train were not optimal and then we used taxis or private cabs. These drivers had CB radios in their vehicles, displayed their operator’s license, and had a meter ticking up your fare as you drove to your destination. Occasionally, some enterprising individual using his own personal vehicle would cruse the bus and taxi routes offering his car for hire. These ‘gypsy cabs’ were illegal and you always took a chance when getting into these stranger’s cars. It was like paying to be a hitchhiker. But if you didn’t have the money to pay for a real taxi, these mostly harmless entrepreneurs were there to fill the gap. Most of them were just trying to earn a living, albeit in a dodgy manner.   

As I stated in a prior blog, owning a car is expensive. If you have car payments and full coverage insurance, you still have to factor in vehicle maintenance and fuel costs.  One way or another if you want to keep your car on the road, you need to have some way of paying for it all. Enter Uber and Lyft.

 Uber (founded 2009) and Lyft (founded 2012 and pronounced lift, get it?) are companies that make ridesharing available through downloadable smartphone apps.  You simply download the app, request the car, and the Uber or Lyft drivers show up in their personal vehicles to drive you to your destination, much to the dismay of taxi and cab companies. Unlike the gypsy cabs of yore, these drivers are registered with their respective companies, and all payments are made via credit card to Lyft or Uber using your smartphone upon reaching your destination. You may opt to tip the driver in cash, or you can just include the tip (if any) in the credit card charge. This is all great for the passenger, but what if you’re the owner of the car?

Whether you choose to work for either Uber or Lyft or even both of them, you will need to meet some basic criteria.

You’ll need to display signage indicating that you are a driver for Lyft, Uber or both, and you’ll need to follow all the rules of the road. Tickets for speeding, not wearing seat belts, transporting children not in car seats, etc are the responsibility of the driver and will negate any income earned from ridesharing.

 Document Requirements

  • Driver’s license
  • Vehicle registration
  • Personal vehicle insurance
  • Driver photo

Vehicle Requirements

  • 2004 or newer
  • Fewer than 350,000 miles
  • 4 doors
  • 5-8 seats, including the driver’s
  • No limousines

Both of these companies do have liability insurance that covers the driver and rider during the trip with certain restrictions and conditions. Unless you have that rare rideshare-friendly policy, the only time you can count on your personal insurance is when you are driving for strictly personal reasons and getting into a accident while hiring out your car could end up costing you big time. All personal car insurance policies contain a clause that specifically excludes using your vehicle for commercial activities. Your personal insurance company may deny your claim as a result and refuse to pay. In a case like this, the Lyft company will cover you with their insurance, BUT they have a hefty $2500 deductible that you will be required to pay. Similarly Uber has a $1000 deductible. The ONLY way to be fully protected while using your car for rideshare services is to carry a commercial insurance policy which will run you $5000 and up.    

The Passenger from Hell

 As an independent contractor providing rides for your clients you may encounter many people of questionable character. Unlike a traditional taxi, there is no Plexiglas window dividing the front and back of the vehicle. You are alone in your vehicle with who-knows-what type of person and are opening yourself up to all sorts of potential verbal and physical abuse. There are numerous accounts of both Uber and Lyft drivers being attacked by the passenger from Hell. For this reason it is a good idea to have dashcam recording devices in your vehicle for your own personal protection. Obtain a GPS unit to track and record your comings and goings. If your passenger is involved in illegal activity, this may clear you with the police, and protect you from legal action. Some of these people may try to get you to break the law, like transporting their young children without a car seat.  Intoxicated passengers may vomit in your car. You name it, it can happen so make sure there is some record other than just your word vs. their word. Also inform any passengers the moment they enter your car that the trip is being recorded for safety reasons because failure to inform them that they are being recorded may get you into hot water. If they are resistant to that idea, they are free to hire another car, but if they have nothing to hide, they should be understanding. Also, keep conversations to a minimum and avoid personal information or hot topics. You are a driver, not their friend. Additionally, these people rate your performance and bad ratings could reduce the number of future fares.  

 Where am I?

 A passenger not used to driving may tell you to drive to a certain road and then make a turn which would be the wrong way up a one way street. You may be totally unfamiliar with the area and have no idea where you are going. Speed limit signs might not be obvious. Having a GPS unit in your car will help to avoid these situations when driving in unfamiliar areas.  

 The Tax Man

 Keep in mind that income is INCOME and is taxable! You will be required to track all of your income and expenses and will be expected to reconcile these come tax day. Many of the items you need for operating your car as a rideshare vehicle may qualify as legitimate business expenses so contact a certified public accountant to learn what may or may be covers, then keep records and receipts. Always remember that your money is YOUR money and you want to keep as much of it as possible

 I made HOW much?

 Although it seems like using your own personal vehicle as a rideshare sounds like a great idea on the surface, when you break down the costs, it’s not really worth the hassle in my opinion. According to the IRS, using a vehicle for commercial purposes averages about 54¢ per mile.

 This breaks down to:

  • Fuel 12¢
  • Depreciation 24¢
  • Repairs and Maintenance 9¢
  • Insurance and Paperwork 9¢

Considering this, at best case, you’ll be earning about minimum wage for all the trouble you’ll be going through. Wouldn’t flipping burgers at McDonald’s be easier? As always I wish you success and happiness.    

Be American, Buy American!

Is there really a trade war?

When I was much younger, there was a period where I lived with my aunt Arleen and uncle John. This is a long story, but the short and simple version is that my mother couldn’t even take care of herself, let alone me. My uncle John was a retired union employee. A popular slogan used in advertising at the time was ‘Look for the Union Label’. This was meant to encourage consumers to buy not only domestic goods, but domestic goods produced in union shops which supposedly provided better conditions, benefits, and higher wages for employees.    

My uncle had a coffee mug which I really, really liked. The mug had pictured upon it The Great Seal of the United States (used to authenticate certain documents issued by the U.S. federal government), and the phrase ‘Be American, Buy American!’ But, in tiny print under the last word was printed ‘Made in Japan’.  It was a novelty mug meant as a gag, but I laughed so hard the first time I saw it, that it stuck with me all these years.

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Nowadays, cheaply made products come to the USA more from China than from Japan. We import goods nationally to provide alternatives to local varieties, or to give consumers an item not locally produced, for instance Australian  Vegemite  or its cousin British Marmite.  I like them both, but they are strictly foreign goods and sometimes hard to come by, as well as expensive.

Consumerism is driven by both supply and demand,  as well as wants and needs. I may want Vegemite, but I don’t need it. And if it’s in low supply and priced quite high, I’ll settle for the lower costing Marmite which is more readily available. In the case of similar products both in high supply, it comes down to preference. Bottom line, you can have anything you want in the world, as long as you are willing to pay the price.

Which brings us to such topics of importing, exporting, free-trade, and tariffs.

 Importing and exporting are easy enough to understand. We export or ship-out goods to foreign countries where there is demand for the good, and at the same time import exotic items like Vegemite and Marmite from overseas. It gets trickier when the items are ‘the same’ though.  I might be tempted to buy a foreign good over a domestic good if the foreign product is significantly cheaper.   If free trade exists between countries, a foreign country which can produce goods at a lower cost can flood the other country with its goods.   This is where tariffs or duties come into play. A tariff is a tax imposed on a foreign good. Tariffs are bad for consumers. They are mostly good for domestic companies, and the government.     Tariffs increase the cost of foreign goods and decreases consumption of the lower priced import. Let’s say the US decided to slap a $5 per jar import tax (tariff) on Marmite, raising the cost from $5.99 to $10.99. The one jar a year I currently buy would drop to ZERO. I REFUSE to pay that much for a mere 4.4 ounces of something I like, but don’t necessarily need.

Types of tariffs

There are five main types of tariffs, protective, prohibitive, specific, ad valorem, and revenue:

  • – Protective Tariff:  These push up the price of imported products as a protective measure against foreign competition.
  • – Prohibitive Tariff: the tax is so high that it makes an import far too (prohibitively) expensive.
  • – Ad Valorem – the tax applies to a percentage of the imported good’s value. For example, an ad valorem of 10% would mean that a product costing $100 would sell in the market of the importing country for $110.
  • – Specific Tariff: A tax is levied on the specific amount – which could be the good’s weight, number, or other measurement.
  • – Revenue Tariff:  Imposed solely to raise government income rather than to protect domestic producers.

In each of these cases, the consumer will pay more for the good, or discontinue its use all together and the only one really benefiting is ‘The Tax Man’. Taxation is theft! 

“Taxation is theft, purely and simply even though it is theft on a grand and colossal scale which no acknowledged criminals could hope to match. It is a compulsory seizure of the property of the State’s inhabitants, or subjects.” ― Murray N. Rothbard

 FREE TRADE

NAFTA, The North American Free Trade Agreement is the largest free trade agreement in the world. It was negotiated by three US presidents (Regan, Bush, and Clinton) before it was finalized and signed in  1993 by President Bill Clinton. NAFTA became law January 1, 1994.

This is great for consumers in North America because it keeps the costs of goods low. But with free trade, if a product can be produced cheaper in a foreign country, there is no need for local production.  This resulted in a loss of US jobs when companies like HERSHEY CHOCOLATE shifted production to Mexico where non-union labor was much cheaper.  (Unions, like tariffs can also kill local production, but that’s another topic altogether.)  If a company can import a product cheaper than they can produce it, and still turn a profit, they will shut down plants, slash jobs, and shift their business model from producing to simply shipping. Business is business. Here’s your pink-slip, nothing personal.  

So it falls back to the consumer to ‘vote with their wallet’ if they want to protect American jobs and products. If you like a band and want to see it flourish, buy it. If nobody buys the products a company produces, they will either change their products or cease operations. Successful business rarely shut-down overnight without some long-standing cause.  Many times there is an American made item that is comparable to the foreign produced good. Often the cost is same, but occasionally even  a little cheaper. Sometimes not.  Many domestically produced goods will sport an American flag and proudly proclaim made in the USA.

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I buy Pepsodent toothpaste, Pennsylvania Dutchman Mushrooms and often check the country of origin. If it’s made in the USA, I’ll buy it over a foreign brand. Even if it’s just assembled in the USA, it still means American jobs. If there’s no readily available domestic equivalent, I will only then purchase the foreign import.  For me, it’s patriotism and I have the means to support my spending habits.  I do understand that there are many cash-poor people in my country for whom every penny counts, and they MUST buy whatever is cheaper, but if you live in the USA and you are in a financial position where you can support the US economy by purchasing goods made in the USA, I encourage you to do so. The job you save may be that of a friend or relative. There are many companies online that sell US made products like  http://madeinusaforever.com/ for one.  

As for the manufacturers of Marmite and Vegemite, no worries mates. 

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As always, I wish you success and happiness!