Punching Stupid and Evil in the Face Since 1986!

"We are on strike, we the men of the mind. We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties."-John Galt

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Money is not the problem.

As I look back at 2008, it is clear the financial issues of today are a direct result of the excess and poor decisions of yesterday. Sadly, few people want to admit no matter how many bailouts, no matter how many "public works" programs and "stimulus" packages are put in to play, it is of little consequence-we are tanking economically. This is not a doom-and-gloom statement, it is a simple fact. Year after year of disgusting, ridiculous excess has finally caught up with us. The government must stop interfering in the natural order of failure-it is silly and quite presumptuous; similar to proclaiming one could "stop" or "prevent" a tornado. That would be an impossible task, just like stopping this economic catastrophe is impossible. Up to this point the only two things our government has actually accomplished is to extend the pain of this collapse and to spend (and print) money we do not have-which will continue to lower the value of our money and astronomically drive up our debt; ultimately having little to zero effect on the final outcome. While this whole thing has not yet played out to a conclusion-it will. As people cut back-either through force (no credit for the undeserving and devastation for the stupid) or by choice (for Christmas we spent less than half of what we spent last year and paid for everything in cash-neither of those choices was driven by a lack of funds)retailers and manufactures will cut back or fail-as they should. If I run my business poorly, I will fail. Simple.

People in power have convinced themselves that some kind of "float" will get these companies through to the other side and everything will then be OK. The fatal flaw of this thinking is: the other side is not going to look like this side. People are cutting back, companies MUST follow suit if they are to survive into the next decade-or even the next year. We can longer support a Walgreen's or Best Buy on every corner. We can no longer fund hundreds of thousands of new, un-sold cars sitting around in storage waiting to be sold to buyers that do not exist. As producers and consumers we have lived lives of delicious gluttony and loose credit; never believing the final bill would come due. Some say the excessive, super-sonic speed of rising fuel costs were the catalyst that broke the camel's back. Maybe. It really doesn't matter the final proverbial straw, the real issue is that as a country we couldn't withstand some tough times. Everyone is stretched so thin that one thing is all it took to send most over the edge. It is a truly sad state. High gas prices were difficult to endure, but they did not send me into ruin. In driving around 300 miles in an average week, you might imagine $4/gallon gas was a strain-but…..I got through. People no longer save for emergencies; people no longer have a plan for job loss or a realistic savings cushion in case of financial strain; people have spent years living far beyond their means, racking up home, auto and credit card debt they could never pay off. Most folks got too far extended and had too much confidence that nothing would ever change. Fat chance. It seemed life was just one big credit party and now the party is over. The day of economic reckoning is here. The piper must be paid-whether today or tomorrow is of no matter-bailouts, stimulus packages, and public works are not going to salve our wounds.

The only thing that is going to right this mess is a little pain for everyone. We are going to have to tighten our belts and ride out the storm. We'll get through, but it is going to be tough. No one ever said life was easy.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Face Punch Wednesday

(If you are new to Face Punch Wednesday, please read this post before you complain-I don't want to hear it.)

Welcome to my Wednesday installment of:

People I Want to Punch in the Face

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger-I wouldn't even know where to start, the guy is just plain annoying. Not everyone who is anti-bailout is anti-union you idiot. I addition just let me say that ANY hard feelings I have toward unions is completely based on the actions of the UAW-so I wouldn't brag too much about being an effective political organization. Sit. Spin. 5 punches

Planned Parenthood in Indiana and Illinois-Ummmm no matter the "motivation" behind offering gift certificates-it's just bad form to offer them from a place that performs abortions as a CHIRSTMAS GIFT-you know, the day we are celebrating the BIRTH of a baby. "When you care enough to imply that your best friend is a whore." 10 punches (the most ever for the stupidity)

Henry Paulson-It is more certain every day that he has no idea what he is doing and that all the talk of this not being a bailout of Wall Street but Main Street was just smoke up our butts. In this article Paulson says the TARP money shouldn't be used for the automakers, but here it seems that it can be used-especially if he gets to play "car czar"." I'm not an intelligent guy; I just play one on T.V." 5 punches

Built Government…..Tough?

It seems the saga of the automakers bailo……….umm "loan" continues even now. Even though the Senate rightly voted "NO" to giving the automakers money, clearly the White House is foaming at the mouth to get their dirty little hands in the car making pie.

It will be truly a sad day when Henry Paulson becomes "car czar"-I can only imagine the crap that will come out of Detroit then. There is a lot of talk about the influence government rules and regulations have had on getting the Big 3 in this position. How in the world will it possibly get better once government has something like a 20% ownership stake and veto power over any deal worth more than $100 million? Nancy Pelosi and her band of merry clowns already want additional "green" and mileage standards. I, for one, am shaking with anticipation over the thoughts of government lording over the last best manufacturing industry in our nation.

Never mind-once again-the fact that this is sneezing distance away from socialism. As soon as the spit flies off the proverbial lip of government "oversight" I eagerly anticipate what buying a car and the quality of build will be like in a year or two. Plus, the choices-OOOOO the unlimited choices-of two or three models, all offering exactly the same thing. Fun. How about the buying process? I wonder if there is any way they can make it exactly like going to get my driver's license or doing anything at the courthouse. I hope so.

The right thing to do is Chapter 11 with government DIP (if need be). Although, the companies would definitely qualify for private DIP if they actually present a plan that is workable and viable-but you hear no mention of that. Instead we are just barraged with the only prospect: Disorderly Bankruptcy. If I read one more time about "disorderly bankruptcy" I think I might finally lose it completely. Please read along: Chapter 11 pre-packaged Bankruptcy IS NOT DISORDERLY. In fact, before the parties come to the table the deal has to be ready to go. If they cannot reach a deal the judge takes over and barters a package that favors all parties to the best of their ability.

Finally, I was reading the Fox News site this morning and ran across this article talking about a group of Republican Senators writing a letter to the White House explaining to them that the vote was already taken and this measure DID NOT PASS. In addition, TARP funds have to have "explicit congressional approval". Aww, that too is very sweet for this group of lawmakers to attempt to remind the White House and King Paulson they have to abide by the laws of our nation. I really don't know why they bother though; clearly Paulson has and will continue to do whatever he wants with the TARP funds. Possibly the most hilarious statement of all? White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said "I don't think that there's any possible way that this president would agree to allow taxpayer financing to go toward firms that are not willing to make tough decisions to become viable and competitive in the future(.)"

I can only say wow. Just wow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bankruptcy is NOT the end of business

It is a mistake to assume that because folks disagree on the position to take concerning the auto bailout means one "doesn't get it". I do get it. I just completely and fully disagree with a bailout.

I understand things are very complicated. I understand a whole host of poor decisions on the part of the government and business got us to this point. I understand that we have to deal with what is NOW, not what has been. I understand many things need to be changed moving forward and I understand this does not change the fact that a taxpayer funded bailout is not the answer. I am not "punishing" the Big 3 because of the TARP fund fiasco. I completely disagree with the auto bailout for many reasons, none of which have to do with the bank bailout.

I believe the automakers must go through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy to dump the fat. They are not going to be able to cure what ails them by simply throwing money around.

A few reasons: (My arguments are right in line with these.)

  1. The UAW made concessions-The UAW is only conceding their fat, over-bloated agreements until the automakers reach profitability again. They are not permanently conceding most of the ridiculous and unsustainable levels of commitment. This will just put automakers right back where they are. Bankruptcy is the best way to get rid of these leech agreements.
  2. It is a loan, they will repay.-The existing repayment plan is based on car makers selling a certain amount of cars, if they don't they will need more money-as highlighted here. This is a huge gamble in my opinion. I think it is an unrealistic goal based on economic conditions today and into the near future.
  3. There will be government oversight.-I'm not even going to entertain this argument-do we not see what happens ALL the time with "government oversight"?
  4. The "car czar" will call back the loans if the restructuring plans are not met.-The plan does not require the government to "call back the loans" if automakers don't meet restructuring standards-it gives the option to call them. I have serious reservations they would be called under any circumstance-they will simply ask for and receive more money.
  5. Automakers' will close dealerships on their own to save money.-Doubtful, because of dealership strong holds in all 50 states, which encouraged tough franchise laws. It would make it slow and costly to do outside of bankruptcy.
  6. Millions will lose their jobs. If the Big 3 fails all of their vendors, suppliers and outside contractors will go under. –This is simply untrue. There will be jobs lost, but under a proper bankruptcy and restructuring plan it is estimated far fewer jobs will be lost, not the millions being touted by studies based on figures from the 1990's. This stance also completely disregards that every day firms are protected by bankruptcy proceedings and continue to do business and provide jobs.
  7. Over-regulation is what got the automakers in this mess.-I don't disagree on that point but, do we really think there will be less regulation once the government has partial ownership in the Big 3? I do not.
  8. People will not buy cars from a bankrupt company.-I will not dismiss this concern out-of-hand, but it is a remote possibility at best. I am not going into all the options available, but keep in mind-even with all the uncertainty people are buying cars now*third parties or trust funds could be established to maintain warranty coverage regardless of what happens*if bankruptcy brings back solvency it is a moot point.
  9. They admit
    they will be back for more money when they don't meet their projected sales figures.
  10. It is flat out nationalization of a private industry-a hop, skip, and a jump from socialism. I am against socialism.
  11. I cannot improve upon this post so, I will simply quote in part as I agree completely:

    • Argument: Restructuring in bankruptcy would be impossible because sufficient debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing is not available in the current economic climate.
    • Fact: DIP financing is available to firms undergoing restructuring that have strong business plans and profitable cores, and if it proves necessary, the government could provide a "lender of last resort' facility without sacrificing the benefits of a restructuring under bankruptcy.

It is not in the least that I "don't get it".

I disagree with almost every argument made for shelling out taxpayer money for a failing industry. I agree some jobs will be lost, but jobs are going to be lost no matter what happens. If the Big 3 actually and fully fails, all the jobs will be lost anyway and we will be billions of dollars more in debt. As I have stated before, I am in Mitt Romney's camp on this thing.

I will continue to exercise my right to protest what I feel is Washington's failed plan for the Big 3.

I'm sure I will not always agree with you; it's a big tent. I don't think that means you or I "don't get it."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Face Punch Wednesday

(If you are new to Face Punch Wednesday, please read this post before you complain-I don't want to hear it.)

Welcome to another installment of:

People I Want to Punch in the Face

This week I'm starting with EVERYBODY in the House and Senate that keeps voting yes on these CRAP bailouts. Stop it. Now. For real. 3 punches.

All of the Big 3, but mostly GM-It seems they are re-running a version of the same tired B.S. apology they used in 2003. (Thanks to Michelle Malkin for not only turning us on to this story, but having a screen shot of the video she linked to from 2003-because strangely it doesn't work anymore. Is that weird?) 3 punches.

Chris Matthews-First his drooling, man-love support for Obama during the election cycle made me throw-up a little bit, but also for his apparent desire to run for congress. Yippee! Oh wait, nope. 5 punches.

Kathleen Parker-If this woman could tell her ass from a hole in the ground OR a REAL conservative from, ummmm……… HERSELF, she could be dangerous. Shut it until you have something semi-intelligent to say. 5 punches.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Chicken in the Bread Pan Handin’ Out Dough..

It looks as though Pelosi and her gang of spend happy cohorts are now poised to give the automakers some cash. They will take a yet undetermined amount from the dollars already approved and appropriated by lawmakers and throw it down the rabbit hole. Fabulous. According to an article in the NY Times the Dems are set to use some or all (depending on what the value is now) of the money allotted to the Big 3 for retooling to meet fuel efficiency standards and instead make several short term loans to them. Keep in mind, they are lending money to an industry that still has no real plan; they have used the words “strict oversight” again-which is just a fun way of saying “You hush now silly taxpayer and let the grownups take care of things.”; they admit no one knows how things will turn out, but hey it’s not their money, so really who cares.

“The auto companies will have to submit to strict government oversight to make
sure that the bailout funds are used to carry out the reorganization plans they
delivered to Congress this week. The auto company chiefs testified this week
that they were willing to accept such regulation.”

That is adorable! Automakers are willing to accept regulation….thank goodness because we all know it will be strictly enforced. The other thing we know? When the automakers go belly up anyway, in a some months, this money will be gone. Poof, up in smoke.

“On Friday, Ms. Pelosi said she would allow that money to be used provided
“there is a guarantee that those funds will be replenished in a matter of weeks”
and there was no delay in working toward greater
fuel efficiency.”

Excuse me, excuse me-I have a question. If they don’t have money today, where are they going to get money to pay back this loan in a few weeks you fool? Maybe they made the Wimpy promise of repayment. I don’t understand why it is so difficult for people far smarter than me to understand that the car makers are not going to get out of this in a few weeks. Among their myriad of other issues, the American people are not spending big money right now! Do you hear me in Washington? No matter how much money you throw at this, the problem is not going to go away until we start having confidence. We are not going to have any confidence until you guys stop making stupid decisions. That’s it CASE CLOSED. (Can anyone say Paulson, Frank and Dodd?)

As far as I’m concerned every person with an "R" behind their name must cast a no vote for this stinky piece of a plan.

As an aside, I was also all a-flutter to find that Congress was mad at Paulson and are resisting giving him the balance of the $700 billion because he has so poorly managed the first half. Yeah, sure they won’t, but whatever; it was still fun to hear.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

People I Want to Punch in the Face

I have decided to try something different for today. Depending on response and how I feel about it I am going to start a new weekly event on my site: People I Want to Punch in the Face. This event is inspired by a short Twitter exchange I had with a Twitter-friend yesterday (that's right @ronno971, looking right at you) and by other Twitter users who do certain posts on certain days. I won't name you because I don't want you to be associated with my meanness-even though it is only in jest.

Please keep in mind I will not actually track any of these people down and punch them in the face-however there are so many things going on in the news right now that I think it will be a good stress reliever for me. I also encourage people to add their own people to the list. It is just a little fun and if it makes you mad and you want to add ME to the list I will not post your comment. You can just start your own Wednesday: People I want to Punch in the Face list-OK? OK!

Here we go:

People I Want to Punch in the Face

This lady, (if you can call her that): who wants to take a simple White house tradition of putting up a super nice tree in some room in the White House, decorating it with special ornaments and screw it up with some STUPID political statement. Look you idiot, go protest on your own time. If you didn't want to participate, all you had to do was decline the invitation. In addition, I'm going to punch you a second time because of the AWFUL shirt and get a REAL haircut. Go away. Now. Seriously. 2 punches.

The auto industry. Now they want more money to fund their crap plan. Get a better plan and maybe I will stop wanting to punch you in the face. I doubt it but, maybe. I love my GMC, I would not trade it for anything. It is best car I have ever owned BUT I will not buy another car from you until you get your heads out of your butts. 1 punch

Al Franken, I can't STAND this guy. He and Deborah Lawrence (see punchee #1) should probably make nice to each other. A match made in heaven. Please stop pulling "new discovered" ballots out of your car, the air, and your imagination. Accept defeat. You are a mockery and you are making a mockery out of the very American way of VOTING for what we want in this country. Go home Stuart Smalley-you're not good enough, or smart enough and we don't like you. 3 punches

Nancy Pelosi. I would like to punch her in the face 5 or 6 times. I dislike her more than anyone else I can think of right now. Not only she is the worst Speaker of the House ever with her divisive politicking, but she is a complete and total waste of air. 5 punches

OK that is it for this Wednesday. Keep watch next Wednesday and see who I would like to punch by then. I think maybe OPEC will be there. Probably Harry Reid too-I can smell him from here.

"I'm not mean, you're just a sissy." Happy Bunny

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Suddenly things look much worse

I ran across this little gem as I was running out the door today. My heart sank. I can tell you as a (small scale) manufacturer and reseller, there is NO possible way I can survive a VAT tax in my business. Something like that will either completely put me out of business or drastically (and negatively) affect my business.

"Like it or not, there's only one way we're going to be able to pay for our ballooning deficit: a value-added tax."

Just one more reason for me to be against ALL bailouts. In every form. Every. Form. Uhg!

Come on people

Comments like this made by MSNBC anchor Alex Witt drive me crazy! Put her in the category of "one more person who apparently thought Obama was the messiah." Please get a hold of yourself lady, just because Obama was elected that does not mean violence is going to cease around the globe. In part:

"ALEX WITT: You know, John, and it's interesting because there are many who had such an optimistic and hopeful opinion of things, and you certainly can't expect things to change [snaps fingers] on a dime overnight, but there are many who suggested that with the outgoing Bush administration and the incoming Obama administration there would be something of a lull in terrorism attacks. There had been such a global outpouring of affection, respect, hope, with the new administration coming in, that precisely these kinds of attacks, it was thought — at least hoped — would be dampered down. But in this case it looks like Barack Obama is getting a preview of things to come.

JOHN YANG: He's — it's a rude awakening, a very, sort of, sober reminder of what he's going to be facing in just a few weeks. And there is some concern also, there had been some concern, that during this period, during this, the transition period, between Election Day and Inauguration Day, that the enemies of the United States, those who don't care for the United States no matter who's leading it, would try and test the United States, would try to take advantage of this period, and I think that may be one thing that we're seeing right now.

WITT: Okay, John Yang there in Chicago, following President-elect Barack Obama's Thanksgiving Day dinner having been interrupted by all of this news from Mumbai. John, thank you
very much."

Sad, just sad.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The fact of the matter

For me, the Christmas season, gift shopping and family togetherness of the past few days brings to mind thoughts of those less fortunate. I am a giving person. I teach my daughters to have giving hearts. When we were out enjoying our annual Black Friday people watching/shopping extravaganza, we purchased some toys to give to a children's charity. We made a $20 donation to Toys for Tots while idling at an intersection. We give every year to the food drive for Boy Scouts of America. ….just a few examples of our desire to give and help others. I believe in helping those going through rough times. I even believe in getting funded assistance when it is needed. I don't believe in skewing the facts to suit your story.

I ran across this post about a "Food Stamp Challenge" done in Toledo. The challenge highlights the supposed inability of food stamps recipients to appropriately meet nutritional needs. This challenge is put out by Hunger Task Force and Toledo Area Ministries, presumably in an attempt at educating the public. The premise is this: based on a $23 per week food stamp allotment, an individual cannot create a healthy diet. It is ironic they would issue such a challenge during the holiday season-in particular Thanksgiving-when many healthy foods are on sale. Moreover, it looks like yet another attempt to perpetuate a lie as the truth. Since not one individual is expected to actually feed themselves on $23 per week, the whole premise is a sham.

Giving more money to those on assistance only serves to make them more dependent on it and it puts more money into a system that is already failing badly. Throwing gobs of money at a problem does not make the problem go away. Unfortunately, many of our government officials just can't seem to get that through their heads.

After reading the original article done by reporter Kate Giammarise, the bias and half assed fact checking were obvious. I thought it quite telling when it was mentioned in the article that the amount of money being used as an example of what the receiptients would receive was not accurate, but that is the amount the reporter used anyway.

"Critics of the challenge have said that it does not accurately reflect the amount of money some food stamp recipients receive and that the program is intended to be a supplement, not a family's entire food budget."

Hmmm, really? So you are going to use inaccurate numbers to present a story as fact? But, the facts are not important- that's it. One sentence in the whole story and then the reporter goes on as if this does not matter. Why do reporters no longer care about the facts or the truth? So the government can later reassure us paying and spending more on taxes of all kinds are for "a good cause" that's why. This information is being presented from an inaccurate stance in a clear attempt to garner sympathy from voters; then when they go to the pole next time they will vote in the candidate that will put a stop to this "problem".

Well I have several "problems" with that. First, as Maggie accurately pointed out
last year:

"No one in the country is expected to live on only $21 a week. The maximum amount of food stamps a person can get - having no other income or resources - is $36.57. Those who get "only" $21 per week have been determined to need only $21 based upon a comprehensive formula which shows other funds (up to 30% of wages/other cash assets) available to be devoted to purchasing food."

The food stamp program is not intended to be the sum total of money that a family spends on food. It is to SUPPLEMENT dollars individuals are spending on food. If you don't understand supplement, please look it up.

Second, the whole welfare system is in shambles-you'll get no argument from me on that-but making people more dependent on a crap system is not the answer. Giving more money is not the answer. Educating people, training people, getting people off welfare/food stamps is the answer. We have to stop thinking money can be pulled out of thin air to solve problems. IT CAN'T.

Third, this reporter is a complete fool if she thinks her meal plan was the only way. Maggie Thurber was more than right when she pointed out that there are several ways to get variety and nutrition out of the dollars that woman used. There are so many ways to buy nutritious food without breaking the bank. Stock up when things are on sale. Buy fruits and fresh vegetables a few at a time-then they aren't going bad if you don't eat them. Get frozen vegetables, on sale, at every opportunity. I mean really, come on, use the brain god gave you. I use these tactics today. I like to save money when I can.

The most outrageous? When Blade Religion Editor David Yonke (he also participated) complained that he had to do without bottled water. What? Are you serious? This is a complaint? Hell, I did without bottled water most of my life and survived just fine.

Just for the record-I know what I'm talking about. While it seems like so many lifetimes ago (13 years), I once got assistance from my state. Divorced from a drug abusing alcoholic at 25, two young daughters (2 & 3), no job, no savings, and no child support- I got food stamps for my kids. For about 3 months. Until I found a J-O-B. I got on my feet and got off food stamps. I was never happier in my life than to get out of that degrading program. Even after I was by no means rich, not even comfortable. I sacrificed. I did without the unimportant things. I struggled, but I took care of myself. I learned a lot and I made my life what I wanted it to be. I did not let the government dictate my place. My family was there for me. Churches were there for me. Community organizations were there for me. That is how it is supposed to be. It is not supposed to be comfortable while you are getting assistance. You are supposed to be working to get off the program.

It sickens me-these days so many people look for a hand-out at every turn and government is happy to oblige. This is just another example of some thinking all things should be equal for all people no matter what-money, food, housing, wages-whatever. Our officials seem to believe they not only have as much money as they want, but that throwing around bucket loads of cash solves our problems. This is not the case -hard work, determination and believing in yourself solves our problems.

Be good to others. Give when you can. Help your neighbor and your family. Don't count on the government-not Bush or Obama-count on the strength of your will to get you what you want in life.