This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Spent some time this weekend reading about tariffs and the history of tariffs in this county.  Up to the early 20th century, tariffs on foreign made products being sold in the US was the primary source of tax income for our government.  But, 'the people' felt tariffs were unfair, keeping less expensive products from the shelves while the owners of corporations became richer and richer with their protected products and prices.

So Wilson put an end to tariffs and put the burden of tax revenue on the backs of the people with income taxes.  Gee, thanks great grandpa, the rich are still getting richer because now all our jobs are overseas.

The point of this is twofold; first, just because I have a job now, I don't want to forget the 10's of millions of other americans who have had the carpet pulled from beneath their feet and saw their dreams crash and burn.  I was them and I'm one paycheck away from being one of them again.  But secondly, in spite of all the media headlines, our economy is not better, the middle class is still being crushed out of existence, and the wealthy elites are getting richer and richer and something has to be changed and changed soon before this country goes up in smoke.

One article I read last week was the number of office supply stores, grocery stores, clothing stores, etc that are shutting down tens of thousands of retail stores across this nation; a world with no Borders is about to be joined by JC Penny's.

I remember as a little tyke my mom taking my sister and I to Evergreen Park Mall.  It was one of the first 'malls' in the chicago area, and while I loved the store where you could get carmel corn, hmmm, the taste and smell, but even as a 10 year old there was something that bothered me.  Why weren't we shopping at Klein's Department Store in Blue Island mom?  And Evergreen Park had a movie theatre with something like FOUR screens of movies to choose from which I thought was a great idea until my mom and sister dragged me into one of them to see Funny Girl and folks there is not enough carmel corn and pop in the world to make a young boy not be psychologically damaged from sitting through that gawd awful movie.  That is the ONLY BS movie I've ever seen and it will be the only BS movie I've ever seen if I live another 100 years and if I do I will never forget how bad that movie was.

The Lyric on Western Avenue, on the other hand, showed great Saturday scary pictures like Christopher Lee Dracula marathons which just wipe Funny Girl off the floor any day of the week.  Let's face it, any 10 year old boy who preferred Funny Girl to Dracula probably ended up owning a bed and breakfast or Hot Tub Club in Sausalito.

Oh, what was I talking about, oh yea, tariffs.

The funny thing about the US ending tariffs was 'the people' thinking tariffs were screwing them and helping the owners of big companies and now over 100 years later those owners of big business are cleaning up on the fact they can make products overseas with literally slave labor rather than pay an American a good wage and the American people kept buying all that inexpensive crap made overseas until we ended up with a country with no company making chips, TV's, stereos, computers, appliances, or anything else.

Yet, another part of the problem is that other countries and areas put tariffs on all of our stuff we still make in the US.  Did you know the EU has tariffs on US goods?  So do most of the countries in Asia.  They even have tariffs on any 'green goods' made in the USA.  So basically, if Japan or Germany or China builds a car and wants to sell it in the USA we say "sure!"  If we make a car and want to sell it in Japan or Germany or China they say sure and slap a huge tariff on the car so that it costs twice as much as it should.

So the definition of free trade we've been playing with for 40 years is other countries subsidize their companies or markets, negotiate contracts so when they sell their stuff here for less than market costs we say fine, but our companies are slapped with tariffs so our products are not competitive - unless we build them in those countries.

You beginning to see the problem?

Our tax burden on anyone working is outrageous.  From income taxes to property taxes to federal state and local taxes to surcharges and fees plus my fear of a coming tax on the use of commas and even if you are just making it on 30k a year you are paying 1/3 of your income in taxes, fees, and surcharges.  However, if you are running a big company, you can take minimal pay and get stock or even better yearly purchases of large amounts of the new living benefits life insurance policies which allows with draws on the policy with no taxes.  That is how the rich are paid these days folks.  Hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars put into living benefits life insurance policies and annuities, money not taxable and when removed the money is not taxable.

We've been sold out and we continue to be sold out.  Wouldn't a candidate who came forward and said "I will eliminate all taxes fees and surcharges on the services you buy, eliminate the income tax on all income below 100k, and institute mirrored tariffs on any country that tariffs our products as well as put tariffs on any US company listed on a US stock exchange who makes their products overseas!"

Once again, fixing a system only makes sense when a system if fixable.  After a long period of time with a history of bad patches and fixes, the best thing to do is bring in a wrecking ball and start from scratch - though there are exceptions.

I remember back in college in the late 70's early 80's Michigan passed the ERA amendment which I voted for because I thought it was about baseball.  But those late night college student discussions make me realize that the day we have a constitutional convention is the day America dies.  Well, last month Michigan became the 34th state house to vote for a constitutional convention, which means if you think it's gotten bad over the last 30 years, you ain't seen nothing yet.  Good bye second amendment, part of the first, surely private property is going the way of the dodo, and who knows what else.

It really is time for some Americans living in the NE, the rust belt, and the left coast to pack it up and move to the middle of the country, west of the Mississippi, south of Mason Dixon, and west to the Cascades and start stacking up conservative christian constitutionalists in a large middle section of the country and then make a legal claim that when the new constitution was written it broke the contract between the government and the states and now 30 states are breaking off to form their own country where the original constitution will be in affect immediately, including all the other amendments added except the income tax and giving women the right to vote.

Okay, maybe not the last one.

 Where is this place that we have found
Nobody knows where we are bound
I long to hear, I need to see
Cos I've shed tears too many for me

But I'm never going to lose your precious gift
It will always be that way
Cos I know I'm going to find my own peace of mind

On the wind soaring free
Spread your wings
I'm beginning to see
Out of mind far from view
Beyond the reach of a nightmare come true

Moody Blue - been a Moody Blues weekend don't you know