Daily Archives: October 10, 2013

Throwback Thursday, or I’d Like a Milkshake, Please

Too bad we don’t know what was the Blue Plate Special. These prices could be trimmed a bit. Jack

Jeanne Kasten Studio


Yesterday I had the brilliant idea that I would join the crowd of bloggers who put up a photo post for Wordless Wednesday. Sounded like an easy way to show off a photo or two or three without feeling obligated to add a story. But I already posted yesterday, so that will wait. So I tried to think of a cutesy title for a post that could indicate I was showing something unique on Thursdays. I even did a search online for T adjectives, something to go with Thursday. Then it came to me just as I was going to sleep. Throwback Thursday!

So because I’m that kind of person, I thought, hmm, I’ll do a web search on that and see how it’s being used. Here’s what I found:

If you use Instagram or Twitter, you’ve probably seen or used the hashtag #throwbackthursday, or #tbt, once or twice (or…

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A national referendum – “Giddyup 409, or a war somewhere?”

Hi readers.  The cats and I were thinking about how, if we didn’t have representative democracy we could deal with priorities directly by national referendum what with 21st Century communications.  Decide important matters directly based on what Slippery Sal the Waterfront Gal, Professor Hoodwink, Carlos the hamburger flipper and Daddy Warbucks all want for the best of everyone.

  1. Would you rather have $1 per gallon gasoline and go back to driving Rocket 88s and Giddyup 409s, or have a war somewhere?
  2. Would you rather have a job, or have everything imported from China?
  3. Would you rather deal with a multi-national bank, or have your financial affairs with a state or local credit union?
  4. Would you rather have a War on Drugs and more prisoners in the slammers than anywhere else in the world, or would you prefer to let people make some lousy decisions in their personal lives?
  5. Do you feel more threatened by the Mafia, foreign terrorists, or Homeland Security?
  6. Would you rather force US parmaceutical companies to sell prescription drugs at the same price they’re sold in Mexico and Canada, ot let them rape you and whatever kind of insurance you have?

That sort of thing.

I’m not suggesting it’s right, what regular people would want from the government, but it’s sort of a cultural given that it’s what we’ve always been led to believe this democracy thing is all about. 

If the most people in the country want, say, to put severe restrictions on pharmaceutical companies and force them to price medications at the same rate they’re available in Canada or Mexico, heck, someone ought to ask them.   After all, it’s a government of the people, by the people and for the people we’ve been told. 

And if the most people want to move the seat of government to Omaha, Nebraska, someone ought to find out it’s what they want and do it.

But of course it ain’t going to happen.  Because whatever we might have been led to believe, this thing in Washington DC we call a democracy isn’t anything remotely similar to a democracy unless the definition of the word democracy gets some twisting and turning, wringing out.

Nothing wrong with lying about it and saying it is, but recognizing our own lies to ourselves might help us deal with what we actually do have instead of democracy.  Might allow us to just laugh it all off, as it richly deserves.

 I have a feeling if there’d been any national referendums beginning sometime around 1950 until now this country would look a lot different than it does now.  Might actually look better in some ways, though we’d have a lot more Rocket 88s going down the highways.

Old Jules

Too much non-military spending is the problem

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

The cats and I were trying to understand what all those useless eaters were fighting about in Washington DC.  Decided it must be unhappiness about the way the money was spent in 2013, so I went for a look.

As you can see, a huge percentage of the discretionary money wasn't spent on National Defense in 2013.

As you can see, a huge percentage of the discretionary money wasn’t spent on National Defense in 2013.

Turns out there are two types of spending going on.  Mandatory spending is one, discretionary is the other.  The chart above depicts where they spend the money coming out of taxes and they can tweak.

The “Social Security & Unemployment” and “Medicare & Health” take on a major fraction of the federal spending, amounting to about 58% of the total outlays, whereas “Military” spending appears to amount to just 18%. The problem with this representation is that the Social Security & Medicare are parts of the mandatory spending directly financed by the dedicated revenue raised from payroll taxes, as imposed by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), not through the Federal income tax and thus represents a different Treasury account.

If we separate the mandatory spending and look only at the discretionary spending component appropriated by Congress on an annual basis and for which all the federal programs compete, a very different picture arises.


Probably that enormous portion of the budget being frittered away on non-defense spending is what has those people upset and shutting down the government.  Each one of those non-defense slices could be halved or quartered easily so’s to provide a means of continuing and even increasing defense spending without anyone feeling the pinch.

There's no way any US citizen has any business feeling safe when we aren't even matching the combined rest of the world in military spending.

There’s no way any US citizen has any business feeling safe when we aren’t even matching the combined rest of the world in military spending.

The US isn’t even spending half as much on national defense as the rest of the world combined is spending on theirs.  It’s no wonder those elected representives and senators are digging in their heels.  They’re scared.

Congress knows their primary responsibility is to protect the citizenry from foreign invaders and likely they won’t give an inch until they know they’re doing it.

Old Jules