I rode to Salt Lake today on the motorcycle and thus had adequate time to process the garbage in my head.
Tuesday, September 30
I rode to Salt Lake today on the motorcycle and thus had adequate time to process the garbage in my head.
Thank you Roxanne for suggesting this video. Barney Frank got the job how? Nice to see a little passion from the people in our elected congress. Props to Tad! I'd vote for the dude. I like his suit too. Sharp....
Monday, September 29
I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG. Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend. To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+. Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up.. So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00. My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.
Of course, it would NOT be tax free. So let's assume a tax rate of 30%. Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes. That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam. But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket. A husband and wife has $595,000.00. What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?
Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved. Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads put away money for college - it'll be there-Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs, buy a new car - create jobs, invest in the market - capital drives growth
Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves-Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else.
Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces. If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult
U S Citizen 18+! As for AIG - liquidate it. Sell off its parts. Let American General go back to being American General. Sell off the real estate. Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up. Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't. Sure it's a crazy idea that can "never work." But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party! How do you spell Economic Boom?
I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC. And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.
Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.
Kindest personal regards,
T. J. Birkenmeier, A Creative Guy & Citizen of the Republic
PS: Feel free to pass this along to your pals as it's either good for a laugh or a tear or a very sobering thought on how to best use $85 Billion!!
Friday, September 26
Thursday, September 25
A democratic congressman makes a blatantly racist comment about Jews and Blacks.
Hatred abounds....some defend...some call him out on it....divisions deepen-but he's black so it's okay. (Does this mean I have a license to degradate and hate any Mormon? Just sayin'.)
Bill Clinton, bless his little heart, defends John McCain's decision to go back to Washington and deal with the bailout.
Democrats threaten paybacks for the Clintons for defending McCain. (Obviously because he wants McCain to win so Hillary can be President in '12.)
Pakistan's President calls Sarah Palin Gorgeous. Obviously she can't deal with foreign affairs if all anyone is ever doing is looking at her legs! She is a sexist. She is unfit to deal with anything because she is hot.
John McCain has skin cancer 8 years ago-is just NOW being exposed as an old man and won't let reporters drool over his medical records.
What? He is unfit to hold any public office. What if he dies? He is old. He should retire and die. I have a right to know how his last colonoscopy looked-dangit-I'm American!
Hillary is going to be the VP now because Joe Biden will voluntary become sacrificial lamb of the democrats and let Hillary take her rightful place as Obama's VP to counteract Palinmania. Scary but maybe true people. Biden is old and sick you know.
It's not long before we get to vote but I am currently torn. How can I be expected to vote without being told who to vote for? No one seems to have an opinion nowadays.
I have a humble request. Can we just vote already? Please?
If we aren't careful, we might end up divided into two political parties that hate each other more than John McCain hates his monthly prostate exams.
Wednesday, September 24
So I have been trying today to think of people in my own life that have been influential to me. I would not be justified if I failed to mention President Hinckley. He was a man of great faith and admiration. He inspired millions of people to be better and led the church with true leadership and inspiration. The far reaching effects of President Hinckley's testimony and life will resonate for decades. I know for me, he will always be the "prophet of my childhood." He was there when went through high school, I sent off my mission papers, joined the mission field, got married and started my family. I feel like those things happened and President Hinckley was personally a part of it. No one whom I never met personally has ever had that effect on me.
I see true leadership in the way he led the church. He was so kind and gentle and led in a way that was full of love and light.
I don't know why I am so drawn to people like President Hinckley that are great leaders. Perhaps it's the nature of true leadership to attract people to you and reveal their true potential.
I remembered watching this clip of Glenn Beck from CNN and feeling enormous respect for President Hinckley and admiration for Mr. Beck as he openly talks about his life and how Predident Hinckley changed his life through leadership and example. It probably takes more guts than we give him credit for to open his heart like that on national TV.
If you have someone that has influenced your life in the same way, please share your story.
Senator McCain has done something very patriotic in my opinion. Below is his statement.
"America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, ever corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.
Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns.This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward.I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.
It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration' proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.
Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.
I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.
We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved.I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night's debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.
I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.
Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country."
This is what I have been talking about!!!!! I hope Senator Obama will join him. Way to go McCain.
Tuesday, September 23
I have been thinking lately. Surprise!! Maybe the idea of venting my disapproval for certain politics and economic policies and figures is not the best thing to do. I remember a time on my mission when my companion and I didn't get along at all. It lasted alot longer than it should have. When it all boiled over in frustration, we realized we spent all day looking for fault, trip ups and things we could hold against each other. It was a cancer that we created and then fed a steady diet of meat and potatoes. It wasn't until we forced each other to sit down and talk about it that we figured this out.
We decided that in place of fault finding, we would purposefully look for two things that each other did per day and at night as we fell asleep, it turned into a nightly habit. We would have to look all day or we would not have anything to say that night. This alone instantly changed our relationship. It went from one of hate and resentment to open communication and mutual trust.
I have used this example many times since returning home but have unfortunately let lax my practice of admiration and praise. My companion was reading a book titled "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie. He wasn't supposed to be reading it so I resented that book and thought the title to be pompous and ridiculous. Why do you need to go out and "win friends?" When I returned home, I read it and found that the principle that resonated the most with me was a premise that Carnegie borrowed from Charles Schwab. That is be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise." I realized that my companion was using what he was learning to better our companionship. I don't resent the book anymore, in fact I love it. I borrow my copy out. If you haven't read it, get it. Read it. You'll be glad you did.
Anyway, since I began writing about my feelings, I find myself looking for things to complain about. I spend time thinking about how to articulate my thoughts so people can understand them. I'm going to try and take a different approach. I don't want to be negative. I will probably still rant and express my dissatisfaction now and then. However, I am going to try and find stories and people that are doing good and filling the world with positive influence. I think my blog efforts will be much more appreciated by the readers and will hopefully expand my thinking to uncover the good in people. Because I know it's there.
Monday, September 22
This is the latest chapter in Obama's quest to vilify Senator McCain.
If owning a foreign-made car is a sin now, I would like to know how many celebrities would give back their Priuses for our country's sake.
Mr. Obama drives a Hybrid Ford Escape. He also owns one house. What a patriot! He's a living example of what an American should be. I just wish he'd put an American flag on his private jet. No that would send a message!
I've got to have a talk with my father. He owns 5 cars! Five! Can you imagine!? That makes him almost 1/3 as evil as John McCain. We just can't have that!
As for me- I'm a proud owner of a Toyota Pickup, Honda Minivan, Kawasaki and Honda motorcycles and many articles bought at Wal-mart supposedly made in China. (gasp) I presume the vehicles were all made in Japan. I'll make sure I think twice before buying another Japanese vehicle. I may want to run for office some day. So, I must repent. How could I think of being so unamerican?
Sunday, September 21
I would be remiss not to mention that I was privileged enough to be able to spend about 4 hours being instructed by Steven Covey this week. What an enlightened man. His teaching style was interesting-not overbearing and not boring. He left politics out of his decision making and looked to the higher purpose of life in everything he does and is so inspirational.
One things that I realized as he talked about his current projects was this; he is asked to participate in trainings and leadership counsels with countries all over the world. He is meeting with the president of Mexico soon, just got back from the South American continent and Asia and has in the course of his career counseled with some of the greatest minds and most influential and powerful people in the world. What he has to say and the way he changes your perception of yourself and those around you is simply profound. However, he is not utilized in his own country. After the conference, I discussed my thoughts with my father-in-law. We agreed that we may get more done in a day of congress if they were all forced to sit through 4 hours of leadership training by Dr. Covey.
So back to my thought. This man is a talented leader. He has enormous amounts of experience in both foreign relations, economic and social policy. As he talked to us. I wondered how our America could get someone with these leadership qualities to run for office.
Any of you that are thinking, "Oh great a motivational speaker as our next president, great idea Kirk!", let me explain. His thoughts are inspirational and I have sat through my fair share of "motivational speakers." This man is more than that. He is a leader.
When we are honest with ourselves, isn't the job of President of the United States a job that requires leadership? Someone who can build teams around him and bring out the hidden talents in those around him/her. I won't vote for someone because he's been in public office prior to his presidency. I also won't withhold my vote because of their lack of experience. If that person is a leader, these things won't matter.
We don't expect our dentists to know how to set a broken arm just because he's in the medical profession. We don't expect our plumber to know how to wire a basement just because he works construction. But somehow, probably because of the scope of his job, the President is expected to be an expert in all things at all times. Newsflash, no President will ever be completely prepared to lead the minute he's sworn in. Have you ever started a new job? Can you imagine the learning curve?
So if I had my pick, I would chose someone with a track record of humble leadership, success and significance in the business world and moral values that guide his decisions. To be honest, many of Dr. Covey's projects have a strong socialist component. However, each program's success is based on trust, hard work and individual success-not a hand-out. I believe Americans are capable of more than our current government gives us credit for.
We have a choice to overcome or ignore the metastasizing cancer of political turfism. We need a leader. We need a national goal. We don't need another partisan president. Our goals need to be communicated and then executed. If you were part of a team that didn't use your skills or talents to better the team or reach the goal, would you want to even be part of that team? No. I believe this is why so many Americans feel forgotten in our political system and are resentful of our politicians that claim to understand the "working class".
Every bright spot in our nation's history has been illuminated by a cause that brought every American closer through a common goal. What a powerful union our nation created when we defeated Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan. What a unity we created in the Apollo missions. What great patriotism was reveal after 9/11. These ideas have brought us together with great force. However, if we don't have a national goal to pull us together, we will be swallowed with up in bickering with the same force that coalesced around such great ideas of the past.
I learned this week that every break through is a break with an old way of thinking. What's your thought?
Friday, September 19
First thing is to understand that the guy you signed your mortgage with and the credit card company who's logo graces your card is probably not the company that cares whether or not you make your payments. These companies make the transaction and then sell these mortgages and credit cards as securities on the markets. For the last 5 years, a lot of people have got mortgages and credit cards that shouldn't have and are now defaulting on these loans. These securities that were once so good have turned sour very quickly. The investment banks and other financial institutions that bought them were okay as long as this housing market stayed hot and rates low. They are now stuck with a security that is worthless right now because no one in their right mind would buy them. Thus the financial crisis you see on the news.
Is this the only cause? No. But it's a big one.
So our government has said to these big investment banks with a lot of bad debt (Lehman Brothers filed chapter 11 with $618 Billion dollars worth of bad debt) that the American taxpayer will be the buyers of these worthless securities and exchange good money that they just printed for bad securities so that these bad mortgage securities don't appear on their balance sheets any more. The government will then hold these securities until they are again marketable and sell them when the markets come back. I would hope there to be some tangible asset behind these dead securities.
The dollar amount has yet to be disclosed but is thought to be at least $500 Billion and maybe as much as a Trillion. That's a one with 12 zeros. Put that into perspective-If our treasury scattered that much money on a football field in $100 bills, it would take a person picking them up at an average on one bill per second 1180 years to pick up that much money. We are talking 20 times the net worth of the richest man in the world. I have my doubts that this will not cause a "bit" of inflation.
All being told, I find myself torn. I understand the devastation that this debt could cause our financial markets if nothing is done. At the same time, when the government is now involved in essentially a state run economy, I see something that resembles communist China where all the banks are controlled by their central government. I believe in the free markets but it scares me to know that if our government, who is already in debt $9 Trillion dollars, can write a check or extend phantom credit to whom it pleases, they can.
If i remember correctly, the problem stemmed from when people who had no business buying a home or were no good at managing their money in the first place were granted this debt. Now the federal government is extending credit in the same way. These companies can neither manage nor are they trustworthy in their "credit past."
I am not claiming to have the answer here. I will leave that to the experts. I am merely stating my claims that it seems to be a completely ironic situation that resembles a very socialist country.
Thursday, September 18
I attended a symsposium at BYU today for Financial Professionals and was surrounded by many great minds. I attended one session that was entitled Financial Pornography. We often use this same phrase to describe the Suze Ormans of the world that have apparently known you for years before you call their talk show and can provide you with tailored financial strategies just by hearing your name and occupation. 95% of people take whatever they hear as gospel and it trickles into our office. So it peaked my interest. Actually wasn't that good of a class but it got me thinking.
We all were watching what the markets were doing today and were curious to see how the markets would react to a steep loss yesterday. Thank you Blackberry.
So it closed up 400 points today on the news of a government program used to shelter bad debt from the failing financial institutions. I am waiting to hear the details before I post my opinion. All I know is it got Nancy Pelosi on the news and I always like to hear her beautiful voice on the public airways.
I was asked today if i am not a Rebulican or a Democrat then am I Libritarian. I then thought I should clarify so you know if you are reading a commy's blog or not.
Can I be honest with you? I don't want to be any of them.
I didn't live back in the "good old days" when it was "cool" to be patriotic-but I wish I did. I would have loved to have been a soldier as they came home from Germany and seen the ticker-tape parades of the 40's. I would have loved to feel that Americana, that sense of pride and accomplishment as a nation.
I was in Austria on 9/11 and for the few months following the attacks, I heard of the patriotism in the States and even saw a little when I returned in 2002. Why does this ever have to disappear? Looking through my rose colored glasses, i don't even understand why it requires a terrorist attack to make us all realize that we need each other.
I guess what I am getting at is this---Politics are politics and I am not ever going to be able to change that. There will always be the party system that bickers and squabbles back and forth until eventually nothing gets done. However, I can still dream of a time when perhaps there will be another option. Until then, when asked what I am, I will simply answer I am an American. That should be enough shouldn't it?
There was a chemistry professor in a large college that had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab, the Prof noticed one young man, an exchange student, who kept rubbing his back and stretching as if his back hurt.
The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country's government and install a new communist regime.
In the midst of his story, he looked at the professor and asked a strange question.. He asked: 'Do you know how to catch wild pigs?'
The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said that it was no joke.
'You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, which are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat that free corn again. You then slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd... Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn . They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.' The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening in America . The government keeps pushing us toward Communism/Socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemented income, tax credit for unearned income, tax cuts, tax exemptions, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc. while we continually lose our freedoms, just a little at a time.
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Wednesday, September 17
The commentator spends the entire time trying to get the other to admit fault and cross his words while the guest spends the whole time prancing around a real answer and dodging the question.
What ever happened to a man owning up to his mistakes? And why is it such an accomplishment to be the one to get someone to cross their words or admit something that will end up on the Drudge report?
Example today with Chris Matthews and a Republican House Member-Matthews could not ask the question more forcefully if the Repub would admit that the President's policies put us in the financial mess we are in as a nation. Obviously there have been some big goofs on the part of practically everyone but the Repub could not defend the president or he'd be seen as a Bush supporter and ostracised by his own party but could not deny the truth or he would give ammo to the demos against McCain. So he danced.......and Matthews went for blood. He saw himself being replayed on YouTube all day tomorrow.
Dale Carnegie gave very simple and profound advice when he said,"If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.". Now that would blow some minds and make the news!
Otherwise, the same old stuff makes for great TV or Radio-if you're into the "throwing people under the bus for self agrandizement" stuff. Obama's a great mentor. Ask his grandma.
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Perhaps with all of our retirement accounts dipping lately, the trivial will be avoidable in our political process and we will be able to focus on the issues. Funny that today we don't hear anything about lipstick on a pig or if Michelle Obama has a new handbag.
But I am glad that someone has said something about Obama's rendezvous with Barbara Streisand and his closest 500 movie star buddies at his 28k per plate dinner. Oh how I would have loved to hear those 4 songs. 4 songs! See, in 1985 you would have gotten at least 8 songs for 28k. Now that's just unacceptable inflation if you ask me. What's next, five dollar a gallon gas? Crazy.
AIG which has bought some very well known companies itself, such as Franklin Life saw it's stock drop 97% since 2003 and 60% on Monday. Tuesday AIG was informed it now had an $85 Billion dollar line of credit courtesy of the federal government (tax payers) to keep itself in business.
As a fell asleep last night, I wondered if it seems ironic to anyone else that companies that have proven themselves grossly negligent in the management of their own assets to the point that they file bankruptcy, are now granted huge loans of money from the federal government. Don't get me wrong, the government will presumably make a killing on this loan as the interest rate is LIBOR plus 8.5%. (13.04%) You do the math-no i'll do it for you. It's $30.8 Million dollars a day in interest. But guess what? It's not the federal government's money to spend and I don't know why we the people that pay the taxes are not up in arms over the decision.
Parallel Scenario-Older brother messes up his life dramatically-files bankruptcy and forecloses on his home and has his cars, toys and boat repossessed. Hasn't a penny to his name and owes exorbitant amounts to his creditors. Said brother comes to you-(also broke and in debt up to your eyeballs $9 Trillion and counting) and asks for a loan to pay off his debts and save him from even further financial ruin. You say okay and don't ask the wife/husband nor the bank before spending your kids' college fund on a loan to your financially illiterate and inept brother. Sounds like a winner doesn't it? Might not sound like the best idea, but guess what? We gave an $85 Billion loan to AIG this morning. Now the federal government is in the insurance business and is one of the major players. Good luck with that. Below is a comment made from an AIG press release.
"The AIG Board has approved this transaction based on its determination that this is the best alternative for all of AIG's constituencies, including policyholders, customers, creditors, counterparties, employees and shareholders. AIG is a solid company with over $1 trillion in assets and substantial equity, but it has been recently experiencing serious liquidity issues. We believe the loan, which is backed by profitable, well-capitalized operating subsidiaries with substantial value, will protect all AIG policyholders, address rating agency concerns and give AIG the time necessary to conduct asset sales on an orderly basis. We expect that the proceeds of these sales will be sufficient to repay the loan in full and enable AIG's businesses to continue as substantial participants in their respective markets. In return for providing this essential support, American taxpayers will receive a substantial majority ownership interest in AIG."
Because we'll now get a tax refund based on the $22.4 Billion collected in interest? Or get a check when AIG finally pays another dividend? Don't bet on it! It will be spent wisely I'm sure. Our government has proven itself to be a great steward of the American taxpayers' monies already.