Marshall in the Middle

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Republicans Seize the Day for Wall Street

By Chuck Marshall

Well, it didn't take long for the Republican led congress to focus on its true passion and reason for governing.  Wall Street.  Out of all the possible problems to tackle that our country faces today, they feel the need to relieve Wall Street of the shackles of Dodd-Frank that have held it down for so long ? If things are so bad for Wall Street and the banks then why is the stock market at a record high?  I have no doubt that this legislation has some sort of merit, and I'm sure given the nature of any government regulation that the raw product (Dodd-Frank Act)  needed tweaking from the right., but that's the first thing they feel compelled to fix as the 114th Congress ?   We're $20,000,000,000,000 in debt but they need to fix Wall Street's problems first?  Our infrastructure is collapsing in some key areas of the country such that commerce could be hindered and lives could be risked but they need to "fix things" for the banks first off?

Brace yourselves folks, for more incompetence and cronyism from the right now that they are steering the ship.    The Republicans have had 6 years to stew over their lack of control and they have many bones to pick.  How many of these bones are real concerns and needs of the middle class American?  Probably not too much.  After 2 years of Democrats in power conjuring up $10 Trillion dollars more in debt, the Republicans are back with no new ideas just more greed and avarice.  At least the Democrats could pretend they were "helping" out folks with their bloated, blubbery mess known as "health care reform".   The Republicans need a broad paintbrush to conceal this one as anything other than  juicy scraps for their lobbyist friends on K Street.  What's really scary?  I don't think they really care how it looks.  

In my humble opinion.......

Friday, January 9, 2015

Murder for the sake of Murder

By Chuck Marshall

Happy New Year, loyal readers !

The terrorist attacks in Paris this week are capturing the world's attention (and my sincerest condolences to any citizen of France who comes across this blog).   I watch as the talking heads on Fox News discuss how bad all this is and they even manage to manipulate the entire tragedy into a reason to criticize Pres. Obama, once again.   They say it's an outrage that he's not addressing this more seriously and his weak leadership opened the door for terrorist attacks in the first place.  Well, first of all I'm not exactly sure what he's suppose to do?  The attack was in Paris, France  after all, not the United States.   I agree Pres. Obama tends to have a more diplomatic approach to the world and its problems and this diplomacy is indeed interpreted as "weak" by our enemies.  In this circumstance though, I am sure  France is fully capable of taking care of itself.,.  Just  ask them.... N'est-Ce Pas?  So, "no" Obama's not doing anything about the Paris attacks but it's not really his place to do anything but condemn the attacks.  He also went to the French Embassy in DC and signed a book of condolences.  I sincerely think that's enough.

Another aspect of criticism did pop up from the right that I would probably agree with.  There is a lack of an effective policy regarding terrorism in general.   It was pointed out that the president won't even call it a "war on terrorism"., a fact I never really thought about.  George Bush came up with that terminology., so that may be part of the reason.  Obama is loathe to follow in the footsteps of our previous President.  Also there is always a flurry of comments from the mainstream media going out of its way to say that these are not the acts of regular Muslims., as if American are going to start hauling out Muslims from their homes a la Nazi Germany.  It's insulting.   I think we're  mature enough that we won't go "off the rails" with anti-Muslim thought processes and actions --even if we don't have the media and the President telling us how we should be thinking.   Of course it's not the fault of the Muslim religion that they have murdering scum within their religion !   I don't need the left wing "thought police" defining that fact for me, It's condescending and above all else it uses up valuable time and thought babbling about an inane and rhetorical point.  

On that note, it  occurs to me how much the media is not really doing its job.   These  terrorist attacks occur and I never really understand what it is the terrorists want.  In the case of Paris, it's obvious that the murderers were avenging the insulting cartoons that this French magazine printed.  I get that. ( I'm not real sure why God needs these roaches to avenge him, though--He's God ! )   What about all the other attacks in Iraq, Nigeria, etc.... ?   What do they want?  I would like to see a list with bullet points telling me what these murderers want and the reasoning for killing innocent people.  I'm not saying that any list would justify why they did it., but at least it adds clarity to the insanity of their tactics.  Perhaps our "so called" leaders would actually do their job and speak for us as a people.  Tell the terrorists why they'll never get what they want.  Make it clear that their murdering will not help any cause of theirs and explain exactly why.  Any further killings could no longer be interpreted as "acts of war"  or "martyr ism" but will be "acts of murder" because they are killing innocent and unarmed civilians with the knowledge they'll not get anything they want as a consequence.  The killing of innocents will be blood on their hands.  What they want, I suspect is simply to murder for the sake of murder.  They enjoy it.   May God have mercy on their souls as they reveal themselves as thieves who stole human lives.   God is Great, indeed.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas in Cuba

By Charles E. "Chuck" Marshall

Merry Christmas to you all, loyal readers !

There is a lot of talk right now in the media about Cuba and the President's decision to establish more normalized relations with the island country to our south.  This topic is more of a personal issue to me since my wife immigrated from Cuba back in 1985, two months shy of her 13th birthday.  The topic of Castro and the Cuban government is frequently the subject of family gatherings such as Christmas and other holidays.  So, I guess you could say I may have more insight than most gringos.

First of all, let me say that it's obvious that since my wife's family fled Cuba with nothing but the clothes on their back that they are not endeared towards the communist government.  That being said, they are also proud of  Cuba's natural beauty, its rich musical heritage and the thriving educated community that it once was before the communists came in and 'fixed" the inequality.  True to all communist track records, they equalized everyone and they are now all equally dirt poor.  

My wife gets upset discussing Cuba because she feels most people don't understand the situation.  She gets frustrated when she remarks to people that she didn't have a Christmas when she was a child and they give her a puzzled face. "They don't understand" she remarks,  There was no Santa Claus, no presents, no feasts, and going to church was allowed but frowned upon.  Sometimes it could land you in jail if you made the wrong remark about Christmas or Christianity.  All power is from the government and any allusion to other ideas- even one of a peaceful savior who taught of love and forgiveness - are not allowed.  Simple minded people don't understand that, and so that's how the vultures  of totalitarianism sink their talons into the heart of freedom of speech and assembly.      Many Americans hear that there is no Democracy or freedom in other countries such as Cuba but they really don't "get" it.  This, to me,  is simply a reflection of lazy parenting and a failed education system.  The strength of our democracy depends on instructing our children regarding the superiority of democracy and the consequences of releasing freedoms to the government.   In most cases, with Cuba being an excellent example, there is no turning back if things don't work out once you've ceded your power as a citizen back to the government in the interest of "equality", "security" or political party.  In this case the communist party, but it is not such a stretch to see how our own political parties here in America have maneuvered the process of governing much to their favor at the expense of fair representation  (as this blog has repeatedly remarked).

All that being said, what about  normalizing relations with Cuba?    This, in my view, is an entirely different question.  I think you have to look at the core issue and try to remove the emotion and incorporate rational thought when it comes to policy towards a foreign nation.  We are not Cuba, we are the United States of America.   Cuba is not going to change on its own.  Some leaders like Senator Marco Rubio (Florida  R) believe we're rewarding the Castro government and the communists.  I believe over the years that our refusal to deal with the Cuban government has morphed into  more of a political football, a football used both here in the US and in Cuba.  The USA's politicians use it to posture for winning Florida in the presidential elections and also as another "us vs them" strategy between the Republicans and the Democrats.  The Cuban dictatorship, on the other hand,  uses it as a scapegoat.... "what is wrong with our country is the fault of the American embargo".  So, in a nutshell., I support a change in policy towards Cuba for the simple fact that what we've been doing for 50 years has not worked.  It only serves to support the cronies on both sides of the Florida straits.  It's not working, so let's try something else.   This is a logical conclusion even without bringing up  the hypocrisy of blocking out Cuba but embracing  China and Vietnam-  two other totalitarian- communist nations with which we are all too happy do business.

In My humble Opinion......


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Media Enable Conflict

By Charles E. "Chuck" Marshall

As much as I like to bash our political parties, I often think it's important to remember that there is an enabler in our midst that fuels the fire of contempt that both parties have for each other.  The media.  Specifically, the television media.  As I watched the Ferguson, Mo. fiasco last  month, I was sincerely disgusted by the media as they prowled around Ferguson, their faces quivering with anticipation over the coming fury.  I watched after the Grand Jury's decision as they paced like caged lions.  "What's going to happen, because this isn't good?" they all lamented very nearly unable to contain their glee.  It was obvious that if nothing did happen they would be very disappointed.

This behavior is one of the reasons nothing gets done in Washington.  The media is most interested in the conflict, not the problems to be solved.   In a nutshell, I believe the media is lazy and greedy and "dumbing" down the topic at hand is in their best interest..... unfortunately for us.

I recently had one of my letters published in the opinion page of the Orlando Sentinel regarding this very issue.  In response to a letter writer that referred to the Republicans as uncaring and void of any new ideas.  I essentially agreed with his entire letter, but I kept thinking about Ferguson, Mo. and I realized that just because the media doesn't report any ideas doesn't mean that there aren't any new ideas.  Since the focus is on the fight, nothing of substance is discussed... only the fight.  So, in a way the entire disgusting partisan politics we see in our government can be equally blamed on the media as it is on the lame-brained political parties and their idiot "leaders".  

Here is the letter printed in the Orlando Sentinel on Dec. 5, 2104.

Media enable conflict
   Letter-writer David Cruise on Thursday criticized the Republicans for not having ideas or compassion. I couldn’t agree more with his assessment as it looks on the surface. I do wonder, however, if this isn’t more a failing of their public-relations tactics than a lack of ideas or compassion.
   The Republicans do have ideas and are not heartless, soulless creatures, but their ideas tend to get marginalized by the “fight” story. The media are selling the fight. As much as the two parties have failed us, the media (particularly television) are the ringmasters for this circus and tend toward simple solutions that are easier for the public to digest rather than the more-complex solutions that would probably be more effective.
   TV tends to stir the pot and provoke (witness Ferguson, Mo). The media gain eyeballs from partisan politics, and we all suffer for our fascination with conflict.
   Charles E. “Chuck” Marshall Clermont

In my humble opinion...........

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Minimum Wage & Will Muschamp

By Charles E. "Chuck" Marshall

Happy Thanksgiving, loyal readers--

Which came first, the turkey or the egg ?  Should the minimum wage be raised ?  Should there even be a minimum wage ?   The proponents say that raising the minimum wage will lift all the working class so they can afford more of the basics of life and that it will also encourage  more work and less welfare.    This increase in consumption would cause an increase in business & commerce.  The opponents say this will hurt "jobs" and that more and more businesses will have to lay off people because they can't afford the hike in salaries to their employees.  It will hurt business, raise unemployment, and make America less competitive.

 I have always been an advocate of free market principles, ie,  that the market should decide the price of goods or  the value of talents and what is the appropriate wage for each talent.  The laws of supply and demand are always superior at providing goods and services to people.   Or are they ?   A truth has recently dawned on me;  The laws of economics and the efficiency of supply and demand for the value of labor would work just fine and dandy in a perfect society.  We don't live in a perfect society.

Case in point.  The coach for my beloved Florida Gators, Will Muschamp,  has been "fired" from his position as their head coach.  Rather than getting into the details of "why" he was fired (or IF he should have been fired) I'm just going to draw some curious comparisons.    Let's say we have a human being who worked hard in a position and who has a great talent and this person was hired to fulfill a need in society the way most of us do.  In this case he coaches young men at the sport of football.    So, using the logic that since a high school football coach's salary is $45,000 per year (google search estimate), if I had just landed on earth from "planet logical" then I would assume a college football coach would make more since college is a step up.  Let's say, twice as much.  OK, College football coach should make $90k per year.  Then if he's a really good and successful football coach ?   A talented person in a specific position should be paid higher than the regular wage for such a position because they're better.  So, let's say then he'll have double the salary as his less talented peers, just to keep things nice and simple.  That makes a salary of a talented football coach at the college level  $180k.  What does Will Muschamp make ?   $3 Million dollars per year.  Now that he failed at his job, supply and demand is sending him away with $3 Million per year for 3 years for doing NOTHING.  Is he worth it?  Is Will Muschamp really 66 ($3M divided by $45k per year) times more worthwhile than your average high school football coach ?   Actually, if you take into account 3 years of being paid for doing nothing, he's really making $12M which means he's making 266 times more  than an average high school football coach.    I know there are arguments to justify all of this exorbitant pay for unique services and the glare of public scrutiny.    The same argument can be made for corporate executives and every manner of famous entertainer.  The true reality is that they're really NOT WORTH THAT MUCH !  But, society pays them anyway.  So, my point is this;  Did supply and demand come up with a logical salary for this position in society ?   No, it did not.

Back to my original subject.  The free market does not adequately compensate citizens for their efforts 'nor is it fair.  It rewards the very few, even when they fail.  Given this fact, I don't think it's such a violation of free market principles 'nor capitalist philosophy to give the working class a small raise to help them deal with the challenges of inflation and to encourage more work.  If jobs are lost, then they weren't very good jobs anyway.  Enterprises of all varieties need to compensate  their employees so that they can adequately take care of themselves in modern society for a day's hard work.   The contradiction, the gap, the inadequacy and the unfairness of paying one man doing the exact same job as another by more than 66 times and then sending him off as an even richer millionaire for his failure is a gap and an outrage that needs to be addressed and looked at by us as a society.  I nearly choke on the injustice of how people are compensated at the elite status as compared to the working middle class.  

In my humble opinion.....