Friday, May 29, 2009

Senator Burr gets failing grades from North Carolina Voters


There's a new website I tripped across a week or so ago. It's a site where you can grade your US Senator across a number of key issues. It's here. I was one of the first 5 people to visit the site and record my grades of Senator Burr. Since then, about 40 more people have visited. The total is up to 44 as of Friday, May 22. The site is very young and I suspect it will pick up steam fairly rapidly in the coming months.

What's the overall verdict so far on Senator Burr among the first 44 voters? Not surprising:

F

This is an equal opportunity site as far as I can determine. And I can't help but laugh that our US Senator is so despised that he's been given an F by a fairly large group of early voters. And it would be very surprising to me if he wasn't aware of just how despised he is within his own state. Wouldn't it then be best for this man to simply resign?

Senator Richard Burr needs to go. He's getting nothing done for North Carolina. He accomplished little to nothing as a US Senator. It's simply time to give this sorry Senator the boot out the door. Vote against Senator Burr in the next election. North Carolina deserves better.

Addendum - Senator Burr and Senator Coburn have put forth a Health Care proposal. I've read about it, but am looking forward to an opportunity to work through the details. I will be doing that in coming weeks and offer up a large number of posts with my observations of my Republican party health care proposal. The bottom line on it thus far: it's simply a cost shifter. Those people who currently have employer insurance will wind up paying significantly more money for health care coverage. That money will go to help carry the load of those people currently without health care coverage or who have been obtaining their own coverage. It's very complicated to determine who wins and who loses. But I will be making an attempt to do so. Stay tuned. In the mean time, go to the voting site and register your votes on Senator Richard Burr.

Addendum 6/8/09 - Just 3 days ago the visitor count to the grade Burr site stood at about 68. And the Senator's grade was an F. Today, just 3 days later, 264 visitors have dropped by and the Senator's grade has risen to a B. Amazingly, the last 196 voters have given the Senator an A+, to balance out the first 68 averaging an F. I guess Burr's re-election office finally woke the hell up and found the site. LOL. They probably got there by reading this post. There's nothing like having a minimum wage college student using a campaign emailing list to stuff the ballot box, eh?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cleaning house in the Republican party


Americans are angry. And it doesn't take long in reading my blog here to pin me as a very angry Republican. I am. I readily admit it. This financial crises we're undergoing now is the direct result of many, many misguided policies from my Republican Party. I'm angry enough now to turn on my fellow Republicans who represent us in Washington DC. We need to clean house. All Republicans who served in office during the Bush administration need to be thrown out of office. We need to dish out punishment for the mess they dropped on our doorstep.

My anger started boiling over last fall. As I was reviewing some of my old blog posts this weekend, I ran across the one below. It explains much of why I'm angry at my Republican Party. And this post, made back on December 22, 2008, deserves to be repeated here.
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The recent carnage in the markets has simply been unreal. When I think about how things have unfolded, these are issues that cross my mind:

1. BUSH & PAULSON. President Bush and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson are directly responsible for the collapse in the world economy. I lost count of the number of times both these men irresponsibly spouted off "THIS is the worst crises since the great depression". Time and again they would repeat this dangerous line in front of the TV cameras, and to the press. How can political leaders be so naive as to think they can make this statement without consumers immediately reacting by closing their wallets tight? Thank you President Bush and Secretary Paulson. Not.

2. BERNANKE & PAULSON. I suspect that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Hank were simply clueless when it came to understanding the risks associated with the unregulated, $54 Trillion CDS market. They only came to understand the CDS dangers after they let Lehman go under. This massive mistake will wind up costing Americans Trillions before this carnage is done. In his panic to get approval for a bailout package to save us from the CDS monster, Hank then went on to scare consumers into a freeze with his constant line about "this is the worst crises since the great depression" (issue #1 above). The apex of this naive line occurred on the popular Sunday evening 60 minutes TV interview with Hank.

3. AUTO BAILOUT. I get VERY HOT under the collar when I hear all this Republican angst over the $15 Billion auto bailout. Republicans want labor to slash their puny $60 K annual salaries and comfortable health care coverage. Yet, we've given AIG $150 Billion and the AIG CEO just paid massive retention bonus money to executives. And, we cut checks for another $185 Billion to banks and we're learning today that the average banking executive officer in these companies will be receiving multi-million $ annual pay packages. $15 Billion for the auto companies to save a couple million jobs (including jobs at the suppliers) - chump change in comparison to all the money we've shoveled into the financial community to keep the banking executives dining at their country clubs and flying on their corporate jets. Republicans - just shut your trap about the $15 Billion auto bailout. That includes you Larry Kudlow. Just shut up about it.

4. REPUBLICAN LOSERS. Keeping in mind I am a Republican - President George Bush, The Republican Party - LOSERS. The man will go down as the very worst President in our nation's history. And the party will never recover from the damage this ignorant man has done. He spent like a drunken sailor, waged war irresponsibly, never met an unnecessary tax cut that he didn't like, and generally rewarded the wealthy while the middle class and less wealthy were ravaged by spiraling health care, college and energy costs. And he took office at DOW 11 K and left office 8 years later with the markets substantially lower. He wiped out a tremendous amount of our nation's wealth. Pox on the remainder of this pitiful man's life.

5. HOUSING CRISES. I am simply fed up with Republican efforts to pin this housing crises on Barney Frank or Bill Clinton. First of all, a Republican President has been in the White House for the last 8 years. Second, both the House and Senate were under Republican control in 6 of the last 8 years. Finally, there is more than ample evidence that pushing home ownership at any cost was a centerpiece in the Republican efforts to stimulate our economy after 9/11. In accepting the Republican Party nomination at the 2004 convention, President Bush said, "thanks to our policies, home ownership in our country is at the highest level in our nation's history". And today, there is a thorough piece of journalism that pins this housing mess squarely on the backs of President Bush and the Republican Party: White House Philosophy Stoked Housing Bonfire - NY Times. Note to Republicans about the housing crises - just shut up about about it, you're guilty as sin and everyone knows it, but you.

6. SEC. Chairman Chris Cox and the SEC - what a joke. We spend $1 Billion a year on the SEC. What do we get for this money? Answer: nothing. We get absolutely nothing. This agency needs to be gutted, burned to the ground, then rebuilt anew with fresh blood. I sit behind a computer screen 8 to 10 hours a day trading my own capital and watching the markets. I catch numerous SEC violations on a DAILY basis, with the naked eye. And these idiots, with a $1 Billion annual budget and massive technical and legal resources, can't manage to prosecute more than a handful of innocuous instances of violations a year. The SEC has so failed the American Investor as to be a complete and utter disgrace.

7. BANKING BONUS TIME. Enough is enough. Taxpayers have cut checks for 100s of billions to rescue a multitude of banks for years of stupid decisions and overly aggressive risk taking. Do these banking executives have no shame? They continue to pay themselves like we're in a booming economy. If Compensation Committee members across this country don't get a clue soon and start slashing salaries by 50,60,70%, and eliminating bonuses altogether, taxpayers and shareholders are going to riot. There will be violence. People will die. Just watch. What you never thought possible in this country will happen. Sooner than you think. The anger outside of the Corporate Boardrooms and Executive Suites is very close to boiling over.

8. WHERE ARE THE CLAWBACKS? Chuck Prince, Stan O'Neal, and their ilk were paid massive amounts of money. Hundreds of millions. Depending on how many executives you want to lump into this group, and how far back you want to go - maybe even billions in compensation. Heck, Bob Rubin alone took home over $125 million for a few years of effort and he didn't even have any operational responsibilities - or so he tries to convince us. These people were directly responsible for what became a Trillion dollar problem dropped in the laps of taxpayers. Why are we letting them keep any of their ill gotten gains? We need clawbacks, retroactively. Where is Congress? Why aren't our elected officials not stepping into this situation and righting the wrongs? Where are the clawback laws that allow for executive salary, bonus and ill gotten gains to be repaid when it's later deemed that their decisions were at the root of eventual costly mistakes?

I'll circle back and add to this list later.
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The list of problems and issues just continued to grow and grow. And I decided I'd had enough. It's time for change within the Republican Party. It's time to punish those who brought us this mess. And that includes North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr. Vote against Senator Burr in the next election. North Carolina deserves better.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Senator Richard Burr's stance on Sonia Sotomayor ?


I can't wait to hear what our worthless Republican Senator Richard Burr has to say about Sonia Sotomayor. Since she's not an old, white, conservative male, I suspect our Republican Senator will immediately join the Republican attack dogs in Washington DC and go after Judge Sontomayor. They'll spend all their time and effort dragging Judge Sotomayor through the mud. They'll whine and cry, bitch and complain. They'll pick on the most minor of issues. They'll wrap themselves in an American flag and scream at the top of their lungs that it's their patriotic duty to see that this Hispanic woman is not allowed to serve on our nation's highest court.

Why is that? Well, there are many reasons. But down deep, it's my personal feeling that the ultra right wing nut jobs who have hi-jacked our Republican party are nothing but loud-mouthed, racist, bigots. They'll spend all their time and effort to do everything possible to keep diversity out of our governmental institutions.

Maybe this is not true. But it certainly feels that way. It feels that way every time the Hanity, Limbaugh and Kudlow attack machines swing into action. It feels that way every time a Republican almost immediately attacks anything and everything that comes from the other party. They do it with such vitriol and spew so much hate that it winds up making our party just look and feel like loud mouthed, racist, bigots. And it angers me. Me and Colin Powell. And I hope it angers the vast majority of moderate, centrist Republicans. I hope it angers them into action. I hope it makes them want to take our party back from the loud mouths. I hope it makes them want to dish out massive quantities of punishment and vote members of our own party out of office in the next election.

It's time to give those ultra conservative leaders of the Republican Party a swift kick in the tail. It's time to throw these people out of office. It's time to take back our party from the inept, right wing nut job leadership we've had over the last 8 to 9 years. And that means it's time for Republican Senator Richard Burr to go. We need to vote this man out of office in the next election. North Carolina deserves better.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Colin Powell explains it clearly


You don't have to read this blog very much to know that my frustration level is high with my Republican Party. And I'm obviously not a big fan of my state's Republican US Senator, Richard Burr. For awhile, I wondered if I was a lone voice in the wind. Was I the only person wanting to stick it out as a Republican and just hope the party would change its failing ways? As it turns out, I'm not the only Republican who wants to take our party back from the ultra right wing nut jobs like Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. I've got excellent company in the likes of Colin Powell. Secretary Powell gave a great interview on Face the Nation this weekend. A summary of it is here.

But beyond the divisive attitude of our Republican leaders that Secretary Powell highlights, there are just so many other issues that perturb me. So I want to see a massive housecleaning. We are in dire need of one. These Republicans now serving have failed our country in a MASSIVE way. They mismanaged our economy. They spent money like crazy. They started wars. They destroyed our financial system. Their irresponsible management of our country led to massive wealth destruction. They also ignored an unbelievable number of social problems that accumulated during their reign. And now they have the gall to try to point fingers at everyone but themselves. I'm not in the mood to forgive and forget. Neither should you be.

It's time to dish out punishment for the failures of our party leaders. It's time to vote every Republican out of office. Send these sorry people packing. We have to tear the house down before we can build anew. And that includes throwing out our do-nothing Senator Richard Burr. Vote the man out of office in the next election. North Carolina deserves better.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Republicans can't, Democrats can. Why?


A couple days ago I posed the question about what our worthless North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr was going to do about our worthless SEC. This evening, I get a partial answer. President Obama is moving to strip the SEC of some of its powers. He's going to consolidate and centralize oversight functions within agencies who have proven their effectiveness. The Federal Reserve Board looks to be getting more power and influence. Few have confidence in the SEC. So the SEC loses oversight on many fronts. If not for the FED, our economy would have gone down the tubes last fall. The financial community has great respect for the FED. So, these moves appear rational and should be well received in the financial community.

Unfortunately, the answers these days to problems like this aren't coming from Republicans. What Republicans couldn't get accomplished in their 8 years of controlling Washington, Democrats are now ticking off the list methodically. And I couldn't be more angry about it. Why couldn't our Republican political leadership get these things accomplished?

While Republicans controlled Washington DC for 8 years:
  • Health care costs went through the roof.
  • Increasing numbers of Americans went without health insurance.
  • Energy prices spiked to historical highs.
  • College became increasingly unaffordable.
  • We started wars.
  • Greater numbers of Americans qualified for food stamps.
  • Our banking system collapsed.
  • A $2 Trillion sub-prime mortgage problem morphed into a $50 Trillion worldwide loss of wealth.
  • And we went into debt by another $5 Trillion.
And now President Obama seems to be making progress on each and every one of these issues. Every darn day I fire up my computer, I'm reading about his efforts to address these problems and make the lives of Americans better. And it angers me greatly. It angers me because our Republican leaders are worthless. They get nothing done. Nothing. And each and every one of them now need to be punished.

Vote Senator Richard Burr out of office. The man is a do-nothing Republican. We need to clean house in our party. We need new faces, new voices, and a refocused effort to make the lives of Americans increasingly better. The path to making that happen travels right thru kicking our sorry, do-nothing, worthless North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr out of office.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here we go again


Democrats are once again outflanking Republicans on critical issues that are important to even Republican voters.

News out from the SEC. They are considering action that will allow greater than 1% shareholders to nominate board members. Damn, this angers me. I've been talking about this issue time and again on this blog. Here, here, here, here, et al.

Entrenched corporate managers have taken over our public companies. They perform poorly and shareholders are powerless to do anything about it. We supposedly live in a capitalist, free-market country. But as a shareholder, I'm powerless to do a thing about the clueless clowns who pay themselves very well, even for failure, and even though they have none of their own personal capital at risk. And who is now making a move to force change? Who's putting power in the hands of shareholders, finally? It's not the Republican party. It's the Democrats. And that's what angers me.

Our Republican leaders sat on their tails in Washington DC and allowed corporate executives to rape shareholders and steal our wealth. ENOUGH. Republicans who served in this period of apathy all need to be punished. And that includes our worthless, good for nothing Republican Senator Richard Burr. Laissez-faire capitalist? Right. More like Lazy-idiot Republican. Out with you.

It's time to get rid of Republican Senator Richard Burr. He did nothing to help shareholders. NOTHING. Vote against this man in the next election. North Carolina deserves better.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Senator Richard Burr lost his list of priorities


Richard Burr has a blog. Have you read it? It's here. Spend awhile reading the blog and you will understand why it's important that we kick this man out of office. These things he's working on, they are all nice things to get done. But are they the most pressing matters we now face? Health care, education, financial reforms, winding down our expensive wars, just plain improving the lives of all Americans, where are these issues being tackled by our Senator? No where. His priority list has gone missing. All I see on his blog is fluff stuff. I see our Senator Burr doing things that a low paid administrative assistant addresses. Senator Richard Burr doesn't have his priorities straight. ENOUGH.

We need grown up representation in Washington DC. We need a Senator who can prioritize and run straight at the big issues our country faces. That's not Senator Richard Burr. He's doing the job of an administrative assistant. We need to throw Senator Burr out of office and find a decent Senator. North Carolina deserves better.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why do Republicans love highways?


Did you hear President Obama speak at the Notre Dame commencement this past weekend? I'm not a fan of the Democrats. But there's one very important character difference between our Democratic President and the Republican Party. Our Republican Party loves highways, as in "it's either my way, or the highway." But our Democratic President loves to bring opposing views together. And if it's not possible, he tries hard to get the opposing views to find whatever areas of compromise possible over an issue, and for each side to listen and make an effort to understand the views on the other. Which approach do you prefer?

I'm just plain sick of the current Republican leadership in Washington DC. They stake out a position and stick with it no matter what. They take extreme positions. They won't budge an inch in compromise. They sling mud and bad mouth anyone and everyone who disagrees. These people are worthless when it comes to getting anything accomplished.

Senator Burr loves highways. I've yet to read or see any evidence of this man having an ounce of flexibility. I hear him criticize our President at every turn. I listen to him rail on any and all views of the opposing party. And I'm just tired of it. I'm tired of my Republican party and it's politicians not getting a damn thing done in Washington DC. They're like children. If they don't get their way, they cry and whine and do absolutely nothing else.

It's time for Senator Richard Burr to go. It's time to vote this man out of office. We need to find someone who works hard to find compromise. We need to move forward on a large number of fronts in solving our nation's problems. North Carolina deserves better. Vote against Senator Richard Burr in the next election.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What have you done about our worthless SEC?


This is a post I initially made back in early February on a trading blog I maintain for my work notes. It's worth reposting here, because it's yet another reason to give Senator Richard Burr a boot right out the door.
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There were some major news stories this weekend. The not so major ones could have been easily overlooked. There was one story in the NYTimes on Saturday that I'm sure most people overlooked: "Regulator Faces Fresh Scrutiny Over Trading Inquiry at Lehman." Link. It confirms what I constantly highlight in this blog about the SEC. It does NOTHING. It's a total waste of $1 Billion in annual taxpayer funding. It's full of brain dead people who care nothing about the American investor.

A summary of the story - there was a group within Lehman Brothers that had intimate knowledge of pending stock analyst actions. This group contacted its best Lehman customers and gave them a heads up on what actions would happen even before the actions were released to the public. The Lehman customers traded ahead of the news. They won. Everyone else lost. The SEC knew about it. They did nothing. They did absolutely NOTHING about it.

The game is rigged. It has always been rigged. And until we get acceptable oversight of the thieves and crooks on Wall Street, until we start getting the cuffs and orange jumpsuits slapped on a couple thousand of them, we're not going to have sufficient trust in the market to the extent needed for the public to return.

We did this to ourselves. We voted in a Republican President who's laissez faire attitude dictated that the SEC allow our markets to self regulate. The SEC did nothing. The thieves and crooks reigned supreme. The public lost. And now we are paying the price. Think about that next time you get ready to vote for a Republican.

By the way - I am a loyal Republican. But I want every Republican who served with the laissez faire loving George W Bush administration thrown out of office. They failed us. They need to be punished. They need to lose their jobs and be kicked out on the street. And this article in the NYTimes about a blind eye to the crooks and thieves on Wall Street is reason enough to make that happen.

I've had it with the current Republican Leadership in Washington DC. They accomplish nothing, absolutely nothing. They sit on their sorry tails and get nothing done on just about every major issue we face. Out with you. Out with you Senator Richard Burr. North Carolina deserves better. We're going to vote you out of office in the next election.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Senator Burr's laissez-faire is a farce


I am so darn tired of hearing my fellow Republicans drone on and on about how we need to get government out of the way of business. A headline is passing by in the financial markets this morning about stupid actions by our nation's credit card companies. It proves exactly why laissez-faire is a total and complete farce. Republicans who preach laissez-faire need to be run out of office and shamed for allowing businesses in a myriad of industries to use their power to screw American consumers.

It turns out that credit card companies were enforcing rules on retailers that prohibited retailers from offering discounts to consumers who purchased with cash. Had retailers been allowed to offer cash discounts, many would have. That would have greatly reduced the number of credit card transactions. What's a retailer to do? The card companies had these retailers over a barrel. The retailers had to accept the rules in order to offer the ability to use the cards.

If you think about how these rules worked, it should really make you mad. People who pay with cash were denied the ability to earn discounts. In essence, they were subsidizing the credit card using customers. We wound up encouraging the massive use of debt in this country by allowing the credit card companies to use unbridled power to dictate terms. And we rewarded card users while punishing anyone who might have preferred paying with cash.

This isn't right. This isn't a capitalist, free-market situation. This is a situation where so few companies have so much power that they set the rules. It stinks. And this situation exists so frequently now as a result of government sitting on its tail and allowing massive numbers of industry consolidations to occur. As a result, we now find ourselves with so few companies operating in so many industries that these companies simply take advantage of a government asleep at the wheel. Companies wind up using their power to screw American consumers.

I'm sick of laissez-faire. I'm sick of my fellow Republicans who don't understand that government plays a useful and effective role in rooting out situations where business has gone wrong, and enforcing the corrections necessary to ensure a fair and level playing field for both businesses and consumers.

Senator Richard Burr is one of those lazy, do-nothing Republicans who sat back and allowed a massive number of industry consolidations to happen. He allowed so little competition to occur that the few remaining companies took advantage of the situation and set rules that were anti-competitive in nature. These companies set rules to pad their profits and screw American consumers. This is what Senator Burr's laissez-faire attitude has brought us.

It's time to send this sorry Senator Richard Burr packing. It's time to send this pitiful man home so he can once again sell lawnmowers in rural North Carolina. He sure isn't doing a darn thing in Washington DC, expect allowing few very powerful businesses to screw American consumers. North Carolina deserves better. Vote against Senator Richard Burr in the next election.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

President Obama irritates me


I'm getting pretty darn irritated with President Obama. He's getting things done, things that the vast majority of Americans care about. And he's successfully moving forward on a bewildering number of fronts simultaneously.

Health Care - He's got the conversation going more so than at any point in the last 8 years. He's pushing industry executives to cut costs. He's looking at ways to get this crises solved.

Banking - The problems are now under control. Banks are raising financing. We're working our way out of this mess.

Autos - He's plugged some holes and avoided making the less powerful in this equation having to pay the steepest price for the failures of the more powerful.

Executive Pay and Compensation - He's putting a ceiling on those who have to seek the government's help. He and other Democrats are pushing proposals to give shareholders more power to bring change to these issues.

Credit Cards - He's reversing the trend of credit card issuers dictating outrageous rules and penalties.

Foreign policy - We're regaining respect in the world. We're starting to have conversations with our adversaries across the globe to get issues resolved.

Education costs - He's moving on some issues here. I'm not happy with the approach though. Instead of a focus on cost cutting, his proposals center on subsidizing costs. But that's better than layering private industry profits into the equation like we had done under Republican leadership.

Energy costs - We're not moving fast enough to utilize our internal resources, so the jury is still out.

But overall, we're seeing so much movement on so many fronts, that you can't be anything but impressed. And it doesn't matter what party you belong too. But President Obama is making the Republican Party look foolish. These are issues that Republicans should have resolved when they controlled both the White House and Congress. Instead, Republicans squandered that opportunity and did absolutely NOTHING to improve the lives of the vast majority of Americans, and nothing to make the world a safer place.

I'm actually thankful that things are getting done in Washington DC. So really, I'm thankful for President Obama. But I'm simply irritated as hell at my Republican party, because of President Obama. So that makes me irritated with President Obama.

But it's time to dish out punishment for failure. Senator Richard Burr must go. We need to clean house in our party. We need new blood, new voices, and a retooled approach in the Republican Party. That doesn't include Senator Richard Burr. Vote him out of office. North Carolina deserves better.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Why can't Senator Burr get off his tail on health care?


Initially I posted this more than a week ago over on another blog I write. It's a blog where I keep my securities trading notes and observations. But, it's applicable to the failure of our state's Republican Senator, Richard Burr. I got to thinking, why can't Senator Burr get any of these things I'm proposing done? Why does he simply flap his jaws about health care and yet do nothing of substance? We're in a crises in this country in terms of out of control health care costs. Crises call for radical action. Senator Burr proposes more of the same. He's simply out in left field on this very important issue.
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I went to see a doctor yesterday. I haven't been feeling well at all the last couple of weeks. My health is not the greatest in the world. A heart attack surprised me several years ago. I'm not overweight. I don't smoke. There's no family history of heart failure. But stress, from a decade of securities trading, got the best of me. And when I'm not trading, I like to work around my house. Up and down ladders and twisting and turning my back over the years gave me back problems that needed surgery. So, I've had more than my fair share of interface with our nation's health care system.

But yesterday I was in the waiting room and it really pissed me off. I sat there with only 1 other patient, and 9 drug salespeople. I kid you not. There were nine drug reps sitting in the waiting room yesterday for a 2 doctor practice with 2 waiting patients. These reps were dressed to kill. Coat and tie. And they all had high end laptops. They were working those laptops hard. Overhearing some of the conversations, I learned they were working them hard talking to friends using IM and through facebook. And a couple of them struck up conversations about their bonuses last year. They're paid very well to sit around in waiting rooms. This whole situation really got my goat. We're paying for these people!

That got me to thinking about our broken health care system and it's runaway costs. Here's what President Obama needs to do. He needs to appoint me health care czar with unbridled power to make and enforce decisions that will put our health care system on a path of affordability.

This is what I would do:

1. Reduce profit margins. Corporate gross profit margins in health care are simply out of control. To the one, they'll all cry about the need to support R&D. Bullshit. It's all about profits and stock prices. I'd rip into those 60,70,80% gross profits margins and bring them all down to 15,20,25%.

2. Reduce industry salaries. I'm just damn tired of reading about non-profit hospital and health care plan CEOs making multiple millions of dollars in annual salary and bonus. That's bullshit. There are a vast number of smart, capable business MBAs who are more than qualified to run a hospital or health care plan at far, far less. These people are not in such short supply as to demand that kind of pay.

3. Outlaw salespeople. If the product is good enough, companies will write articles and sales material. And if it's good enough for patients, Doctors will read the articles and info. Stripping the costs of salespeople out of the system will greatly reduce our overall costs of health care.

4. Outlaw medical advertising. We pay for advertising through higher product costs. That's simply nuts.

5. Ration health care. It simply pisses me off that our health plans pay for nice to have medications and medical procedures. Do you really need that $50 K hip replacement, or will a cane do? Is it really necessary for our nation to spend $5 Billion annually from our health plans for Viagra? Hell no and hell no. There are just so many examples of this mess. Make people reach into their own pockets for the nice to have stuff. Only cover the must have stuff via health insurance.

6. Socialize and centralize cancer treatment. Cancer is the most expensive health care. And it's the health problem we all fear. I'd make all forms of cancer covered by our government and require all doctors to work at government cancer centers for a portion of their careers. I'd set up centralized service centers for treatment and strip out all unnecessary costs associated with these facilities and treatment. But I'd require all cancer to be treated only at these centers, period. No cancer treatment could be covered by insurance and every American citizen would be eligible for treatment. I'd establish programs at these centers to be places where our young people serve a few years after college graduation. These programs would serve as a badge of honor, like serving in our military. By removing this care and these costs from our health care plans, the price of all other health care coverage would plunge. We could then all afford insurance.

7. Means test medicare. Do we really need to be paying the costs of health care for our retired millionaires?

I'm just damn tired of all the talk about our broken health care system. Let's get off our tails and get some of these things done.

I'm just damn tired of my Republican Party not doing anything of substance when it comes to health care issues in this country. We need to throw our current party politicians out of office. We need to punish every single one of them for bringing us this financial crises, starting needless wars, allowing speculators to send energy costs through the roof, spending like drunken sailors, and doing nothing about the costs of higher education and health care. Senator Burr must go. North Carolina deserves better.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Does Senator Burr live on Mars ?


I was reading this article today that outlined comments Senator Richard Burr made to an audience at Glaxo in RTP a couple weeks ago. These sentences especially caught my eye:

"Medicare and Medicaid frequently reimburse hospitals and doctors less for procedures than what those procedures actually cost, Burr said. That forces health-care providers to make up the difference by charging higher prices for other procedures, he said. Burr is concerned that a national health insurance program would result in similar below-cost payments on drugs – a scenario that the senator says would make it difficult, if not impossible, for drug makers to make enough money off new treatments to justify the cost of their development."

Does Senator Richard Burr live on Mars?

This man thinks that our drug companies don't make enough money. He thinks their profit margins need to be high to afford research and development. Next time you see this sorry Senator Richard Burr, ask him to demonstrate his knowledge of the expenses and profitability of our drug companies. I'll bet you he's absolutely clueless how profitable these companies really are. I'll bet he's NEVER even looked at their financials. In fact, I'll bet you this Senator can't even read a financial statement.

I can. And you should look at them too. Allow me to help. Let's look at information from the 5 largest drug companies whose stocks trade on the New York Stock Exchange: JNJ, Pfizer, Novartis, Glaxo, and Sanofi. The list of our public drug companies is here. I pulled up the financial information on these five and put together a little spreadsheet to sum it all up. It took me 20 minutes.

Key tidbits about the 5 largest from their 2008 operations:
  1. Sales $230 Billion.
  2. Gross Margin $173 Billion.
  3. R&D $34 Billion
  4. Selling, General and Administrative expenses $74 Billion.
  5. Net Profits $41 Billion.
  6. Actual cost of the products they sold for every $1 of sales .... 25 cents. That's right. You're not reading this wrong. They sale for a $1 what it costs them just 25 cents to make. That's a 75% gross profit margin. Outrageous!
  7. R&D spent for each $1 of sales ... 15 cents.
  8. Selling expenses for each $1 of sales (sales force, advertising, retreats for doctors, stupid and wasteful crap) .... 32 cents.
  9. Profit Margin for each $1 of sales ... 18 cents.
  10. The important point here ... for every $1 you spend on drugs from these companies, 50 cents goes to selling costs and profits (32 + 18) !
These companies are simply so grossly profitable as to be absolutely criminal. We have millions and millions of Americans who can't afford their medications, yet these clowns are spending 32 cents of every sales dollar on wasteful efforts to sale their products. They are spending 2 times more on selling and administrative expenses than they are on R&D. So don't give me the line about the need to support R&D. That's a tired Republican line used to justify drug companies ripping off Americans, keeping prices high, wasting money on sales expenses, and leading to millions of Americans doing without medical treatment.

Let me tell you what Senator Burr should have been been doing with this audience. He should have been livid. He should have shamed them into action. He should have pointed fingers at the senior executives and demanded to know why in the hell they spend far too much money on selling costs. He should have kicked these sorry people in the tail and made them understand that fellow Americans are dying because these executives aren't being socially responsible. He should be demanding they make far deeper cuts to unnecessary costs. He should have brought massive weight down on these executives and demanded they plow cost savings into product price cuts.

Our Senator is simply clueless. He knows NOT what he talks about. He can't read a financial statement. And he knows absolutely nothing about the profitability of our health care providers. Yet he's responsible for trying to reign in our sky high health care costs? ENOUGH. We need to get rid of Senator Richard Burr and find someone who can hone in on these critical issues.

Let's vote Senator Richard Burr out of office. North Carolina deserves better. Americans who can't afford to pay for egregious selling and administrative expenses in our bloated health care organizations deserve better too.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Burr puts forward a health care smokescreen


Senator Richard Burr is under attack for putting a smokescreen over the fact that he's accomplished absolutely nothing to address our runaway health care costs. He's done nothing about the increasing numbers of Americans without health care insurance. Senator Burr's record on health care is being referred to as "dismal".

Good. This worthless Senator needs to feel the heat. Senator Richard Burr has failed North Carolina, and America.

I'm a Republican. I think that private businesses need to be put ahead of government in getting things done efficiently and effectively. I'm also a staunch capitalist and want corporate America to be given an opportunity to earn a fair profit in just about every aspect of our nation's economy. Nothing should be totally controlled by the government. But even I've resigned myself to the belief that these concepts simply can not apply to our nation's health care.

Capitalism in health care has simply not worked. Profit margins are ungodly high. Average salaries are way out of line in health care. And costs are being driven up so rapidly that we're very quickly working ourselves into a crises. The only answer at this point is heavy government intervention into health care.

We'll have to attack the problem on several fronts. Unfortunately, we'll need to ration health care. No more recreational and lifestyle subsidies. These costs will need to be 100% born by the recipient. So no more Viagra, hip replacements, and feel good and look good medications. We'll need to eliminate costs. No more nicely paid sales representatives and expensive advertising campaigns. We pay for this stuff, yet it isn't getting us any health care services. We'll also need to cut compensation. No more million dollar salaries for non-profit hospital CEOs. And we'll need to means test medicare. No more government subsidies for the wealthy among us.

Is Richard Burr going in this direction? Heck no. He wants to take us further down the path of lassiez-faire. He wants capitalism to continue to drive our costs higher. He's taking health care to a crises like we're now experiencing in our banking industry.

This man is clueless, he's worthless, he's accomplishing nothing on THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE OUR COUNTRY FACES.

It's past time to give our worthless Senator his walking papers. North Carolina deserves better. We need to kick this man out of office. Join me. Vote against Senator Richard Burr in the next election.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Republicans think Americans are stupid


My Republican party treats all Americans like they're stupid. Republicans think that voters just fell off the tomato wagon and can't get up. They think we can't walk and chew gum at the same time, or even tie our shoes. But our Republican Party leaders are going to find out in the next election that they're the ones who are dumber than dirt.

President Obama put forward his 2009-10 budget today. He proposed some cuts. In relation to the size of the overall budget, the cuts were minor. But in relation to actions to cut our budget by any other recent President or Congress, these cuts mark a major shift in attitude in Washington DC. We're trying to cut costs now. We haven't done that in awhile. It's a start. How did the Republican leadership respond? Oh, they ripped President Obama's proposal to shreds.

This is Republican Senatorial Leader Mitch McConnell's official response: "With Democrats in Congress adding to the national debt at the rate of more than $100 billion every month already this year, and with a budget that triples the already unsustainable public debt over the next decade, it is clear that there is not much more that we can do to protect our children and grandchildren from the unprecedented trillions in additional debt proposed by this administration."

Mitch, do you really think Americans are that dumb? We're not. We know who's to fault for this mess. Republicans screwed our economy up so badly that we're now FORCED to spend this money to clean up the mess they left. And Mitch and Republicans now have the gall to try to blame all this spending on anyone but themselves? Republicans put us in the situation that forced this spending. Republicans. And America knows it. And we're going to kick your sorry tails out of office in the next election Mitch. So a message to Republicans in the Senate and Congress: just shut the *#^@ up.

My wrath is going to be directed at my sorry Republican Senator, Richard Burr. He allowed over $5 Trillion in additional debt to be layered on our nation in the last Republican administration. He supported expensive wars. He did nothing about our broken health care and education systems. He stood on the sidelines while Wall Street speculation drove our energy prices to the sky. And this sorry Senator was asleep at the wheel while Wall Street executives wrecked our housing industry, ruined our banks, and killed our economy. Republicans did this. They must now pay the price.

Join me. Let's send a message to Senator Richard Burr and other Republicans who brought us this financial crises. We're not stupid. And we're not going to put up with the Republican Political Leadership's effort to point the finger of blame at anyone but themselves. We're going to vote these sorry people out of office in the next election. North Carolina deserves better. Our nation deserves better.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Surprised Senator Burr doesn't own a Porsche


Bank of America has been an abysmal failure. That stupid bank and it's ignorant leaders have lost shareholders well over $100 Billion in the last 18 months. It's an unmitigated disaster because many of those shareholders are residents of North Carolina. What a shame.

I was scanning the Triangle Business Journal as I do just about every day. I couldn't help but be amused about one article that appeared. While Bank of America was burning to the ground and making North Carolinians poor, what were it's leaders doing? They were busy passing around a Porsche to each other. Yep. The bank's CEO was selling a Porsche to the CFO. Glad they found the time in there to trade high end expensive automobiles with each other while the Bank was burning to the ground.

Actually, I even more surprised that our do nothing Senator Richard Burr wasn't tied into this deal in some form or fashion. Banking executives at both Bank of American and Wachovia have enriched themselves greatly while sticking their shareholders with massive losses of wealth. The fact that our State's Republican Senator is silent on this mess is a real travesty and makes me wonder why. The only explanation I could think of was that maybe he's getting some kind of deal from these thieves too. Who knows? But I do know his silence on thieves at the helm of our banks is enough for me to realize just what a pitiful Senator we have representing our state.

Americans want justice. And justice doesn't come in the form of Porsche driving Banking Executives enriching themselves while screwing their shareholders. If shareholders lose massive wealth, so should executives. And the fact that it isn't happening is an issue that must be addressed by our Political leaders. Yet Senator Burr remains mum.

I'm not going to be mum near the next election. I'll be working my tail off to drive this do-nothing Republican Senator out of office. Join me. Let's send this man packing. North Carolina deserves better.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Republican Rebranding


My Republican party has kicked off an effort to rebrand themselves. After running the economy into the ground, racking up $5 Trillion in new debt, starting 2 wars, presiding over the greatest concentration of wealth in our nation's history, ignoring our health care and education problems ... I have an idea for a new Republican Party theme:

REPUBLICANS - WE ARE THE PARTY LED BY MORONS, IDIOTS, and CLUELESS PEOPLE.

We've screwed our country up so badly that it's going to take years to even put a band-aide on the wound. In the interim, we simply need to punish every Republican who served when they created this crises. That means it's past time for Senator Richard Burr to leave Washington DC. He failed us. We need to punish him. Vote the man out of office in the next election. North Carolina deserves better.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why couldn't Republicans crack down on tax cheating?


There was news out on Monday morning from our Treasury department. It was a headline in the Wall Street Journal. The central issue:

"The Obama administration will roll out details Monday of what aides are calling a far-reaching crackdown on offshore tax avoidance, targeting many U.S.-based multinational corporations and wealthy individuals."

If you ask the average American if this makes sense, you'd get a cross-eyed look of affirmation. Of course it makes sense. We know that Corporations pay significantly lower than published income tax rates when they unleash their army of tax accountants and lawyers. We know that there are at least 52,000 Americans who have illegally parked assets in offshore accounts with UBS in order to avoid paying US taxes on the income those assets generate. And that's an example of only one financial company among many who are helping wealthy Americans illegally avoid paying income taxes. In essence, the rich and wealthy who can afford to avoid paying their fair share of income taxes are skipping out on their legal obligations. So, of course President Obama's crack down is fair.

Why couldn't Republicans crack down on this crap? Afterall, they controlled Washington DC for 8 years. Well, they're too busy now objecting to these new efforts to rein in tax cheats. Republicans are running around calling this action a "revenue grab". Let's get something straight right now. This is a responsible effort to enforce our nation's laws. And anyone complaining about this action is likely a Republican who has been cheating our nation.

I am a Republican, but I've had enough with do nothing Republican Politicians who don't understand the importance of a level playing field for all Americans. Senator Richard Burr has not done a damn thing to help in this effort to crack down on income tax cheating. I'm not going to stand for it. Join me. Vote this sorry man out of office in the next election. North Carolina deserves better.

Monday, May 4, 2009

What have you done about Credit Agency Crooks?


What have you done about these credit agency crooks Senator Burr? You know who I'm talking about. The credit agencies who made massive amounts of money slapping AAA credit ratings on crap investments so that Investment Banks could shove these worthless securities into Pension Funds all over America? These credit agency companies failed us. What they did was criminal. And yet no one is calling them to task. Why not? Why have you not stepped to the plate and done something about these crooks?

Senator Richard Burr doesn't do much of anything of importance to Americans. Nothing.

Why do we have to put up with a do nothing Senator who doesn't get anything important accomplished for North Carolina, or America? Let's send a message in the next election. Kick this sorry Senator to the curb. North Carolina deserves better.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Senator Burr: A laissez-faire king


Don't read this article: here. I'm warning you, don't read it. You'll get sick. It outlines just how bad the situation was with Bernie Madoff. When his super wealthy clients had massive financial gains in their other investments, and needed an official document sent to the IRS to show fabricated losses to offset those gains, they called Bernie. He just made stuff up and sent it to the IRS. His clients avoided paying income tax.

This is what laissez-faire brings us. This is what happens when we take governmental oversight away. Who do we know that can't shut up about how we need government to get out of the way - our very own North Carolina Senator Richard Burr.

It's time to send a message to Senator Burr. We've had enough of the rich and wealthy taking Washington DC oversight out of the picture so they can rob our nation blind. ENOUGH. So let's just get rid of this sorry Senator. Vote Mr. Laissez-Faire out of office. North Carolina deserves better.