Pay attention!

Congress does not have a policy permitting retirement at full pay after one term. Congress critters are on FERS, which is the same federal retirement program as the rest of the Federal government. In 1984, congressmen were on another program, CSRS, and did not pay into Social Security. They also were not eligible for social security, so that is a wash. You can google congressional retirement plans any time you like. It’s publicly available information available here.

Congress critters do not exempt themselves from the health care reform legislation – check here. They have a valid health care plan, and that is all that is required. I’m on the same health care plan I was on when the legislation went into affect. The only impact it has had on me is actually on my children, since they will be covered by my plan for five additional years, thanks to that legislation. I’m not exempt from health care reform, I was already involved in a health care plan, so the new legislation had little impact on my life.

Hey! most of the federal deficit was paid to American Corporations.The money is still in the U.S, or at least held by U.S. citizens – most of it went to the U.S. military industrial complex. The bombs and bullets went away, but the cash is either here or in off-shore accounts. When are those trillions going to trickle down to us, the hoi polloi? Methinks they won’t. Never. Trickle down doesn’t work when the corporations are handing out record-breaking bonuses during years when their companies claim losses. I’m guessing that a lot of that money is going into off-shore accounts.

I’m not in the life-boat yet, so I’m kind of pissed that they’re pulling in the ropes.

Bill

Crit Group

Last night was the first meeting of the Eagle River (Alaska) Critique Group, which I’ll personally call Jitter’s Critters. We meet at a coffee shop called Jitters, and I don’t think any of my fellow writers are reading this, so I’ll continue to think of it as JC until somebody comes out with a better name than ER Critique Group.

Eight of us showed, and five of us are writing speculative fiction. Seven of us have already written a book length manuscript, tho one writes mysteries and another is working the great American novel of philosophy and naval gazing, uh, self-reflection. There is real hope in my heart.

I guess I started it, but my friend Mary has the more important role of secretary. She’ll probably run the thing until somebody else falls for her line of… I mean, until somebody interested in building their CV by running a functional writer’s group steps into the position.

This will be the first live crit group I’ve been in where the other writers are working at long fiction, and most are in my genre. I hope everybody finds value in this and comes back week after week, but I’d be satisfied if I could get four or five speculative fiction writers to bounce ideas off of, drink coffee with. I’m really hoping that this thing lasts, so worry that I’ll be the only one sitting at the table next Monday.

Bill

Believing impossible contradictions

We live in a weird political maelstrom. I cannot decide if it has been this way for as long as I remember, or if the current crop of extreme viewpoints is really boiling toward some sort of violence. The result is we all try to believe unreasonable numbers of contradictory things, and too many of us fall back on trusting the most sincere salesman in the room. Our right wing, which calls itself conservative, but does not believe in, or in any way support conservation (apologies to Ducks Unlimited; you are the exception that proves the rule, and you must be fairly aware of that), currently is up in arms that about 47% of the U.S. hasn’t paid taxes in the last three years. But that is caused not by people refusing to pay taxes, but by a campaign of lowering taxes, reducing the effectiveness of the IRS, and shrinking government in relation to the population of the United States, that has been underway, largely pushed by the conservative right, since Reaganrsquo;s era (oops, since his era ended. Reagan approved some pretty large tax increases to deal with federal deficits).span style=”mso-spacerun:yes”nbsp; /spanYet today, this largely conservative program is coming home to roost as a Democratic initiative gone wrong.span style=”mso-spacerun:yes”nbsp; /spanThe really sad thing?span style=”mso-spacerun:yes”nbsp; /spanItrsquo;s just another example of politicians directing attention away from the significant.span style=”mso-spacerun:yes”nbsp;br /!–/w:LatentStyles–br /That#39;s right.nbsp; When things were going well, Republicans gladly beat the drum loudly about lowering taxes to the poor.nbsp; Easy votes for negligible income, when you look at the federal balance.nbsp; Now, when the laws they lauded five years ago are actually providing relief to the poorest of us, but the political fires are burning hot in Republican Land to keep taxes off of the rich, the favoite complaint is that not everybody is paying a share.nbsp; This, in an era when the difference in wealth between the poorest and the richest in the US is larger than it has ever been.br /br /I#39;m gonna quit complaining after this next one.nbsp; I heard somebody playing up the idea that the poorest 20% of Americans makes more money than 80% of the rest of the world.nbsp; This is an almost meaningless statistic.nbsp; The piece of shit appartment I lived in when my wife and I first moved in together probably cost more per month than half the world makes in a year.nbsp; The cheapest of two bedroom appartments in Anchorage costs more than $1000.00 a month, or about $2000,00 every year more than the average person on earth makes,a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita” the worldwide income per capita being about $10400 each year./a/span/span Median is another deal.nbsp; The world median income was $1700 in 2005, and probably hasn#39;t done any growing since 2008.nbsp; That#39;s right.nbsp; The worst turd of a 2 bedroom appartment in Anchorage, AK, costs about $10300.00 more than the median income on the planet.nbsp;br /br /There are a lot of people in the US, whose personal weekly expenditures are 10 times what I make in a year, but who pay at a lower tax rate than I do, and the Republican part is ready to go to the mats for them, while screaming that people who have fallen beneath the poverty line should be taxed more heaviily before the millionaires consortium sees any increase./lj-cutbr /!–/lj-cut–nbsp; Yes, there is a class war going on.nbsp; Too bad us hoi poloi only just heard.nbsp; The march on that one was stolen years ago, and we#39;ve already lost.