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Friday, February 27, 2009

THE COUNTRY PARSON

Recently, while paging through some old, old newspapers I had saved, I had the pleasure to rediscover a simple, one panel comic strip I used to follow during the mid to late 1960s in my local newspaper called "The Country Parson." It featured an old-fashioned, kindly and thoughtful-looking senior preacher, usually holding a Bible, or standing outside his country church, giving us readers a one or two line sermon chockful of common sense, wisdom, and/or morality. His "sermons" touched on a wide range of topics, from economics to social mores to religion to basic simple truths. They were priceless little jewels. I was so pleased to re-find this strip that I decided to do a little research. I went to our public library to view other old copies of our newspaper on microfilm in hopes of seeing many more samples of this strip. My search yielded example after example of these gems. I decided to Google "The Country Parson" and there I learned some things I never knew before about its author, Frank A. Clark, and the two artists who drew it during the strip's 30+ year run. The fact that Mr. Clark had managed to author 6 panels each week of continual simple truth and wisdom for all those years astounded me.

Frank A. Clark was born in 1911, and was the son, of all things, a banker later-turned insurance man. He was never a preacher, though it is evident from his life and work that he thought like one. He did undertake Divinity studies for a time in college, hoping to become a Disciples of Christ minister, before finally majoring in math and minoring in physics. In Depression-era 1933, he landed a job at the information desk of the Des Moines Register and Tribune, eventually managing to rise in its ranks to become Managing Editor. He once recalled, "most of the good things that happened to me in my career, happened by accident, when I was trying to help someone else." And so it was with "The Country Parson." Cartoonist Wally Falk had the idea for the comic feature and asked for Clark's help as a writer. Their collaboration began in 1955 and continued until Falk's death in 1962, at which time Dennis Neal took over illustration duties. At its height in 1963, the strip appeared simultaneously in 79 newspapers, although over the course of its run it appeared in more than 200 overall. Clark continued producing the feature until well past normal retirement age. When asked about how he was able to keep doing it, he remarked that he had heard a lot of sermons and read many more and just boiled them down to one sentence, "which probably was all they should have been in the first place." He also recalled that, over the years, many preachers would take his one-liners and then expand them back into full-blown sermons again. I loved his simplicity and Midwestern sensibility. His was no fire-and-brimstone message, but rather one of soft wit or an observation on human folly. Clark died in 1991 and donated his body to science.

Like Will Rogers before him, the man had a real gift for clever condensation. He often ingeniously melded conservative values into liberal or progressive themes of the day. He was an early critic of the Vietnam War and often seemed to promote egalitarian economic and social thought. He was able to give those of all political or religious persuasions food for thought. Some of his most memorable thoughts and observations, as featured in his comic strip, I list here below:

"Kindness makes a fellow feel good whether it's being done to him or by him."

"A man's conscience - like the warning line on the highway, tells him what he shouldn't do - but it does not keep him from doing it."

"A Bible that's falling apart usually belongs to a person who isn't."

"Modern man is frantically trying to earn enough to buy things he's too busy to enjoy."

"The reason there's so much ignorance is that those who have it are so eager to share it."

"Sins are kinda like rabbits - turn a couple of 'em loose and the next thing you know there's a whole bunch of new ones."

"A leading authority is anybody who has guessed right more than once."

"If you haven't time to help youngsters find the right way in life, somebody with more time will help them find the wrong way."

"Gossip needn't be false to be evil - there's a lot of truth that shouldn't be passed around."

"We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't."

"Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man's growth without destroying his roots."

Clark was a remarkable man. His thoughts exhibited profound introspection and an appeal to humankind's more noble instincts and better judgment. He often displayed more civility and genuine Christianity in simple phrases than we have seen in entire volumes by James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, or Pat Robertson. As I ponder the deep thought and gentle, understated wisdom in Clark's work, I am startled by the contrasting shallowness and shrillness of those purportedly wise (yet very harsh and impulsive) attack-dog pundits of today's far-right factions of the Republican Party like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Alan Keyes, Bill O'Reilly, Rick Santelli, and similar short-sighted people. Were I seeking information on morality, or meaningful insights into the human condition, I would unhesitatingly take 1 of Clark over 5,000,000 of them.

Frank A. Clark, the pen of "The Country Parson", was a rare national treasure. Our country needs more men and women like him today. Regrettably, we have very few of his caliber, for each of us needs our own personal Country Parson. Always.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A VERY, VERY SICK PATIENT

SOME OF THIS BELOW APPEARS IN MY COMMENTS ON BURR DEMING'S MASTERFUL "FAIR AND UNBALANCED" WEBSITE, IN A 2/20/09 POST ENTITLED "THE DOWNWARD REPUBLICAN PHENOMENON." For an always thoughtful, intelligent, insightful, and relevant read, visit that sight often, as I do, at http://www.fairandunbalanced.com/.



The late, great, visionary Democratic President and New Deal architect, Franklin D. Roosevelt was once asked why there were so many quarreling factions in his party, while his Republican opponents always seemed so unified. Unhesitatingly, and with a twinkle in his eye, he responded, "There are many ways of moving forward, but there is only one way of standing still." Yet another visionary Democratic President, John F. Kennedy, once compared Republicans to a group of circus elephants joined together at the tail, following each other around in an endless circle. Both descriptions of the Republican Party proved once again apt this week, as the GOP ignored the plight of rising millions of its suffering countrymen by digging in its heels in solid opposition to President Barack Obama's Stimulus Plan. As did their predecessors in the 1930s and 1960s, today's GOP finds itself once more fighting a losing battle which will cost them dearly.

Today's Republicans have no pragmatic solutions for our pressing problems. They cling to the very same old, discredited economic theories of an unfettered free market and small, ineffective government which failed the country in the 1920s, 1980s, and again in the early 2000s. They are overly conservative socially, exclusive, and are becoming increasingly intolerant. They look to unqualified and under-educated people like Sarah Palin and Joe the phony Plumber for leadership and inspiration. They have become a sullen and seemingly bitter group. Their persona in recent years resembles that of a spoiled, stubborn, pouting small child on the verge of a temper tantrum. John Boehner, for one, often displays the facial expressions of a defiant little brat in need of a severe spanking and time spent standing in the corner. The GOP of today is anti-tax (even in the face of record deficits THEY created under George W. Bush), anti-government (even though free market private industry has failed the public in many ways), anti-progress, anti-cooperation, and anti-action. They truly are standing still at a time when we need them to move and help build. Were they lowly employees at the big corporations they seem to love so dearly, they would surely be fired en masse for bad attitude, disruption, and undeniably poor performance. American voters should fire them too, for not serving our interests. For the GOP continues to press for more tax cuts for the wealthy and huge corporations, saying that is the only way to provide economic growth and create good jobs. They conveniently overlook the fact that the last several rounds of tax cuts were only used to create jobs overseas and line the wealthy's already overly bulging pockets. They also ignore the fact that their insistence on smaller government and deregulation has led to the rise of unsafe products, unnecessary deaths, and increased pollution, all of which have hurt the population.

This is no longer the progressive party which brought Abraham Lincoln to the presidency and created a majority for itself in 1860. It is not the party which adopted and implemented the greatly beneficial reforms and progressivism of Teddy Roosevelt in the early 1900s. I laugh when I hear today's Republicans refer to themselves as being members of "the party of Lincoln." In many ways, they are the very OPPOSITE of his party. The current GOP has shifted so far to the right and has become so ultra conservative it is now completely out of touch with most Americans, who no longer share its views. Liberal Republicans have gone the way of the pterodactyl, and moderates are heading in that direction too. The overwhelming majority which remain as dominant are a residue of nasty hard core conservatives and near-extremists. This unfortunate process began in the days of the 1964 Goldwater presidential campaign, accelerated in the 1980s Reagan era, and reached full fruition with the ascendancy of George W. Bush to the presidency. This far-right trend has now gone "overboard" and is killing the party. It has gone SO far-right, in fact,that it has nearly pushed the party off the American political scale altogether. Interestingly enough, this remaining ultra-conservative residue is clamoring for a shift even FURTHER to the right!

The maddening thing is how closed-minded these current Republicans have become. They no longer accept fact as factual. In their view, the only truth in political discussion is that which originates from THEM. Through irresponsibly dishonest and self-serving spokespersons like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, AnnCoulter, Bill O'Reilly, Alan Keyes, Michelle Mallkin, and congressional parrots like John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, Eric Cantor, Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham, John Cornyn, and a shrinking number of others, they make wildly inaccurate claims, accusations, and distortions against their political opponents in an increasingly vicious and mean-spirited voice. They deceitfully claim to be shut out of government these days, even though President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders have allowed them FAR more input than THEY allowed Democrats in the fairly recent, notorious Bush/Frist/DeLay days of total Republican control!

The current Republican Party is indeed a very, very sick patient. It is much like a near-terminal person refusing all chemotherapy or medication. It will not compromise, nor will it listen to reason. Meghan McCain, daughter of the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, spoke this past week on how the party must become more "tech savvy" to survive. She was discussing only tactical maneuvering and therefore missed the point entirely. The country is totally fed up with Republicans' pandering to the rich, rejecting people for reasons of race or sexual preference, preying on peple's fear, and constantly employing uncooperative, attack-dog methodology. Sorry, Ms. McCain, but barring a miracle, or a complete change in attitude and direction, the increasingly partisan, bitter, intolerant, and isolated group you call the Republican Party will lose all influence and recede into history regardless of how tech savvy it becomes. Meghan, your patient is very, VERY sick. It appears to be deservedly and rapidly approaching its death throes. Good riddance, I say!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A FAILED, BANKRUPT, AND DANGEROUS PHILOSOPHY

"The expenses of government, having for their object the interest of all, should be borne by everyone, and the more a man enjoys the advantages of society, the more he ought to hold himself honored in contributing to those expenses."
- Anne Robert Jacques Turgot -

"I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. -

"Taxes, after all, are dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt -

"The payment of taxes gives a right to protection."
- James M. Wayne

It seems that almost everyone dreads paying taxes. As each April 15 nears, blood pressures rise, sweat starts to flow, the sound of grumbling can be heard, and people all across the country pray for a refund or that they won't have to send money into the government. Conservative Republicans love to capitalize on this to selfishly advance their own anti-government, anti-tax agenda. It's pathetic how these people always want to appeal to the public's baser instincts just so they can gain, maintain, or regain power. Republicans love to manipulate people into thinking only of themselves rather than for the benefit of everyone as a whole.

Don't get me wrong: I am not an advocate of high taxation or resorting to taxation as a means to force economic equality across the board. But, like the wise and thoughtful persons quoted above, I understand the necessity of both government AND taxes. As evidenced by their behavior over most of the past 30 years, "the conservative era," it is obvious that most Republicans do not.

As shown throughout the Reagan years, and again through the disastrous George W. Bush era, and even in the current economic stimulus discussions, Republicans seem to think that the only way to create economic growth is by cutting taxes on big business and wealthy individuals. The thought is that these entities will then take that freed capital and invest in new business to produce new jobs and higher wages for their workers. But we have already seen what a fallacy that belief is. Giant oil corporations have been recipients of huge subsidies and tax breaks for years, and they have failed to build even one new domestic refinery in more than 30 years. Giant corporations and wealthy individuals have NOT taken their huge tax breaks and invested in new industry or raised wages here, even though worker productivity has risen steadily over the past decade. Instead, these capital-rich groups have exported jobs and invested in plants outside of our borders. The net effect, of course, has been to vastly increase their wealth and holdings while decreasing those of working America. We have also seen the devastation caused by Republican-led deregulation and smaller government efforts. Our mortgage and banking industries have all but collapsed, energy speculators have raped us, and our products are growing increasingly unsafe and our environment is getting increasingly more polluted. This is not good; it is bad. This is not progress; it is regression. This is not right: it is morally and operationally wrong.

Those who complain loudest about taxes usually fall in the upper income brackets. Most of them are Republicans. Paradoxically, some of them pay NO taxes, having managed to loophole themselves out of taxation altogether. Many others cheat whenever and wherever possible. Yet they do not hesitate to avail themselves of tax-supported highways, police, fire, or defense for their own benefit or security, or demand the most of these. The rest pay a higher percentage of their income than do those in much lower income groups. However, when all the dust has settled, they still have a much higher amount of money left over for investment, creature comforts, luxuries, or just fun than do the poor or middle class, who now end up unable to afford even basic necessities, let alone make inestments, or purchase luxuries or have fun money. In fact, many of the latter groups have now even lost their homes or cannot even afford medicine or health insurance.

We constantly hear John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham, John Boehner, Jeff Sessions, Jim DeMint, Mike Pence, John Cornyn, and all the rest of those congressional Republicans pushing for even more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. But these Republicans are completely out of touch with the current pain and struggle of the great majority of the country, the people who DO pay taxes and have little if any money left over afterward in comparison. These Republicans have refused to support a stimulus plan that will put more money in the hands of the poor and middle class. They have chosen to be uncooperative and obstructionist. They prefer to stand resolute, pouting and shouting in support of an abstract principle of smaller government or less taxation, rather than to act on behalf of what their constituents really desperately need. As such, since they are not really representing the best interests of the majority of their constituents, they should be thrown out of office next time they are up for election. We have abundant proof that their belief in deregulation and "trickle down economics" is incorrect and actually harmful to the country, save for all but a few piggish filthy rich. These Republicans, and all who follow them, should be removed from the public payroll since what they advocate is a failed, bankrupt, and dangerous philosophy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises proclaim their neutrality."
- Dante -

Workers, consumers, and voters, unite!

This is indeed a time of great moral and economic crisis. Bankers and large multinational corporations are sitting on their money, doing nothing, and their conservative Republican allies in Congress are aiding and abetting them as growing millions of their fellow citizens are thrown out of work. You can always count on these conservative Republicans to let you down when the chips are down. With their hearts in ice, and their ostritch heads stuck firmly in the sands of unyielding principle, they refuse to budge to meet the crisis at hand. In this case, the principle immobilizing them is the belief that the federal government should not step in with extra and massive emergency spending for people to create work. Instead, they stand as stubborn mules solidly in support of more tax cuts for big business, even though that tired approach has yielded very little for most Americans over the past three decades. Today's conservative Republicans are once more standing in the way of progress for ordinary people, just as they did from 1929-1933 during the Great Depression, and again in the 1950s-1960s when many of them opposed federal enforcement of civil rights legislation. They were out of touch and wrong then, and they are equally out of touch and wrong today.

Many years ago, the conservative Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C. think-tank whose economic ideas heavily influenced Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and, to a lesser degree, Democrat Bill Clinton, strongly advocated the concept of free trade. They predicted it would, "over a fifteen year time span, create the world's largest market, some 360 million people." They also predicted that free trade agreements like NAFTA would guarantee American workers to be the most competitive in the world. The assumption was that, through our purchase of cheaper foreign-made goods, prices here would be much lower and foreign consumers would be able to afford and buy increasing amounts of technologically advanced American-made products, causing further job growth here. But the Heritage Foundation and its adherents were wrong. Dead wrong. Since 2001, when the export of high-paying American manufacturing jobs to cheap foreign labor markets really began to escalate, the Washington Post estimates we have lost 2.5 MILLION factory jobs here, 1 MILLION of them from NAFTA alone! Such a rapid and widespread drain of jobs and even entire plants from within our borders has proven disastrous.

I am not a protectionist. Trade with other countries is essential in keeping peace, providing prosperity, and promoting understanding, when done properly. But such trade must be fair and equally beneficial. Post-World War II European history proves this. Before that time, dating back many hundreds of years, Europe had been a group of disunified nation-states often feuding and warring with each other. There were wide variations in standard of living. Over the years, as a result of increased trade fostered through associations like the Common Market and, later, the European Union, Europe has become more multilaterally prosperous and has been largely at peace for nearly 65 years. But this scenario cannot be achieved through the flawed or one-sided trade agreements like our government has negotiated with China or set up with NAFTA and other similar deals over the past decade. For example, according to the Economic Policy Institute, our trade deficit with Mexico and Canada stood at $9 billion in 1993. That figure grew to $112 billion by 2004 and is even higher today. American unemployment has shot up dramatically, and wages have stagnated or fallen. The only real major beneficiaries of these failed trade agreements have been a handful of corporate executives both here and abroad, and some of the foreign governments involved. American workers (and our economy) have been badly hurt, and the lot of foreign workers, most of whom are paid a pittance, has only improved marginally overall. This is not progress; it is regression.

George W. Bush and many rabid Republican free market, free trade advocates like Phil Gramm, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, Dick Armey, Mitch McConnell, and many more of that for-the-rich-only squad, also promised us that massive tax cuts for the wealthy and huge corporations would foster tremendous investment in new American industry and lead to the creation of millions of high-paying new jobs here. The current Republican congressional caucus still makes these claims. From John McCain to Mike Pence, from Richard Shelby to John Boehner, we all hear this chorus of nonsense about how cutting taxes is the only way to create new jobs. The Wall Street Journal and Chamber of Commerce crowd all join in harmony. But guess again, boys---it doesn't happen that way anymore. According to an August 4, 2006 CATO Institute report, in 2001 Bush and his Republican cohorts gave American corporations tax cuts ranging from 3-5%. In 2002, corporations were allowed to write off 30% of the cost of new equipment, and this figure was later raised to 50%. In a March, 2007 report issued by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the 2001 and 2003 Bush/neocon Republican income tax cuts gave an after-tax income increase of 6.8% to the upper 1% of income earners, and 4.6% to the top 20% of income earners. (By contrast, the lowest 20% of income earners only got o.5%). With many billions of dollars freed for corporations and for billionaires and millionaires alike, where was the resultant investment and job creation? Easy: In China, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico, and other countries. Not here. And we were forced to then BUY products made in those countries as a result of our own manufacturing being shipped there, an added insult to our injury!

I am not at all against good profit, or the honest attainment of individual wealth. I am glad our system has produced great prosperity and millionaires and billionaires over time. But I strongly object to collusion between concentrated capital and our government to vastly increase the wealth of already wealthy individuals while leaving eceryone else to fend for themselves. I detest the fact that concentrated capital and its Republican government stooges have, in effect, misled and lied to voters and economically held down the many for the overwhelming enrichment of only a few.

So, BANKERS, CORPORATE CEOs, REPUBLICANS, BILLIONAIRES, and MILLIONAIRES, it is now 2009 and your country is in grave need. After billions and billions of increased income through corporate tax cuts since 2001, and billions and billions in individual income tax reductions, and billions and billions in increased profit you have obtained by slashing your labor costs through the production of your goods in cheap foreign labor markets, and with millions of American consumers and workers now out of work, WHY ARE YOU JUST SITTING ON YOUR MONEY? Where the hell are all the millions of high-paying American jobs you promised would be created here? Were they just part of a big lie you told voters so you could get what you wanted and stuff your wallets at our expense? Will you wait until we once again have long breadlines and soup kitchens and riots in the streets before you act? I repeat, billionaires and millionaires, and especially you free market, free trade Republicans, and I do so for all of us voters, workers, and consumers (and THIS time, we want an HONEST answer): WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

THE PARTY'S OVER, BOYS!

"It always seemed strange to me that the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second."
- John Steinbeck -

"Landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed."
-Karl Marx -

"The man who has won millions at the cost of his conscience is a failure."
- B. C. Forbes -

Corporate greed continues unabated, but at long last signs are emerging that the party may finally be over for corporate America's greediest and most irresponsible pigs. In the past day or two, President Obama (with echoed cries from enlightened members of Congress like Sen. Claire McCaskill [D-MO] and Rep. Elijah Cummings [D-MD]) has come down hard on corporate executives' grossly excessive salaries and bonuses as well as their lavish expenditures after receiving federal taxpayer bailout money to rescue the very businesses these people have helped lead to huge operating losses. Not since JFK, in his battle against the steel companies collectively raising prices simultaneously ("My father always told me all businessmen were sons of bitches"), has a President publicly spoken so boldly against the greed of corporate America. It is a refreshing and long-overdue sound. Obama's recommendation that corporate CEOs whose companies have received TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds limit their annual salaries to no more than $500,000 per year is not at all unreasonable. Especially so, when you consider the President himself, the man responsible for our well-being and security, and the one who runs our government, is paid only $400,000 per year.

Corporate executives have come to develop a disgusting arrogance and sense of entitlement in recent times. As labor union strength has seriously and dramatically declined over the past three decades (ever since Ronald Reagan broke their backs during the 1981 PATCO strike), corporate executive pay has shot up like a Mars rocket and so have their bonuses. Meanwhile, these execs have succeeded in freezing workers' wages, cutting employee benefits, laying many workers off, and exporting millions of their jobs overseas to cheap foreign labor markets. To add insult to injury, the worst President in history, George W. Bush, even gave these wealthy, overpaid fat cats huge tax cuts several times during his terms in office. With government regulations eased through heavy conservative Republican pressure over the past 10 years, it is no wonder these execs have developed their sense of entitlement and godlike invincibility. Consider these recent actions undertaken after bailout money was granted them:

- AIG, who received $85 BILLION in taxpayer rescue funds, sent 70 of its "top performers" on a $440,000 luxury resort junket.
- WELLS FARGO BANKS, who were awarded $25 BILLION in TARP funds, had rented out 12 nights' stay at two of the most expensive hotels in Las Vegas for a casino junket for its elites until the move became public knowledge and the shit hit the fan. I might add that the cheap bastards at Wells Fargo feel it necessary to charge $5 per payroll check drawn ON their bank to anyone not holding an account there wanting to cash said check AT that bank. Nothing like preying on the little folk so the big guys can have their expensive getaways (and the CEO can be paid, yet hardly "earn", a $12 million salary)!
- CITIGROUP, recipient of $45 BILLION in bailout money, spent an estimated $10 million to sponsor the Super Bowl. For this money, its guests (executive, employee, or otherwise---they won't reveal who attended) got luxury suite seats at the game and admittance to extravagant parties. Citigroup also paid extra to host an outside-the-stadium "NFL Fan Experience" display. But the extravagance doesn't stop there, folks. Oh no! AFTER the bailout money was obtained, Citigroup's piggish execs pushed through approval for the purchase of a $50 MILLION corporate jet from France! Thankfully, pressure from President Obama and the media forced them to withdraw this ridiculous and unnecessary purchase.
- MORGAN STANLEY, who got $10 BILLION in TARP money, and who laid off 5,000 employees last year, recently held a lavish 3 day conference for its esteemed guests at a posh resort. Company executives defended their actions by stating they had obtained a discount rate of only $400 per night per room per person. But as Rep. Elijah Cummings of MD points out, "...for most people in my block, that would be half of a monthly mortgage payment, $400."

The list of corporate excesses could go on and on. This behavior is pervasive throughout the big business community. Executives are rewarded with "golden parachutes", millions of dollars at retirement, which they receive even if fired, and even if their poor performance has cost the company millions of dollars. These same people, almost to a man or woman, cringe at the very thought of giving their employees long overdue, signifigant wage increases. They oppose welfare for much the same reason, believing the recipients will develop a sense of entitlement which will adversely affect their performance or work ethic. Regrettably, this very sense of entitlement has come to fruition---among the execs THEMSELVES. They have lavished themselves with luxury for so long, and to such great excess, that they have effectively lost touch with reality. They have become blind to the needs of their own employees, their own communities, and to the entire country as well.

These fools claim that such gargantuan salaries and perks are needed to attract the best executives. Yet, in practice, this same philosophy is never applied to lesser employees. With workers, the idea is to offer as little as can possibly be gotten away with. These executive fools tell their employees that taking or doing a job only for the money is a bad thing. Yet what do THEY do? It is obvious to see the executive class has become a collection of badly corrupted and misguided ineffectual hypocrites. Even their logic is flawed, as many of these "best executives" have miserably failed their companies, their stockholders, their EMPLOYEES, and even their country and its TAXPAYERS at large, yet they continue to get exorbitant salaries.

President Obama is absolutely correct when he says it is shameful to reward failure with exorbitant salaries, as has been the practice in many of our modern-day corporations. They (or their surrogate Republican congresspersons) will scream and piss and moan at Obama's $500,000 maximum annual salary directive. But they will all be ethically, morally, and totally wrong in doing so.

The party's over, boys, and you've imbibed way too much at our expense. You'll try to find loopholes and ways to get back to your vastly over-compensated state of being, and you may even succeed. Ignorant and self-centered cutthroats like yourselves usually do. But your success won't last for long. This time, we won't let it!