Mitt – are you really that stupid?

Mitt – at a fundraising event yesterday in SC. And he needs armed (in combat gear) security because? Maybe because he had a lower tax rate than most Americans over the last decade.

So Mitt shares he has personally gone back to review his taxes (highly doubtful) and he reveals that he has paid taxes contrary to the remarks made by Harry Reid.  Ok – but he also includes the fact that in the last 10 years, he has never paid less than 13% effective tax rate.  Could just be me but I can’t think that telling the America public that he has paid at an even lower tax rate than we all heard previously would seem to be a great strategic move.  I guess it is better than a situation where he paid no tax but not much.  His throwing in that if you count his charitable contributions, he is paying over 20% also doesn’t carry much weight for a couple of reasons.  First, if I recall correctly, most all his charitable contribution went to the Morman Church.  While it works for his church, it somewhat pales in comparison to actually helping others outside your personal circle.  Second, last time I looked, charitable contributions are a deduction from taxes so no matter how you looked at it, he didn’t pay 20% in taxes.  Lastly, giving to charity is a voluntary action.  Unlike, taxes which isn’t really a choice.  So when you add it all up, what Mitt pays falls into the same tax bracket for a single person making less than $35K.  Take a look – and these are for 2012 – obviously much higher than the last decade.  I know it is a bit more complex than this and that tax brackets don’t equate to effective tax rate but directionally not that far off considering his average annual income isn’t even in the six figure range.  Hell, I’m figuring I’ll need to be retired before I see that tax rate – mine hasn’t been below 24% in recently memory.

2012 Tax Brackets

So, for being so stupid and trying to answer one problem by waving a flag elsewhere and actually pointing to another problem, I think it is appropriate tha Mitt get today’s “Head in the Butt” award – I think he should share it with his staff given it is obvious no one said “You know, Mitt, might not be a great idea to tell everyone you are actually paying even less tax”.

Mitt – take a bow – carefully…it’s one thing to have your foot in your mouth.

Ricky Santorum – boy have we missed him!

I will admit fodder for blogs was much easier when Ricky was still in the hunt for the Republican nomination.  After realizing that most of Republican America still saw him as the jerk and reprobate that Pennsylvania voters realized several years ago, he quickly put his tail between his legs and took refuge somewhere no doubt where 21st century thinking was still decades away.

Freedom – as long as your believe what I do!

But, hallelujah, glory be, HE IS BACK! (that is the closest to a religious fervor I can get).  Yesterday, Ricky shared his opinion that President Barack Obama is “directly assaulting” religious freedom and that his administration has implemented policies that force Catholics to abandon their faith.  Now, while I understand this is politics and that Santorum plays to a select few (none of whom I can personally admit to being an acquaintance), I think Ricky really needs to understand that most Catholics, if we use their support and aherence to the beliefs of the Catholic faith, have long abandoned the rules set by the Catholic Church without help from the present administration.  I also have to wonder where Ricky’s wife, who managed to cohabit, un-married, with a renowned abortion doctor, the founder of Pittsburgh’s first abortion clinic in the 1970′s, for several years pre-Ricky, really feels about all this.  She has no doubt hit the confessional a few times – nothing a couple of Hail Mary’s can’t fix.

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers as far as Americans who are Catholic and their adherence to the faith.  In full disclosure, I am a longstanding atheist so I have issues with most any religious belief – while I’ll defend to the end your right to believe whatever you want, I’ll still never understand how you can believe what you do.  I will admit I just happen to find the Catholic belief structure and the Pope particularly abhorrent.

Hmm…Birth Control – while the more non-catholics find birth control morally acceptable than catholics, it isn’t by much.  More important, 8 in 10 catholics don’t align with their faith.  I guess most of these people won’t be abandoning their faith because of Obama – they left long ago.

This next chart is even more interesting.

Quite a bit to highlight here – but the data in the chart is pretty clear.  The majority of Catholics polled seem to fall on the wrong side of sticking with the mandates of the Catholic faith – even the church going Catholics.  Even more amazing is that more church going Catholics see abortion as morally acceptable than non-Catholics.  Quite a few of them gambling also.

Here’s another surprise (not) – not alot of support of the Catholic Church in general by Catholics – aside from a great number of beliefs remaining in the dark ages, I guess the abuse of little boys hasn’t help the cause much.

So at the end of the day, Ricky, I give to you the latest “Head in the Butt” award.  There was no question among the voters and I expect this will not be the last time you get this honor given there is still a few months to go and you will be out there helping Mitt.

Ricky has also started to weigh in on Paulie R.

“What Paul Ryan stands for in conservative circles and in the media and in this country, for those who know him, is someone who is willing to challenge the status quo and have bold ideas to confront the problems of this country in a truthful fashion,” Santorum said.

Yes, there is no doubt Paulie comes to the table with some bold ideas.

From Thinkprogress.org –

“Ryan embraces the extreme philosophy of Ayn Rand. Ryan heaped praise on Ayn Rand, a 20th-century libertarian novelist best known for her philosophy that centered on the idea that selfishness is “virtue.” Rand described altruism as “evil,” condemned Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor, viewed the feminist movement as “phony,” and called Arabs “almost totally primitive savages.”

Wow – she sounds more like a 2012 Republican than a professed libertarian.

What is Good (at least for me)…

These are times that often annoy me beyond belief. I watch what the country seems to value (or not) as important, I see the “role models” many seem to glom on to (Snooky – really?), I look at the issues that take national attention (the fact that availability of birth control for women is still a topic is a national disgrace – what is it 1959?), I see Rick Santorum (gag!!!) is actually being looked at as the Republican front runner (who actually thinks the Republican Party isn’t in trouble? Even Reagan is spinning in his grave), I watch as there are arguments around things cost too much and taxes are too high but yet no one wants to give up anything on their side – what is the deal? Are people really this stupid? The formula is actually pretty simple – someone has to pay for everything that is received – no matter what. Simple law – everything costs and there is no magic. You don’t like outsourcing and want the jobs back in the US – well, then expect to pay more – hard to find people in the US that will take a job that pays $3500 annually – keep in mind that labor costs make up the vast majority of most company costs.
But I digress – my original thought today was really how much I need to refocus back on that which is really important and that which gives me solace in the mess that is around me. When I look at that which I control (only in the broadest sense – I really control little – it’s really where I have influence and the results of my actions end up with something good), I actually can feel good – great wife and marriage (31+ years), two amazing, stand-out kids (well, not really kids anynore – successful adults at this point), a career that is well beyond anything I ever imagined, nice house, well positioned for retirement, I could go on and on but why rub it in. Was I lucky? In some ways – but only really when it came to finding my life partner – I recognize that finding that special one is basically a crap shoot – there is a bit of luck involved but one also needs to recognize when you find that person and you need to act accordingly…and I did. I am who I am today because of her – and I never forget it.
There are those who would look at the rest of my life and say I was lucky in most everything else. Easy to do because it gives them an excuse for why they aren’t at the same place. I’ve already heard “you’re lucky you have good kids” – well, I am lucky but they aren’t good kids because it just happened. We actually did what parents are supposed to do – we actively raised them, we made hard decisions when we needed to, we disciplined when needed and meant what we said when we threatened, we spent time with them, we supported their activities and actions, we went to bat for them when they were right and we held then accountable when they weren’t.  And we loved them and they knew it no matter what.

One of my favorite photos

I can go on and on – but the message is clear – It just doesn’t happen – you need to work at it.  Whether it is your marriage, your kids, your job, who you are as a person – you can’t wait for it to happen elsewhere, you can’t delegate it to others, you need to take ownership.  I recognize I still have a lot of work to do and a bit of distance to cover but at least I’m on the journey.  Seems simple in concept but it means you need to work and expend energy – something that seems to be an issue with many in today’s world. They expect it because there is a sense of entitlement. Not sure where it came from or why but I believe it is at the core of much of our problem as a society and culture.

But again, my life is good – with that mantra I can deal with most anything – Even the stupid bastards out there that are always getting in my way –