Sunday, July 24, 2011

Using our Kupunas for political gain


Only if our politicians believe that it will hurt the other party.

The Federal Government receives over $200 billion each month in tax payments. That is enough to pay the interest on the bonds they’ve issued, pay Social Security obligations and make good on the paychecks for those serving in our military.

Social Security is a program that required citizens to pay in to under force of law. In exchange, the government promised to pay benefits when the citizen retired. That’s an obligation and our government shouldn’t be so chicken sh arrogant as to threaten to withhold payments on it.

Those who serve in our military should not be second guessing as to whether they’ll get paid. They risk their lives so we can enjoy our Constitutional freedoms. When a person is deployed, he shouldn’t have to worry if his family has enough to pay for food, clothing and shelter. He has enough to worry about. For our country to threaten to withhold that is pilau despicable.

Paying the interest on the bonds that our government issued also must be done. And we have enough coming in that these obligations can be met each month. There is no threat of default if the interest is paid.

If an individual has loans on credit cards amounting to 70% of his income, we can all agree that he’s in serious trouble. He can’t go to the bank and demand that they lend him more money so he can spend more. Unless, of course, he went to private school or to an elite university. All our top dumbbell  much respected government officials went to Punahou and  Ivy League schools.

Our government does exactly that. They pass a law increasing the amount that they can borrow because they can’t control their spending habits.

Where can they cut? As a proud graduate of the prestigious Farrington High School, I'll explain it to you.

1. Suspend all payroll payments to all elected officials and their staffs until the budget is balanced.

2. Suspend all EPA regulations and funding for the agency indefinitely. You will immediately see investors build more refineries and energy prices will go down. You may even see ferries operating in Hawaii, transporting goods and people between the islands.

3. Suspend all regulations and funding that is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

4. Suspend all programs and tax credits used for social engineering, like subsidizing farmers to produce ethanol. Tax credits for installing energy efficient systems should also be suspended indefinitely. Make everyone pay some income tax and suspend all tax credits which amount to welfare payments. If everyone pays something, they take pride in, and ownership of the country.

5. We can save an additional $20.2 billion if we suspend the Department of Education budget. They pay for 10% of each school’s budget but make up 100% of the rules. When the Federal Government collects $1 for anything, only 27 cents actually is distributed to the recipient. The rest is used for bureaucratic payroll and for administering their rules and regulations. Very inefficient.

6. HUD is also another department that we can do without. The sole function of HUD is to enrich community organizers who redistribute wealth. That’s $6.7 billion each month.

If we need to cut more, then the Justice Department could be trimmed some.

“We, the People of the united States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Any department that doesn’t fit in with the above Preamble should be shut down. That includes Social Security, by the way, but the United States Government forced this contract upon the people so that obligation must be fulfilled. Bernie Madoff tried the exact Ponzi scheme and was quickly sent to prison. Something only our dedicated government officials can get away with.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cheyne Andrade. Refreshing to see some of our young step up


A few weeks ago, I noticed a young man helping at the Center for the Aging, on the grounds of Tripler Army Medical Center. He had a pleasant personality and stood out among the workers.

I have since found that he is a volunteer at the Center. He seemed to enjoy the music and as I went about the usual chatter that I do while performing and I found that he plays the ukulele and the guitar. So I invited him to join me.

Here's Cheyne with his 12 string guitar

He did so the next time I played there, bringing his ukulele. The next time, he brought his 12 string guitar.

Cheyne (pronounced “Shane”) is a 2008 graduate of Saint Louis High School and is home from the University of Hawaii at Hilo where is will be entering his fourth year. He originally was a Marine Science major and is seeking approval to switch to Pre-Nursing.

Cheyne had a few events in his life that made him realize that he could help relatives, friends and family members if he had “hands-on” knowledge and experience in dealing with health issues, and could better assist in their healing process. Thus, the decision to switch to pre-nursing.

At the Center for the Aging, he volunteers at least four days a week from 8 AM to 4 PM. He often goes in five days a week. His mother works for the Veterans’ Administration at Tripler so he goes into work with her and leaves when she does. Very impressive.

He has also previously volunteered with the V.A. at the E-Wing of Tripler at the State Office. When he’s at school in Hilo, he’s also volunteered at the V.A. in the outpatient clinic.

Cheyne was taught to play the ukulele when he was ten years old by his father. A couple of years later, he taught himself to play the guitar and has been playing both instruments ever since. I admire those who can play both because I get confused trying to convert the fingering whenever switching between the two. I personally use a baritone ukulele whenever called upon to play (which isn’t often because I’m so bad at it) only because the fingering is the same as the guitar.

He’s likely a better piano player than me, having taken lessons for about three or four years when he was younger. But, he’s too humble and polite to say anything.

Cheyne was able to keep up with me whether I played simple contemporary Hawaiian music with three chords or Sinatra type ballads. Very impressive because many aren’t able to do the complicated chords that I use.

Mostly, I’m impressed that someone as young as he is would rather volunteer than to cruise the beach with friends while he’s home from college. He has a very bright future ahead of him. Any business or organization that hires him in the future will have acquired a gem of a human being.

Quality people like Cheyne are hard to find. If more of the young ‘uns are like him, we in geezerdom can have more confidence in our society’s ability to care for the Kupunas.