Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Letter to Claire McCaskill

Claire McCaskill is the Senator from Missouri. I wish I could say that she represents me, but that wouldn't be true. I'm sure a lot of her constituents would say the same.

She has been duplicitous in her portrayal of her voting record. She has claimed to be focused on fiscal responsibility, but has voted for every spending measure possible, including Obamacare, TARP and the billion dollar stimulus package.

Not only didn't she claim taxes on her private jet, and charged the government for its use. She claimed she didn't know about those taxes.
She served as Missouri State Auditor. She knew about the tax. Even as she railed against a Bush era tax credit for private jets, she did stated that she take the credit. Her hypocrisy knows no bounds, it seems.

In a stunning display of disconnect, she recently said that one way to reduce the deficit was to eliminate diabetes.


So... What's Wrong With Claire McCaskill?
As I see it, what's wrong with Claire can be in a post from her Twitter account.

McCaskill says one thing, but does another.
She says she listens, but if you look on Twitter, she follows no one and responds to very few mentions. If she listens to Missourians, she wouldn't have voted for Obamacare. She is argumentative at the few town hall meetings she goes to.
"Barack Obama has no better friend than Claire McCaskill."
This is an oft-quoted remark from Joe Biden from the 2008 campaign.  Her voting record proves it, although she recently said she "regularly" votes against her party's line.

She doesn't tell the truth. And she's hypocritical.
She has recently tried to distance herself from the President, by refusing to appear with him at a St. Louis fundraiser, citing schedule conflicts. She arrived in St. Louis just a few hours later. She also called out the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, because she feels she needs to move to the middle in order to be elected for a second term.

She is untruthful. And she lies to cover her ass when she's caught.
Look... she owns a jet. She didn't pay taxes on it. Purposefully. She claims to be a moderate, but nothing is further from the truth. She says she wants the country to be fiscally responsible, but she spends and spends and spends.

She doesn't answer questions. And when she does, she doesn't.
When someone asks her a question, no matter what, McCaskill's answer comes right from the party playbook. It's all about spin. (And she's not really very good at it.)

All of this led me to drop her a quick note. If you live in Missouri, I hope you'll do the same. Here's what I wrote:

Ms. McCaskill,

It's time for you to start telling the truth. You've been lying to your constituents for five years.

Telling us that you believe in fiscal responsibility while voting in favor of every spending measure that hits the Senate floor is not politics.

It's a lie.

I'll let you in on some history. When you ran for governor, I called your office to get some insight into what your policies would be. I was on the fence. The person that answered was trite, condescending and argumentative. He actually yelled at me at one point.

That secured my vote. Your actions since you've been a Senator have also secured my vote, for whomever opposes you.

And quit trying to position yourself as a moderate.  You can't run to the middle at this stage in the election cycle and expect people not to remember what you've done.

If you do happen to win another term, and for the remainder of your current term, I hope that you would tell the truth about who you are and how you've voted.

You owe that to the people of Missouri.

Joel Weaver
Kansas City, MO


Claire McCaskill sent me a reply. Or did she?

Dear Mr. Weaver,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the federal budget.  I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
Like you, I am frustrated that efforts to fix our nation's finances have been stalled.  We need to find a compromise before credit rating agencies downgrade our debt and before the interest payments on the debt begin to exceed national priorities, like repairing our nation's roads and providing affordable education.

As you may know, the Budget Control Act, signed into law on August 1, 2011, created the "Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction," a bipartisan, bicameral twelve person committee in Congress with the sole mission of putting forth a proposal to bring down the nation's deficit and debt.  On November 21, 2011, the committee announced that it failed to come to an agreement and meet this deadline.

In accordance with the Budget Control Act, the federal budget will now be subject to across-the-board, automatic cuts starting in January, 2013, and caps on spending until 2021, constituting a $1.2 trillion reduction in spending.  The cuts will be split evenly between defense and non-defense programs.  However, Social Security, Medicaid, veteran's benefits, and a few other programs will be exempt from the automatic cuts.

Many budget experts and economists believe that these automatic cuts would be problematic for our economy, national defense, and many programs like education and transportation on which middle class Americans rely.  The automatic cuts were included because they were intended to force the Joint Committee, and subsequently Congress, to come to an agreement rather than risk having the automatic cuts go into effect.  I remain deeply disappointed that the Joint Committee failed to compromise and come to a responsible, bipartisan agreement to address our nation's debt.  Congress has become too polarized, with those on the far right and the far left unwilling to compromise at all.

I believe we need a bipartisan compromise that will address our nation's long term debt and prevent across the board cuts.  A compromise will require Democrats and Republicans to accept some recommendations of the other side.  Balance will go a long way towards achieving our goals.

Such an approach to reducing the deficit could include cuts in federal spending, but also must raise revenue, such as by simplifying and cleaning out the tax code.  We should also eliminate duplication and fraud from federal programs and introduce expanded means testing into more programs so taxpayers are not paying for such things as Warren Buffet's prescription drugs.  With these and other commonsense measures, we would be able to make smart, targeted reforms to Defense programs so that we do not undermine our national security.  We would also be able protect Social Security, Medicare, and other important programs from severe and regressive cuts that unfairly target the poor and seniors and that could slow down our economy.

What is clear is that the American people lose when Washington politics gets in the way.  We have a difficult road ahead, and we need real, bipartisan compromise to solve our nation's complex fiscal problems.  I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle to seek such compromise that will bring our nation's budget to balance.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.


Claire McCaskill
United States Senator

Monday, December 5, 2011

Two Birds, One Stone

How to Save the Post Office and Get Back at Those Companies That Send Junk Mail

Citibank wastes trees and money with badvertising.
The United States Postal Service is in a hard way right now. Losing money hand over fist. Millions in benefits owed to pensioners. Increased  competition from FedEx, UPS, DHL. Letter writing is dying. Catalogs have moved to the Internet because more people shop electronically. And, the worst indicator that the USPS is in trouble, Claire McCaskill has took up the charge, encouraging people to send cash through the mail.

I've got a much better idea, and it will stick it to the credit card companies who barrage you with unwanted solicitation.

Instead of throwing that junk mail away... open it. Look for the business reply envelope. (Or "BRE" if you're in the industry.) Set it aside.

Find the piece of paper with the legalese on it... the rates you're getting now, the rates you'll be getting charged next year, under what conditions you'll be charged more, etc.

Write a message on it in big magic marker. Something sweet... maybe a note for the Holidays.

A seasonal message, peppered with a political statement.

Then stuff that sumbitch in the BRE, lick the envelope and send it back to those assholes.

Now ask yourself:
The Post Office charges postage plus 72 cents per piece of business reply mail.

Not just yes, but HELL YES!

Can one person make a difference?
I get 5 pieces of junk mail per week with BREs in them. That's 520 unwanted pieces of mail. At $1.17 or so, that's roughly $304.20 I've helped the Post Office generate while sticking it to the man.

Can we turn this into a movement?
If every household in the country did this, we'd have the USPS back in the black within a year, to the tune of $40,154,400,000. (That's $40.15 billion and change, folks.) Figuring five a week is average, 132 million households per the 2010 Census. That comes out to be a big chunk of change the Banks of America, Chase, Capital One, Discover and Wells Fargo will be forking out.

There may be some collateral damage. Sorry magazines, cell phone companies and Dish Network, but you're assholes, too. This quit being efficient two decades ago. Find a new way to advertise.

I don't usually make new years resolutions, but I'm doing this in 2012. Who's with me?