Ned Pepper's Outrages

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ned's Latest on Disability

Ned's friends know that for some time he has been on the proverbial warpath on the subject of so-called disability payments made by Social Security. Once a favorable determination is made, it is seldom changed, bestowing upon the recipient a lifetime monthly payment. Ned has been pointing out a number of individuals in his personal knowledge who are collecting disability and at the same time going about their business seemingly unaffected by any physical or mental affliction.
Comes word today through the NYT that a number of individuals have been arrested in a massive scheme to defraud the national railroad pension system out of vast sums through fraudulent disability claims. Seems that virtually every employee of the Long Island Rail Road, upon retirement, successfully claims disability, which, with the accompanying pension, amounts to in some cases over $100 k a year. These individuals, representing the veritable tip of the iceberg, have apparently defrauded the pension system out of more than 1 billion dollars. Some of the arrestees have been photographed playing tennis and golf, and even taking 400 mile bike tours, all the while attesting that they can barely move! And of course they have found medicos who were willing to so certify.
Ned hopes, when found guilty, they will all roast in the lowest and hottest circles of hell, but beforehand, will spend decades in prison with large angry black men thrown in jail for life for smoking a gram of crack.
Ned will add this update: according to today's (Friday) NYT, the paper ran an expose of these practices on the LIRR IN 2008, but nobody did anything. Score another for the criminal Bush regime's stratospheric and breathtaking incompetence.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Nation of Sheep

For years now Ned has suspected that America is a nation of sheep. The recent announcement by Bank of America that they were charging $5 a month to account holders to access their money with a debit card was so outrageous that Ned was moved to expect mobs burning buses in the streets, but there has barely been a bleat. Here's why Ned is upset:
Item: This company was bailed out by taxpayers to the tune of tens of billions of dollars during the financial meltdown, which the bank's own policies helped to precipitate.
Item: This company has been in the habit of paying their Sneering Plutocrat CEO's and other corporate parasites tens of millions in "salary" and bonuses.
Item: This company bought Countrywide Financial, which turned out to be one of the worst business deals of the past century, as the company came with billions of dollars in bad mortgages.
Item: This company pays virtually nothing to account holders in interest.
The fact that these people would dare to try to impose this charge on account holders (Ned does not have an account there) to access their OWN money should be sufficient reason to bring unruly crowds into the streets. Now, Ned is not advocating violence, but this sort of stuff happens every day in dozens of countries around the globe, including "civilized" European ones.
The fact that we have heard barely a whimper from government or our piss-ant citizenry further confirms that we are, indeed, a Nation Of Sheep.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Academic Fraud and the Economy

Ned has learned of a growing scandal involving 'on-line education.' Apparently, many persons enrolled in such scams--er, programs, hire others to take their exams for them. So we seem to be 'graduating' some number of persons from such programs who are clearly unqualified and who have cheated to obtain their 'credentials.'
Now, Ned has at the same time noticed a growing tendency over the years for those employed in firms across the spectrum to display less and less familiarity with the English Language with every passing year. One of Ned's friends recently contracted with a local firm to make a number of T-shirts for an event she was orchestrating. When she got the T-shirts back, she found egregious misspellings marring her message. This required her to spend more of her limited, precious time getting the job done right, at great cost to the T-shirt company of course. Another of Ned's acquaintances, having to travel on company business, was required by her company to have the company's personnel office make her reservations and obtain her tickets. On receiving them, she found that her name had been misspelled! Ned can only imagine what the lugs at the TSA would have made of that.
So it appears that American workers are more and more poorly educated each year, more and more cheating and scamming is taking place, and this is finally beginning to seep into our workplaces. Of course, some of these persons are probably 'veterans' given preferential treatment, immigrants, and 'victims' allowed into his country under amnesty provisions, who immediately qualify for all sorts of benefits that the average American doesn't get.
Combine all these factors and one shouldn't wonder why we are becoming a Banana Republic.

More on Disability!

Ned's been reading The Economist again (yes, and let his adversaries and belittlers make the most of it). Comes word that persons losing their jobs due to competition from cheap imports qualify for retraining under some federal act passed to ameliorate the effects of so-called "free trade" agreements. But do these people actually get retraining that qualifies them for a real job? Well, sometimes, but, according to The Economist, ten percent of those end up, you guessed it, on Social Security Disability. For life. And each person so designated costs the system $270 grand over the lifetime of the 'victim.'
Now, Ned's friends know that he knows, and knows of, a number of persons who are gaming the system, and who have fraudulently claimed disability, and its accompanying free health care, but this disability doesn't prevent them from lifting heavy boxes, traveling across the country in their SUVs, or going hunting and lugging deer carcasses through the woods. No, friends, it only seems to keep them from looking for a job,
Mark our words, SSDI is the next Great Government Scandal, because, provide any benefit, and the scammers will crawl out from under their rocks and eat the life out if it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Demographics and Housing: Another Wall of Stupid

Ned has read statistics on geezers and boomers, and he will graciously share them with his many friends. "A full" 54% of boomers 55-64 want to move to a smaller house, while "fully" 84% of geezers 65 and older intend to move to a smaller house from their present large one. But what was the housing industry, guided by Sneering Plutocrats like all the rest, planning or intending to build all along? His friends have guessed it: larger and larger McMansions, except in islands of sanity like Arlington, VA. Even "townhomes" in cities tend to be gargantuan and grotesquely appointed. Ned would ask his friends to consider whether the housing crash would have been as bad if houses were far smaller and concentrated in decent places to live, and not in such Godawful places as Las Vegas, NV? Perhaps those who can afford housing, such as boomers and geezers (as a group) would have been more likely to buy houses when owners needed to sell them if they had fit the criteria clearly expressed by the fastest growing, and one of the wealthiest, age group in the country?
Just askin.'

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Conversation in the Steam Room

At Ned's, er, sports club, he had occasion to be an unwilling party to a curious conversation (more a monologue, actually, but Ned's friends can judge for themselves) between an older, rather shapeless woman in a one-piece swim suit, and an older man. Ned often muses why some persons will insist on carrying on a private conversation in a public place, but let that pass. There was Ned, one other person and the couple, and we were all enveloped in steam in our steam room, such that the couple had their heads very close together.
SHE: 'And, you know, I (pause)---, it's like, I mean, you know, the way I was on the couch--- you know?'
HE: 'Mmmm?'
SHE: 'It was like I (pause), I mean, you know, it was like separate but not wanting to be separated. I was, like, mmm, it--- (pause)'
HE: 'Mmm?'
SHE: "I know there has to be a separation, but I'm sort of looking for symbiosis, I mean, I---, you know, I---, it's like, the other thing I was telling you about.'
HE: 'Mmmm.'
SHE: 'It's more like a separating than being separate, you know. Its.... I was thinking, when you were talking---, that time---, just before---, you remember?'
HE: 'Mmmm. Maybe we should talk more outside?'
Any translation from a resident of the Planet from which this woman comes would be most welcomed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Our Disabled Friends and Relatives

Ned's friends may recall that he has occasionally posted on the growing problem of those in this benighted land on "disability", the federal program that awards payments for life to those who claim they are "seriously and permanently" prevented from holding down a job due to anything they can come up with that sounds plausible. After two years, they also qualify for Medicare. For life. As of today, at least eleven million Americans "qualify," and these people are sucking the life blood out of the taxpaying public. Comes word today that one of Ned's associates, on permanent "disability," has driven his plush van to Minnesota and gone deer hunting with family, "bagged" a deer, and took a photo of himself, proudly standing next to his kill.
Disabled? We report, you decide.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Taxing the poor Sneering Plutocracy, etc

To hear their sycophants, rentboys and lickspittles tell it, one would think that the Sneering Plutocracy and the Paris Hilton Crowd, those intestinal parasites on the Body Politic, were disadvantaged by onerous tax rates in the U.S., and if we didn't cut their taxes from such confiscatory levels, that they would all stop working, leave the country, lay off all their illegal immigrant house staff, or take their football and go home, leaving us all in the sh**s. Well, comes that beacon of sense The Economist, with a list of developed country tax rates. Effective tax rates on $100 grand, hardly a wealthy income by the way, including social security, which they all get back anyway, range from 49% for Belgium, down to 24% for the U.S. That's right, folks the U.S. has the lowest effective tax rate of any developed country on the wannabe Plutocracy, and it's even less on the true Plutocracy, those making $1 million or more. Here's who's above us (in order), Australia, China(!), Japan, Czech Rep., Britain, Sweden, Brazil, India, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, and little Belgium.
You can look it up. So the next time some pinhead, room temperature IQ Republican says we need to cut taxes on the rich, tell them to put it where the sun don't shine.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jon Stewart Stumbles!

In a rare display of idiocy, one of Ned's idols Jon Stewart has shown that either he, or his army of writers, has a screw loose. Apparently, on Stewart's show he made fun of those who say it's OK for the Tea Party nitwits to try to bring down the gummint while not OK for Wall Street protesters to try to hold 'shareholder-accountable' corporations to answer for the damage they have done to the economy, not to mention the outrageous obscenities represented by the salaries their Boards of Directors pay to their Sneering Plutocrat CEO parasites, money flayed from the backs of 'outsourced' workers.
Now, either Stewart or Ned is living in an Alternate Universe if he (Stewart) believes that shareholders have any authority over the governing bodies of corporations, staffed as they are by cronies of corporate officials. Moreover, in corporate 'votes' it's not 'one person-one vote' it's ONE SHARE ONE VOTE. So the plutocrat who has been given a million shares by their rentboy lickspittles on the Board has one million votes, while the bunch of nuns in Sister Mary Elephant's School of the Bleeding Heart of Our Blessed Mother have 100 votes for their 100 shares. No shareholder 'revolt' in history has ever succeeded. And, even if it did, what would happen is that the Intestinal Parasite CEO would walk away with a severance package worth tens of millions for having failed.
So Ned calls upon Stewart, to, to coin a phrase GET F***ING REAL.

The latest CBO research report on the economy!

In sensational news that is just now beginning to receive the attention it deserves, the Congressional Budget Office, after careful and thorough analysis, has concluded that, yes, full employment would cut the U.S. budget deficit!
Ned can only imagine the intellectual firepower of that team of giants. Let's see: virtually no unemployment means few people without health care so few bankruptcies. Nobody loses their houses. State budgets are all in the black 'cause nobody is drawing food stamps and unemployment checks, not to mention Medicaid. Governments stop laying off city and state workers. People are working longer so fewer are taking early retirement and sucking on the Social Security teat. People are paying more taxes, in short, and demanding fewer gummint services.
The stock market is high because people have confidence in the future. Everybody's 401k is doing fine. Kids get their orthodontics, so they smile more, and get to go to their soccer camps and cheerleading camps, to prepare them for a life of running for public office (think Kay Bailey Hutchison, George Bush and Rick Perry, for which the country is understandably grateful).
Now, let the CBO sit back and wait for the Nobel Economics Committee to take notice!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beating the HP Dead Horse

In the continuing saga of the contemptible incompetents running HP (into the ground) Ned has used his considerable math skills to add the total money (made public that is) that has been thrown at failed CEO's of that Corporate Poster Child in the past four years or so, by what business insiders call the "worst Board of Directors in the country."
Here is the disgraceful total, at a time when jobs are being outsourced to India and the rank and file employees have taken actual pay cuts.
$30 million or so to Carly Fiorina, plus her vewy own jet plane.
Something like 3 or 4 million to some interim CEO while they were looking for their next hack.
$12 million at least to Mark Hurd, who was forced to resign over expense account irregularities and some reports of vague sexual improprieties. Hurd went on to take the job of "Co President" at one of HP's competitors, Oracle.
$27 million to hapless Leo Apetheker, ousted after eleven months.
So, this is more than $70 million, at a time when qualified people can't find jobs.
And how have all these changes affected the company's stock price? Four years ago it was about 22. Same now.
Ned once again advises his friends to SHORT HP.

Health Care Crisis!

Ned has discovered two of the many reasons why we as a nation spend twice as much per person on "health care" and get less for it. First, a report in the Grey Lady describes a study that analyzed the pills taken by several hundred geezers in assisted living facilities and found that on average the geezers took more than seven different pills daily. After study, the medicos were able to take the geezers off 58% of their pills with no harmful effects; in fact, many of them got better.
Second, comes word from McClatchy News that many parents send their pwecious babies, home from college, to the emergency room on specious pretexts: to wit, "A problem we see in our emergency department is when college students are back home from break and they complain to mom and dad about their heart racing," Strasser said. "We find out they are drinking a lot of Red Bull and coffee, and consuming large amounts of caffeine."
So Ned asks his friends to add up the cost of these two under-the-radar needless activities, and then consider all the other costs of over-treatment, like unnecessary biopsies, invasive surgeries for thyroids, etc.
Add to all that the hundreds of millions paid to Sneering Plutocrat "CEOs" of "health care" companies. Need we say more? Well, we will in a later post, of course.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Good Job!

Ned would like to take the opportunity to warn any and all of his many friends NOT to ever use the cretinous phrase 'Good Job!' within his hearing, especially if it originates from an "adoring" parent or a hanger-on of same, to an infant or child who has just performed a task that, at any scale of complexity, ranks around that required to breathe in or out. Ned witnessed such a revolting display this morning while at his gym, er--sports club. He saw a woman apply that idiotic phrase to an infant in a swimming pool, held tightly by the creature's father, who had just completed the arduous task of throwing a rattle about a foot away upon instruction. It seems to be almost universally applied to any child who has performed any task whatsoever without breaking anything or making a mess. Perhaps this is part of the reason why we have a generation of young adults, having been told 'Good Job!' their entire short lives, believe as a result they are the most brilliant creature in Creation, and deserve to start any employment at the level of, at least, executive vice-president.