Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Today, Kel showed me (well, not me personally, but you get the idea) this blog, supposedly written by an 80+ year old woman in Texas. It's a marvelous blog, with superb prose, but I'm not sure I believe that it's real. The posts are pretty thin, except for October '08, and there's a year-wide gap between the current batch and the rest of the blog. Does that really mean anything? No, not necessarily, but if the blog suddenly dries up after November 4th, dont say I didnt warn you.
Which leads me to wonder: if this blog isnt real, how many others like it are there out there? And how many conservatives are reading blogs out there which are generated by the McCain side? And do any of them ever even suspect something might not be kosher? Questioning their leadership is not what one might describe as a Republican strong point (although they're terrific about questioning anyone elses).
One other thought: how many blogs out there are supposedly generated by supporters of one side, but are in fact generated by the other, and then used by that side to show how nutty the opposition "really" is? If it isnt happening this year, rest assured, it will happen in the future.
Since the McCain/Palin campaign has decided that because Barack Obama wants to tax people making over $250,000 in taxable income (which means a hell of a lot more than $250,000 in take-home pay) at a slightly higher rate than now, they can call it "socialism." Or, well, they can say that others say it's socialism and that, as McCain called the idea of "spread the wealth," Obama follows "one of the basic tenets of socialism." In doing this, McCain's campaign is focusing in on idiots as their base, the people who don't actually understand what socialism is (and being ably enabled by idiots in the conservative media).
So if all one needs to be a socialist is to believe that those with money should pay a bit more in taxes, if the bar is set so low, what other outre' political philosophies must Barack Obama be following?
1. Barack Obama must be an anarcho-syndicalist because he believes in the power of unions.
2. Barack Obama must be a Whig because he believes in the government's role in building infrastructure and education.
3. Barack Obama must be a Gaullist because he believes in regulating banks.
4. Barack Obama must be a neo-Aristotelianist because he was a community organizer.
5. Barack Obama must be a Dadaist because cow.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
"With one week left in this campaign, the choice facing Americans is stark..."Damn straight it's stark. Which makes it all the more mind-boggling that Obama isnt sweeping the polls.
Choice 1: New guy from the party that brought you the Clinton Years, eight years of falling national deficits, rising prosperity for the middle class, one blow job and zero convictions for Clinton officials after the Bush Administration took office.
Choice 2: A new guy from the same party that's brought you massive government deficits, sinking middle class fortunes (and ballooning top-one-percenters' fortunes), deregulation, "privatization" (company profits at taxpayer expense), secrecy, power-grabbing, politicization of the bureaucracy, warrantless spying on citizens, torture, the loss of habeus corpus, and historic levels of government intrusion. But no sex scandals, or at least not from the President. Care to take a guess how many people will investigated and convicted should the Democrats take the White? Care to imagine how many will even be glanced at should the Republicans retain power instead?
These two choices dont even take into account the Supreme Court, who's two oldest members are also its most liberal, and who's Authoritarian Chief Justice is only 63 years old (and sorry folks, but we're stuck with Clarence Thomas for years.) I think the Supreme Court ought to be more conservative than the other two branches, but it's also supposed to be the bastion of last resort for the People, and I simply dont see any sign of that coming from the Roberts Court - a court which will have to be endured for another generation.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Fear of the "socialist" coming to "take your money away" (even though if the nation's money were spread out evenly, 4 of 5 people would be better off - 2 of 5 by a margin of 200%).
Fear of government intrusion (seriously? What part of Bush's "warentless wiretapping" and "national database" do you not understand?).
Fear of Muslims, fear of education, fear of opinions, fear of homosexual contagion, fear of rioting, fear of the loss of armour-piercing bullets, fear of having to clean up after yourselves, fear of someone else cleaning up your mess and keeping something good they might find, fear of only having 10 choices instead of 20, fear of death, fear of minorities, fear of poor people, but always fear, fear, fear, fear.
Jesus, people, turn on a night-light and watch a John Wayne movie, but BUCK UP. I thought that liberals were supposed to be the pussies in this country, but I'm beginning to wonder if there's anything left that Republicans arent afraid of.
Mostly they seem to be afraid of losing, and considering the winner-take-all-but-prisoners attitude that the GOP has been taking the last few decades, maybe they ought to be.
A final point: In the movies, the monster is always the result of someone else's actions. In real life though, the monster is generally self-made.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
lucy stern said...Taxes help nations run, without them nations die. They're like chores, and you need to do them whether you like it or not, otherwise your house ends up a mess. If you think your tax money is wasted, change what it's spent on. But dont whine like a teen-ager about how much you hate government, while electing a bunch of guys who run on a platform of Government-Doesnt-Work, and who then go on to (self)fulfill their own (and your) prophecy.
We are all effected by the capital gains taxes, many of our retirement accounts will be effected by them. Estate Taxes, haven't we already paid taxes on this before. When they were collecting estate death/taxes before, many families were loosing their farms or homes because of these taxes.
If you want a bigger piece of the "pie" go out and earn it. Many of the "poor" people don't pay any taxes and as you said the rich already pay 75% of the taxes, what do you want?
Only God can help us of Obama wins this presidency....he will have everyone in the poor house.
And any family losing anything to estate taxes has both more than $1 million in assets, and a lousy accountant. My parents blew I dont know how much money setting up an unnecessary trust to hold their assets and avoid the "Death Tax", even though they werent even halfway to its threshhold.
And by the way, in what way do I not "earn" my money now?
Is it because I'm not in the financial sector? Did they "earn" their enormous salaries even as the economy collapsed due to their decisions? Did they "earn" the golden parachutes?
Is it because I'm not college educated? Whoops! I am. I'd be more so (maybe then I'd "earn" my keep), but tuition's gone up so much I can no longer afford to go to school.
In what way does my Boss "earn" the 5 times my pay (plus company car) that he currently makes? Is he 5X smarter? Does he have 5X the education? Does he work 5X harder? If he disappeared tomorrow, would it hurt the company more than if myself and 4 fellow workers did the same?
Here's a display of the way wealth is distributed in America (not totally accurate, but close enough for now):
Assume there are 100 people who have $100 to split up. No one expects it to be divided perfectly evenly at $1 apiece, but everyone involved expects that some basic fairness will be used in the process that will split up the money.
Now let's say the $100 winds up being divided as follows:
This is how our economic system has distributed the wealth of our country. It's so far from any type of fairness as to be laughable, were it not a direct cause of certain segments of our society lacking adequate resources for food, clothing, shelter, medical care and other necessities, let alone any amenities of a beyond-subsistence life. (props to The Rational Radical)
- 1 person gets
- 4 people get
- 5 people get
- 10 people get
- 20 people get
- 20 people get
- 40 people get
- $38.10 each
- $5.32 each
- $2.30 each
- $1.25 each
- .60 each
- .23 each
- 1/2 cent each
The "innaccuracy" I mentioned of the example above, by the way, is that during the Bush years, the tax cuts in place currently have redistributed the wealth so that the 5 people at the top have a few cents more, and every one else has a bit less. By the way, how much of that half cent do you suppose is needed to get by? For that matter, how much of that 60 cents is required? What the hell do the rich do with the rest of their money? And are they really that much more competetent with it than the rest of us would be?
Make no mistake, the people who do the work get paid less than the people who hire them not because they deserve less, but because the people who hire them hold all the cards - the job, the pay and, most of the time, the opportunities. Those holding the wealth control the wealth, and they are never eager to share.
"the rich already pay 75% of the taxes, what do you want?"
I want a government that is not involved in a conspiracy to collect the wealth of the nation into a few hands. I want a nation that spends its money on infrastructure and education, that rewards true investment, i.e., putting money into creating things that create wealth, rather than rewarding speculation and bloated, oversized corporate behemoths who respond slowly and late to crisis (if at all) and need to be bailed out because they're "too big to fail". I want a government that cares about all of its people, not just those who can afford to participate in the "free" speech of campaign contributions.
This nation has quietly been in a financial down-mode since the beginning of the Bush years, with the only people not feeling the pain being those at the top. As the economy continues to drop, it's not the time to raise taxes, at least on most of us.
There are a few though, who've been feeding well at the trough. They've benefitted handsomely from the Bush years, it seems only fitting that those who benefit the most should also pay the highest taxes.
Dont you think?
And if not, why not?
You want to be taxed less on the money you "earn" from capital gains because you're "investing" in America? Then invest in a start-up company. Buy new stock, either new issue or an IPO. But dont tell me that you're "helping" America grow because you're putting your money on that horse race we call Wall Street. It's gambling, it's speculation, and the only people it's helping are your brokers and, if you're lucky (and/or very patient), yourself. And yes, that includes retirees, including my own sweet mother. Why should you pay less money in taxes for the money you "earn" than I do for the money I "earn"? Because you made it via gambling rather than work?
You want to help America with your investment? Put your money into something, anything, that allows us to stop sending billions of dollars in oil purchasing and military aid to the middle east. That's the type of investing that ought to be rewarded, not buying a real cream-puff from the Merrill Lynch Auto-Rama, hoping to sell it a few miles down the road for a sweet profit.
The "poor", by the way, pay "taxes" every day. They pay it when they buy anything, because sales taxes have gone up to pay for things that tax cuts arent funding. The same goes for every single increased usage fee at public pools, the DMV, any kind of licensing or permits, toll roads, safety inspections, cell phone charges, internet charges, and the latest local outrage: an extra clean-up fee charged to anyone from out-of-town who gets involved in an accident - expect that one to spread, and thank slashes in tax revenues for it.
And dont even get me started on what the nation's crumbling infrastructure and underfunded schools, librarys and police forces cost ordinary folks.
"Only God can help us of Obama wins this presidency....he will have everyone in the poor house."
(I'll assume that's an "if" rather than a "of". )
As opposed to now, you mean?
I'm curious though; how exactly he (or perhaps, He) will put us in the poorhouse? I mean, let's go nuts and assume the worst: Obama's a whacked-out socialist, and he somehow takes all the money in the country and redistributes it evenly. Look at the chart up there again. If the impossible should happen, then 4 out of 5 people will still be better off. Is that so bad?
Especially when you consider that many people are so stupid, and many more are so corrupt, that within 20 years it'd look a lot like it does now anyway.
But that's no reason not to try.
Finally, Lucy, this one's specifically for you: If you're objecting to Obama's tax plan, and you're in that top 25%, well, tough luck. You certainly have no sympathy for me, I fail to see why I should have any sympathy for your "burden".
If you're not, you need to stop drinking that kool-aid McCain's serving, and you especially need to stop spiking it with gin, because you will get a tax break under Obama. Let the rich folk take care of themselves - it's what they're best at anyway.
.Incidently, here's a pie chart of wealth distribution from 1998 - bear in mind that the sizes of the top 5% slices have gotten larger, while the others have gotten smaller since then. Notice, though, that even in 1998, the top 10% of the nation held over 70% of the wealth
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tax proposal: everyone, when filling out their taxes, has the opportunity to specify what they'd like the money to go for (or to not go for). Then those numbers can be tallied up and we'll see how they coincide with where the money really goes.
We could even do something like say that citizens can say where their money will go, and fund things accordingly. Maybe, if the Congressional budget and the citizens directives dont line up, people can be given a window to chnge their minds, so that if there is too much money in one area one may like, but not enough in a place of secondary acceptance, people can change their directive, making sure that perhaps all the programs they like get funding. Give them a window of, say, three months, maybe June through August, the government can then adjust their budgets or make appeals to the people. In an age of computers and the Internet, there's no reason why all this informantion cannot be easily available, as well as an individual's tax payments.
A major problem with this idea: about 75% of taxes are paid by the nation's wealthiest individuals - can you imagine what they would choose? Nothing to help the rest of us, most likely.
Still, it'd be interesting to see what people do and dont want to fund, even if it never goes any farther than that.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Apparently, the folks in Oklahoma were feeling as if they were falling behind in the nutjob sweepstakes, so they've pulled this little beauty out of their collective ass: A doll from Fisher-Price that supposedly says "Islam is the Light".
Actually, I'm a little embarrassed to be posting this, because it's so stupid, but sometimes you just gotta give in (especially when you're actually in Oklahoma, and see this story, complete with outraged rednecks, on the local news).
Incidentally, when talking to "folks" out in the parking lot about the doll, they were using a black version of the doll. That's not suggestive, is it?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I found this over at the Osterly Times. It is (was, by now probably) located in the John McCain campaign office in Pompano Beach, Florida. Seriously, can we just have the election now? This is getting embarrassing.
The [Rev. Wright] ad was duly denounced by The New York Times and other deep thinkers as racist. This was patently absurd. Racism is treating people differently and invidiously on the basis of race. Had any white presidential candidate had a close 20-year association with a white preacher overtly spreading race hatred from the pulpit, that candidate would have been not just universally denounced and deemed unfit for office but written out of polite society entirely.Excuse me?!
Francis Schaeffer? Bob Jones University? John Hagee? Bobby May?
I've never cared much for Krauthammer, but really, isnt it time to get these butt-puppets for the conspiracy that is the Republican party out of their comfy spots in the nation's media? Let's put'em someplace where they can spout all they want, but I wont have to see their bullshit when I open a paper.
* Why not? If conservatives can call for boycotts because they dont like the message, why cant the rest of us?
Friday, October 17, 2008
"The whole premise behind Senator Obama's plans are class warfare plus spread the wealth around."
As opposed to the Republican's supply-side economics, which worked this way: collect all the wealth at the top, and "eventually" it'll make it's way down to the bottom.
Usually in the form of piss. Talk about class warfare. And guess who's been winning?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Sure, maybe she's a bit of a vamp. Perhaps she's even a whore. But she's not to blame for your reaction, the temptation you felt was your own product.
Who has dominated politics since the Reagan years? Who has framed almost every debate? Towards whom has the Democratic party been drifting now since the 70's?
Let's give credit where credit is due.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
- Welcome back to Rebecca at Death And Taxes, who went away for a while, but now is back. Yay!
- Ever hear of Jane Elliot? And her Blue Eye/Brown Eye experiment?
- I keep mentioning this study in comments, so now I'm putting it in a post so I can find again easily. Jennifer Whitson, in collaboration with Adam Galinsky, did a study about how people react when they feel that things have gotten out of their control. Result: "The less control people have over their lives, the more likely they are to try and regain control through mental gymnastics", often of the seeing patterns where patterns are not variety. Which explains a lot.
- For Thanksgiving (early): Sarah Palin hand turkeys!
- Just because Obama's kicking McCain's ass fund-raising, dont think he's outspending the Republican party.
- I've passed my 3-year anniversary without mention, but I wish I'd said something like this when I did it. (Props to Coturnix)
- The social life of political books. Blogs of a feather, stick together.
- The Show.
- "Liberal bias", my ass!
* By the way, the battle for net neutrality is still on, folks.
I need this election to be over so that I can start planning for the economic meltdown to come (dont think that just because the stock market kicked ass yesterday that it's over). I need to know whether we'll all be screwed together, or if I'm going to be on my own when we all get screwed.
Question: If you have to start giving up stuff because you cant afford it anymore, which goes last? TV, cell phone, or internet?
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
A commenter made this rebuttal, which I think was a good definition of the Republican Party:
What Liberals Stand For
Republicans and conservatives have a standard chatter: They claim that Democrats are always whining, bereft of ideas, and don’t know what they stand for. Democrats, especially after they lost the presidency to George W Bush, often echo the Republicans on this. I’m here to state that this stereotype is wrong. Democrats have long been welded to liberalism, which, according to Paul Waldman, may be stated in one easily-articulated sentence:
"We are all in it together."
This is in stark contrast to what conservatives say:
"You are responsible for yourself."
While conservatives push the burden and responsibility and risks onto the shoulders of each individual, liberals - or as some call them, progressives - call for each of us to act in a way that is not only good for themselves personally but is also good for the country as a whole. Liberals believe that we are not alone, but part of a big society; that whatever each of us does affects the rest of us; that we are all in the same boat. We are part of a community.
Because liberals believe that "We are all in it together," they favor:
A MINIMUM WAGE - Helping poor workers will benefit other workers and improve our economy
UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE - Improving the health of each of us improves the health of all of us and of the economy of the country
ENVIRONMENTAL ENHANCEMENT - Cleaning up our environment will improve the health and economic opportunities of each of us
ENERGY INDEPENDENCE - Reducing our dependence on foreign energy sources by developing sustainable sources of energy will make life easier for all of us and reduce our likelihood of getting involved in a foreign war
HELPING KATRINA VICTIMS - The government helps them now and we get into a position where the government may help any one of us (who knows whom or where or when) in the future
Of course, there are many other issues. But you get the picture.
Conservatives who believe in complete self-reliance will find fault with this liberal statement. Independents, however, may want to consider the value of our liberal belief that:
"We are all in it together."
If you are a Democrat, you should trumpet this phrase as your mantra.
You only made one small mistake. Conservatives do espouse the philosophy you have attributed to them as a blanket belief. True Conservatives, of which there are very few in positions of power and influence, believe that we are responsible for our own actions. That we learn from the mistakes and successes of the past and build on the good while rejecting the bad.This is a philosophy of government that I would like to see supported by a political force, and it's what the Republican Party ought to be working for, if only to keep Democrats from going nuts in their equally vital role of "progress".
True Conservatives also believe we are all in this together, just as you say the Liberals do. The only difference is Conservatives believe help and assistance is from individual to individual, not from government largesse. If you want a mantra for Conservatism, it could be:” Never believe the government should do for you what you can do for yourself, but do expect the government to help do what you can’t do.”
This means a limited, efficient, effective government that gives everyone an opportunity to achieve, but does not guarantee success.
Unfortunately, it is most patently not what the GOP works for now.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Yes it is.
That's right, it's a tax cut!
Who'da thunk it?
Here's a tax proposal for you John, try this one on for size, and let's see how Wall Street reacts. It's a good one, I think, and it'll help true investment, not the used car lot/casino we call stock trading.
Currently, capital gains are taxed on a two-tier system. I could describe it, but it's easier to if you just read the Wikipedia link. I propose that instead of taxing short term capital gains as regular income, all capital gains should be taxed on a sliding scale. This sounds complex, but in our computer age it should be no more difficult than a simple program into which you put purchase date and price and sales date and price (or a plug it into a math formula - if you cant handle it, ask a high school senior). The information you need should already be available (unless you trade stock in Baghdad). Taxes would start at 50% for gains made in a short period of time (say, 5 minutes) to 0.5% for gains made in 50 years.
The point to doing this?
Everytime there's a financial meltdown, what turns out to be responsible? Speculation. Damn near everytime, even if it's not the only cause, speculation is there, fucking things up for everyone. High gas prices? The tech bubble? How much of the current mortgage crisis was caused by people flipping houses who walked away when the prices started to fall (or committed fraud before-hand, adding to the bubble before it burst), or just by people who bought more house than they could afford simply because they knew it would be more valuable in a few years. That's not investment, it's gambling.
The kind of investment that 's good for the economy is when people put capital into projects with the intention of creating something, and that takes time. Buying stocks may be a way of making money, but it's only an investment in terms of cash, it does nothing for the economy in general, unless you purchase stock at the IPO stage. The kind of investment an economy needs, especially right now, is in things that add something tangible to the economy: infrastructure, new technology, even something simple like food.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I've decided that rather than view those who swallow the stories about Obama that are circulating these days with the contempt they so richly deserve, I will instead view them with pity.
Because it must be hard to have to resort to such stupid and esoteric constructions in order to justify voting for John McCain.
When you think about it, it's kind of sad.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Or a massive loss in services.
The party's winding down, folks, who's gonna clean up afterwards?
Addendum (next day): Oh yeah, I guess we could cut the military budget, and stop corportate welfare, but if you think getting Universal Healthcare would be hard...
Friday, October 10, 2008
So, we might just find that we dont have enough stuff after a while.
This could mean trouble.
Props to Zargon the Malevolent, who made me worry. Finally.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
True, he supported George Bush 90% of the time and has surrounded himself with the same crowd of Usual Suspects. But let's give him credit for having at least verbally distanced himself from his own Party.
He joins me and millions of Americans in blaming the 12-year Republican Congress for removing most regulation and supervision of Wall Street, for plunging our children into debt, for refusing to act on climate change, for neglecting our science and infrastructure and for sabotaging energy research for an entire wasted decade. Since his nominating convention, he's reversed official GOP policy on dozens of issues.
Look, whether you believe McCain and Palin are true "rebel-maverick-reformers"... or you see their long list of Bush-era advisors as proof that they aren't... either way, I am glad John McCain has joined Obama in urging that American out there fire the Republican members of Congress who did all that!
Let the GOP clean its own house, before we let them back into power. Let fresh blood and fresh ideas rise up within the Republican Party, so it can come back to us in the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater.
I'm glad John and Obama agree on the need for that era of change, in a Party that promised so much and delivered us only pain. Especially Republican Congressfolk who really should have served us better.
Adapted from a suggestion by David Brin (around 11:41 AM)
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Folks, I sure hope that y'all didnt actually want health care in this country, because unless you're willing to sacrifice the military budget (ours is equal to the rest of the worlds) we're going to have to pay for the War and the Bailout somehow, and increasing taxes is, as Bill Maher described it, the "third rail" of politics. What else do you suppose we'll loose?
props to Kel
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Paul Graham via Gus Van Horn
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008