4.19.2015

Death Tax

Why those of use who make under 100,000$ a year should never vote Republican (Though the Democrats are only slightly better).

Copied directly from the always good Political Irony (emphasis added)

Political Irony › Known By Their Deeds:

Recently, Republicans have been trying to sound like class warriors, claiming that they care about the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Former VP candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI) complained that “The Obmamnomics that we’re practicing now have exacerbated inequality”, and added that only “the wealthy are doing really well.” In January, Mitt Romney (Mr. 47%) told the RNC that he was concerned that “the rich have gotten richer” and “income inequality has gotten worse”. Even Ted Cruz (R-TX) got into the act, warning that “Right now, the top 1 percent in this country, the millionaires and billionaires the president demagogues so much, earn a higher share of our national income than any time since 1928.” 
Those are their words, but what do they plan to actually do about it? 
Raise the minimum wage? Of course not!
Close tax loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy? Never!
Extend unemployment benefits? That only encourages freeloading.
Expand Medicare to the poor? Over their dead bodies! 
What the GOP did do is vote to abolish the Estate Tax. 
This is not another tax cut that favors the wealthy (like we have seen many times before), this is a massive $269 billion giveaway that ONLY benefits the top 0.2%. Already the first $10.86 million that a couple leaves behind when they pass away is not taxed (half that amount for individuals). So abolishing the estate tax entirely only benefits estates bigger than that, the richest of the rich. 
Not only would this dramatically increase income inequality, it dramatically enlarges the permanent rich aristocracy that our founders fought to get rid of, creating a permanent elite of trust-fund babies. 
And where does that $269 billion come from? The Republican bill simply adds the entire cost to the deficit, putting the lie to GOP claims of fiscal responsibility.

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4.17.2015

Evangelicals and Fox News


Found at NakedCapitalism
“Using exit poll data, the white evangelical vote actually grew slightly as a percentage of the electorate between 2004 (the last Republican presidential win) and 2012″ [Wall Street Journal]. In other words, the evangelicals didn’t sit those elections out.
and from the linked WSJ article.
 First, it seems that overall the party has done quite well with evangelicals in presidential years. Second, focusing intently on evangelicals may not be much help with the GOP’s bigger problem area: non-evangelical voters.

Republicans don't need to focus on Evangelicals. FoxNews.com will keep the bible-thumpers fired up and voting R.

from FoxNew.com  - Front page 4/17/2015.

Christian murdered by those Mooslums! ISIS destoys Christian graves! Bus burns, only the Bible survives! IRS a mess needs more of your money! DeathTax.

Wow.


4.14.2015

Transistors

We've made more of them than any other man made thing.

Amazing.

Graphic: Transistor Production Has Reached Astronomical Scales - IEEE Spectrum:
In 2014, semiconductor production facilities made some 250 billion billion (250 x 1018) transistors. This was, literally, production on an astronomical scale. Every second of that year, on average, 8 trillion transistors were produced. That figure is about 25 times the number of stars in the Milky Way and some 75 times the number of galaxies in the known universe.


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4.13.2015

Middle East Political Rifts

Any description of the main political rifts in the Middle East that doesn't include Israel is being disingenuous.




Found Here: Felix Salmon Twitter feed


2016

The most depressing presidential campaign of your lifetime began today | Fusion:

I agree it's going to be a long, nasty 19 months but I don't know why it "Begins" with Hillary's announcement. Hell, with today's political system, Jesus Christ running against Moses would be just as depressing.

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4.12.2015

The 1%

Found here: Let Them Eat Privilege | Jacobin:

"If your household — or to be generous, the one you grew up in — makes an adjustable gross income of at least $343,000, you are, in fact, the one percent. Even if you smoke meth, went to boot camp, and are on your third marriage. Yes, even if most of your friends didn’t finish college and live kinda far from a Whole Foods.  
 Now, if you or the household you grew up in make an adjustable gross income of less than $340,000, you are, technically, the 99 percent. Even if you’ve never seen combat, hang out with college-completing dorks, and are too chicken shit to smoke crystal."

chart

TNB here.... It doesn't trickle-down and 'entrepreneur' is a con from The 1% are parasites (at Salon)
Here’s another case of how words can mislead. Rentiers don’t call themselves rentiers, and not many capitalists call themselves capitalists, but many of each like to call themselves ‘entrepreneurs.’ Upbeat terms like ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘enterprise’ can be stretched to cover things that don’t deserve them.
One thing missing here is that one of the 1%-ers better investments is in politicians.

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Drugs

A great interview with the author of this book (Which I am going to buy).

Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

A War Well Lost : Sam Harris and Johann Hari discuss the “war on drugs” : Sam Harris:

So I could talk about a few places, and Portugal is one. In 2000 Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe. One percent of the population was addicted to heroin, which is kind of extraordinary. Every year they tried the American way more and more: They arrested and imprisoned more people, and every year the problem got worse. One day the prime minister and the leader of the opposition got together and in effect said, “We can’t go on like this. We can’t have more and more people becoming heroin addicts. Let’s figure out what would genuinely solve the problem.” 
They convened a panel of scientists and doctors and said to them (again I’m paraphrasing), “Go away and figure out what would solve this problem, and we will agree in advance to do whatever you recommend.” They just took it out of politics. It was very smart. It was as if Obama and Boehner agreed in advance to abide by whatever the panel on drug reform said. It’s hard to imagine Obama and Boehner agreeing on the time of day, but grant that thought for a moment. 
The panel went away for a year and a half and came back and said: “Decriminalize everything from cannabis to crack. But”—and this is the crucial next stage—“take all the money we used to spend on arresting and harassing and imprisoning drug users, and spend it on reconnecting them with society and turning their lives around.” 
Some of it was what we think of as treatment in America and Britain—they do do residential rehab, and they do therapy—but actually most of it wasn’t that. Most of it, the most successful part, was really very simple. It was making sure that every addict in Portugal had something to get out of bed for in the morning. It consisted of subsidized jobs and microloans to set up small businesses. 
Say you used to be a mechanic. When you’re ready, they’ll go to a garage and they’ll say, “If you employ Sam for a year, we’ll pay half his wages.” The microloans had extremely low interest rates, and many businesses were set up by addicts. 
It’s been nearly 15 years since this experiment began, and the results are in. Drug use by injection is down by 50%, broader addiction is down, overdose is massively down, and HIV transmission among addicts is massively down.
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4.08.2015

Douglas Feith

Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for fiascos.:

Feith is an Israeli First'er (From Wikipedia)
Feith also served on the board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a think tank that promotes a military and strategic alliance between the United States and Israel.[24] Feith was one of the eighteen founding members of the organization One Jerusalem to oppose the Oslo peace agreement. Its purpose is "saving a united Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel." He is also Director of Foundation for Jewish Studies, which "offers in-depth study programs for the adult Washington Jewish community that cross denominational lines."

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Iran, Israel, and the War Party.

All Praise To The Iranian Nuclear Framework—–It Finally Exposes The War Party’s Big Lie | David Stockman's Contra Corner:

"Its $350 billion GDP is the size of Indiana’s and its 68,000 man military is only slightly larger than the national guard of Texas. It is a land of severe mountains and daunting swamps that are not all that conducive to rapid economic progress and advanced industrialization. It has no blue water navy, no missiles with more than a few hundred miles of range, and, most significantly, has had no nuclear weapons program for more than a decade.  
And unlike Hitler at Munich who got most of what he wanted, the Iranians at Lausanne gave up almost all of what they had. That is, they made huge concessions on nearly every issue that makes a difference including the number of permitted centrifuges at Natanz, the status of Fordow and Arak, the disposition of its enriched uranium stockpiles, the intrusiveness and scope of the inspections regime and on the matter of Iran’s so-called “breakout” capacity."

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4.06.2015

Revolution in the air?

A rising insurrection against Obama - The Washington Post:

Then, as now, there was a president, Abraham Lincoln, accused by those who detested him of misusing presidential power, subverting the Constitution and trampling over states’ rights. Then, as now, that president was characterized as a ruthless tyrant bent upon destroying a superior civilization. 
Then, as now, that president was portrayed as a simpleton, a buffoon and a coward. 
Wisconsin newspaper editor Marcus M. Pomeroy wrote as the election of 1864 approached: “The man who votes for Lincoln now is a traitor and murderer. . . . And if he is elected to misgovern for another four years, we trust some bold hand will pierce his heart with dagger point for the public good.”

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I'm ready to retire...

Stumbling and Mumbling: Fear of freedom:
For example, it might be quite rational to spend a lot of money early in our retirement. Doing so can build up a stock of happy memories which we can look back upon in our dotage. Some types of spending are in fact like saving; the give us a source of happiness in future years. And it makes sense to spend whilst we still can. The marginal utility of consumption declines (pdf) as our health deteriorates; holidays are less fun if we can't walk far, and nice cars are useless if our eyesight has gone. It's possible to be too prudent, and to save too much.

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The High Cost of College

 I've spent a large part of the last five years getting my kids off to college. This hits the high-cost-of-college nail on the head.

CAN THIS 900 POUND GORILLA PAY TUITION? | Gin and Tacos:

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Voodoo Economics

Tea Party's 'Voodoo Economic Policy' Not Working | Al Jazeera America:

"Debating the merits of this philosophy with then-governor Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Republican presidential primaries, Bush argued, “It just isn’t gonna work.” He was right. It didn’t work then: Budget deficits soared during the Reagan years. As Tea Party governors are learning, it isn’t working now either.   
In Kansas, Brownback lowered tax rates for top earners by 26 percent. Now the state faces a $334 million budget deficit. Kansas’ public services are so emaciated that the State Supreme Court ruled the funding of the school system unconstitutional. Economic growth has stalled and the state’s employment growth currently ranks 34th in the nation."

The play book

    - Cut taxes for the wealthy. Promise "trickle down"
    - Run big deficits.
    - Use these deficits to scare the hell out of the voters, you know, stealing from our children and all.
    - Convince voters that to fix the deficit we need to
         - cut services to the poor/sick/old.
         - increase regressive taxes.
         - bust unions
         - raid pensions
    - Repeat as needed.

    - About every 10 years, throw in a banking/financial crisis that steals about 50% of their 401Ks and everything is good.

It works. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.




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