Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Groping For Money

Why am I not surprised?

Guess who is making a ton of money off the x-ray scanners? My friend and yours, Michael Chertoff, ex-Homeland Security Chief who is a big supporter of naked scanning and happens to be making a ton of money from one of the main x-ray scanner manufacturers, Rapiscan, made by OSI, a client of Chertoff's consulting firm.

H/T to worldwide hippies

Thursday, November 18, 2010

GOP Christmas Present To The Unemployed

The republicans are showing their true colors.  Today they blocked extension of unemployment benefits.  Merry Christmas unemployed.  The republicans don't give a shit about you.  They don't care if you lose your home, if you are homeless on Christmas, if your kids don't get any presents, if you can't feed your kids. if you can't pay your expenses.  They don't care about you at all.  They have just given you a big Fuck You.  How very Christian of them.

But if you are rich, don't worry.  They have your back.  They want to extend your tax cuts, tax cuts that will cost an average of $70 Billion dollars for each of the next 10 years.  That is more important than the $12.5 Billion dollars the unemployment extension would have cost.

Oh, and what about all their big talk about the economy.  Expenditures on unemployment benefits returns $1.63 to the economy for every dollar spent.  Making the Bush tax cuts permanent returns $0.31 for every dollar.

So much for fiscal responsibility.  They are willing to spend $70 Billion dollars for a return of $0.31 for each dollar, but not spend $12.5 Billion for a return of $1.63 for each dollar.

Can you feel the stupid coming out of the GOP?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Are Republicans Really Good At? Creating DEBT

Yes, I will admit that there is something that the republicans are better at than the Democrats, something that they are MUCH better at.  While they talk about being fiscally responsible, while they talk about the problems with the national debt, while they talk about reducing the budget deficit, they DO exactly the OPPOSITE.  They are world-class debt CREATORS.

Take a look at this table that I found over at Angry Bear.

In particular, look at the fourth column, "annualilzed growth rate".  This column is the growth rate of the deficit during the president's term.  Here is what it says:

Leading the charge with an annualized deficit growth rate of 11.83%  is GW Bush, the Number 1 debt creator.  What is Bush?  He is a republican.

Coming in at Number 2, with an annualized deficit growth rate of 9.50% is the GOP GOD Reagan.  What is Reagan?  He is a republican.

Number 3 greatest annualized deficit creator with a growth rate of 8.76% is Ford.  What is Ford?  He is a republican.

OK, what about Number 4.  Number 4 best annualized deficit creator with a growth rate of 7.74% is Obama.  What is Obama.  He is a Democrat.  But remember, Obama has been president for less than two years and he inherited a massive budget deficit from Bush which he has reduced, and he inherited an economy is collapse.  Even given these two facts, he is only number 4.  There are three republicans who did much better than he has done in creating debt.

Let's move on to Number 5.  Number 5 on the list with an annualized deficit growth rate of 7.22%  is GHW Bush, father of GW Bush.  What is GHW Bush?  He is a republican.  At least Bush Jr. was able to beat his father at something.  He was a better deficit creator than the old man, and he did it for twice as long.   Let's give him a rousing raspberry. 

These are the five champions.  Four republicans and one Democrat.  The republicans have a total of 23 years in the presidency.  The Democrat less than 2 years.  The republicans clearly beat the Democrats on deficit creation.

And one other thing to note.  Who did the best job in reducing the deficit?  Jimmy Carter, the president that the republicans love to malign.  Well, I guess when you are the greatest deficit creators in the nation, you are going to try to disparage anyone who reduces the deficit at an annualized rate of 1.02%.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Businesses Do Not Create Jobs

Republicans want us to believe that the wealthy and businesses need tax cuts so that they will have more money and therefore create jobs.  Give them enough money and they will hire us.  I say

Businesses do not create jobs.  DEMAND CREATES JOBS

Here is a great article about it.  They explain it better than I can.

Check out a couple of excerpts:

A job is created when demand for goods or services is greater than the existing ability to provide them. When there is a demand, people will see the need and fill it. Either someone will start filling the demand alone, or form a new business to fill it or an existing provider of the good or service will add employees as needed.
Many people wrongly think that businesses create jobs. They see that a job is usually at a business, so they think that therefore the business "created" the job. This thinking leads to wrongheaded ideas like the current one that giving tax cuts to businesses will create jobs, because the businesses will have more money. But an efficiently-run business will already have the right number of employees. When a business sees that more people are coming in the door (demand) than there are employees to serve them, they hire people to serve the customers.
Businesses in our economy exist to create profits, not jobs. This means the incentive is for a business to create as few jobs as possible at the lowest possible cost. They also constantly strive to reduce the number of people they employ by bringing in machines, outsourcing or finding other ways to reduce the payroll.
 Actually, an argument can be made for taxing them more, not less.  If they have less profit, they will work harder to create demand which, in turn, will create jobs.  So, lets tax the shit out of them so that they will work harder to create a demand for their products.

More demand, more jobs, more profits.  Everyone wins.

Republicans Will Protect And Defend Israel Interests Over US Interests

Soon-to-be GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor met on Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- the same day when the actual U.S. Secretary of State met with Netanyahu -- and vowed that he and his GOP colleagues would protect and defend Israeli interests against his own Government

Read more here.

Sounds like TREASON to me.

The article also points out:

"Cantor wants American citizens to sacrifice in the extreme, to lose all sorts of benefits and security in the name of austerity, but wants to shield Israel -- with a higher standard of living -- from those cuts. "

So, the republican not only want to undermine American foreign policy, they want to Americans to lose benefits and security so that they can continue to send money to Israel. 

Just whose government are these assholes working for?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Watch This Video!

RealityZone linked this video in a comment to my previous post.  I think it is too important to be left in the comments.

It is a speech that Kennedy gave on April 27, 1961 to the American Newspaper Publishers Association.  He was killed about two and a half years later on November 22, 1963.  It has been said that it was, in part, because of this speech.

Listen to it.  Or, if you prefer, I have included the text of the speech below the video.

     The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.
     But I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to reexamine his own standards, and to recognize the nature of our country's peril. In time of war, the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy. In time of "clear and present danger," the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the First Amendment must yield to the public's need for national security.
     Today no war has been declared--and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack. Those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe. The survival of our friends is in danger. And yet no war has been declared, no borders have been crossed by marching troops, no missiles have been fired.
     If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of "clear and present danger," then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.
     It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions--by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.
     Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.
     Nevertheless, every democracy recognizes the necessary restraints of national security--and the question remains whether those restraints need to be more strictly observed if we are to oppose this kind of attack as well as outright invasion.
     For the facts of the matter are that this nation's foes have openly boasted of acquiring through our newspapers information they would otherwise hire agents to acquire through theft, bribery or espionage; that details of this nation's covert preparations to counter the enemy's covert operations have been available to every newspaper reader, friend and foe alike; that the size, the strength, the location and the nature of our forces and weapons, and our plans and strategy for their use, have all been pinpointed in the press and other news media to a degree sufficient to satisfy any foreign power; and that, in at least in one case, the publication of details concerning a secret mechanism whereby satellites were followed required its alteration at the expense of considerable time and money.
     The newspapers which printed these stories were loyal, patriotic, responsible and well-meaning. Had we been engaged in open warfare, they undoubtedly would not have published such items. But in the absence of open warfare, they recognized only the tests of journalism and not the tests of national security. And my question tonight is whether additional tests should not now be adopted.
     The question is for you alone to answer. No public official should answer it for you. No governmental plan should impose its restraints against your will. But I would be failing in my duty to the nation, in considering all of the responsibilities that we now bear and all of the means at hand to meet those responsibilities, if I did not commend this problem to your attention, and urge its thoughtful consideration.
     On many earlier occasions, I have said--and your newspapers have constantly said--that these are times that appeal to every citizen's sense of sacrifice and self-discipline. They call out to every citizen to weigh his rights and comforts against his obligations to the common good. I cannot now believe that those citizens who serve in the newspaper business consider themselves exempt from that appeal.
     I have no intention of establishing a new Office of War Information to govern the flow of news. I am not suggesting any new forms of censorship or any new types of security classifications. I have no easy answer to the dilemma that I have posed, and would not seek to impose it if I had one. But I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to reexamine their own responsibilities, to consider the degree and the nature of the present danger, and to heed the duty of self-restraint which that danger imposes upon us all.
     Every newspaper now asks itself, with respect to every story: "Is it news?" All I suggest is that you add the question: "Is it in the interest of the national security?" And I hope that every group in America--unions and businessmen and public officials at every level-- will ask the same question of their endeavors, and subject their actions to the same exacting tests.
     And should the press of America consider and recommend the voluntary assumption of specific new steps or machinery, I can assure you that we will cooperate whole-heartedly with those recommendations.
     Perhaps there will be no recommendations. Perhaps there is no answer to the dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war. In times of peace, any discussion of this subject, and any action that results, are both painful and without precedent. But this is a time of peace and peril which knows no precedent in history.
     It is the unprecedented nature of this challenge that also gives rise to your second obligation--an obligation which I share. And that is our obligation to inform and alert the American people--to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need, and understand them as well--the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program and the choices that we face.
     No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.
     I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers--I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: "An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.
     Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed--and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment-- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- -not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants"--but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.
     This means greater coverage and analysis of international news--for it is no longer far away and foreign but close at hand and local. It means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well as improved transmission. And it means, finally, that government at all levels, must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security--and we intend to do it.
     It was early in the Seventeenth Century that Francis Bacon remarked on three recent inventions already transforming the world: the compass, gunpowder and the printing press. Now the links between the nations first forged by the compass have made us all citizens of the world, the hopes and threats of one becoming the hopes and threats of us all. In that one world's efforts to live together, the evolution of gunpowder to its ultimate limit has warned mankind of the terrible consequences of failure.
     And so it is to the printing press--to the recorder of man's deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news--that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.

Is The Discussion About The Bush Tax Cuts Just A Diversion?

The argument over the Bush tax cuts has come down to whether or not the top 3% of wage earners should continue to have their taxable income over $250,000 taxed at 35% or should it go to 39%.

This statement is really an oversimplification.  Actually the two top tax bracket will be increased under the Democrats plan.  Here are the tax brackets from 1992 through 2007.

The brackets for 2008 - 2010 are the same as 2007.  The Democrat plan is to roll back the two highest brackets to the 1993-2000 level while keeping the bottom four brackets at their current levels.

The next table shows the taxable income levels that these tax bracket are applied.

These levels are for 2009.  Both of these tables are from here.  Check here if you want to see the 2010 income levels.  They are very similar.

So, essentially it looks like we are talking about having the highest 3% of income earners, not necessarily the top 3% wealthiest people, paying about 10% more in federal income tax on taxable income over $250,000.  There is total agreement on federal taxes below $250,000 taxable income
But for many people, the additional amount will be substantially less than 10%.  Let's use the 2009 taxable income level for this example.  Let's say you have a $250,000  taxable income. (Remember, this is taxable income.  You may have earned $400,000 but have $150,000 in deductions and exemptions.)  Your first $208,850 will be taxed at the new lower level under the Democratic plan, so the increase from 33% to 36% will only apply to income above $208,850.  In other words, the 3% increase in apply to only $41,150.  Your tax increase will be $1235 or about 0.5% of your taxable, not total, income.

Not exactly a budget buster!

Why is so much effort being put into this effort to extend the Bush tax cut for everyone?    We are not talking huge sums of money here.  They are amounts that can easily be paid. 

That's not the whole story.  There is something that people are not talking about.  Capital Gains and Dividends.  The majority of people, the poor and middle class, don't get much of their annual income from capital gains and dividends.  They don't have much invested in the stock market.

Right now, capital gains and dividends are taxed at 15%.  That is the primary reason the top 400 wage earners in the US pay only about 15% - 20% federal income tax while the rate on earned income is over 30%.  The top 10 hedge fund managers earned an average of 2 Billion dollars last year.  They paid 15%.

Well, if the Bush tax cuts are not extended, capital gains will increase to 20% and dividends will increase to 39.6%.  Obama has proposed increasing dividend to 20% rather than 39.6%.  Republicans want them both to stay at 15%.  So, the republican are not only trying to keep the wealthy from paying more on earned income, they are trying to keep the wealthy from paying more on capital gains and dividends.

There is one other thing that we never hear about.  It is call PAYGO.  PAYGO was reinstated earlier this year.  It compels new spending or tax changes not to add to the federal deficit.  Parts of the Bush tax cuts are exempt from PAYGO.  In other words, they can be extended without having to be paid for.

Guess what parts are required to be paid for?
  • Tax cuts on the top two brackets (not allowing them to go up to 36% and 39.6%)
  • A dividend tax rate less than 39.6%
 Republicans are saying that tax cuts for the wealthy don't have to be paid for.  Sorry.  Wrong.  PAYGO says them must be paid for.  We already know that the tax cut for the wealthy will cost about $700,000,000,000 over 10 years.  Setting the dividend rate at 20% rather than 39.6 will cost about another $100,000,000,000. 

So, is the republican plan not only to give the wealthy a $800,000,000,000 gift in payment for a few million dollars in contributions, but also force the Democrats into making severe federal budget cuts which will hurt working Americans and further stall the economic recovery?

Remember, they are looking ahead to 2012 with only one goal in mind -- takeover of the White House.  They are willing to sacrifice you and me in the process.  They will do anything to piss off the average American as long as they can blame it on the Democrats.

It could get interesting. 

Reference dividend  paygo taxcuts

Monday, November 8, 2010

Obama Should Work As Hard At Getting US Jobs As He Does Getting India Jobs

From Thom Hartmann:

3 millions jobs in India - not the US!!
You need to know this about President Obama's trip to Southeast Asia. He says it's an effort to open up markets to India - the world's largest democracy - and for the Wal-Mart executives with him, that's true. They want to sell more stuff made in China in India in their retail stores, and are frustrated that Indian law only allows one company to own two retail stores. They're using Obama's prestige to get that law blown up. Additionally, Obama is there selling the only things we still make in the US - military hardware and airplanes. He says that will create as many as 54,000 jobs in the US, because, he says, the Indian consumer market is so large. But we no longer make consumer goods in the US! Meanwhile, the President is also bringing with him more than 200 business leaders - including leaders from Wal Mart. As Wal Mart CEO Michael Duke points - more than 3 million jobs can be created in India if he can get their laws changed. That's 3 millions jobs in India - not the US. Likewise, Honeywell already operates a facility in India employing 11,000 low wage engineers and scientists. Honeywell CEO David Cote says his company has moved American engineering jobs to India because India has "superior engineering". What they really have is cheap labor. Obama's simply continuing the insane free trade policies of Reagan, both Bushes, and Clinton. And, as long as they continue - your jobs will continue to vanish overseas.


Monday, November 1, 2010


Now that I got your attention,

GO VOTE in you have not already.

Unless you are a billionaire, or at least a multi-millionaire, it is the only way you can really influence how our local and federal governments are run.  I know it is only one vote, but it is as big a vote as everyone else's.  So, just go and do it.

Plus, you will get bitching rights until the next election.

Don't vote?  Then shut the fuck up and go away.  I don't want to hear from you.  If I know you didn't vote, your comments will be deleted.  I know.  It is not much of a threat, but it is all I have at the moment.

I decided to use this title because I put the word "porn" in a title over one and a half years ago and I still get about 10 hits a day on it.  I figured "sex" would boost the hits even more.