Who Is Dominating The Class War

Eric Schoenberg: How I Paid Only 1% of My Income in Federal Income Tax http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-schoenberg/how-i-paid-1-of-my-income_b_852948.html

In a recent newspaper interview, I mentioned my absurdly low tax rate to illustrate the extent to which the tax system is biased in favor of the wealthy (my income varies widely from year to year, but is typically north of half a million dollars). My point was that with our country facing frightening budget deficits amid an ever-widening income gap between the rich and everybody else, I consider it both unwise and unfair that a former investment banker like myself pays less in taxes than working Americans with far lower incomes. Among the dozens of emails I received in response were many from people who assumed that rich people avoid taxes through complicated strategies devised by an army of expensive advisors (many correspondents asked for the name of my accountant).

But under our current tax system, the rich don’t need high-priced lawyers who exploit obscure loopholes; I wasn’t even trying to minimize my taxes (and, in fact, could have paid zero tax if I was). Warren Buffett has observed that if there’s class warfare in this country, the rich are winning. I offer my 2009 tax return, then, as a flare to illuminate the battlefield.

And there you have it.

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Less whining, more football = sounds good to me

Nelson wrote: “In short, the world of ‘chaos’ the NFL claims it has been thrust into —essentially the ‘free-market’ system this nation otherwise willfully operates under —is not compelled by this court’s order.”

In her decision, she said that all lockout rules are over and that the league year must start immediately. Although she said no team is required to sign free agents, clubs must open their facilities and allow workouts.

SCOTUS Determines Corporations Need More Power

Vincent and Liza Concepcion, who live in the San Diego area, were charged $30.22 in sales tax for what was promoted as a free cellphone. They tried to join a class-action suit against AT&T Mobility, but the company said the they would have to go to arbitration as individuals.

Their cellphone contract prohibited class-action claims, the company said. Judges in California —both federal and state —agreed with the Concepcions and ruled that the company could not enforce its ban on class-action claims. The Supreme Court reversed that decision in AT&T Mobility vs. Concepcion.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-court-class-action-20110428,0,4701430.story

Obama trumps Birther idiots and their new hero

Obama Says Questions About Birth a Distraction From Issues – Businessweek http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-04-27/obama-says-questions-about-birth-a-distraction-from-issues.html

“Over the last two and a half years I have watched with bemusement, I’ve been puzzled at the degree to which this thing just kept on going,” he said at the White House.

The question has dominated the news in recent weeks even as the country is in the middle of a debate about the federal budget and how to cut the nation’s debt, he said. “We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers,” the president said. “We do not have time for this kind of silliness.”

“Carnival barker” might be the best description of Trump I’ve ever seen.

BTW, did you catch how a majority of R’s are still in the wrong, factually, in this one?   Now we get to see how cognitive dissonance works in real time.

UPDATE: Why this went on so long and probably isn’t done yet…

And we all know how the White House lies about everything…right Fox?

This is how “they” are taking over (the last 49% they don’t already have)

Gizmodo, the Gadget Guide http://m.gizmodo.com/5546244/how-to-watch-hulu-in-android-in-3-easy-steps

Should be “how lawyers and marketing are making a killing by killing innovation and competition.”

BTW, I loved how I got three warnings how it wouldnt work in pop-UPS, but my palmtop computer (like the laptops of old) kept acting like “hey, I got this”.

And it does.  Other flash based video works just fine, thank you.  No lawyers or exclusive distribution deals necessary.

Didn’t really take Barbour for a marathoner anyway

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s surprise decision on Monday not to run for president set off a scramble inside the Republican Party for pieces of his financial and political network. It also raised questions about the challenges the party may face in trying to unseat President Obama. So far, the GOP race has been notable for its slow start and the absence of a front-runner.

With the economy continuing to improve, I doubt many are going to want to drop a bill(ion) to be a proverbial sacrificial lamb.

Ron Paul figures fifth time is the charm…

image

…he’s still wrong.

The news:

Ron Paul, the patriarch of the libertarian stream in GOP politics, will announce on Tuesday that he is forming a presidential exploratory committee, taking a step to join the Republican nomination sweepstakes.

Paul, who will be 76 in August, has served about 20 years in the House representing districts in Texas, most recently the 14th, which includes Galveston. He is a doctor by training, having served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force and in private practice as a gynecologist.

Ronald Reagan, BTW, was old as heck in office, had Alzheimer’s and was still much younger than Paul when running.

I’m thinking being well beyond mandatory retirement age is probably a detriment to have the new, fresh ideas we need to deal with the 21st century.    Ron Paul’s devotees are some of the funniest, most passionate, and least informed (with actual facts…they’ve got TONS of other data) people you meet.  The majority is his strongest supporters are truthers, birthers, and anti-gubmint nuts, all of which seem to love Paul’s only solution to every single societal problem: less government.

The sad thing about this ideology is that a) it’s utterly inflexible and b) reality has no bearing on it (which are kinda the same thing).   Paul is one those people who actively campaign on how government can’t do anything right, and then does his best to make that come true once elected.

He’s not a serious candidate, at least if you consider some hope of winning a necessity for “seriousness” but given our media’s ability to monetize stupidity (see: Trump, Donald), he’ll stick around for a while and his supporters will lament that his lack of support is because  no one really knows what is going on and they are all just sheeple.

The rest of us know that’s exactly why  he gets so little popular support and such huge passionate support.

Android comes to RPN

Finally re-upgraded to the 21st century with a new Android phone.

First impressions are quite positive. The speed is impressive (LTE), but my signal strength leaves a bit to be desired.   Camera is great.  Vids are nice.  Everything seems integrated.  More on the games side later, but I’m expecting good things.

Did thus post with it, and the WO Android app.

Begun, the Patent Wars have

“The implication here is really that there is a huge number of Linux users who will be required to pay royalties if this patent holder knocks on their doors in the US. This is definitely a major impediment to the growth of Linux and makes companies, including Google, that rely on open source code particularly vulnerable to patent threats.”

That is also the view of other industry watchers who expect a flood of lawsuits against companies who rely on open source code.

“Those looking to cash in on buried patents need only spend time poring over code and looking for infringements,” said Christopher Dawson of technology blog ZDNet.

via BBC News – Google fined $5m over Linux patent row.

So a bunch of bass-ackwards idjits in East Teast just handed IP lawyers their biggest payday in a generation.     Trust lawyers to end the joy and love that is Free Software.

Texas governor calls for prayers for rain, Obama asks him to just call

(Reuters) – Texas Governor Rick Perry called for three days of prayer for rain as a wave of moisture and cooler temperatures on Thursday helped firefighters contain wildfires that have charred more than 1.5 million acres across the state this year.

Perry sought increased federal help in combating the blazes last weekend and urged Texans to ask the same from a higher power over the Easter holiday weekend.

via Texas governor calls for prayers for rain | Reuters.

“Throughout our history, both as a state and as individuals, Texans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer,” Perry said in a statement on Thursday.

“It is fitting that Texans should join together in prayer to humbly seek an end to this ongoing drought and these devastating wildfires.”

While we’re at it, why not go ahead and add a prayer to end global warming, which is driving this drought (as predicted*).  If you do that and petition your reps for policy help on the issue, we might actually make some progress here.   Well, the praying is more for you (so you’ll feel better), the policy changes are what addresses the actual issue.

BTW, for those of you hoping the vaunted brains in the GOP would expose global climate change as a liberal myth, you might be as disappointed as they were.

Context:

*

A top climate scientist warned Wednesday that Texas faces a dual threat from floods and drought if global warming is left unchecked.

James Hansen, in Houston to speak before the Progressive Forum on Wednesday night, said predictions made two decades ago about the effects of a warming world are now beginning to come true.

“Texas is in the line of fire for double-barreled climate impacts,” said Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “What we said in the 1980s, and is beginning to come true now, is that both ends of the hydrological cycle get intensified by global warming.”

A warmer climate increases evaporation, he said. It both sucks moisture from the ground, intensifying drought, and increases atmospheric humidity, which causes more rain to fall during extreme events.

UPDATE: It should be noted quickly that two things happened subsequent to this post.

Obama came to Texas (and told a bunch of truths).

May 10, 2011 5:48 PM

President Obama in El Paso today tried to make the case that his administration is doing everything immigration reform opponents have said needed to be done before immigration reform could be tackled.

And so did the rain.

Published : Thursday, 12 May 2011, 8:57 AM CDT

Austin, TX – Much needed rain hit Central Texas Wednesday evening and continued into Thursday morning.

It was the biggest rain event in eight months.

Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Uninsured Sick People

BELMONT, MA—Though Mitt Romney is considered to be a frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the national spotlight has forced him to repeatedly confront a major skeleton in his political closet: that as governor of Massachusetts he once tried to help poor, uninsured sick people.

via Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Uninsured Sick People | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.

I made this point, non-satirically, a little while back.  Anybody who calls themself a Republican and a Christian, should also add “hypocrite” to that list.

The reason one should do so is captured in this post, which is about the two completely incompatible ideologies that inform the Republican voter base.  One based on the teachings of Christ, the other on the teachings of Rand.

As we have seen recently, with the Republican “Path to (Greater)  Prosperity (for the top 1%, Feudalism for the Rest)“, the Rand side won, *huge*.

Note:  This Randian fascination is real, and you don’t have to take my word for it.  Today Gary Johnson, former (R-Gov NM), made it explicit in his bid for the nomination.

Gary Johnson, the Republican former governor of New Mexico, skipped formation of an exploratory committee and went right for the big show. “I am running for president,” he blasted on Twitter Thursday as he made the same announcement in person from the New Hampshire statehouse.

He also offers reassurance that he’s not a rigid libertarian. In the Weekly Standard interview, he said his fiancee asked him what she should read to better understand his philosophy, and he recommended “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand.

“I think I view the system the same way that Ayn Rand views the system –that it really oppresses those that create, if you will, and tries to take away from those that produce and give to the non-producers,” Johnson said.

[full story]

I remember Jesus’ Parable of the Leeches.  I think it went something like…

John 12: 8 – For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.

John 12:9 – Therefore you must crucify the poor, as you will me, and then they’ll be gone and glorious capitalism can finally take hold.

Obama Administration Launches Simple Tool to Tell You How Your Tax Dollars Spent, Citizens respond with disgust

Here’s the tool.

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama promised that this year, for the first time ever, American taxpayers would be able to go online and see exactly how their federal tax dollars are spent. Just enter a few pieces of information about your taxes, and the taxpayer receipt will give you a breakdown of how your tax dollars are spent on priorities like education, veterans benefits, or health care.

Give it a whirl.  There is widespread ignorance about tax dollars, spending priorities, and their relative size.

The one I am going to point to, just real quick (and I’ll be coming back to this theme over the next month or so until it gets sorted out or the U.S. is screwed for the foreseeable future) is this line item.  It’s at the bottom.

Net Interest   7.4% 
That’s the one they are talking about “cutting” when they mention “not raising the debt ceiling.”   Which is to say, not raising the debt ceiling is the same thing as cutting spending on our interest payments.

For anyone who has a credit card, car loan, mortgage, etc….you know how bad this is, right?    When you miss payments on your loans, your rate goes up.  It’s that simple.  So when people start talking about not raising the debt ceiling, that’s what they want to do, skip payments on our debt.

Here’s what happens when that happens immediately (even if we only screw around for a few days), the rate on our debt goes up by at least 1% overnight.  Recall that there are only 100 percents in anything.  There’s only 100 percents of the Universe in the entire Universe.  1 percent is big deal, especially for big things…like the U.S. debt.   

 
If the debt stands at $15,000,000,000,000 (rounded to $15T for ease) and we skip a payment (i.e. not raise the debt ceiling) it’s going to cost us at least $150,000,000,000/year.   That’s $150 Billion dollars a year.  That’s what our “missed payment fee” is going to translate to.   For doing nothing other than missing a payment.  Which would make your 2011 tax receipt include something like this line.
Net Interest   8.5% 
And then we might very well be off to the races.    Currently it looks like the odds of the debt ceiling being raised are about 50/50.    With the way the House is doing things…well….that’s why it’s 50/50.  Who knows what these idjuts will do.
 
Final note…that disgust I mentioned in the title is on the USA Today boards.  I don’t think many who posted actually read the article past the first five words in the headline…”White House Launches New Tax”…they missed “Calculator”.   It’s kinda hilarious…in a sad, sad, way.