Monday, July 27, 2009

Rants On A Theme

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV3) recent vote in committee against the health care bill worming it's way through congress points to an issue that keeps rearing it's ugly head.

The issue is taxing the wealthy 5% to help pay for services to the 95% of the rest of the country. Too often over the last 8 1/2 years we've been told increasing taxes on the wealthy would be bad for the economy. For some reason this argument never takes into account the negative aspect of falling wages and benefits to the rest of us. The engine of a prosperous middle class is what truly drives the economy.

The two largest tax cuts enacted during Bush 43 were the Estate Tax and the Capital Gains Tax.

In 2001 when the Estate Tax was lowered the deductible was $675,000 with a maximum tax rate of 55%. Today the tax stands at $3,500,000 deductible with a 45% maximum rate. Next year it disappears altogether, and in 2011 it returns with a $5,000,000 deductible and a 35% maximum rate. The argument used during the debate in 2001 was the need to protect small family farms. It makes a great sound-bite, but nobody spouting this nonsense (read republican/blue dogs)could point to a single family farm lost due to the tax. The real recipient of this change was the Walton family of Walmart fame who stood to save billions (that's billion with a big "B")from the drop in rates.

The most insidious tax cut was for Capital Gains. The long-term rate was lowered in 2003 to 15% for corporations and 5% for individuals. Now understand, capital gains is the profit on investments. The Capital Gains tax is the only tax paid on this income. Capital Gains represent income from investments such as stocks, bonds, increased property values, etc. In 2011, the top rate reverts to 20%.

Warren Buffet, who was one of the biggest winners of the tax cut, commented at the time that he didn't need the cut and his secretary now paid a higher percentage on her income taxes for her $60,000 a year income than he did on his investments.

There are safeguards in place to protect homeowners from paying out long-term capital gains on the increased value of their primary residence at the time of sale. Why investments should be taxed lower than regular income is the issue here. If I work for a living, my maximum tax rate is over 35 percent. If I kick back and live off my investments, my maximum rate is 5 percent as an individual. The only people truly benefiting from this rate drop are the wealthy.

The combined drop in tax revenue over 10 years from these two taxes is estimated to exceed $1 trillion dollars. Or, about what universal health care would cost this country over 10 years.

It's time to stop making excuses for why we can't fix the major problems this country faces because of money, and go where the money is.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where Were You 40 Years Ago Today?

Check out the great interactive web-site We Choose The Moon for more interesting vids from the Apollo 11 moon mission.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pennsylvania Congressman Takes The Lead on Ending DADT

Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-Penn)stepped up to the plate to take the lead on overturning Don't Ask, Don't Tell today. The former war vet turned congressman has spoken out against DADT for years. Now with him taking the lead, congress will finally have to face the issue.

Vet Voice has more details.

"It is vital to our national security," Murphy said last week in his first interview since taking over the lead on the so-called Military Readiness Enhancement Act. "We have troops that are fighting in two wars ... and we need every qualified able-bodied individual who is able to serve."

The legislation, which has 150 co-sponsors in the House, would repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which Congress approved in September 1993 and bars the military from discriminating on the basis of a service member's sexual orientation. More than 13,000 military personnel have been discharged for being gay since the law was enacted.

In Murphy, 35, Democratic leadership in the House has an aggressive two-term lawmaker who in 2006 was the first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress. A former prosecutor and West Point professor, Murphy was a captain in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

He said he anticipates a drawn-out battle to rally enough support to bring the bill to the floor. The legislation, first introduced in 2005, has never made it out of committee.

"This is going to take months and months, but change is going to happen," Murphy said.

Check out the new web site for Congressman Murphy's effort:

Chevrolet Cleans Up In Gay Commercial

Check out the Chevy ad for the new Camaro complete with Go-Go Boys

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Senator Al Franken

Matt Taibbi: The Great American Bubble Machine

Check out Matt Taibbi's great article in the latest Rolling Stone. He very effectively breaks down who the major players are that created the economic crisis we are in today, and also shows how the same companies have been doing it to us for decades. The major player in all of this is Goldman Sachs.

The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

Any attempt to construct a narrative around all the former Goldmanites in influential positions quickly becomes an absurd and pointless exercise, like trying to make a list of everything. What you need to know is the big picture: If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain — an extremely unfortunate loophole in the system of Western democratic capitalism, which never foresaw that in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.

They achieve this using the same playbook over and over again. The formula is relatively simple: Goldman positions itself in the middle of a speculative bubble, selling investments they know are crap. Then they hoover up vast sums from the middle and lower floors of society with the aid of a crippled and corrupt state that allows it to rewrite the rules in exchange for the relative pennies the bank throws at political patronage. Finally, when it all goes bust, leaving millions of ordinary citizens broke and starving, they begin the entire process over again, riding in to rescue us all by lending us back our own money at interest, selling themselves as men above greed, just a bunch of really smart guys keeping the wheels greased. They've been pulling this same stunt over and over since the 1920s — and now they're preparing to do it again, creating what may be the biggest and most audacious bubble yet.

See Taibbi discuss Goldman Sachs' big scam.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Colin Powell Calls For Ending Don't Ask Don't Tell

Former Secretary of State Collin Powell called for a review of Don't Ask Don't Tell on CNN's "State of The Union" Sunday show. Getting Colin Powell to step out on this issue is important based on his participation during the Clinton administration when the law was crafted.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Sunday that the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy he helped craft should be revisited, but he would not go so far as to call for a full repeal of the compromise.

"The policy and the law that came about in 1993 I think was correct for the time," Powell said in an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union." "Sixteen years have now gone by, and I think a lot has changed with respect to attitudes within our country. And therefore, I think this is a policy and a law that should be reviewed."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

John Stewart Responds to Glenn Beck and His Bat-Shit Crazy Guest

Last night's Daily Show, John Stewart responded to Glenn Beck and his crazy guest who called for Bin Laden to launch an attack on the US to gain sympathy for their Gestapo ideas for America.

SCHEUER: The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States....only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them.
STEWART: What the fuck is that? And by the way, here's the fascinating thing about our culture. My guess is that you didn't hear me say "fuck." Because the Federal government is protecting you and your children's ears from that type of profanity. While, Santa's evil twin gets to, uhh...gets to nonchalantly proposes the needless slaughter of Americans to further his national security plan. But, obviously, in this country, everyone's entitled to their dope-pinion.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Osama bin Laden Needs to Attack America
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Clark County Nevada Turns 100 Today!

Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the splitting of Lincoln County to create Clark County.

Clark County was named for William Andrews Clark, a mining and railroad magnate who gave Las Vegas its start when he established a maintenance stop for his San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad.

Another Clark also played a key role, Hall-Patton said. Pioche businessman Edward Clark worked behind the scenes to make the county split possible. His reward was an appointment as Clark County's first treasurer.

The new county's population, counted officially for the first time during the 1910 census, stood at 3,321 souls.

That's about 600 more than the current enrollment at Clark High School and 27 fewer than the number of guest rooms at Caesars Palace.

Hall-Patton said Clark County's two largest communities a century ago were Searchlight and Goodsprings, and its two largest employers were mines and ranches.

And The Race Is On

Former North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon (R) announced his entry into the Republican primary to challenge Jim Gibbons in 2010.

Let the games begin!

GOP Whining Obama Won't Talk To Them Anymore

The GOP Leadership in Congress led by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) are now whining Obama won't talk to them anymore. Where do these assholes get off? All the talk of bi-partisanship early on followed by total Repug refusal to vote for anything Obama suggested even to the point of demanding changes in legislation and then not voting for the bills.

Somebody call the Waaaaaahbulance

Glenn Beck Agrees, We Need Another Al Qaeda Attack

Faux News Channel's Glenn Beck agrees with a former CIA analyst that America needs another attack...

This is what FNC considers Fair and Balanced news reporting.