Friday, December 31, 2010

The Bubbles Caused by High Taxation

Brian Domitrovic for Forbes discusses how capital went on strike in the 1970s because of a clutch of onerous tax increases starting in 1969, and was diverted instead to a bunch of "inert stuff" like gold, oil and land, causing unemployment to rise: 

The rich spent the 1970s trying to figure out how to hide their money. ...

The 1970s were the first heyday of “alternative investments.” Gold, oil, land, straddles, these exotica had been the preserve of a small group of specialists before 1969, when high earners got hit with a triple tax increase. The top capital gains rate got upped to an effective 49%, there was an income-tax surcharge, and the millionaire’s minimum tax (the AMT monster of today) began. This is not to mention “bracket creep,” whereby real tax rates go up with every increase in the price level. For the record, inflation was 200% from 1969 to 1982.

In this environment, the rich simply stopped what they were doing and focused all attention on preserving capital and avoiding confiscatory rates. ...

Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It Ain't No 'With Two You Get Eggroll' For The-Office-Milker-in-Chief

A trio of appetizers: Wong's seafood cake, a tomato with li hing mui dressing and Wong's famous "soup and sandwich," a two-color Big Island tomato soup and foie gras grilled cheese sandwich.

Lobster lasagna

Ginger-crusted onaga

The President's favorite entree, soy-braised shortribs.

And his favorite dessert, "The Coconut," coconut ice cream covered with dark chocolate, in a shape that looks exactly like half a coconut, served with a colorful array of tropical fruits.

As reported here.

WAPO Blogger Klein Thays Constitution Justht Too Old and Confusthing

Talk about lip thservice. Isth he done or what?! Here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The "Right" To Healthcare is a Threat to Life and Liberty

Ross Kaminsky for The American Spectator here gets close to making a point which needs to be made more often, more forcefully, and more primary, namely, that one man's right to healthcare comes at the expense of another man's right not to provide it if he doesn't wish to:

[I]f health care is a right, that means that an American who for whatever reason does not have access to a doctor must be provided that access, whether that means redistributing taxpayer money to the would-be patient or even the potential of forcing a doctor to provide his services in an area "underserved" by health care professionals. ...

In other words, when one person's right is forcibly taken away for the benefit of someone else, it can no longer be a right any more than taxes extracted for the benefit of the poor may be deemed charity.

A doctor practices medicine by choice, not by compulsion, so we can no more force him to provide care than we can force people to become doctors. But, of course, if the courts decide that government can compel expenditure for health insurance, then it is a short distance to compelling other things, indeed anything, at which point this country is finished, if it isn't already.

Quibbling about how the inherent limitations accruing to conceptions of positive rights shows that they are not rights, such as that Obamacare under Berwick's rules will be provided as a right only

up to a certain age, a certain degree of sickness, or a certain cost,

has utilitarian value but is really beside the point.

A different contract governs the relations between a doctor and his patient, which Obamacare would overthrow, as full of negative pledges as the Bill of Rights is full of negative rights, the most famous of which people remember as "to do no harm."

The real offense of Obamacare is the compulsion at the heart of it, as real as the oppression of any tyranny.

What we need to stop it is a Hippocratic Revolt.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Debt by Congress

"After years of historic deficits, this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: Pay as you go, no new deficit spending. Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt."

-- Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

111th Congress, 2009-2010, New debt = $3.22 trillion
110th Congress, 2007-2008, New debt = $1.96 trillion
Total new debt under Pelosi and Dems = $5.18 trillion

An increase of new debt of 134 percent over the historic deficits she was referring to, making hers, well, more historic:

109th Congress, 2005-2006, New debt = $1.05 trillion
108th Congress, 2003-2004, New debt = $1.16 trillion
Total new debt under Republicans        = $2.21 trillion

Proving once again that Republicans give less of the same, and Democrats more.

Full story here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

On Patriotism

"Patriotism is now the last refuge of the bugger."

-- Imam John

Saturday, December 25, 2010

TSA Mops The Floor With Claire Hirschkind at Austin-Bergstrom Int'l Airport

"I can't go through because I have the equivalent of a pacemaker in me."

"I turned to the police officer and said, 'I have given no due cause to give up my constitutional rights.  You can wand me,'" and they said, 'No, you have to do this.'"

"I told them, 'No, I'm not going to have my breasts felt,' and she said, 'Yes, you are.'"

 "[T]he police actually pushed me to the floor, (and) handcuffed me.  I was crying by then.  They [dragged] me 25 yards across the floor in front of the whole security."

The TSA did release a statement Wednesday that said in part, "Our officers are trained to treat all passengers with dignity and respect. Security is not optional."

Complete story and video here. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Preparing Our Hearts For Christmas, With George Washington and Thomas Paine

From Paine's December 23, 1776 The American Crisis, which Washington had read aloud to his troops as they prepared to attack Trenton on Christmas:

Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to "bind me in all cases whatsoever" to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other. Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.

Enjoy it all, here.

Minyanville Founder and Dead-Head Asks The Stupid Question of the Year

"What's another word for thesaurus?" (Todd Harrison, here)

You'd think "treasury" would come to the mind of someone whose job it is to talk about money all the time, and preempt the question, but that would presuppose that Syracuse University required its honors graduates to know some Greek.

On Sin

"Sin is what everyone commits, but few admit."

-- Imam John

Thursday, December 23, 2010 Fawns Over Senator Murcowskie (RINO-AK)

With photos no less, here.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Which is why we should repeal the 19th Amendment.

TSA De-deputizes Pilot For Posting Video of Sacramento Security Theatre

The story, with video, is here.

Apparently the TSA is upset that you find out from this story that ground crews don't go through the invasive screening that you and flight crews have to endure. Ground crew members swipe a card reader and get access to your plane, by-passing metal detectors, naked scanners, and enhanced pat downs.

Do you feel safer?

Well, do ya, punk?

The Major Antonyms of the Moment

Military Will Follow the Nuremberg Offense on Repeal of DADT

Just following orders, sir:

Major Tim Densham of the 63rd Brigade said the military will do as asked.

“Our role is to do what the president tells us to do. We are just going to follow the rules.”

The moral hollowness of a Nazi.

Vern Ehlers' Parting Shot at Conservatives

U.S. Rep. Vern Ehlers, R-Grand Rapids, voted for repeal [of DADT].

He predicted people will look back in five or 10 years and wonder what all the fuss was about.

“I just don’t think there is going to be a problem here,” Ehlers said. Targets Free Speech

Per the very unattractive, Stalinist cave-dwelling hobgoblin in charge, here.

Admiral Says Obama's Motive in START was not National Defense

“If Obama wanted to save some money and improve national defense, he should have gotten out of the nuke negotiations and acted unilaterally. START is simply a political victory for Obama.”

-- Vice Admiral Jerry Miller, USN (Ret.), here

Alaska Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Senator Lisa Murcowskie

But she wanted more:

Murkowski tried to make her lead even bigger by arguing that the state should have counted about 1,500 ballots where voters wrote in her name but didn't fill in the oval next to it.

The Supreme Court considered that along with Miller's lawsuit and ruled the state was right not to count those additional ballots for Murkowski.

The full story is here.

"The Tax Code is 10 Times Longer Than the Bible, Without the Good News"

So says Republican Representative Dave Camp of Michigan, and George Will approves, here, especially with the additional observation that it is not right that the bottom two income quintiles pay no taxes whatsoever, and receive direct cash payments in the form of refundable tax credits.

Real conservatives agree: everyone needs to have skin in the game.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Senate Traitors Enshrine Doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction 71-26

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse than George Bush's immoral doctrine of pre-emptive war, 16 Republicans helped, HELPED!, the Senate's Democrat majority turn back the clock to the bad old days of mutually assured destruction and ratified THE NEW START, which is just the old madness. 13 actually voted for the thing. 3 didn't bother to show up.

The final vote came after Senate Democrats accepted two amendments designed to placate Republicans who had qualms about the treaty. The amendments, which passed on voice votes with bipartisan support, emphasized the administration's commitment to a limited missile-defense program and to continued funding to modernize the aging US nuclear weapons complex.

The amendments were to the resolution of ratification accompanying the treaty, a nonbinding statement that codifies the Senate's understanding of the pact but does not directly affect its language. Republican efforts to alter the treaty language were defeated, with supporters of the pact arguing that such changes would have forced new negotiations with Moscow and effectively killed the treaty.

Thirteen Republicans joined all of the Senate's Democrats in voting for ratification, helping to exceed the 67 votes required. Three senators - all Republicans - were not present.

The amendments are meaningless, pure mental gestures by the effete for the effete.

Charitable observers will nevertheless say the US Senate ignored Russian threats to embark upon a new arms race if we didn't ratify, when the truth is this country under Barack Obama doesn't have the stomach to defend itself and couldn't declare its independence from the inside of a paper bag. It doesn't even know what it stands for, and couldn't articulate it if it did.

The moral center of America has melted, as the passage of repeal of DADT makes plain.

What are we fighting for? The right of Afghan men to parade their adolescent lovers as they do, to the disgust of every frontline soldier in arms?

Are we really in such a state of decline that we fear the Russians' ability to outspend us? The answer in truth is No. But what we do have is a population fed up with the protracted wars of nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan and consequently now incapable of understanding the pressing need to rise above this squandering of resources and build up America's deteriorating strategic defenses. Barack Obama is a man made for just such a time as this.

The Russians will use the opportunity to build anyway, and cheat and lie about it as they always have done, which suits the Bolshevik in Chief Barack Obama just fine, a traitor to everything this country has stood for, who will get us all killed if something isn't done soon to stop him.

Clearly the Republicans are not the party to do it. The Stupid Party has struck again, snatching another defeat from the jaws of a victory won just weeks ago, and the Democrats are laughing all the way to New Year's Eve with feathers of healthcare, another year of stimulus spending, repeal of DADT, and this treaty in their caps. The corks will be a-poppin' on Nancy Pelosi's last flight as Speaker. 

Here are the names of the disreputable lot of Republican cowards:

Murkowskie-AK (heh, heh, heh)
SPECTRE-D, PA (heh, heh, heh)

The Republicans not bothering to vote on something so momentous:


Useless men and women, all.

A pox on them, and on their states.

I'm Barack Insane Obama, and I'm Full of Bolshevik

Effete Senate Republicans Rest on A Letter and A Resolution on START

The news that a resolution of understanding will be attached to the START treaty along with a letter from President Obama to address the misgivings of Republicans reminds one of the Executive Order on abortion the president provided when healthcare reform passed in March.

The language of the treaty will be the law, not the resolution nor the letter from the president, as surely as abortions will be paid for under Obamacare despite the Executive Order.

Fill your boots, men, and stop acting like the sissies everybody thinks you are.

Story here.

Obama's FCC Internet Commissars Impose Doctrinaire Anti-Capitalism

In other words, Marxism masquerading as "net neutrality," as John Fund for The Wall Street Journal makes plain here:

Over 300 House and Senate members have signed a letter opposing FCC Internet regulation, and there will undoubtedly be even less support in the next Congress.

Yet President Obama, long an ardent backer of net neutrality, is ignoring both Congress and adverse court rulings, especially by a federal appeals court in April that the agency doesn't have the power to enforce net neutrality. He is seeking to impose his will on the Internet through the executive branch. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a former law school friend of Mr. Obama, has worked closely with the White House on the issue. Official visitor logs show he's had at least 11 personal meetings with the president.

The net neutrality vision for government regulation of the Internet began with the work of Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor who founded the liberal lobby Free Press in 2002. Mr. McChesney's agenda? "At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies," he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. "But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control."

A year earlier, Mr. McChesney wrote in the Marxist journal Monthly Review that "any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself." Mr. McChesney told me in an interview that some of his comments have been "taken out of context." He acknowledged that he is a socialist and said he was "hesitant to say I'm not a Marxist."

"You'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot." -- Barack Obama, January 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Leading Commie Advocates Cooperation with Democrat Party

"It is certainly the case that in the US the real stuff of politics and governance occurs through the two mass political parties. Here is where the action is and it is here, mainly through the vehicle of the Democratic Party, that the peoples' movement fights for its interests. Serious politics cannot stand apart from these struggles...

For the foreseeable future Democratic Party circles will be an area of engagement for those wanting to make a difference.

That said, even with the growth of newly independent forces operating within the Democratic Party, it’s hard to see how the role of a communist party could be realized within these confines. ...

One does not have a crystal ball and even an unlikely outcome such as capturing the Democratic Party cannot be completely ruled out.

What is certain is that the CPUSA must be part of this broad struggle in which two trends – the old Democratic Party machine and the all peoples coalition – continue to coexist in cooperation and antagonism."

-- Joe Sims, co-editor, CPUSA's Peoples World, here, and quoted here. 

3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals Defends Fourth Amendment on Cellular Info

A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected the Obama administration’s contention that the government is never required to get a court warrant to obtain cell-site information that mobile-phone carriers retain on their customers.

For more on the ruling against the Obama administration, which wants to spy on you without a warrant, just like the Bush administration did, go here.

6th US Circuit Court of Appeals Defends Fourth Amendment on Email

“The government may not compel a commercial ISP to turn over the contents of a subscriber’s e-mails without first obtaining a warrant based on probable cause”, the appeals court ruled. The decision — one stop short of the Supreme Court — covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

So, how about all that email the NSA has already illegally read?

Read more on the story at here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blame, or Credit, GLD for the Rise of Gold

With which Peter Cohan seems to agree:

The key hasn't been any inherent increase in gold's value to society. Instead, gold rose because a South African mine owner -- with help from consulting firm Bain & Co. -- invented a way to sell it to the masses without the hassle of physically delivering the shiny metal, explains a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article published Sunday. The question now is: How will the masses react when the parabolic price rise facilitated by this marketing coup ends up collapsing?

Me too. It's an easy place for fear to tread.

The rest is here.

They Make The Scanner Vans That Spy On You

They Make The Drones That Spy On You

Your Garbage Man is Spying on You, Too

Trucks are now armed with a cell phone, camera and incident reports so they'll have accurate information for police and, possibly, prosecutors.

The story is here.

Houston Police Test 40 lb Scan Eagle Drone To Spy on Americans

The video is here.

Test launch in Houston
Insitu Inc. Ground Ops, Houston
Close up by TV crew
Fly by footage

from video
drone in a box
military use

We Have Created a Police State Monster in the Name of Homeland Security

A vast network of "fusion centers" in every state in America now routinely develops data bases containing centralized data files about Americans, their communications and their movements, who do such innocent things as gather for a ferry ride and take pictures but which some snitch reported as "suspicious."

From today's disturbing 8-page Washington Post story:

The vast majority of fusion centers across the country have transformed themselves into analytical hubs for all crimes and are using federal grants, handed out in the name of homeland security, to combat everyday offenses.

This is happening because, after 9/11, local law enforcement groups did what every agency and private company did in Top Secret America: They followed the money.

Read the whole thing, here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The 20th Amendment isn't Working

David Fahrenthold here for The Washington Post provides a nice summary of the history of the 20th amendment, ratified in 1933, which was supposed to stop lame duck sessions, but hasn't, because of air travel.

It seems the founders weren't the only ones without a crystal ball.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bank Failure Friday: 6 Tonight, 157 Year to Date

This is an updated post which corrects information previously posted in error:

#152 was The Bank of Miami N.A., Coral Gables, FL, costing the FDIC $64 million. Stated assets were short by 44%.

#153 was Chestatee State Bank, Dawsonville, GA, costing the FDIC $75.3 million. Stated assets were short by 48%.

#154 was Appalachian Community Bank FSB, McCaysville, GA, costing the FDIC $26 million. Stated assets were short by 35%.


#156 was First Southern Bank, Batesville, AR, costing the FDIC $22.8 million. Stated assets were short by 44%.

#157 was Community National Bank, Lino Lakes, MN, costing the FDIC $3.7 million. Stated assets were short by 26%.

Next Friday is Christmas Eve, and the Friday after is New Year's Eve, so I'm guessing that's a wrap for 2010: 157 bank failures vs. 140 last year.

But you never know.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rush's Brain Goes on Vacation Early

Today he's said the SPENDING in the $857 billion bill extending the Bush TAX rates for two years was minimal, and that the majority of it, $700 some billion, had to do only with the tax rates.

Pure rubbish.

A lazy, over-generalized point showing yet again lack of show prep, and an effort to co-opt the outrage and the influence of the Tea Party, which Rush is trying to steer toward establishment politics to prevent it from exploding into a genuine third party movement.

The tax rates, extended for two years, will cost just over $207 billion, not $700+ billion. The rest is all tax credits, fixing the Alternative Minimum Tax yet once again, and a host of other goodies handed out via the tax code in order to mask what's really going on: the rich and the poor getting special favors through the tax code at the expense of the chumps in the middle who must pay and pay and pay.

Wake up Rush, you dunderhead.

Here's a table breaking it all down.

On Narcissism

"People who complain overmuch about narcissists resent the competition."

-- Imam John

TSA Screeners Routinely Miss Guns and Bombs

According to this ABC news story, last fall a guy forgets he's got a loaded pistol in a carry-on but gets through security anyway in Houston and doesn't realize it until he's in his destination hotel room after the three hour flight.

And then there's this. The story says it was an international flight. Didn't he go through customs at the other end?

Do you think if we had profiled the Iranian-American, Farid Seif, we'd have found the weapon?

Whatever people may think TSA is doing at airports, it isn't security. It's security theatre.

Democrats Become The Party of No, Sort of

By a margin of 3 to 1, more Democrats in the US House voted last night against extending the Bush-era tax rates than Republicans who voted No:

Like the Senate, the vote on passage in the House was bipartisan. While 139 House Democrats voted for it, 112 opposed it; 138 Republicans voted yes and 36 voted no.

Full story here.

On Compromise

"Death turns compromise into capitulation."

-- Imam John

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pretty Boy Hannity Gets a Lesson in the Constitution

From the American Thinker, here:

Dear Sean:

Concerning the 17th amendment, the argument for its repeal absolutely centers around states' rights.  If Senators are elected by elected reps and senators, they are more likely to defend their state against federal encroachments (upholding the 10th amendment), than they are if elected by the general population.  Any federal program - ObamaCare, the financial reform bill, etc., -  which increases burdens on state budgets would not sit well with Senators answerable to congressional bodies in their state.

Greg Halvorson

Tax 'Em All: Let God Sort 'Em Out

People who claim, like Rush Limbaugh, that no one is undertaxed in this country don't know what they are talking about. Both the rich and the poor are undertaxed. Here is why.

For tax year 2008, IRS figures show that the top half of the country, over 69 million tax returns, contributed in excess of 97 percent of the tax revenue, $1.004 trillion. The bottom half, over 69 million returns, contributed less than 3 percent of the revenue, $27.9 billion, a staggeringly small sum by comparison.

The effective tax rate on the top half was 13.66 percent, on the bottom half just 2.6 percent.

It seems self-evident that the poorer half of the country escaped a lot of taxation, but how?

For one thing, George Bush's creation of the 10% tax bracket in 2001 reduced federal tax revenues from payers in the 10 percent bracket by $42 billion per year. For another, the Earned Income Tax Credit diverts away even more money, now approaching $50 billion per year. These credits wipe out any federal income taxes qualifying filers may owe, and actually reimburse many of them for the payroll taxes they pay, so that many actually have a negative tax rate. This is using the tax code to provide what amount to direct welfare payments, stimulus spending, whatever you want to call it. But it sure isn't "taxes."

But the poorest Americans are not the only beneficiaries.

These credits also percolate far up through the income quintiles. And none penetrate as high as the child tax credit does, relieving the middle classes of taxes to the point that many people in the middle quintile earning between $38,551 and $61,801 also pay little to no federal income tax at all. Created under Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton and expanded under George Bush, this credit now reduces federal revenues by $143.4 billion per year. People even in the top income quintile, making in excess of $100,000 a year, can qualify for this credit, which also directly reduces their tax bill, and government revenues.

Taken together, the 10% bracket, the EITC and the Child Tax Credit help taxpayers to be sure, but at a cost of nearly $2.4 trillion over ten years to the federal government.

Compare that with the big tax break the top earners in the country enjoy because the payroll tax cap is set at $106,800. Everything they earn after that escapes the 6.2 percent tax. The annual cost of that is now $130 billion, or $1.3 trillion over a decade. The denizens of the top 25 percent of taxpayers, who earn 68 percent of the total adjusted gross income in this country, will doubtless complain that they already contribute 86 percent of the tax revenue.

But the result is that a narrower and narrower band of taxpayers in the fourth quintile (those making between $61,802 and $100,000 per year) and in the top half of the middle quintile (about $52,000 to $61,800), gets squeezed with responsibility for income and payroll taxes without enjoying the relief provided to their poorer fellows who pay very little in taxes, or their richer ones who can afford them.

A ladder needs rungs on it to get from the bottom to the top and back down again, and ours in the upper half are getting worn out.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Congress Was Last This Unpopular During Watergate

36 years ago. Story here:

Americans' assessment of Congress has hit a new low, with 13% saying they approve of the way Congress is handling its job. The 83% disapproval rating is also the worst Gallup has measured in more than 30 years of tracking congressional job performance.

Extension of Bush Tax Rates Now Goes to US House

The Senate passed the extension of the Bush tax rates, which will last for two years only and is adorned with billions in new spending which we cannot afford, 81-19. Here are the nineteen no votes, a photograph of left and right in the current Senate:


Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Kay Hagan (D-NC)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Pat Leahy (D-VT)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Wyden (D-OR)


Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
John Ensign (R-NV)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Voinovich (R-OH)


Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Senate Votes For "Almost All" of the Bush Tax Cuts

So says, here:

"The package extends almost all of the Bush tax cuts . . .."

The devil is in the details, and I smell a devil.

Years of Blood, Sweat Equity, and Tears . . . Gone: Home Equity Down $7 Trillion Since 2006

The Nutter feels your pain:

Since early 2006, American families have lost $7 trillion in home equity — more than half of their equity has simply vanished. Many millions, of course, have lost everything they put into their house, and more.

Years of blood, tears and sweat equity gone. Remember, for most families, home equity accounts for most of their wealth. In the past, wealth in the form of home equity has often been the ticket to upward mobility; many a small business or college education has been funded from real estate wealth.

About 11 million families — about 23% of those with mortgages — now owe more on their house than it’s worth. Before the bubble burst, that figure was about 1%.

More from Rex here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Judge Objects to Obamacare Bait and Switch: The Mandate Became a Tax

From Peter Wehner at Commentary Magazine:

Judge Hudson writes, “Despite pre-enactment representations to the contrary by the Executive and Legislative branches, the Secretary now argues that the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision is, in essence, a ‘tax penalty.’”

That’s a polite way of saying that the Obama administration willfully misled the public during the health-care debate. In fact, President Obama repeatedly denied that the mandate was a tax — but now, in order to pass constitutional muster, his administration is insisting it is. I urge you to watch ... [w]hen ... Obama scolds Stephanopoulos. “That’s not true, George,” the president says. “[It] is absolutely not a tax increase.”

Now the president and his administration are arguing exactly the opposite.

This is a deeply cynical maneuver on the part of the man who promised to put an end to cynical political acts. Like so much of what Obama said, this promise was fraudulent.

The complete entry is here, with links.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Father Castrates Daughter's 57 Year Old Boyfriend in Germany

Nuts to you, buddy! Now you've got two pair.

Story here.

Obamacare is Not Just Un-American, It's Anti-Human

In a story at here, reporting on the ruling of a Virginia judge that the individual mandate in Obamacare is unconstitutional, we are met with the following bizarrerie:

The Obama administration argues healthcare is different from other commercial markets, because — illness being both inevitable and involuntary — everyone ultimately requires some form of care.

By this reasoning, government should mandate that the baby pay for his own birth, and the corpse for his own burial, the first and the last of the involuntaries which bookend human existence. 

Obamacare is not just un-American. It's anti-human.

America is Not Either Or, It's Both And

Bill Clinton once shot back at black incitement to violence against whites, and wore it as a badge of a non-extreme third way ever thereafter. His critics would say his sincerity was on full display in Waco and Kosovo.

The founders had already discovered a third way of their own, however, and had called it America:

The third model of human nature is found in the thinking of the American founders. “If men were angels,” wrote James Madison, the father of the Constitution, in Federalist Paper No. 51, “no government would be necessary.” But Madison and the other founders knew men were not angels and would never become angels. They believed instead that human nature was mixed, a combination of virtue and vice, nobility and corruption. People were swayed by both reason and passion, capable of self-government but not to be trusted with absolute power. The founders’ assumption was that within every human heart, let alone among different individuals, are competing and sometimes contradictory moral impulses and currents.

Thanks to one of those contradictory moral impulses, the American Revolutionaries shot back using real bullets when Redcoat extremists came to assert the absolute power of the Crown, not unlike the Korean Americans who took to the rooftops in Los Angeles in 1992 to defend their property against rioters. Americans at their best recognize that sometimes absolutism must be met with force, and don't lie about it or apologize for it.

Don't miss the rest of "Human Nature and Capitalism" here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

4 of 6 Current Tax Rates Already Do Not Apply to 80% of the Country

Per the US Census, all US households divide into five groups of equal size along these income lines for 2009:

1) $0 to $20,453

2) $20,454 to $38,550

3) $38,551 to $61, 801

4) $61,802 to $100,000

5) over $100,000 (the top 5% make in excess of $180,000).

Current tax brackets are concentrated on the fifth group, the over $100,000 set, so that the top four of the six brackets affect the top 20% of earners in the population the most:

10% for adjusted gross incomes $0 to $16,750

15% on AGIs to $68,000

25% on AGIs to $137,300

28% on AGIs to $209,250

33% on AGIs to $373,650

35% on AGIs above $373,650.

The result is that 60% of the country is responsible for very little tax revenue, and the expansion of various credits like the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Credit have meant that an increasingly large percentage of the population is paying no tax at all.

For the 2008 tax year the Tax Foundation reported here that 36% of filers paid no tax at all:

Nonpaying status used to be a sure sign of poverty or near-poverty, but Congress and the President have changed the tax laws to pull much of the middle class into the growing pool of nonpayers. The income level at which a typical family of four will owe no income taxes has risen rapidly, now topping $51,000. 
As a result, recently released IRS data for the 2008 tax year show that a record 51.6 million filers had no income tax obligation. That means more than 36 percent of all Americans who filed a tax return for 2008 were nonpayers, raising serious doubts about the ability of the income tax system to continue funding the federal government's ballooning expenditures. 

The situation worsened dramatically in 2009, to 47%, according to the Tax Policy Center in this AP story

About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That's according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization. ...The bottom 40 percent, on average, make a profit from the federal income tax, meaning they get more money in tax credits than they would otherwise owe in taxes. For those people, the government sends them a payment.
"We have 50 percent of people who are getting something for nothing," said Curtis Dubay, senior tax policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation. ...The number of households that don't pay federal income taxes increased substantially in 2008, when the poor economy reduced incomes and Congress cut taxes in an attempt to help recovery. 
In 2007, about 38 percent of households paid no federal income tax, a figure that jumped to 49 percent in 2008, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center. 

In other words, the tax code under George Bush and the Republicans in 2001 and 2003 became an instrument of liberal social policy, providing massive social spending on America's middle and lower classes. Combined with George Bush's massive hand out to the elderly in the form of drugs for seniors you now understand why liberals hate George Bush so much: because he out-liberaled the liberals. 
And don't expect to hear about it from Rush Limbaugh. He thinks there isn't anyone in the country who is undertaxed. 
If there were really any conservatives left in the country, they'd be calling for a complete end to these subsidies because they represent government spending which we cannot afford, and for a broader tax base which embodied every American's patriotic duty to contribute to the general welfare. 
A real conservative would equate exempting low incomes from taxation with the practice of exempting high incomes from taxation. The "refund" checks which "the poor" receive from the government when they file their taxes are no different from the exemption the rich receive when payroll taxes are not collected on income above $106,500. The former are justified as offsets of the payroll taxes the poor pay, the latter as exemptions from contributions the rich would never live to recoup. Everyone in a narrower and narrower middle pays and pays those taxes, year in and year out, to benefit the poor and the elderly. It is unsustainable.

Obama's Senate Tax Plan Will Outspend the 2009 Stimulus: $858 Billion in New Spending

A veritable Christmas tree for programs which would die in the free market without federal help, like ethanol, commuter trains, and wind and solar energy.

Conservative Republicans should help the Socialists like Senator Sanders filibuster it.

The story is here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Words Mean Whatever I Say They Mean, Says Alaska Judge

An Alaska judge has ruled against Tea Party candidate Miller for the US Senate because the judge doesn't understand the plain meaning of the English language, according to this story in The Anchorage Daily News. The law says a write-in candidate's name must be written in on a ballot as it appears on the candidate's declaration of candidacy, which any educated person would understand to mean that write in votes for Lisa Murkowski should match Murkowski's name on her declaration of candidacy. Instead, the judge ruled it only had to appear to match it, which isn't what the law says:

Miller argued state law doesn't allow misspelling or state judgments of what the voter intended when writing in a candidate's name. The law says write-in votes should be counted if the name "as it appears on the write-in declaration of candidacy, of the candidate or the last name of the candidate, is written in the space provided."

The judge focused on the fact that the word "appears" is a part of a definition.

"The definition of 'appears' in this context does not require perfection or precision, but rather a close, apparent approximation known to the viewer upon first look ... if exact spellings were intended by the legislature, even with respect to the most difficult names, the legislature could have and would have said so," Carey wrote in his ruling.

The judge has imported meaning and intent where it did not exist. A graduate, clearly, of the deconstructionist school of law. He should be impeached.

When the clear meaning of the English language can be manipulated at will in a society, there can no longer be a society, only chaos. Stop no longer means stop. Just ask Senator John Kerry, who is famous for ignoring such signs at intersections, and yacht taxes in his home state.

Bill Clinton in an Alexander Haig Moment at The White House

Reagan was wounded, literally, when Al Haig tried to assure the country that someone was in control at The White House (video here).

Obama is wounded politically (keeping the wife waiting he says), so Bill takes over at The White House! Watch that video here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Religious Origins of the Income Tax's "Standard Deduction"

The standard deduction was designed to make it easier for people to claim their charitable contributions, without itemizing them. Note how the standard deduction early on was fixed at 10% of annual income, the common tithe prescribed in the Bible, not to exceed $500 (the median income in 1944 was less than $2,400):

Almost from its inception in 1913, the federal income tax has allowed taxpayers to subtract from their taxable income amounts spent for particular uses. For example, beginning in 1917, taxpayers could deduct donations made to charitable causes. To claim the deduction, taxpayers had to itemize their allowable expenditures. That itemization imposed a burden on taxpayers, but relatively few people were affected because only about 5 percent of households had to file tax returns.

World War II dramatically increased the reach of the income tax: by 1944, nearly three-fourths of households had to pay the tax. With that expansion came concern about the complexity of tax filing. To simplify tax returns, in 1944 the Congress created the standard deduction, then equal to 10 percent of a taxpayer's annual income, up to a maximum of $500. Taxpayers could select the standard deduction as an alternative to itemizing their expenditures on specific activities, reducing their taxes as if they had made that level of deductible expenditures but without having to comply with recordkeeping and reporting requirements. By taking the standard deduction, people are generally claiming deductions that are greater than their actual expenditures would have been if they had itemized.

Obviously the government made a concession to the entire population, Christian or not, and allowed everyone to deduct their "tithe," whether they made it or not.

Now if we could just get government to take no more, and no less, than 10% from everyone, on everything. The government would have plenty of money, and so would we.

Let me channel my inner Santelli: "President Obama, are you listening?"

So let it be written. So let it be done.

More here.

Cancun 100 Year Record Low of 54 Degrees, For Global Warming Summit!

The story is here.

Sure, They Screen The Luggage BEFORE It Gets On The Plane

I've been told that whopper since TWA Flight 800 went down in 1996 off Long Island.

If they did, then why screen at customs ON ARRIVAL?

A guy from Ghana passes through customs at Dulles, has his suitcase opened, and they find the following:

The suitcase contained two elephant tails, bloody sheets, five chicken feathers, chicken blood, a dried hedgehog, two dried chameleons, grass, seed pods, tree bark chips and a jug filled with soil, herbs and blood, authorities said.

The story is here.

Have a nice flight.

Just Six More Reasons Why I'll Never Buy Another GM

From Gary Jason at The American Thinker, here:

The Obama administration rigged the [GM] bankruptcy to favor the union, rigged the IPO to favor the union, and has purchased much of the inventory unsalable in the free market, again to benefit the union (and the environmentalists). But of course, the unions (and the environmentalists) pumped many millions of dollars into Obama's campaign. They also pumped many millions into trying to keep Democratic candidates in office in the last election.

This is corrupt, crony car capitalism, all paid for by coerced taxation, from an administration that promised a new era of transparency and honesty in government.  But at the end of the day, the cabal at the top behaves just like the dirty Chicago machine that spawned it.

Why Rush Limbaugh Can't Tell The Truth About Income Taxes

Rush claims no one in America is undertaxed.

He doesn't want to mention, of course, that nearly half of America doesn't pay income taxes.

And why don't they pay taxes? Because that's been the goal of Republican tax policy since the 90s:

"The dramatic increase in the number of people who owed no income taxes since the mid-90s was driven almost entirely by the creation and expansion of the per-child tax credit, a policy driven by the Right."

-- Keith Hennessey, April 15, 2010, here

The Democrats hate Republicans as much as they do because Newt Gingrich and George Bush out-liberaled the liberals. How dare they!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

DADT Repeal Fails in Senate By Three Votes

Not quite a stake through the heart, though. But we can always hope.

Story here.

Democrats Think Obama Caved In To Republicans, Can't Trust Him

Democrats were already being critical of the regime back in July as we mentioned here because it seemed to some of them that the White House was already conceding that Democrats would lose control of the US House.

Now that the president User in Chief has flip-flopped one time too many, acquiescing on the 28%, 33% and 35% tax brackets for earners making $200,000 a year or more, passed under the Bush administration in 2001 and 2003, Democrats appear to be in revolt.

Disrespectful language is being used, according to this story.

Imagine that.

American Workers are Slaves, In Thrall to the Corporations

Joan Vennochi for The Boston Globe focuses an unflattering spotlight here on State Street Corp. whose profits are soaring as it fires personnel. The example is representative of the wider reality:

[W]hile wage and salary payments to workers declined by $121 billion or about 2 percent since the last quarter of 2008, pre-tax corporate profits rose sharply — up by $572 billion or 57 percent over the same time period.

Land of the free, home of the brave? We've got corporations right where they want us.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Final Uncalled House Race Update: NY-1 Remains a Democrat Hold

The Republican challenger has conceded to the Democrat incumbent. The story is here.

The net gain for Republicans in the US House in 2010 remains at 63, putting the Republicans in the majority with 242 seats to the Democrats 193.

No one foresaw such an eventuality two years ago when the Democrats decisively swept Republicans aside on Obama's coattails and acquired an overwhelming majority numbering 256 seats. That tide wasn't completely reversed in this election, but for a party deemed dead for all intents and purposes the comeback is a remarkable thumping, thanks in part to the activism of the Tea Party movement, which was created spontaneously out of thin air in February and March of 2009 in response to Democrat stimulus spending and mortgage modification programs.

The battle to stop and reverse Obama's programs designed to transform American culture and institutions has now been joined.

Beware Obamao's red guards.

Bob Sellers Joins The New American Nightmare

This is the American workplace, 2010. No loyalty, and a cavalier consideration for the life changing consequences of treating people and their livelihoods as mere pieces on a chess board.

Maybe if it were still a Christian nation people wouldn't treat each other this way as often.

Full story here.

On the Fourth Gospel

"The Fourth Gospel portrays a Jesus who is, simply, unparalleled."

-- Imam John

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If You Want Fewer Poor People in America, Tax Them Already!

Here's Rush Limbaugh, with his whole brain tied behind his back, today:

"Nobody in this society is undertaxed, so why applaud an extension of tax rates? Where are the cuts?" -Rush

When nearly half the population pays no income taxes at all, you cannot say no one is undertaxed. All of them are undertaxed, by definition.

The poor have a responsibility to contribute to the general welfare no less than the rich do, so for them to pay no taxes means they are not doing their fair share, and are in no way equal to everyone who does pay taxes. They are AINOs, Americans in Name Only, who pay no taxes. Just ask Joe "It's Time to be Patriotic, Time to be Part of the Deal" Biden.

If there were any conservatives left in this country, they would be calling for taxes on the poor, to reduce their surplus population.

Wake up Rush, before conservatives start calling you a big fat idiot.