August 9th, 2010

attack cat

Palin at it again

Okay first of all I know I should just try my best to ignore Sarah Palin and her annoying behavior. Second of all I know this story is not from the most objective source.

I do wish I could find some independent verification on this, the liberal media has failed me again. According to the article Palin confronted a woman who had a sign up that read "WORST GOVERNOR EVER". The video shows Palin acting like the shrill wanker that she is ("Oh you WANTED me to be your governor!" she gushes sarcastically). I guess security and/or Todd tried to stop this person from filming the exchange.

Then, according to the article, once the camera was turned off someone from Palin's entourage TORE DOWN THE SIGN. So much for supporting freedom of speech. If this is true then it sums up my problem with Palin and her ilk. They have no tolerance for dissenting opinion and carry an aura of entitlement that makes me nauseous.

I would love to see this story get picked up by the liberal mainstream media but I won't bet money on it happening. I just want to know, did her entourage tear down the sign? Was Palin present when it happened, and did she see it? Does she support this action?
Wanna bettaworld

Free choices and ' free education'.

I thought that Gunslinger's link that he posted on my last OP was excellent.
It does tend to point out that 'there is no such thing as a free lunch'.

Oh, sure, I'm English , therefore I have a right to know why I'm being arrested - if that that ever happens, the right to a fair trail by a jury of my peers, and even the right to remain silent. it's all there in the law book, most of it stemming from Magna Carta, a document dating back to 1215.

But all these 'rights' I have were fought for, and are dependent on other people doing something.
Liberarians talk about 'positive and negative rights', and make a distinction. "Nobody is obliged to provide you with an education" - that depends on others becoming teachers to get you this service. Collapse )
Godzilla, default

On bloodthirsty economic systems:

I've seen bandied about by some sources that the century of Communist regimes following the Bolshevik Revolution killed 100-something million people. I've never been sure how they *reached* this total and lump statisticians in with liars and damned liars. But reading all that has prompted me to ask a kind of reversal of that question. If we take the entire gallery of Communist atrocities from 1917-2010 and make that representative of the whole movement as opposed to specific subsets and classes.......

Capitalism by one standard can be held responsible for its own death toll that rises over 100 million strong. For one thing the initial genocides in America and Australia were done by proprietor Colonies, what in today's terms would be Walmartstans. One can't fault those people for not being honest as regards their motivations-they were very clear that pursuit of individualist profit was if not the sole motivation equal to Christianization. A lot of the death tolls of the Communists were caused by a deep sense of callousness as opposed to explicit intention (which fits more with an ideology of worker's right). Capitalist societies, of course, had a tendency to overlook famines to the poorer and weaker societies (like say, the Irish or Indigenous peoples).

Communists forced their societies on others at gunpoint, and in fact that was pretty much the only way the fuckers got to power in Europe. But in the United States, bedrock of capitalism, the triumph of the industrial capitalist system resulted from four years of bloody warfare fought over an area as large as European Russia. And of course to make it stick men like Sherman, Sheridan, and Wilson were plenty willing to make Hell for enemy civilians. In our enlightened modern times groups such as the Contras, the Argentine Juntas, Pinochet's dictatorships, contemporary China, the Apartheid dictatorship, Pahlavi Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Manuel Uribe's dictatorship, and of course Haiti show it's perfectly possible to have free market dictatorships of equal savagery to their alternatives.

From my view it's not truly honest nor is it fair to evaluate the free market on the results of the Complete Monsters who have been willing often enough to enforce it regardless of whether the masses they rule like it or not. However to be honest I feel that should also apply with perfect consistency to the Marxists. After all, both Kerala and West Bengal show that it is perfectly possible for Communists to be both elected and govern peacefully, and Mossadeqh, Patrice Lumumba, and Salvador Allende show that Communists can in a lot of ways be less traumatic and damaging to their peoples than the guys who succeeded them who represented in all cases unpopular dictators who had access to the best repressive apparati US dollars could buy.

Since we're starting free market week I would prefer it if the discussions amount to something more than "Commies are evil baby rapers" and "Capitalists are evil baby eaters". Since the Hall of Death and Shame attributable to both is equivalent in death tolls and in the same kinds of tragedies.

Bureaucracy and You

I like bureaucracy. It is often bandied about as a nameless villain sucking away your money through regular diets of Diet. Mt. Dew and Ho-Hos in some outdated office building full of 1970s pea-green aesthetics and waxed linoleum floors. But I like bureaucracy. A thriving bureaucracy is the sign of a thriving democracy. An empire's downfall is not when it gets stupid, lethargic or loses the will to rule. The empire falls when the people, for some inexplicable reason, spurn their mother bureaucracy in favor of someone "who gets the job done". And sure, it works for a bit. Things "get done" in the sense that hiring the shifty guy down the street to do your driveway "gets the job done". Licensed contractors are so over-rated.
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Paying your fair share

So since everyone seems to believe that the rich do not pay their fair share and that they have a lower effective tax rate than everyone else I thought I'd bring up that the CBO actually has data that proves your belief wrong...

The total effective federal tax rate by economic quintile currently sits at...

1st - 25.8%
2nd - 17.6%
3rd - 14.2%
4th - 10.2%
5th - 4.3%

This includes both payroll (Medicare, Social Security, etc.) and all forms of income taxes (Income, Capital Gains, Corporate, etc.). Further the effective rate for all quintiles has dropped steadily since 2000 (The Bush Tax Cuts) EXCEPT for the top quinitle. For the top quinitle it dropped from 200
2005 but then started climbing again since then.

Where is it for the top 1%?


So, obviously the rich were paying a MUCH higher rate before the Bush and Reagan tax cuts right?

Not quite, here is where they stood in 1979...

1st - 27.5%
2nd - 21.2%
3rd - 18.6%
4th - 14.3%
5th - 8.0%

Top 1% - 37%

So that makes a change in effective tax rate between 1979 and 2006 of...

1st - -1.7%
2nd - -3.6%
3rd - -4.4%
4th - -4.1%
5th - -3.7%

Top 1% - -5.8%

What does that mean? It means that every economic quintile has seen ae effective drop in tax rates since 1979, however more of the tax burden has been shifted from the poor to the top 20% because their rates have seen the smallest decline. That said the top 1% saw the largest decline meaning that those who have really seen the highest tax increases are those in the "Entrepreneurial Class" and "White Collar" Class, that is the Small Business Owners and corporate middle managers.

You can see this best by looking at the change in effective rates for the top 10% and 20% of taxpayers. From 1979 to 2006 the top 10% saw a decline of 2.1% in effective tax rate but the top 20% saw a decline of only 1.7% which means that the 11th to 20th percentile saw a decline in effective tax rate of 1.3%

In the end yes, the only conclusion that one can make is that an ever increasing share of the tax burden is being concentrated into the upper ends of the income scale and that the pinch is felt the hardest by the upper middle classes. The Super Rich have received the biggest effective tax cuts but the working poor are not far behind and the poorest long ago ceased being taxpayers. One other conclusion that can be drawn is that effective tax rates have not kept up with GDP growth which is why every economic class has seen a decline in effective rates over the last 30 years. Whether this is a good or a bad thing depends on whether lower net tax rates leads to a greater corresponding increase in GDP and therefore a larger tax base to collect from but that is a completely separate issue.

Nebby questions

As long as we are talking about "the rich" and "the poor" who are they? Are they you? This is a US-centric poll. It is in US Dollars.

(Click here to take a nebby survey)

I didn't use "livejournal poll" since I thought we'd see more honest responses if you could take it without having your answers tied to your username.

I will post the results in 24 hours. (I would need pay money to set it up so you could view them in real time. Ergo, I'm poor... or stingy. You be the judge!) Also, should I make an international version?

  I will make another survey that takes location in to account later. For now, just answer this for your region. I was curious to see the variability in answers, (and others may be too) I didn't think people would want to come up with an answer that makes sense for the whole nation. My mistake! I will still post results, graphs and such in 22 hours.

(no subject)

I'll keep this short as I already had a longer post about drugs before.

A) Are you in favor of America continuing it's war on drugs?
B) What benefits do you believe exist because of this war on drugs?
C) Are those benefits really worth the cost?

My opinion:

Employment for law-enforcement/courts, and a few high paying jobs for black market drug sellers with lots of low paying-high risk jobs for people

(no subject)

Inspectors Shut Down Girl's Lemonade Stand

It's hardly unusual to hear small business owners gripe about licensing requirements or complain that heavy-handed regulations are driving them into the red.

So when Multnomah County shut down an enterprise last week for operating without a license, you might just sigh and say, there they go again.

Except this entrepreneur was a 7-year-old named Julie Murphy. Her business was a lemonade stand at the Last Thursday monthly art fair. The government regulation she violated? Failing to get a $120 temporary restaurant license.

Looks like a pretty logical consequence of over zealous regulation and a zero-tolerance mindset to me.

It's nice that the county chairman apologized for the action, but that doesn't really change the fact that the action was perfectly legitimate according to the rules. If there's something that you want to allow, it needs to be made allowable, it shouldn't be an enforcement exception. This reduces the rule of law and makes it that much more uncertain as to whether you will be in violation of the law or not.

Weekly Topic

Hi all! Guess who's back. :) Okay, it seems Family/Morality week rather went under the sign of discussions on race and racism (and some history towards the end), and meanwhile here's what you chose to be the subject for the next fortnight (August 9 - August 22):

"Capitalism, Monetarism and the Free Market"

As usual, here are some basic points which could be included in that context:

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(no subject)

The Real Rangel Scandal: A $6 Billion Taxpayer Gift to a British Company

Previously silent on the matter, a growing chorus of Washington politicians now finds the ethics charges against New York Congressman Charles Rangel “very troubling.” The display of Kabuki Theater being played out in the media and House Ethics Committee is far more disconcerting – and is yet another illustration of Washington’s hypocrisy.

I know it's not surprising and all that, but why are people continuing to put up with this kind of crap? Is there really no political will to get mostly-honest people (or even somewhat honest people) into office? What do you think would be your last straw? Or are you content to just argue about minor issues on the Internet and hope other people vote nicely when the time comes?

A comparison of methods

Certain people continue to believe that if they can show that the other side has done something, than that excuses them for doing the same thing-- for whatever reason. Does it? No. I don't think it does. Here is the most recent example:

So example 1: Media Matters:
Originally posted a video clip of Beck's cronies sidekicks blaming the latest Manchester shooting on Olberman.

The original title "Beck sidekicks Gray and Burguiere: Keith Olberman and media responsible for Manchester shooting." This title is followed a clip of them talking. The clip cuts before they continue on to state that they were trying to make a comparison, so it would seem that they are stating this earnestly.

Here is the public correction:
*CORRECTION: The original headline on this clip did not make clear that Beck's co-hosts were being satirical when they linked MSNBC host Keith Olbermann to the Manchester shooting. The original clip also did not include their subsequent statements that Olbermann was not responsible for the shooting. Media Matters regrets the error.

Now, the right wing has been jumping all over this egregious cutting of a clip. It's good to know that these people have come to reality and realized that they shouldn't be defending editing clips to say other than they mean at least right? Maybe one of them will admit they were wrong about that now? Perhaps they will condemn any future or past attempts to purposely edit video to try to make people believe something other than the truth? I'm sure now that they have come to reason they will condemn these too. Right?

But seriously. Do you think that the Media Matters edit was on purpose? Every right-wing pundit seems to be sure of it. Do you think their correction was sufficient? Do you think this equates on any level with Mr. Breitbart's smear video? And maybe some people might think this, do you think this somehow excuses right-wing attempts to persuade people to believe things that are not true using video?

As to my opinion: If there ends up being evidence that it was on purpose in order to make these people look bad, whomever is responsible probably better resign, because that's the opposite of integrity. I doubt it was on purpose though because it would be so easy to look up and see it's not true. I think someone did something really sloppy. I don't know too much about Media Matters though-- I don't know how they get their articles or postings, is it like an ireport thing? Or did some editor really screw the pooch? I don't know.
And as a second small issue: the actual tape posted:
Does Beck's fearmongering and the tea partiers resorting to believing the government is going to take their guns and resort to communism equate to Olberman claiming that people are being racist and a black guy shooting a bunch of people for racism equate? Does someone doing things Olberman never said equate to some people believing something Beck said? what is this i dont even Nevermind, don't discuss that one.