October 7th, 2010


White America Has Lost Its Mind

From the Village Voice article:

It had been a pretty good run up to that point. The brains of white folks had been humming along cogently for near on 400 years on this continent, with little sign that any serious trouble was brewing. White people, after all, had managed to invent a spiffy new form of self-government so that all white men (and, eventually, women) could have a say in how white people were taxed and governed. White minds had also nearly universally occupied just about every branch of that government and, for more than two centuries, had kept sole possession of the leadership of its executive branch (whose parsonage, after all, is called the White House). But when that streak was broken—and, for the first time, a non-white president accepted the oath of office—white America rapidly began to lose its grip.

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  • mijopo

Income Inequality

In the light of the recent debate about tax cuts to the wealthy it's interesting to consider income inequality.   Steve Pearlstein had a column about it yesterday, the source for a number of the facts I'm asserting below. But see also: 

(a very comprehensive series of articles from Slate, In particular note "Why We Can't Ignore Growing Income Inequality")
Some of the salient facts about income inequality in the US (this data is about the situation in '07, but the recession has done little to smooth this out and as the economy is recovering, joblessly, it seems we may very well be following the same pattern)

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So, does income (and wealth) inequality matter?  If not, why not?  If so, what can be done about it?  Aren't tax increases to the rich at least justifiable in light of this data?  Are they also prudent?
  • agk_ru


I sent this letter to the Chairman of the State Duma of Russian Federation: 

Mr. Chairman of the State Duma!

Having examined the declaration of the State Duma on the Russian-Belarusian relations, I would like to make some observations about the position of the deputies from the United Russia party, who rushed to support the unfounded and insulting accusations of Belorussian president by Mr. Medvedev.

Russia and Belarus are the parts of a unified state, which existed naturally until cynical political adventurers had crawled onto political arena. However, our reunification is only a matter of time.

Russia has never been and will never be a Jewish shtetl settlement. Our fathers had shed their blood for a united and indivisible Russia. Therefore, all the “elected-by-people” must know that the coup d’Etat of 1991, which dismembered Russia to pieces, will never make the Russian nation to put up with this vileness, done behind our backs. Every one of the state criminals will pay for it by name – alive or dead.

 Last week we had the opportunity to watch the press conference by Alexander Lukashenko. His position was sincere, fair, and absolutely clear. It was in no way anti-Russian, as you and Medvedev are trying to present it. Medvedev and Putin – this is not Russia!

Alexander Lukashenko is seen in Russia a model statesman, the best representative of the entire nation. It is impossible to say anything like this about any one of the UR deputies of the State Duma, still less such epithets can be applied to Dmitry Medvedev, who has not done anything positive for Russia. Medvedev dedicated all this year to the destruction of the country’s defense, education, and health care systems. He has just given the Arctic shelf to Norway. Russian President is absolutely helpless in matters of economy, instead, he is concerned with supplying the Chinese economy with cheap energy resources.

 Mr. Medvedev has no right to blame Alexander Lukashenko for not recognizing yet the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Medvedev himself has recognized their independence only under our pressure, having promised to Sarkozy not to do anything like that.

 The support by Mr. Medvedev of the  pro-US rebels in Kyrgyzstan was criminal in relation to the interests of Russia and has gone beyond human decency. Medvedev’s moves during the events in Kyrgyzstan were committed in violation of the rules, which he was obliged to adhere to. Medvedev’s behavior dishonors all the citizens of Russia – by the lack of principle, by personal dishonesty, by disgusting criminal motivations.

 Mr. Medvedev is not able to listen to constructive criticism, to the opinion of the citizens of the country, he considers it possible to declare and undertake anything on behalf of Russia.

Surprisingly, only the Duma does not notice that the Government and the President of the Russian Federation enforce strict anti-Russian course. Dubious “successes” of our Government, a two-year stay of the entire country in a state of economic collapse, the lack of clear prospects for the future – all this causes protests and social tensions in all the strata of the society. Most Russian citizens feel a sense of humiliation because of worthlessness of the leadership personalized by Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, because of their inappropriate behavior in the international arena, because of their cynical betrayal of Russian interests.

Most of the MP’s of present convocation have no right to make any statements on behalf of Russia, out of moral considerations. Suffice it to look at the list of the adopted laws to make sure that the majority of the deputies, who illegitimately penetrated Duma via the UR party lisis are blatant traitors.

 It is time for the MPs to find out what percentage of the population actually trusts the State Duma of this convocation, and the Government. It is time to face the truth. No one in Russia trusts you, everyone considers you the odd people in government who came to power for feeding yourselves. You have not done anything for the Motherland, you have only created additional difficulties and obstructions, which will have to be bulldozed in the future. Virtually every bill passed by the Duma can be considered applying art. 275 of the Criminal Code (treason). Don’t think you will shirk responsibility.

I do not let the deputies, eating by parties and by the entire Duma on the account of budget who did nothing for the country in current critical situation, to speak on my behalf, especially on behalf of Russia! You pass the laws that destroy the last remnants of Social Security, blindly supporting all the treacherous actions of the president and the government, forcing me and the majority of my countrymen, to writhe in pain and humiliation. Then dare you not speak on our behalf!

In connection with the foregoing I require:

1. To immediately ratify the Treaty establishing the Union State of Belarus and Russia in the wording proposed by the Belarusian side.

2. Not to ratify the agreement on the Medvedev’s gift of Arctic Shelf to Norway.

3. To stop immediately treasonable negotiations on Russia’s entry to the WTO.


You get what you pay for...

I think that this is a brilliant idea. In fact I would go so far as proposing a Constitutional Amendment requiring that every taxpayer receive a personalized one of these with his/her return each year.

Of course I have sneaky political reasons for doing so but who doesn't. ;)

How do you think such a requirement would influence political debate/climate?

The media attacks the poor and elderly for not paying taxes... the real truth

Earlier today, mijopo posted on income inequality. In one of the threads, mijopo has an interesting exchange with vnsplshr who then offered a potential solution:

Well then let's lower the percentage paid by the top 1% (and the entire top 50%, now paying 97%+ of Fed taxes) and increase the percentage paid by bottom 50% and current non-taxpayers (currently paying less than 3%), yet reduce the amount needed by government to a degree that taxpayer pain is tolerable. If everyone pays something, they truly have a stake in the matters of the country.

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me at yd
  • drcruel

Following Telemann's thoughts

Here's the thing that gets on my nerves. A bunch of white people out there really believe that some if not most of the black people who voted for Obama only did so because he's black. Couldn't have been his electrifying speeches, couldn't have been his progressive values or his proposed policies, couldn't be that the Bush years were disastrous. Nope-according to these white Americans, black people voted for Obama because he's black.

So now that these same white people are turning out in droves to question the citizenship of our President, comparing him to Hitler and Mao, stating that our President hates America and is racist against white people...these white people claim that their mistrust if not froth-mouthed hatred of Obama has NOTHING TO DO with his race.

Black people support Obama: they're motivated by race.
White people villify Obama: they're completely blind to his race.

The best trick of these angry white racists is convincing themselves that they are opposed to racism, which is apparently limited to the black community.

Search for missing tourist thwarted by drug gangs

ZAPATA, Texas -- A search for a missing American tourist presumably shot and killed by Mexican pirates on a border lake has been thwarted by threats of an ambush from drug gangs, U.S. officials said Thursday.

Tiffany Hartley said her husband, David, was shot to death by Mexican pirates chasing them on speedboats across Falcon Lake on Sept. 30 as they returned on Jet Skis from a trip to photograph a historic Mexican church. Neither his body nor the Jet Ski has been recovered. Texas officials have warned boaters and fisherman that pirates frequent the Mexican side of the lake, a 25-mile by 3-mile dammed section of the Rio Grande.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat joined by two other area congressmen, said Mexico was "doing the best that they can."


Sorry, Congressmen, their 'best' ain't good enough.

This summer a plan by the Zeta drug cartel to destroy the Falcon Dam was thwarted. Attacks have not been confined to the Mexican waters; in the past five months U.S. boaters on the lake have been robbed by gunmen from the Mexican side of the lake, some of whom pulled guns on boaters INSIDE U.S. territory. Other bandits pursued US boaters into U.S. waters.

The simple fact is: there is no viable government control on the Mexican side of this stretch of border. We need U.S. military patrol boats and aircraft to stop this, including the use of 'hot pursuit' maritime regulations sanctioned by the UN, if necessary.

(no subject)

5 Scientific Reasons Powerful People Will Always Suck

#5. Power and Self-Absorption Go Hand in Hand
#4. Feeling Powerful Makes It Easier to Lie
#3. Experiments Show Power and Hypocrisy Are Linked in the Brain
#2. Power Gives You a False Belief in Your Abilities
#1. Feelings of Power Trigger a Lack of Compassion

So, we have here 5 scientific reasons why anarchy is better. Or alternatively, 5 scientific reasons why liberals are crazy for thinking that more government is the answer to whatever problem.

Seriously, this is exactly supporting the libertarian assertion that we need less government, less people in charge, in order to have more equality and more liberty. You may think that the nice guy running for office will change things around, crack the whip on the evil businesses and root out the corruption in government, but it's almost guaranteed that he'll just perpetuate it. Even if he was being honest about his intentions initially. The government system is the problem, not just the people in it. The best we can do is to give them as little power as possible.

Federal Judge Rejects Challenge To Health Care Overhaul

Reported earlier tonight:

A federal judge on Thursday upheld the authority of the federal government to require everyone to have health insurance, dealing a setback to groups seeking to block the new national health care plan.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed in Michigan by a Christian legal group and four people who claimed lawmakers exceeded their power under the Constitution's commerce clause, which authorizes Congress to regulate trade. But Judge George Caram Steeh in Detroit said the mandate to get insurance by 2014 and the financial penalty for skipping coverage are legal. He said Congress was trying to lower the overall cost of insurance by requiring participation.

"Without the minimum coverage provision, there would be an incentive for some individuals to wait to purchase health insurance until they needed care, knowing that insurance would be available at all times," the judge said. Nonetheless, the Justice Department hailed Steeh's opinion as the first time a "court has considered the merits of any challenge to this law. The court found that the minimum coverage provision of the statute was a reasonable means for Congress to take in reforming our health care system," spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said. "The department will continue to vigorously defend this law in ongoing litigation."

The case will now be appealed to the Circuit Court in Cincinnati. The judge's ruling has no bearing on other hearings around the country about the Health Care Reform Act; and only affects the parties in the specific lawsuit. There's no doubt in my mind this will ultimately end up at the Supreme Court, and I have no idea how the decision will go, although Justice Kennedy would be the key swing vote no doubt (barring of course any vacancies by the more conservative judges).