Saturday, December 11, 2010

Headlines - Saturday December 11

Happy birthday, Jake!
If Sarah Palin Were a Spiny Mammal
"Washington is spending away our kids' future and they still want more." Sarah Palin, who sounds like she's against borrowing $700 billion from the Chinese to give it to rich sons of bitches who already have everything they want or need, Link  
Texas lawmaker wants to imprison people for implementing health care

Not all heroes wear capes.

To solve our nation's problems, we will need to do what our nation does best: innovate. Some may say that our politics cannot possibly become more polarized. But they're small-minded. There's a whole new frontier of polarization. And it is being explored by men of groundbreaking new ideas. Men like state Rep. Leo Berman of Texas, who wants to charge any person who tries to implement the 2010 health care reform law in his state with a felony and put them behind bars. "Thomas Jefferson believed in nullification. I believe in nullification and I just wanted to try it," Berman, the Thomas Edison of being an awful human being, said. There is nothing right with America that cannot be cured by what is wrong with America. READ MORE »

Espionage Act: How the Government Can Engage in Serious Aggression Against the People of the United States by Naomi Wolf
The Republican plan to increase the deficit.
Tweet of the Day:

Not good:

The Obama administration is retreating on long-delayed environmental regulations — new rules governing smog and toxic emissions from industrial boilers — as it adjusts to a changed political dynamic in Washington with a more muscular Republican opposition.

Elections matter. Staying home on election day -- even if you're pissed off at Democratic Candidate X -- is a vote for a Republican. And a vote for a Republican is a vote for crapola like this.

Defense Contractors Love Children

Figuratively and literally.

Following previous reports of contractors taking part in the child prostitution business in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we now have confirmation of the fact that it is still taking place in Afghanistan thanks to Wikileaks and their publishing of leaked State Department cables.

In a May 2009 meeting interior minister Hanif Atmar expresses deep concerns that if lives could be in danger if news leaked that foreign police trainers working for US commercial contractor DynCorp hired "dancing boys" to perform for them.

I'll spare the details on what "dancing boys" are. You can follow the link and read for yourself if you care to. Employees of DynCorp Inc, a defense contractor, have been implicated in cases of child sex slavory and prostitution as far back as 2002 and it would seem that the practice continues to this day.

There are a variety of opinions out there concerning Wikileaks, but you have to admit that such an organization wouldn't be necessary if accountability was more widely practiced within the Pentagon and the State Department. Like it or not, defense contractors represent us while they are in other countries and they are being paid with taxpayer dollars. The American people deserve to know this kind of information.


Citibank's Peter Orszog thinks disabled people should work more.


Taibbi: Matt Bai's Post-Partisanship


"Yes, Justice Roberts, it would be better if there were nine, rather than only five, Catholics on the Supreme Court. But, as the Holy Father teaches us, we must cultivate the virtue of patience."


Jurassicpork: Bernie Sanders' Fauxlibuster.


Is viewing and republishing documents from WikiLeaks illegal, or isn't it? Apparently not even the US State Department knows.

America's top diplomatic agency republished a document leaked by the secrets outlet, which the site revealed today via Twitter.


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and his wife Rhonda

Rhonda Rohrabacher has 3-year-old triplets and a work-at-home job as campaign manager to her husband, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).

Republican Rep. Rohrabacher suggests whities will lose their freedom if the DREAM Act passes.


Our fragile Nation

US military bans those little USB thumb drive things

'Try my product.'

Because the world's most powerful military is being destroyed by a combination of a) goat herders in Afghanistan and b) some weird guy with a website, the Pentagon has just banned any kind of little gizmo that can save information off a computer. (It is apparently impossible to ban goat herders … yet.) As of immediately, any military person (or military contractor, maybe?) cannot use removable/portable disk thingies such as thumb drives or external DVD/CD writable drives when using the secret computers that have all the potential WikiLeaks stuff on them. Hooray, there will be no more leaks of information! READ MORE »


Desperate CNN Now Making Strained 'Viral Videos'


Anti-science freakazoids have no right to science jobs

The sun rises in the east, gravity prevails and anyone who claims a Bronze Age fable trumps scientific fact Is. Not. A. Scientist.

From the Courier:

No one denies that astronomer Martin Gaskell was the leading candidate for the founding director of a new observatory at the University of Kentucky in 2007 - until his writings on evolution came to light.

Gaskell had given lectures to campus religious groups around the country in which he said that while he has no problem reconciling the Bible with the theory of evolution, he believes the theory has major flaws. And he recommended students read theory critics in the intelligent-design movement.

That stance alarmed UK science professors and, the university acknowledges, played a role in the job going to another candidate.

Now a federal judge says Gaskell has a right to a jury trial over his allegation that he lost the job because he is a Christian and "potentially evangelical."

I seriously doubt it's a coincidence that this decision came down just days after Governor Beshear announced his support of the theory that a 600-year-old-man herded dinosaurs onto a boat 4,000 years ago.


Here's just a short list of some of the bills that Republicans have blocked, or attempted to block, since Obama became President:


We would gladly fight real a "War on Christmas" if we could take a shot at Grethcen Carlson "Good thing that Fox "News" is there to cheer on the good Christian soldiers who watch Fox because the culture war has many fronts. Not only is there a war on Christmas; there's also a war on Christianity. But persecuted Christians need not worry because Fox & Friends is there to inspire them to fight the satanic forces which, if not for Fox "News," would be triumphant in their desire to end the world as we know it with their dirty godless agenda. This morning, five star general in Fox "News" legion of decency, Gretchen Carlson, hosted yet another in a long line of persecuted Christians who claims - ya ready for it - that "there's a concerted effort to replace allegiance to God with allegiance to government." Who knew! But more seriously, who cares! Obviously Fox "News!" But if you want a look into the bizarrro world of "out there" Christian conspiratorialists, such as Gretch's guest, World Net Daily writer Brad O'Leary, read on. This morning's interview was one of the most egregious examples of one sided right wing Christian propaganda that I've ever seen on Fox & Friends - and I've seen lots of it! Gretch's interview was full tilt vintage persecuted (and lying) Christian complete with the apocalyptic Christian "battle" references on the chyrons. And while it's compellingly bizarre, it's also rather funny as in "WTF?!" Oh, and I almost forget, Gretch was also able to smear Barack Obama so it was all good - so good! Praise Jesus!"
This was written as a response to the tax "plans" that stupidly - or deliberately - conflate Social Security and the deficit. But now, it strikes me as the perfect "compromise" between the rethuglicans demanding tax cuts for the obscenely rich and liberals refusing to let the working and middle class bear all the tax burden:

Tax Wealth.

Leon Friedman at The Nation:

Is it really necessary that the poorest among us give up benefits or pay more sales taxes to reduce the deficit, rather than have the richest make a fair contribution? How can we significantly reduce the current deficit of more than $1.3 trillion and similar deficits in the future without cannibalizing Social Security, Medicare and other mandates? One obvious place to look is at the wealth of the top 1 to 5 percent of the population. Every study of inequality in this country has noted the growing wealth of those at the top, largely the result of the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980s and the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and '03. The top 1 percent of the population now own 35 percent of the total wealth of the nation (they owned 20.5 percent in 1979). The next 4 percent own 27 percent of the total wealth. So together, the top 5 percent own 62 percent of the total wealth of the country.

What does this mean in actual numbers? As of March 31, the total net worth of all American households was $54.6 trillion, according to studies made by the Federal Reserve Board. The top 1 percent consists of about 3 million households, each with a net worth of at least $8.3 million. The total net worth of that group is 35 percent of $54.6 trillion, or $19.1 trillion.

Wouldn't that amount be an appropriate target for a federal tax? Imposing a tax based on wealth rather than income is not a new idea. The federal government and most state governments impose an estate tax based on the total net worth of the individual at the time of death (the federal estate tax, which lapsed in 2010, may be reimposed in some form next year). And most local government units have a tax that measures the value of each person's real property, which is levied on an annual basis, but such taxes do not touch personal property.


There are many good reasons for imposing such a tax. First, the rich can afford it.

Second, there are a lot of rich people whose wealth is partly the result of government largesse, like the Bush tax cuts, 30 percent of which went to the top 1 percent. Third, taxing the wealth of the very rich will reduce the massive deficits and thus obviate the need to cut vital government services, as well as Social Security and Medicare.

Suppose such a wealth tax were imposed on the top 1 percent of households. It would raise $191.1 billion each year (1 percent of $19.1 trillion), a significant attack on the deficit. If we extended the tax to the top 5 percent, we could raise $338.5 billion a year (1 percent of 62 percent of $54.6 trillion).

Many years ago, Donald Trump suggested a one-time wealth tax of 14.25 percent on all Americans worth more than $10 million to wipe out the entire federal debt at the time, amounting to $5.7 trillion. Today we would need $13.5 trillion-about 40 percent of the wealth of the top 5 percent-to do it, which is highly unlikely to happen. But if we had the courage to take such a step, we would eliminate $414 billion in annual interest payments on the national debt.


So what would a wealth tax mean? Because of the openness of our stock markets and the filings of the Securities and Exchange Commission, it's easy for Forbes to determine the wealth of the 400 richest Americans. Thus, we have no trouble determining who would be subject to the tax. If a very rich person had a net worth of $10 billion, he or she would have to pay 1 percent, or $100 million, each year to the government. In the face of the nation's stark financial problems, our richest Americans can afford this modest diminution of their wealth. And they certainly would have no right to complain, since it was previous government actions that enabled them to accumulate it.

Read the whole thing.

Think outside the box. Change the game. Throw the class warmongers for a loop.


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