Wednesday, April 30, 2014

General beefs about the growing inequality in this country

Well, this is an attempt to start a thoughtful discussion about inequality that is likely going to end in nothing but a partisan pissing match with use of the words socialist, communist or some other stupid "ist" and complete avoidance of the point I will try to make. We'll probably get some trickle down bullshit thrown in there for good measure. My biggest beef I suppose is that we have created a massive inequality. It didn't just happen because a select few are so much smarter than everyone else, rather, we have used tax policy, deregulation, bad trade policy, and massive devaluing of the dollar to bequeath upon a very few a wealth that I do not believe they deserve. Moreover, we have simultaneously yanked up many ladders that previously could be used by those willing to work hard to climb. The fact that a loudmouth like myself could earn north of 100K at one point in my working career with nothing more than a GED is a strong testament to what was once a functioning society that allowed people to screw up, start over, and get moving forward. If you don't graduate high school today let alone, heaven forbid, get arrested for something like possession or selling a small amount of drugs, you are simply screwed. Again, I believe we have CHOSEN to create the disaster we have now. Part of the problem is a simple matter of supply and demand as Lou alluded to another page. But the other part of it is that we have created a situation where competition is primarily what little people do, while the few are allowed to coast along. Undoubtedly, the wealthy pay the majority of taxes, this is simple math because, DING, they make the most money. What helps grow their wealth, however, is a lot of direct and indirect contributions from the rest of us that, IMO, is simply a government sanctioned shake down. Here is part of my belief of the mechanics of it.

The FED- shouldn't be much disagreement here. Endlessly low rates allow business access to very cheap capital. Savers and those who buy fixed income for lower risk have flat out been screwed. yeah, higher rates mean higher inflation and higher costs paid by those on fixed income, but it also means business needs to pay more for its labor. Low inflation (a lie to begin with) has been used to deny COLA raises and the perpetually weak dollar has hurt those fixed income as well. As for the rest of us who work hourly, like myself, yearly raises, outside of union shops, are less than the already bullshit low stated rate of inflation. Stocks, of course, are doing well, which is another sweet treat for those with assets supported by those of us with fewer. Yeah, my 401k NOW is doing well, but will look less sweet years from now when we finally become adults and raise taxes. Lastly, through cheap rates and lack of supervision, the banks have been given a license to steal and steal they have while creating an enormous pool of unsecured risk that WILL blow up again. Whether we bail them out again or not, we will all pay dearly for it one way or the other while those who caused the damage will walk away with literally billions

Taxes- Under Reagan, we played the game of reduce the rate and take away deductions and then added them all back. What I see since 1980 is that when taxes go down, wealth at the very top climbs and shrinks in the middle. Some will undoubtedly believe these are not related. Taxes for money earned through investment is taxed less that money that is earned through labor. This is bullshit. Income is income and millionaires who flip stocks in a manipulated market kept aloft by the fed (see above) should have to pay taxes the same way that I do. Again, they pay more, because they earn more and then they pay less because they can take advantage of tax scams. As for our corporations, many love to wail about how we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world while they know full well that our coporations simply do not pay that rate. Through tax arbitrage, companies are allowed to stockpile and hide cash that, thanks to a growing ratio of CEO to avg worker pay, is then siphoned off by top management and BOD's through a host of manipulations that are nothing more than tax dodges on money earned. I'll admit, my health care plan is a tax dodge as is my ability to park money temporarily in a 401K. At best, however, I am dodging a couple grand in tax while others are literally dodging millions simply because they can run better scams.

Education- ours sucks and it's getting worse. This is a multifaceted issue that the left must take some ownership of. Still, education currently is just about the only way to gain upward mobility and access to good education is getting harder and harder for everyone not rich, let alone the very poor who, thanks to roll backs in affirmative action, will find it even harder. Will legacy admissions for children of rich parents be taken away? not likely. Not much meritocracy there. In some ways, I was very lucky to have NOT gone to college after getting my GED because I was much more mature when I finally went and got very good grades that paid dividends later when I applied for nursing school. I am a white guy, who is decent looking and I have never once been discriminated over for someone of color. On the other hand, I could count several times where I believe the reverse was true for me. The failure starts early in school, and children from poor families do worse, and in response, we are cutting head start programs. This seems ridiculous. If we really wanted people to not sit on their ass, why are we de-incentivizing them to work hard?

Speaking of that, wages- Unions have been their best and worst advocates. I never liked working union shop, but collective bargaining by labor at large corporations helped set the cost of labor elsewhere. It would be awesome if, as an RN, I could be paid based on something other than a commoditized view of labor, but I can't. I'm not getting overly squeezed, but the same cannot be said for those who used to have something useful to do. Again, it's a matter of degree of what is fair. Is it good for the majority to lose jobs to third world countries while those who hold capital are becoming engorged largely by arbitraging the cost of labor in addition to paying less for labor despite increased productivity? I dont' think so.

These are just a few things and likely not many will read to this point. Thanks if you have.

The WH cover up of the cover up.

Guy Benson

The smoking gun:

Previously unreleased internal Obama administration emails show that a coordinated effort was made in the days following the Benghazi terror attacks to portray the incident as “rooted in [an] Internet video, and not [in] a broader failure or policy.” Emails sent by senior White House adviser Ben Rhodes to other top administration officials reveal an effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the attacks that killed four Americans. Rhodes sent this email to top White House officials such as David Plouffe and Jay Carney just a day before National Security Adviser Susan Rice made her infamous Sunday news show appearances to discuss the attack. The “goal,” according to these emails, was “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.” Rice came under fierce criticism following her appearances on television after she adhered to these talking points and blamed the attack on a little-watched Internet video. The newly released internal White House e-mails show that Rice’s orders came from top Obama administration communications officials.

Here's a screenshot of that email, followed by another important discovery:

Also contained in the 41 pages of documents obtained by Judicial Watch is a Sep. 12, 2012 email from Payton Knopf, the former deputy spokesman at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. In this communication, Knopf informs Rice that senior officials had already dubbed the Benghazi attack as “complex” and planned in advance. Despite this information, Rice still insisted that attacks were “spontaneous.”

See here:

Let's unpack this new information. First, two political process points: (1) As we've recently seen with the IRS scandal, the Benghazi outrage continues to produce previously unseen evidence -- destroying Democrats' disgraceful "phony scandals" talking point. The White House began aggressively dismissing both stories last year. (2) Ed Morrissey reminds us that the White House claimed to have released "all" of its emails on Benghazi nearly a year ago. Gabe Malor asks the right question: Why are we just seeing these ones now? Now, on substance, the first email embedded above reveals a White House in intense spin mode after a preventable terrorist attack that claimed the lives of four Americans, including a sitting Ambassador. We knew that Hillary Clinton's State Department and the CIA were involved in the administration's historical revisionism surrounding this attack. We now know for certain that top White House officials were in the loop, too. Ben Rhodes outlines four bullet points in his memorandum, the first three of which are misleading and/or false:

(a) The United States was not doing everything in its power to protect its people and facilities abroad. Not in Benghazi, and not elsewhere.
(b) The 9/11 attacks were not rooted in an "internet video." The clip he's referencing made something of a splash in the Middle East, but the State Department's second in command on the ground in Libya called it a "non event" vis-a-vis the Benghazi raid. The US government, including Sec. Clinton and CIA Director Petraeus, knew the attack was a coordinated terrorist action almost immediately.
(c) The administration has not been "resolute" in bringing the perpetrators to justice. More than a year-and-a-half has passed since the lethal event. Zero people have been held responsible, neither in Washington nor Northern Africa.

The memo also makes clear the White House was determined to deflect any criticism involving a "failure of [administration] policy." What sort of failure? Take your pick. How about fueling a war in Libya with no apparent strategy to handle the resulting power vacuum? Or rejecting repeated requests for an enhanced security presence in a city from which much of the West had withdrawn, due to growing jihadi dominance? Or renewing a lease on our compound with a waiver for substandard security after it had faced several attempted attacks? Perhaps it was the lack of preparation for the contingency of a terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11, which resulted in hours of paralysis while American lives hung in the balance. Rhodes and company wanted to insulate the president from those glaring policy failures, so they doctored up some deceptive talking points. As for the Susan Rice email, her staff obviously understood the true nature of the attack, which she would later tell the American people was "spontaneous." It wasn't. It was a deliberate, orchestrated, al Qaeda-linked act of terrorism. It's always seemed inconceivable that Rice wouldn't have been privy to those facts prior to her public statements. The newly-disclosed emails appear to confirm those suspicions. There can now be no remaining doubt: The administration's public response to the Benghazi attack was tainted by political considerations and deprived the American people of the truth.

Another law to encourage more businesses to move to California.

Apr 24, 2014, 1:21pm PDT

Bill proposes higher taxes on CEOs with high wage disparity

Allen Young | Sacramento Business Journal
Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, left, stands beside Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord in the Capitol on Thursday. Reich was on hand to help promote Senate Bill 1372, which would raise state taxes on publicly traded companies that pay their top-earning employee 100 times as much or more as the company's average worker.

California Democrats proposed a law Thursday that would raise state taxes on publicly traded companies that pay their top-earning employee 100 times as much or more as the company's average worker.
Despite a high-profile backing by former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, who joined lawmakers in Sacramento on Thursday to promote the bill, passage will require support from both the governor and some Republicans to garner a supermajority.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ralph Nader's World.

Should we impeach Obama, Legalize Drugs, Form a Progressive-Libertarian coalition to elect President Rand Paul?  Just a few of Ralph Nader's proposals in his new book.

A little news

Well, the NBA today dished out a smack down to Donal Sterling that I have to admit even I am surprised at. I also have mixed feelings about it. Reading the story HERE it was more than just a simple few words that previously had been quoted. What he said here is pure scumbag stuff and he seems to see himself as quite important and instrumental in providing his players with their salaries. The fans and advertisers have nothing to do with that of course. Anyhow, for the freedom lovers here, is it right that the NBA can exist as an organization that dictates rules so sternly that they can ban him from even attending a game? Should all sports organizations like the NBA, NFL, MBL and NHL be disbanded because they are so anti-capitalist? Better still, in a country with free speech, how can they legally restrict his? Shouldn't a militia being showing up to help him defend his ownership of the team?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Free Speech Zones

Wow, aren't we lucky to have them here in the US. They “gave” the Bundy Ranch supporters a free speech zone and the University of Hawaii allows one for certain groups  ( and now there is a bill being proposed that allows us freedom of speech as long as we are in free speech zones (  

We are sooooo lucky.

Federal abuse of property rights

Fight federal abuse of property rights by making the government obey its own rules

By |
Cliven Bundy marched into my life one Friday morning in January 1992 in a protest bound for a federal courthouse in Las Vegas. He held up one side of a street-width banner that asked, “Has the West been won or has the fight just begun?”
To my great relief, just as Bundy promised, nearly 200 ranchers from all over the state marched behind him, yelling “Property rights!” Nearly a mile later, the marchers fell silent and filed into the courtroom where Wayne Hage of Pine Creek Ranch faced arraignment for the felony of cleaning brush out of his ditches without a U.S. Forest Service permit.
The Forest Service had already confiscated Hage's cattle and left him bankrupt, just as the Bureau of Land Management would try with Bundy 22 years later.
Wayne Hage did not stand in that courtroom alone because I was honor bound to prevent it – I had published his 1989 book, Storm Over Rangelands: Private Rights in Federal Lands, which unleashed the federal fury.
The message terrified abusive bureaucrats: There are private rights in federal lands – vested rights, not privileges.
His book, the product of three intensive, grueling years consulting with dozens of experts and sifting through many archives, found the dirty little secret that could destroy the abusive power of all federal Western land agencies – by making them obey their own laws.
It was so stunning that a sitting Supreme Court justice secretly sent Wayne a message marveling at his shining intellect - burnished with a masters degree in animal science and honed by academic colloquies as a trustee of the University of Nevada Foundation - and warning of the titanic battle to come.
How true: Hage was convicted of brush cutting but acquitted on appeal. His own lawsuit against the United States took almost 20 years, but proved there are private rights in federal land. He died of cancer in 2006 before he could see how great a victory he had won – and how the battle is still just beginning, as Bundy foresaw.
Wayne’s son, Wayne N. Hage, now manages Pine Creek, and his daughter Ramona Hage Morrison is his intellectual heir. She helped research his book, lived the courthouse agonies with her father and assisted with his seminars on protecting ranchers’ rights. Morrison said:
Private rights in federal lands were recognized in an 1866 water law. It says, "… whenever, by priority of possession, rights to the use of water have vested and accrued, and the same are recognized and acknowledged by the local customs, laws, and the decisions of courts, the possessors and owners of such vested rights shall be maintained and protected in the same."
That Act was passed a long time ago, but every federal land law since then contains a clause with language similar to, "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to impair any vested right in existence on the effective date of this Act."
Most ranchers don’t know that and federal agencies exploit their ignorance with harassment that runs them off the land. Actually, understanding vested rights is not too hard – they’re absolute rights not subject to cancellation – but proving up those rights by assembling your chain of title and other technicalities and then making the government protect them is very hard.
The agencies know they don’t own the water rights, so their lawyers fight viciously with misdirection to save their empire from the owners. Ranchers lose in court because they don’t know how to prove up their vested rights and they don’t get lawyers who know the precision required to plead a vested rights case. Very few lawyers know.
Ranchers, get smart. Don’t assume anything. You probably believe a lot of things that aren’t true. Get busy and prove up your vested rights as we did. Get a court to adjudicate them as we did. Yes, your whole life will be one battle after another, like ours. Seek help to develop an army of supporters, as we did. You can shout freedom slogans all you want, but only the courts can destroy the root power of federal abuse.
The BLM has now withdrawn. Bundy has his moment of triumph. The cries of victory are thrilling.
But we know it’s not over yet. The BLM did not leave because angry citizens outnumbered their assault force by 100 to 1. Nothing has touched the BLM’s ability to return.
Get real: the BLM invaders left when it got ugly because it’s an election year and they’re all Democrats. They’ll be back.
Property rights defenders can stop them. We can go on the attack in the courts with organized funding to adjudicate protection for every last vested right in the American West. We have the laws to do it. We now need organization, money, brains, and the will to make it happen. Every vested right that we protect will destroy that much federal power to abuse.
Let no ranching family go unprotected.
That's the hard way, but it's the only way that works. Stay on target: the federal power to abuse must be destroyed.
RON ARNOLD, a Washington Examiner columnist, is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Clive Bundy, Folk Hero?

Washington (CNN) -- Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy's remarks about whether the "Negro" fared better under slavery represents the latest in a series of incendiary racial comments from a new crop of folk heroes embraced in some conservative circles.
"They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton," Bundy said to reporters, according to the New York Times.
"And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom," he was quoted as saying.
Bundy, 67, a rancher whose much-publicized land dispute with the federal government endeared him to conservatives, defended his comments as idle thoughts.
"In my mind I'm wondering, are they better off being slaves, in that sense, or better off being slaves to the United States government, in the sense of the subsidies? I'm wondering. That's what. And the statement was right. I am wondering," he said Thursday on "The Peter Schiff Show."
But politicians like Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a potential 2016 presidential GOP contender, Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller and other conservatives scrambled to distance themselves from the controversy.

Media and Cliven Bundy

Tensions escalate: Rancher defies feds

Two senators face off over rancher

Reid: Ranchers "domestic terrorists"

Feds and cattle rancher face off

Cattle rancher Cliven Bundy talks to his supporters Friday, April 11, in Bunkerville, Nevada. They had been protesting the federal government's roundup of Bundy's cattle, which led to an Old West-style showdown last week. The government says Bundy's livestock has been illegally grazing on U.S. lands for 20 years. Bundy says his family's cattle has grazed on the land since the 1800s.Cattle rancher Cliven Bundy talks to his supporters Friday, April 11, in Bunkerville, Nevada. They had been protesting the federal government's roundup of Bundy's cattle, which led to an Old West-style showdown last week. The government says Bundy's livestock has been illegally grazing on U.S. lands for 20 years. Bundy says his family's cattle has grazed on the land since the 1800s.
Showdown in Nevada
Photos: Showdown in Nevada Photos: Showdown in Nevada
"His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him," Paul said in a statement.
Heller "completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy's appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way," according to his spokesman, Chandler Smith.
The Republican National Committee said Bundy's comments were "completely beyond the pale. Both highly offensive and 100% wrong on race."