Friday, December 24, 2010

Saying it makes it so!

Obama has been a great disappointment to a lot of us on the left. People who support him point out his willingness to compromise. Capitulation is not compromise. I’ll never understand how folks on the right have been able to stick him with the Socialist label. In my view he’s very right of center.

He’s definitely no negotiator. He has a habit of giving in to all demands from the right and negotiating down from there.

Look at healthcare. I knew we were in trouble when he said, “Single payer is off the table.” If he’d have left that in as a bargaining chip we probably could have had the public option.

So now we have universal healthcare and I still can’t afford it. I haven’t had insurance in over ten years.

The most maddening thing is the right has made the phrase “government run healthcare” stick.
The government will not take over hospitals or other privately-run health care businesses. Doctors will not become government employees, like in Britain. And the U.S. government intends to help people buy insurance from private insurance companies, not pay all the bills like the single-payer system in Canada.
The legislation is designed to set up new systems to encourage private health insurance companies to provide more coverage and better services.
That coverage would be paid for the same way it is now -- by private employers and individual premiums. That's not a government takeover.

The right has known something the left just can’t seem to grasp; saying it makes it so!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bleeding Brain?

I was listening to Frank O. Pinion, a local radio show, the other day. They got on the subject of drugs. They started talking about the different effects different drugs produced. Everything they’d read about psychedelics described faces melting.

Peon asked, “Why would anyone want to experience that?”

Frank said if he even tried it, he’d love it and wouldn’t be able to control himself. It struck me as an unusually honest remark.

Someone called in to tell Frank all hallucinogens work by making your brain bleed. The cast of the show all took this for granted as fact.

I was amazed by the statement and decided to research the subject. There is no evidence that drugs cause the brain to bleed, let alone bleeding is the reason drugs work.

-------Hallucinations and other effects of hallucinogens are however very complicated experiences. They are not simply a part of a cause and effect system in the brain, where hallucinogenic drugs act on serotonin and cause hallucinations. Instead, hallucinogenic drugs act initially on the serotonin system, which sends into motion a pattern of complex action potentials and activity. Other neurotransmitters may be involved in these activities as well. The effects that inputs and outputs have on each other in this system as well as the pattern of action potentials mediated by hallucinogenic drugs help to cause many of the complex changes that allow hallucinations to happen. (B.L. Jacobs, "How Hallucinogenic Drugs Work")

Why would someone bother to call in to a radio show with misinformation? Why would the cast of the show take it for granted the caller was telling the truth? Did the caller hear this information somewhere or was he deliberately supporting an agenda with lies?

It strikes me that we’ve all become pretty gullible and shouldn’t take anything we hear for granted. Just because we’re surrounded with information we shouldn’t accept anything as fact without research.

I would love it if FactCheck and PolitiFact followed every statement our politicians make through the corporate media. Unfortunately, I’ve seen FactCheck called liberal for calling a conservative to task for spreading misinformation.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


The U.S. Justice Department opened a criminal probe of Wikileaks and founder Julian Assange after the leak of diplomatic cables. Attorney General Eric Holder affirmed the probe was “not saber-rattling” but "an active, ongoing criminal investigation. The Washington Post reported that the department was considering charges under the Espionage Act. Prosecutors have a hard time with this because of First Amendment protections for the press.

I have mixed feeling about this whole case.

I believe there is information that should be classified. Lives and policy are at stake. I also believe way too much government information is classified to hide improprieties.

We’re told the leaks have made it impossible for people with influence to confide in our ambassadors. I believe their self-interests will trump that idea.

You can’t call Assange’s actions treasonous; the worst he can be accused of is bad citizenship – except he’s not a citizen. I don’t blame Assange, I blame the State Department for the leaks.

There have actually been calls for Hillary’s resignation. Let’s get real--- the government has its own private internet to contain information but this information is spread out over the world. Any one of thousands of government employees with a flash drive can take anything they want.

If Bush’s yellow cake uranium lie had been leaked in time, maybe we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. When the information was exposed, not only was it too late but they outed Valerie Plame in retribution. (This was a controlled leak I still think Karl Rove should be prosecuted for.)

Probably the most important information we’re getting from the leaks is the fact of Arab nations wanting us to go to war with Iran.

Americans should be in the loop when it comes to war! Aren’t our representatives representing us?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Why a Progressive Tax is fair

A flat tax could work if it was high enough, didn't allow for any deductions, taxed all income such as capital gains the same as earned income.

That won’t happen, so the progressive tax system is all that's left. Besides raising revenues, progressive taxation is designed to prevent one group of people from eventually attaining all the wealth.

Over the past 30 years, according to IRS data, the richest 1 percent has tripled their share of America's total income, after taxes, while the bottom 90 percent has seen their share drop over 20 percent.

The tripling of income by the wealthy is the result of money-transferring financial strategies, government deregulation, and tax cuts -- not because they worked three times harder than everyone else.

With our current federal tax system, the wealth generated by the 95% who work for wages goes to the investing class. As they become richer most of the political power of the country goes to them as well.

Teddy Roosevelt warned us about it, “To maintain a functioning democracy within a republic you can't allow one small group of people to attain all the wealth and power. There would be no difference between that and a monarchy or aristocracy!”

Being 'fair' isn't the end game. The end game is maintaining a democratic republic with a thriving middle class of productive and engaged citizens.

In other words, money isn’t everything. An equitable distribution of our nation’s wealth would not mean the end of our Republic or make us Commies or Socialists.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let Them Expire

It’s obvious to me all the Bush tax cuts need to expire if we’re going to get a handle on our deficit. When they were put in place, the country was operating with a tax surplus. There was a sunset on the cuts for a reason; they were unsustainable!

It won’t be a tax increase; it will be an end to a temporary policy. How the Democrats let the Republicans get control of this message, I’ll never understand. I’m really disappointed in them.

There seems to be some misunderstanding of how much letting the cuts expire will affect the middle class.

Here’s the break down based on 2011 income. This is according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. (As you can see, if you were to pay an extra $100.00 a week, your income would be between $200,000 and $500,000--- I think you could afford it.)

Income: Less than $10,000
Number of filers: 28,681,000
Average increase: $70
Income: $10,000 to $20,000
Number of filers: 24,383,000
Average increase: $410
Income: $20,000 to $30,000
Number of filers: 18,523,000
Average increase: $756
Income: $30,000 to $40,000
Number of filers: 15,679,000
Average increase: $893
Income: $40,000 to $50,000
Number of filers: 13,001,000
Average increase: $923
Income: $50,000 to $75,000
Number of filers: 23,972,000
Average increase: $1,126
Income: $75,000 to $100,000
Number of filers: 15,245,000
Average increase: $1,837
Income: $100,000 to $200,000
Number of filers: 16,885,000
Average increase: $3,672
Income: $200,000 to $500,000
Number of filers: 3,757,000
Average increase: $7,187
Income: $500,000 to $1 million
Number of filers: 608,000
Average increase: $18,092
Income: $1 million and over
Number of filers: 315,000
Average increase: $101,587

Bush’s cuts were responsible for 25% of our deficit. If we let them expire for only the rich, we’ll only generate 700 billion dollars, if they all expire, it would mean 3.7 trillion dollars.

This is all a distraction, of course. The deficit isn’t why our economy is in shambles. It’s high unemployment. No one will pay taxes if they don’t generate an income.

Banks have to lend to small businesses!!! They’re making plenty of money trading in foreign currency, so they don’t have to. (I can’t wait to find out what WikiLeaks dug up on the banks). I have mixed feelings about WikiLeaks that I’ll post about next week. --- I digress---

For now, short term deficit spending is a necessity.

It’s been proven that Bush’s tax cuts and the tax cuts that made up a third of the stimulus (Obama’s compromise with the Republicans that only diluted the effect of the stimulus), do not stimulate our economy.

Right now extending unemployment would be much more bang for the buck.

Republicans are convinced that extended benefits will only motivate the unemployed to stay that way. It doesn’t matter that there are 5 people for every job posted.