EPIC FAIL

May. 8th, 2009 03:36 pm
I've been trying to avoid blogging about politics lately, since I haven't had the time, and I'm trying to focus on school to get where I can help make actual fixes to problems.

But then sometimes something so ludicrous, so mind-boggling, so downright stupid happens, that I can't.

First, Texas governor Rick Perry said "We think it’s time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas. That’s what this press conference, that’s what these Texans are standing up for." in a press conference, shortly after appearing at a "tea party" where outraged reactionaries were protesting having their taxes cut. And at that appearance, "Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax "tea party" Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states' rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, "Secede!" ..."There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."

Yes, he's talking about seceding from the United States. Again. But hey, it's he's a Texas Republican, they've always been a little crazy, right?

It's not just Texas. Georgia, my current home state, passed a "sovereignty resolution" essentially affirming Georgia's right to ignore any federal laws they don't like.

Seriously.

No, seriously, and other politicians have been talking about it too. The governor in Oklahoma vetoed one.

Seriously. I could not make this shit up. I've joked about the "Confederate Party", but now they're talking secession. Because of... the stimulus? Or because they're not in control of government? Or... Hell, I don't know. I know some reasonable people who're Republicans, but large portions of the party have gone stark raving bonkers.

The same party that tarred anybody who disagreed with them as "anti-American" or "unpatriotic" is now talking about seceding from the United States because they lost an election. Seriously.

The Civil War is over. The South lost.

GET OVER IT.

Dude

May. 16th, 2008 02:17 pm
So, this guy waterboards himself to see if it's torture. Hilarity does not ensure. He doesn't die, either.

Iran

Mar. 12th, 2008 03:28 pm
Admiral Fallon Resigns

Admiral James Fallon was the commander of CENTCOM, the central US military command. His resignation comes in large part because of an article in Esquire. From the NY Times piece: "Officials said the last straw, however, came in an article in Esquire magazine by Thomas P.M. Barnett, a respected military analyst, that profiled Admiral Fallon under the headline, “The Man Between War and Peace.” The article highlighted comments Admiral Fallon made to the Arab television station Al Jazeera last fall, in which he said that a “constant drumbeat of conflict” from Washington that was directed at Iran and Iraq was “not helpful and not useful. I expect that there will be no war, and that is what we ought to be working for. We ought to try to do our utmost to create different conditions.” (...)"

George W. Bush wants to start a war with Iran. Even though we have no army to invade with, and no plan, and the complete fucking stupidity of starting yet another war, in an already unstable Middle East, while we're already occupying a hostile country next door.

John McCain is all for bombing and or invading Iran too. That's one of the biggest reasons he's not fit to serve as President of the United States.
So the Republican presidential candidates had another debate that featured plenty of posturing and attempts to out-tough guy each other.

And included plenty of flat-out lies, like this bit where Rudy Giuliani sure looks like he's claiming Iran already has nuclear weapons.

"GIULIANI: Part of the premise of talking to Iran has to be that they have to know very clearly that it is unacceptable to the United States that they have nuclear power. I think it could be done with conventional weapons, but you can't rule out anything and you shouldn't take any option off the table.

And during the debate the other night, the Democrats seemed to be back in the 1990s. They don't seem to have gotten beyond the Cold War. Iran is a threat, a nuclear threat, not just because they can deliver a nuclear warhead with missiles. They're a nuclear threat because they are the biggest state sponsor of terrorism and they can hand nuclear materials to terrorists.

And we just saw it just last week in New York, an attempt by Islamist terrorists to attack JFK airport; three weeks ago, an attempt to attack Fort Dix."

Via Obsidian Wings and the redoubtable hilzoy.

That man? Has no business being President. He's either completely ignorant, or a liar, or probably both. Which makes him a perfect successor for George W. Bush.

But seriously, the entire Republican leadership is completely disconnected from reality and so busy trying to prove who's "tougher" they don't know or care if what they say or do actually makes anyone safer. It's all about fearmongering and lies and ohnoes teh gay! Is that really what US politics has descended to? And the Democrats in Congress are so scared of Bush calling them mean to the troops they won't even stand up at all to try and end the pointless and counterproductive occupation of Iraq. A position, I might add, that a majority of the country supports, and was what helped drive them into the positions of power they have now.
The Wall Street Journal has published an op-ed arguing against the rule of law. Honest to goodness no-foolin. I knew the Wall Street Journal op-ed page was crazy, but this is crazy even for them.

I don't have the time to get into how stupid this is, besides the obvious point that the entirety of American government and society is based on the rule of law. But luckily for me, Hilzoy's on the job.
There's a problem with working at a bookstore. It means, every so often, you have to sell somebody something that you know is bad, lame, and utterly irredeemable. Sometimes I can tell people this, other times, I can't really because I know they won't care. So I sell them their horrible book of lies and poor writing, and feel a dirty because I helped support people churning out more of this trash.

The case in point, this time, was Left Behind, the horribly written series of books and movies that are basically the apocalyptic fringes of the Religious Right gloating over how everybody's going to die in the end of the world except them. Thew books are based around their weirdly "literal" interpretation of Revelations, which involves a lot of reading into things that aren't literally never mentioned in the entire Bible, the whole "Rapture" idea first among them. If you want more explanation of the problems with these books, clink the link above, which leads to Slacktivist's page by page dissection of the first book. But the ultimate scary thing about these books? They're written by and for people who think the end of the world will be a good thing, and look forward to it, and try and hurry that day through politics and begging their idea of God. That's the kind of things the bad guys in D&D or Buffy or something do.

And this came up, because yesterday a lady came in, and bought all three of the Left Behind movies, plus most of the series. For her children. I'm sorry, kids. I'm really really sorry. Not just for the years of therapy they'll have to go through if they escape the millenialist cult, but also because they'll have to sit through the books. And the thing is, there's nothing I could have done. Refuse to sell them to her? They'd send another person to run the register. And if that failed, the lady'd just go over to Borders or the religious bookstore or somewhere else and still inflict them on the kids. I could have tried to convince her, but that was hardly the place, and I'm 95% sure nothing I would have said would have made a difference to her, anyway.

But I still feel dirty inside.
The Texas Republican Party Platform. As in the platform of the party George Bush ran on. Let's see how it holds up. The sad part is, this is toned down from what it was a couple years ago. See here for the 2004 Texas Republican Party's Greatest Hits. It went into a lot more specifics, the scary kind of specifics. A laundry list of basic government functions to get rid of, clear talk about "Biblical law" and the establishment of Christianity as a state religion, etc. Scary stuff. This is where the current leaders of the Republican Party came from. I think they caught wise and cut out the specifics. That or the specifics are in the PDF version. Yeah, there they are. I'll just go over the short version for now, though.

Point 1 is just words about "limited government", and lip service to the Constitution etc. Mostly irrelevant.

Point 2 is where it starts to get interesting. Straight up we've got an establishment of religion ("We believe that human life is sacred, created in the image of God.") and the hard-line anti-abortion "life starts at conception" stance.

Point 3 seems to be mostly more words made meaningless by their repetition by politicians who don't mean them, but has a dig at affirmative action.

Point 4 is HILARIOUS. "We believe that government spending is out of control and needs to be reduced. We support fundamental, immediate tax reform that is simple, fair, and fully disclosed. We commend President George W. Bush’s principled stand to reduce taxes and stimulate the economy." This is where Jon Stewart would look at the camera and raise an eyebrow, and say nothing.

Point 5 is boilerplate anti-gay marriage. Though it has the interesting phrase "natural man and a natural woman", which I guess means they're against transsexuals getting married, too. And the last line about "The family is responsible for its own welfare, education, moral training, conduct, and property," is really rather Orwellian.

Point 6 is a sentence about "school choice", which presumably means vouchers and homeschooling.

Point 7 is just words about "excessive government regulation", there to throw a sop to the libertarians. Meaningless in practice.

Point 8 talks about "vigorously protecting the sovereignty of the United States". Damn those UN black helicopters.

Point 9 is scary. "We take a principled stand to preemptively defend the citizens of the United States against all foes, foreign or domestic, whose goal is to destroy our American way of life." is the first half, then the second half is a boilerplate about freedom not being free and respecting soldiers. What domestic enemies, exactly, are they feeling the need to pre-emptively defend the American way of life from?

Point 10 is boilerplate followed by code words including "truth in sentencing" and "activist judges".
Okay, so where do you draw the line between being fair-minded and not reading something because you can tell it's tripe?

I'm thinking, in this instance of a new book. One by Pat Buchanan, of the crazytown Buchanan's. I'm not going to link the book because I don't want to help it's google rank, but here's the title. "State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America" I mean, why not just title it "OHNOES! BROWN PEOPLE!"I I guess it might be worth reading so I can identify all the problems and know how to take its arguments apart, but that doesn't even usually work in political arguments. At least on the Internet, they always end up with attacks at me and not answering my questions when I'm posting links to articles that disprove what they're saying.

But on the other hand, that means I'd have to slog through 320 pages of crypto-racist bullshit like the summary. Stuff that's EXACTLY the kind of thing I was talking about the other day, the people who are all "America is great! But we're so weak we're going to be destroyed by a bunch of immigrants!"

"In this important book, Pat Buchanan reveals that, slowly but surely, the great American Southwest is being reconquered by Mexico. These lands---which many Mexicans believe are their birthright---are being detached ethnically, linguistically, and culturally from the United States by a deliberate policy of the Mexican regime. This is the “Aztlan Plot” for “La Reconquista,” the recapture of the lands lost by Mexico in the Texas War of Independence and Mexican-American War.
Comparing the immigrant invasion of America from across the Mexican border---and of Europe from across the Mediterranean---to the barbarian invasions that ended the Roman Empire, the author writes with passion and conviction that we have begun the final chapter of the Death of the West. Unless the invasion is halted now, Buchanan argues, by midcentury America will be a country unrecognizable to our parents, the Third World dystopia that Theodore Roosevelt warned against when he said we must never let America become a “polyglot boardinghouse” for the world."


Is it really worth reading the book, knowing that people are going to be quoting it, even when it's wrong, just to see if there's any new arguments in there, or should I just write it off as the same recycled bullshit that's patently wrong? And for the love of monkeys, where do they FIND these kinds of bullshit theories? Mexico is going to conquer the Southwest by having people move there because their lives in Mexico suck? THAT'S a "state of emergency"? Man. How can people think like that?

EDIT: As pointed out in the comments by [livejournal.com profile] shaneon, the bit about religion? Pat Buchannan is a Roman Catholic, like the majority of Mexicans.
And president Bush again makes my head explode.

The one bill he's vetoed the first bill of the ENTIRE time he's been in office, and it's a broadly supported bill to expand stem cell research. Because "It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect, so I vetoed it," Bush said.

A moral boundary our decent society needs to respect.

A moral boundary our decent society needs to respect...

THE GUY WHO LIED US INTO A WAR AND AUTHORIZED FUCKING TORTURE IS LECTURING US ABOUT MORAL BOUNDARIES OF TINY CLUMPS OF UNDIFFERENTIATED CELLS. THAT ARE NOW JUST GOING TO BE THROWN IN THE GARBAGE.

"Several polls have shown a clear majority of Americans support the research, which would use embryos that already exist in fertility clinics and would otherwise be thrown out to search for cures of conditions like diabetes, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases."

THAT'S the moral line our "decent society" needs to respect? Instead of, say, NOT BOMBING CHILDREN AND LYING TO THE COUNTRY AND TORTURING PEOPLE AND PUTTING YOUR INCOMPETENT CRONIES IN CHARGE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES THAT PEOPLES LIVES DEPEND ON? MORAL LINE MY ASS! AND his moral line requires we not use these embryos for stem cell research, so instead they're going to be thrown in the GARBAGE. Which the President is fully aware of. If he's not, that's even scarier than the fact he's blatantly lying and throwing people's lives to his fundamentalist base. WORST. ADMINISTRATION. EVER.

To paraphrase someone else, "Remember kids, it's okay to make 28 embryos to get a woman of 50 pregnant. But heaven forbid the extra 27 get used for science."

For a little more reasoned commentary, check out slacktivist.
Okay, this won't really surprise anybody reading this. The Powers That Be, and the Classes that Chatter in the Republican Party have no integrity whatsoever. As if there was any doubt about this since they imported rioters as part of the theft of the 2000 election. But somehow, some way, I manage to continue to be surprised by the depths they'll sink to. There's a site, called "Stop The ACLU" (which I refuse to link to) who started a program they called "Expose the ACLU Plaintiffs." Which they used to post the names and home addresses of the plaintiffs in ACLU lawsuits. The first was against a Jewish family in Delaware who were suing their school district. The details are here, here, and here. Screencap here, because they've since taken down the page.

And that's hardly all. Hilzoy, over at ObsidianWings, has a post full of links to right-wing blogs threatening journalists kittens. It's not really a surprising outgrowth of their Daily Hate sessions. Anything to win, 'cause power's all that matters.

Are we allowed to mention the "F" word yet? And why do we liberals try so hard to be civilized and restrained and not respond even remotely in kind to these dangerous yahoos?
Okay, anybody who doubted most of the leaders of the anti-abortion crusades are really anti-sex? How about this little tidbit of new lunacy?

"In the memo released by the FDA, Dr. Curtis Rosebraugh, an agency medical officer, wrote: "As an example, she [Woodcock] stated that we could not anticipate, or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an 'urban legend' status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B."

Rosebraugh indicated he found no reason to bar nonprescription sales of Plan B."

Mmmyep. Teenage sex cultists are calling for the morning after pill. Because, evidently, teenage sex cultists wouldn't use any of the other kinds of contraception available. Man, why didn't anybody tell me about these teenage sex cults a decade ago?

These people aren't against abortion, they're against contraception, sex ed, and programs that support new parents. They don't love children, they hate sex. They think sex is evil, bad, dirty, and sinful, and if a woman is enough of a slut to be having sex, then she should face the "consequences" (read: punishment) of pregnancy and STDs. If they really were at all interested in reducing the number of abortions, they'd be for sex ed and contraceptives that would make it unnecessary in the first place. Sweet monkeys.

And the obsession about kids seeing Janet Jackson's nipple and that kind of thing, I've never understood at all, really. What exactly is the good of trying to "protect" kids from finding out about sex? Is seeing naked people really going to scar kids forever somehow? I'd say probably not. What's more likely to scar kids for life and warp their views about sex and their bodies is guilt. The constant "Sex is bad! Your body is bad!" chorus has done more to fuck up more kids than any number of boobies at the Super Bowl or online.

It's just another bullshit scare to prevent people from worrying about REAL problems.

(More at Digby, Obsidian Wings, and tristero, where I stole the title of this post from.)
Sy Hersh in the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060417fa_fact

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was "absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb" if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do," and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy."

Some operations, apparently aimed in part at intimidating Iran, are already under way. American Naval tactical aircraft, operating from carriers in the Arabian Sea, have been flying simulated nuclear-weapons delivery missions—rapid ascending maneuvers known as "over the shoulder" bombing—since last summer, the former official said, within range of Iranian coastal radars.

Wait, hang on, did that say what I think it said?

One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.

!!!????!!!

The lack of reliable intelligence leaves military planners, given the goal of totally destroying the sites, little choice but to consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons. "Every other option, in the view of the nuclear weaponeers, would leave a gap," the former senior intelligence official said. " 'Decisive' is the key word of the Air Force’s planning. It’s a tough decision. But we made it in Japan."

He went on, "Nuclear planners go through extensive training and learn the technical details of damage and fallout—we’re talking about mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties, and contamination over years. This is not an underground nuclear test, where all you see is the earth raised a little bit. These politicians don’t have a clue, and whenever anybody tries to get it out"—remove the nuclear option—"they’re shouted down."


????!!!!!!!????!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY hope Sy Hersh is wrong. Because seriously, WHAT THE FUCK? These people want to NUKE IRAN? Are they REALLY that mad? Possibly. Do they have ANY idea what that would cause? Probably not. Do they really think if we NUKED the fucking country, that the citizens would rise up and overthrow their government, instead of, oh, I don't know, retaliating against the people that NUKED them? Have they learned nothing from Iraq? Probably not.

I can think of no better way to radicalize the entire middle east and destroy our standing with the entire world than by using NUKES on another country. And probably bring about something pretty darn close to the end of the world.

Sweet monkeys. Nuke Iran. Our leaders have gone stark raving mad.

But I never figured the United States of America would be torturing prisoners in the 21st century, either.
Okay, seriously. These people are STARK. RAVING. MAD.

" A nuke or two, even if low yield, will devastate America. A Hobbesian “war of all against all” will emerge as the criminal, opportunistic, and seditious elements strike out. Expect heavily armed and infuriated conservatives to launch a cleansing war against the traitors. The armed will mow down the mostly unarmed segments, especially those elements that devoted forty-plus years to anti-American hatred to destroy this country. Should the likes of Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Michael Moore, Ward Churchill, Dennis Raimondo, et al. act out their sedition in a just-nuked America, expect their bodies to be found shot full of holes. Expect gun battles at banks, food stores, ATMs, gas stations, and outside hospitals. Leftist professors will be strung up. It will be every man, woman, and child for themselves." (You can click to read more, but I wouldn't suggest it. It's utterly insane apocalyptic eliminationist rhetoric.)

Batshit "conservative" snuff porn. I don't even know who half those "evil liberals" are, and I'm pretty damn liberal and informed. I think they're the unholy names of liberal demons that haunt "conservatives" in their nightmares with images of... fuck, I dunno, condoms? Gun battles outside ATMs. When society's fallen apart, what good is money? And how are they going to tell professors? I guess the fact that it doesn't make any sense can be excused by the fact it's insane.

And for more mainstream right-wing insanity, I give you Michelle Malkin who's screaming about the Flight 93 memorial... because it's not a complete circle.

Sweet monkeys.
My alarm clock is set to NPR, because that's the channel that came in best. So I woke up this morning to the Diane Rehm Show. She has two people on talking about the "economic implications of Katrina." I'm pretty sure the one I'm mad at was Stephen Moore, who's apparently a "member of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board and
former President of the Club for Growth and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute." In other words, a fundamentalist "libertarian free-market" type. And what was he saying when I woke up? He was saying (paraphrased) "If you look at major companies, they evacuated most of their people, and some of their goods, as opposed to the government's incompetence." NO. You stupid @$!#. Private enterprise is NOT able to to disaster relief well. It's not big enough, there's no profit motive, etc. And the government's incompetence in the case of Katrina is not a natural result of government, it's a natural result of incompetent ideologues in power who spend all of their time "cutting" taxes and giving trillions away to their friends.

And yes, he tried to blame environmentalists for high gas prices too. More on that here.

And what'd he say just now? That Katrina means we need to cut taxes! OW MY FUCKING BRAIN.

Technorati Tags: Politics, Economics, News, WTF?, Everyday Evil
Okay, seriously. What. The. Fuck. Pat Robertson said we should assassinate Hugo Chavez, the elected president of Venezuela.

I am far less shocked by that than I should be. Must be from reading too much about the 80s, when we were knocking over elected South American governments like they were dominoes.

But, seriously. Folks. We are the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. You know that big list of Things Not To Do? The one with Torture on it? Yeah, assassinating elected officials in other countries is on it too. Seriously, the Republican leadership no longer has any connection to what America actually means. (And let's not even bother with the "thou shalt not kill" thing, that's long since gone.)

And as always, Jon Stewart has the goods.

Technorati Tags: WTF?, Evil, Crazies, Politics, Religion, Daily Show
See, it's books like this damn "Natural cures that THEY don't want you to know" ("THEY"? Who the fuck is "THEY?") that make me want to re-shelve half of "non-fiction" under fiction. Well, these and the hack hatchet job political bullshit things like the "fair tax plan" book. But luckily for us, Jon Stewart is on the case, as seen here.

Technorati Tags: Crazies, Links, Everyday Evil
The second on the list of Amazon's Best-sellers, right behind Harry Potter, is The Fair Tax Book. Allow me to quote from the description.

Wouldn't you love to abolish the IRS ...
Keep all the money in your paycheck ...
Pay taxes on what you spend, not what you earn ...
And eliminate all the fraud, hassle, and waste of our current system?

Then the FairTax is for you. In the face of the outlandish American tax burden, talk-radio firebrand Neal Boortz and Congressman John Linder are leading the charge to phase out our current, unfair system and enact the FairTax Plan, replacing the federal income tax and withholding system with a simple 23 percent retail sales tax on new goods and services. This dramatic revision of the current system, which would eliminate the reviled IRS, has already caught fire in the American heartland, with more than six hundred thousand taxpayers signing on in support of the plan.


It's a book by a talk show host, who's written books like "The Terrible Truth About Liberals". And this congresscritter. That's raw talent there. But that's not even the most ludicrous part. (Okay, the most ludicrous part is probably some of the comments, like "The book is right. As a business owner, I will admit that I pad all my pricing to make sure that I get a certain amount of money after taxes. I hate doing it, but that's the way it is. Under the Fairtax, I could drop my prices anywhere from 20%-30%, and still make the same amount of money." Okay...so... you're telling me that businesspeople price their products so they can make enough money to stay open and live on? *GASP* That's not padding. For the love of monkeys.)

No, the most ludicrous part of the whole thing is the basic idea. Chuck the IRS and current tax code, and replace it with a 23% sales tax. This is the "fair tax". Well, no, it's not. It's about as unfair a tax as you can get. It's simple, and has that going for it, and it SEEMS fair at first glance, "Oh, everyone pays the same amount!" Well, no.

For starters, the devil is in the details. Would business to business sales be taxed? If so, that's gonna raise prices. If not, then expect to see anybody who can manage it buy their car/house/home entertainment system for "business". Second, does it include necessities like food and shelter? If so, who decides what's necessary? If not, I really doubt that prices would drop 2some% to make them even stay the same as they are now under the so-called "fair tax". Or does it have some kind of "rebate" for the first $X,000 you spend each year, tied to the poverty level? (That wouldn't suck, really, but there's other flaws with the tax). The biggest flaw is the simplest. A consumption tax like this is regressive as hell. It's only taxes on money spent, so it obviously affects people who spend their money than it does people who save it. Who can save money? The rich, generally. This wouldn't affect investment income, dividends, or even just interest on savings accounts. So somebody who doesn't spend all of their money pays a lesser percentage of taxes.

But, of course, if they implement some form of rebate for the first $X,000, then it won't hit the poor as hard. So, if the poor wouldn't be paying it, and the rich wouldn't be paying it, who does that leave paying most of the taxes? The middle class. This is just another of the Republican Party's ongoing efforts to shift taxes off of wealth and onto people doing actual work. I think there's a name for that. What is it...ah, yes. Class warfare.

Okay, so what about their other claimed benefits from their so-called "fair tax"?

* Make America's tax code truly voluntary, without reducing revenue

Baloney, as I explained above. And their claims about "not reducing revenue" are probably wrong, which means the sales tax would have to be higher than 23%. (Not to mention state and local sales taxes, income taxes, property taxes, and so on, which would still exist.)

* Replace today's indecipherable tax code with one simple sales tax

True, but. The indecipherable-ness of the tax code has nothing to do with the fact that it's an income tax, or that it's (slightly) progressive, it has to do with generations of exemptions, deductions, rebates, and other modifications, pushed by anyone with an agenda. It wouldn't be very difficult to set up a simple, progressive income tax structure. And it'd probably be a good idea, the current tax code is a mess.

* Protect lower-income Americans by covering the tax on basic necessities

See above. Can you say "soak the middle class"?

* Eliminate billions of dollars in embedded taxes we don't even know we're paying

By replacing them with an equally large number of embedded sales taxes. (Plus state and local income, sales, and property taxes)

* Bring offshore corporate dollars back into the U.S. economy

Maybe, sorta, kinda, not really. Okay, so companies might reincorporate in the US, rather than having a PO box and a single telephone at their "head office' in the Cayman Islands, but it wouldn't bring the corporate money back "into" the tax structure, since they plan to eliminate corporate taxes. (See above about questions about business to business sales)

Okay, let's think about what would happen if this were implemented. Tomorrow, there's a 23% sales tax on everything. Would prices drop 23% overnight to compensate? Probably not. What reason would the companies have to drop their prices 23%, instead of just pocketing the extra cash? "Oh, well, the free market would take care of that, one company would do it, and the rest would have to follow suit." Maybe, but I'm doubtful. What if they only dropped their prices, say, 10%? Everything still just went up. And the companies would just shrug and go "Don't blame us, blame the 23% government tax." And if they dropped prices lower, do you really think the money would come out of profits, or do you think they'd claim they have to cut salaries for workers, or health insurance, or other benefits (while still giving billions of dollars of bonuses to management and CEOs)?

Now, I realize that this is boring, wonky, economics, but sometimes, it's the boring, wonky parts that are important, and you can't let people just push stuff by because people are too bored to see the badness in it.

Technorati Tags: Politics, Rants, Economics, Crazies
It is 2021, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. America is under oppression by ultra-liberal extremists which have yielded governing authority to the United Nations. It is up to an underground conservative group (known as F.O.I.L.) led by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North to thwart Ambassador Usama Bin Laden’s plans to nuke New York City.

Plot Synopsis. The scary thing is, this looks to be serious. Talk radio action heroes. And I still don't understand how Oliver North, who lied to Congress, violated the Constitution, and sold weapons to terrorists to buy drugs to sell to Americans to buy guns for other terrorists, has become a "hero". But then, these people have been trying to rehabilitate Nixon, FFS.

I honestly debated not linking it, to not give them more publicity, but there's hardly anybody who reads this anyway, and it's just so insane.

(via Metafilter)

Technorati Tags: Politics, WTF?, Crazies
I'm sure most of you won't care, since this is politics, but you should. So Sandra Day O'Connor, the moderate conservative Supreme Court Justice is retiring, and Bush is going to get to appoint her replacement. You know what this means? It means we're screwed. The fundamentalist nuts have been pushing for years, and the Republicans have put them off because they didn't have the Presidency, or the Senate, or something, so couldn't force through a nut. Now they control the Presidency, the Senate, and the House. So the rest of us are screwed. Anybody out there who actually believes Bush will appoint a centrist, rather than the most extreme and divisive person he can? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? Didn't think so.

Rant, with occasional profanity used for emphasis )

Technorati Tags: Politics, Rants, Crazies, News

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