Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm so glad people like thus only exist on the Internet 

Read an idiot argue that tax brackets ought to be indexed to inflation.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Class warfare at the teaparty 

My 2009 Stimulus Act tax cut just showed up in my paycheck. Hurray for the muttonhead winger freaks duped by billionaires to protest across-the-board tax cuts for everybody making less than $250K a year! Conservatism at it's finest.

The angry workers, mighty in their numbers, are marching irresistibly against the arrogant. They are shaking their fists at the sons of privilege. They are laughing at the dainty affectations of the Leawood toffs. They are massing at the gates of Mission Hills, hoisting the black flag, and while the millionaires tremble in their mansions, they are bellowing out their terrifying demands. "We are here," they scream, "to cut your taxes."

Thomas Frank
What's the Matter with Kansas? p 109

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Chickens coming home to roost in a big way 

We want -- we want money being spent to help people buy homes. That's what we want ... Or if you're a consumer, maybe thinking about buying a house, if you look on your TV screens that say "March to War", you're not so sure you want to buy the house then, because you're not sure what the consequences of marching to war will be. Now we're marching to peace. We're marching to peace and the world is better off. We've overcome that obstacle ... Our nation's 68 percent home-ownership rate is the highest ever. More people own homes now than ever before in the country's history, and that's exciting for the future of America ... I set a good goal, which is adding 5.5 million new minority homeowners in America by the end of the decade.

- George Bush 3/26/2004

The Federal Reserve peeled out $300 Billion to bolster financial markets in the days after the 9/11 attacks. Maybe tomorrow I'll make a gruesome tally of what's been doled out since March in the last-second veer to avoid the impact of the GOP's attack on our economy under the flag of supply-side laissez-fair economics.

Here's an article mentioning the "d" word.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

What do the McCain and Obama plans mean for YOUR tax bills? 

The Washington Post presented a more granular view earlier this week,

mccain vs obama tax plan

What does it mean that McCain continually claims Obama will raise "your" taxes? He's lying. I hope to chronicle all of the McCain campaign's lies of the last week tomorrow.

Unless the widely accepted increases in Democratic majorities in the Houses of Congress continue the rubber stamp of Bush policies into a McCain presidency, this only shows the priorities of the two presidential candidates. McCain: "Rich people are persecuted by the tax code. Rich people should be richer." Obama: "The richest people in America will still do well if their taxes are increased to that which they experienced under Clinton."

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Next up: McCain 

Dan Bartlett: McCain needs to introduce a "forward looking agenda".

Crowd goes wild for reference to Bush ... eager for 4 more years apparently ... and 9/11. Seconds round of Olympics style "USA! USA!"

Cindy is made up to look like Paris tonight. Just saying.

Third "USA!" ... something going on in audience.

Aimed at the "Washington crowd", McCain says change is coming. Spoken truly by a lifetime Washington insider.

Implies fighting pork earmarks will help Americans put food on our tables and gas in their tanks. Well, whatever, same thing, stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

Says he's fighting a lot for Americans, no specifics. Followed by much admirable and more or less specific criticism of other Washington Republicans.

Obama passed a corporate welfare bill benefiting big oil?

Tax cuts, globalization, spending, tax cuts, vague mention of affordable health care for individuals, tax cuts for business, doubling child tax credit, reduce government programs to reduce taxes, more globalization, changing unemployment from system designed for the '50's, find new job for those whose job went overseas - give lower paying jobs while retrained, equal access to education for all - give parents school choice (seems to be speaking of vouchers).

Stop sending $700 billion to oil states. ("USA!")

New offshore drilling. Build nuke plants, clean coal, renewable energy, natural gas.

Obama against new nuclear power plants?

Last three paragraphs grazing a dozen or so policy agendas were 5 minutes of the 40 minute speech so far.

Pretty much described Russia's invasion of Georgia as what we did to Iraq.

(Had to pee)

... picking up, seems to be promising less war later by more war now.

We must catch up to history and change the way government does everything.

Obama doesn't have the scars to prove he can change America (???!).

Promises to appoint Democrats and independents.

Says he's blessed by not being able to avoid being shot down in Vietnam.

The reminiscing "reluctant" POW has now gone on about his POW years longer than his hap-hazard hits on issues of national importance.


"... IF YOU'RE UNHAPPY WITH OUR GOVERNMENT, MAKE IT A BETTER ONE ..." Dangerously close to "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right."

Good lord, canned "raising McCain" song. YEEEEEEE HAAAAAAAAA!!!! "We're all just-a-raising McCain!" This means if he dies, he has a second shot at it before Sarah Palin?


Didn't mention "God" but two or three times I noticed. Possibly his death knell.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Earmarks have a bad rep. For example, it's a good idea to shuffle education dollars from richer states to poorer states - to help kids in poor states have an education approaching that of affluent communities. Or help build a dam in one state that will provide energy for several. Congressional earmarks are a way we can move funds between states.

At the same time, the are easily abused: they can be used to reward campaign contributors with pork that doesn't benefit anyone but the campaign contributor.

Those two points noted, Sarah Palin was loquacious for earmarks before she was decidedly against them. (link from acceptance speech to be added below once she says it).

Here it is: "That bridge to nowhere? I said thanks, but no thanks. I said if we wanted a bridge, we'd build it ourself".

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

But Republicans aren't that stupid 

Following up my last post which referenced Republican voters' general lack of intellectual depth, I'll now brin g up something that has puzzled me for weeks. McCain is asking voters not to vote for Obama claiming that Obama will raise "your" taxes. Anybody paying the slightest attention knows that a key Obama campaign promise is to lower taxes for 95% of workers.

An effective false smear has to have at least some plausibility of truth. The 2004 swift-boat smears about Kerry succeeded because Kerry himself spoke of his service in Vietnam, giving the outrageous claims some measure of believability, however slight, for those dispositioned to wish to believe them. But the claim Obama will raise "your" taxes is completely ungrounded by even the most distorted take on anything Obama has ever said or done.

Unless you're not middle or lower class. Which McCain has defined as everybody making less than $5 million a year - this a smear with the plausibility of belief because McCain actually said it, even if clearly in jest. The believability of the $5 million smear sinks in to those wishing to believe it because it's buttressed by the demonstrable fact that McCain's campaign promises would indeed favor the very rich over everybody else. McCain's lavish life has also truly and demonstrably placed him out of touch with the un-rich: reference his sincere claims that no American would pick lettuce for $50/hr and that "You could make an argument that there's been great progress economically over" the Bush years.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It fell because Republicans think taxpayers know how to spend their money better than government 

A report commissioned by the Minnesota legislature concludes,

For Pawlenty and MnDOT, the harshest criticism may have come in the report's finding that funding influenced decisions concerning the bridge. The decision to postpone a $13 million redecking -- and instead proceed with a $3.5 million overlay that was underway when the bridge fell -- meant "funding considerations deferred work on the bridge that would have improved its structural integrity, not just maintain its drivability," the report concluded.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008


From an email John McCain sent me today,

Today, there are 47 million uninsured individuals in the U.S., and nearly a quarter of them are children. High costs and limited access are the underlying, fundamental problems in our healthcare system.

As you know, both Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are touting outrageously expensive and unrealistic universal health care plans - a government monopoly over health care.

Unlike my opponents, I do not believe that all of our nation's problems can be solved by turning control over to our government, with all the tax increases, new mandates and government regulation that come with that idea.

The Mcain solution,

I will reform the tax code to provide every family the option of receiving a direct, refundable tax deposit - effectively $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 cash for families to offset the cost of insurance.

McCain openly admits he's no economic genius, however few realize this means he can't multiply or divide even with the assistance of senior campaign lobbyists aides.

Assuming every U.S. household received McCain's proposed individual refund ("$$$CASH$$$" no less!), the math is,

126,316,181 US Households x $2,500 each = $315,790,452,500

Without raising taxes, McCain is proposing greater than a new $316 billion unfunded mandate. In other terms he's proposing more than doubling the yearly deficit.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dumbest of Republicans apparently no smarter 

I was looking at McCain's campaign site today. It's a cut and paste right wing propaganda job. His solution to every problem is lower taxes, more troops in Iraq, being more ready to blow up more things and not allowing any "legislating from the bench".

Dedicated Republican voters are Pavlovian dogs trained to jump to wrong conclusions upon hearing any one of over a dozen (but less than a score) key words and short phrases. For instance, when they hear "legislate from the bench" they think "dead babies" instead of "the process of creating precedent, creating that body of law known as case law." When they hear "climate change" they think "Al Gore's house is HUGE!" instead of, "God, I hope we're not absolutely screwed." When they hear "tax cuts" they think "Always good! Never bad! NEVER!" instead of "Haven't we already spent enough future generations' taxes?"

There's much anecdotal evidence that today, an unprecedented amount Americans are again accepting shared consensual reality over the keyword-induced mass hysteria spun by the "movement conservatives". And statistical evidence supports the anecdotal,

Call it the enthusiasm gap: In everything from voter turnout to campaign fundraising, Republicans are lagging in ways that could mean trouble in November.

Nationwide, the Democratic vote [in primaries] has swamped the GOP. While 10.9 million Americans have voted in Republican primaries so far, 15.7 million - 44% more - have voted in Democratic ones.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

No, I don't want my $600 

In days when I served as a left wing agitator on right wing message boards, I was repeatedly asked for the $300 I got from the Bush tax cuts. Yes, there are many people that clever.

This new bi-partisan free $600 is a stupid idea. It's just that much more debt we're collectively racking up. When government spends money on credit - tax cuts or rebates, earmarks or wars - it does indeed artificially give the economy a short-term boost. But that boost is no different than the boost a small business owner gets when he pours more money into a failing business by putting expenses on a credit card.

The economy is unpredictable beyond the fact it runs in cycles. I just wanted to go on the record now so I have something to point to should any of my left wing comrades offer to take my $600 if I don't want it.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm for it 

Who can be against a war tax?

Top House Democrats Tuesday proposed a "war surtax" to pay for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, a plan quickly condemned by Republicans and opposed by the House leadership.

The surtax would be "a percentage of your tax bill," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, D-Wisconsin. "And if you don't like the cost, then shut down the war."

Why stop at a war tax? I'd love to see my tax contributions fleshed out.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

The people know how to spend their money better than governement? 

bush and the collapsed bridge

The Reagan conservative movement has been tremendously successful in spreading disdain for taxes and governmental spending on everything unrelated to war. One result in Minnesota has been a perennial $1.8 billion shortfall in transportation funding.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty followed through on his "won't raise taxes" promise each time a transportation bill including a tax increase came before him.

Minnesotans obviously didn't take the initiative to spend their tax relief wisely.

bush and the collapsed bridge

The bridge was known to need structural maintenance, but the MN Department of Transportation needed to do things on the cheap,

More than a year before the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed, a consulting firm advised the state of Minnesota that the aging bridge should be reinforced with steel plating.

Instead of following that advice, state officials asked the firm to come up with other options.

Six months later, the URS Corp. did just that.

It repeated its recommendation for steel plates, but offered an alternative described as "most cost efficient" -- the state could inspect the 40-year-old bridge for cracks and repair any it found.

The day it happened, emergency vehicles started passing me as I turned off I-35 on to 46th St. to pick up a friend on the way to the Twins game. Forty-sixth is about three miles south of the bridge. We didn't know exactly what had happened until we left the game - I had guessed there had been an industrial fire at the paint plant by the bridge as we saw helicopters and black smoke when approaching the Metrodome, just blocks from the bridge. Creepy to think had I not been going to the game, I wouldn't have written two personal letters after work and that may have put me in a bad window of space-time.

But I can be thankful the collapse will only add 10 or so miles to my commute and that my state taxes haven't gone up recently.

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