Monday, June 3, 2013

SAR #13154

When people are kept from repeating their mistakes, they make new ones.

Trees Become A Forest: What started out, officially, as a protest against the government's plan to turn Istanbul's Gezi Park into a private development has morphed into a referendum on the ten-year rule of Prime Minister Erdoğan and the AKP. Erdoğan has been taking ever more control over life in Turkey ever since he defanged the Turkish Army, one-time guardian of secular democracy. The 'taste of police gas' is uniting a very strange mix from the right, left and center against the growing Islamification of the nation. The government says they are looters and alcoholics. Protesters celebrated their hold - for now - on the city square, but the next steps seem unclear, especially if the police continue with their violent tactics.

Stall Speed: In April there was no change in personal income, disposable income decreased -0.1% and consumer spending decreased -0.2%. Yet we're told that the customer is back! Okay, with what? More credit, more debt, more pie-in-the sky?

Retreads: Obama is stocking up on people who've already proven wrong for the job. James Comey, nominated to head the FBI for the next decade, approved of waterboarding and other forms of torture during the Bush administration. Jason Furman, tapped to head the Council of Economic Advisers loves 'free trade' deals and advocates using the chained CPI for all federal programs. He also sees WalMart as 'progressive' and advocates lowering taxes on corporations.

Getting That Diploma: They say you need a college degree to get a job. They say our high unemployment is due to workers not being tech savvy. Thye say that a greater percentage of computer science graduates are unemployed than of English majors. Oops, they say.

US Tax Code For Dummies: The CBO points out that the greater part of the 10 largest tax breaks - $900 billion a year – go to the top 20% of Americans earners. About 17% go to the top 1% while the bottom 40% get to share 13%. That $900 billion in tax dodges is more than Social Security, or Medicare. Tax codes should not be judged on percentages, but on absolutes: how much money does each citizen have left after taxes.

Some Questions: Why do the Republicans want to cut 2 million needy people – many of them children – off the food stamp program? What happens they succeed at their next step in the process – making it into a block grant to the states at even more sharply reduced levels. Why is feeding poor, hungry children and giving them adequate health care – Jesus' basic charge to his followers - such a repulsive idea to these people? Why do the unemployed and the children of the unemployed have to suffer for the sins of Wall Street?

Pay To Play: Chicago is closing 50 public schools, most of them in black and Latino neighborhoods, while it is giving DePaul University - a private college - $100 million to build a new sports stadium. Maybe they need a place to distribute the bread and hold the circuses.

The Sum Of All Our Fears: The Post Office is not broke, it is being deliberately broken. How? By the Congressional demand that it fund the next 75 years of retiree benefits by 2016 - which includes the benefits not only for retirees and for those now employed, but for future workers who aren't even born yet. WHy? Because private interests want to take over the lucrative business and the USPS's current infrastructure - cheaply. Remember, this is a successful, self-supporting and profitable enterprise that has not taken a penny of our tax money since 1971.

Essay Question: Why do Americans pay more for doctor's visits, routine operations and pharmaceuticals than people in all the rest of the developed world? And given the outrageous costs, why don't Americans have better outcomes?

More Information Needed: Marsha Blackburn (Misguided - TN) says women do not want equal pay, they just want to be recognized. Recognized as what, Marsha, clueless?

Porn O'Graph: About the recovery...

The Parting Shot:



mistah charley, ph.d. said...

re the US Tax Code

I would like to call to your attention the recent view of a reader of the Financial Times, who has a bold proposal for simplicity and fairness:

May 30, 2013

True equality would see us all pay the same amount of tax

Sir, Gary Silverman vaunts the simplicity of the flat-rate tax (New York Notebook, May 24) yet continues to pine for a progressive tax. I, in contrast, decry the progressivity of the flat-rate tax and pine instead for a flat-amount tax.

Some of us are concerned by rising income inequality, for which remedies are proving elusive, and do not want to see it perpetuated in tax system progressivity. But unlike income inequality, this is something we can fix.

Having every citizen pay the same amount of tax irrespective of economic standing would strike a blow for the simplicity Mr Silverman craves and bear a standard for true equality before the law. Now that’s something worth pursuing!

Anson J. Glacy, Chicago, IL, US

Anonymous said...

Food (really?) Stamps:

To call the government program "food stamps" is to use a very loose definition of what constitutes food. The AGRIBIZ shillers of this industrialized chemical matter even themselves have had the name changed to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) trying to claim that the program delivers good nutrition which it does not.

There are many well qualified critics of this misnamed program. Even the MSM rag, TIME, questions this program and its objectives and real purpose:

"Sure, poor Americans who get food on the table for dinner, partly with the assistance of SNAP, must appreciate the program. But major corporations and food groups, including Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Kroger, Coca-Cola, and the Corn Refiners of America, also warmly embrace SNAP. All, in fact, have lobbied Congress and/or various states to expand SNAP and make sure that recipients have the most freedom possible in deciding how to use their allowances, including the unlimited purchase of soda and junk food."

So, evoking some heart-wringing appeal to give people "food" is extremely misleading. What they really need is good nutrition and AGRIBIZ is little able to deliver that, particularly at a cheap price.

For years, for example, I have passed the food donation bins at the Stupormarket and they are piled with Kraft "dinner", Frosted Flakes, Pop Tarts, Doritos, etc. How ignorant can the Food Banks be that they do not even understand basic nutrition. There would be lots more bang for the food buck by distributing bulk, simply packaged, basic staples, like oats, beans, wheat, etc. But AGRIBIZ would get less $$$$$$.

The old saying "You are what you eat." is now "You are what they want you to eat."

As to cost, how much does it cost to get sick from eating Industrialized, Processed, Chemicalized Matter for year after year. Those healthcare premiums, whether state subsidized or not, look quite hefty to me.

But, of course, AGRIBIZ and SICKCARE have the same vested interests, making lots of money, so keep those TIME "soda and junk food" stamps coming. Mmmmm, mmmmm goooood!

Financial Fraud begets Food Fraud.

Classof65 said...

Take a good look at that bee. I understand they are becoming rare and that there might not be any in years to come...

Then all of the unemployed can get jobs pollinating crops by hand.

HS said...

Some ?s: Every billion that is "squandered" on the poor, is a billion that could have gone into the stock, bond, real estate, ABS, or commodities market. No worries, though, they won't succeed. Even the Republicans understand that what they're buying is complacency.