Thursday, December 24, 2009

Republican Murdering Obstructionists Lose Divisive Health Insurance Vote

Democrats win the historic but divisive vote, 60 to 39

With every member of the House and Senate firmly in the pocket of corporate interests, the Republican members of the Senate still failed to stop the passage of a long overdue federal health care bill.

Every year tens of thousands of us in the United States die simply because we don't have access to medical care. Most bankruptcies are caused by medical bills, with costs inflated from the insane pressure to feed ever increasing profit dollars to an ever decreasing number of C-Level executives, board members, and institutional investors.

Next stop - a divided Republican party will sink deeper into irrelevancy in upcoming elections as they face the fact that voters know, despite the onslaught of partisan bullshit from a complicit media, that these reforms are needed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Republicans to pay at polls in 2010 for Health Care Obstructionism

A deeply divided Republican party will lose significant votes in 2010 with its role as opposition to meaningful health care reform in 2009.

Split between extremest right wing influences and mainstream party supporters, the schism can't be repaired to unite a Republican party that represents nothing but building a framework for the next election. Support for significant change in our health care system in America by a large majority is obscured by an obstructionist Republican minority in the House and Senate and a complicit media. As both lie and misdirect the public, saying that opposition to health care reform is overwhelming, they dig a deep political hole.

In the meantime, tens of thousands are being murdered by corporatists of every stripe yearly, in support of a failed health care system that serves only to support fat cat politicians, C-Level executives, board members, and institutional investors in ever-profitable health care corporations.

November 2010 will prove a watershed for non-presidential-year elections. The repercussions of a Congressional minority that only knows one word - "NO" - and a majority that finally comes to a realization that they won will bring as many voters to reject the Republican obstructionists and political terrorists as happened in 2008.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Health Care Reform NOW! Today's Letter to President Obama and my Congressional Representatives

Now more than ever, we need to fix our broken health care system.

We speak, yet the federal government doesn't listen. A large majority of us know that the system is broken, that a single payer system is the only way to truly fix it. Yet, our legislators are paid by corporate interests not to represent our wishes, and are delivering to their corporate constituents reform that isn't reform.

Other than knowing that our Congress is bought and paid for by the already wealthy and powerful, I am not an expert in the ways of Washington. I do know that with enough will in your office, the passage of true health care reform can be influenced.

True reform in the shape of a single payer system can cut the average medical provider's administrative cost by at least half. Independent physicians know this, and they support this type of reform so insead of dozens of vendors with different practices and rates they have one. Yet a bribed Congress refuses to consider the simple system that could save lives and our fragile economy, simply so each member has to think no further than their next election.

If a single payer system isn't to be, a strong bill with a public option, gurantees of no rescission, no yearly or lifetime caps, no corporate panels denying service, no individuals going bankrupt from medical bills, no small business mandated out of business because they are forced into the role of health care provider, etc., *must* be passed. And it must be passed soon. And it must take effect immediately, not 2010, not 2012.

Our lives and our economy demand this.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Weekend Interview with John Mackey: The Conscience of a Capitalist -

The Weekend Interview with John Mackey: The Conscience of a Capitalist -

"I honestly don't know why the article became such a lightning rod," says John Mackey, CEO and founder of Whole Foods Market
He's not that studpid. His store either provides a needed service or exploits a willing market, I'm not sure which, but his average customer is better educated than most, more successful in life than most, cares more about their own health than most (or at least acts in the interest of their health with some sense of global sustainablility)...and most of them voted for Barack Obama to lead our nation to needed healthcare reform.

His piece advised that "the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us closer to a complete government takeover of our health-care system."
The proposals currently being hammered-out in Congress will not significantly add to the deficit, and as hard as I look, I can't see a Soviet style government-owned-and-run healthcare system in any of the proposals.

Saying this stuff makes you look like an idiot, Mackey, and it makes Stephen Moore look like a fascist. I suspect that neither is an idiot or a fascist. I see that in each, they are supporting an ignorant, rabid minority that will exert any political pressure it can to defeat a President and party that are currently in power trying to do the right thing - the thing that a significant majority of us voted them in to accomplish. This is deliberate political terrorism.

more health savings accounts (HSAs), more low-premium, high-deductible plans, more incentives for wellness, and medical malpractice reform. None of these initiatives are in any of the Democratic bills winding their way through Congress

These are great things. The majority of jobs in the US are supplied by small businesses. Care to tell me what percentage of small businesses supply this type of benefits, or plan to? Care to tell me how many could possibly afford this, without commanding the bulk of revenues in a niche market (sorry to say that fresh fruits and vegetables, etc., are a niche market, but it's a fact) as you do with WF?

WF, called Whole Paycheck even by many who continue to shop there, simply adds a 20-30% markup on most of their products over conventional retailers - in return for this premium, some of us consumers shop there in hopes of better quality foods, sustainable products, and we hope that our extra $$$ help pay for a well-compensated workforce.

HSAs can be great, as long as the money can roll over from one year to the next. And guess what, this money is kept in banks that make a lot of profit from this task of maintaining our savings, while we receive little or no interest for the privilege of letting them use our money - and these are the very same banks still paying their C-Level execs 300 times their average worker while receiving government bailouts (this is the kind of crap the WSJ and Mackey should be railing about, but their limited worlds, never having left the corporate farm, and extremist political agenda, do not allow them to see this). And the average worker at a Whole Foods doesn't earn very much money, certainly not enough to be a living wage in more expensive areas like L. A., Boston, etc., (and no more than a union worker at conventional markets, based on total compensation). The average employer in the US can't possibly afford to fund their employees' HSAs, and the employer can't afford to pay the employee enough so they can fund their own. The vast majority of prosperous larger employers can afford to do this...which brings us back to the hideous rise in CEO compensation.

Low premium/high deductible plans work great for people who don't get sick, but might get run over by a car, or some of the other catastrophic events that are much more likely to kill a young person than the things that older people typically die from. You know full well, Mackey, that your workforce is very young compared to most companies your size, and that LP/HD plans wouldn't be acceptable for an older workforce, and that most companies will pay their CEO, board members, etc., before they will pay their average worker enough to be able to afford the high deductibles and maintain a high level of security and health.

Incentives for wellness? Who's talking nanny, now? My gut feeling is that yes, somehow we should charge fat people, smokers, etc., more than the more-sane among us, but how do we go about doing this? And how do we reward people for eating more fresh fruits and vegetables? First we need to end all farm subsidies, since these are typically paid to corporate farmers to grow the stuff that is killing us. Second, we need to pay all of our workers more, so they can afford to choose better foods, instead of the fast cheap crap that is often the only available or obvious choice. This too goes back to the CEO pay issue, and good luck getting our bribed-Congress to take any action on that.

Medical malpractice reform? You mean that scarecrow hauled up in front of the ignorant, whether they write for the WSJ or rant at townhall meetings, that at best would save us 1-2% and not result in one more person having access to healthcare? Just stop it, bringing this up makes you look STUPID.

combining "our high deductible plan (patients pay for the first $2,500 of medical expenses) with personal wellness accounts or health savings accounts works extremely well for us." He estimates the plan's premiums plus other costs at $2,100 per employee, and about $7,000 for a family. This is about half what other companies typically pay. "And," he is quick to add, "we do cover pre-existing conditions after one year of service."

Again, you overcharge your customers so you can afford to compensate your employees in ways most employers can't, and in ways that those employers who can, don't, so their executives can have the right corporate jet and their progeny can attend the right private schools.

This type of plan does not excite proponents of a single-payer system, who think that individuals can't make wise health-care choices

How stupid are you, and how stupid do you think your readers are? A single payer system is the only way to truly simplify our healthcare system. Most medical practices pay at least half of their revenues simply to plow into the mess of an insurance system that they have to contend with, Between all of the private and public systems. This is many, many times what they spend on total insurance (malpractice, etc.). The labor cost to a medical practice to account for our haphazard corporatist medical care system can be staggering. Imagine having one price, and one entity to receive payment from. Every medical practice in the country, separated from extremist politics, is for single payer.


Right, the unions...straw man of the ignorant, extremist right.

Stephen Moore: Mackey says that he probably won't write another op-ed piece for a long, long time. Of course you want to push your, and your paper's, corporatist agenda, but why regurgitate this?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Presidential Legitimacy - crazies stirred!

Where Did ‘We’ Go?

Let's sum this:

Politics has always been a dangerous game, and seeking political office is never for the thin skinned.

Legitimacy? Every president in my 53-year-long life has been legitimate, since the bar to entry is set pretty low - age and citizenship - and the Electoral College system is badly in need of revision.

Nixon? An angry, bitter man who wasn't a bad president but got no love when he was caught associating with common criminals, and he deserved what he got.

Ford? Probably a decent man, but when the criminal steps aside for you, and then you pardon him, you probably do not deserve re-election.

Carter? Still paying for the mistakes of his predecessors, and you know it.

Reagan? Held aloft as a muscled, tanned God above God by Republicans...he was reviled in his time yet legitimate evil stuff like Iran-Contra slid off his hide as if it were...teflon. I have in my posession a souvenier of the times which molds Reagan's head into a, well I won't say but it is not complementary. If rational, thinking humans don't finally see how his presidency, legitimate or not, led to today's ecomonic situation, I see little hope for this great experiment we call the United States. But even with a massive US and global opposition to his policies, he achieved re-election and got his VP, a wealthy WWII vet who had a couple of kids, elected to replace him.

When GHWB's presidency, again legitimate, floundered, things were ripe for, what's the word, change. The Republican politicians, already drooling over the prospect of a permanant Republican majority and an inflation of Executive powers heretofore unimagined, fueled by their bitter rage that Nixon was screwed simply because he was caught, were complacent, and saw Bill Clinton get elected.

The Republican overseers whipped their minions into a froth, and within a few years for the first time legitimized and institutionalized into our lawmaking process the means to slur and slander a president, with the end simply being a few more seats in congress. Led by a man named Newt, they publicly took every opportunity to obstruct any good work this legitimately elected administration wanted to pass, hogtying them to Don't Ask Don't Tell, shamefully defeating healthcare reform which would have transformed our country to one where we showed the world that we respect and love our people, instead of the one where the world sees that we let corporations steer our polititians to do whatever it takes to gain political power, instead of doing what's right.

Nothing short of convicting President Clinton of murdering Vince Foster with his bare hands on the steps of the White House would have satisfied these goons. Instead, we had taxpayer-robbing investigations that led nowhere, and a president who was not convicted of anything, even though articles of impeachment were passed. Every move this president made especially in his second term was open for labeling by an evil Republican machine and complicit media. When middle eastern terrorists were showing their intent to harm us, for example, every move by the President was called not-enough, Wag-the-dog, etc., - the very same acts that if the demigod Reagan had done them, they would have been held up as a shining example of strategic brilliance and our American superiority. Gingrich, the blood of 9/11 victims is on your hands for establishing a system where you can discredit an American presidency simply to elect more Republicans, hampering an existing president's ability to lead in the process.

GWB? Legitimately elected, but not by a majority of us. Put in office essentially by an activist Supreme Court, no wonder his actions were questioned. Even most in the US who didn't vote for him rallied around after 9/11, and GWB simply blew it going into Iraq, wanting to turn Social Security over to Wall Street, etc. Comparisons to Nazis were wrong, but in our quiet, sane, moments, we can see how a Bush steamrolling over Iraq might be held up on a banner by some as being like a Hitler steamrolling over Poland.

Yet, the Republicans, continue to argue that GWB was a legitimate - and infathomably, good - president, and that Obama is not. this is where Friedman is right, that against sanity itself, these Republicans continue to argue these things, and yes, it would be supremely ironic if GWB were to be considered in history books to be a legitimate president, and Obama not.

Friedman's point, obviously that idiot Grover Norquist in Politico's Arena never actually read it, is right, that percieved legitimacy can be very different from actuality, and that legitimacy can be used by nasty people to stir others to very nasty action, is right.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fiscal Responsibility Requires Higher Taxes -

Fiscal Responsibility Requires Higher Taxes -

At some point, taxes have to be back on the table as the price that must be paid for profligate spending. Only then will the American people realize that they can't have their cake and eat it too, as Republicans have preached for the last decade. Only when the American people go back to believing that spending must be paid for will they stop demanding something for nothing and put the country back on the path to fiscal sanity.

I rarely agree with Bartlett, but thanks to him, and it should be obvious to all that cutting taxes for a few already-wealthy people during a deficit situation and passing the Medicare drug benefit without a means to pay for it - both simply to curry votes - were not conservative and just about the worst things that government could do for the economy. Yes, smash the tax code and rebuild it so corporations actually pay tax - a reasonable one, and rebuild it so everyone has the chance to benefit from itemized deductions - not just the already-wealthy.

This won't happen until we abolish the notion of corporate personhood, and stop deluding ourselves to believe that money is speech.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Daniel Henninger: From Bismarck to Obama -

Daniel Henninger: From Bismarck to Obama -

Every time a reader or listener hears this term, he or she should run screaming. It is equivalent to "death panel." It doesn't exist, and hasn't been used by a sentient being to label this initiative. It shows how dull, misleading, and manipulative a publication like WSJ is.

the country has been waiting for "national health reform" for 70 years
Dude, try 97 years: in 1912 Theodore Roosevelt’s insurgent Progressive Party included a health insurance plank in its campaign platform

Every time the state assumes an additional function such as health insurance, child care or benefits for the aged, the need for close family ties becomes weaker
Where to begin on support for such a stupid, inflammatory, and outrageous remark? Let's sum it up by saying that keeping your and my family healthy is right up there with keeping them housed and fed. Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against many of us. We can't win in the game - and the already-wealthy-and-powerful have made this a game, and a deadly one - to make enough money to afford even basic health care in some cases. And the rest of us who can afford it pay, and overpay, for those who can not afford it, it many, many egregious ways. And the tiny sliver of us who are among the wealthy overpay, but don't feel a thing from the inflation.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

ACORN Obsession Kills GOP Chances in '10

News in November '10.

ACORN, socialist, Hitler...just posters on the crazy train.

I'm a Values Voter!

Let's start with Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness as values.

I value life. War of choice, started for the monetary and political profit of a tiny minority of wealthy white men, is murder. Capital Punishment, which doesn't act as a deterrent, is an egregious example of Big Government intrusion into our lives, and does not right a wrong, is murder. Having the best healthcare system in the world, yet denying it to many or making it so costly that even the insured can't afford it, is murder.

I value Liberty. Calling the president a socialist (when you are too ignorant to comprehend what socialism is) or a Nazi is political terrorism - it stirs the Reptilian Brain and causes the blind, outrageous outbursts we see, reported by a complacent and complicit media, and denies all of us the right to decent political discourse. Giving the previous president carte blanche to shred the constitution and allow public access to our private conversations is a sword through our rightful humanity. Getting your news strictly from radio and TV shriekers who invent facts and reinvent history to support a disloyal opposition keeps us as citizens of the United States from living freely.

I value the freedom to pursue happiness - no matter what skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or ability we are born with, we have a fundamental right to live that to the fullest. My activities, unless they are against our laws, can't be regulated or outlawed by inbred morons and shriekers who put their own cafeteria-Christianity above my life.

We have an Idiocracy who values usury over monetary responsibility, winning-at-any-cost over the support of the value of life, and extremist political and religious claptrap over the centerist nation that we truly are.

Yes, I vote, and I will never vote for anyone who transparently wants to destroy our right to a free life.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Study links 45,000 U.S. deaths to lack of insurance | Reuters

Study links 45,000 U.S. deaths to lack of insurance | Reuters

Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year -- one every 12 minutes -- in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.

"We're losing more Americans every day because of inaction ... than drunk driving and homicide combined

You bloggers and shriekers who prophesy with your pen...

Every one of you obstructing health care reform is a murderer.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dear Senator!

Please stand up to the bill that Sen. Baucus has presented.

The current system murders people (and no, that's not too strong of a word), and this bill does nothing to address the needs of anyone but already wealthy and powerful insurance companies.

There is not enough regulation in this bill to fundamentally change how these companies work. Few people currently uninsured - including my two college-age sons, regretfully - will find a way to afford the ever-increasing costs to by fundamentally-flawed coverage. These insurance companies will continue to have clear ways to deny service paid-for by existing companies, and to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.

The only way to relieve this horrible tax on small employers and the self-employed, the only way to keep people out of the clutches of corporate bureaucrats, the only way to return medical caregivers to the art of healing from the task of accounting, the only way to make our exceptional health care available to all regardless of wealth, is a single payer system.

You know this and I know this.

Cowardice and avarice are the only things keeping the status quo. Politicians' immediate political needs are murdering people. Politicians' immediate needs to feed from lobbyists' troughs are murdering people.

A single payer system is the only way to get the indemnity pool large enough to bring costs down, coverage broad, and to deliver quality care.

Please stand up to this bill.

Please do what you can to deliver a bill to the President's desk by the end of the year that sets in stone immediate, meaningful fundamental change in our healthcare.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Real Life 'Norma Rae' Murdered by Her Insurance Company to Get Chemo | Crooks and Liars

'Norma Rae' Dead at 68 After Struggle With Her Insurance Company to Get Chemo | Crooks and Liars

The woman whose life inspired the 1979 film Norma Rae has died of cancer after struggling with her health insurance company, which had delayed her treatment.

Crystal Lee Sutton was 68. She had struggled for several years with meningioma, a form of brain cancer.

Name the company.

Charge their CEO, each and every Board member, and each bureaucrat who delayed and denied coverage with murder.

Commentary: Don't cut our (public) health care -

Commentary: Don't cut our (public) health care -

"We worked hard to get it and we're going to keep it," said Nancy Snyder, one of the protesters attending this summer's health care town meetings.... she was interviewed by Michel Martin on National Public Radio's "Tell Me More."

When asked how she had insurance coverage, Nancy explained that because her husband was a retired coal miner, they received insurance and care through the United Mine Workers. She attended the town hall because she said she had "had enough of the government interfering with our lives, after working hard all of our lives, especially to get the health care."

As employment declined and mining families struggled in the 1960s, mineworkers launched widespread protest demonstrations and traveled to Washington to lobby for federal support of UMW hospitals. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson responded with the Area Redevelopment Administration, the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act, the Appalachian Redevelopment Act, and of course, Medicare.

Government stabilized and expanded the miners' health system. Miners were proud beneficiaries of Johnson's Great Society -- today so much maligned by the conservative talk show hosts. Miners continued their pressure, leading to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, marshalling public force to protect their health in the private workplace.

If Nancy Snyder "did not pay one penny" for her husband's cancer treatment or her surgeries, it's because government subsidized that care since Robert's early days as a miner.

This is the story of thousands, if not millions (sorry idiot Michelle Malkin, it wasn't even close to millions who marched on Washington last weekend, and the ones who did represent a constituency not large enough to elect a small-town city council seat) who's lives depend on the balance of public and private programs. They are renentive enough to hold onto words shrieked by radio entertainers, yet don't apply critical thinking and accept the conclusions of these media shriekers as fact.

Let's help each other build a strong foundation of fact, so we can all understand the current situation with our healthcare system in the United States. Only from there can we together make a bold step towards high quality affordable healthcare for all.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? -

How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? -

Economists got it wrong by:

Believing their own bullshit. Economy, as a science, is really a belief system. These mere mortals think that they are masters of the universe.

Politicizing their beliefs. Economists used the political tactic "if you repeat a lie (or a belief) often enough, people will start to believe it.

They forgot the definition of insanity - doing something repeatedly and expecting the results to change. Every strong Republican/supply-side/trickle-down administration has plunged the country into recession. Standing this ground on idealogical feet makes no sense, except to a complicit media and a public willing to accept lies.

Shreiking, Panicing, Pathetic Poster Boy: Rep. Joe Wilson!

(R) SC

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Healthcare Reform - Now More Than Ever!

Universally available
No recsission
Coverage with pre-existing conditions
Highest Quality
Lowest cost
No Bankruptcy from high medical bills

We can't afford not to!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

U. S. Healthcare is Broken! Let's Fix It! 2

Here are some more:

5. Doctors are rewarded for prescribing drugs. Big pharmaceutical companies are known to hand out “consulting agreements” worth more than your annual salary to doctors who prescribe their drugs like candy. And unlike contributions to political candidates, there is no way to track what doctors are considered “top-performers” and receiving the most lavish gifts. This is one of the worst practices I can think of that drives a stake right through the heart of healthcare’s credibility.

4. Big Healthcare, i.e. pharmaceutical companies, hospital networks, insurers and their support industries, spend hundreds of millions each year lobbying Congress to make sure there are not major changes to the business structure we call healthcare. They have a vested interest in keeping things the same (again, see #1) which is good for some and bad for many.

3. Tens of millions of healthy people choose not to pay for health insurance, putting the financial solvency of the system at risk. This leaves those that do pay into the insurance system paying more. The concept of insurance is to spread the cost so that when you need help, you are not buried under steep bills that you could not possibly afford to pay back. So those who opt out are cheating everyone else. Including, probably, their own family and friends.

2. We are killing ourselves. Our choices bring on diabetes, heart-attack-inducing high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, chronic illness, and the like. We eat crap. We supersize it. We consider the walk from the parking lot to our office exercise. We only see the doctor when we get sick. Even then, we only listen to the prescribed advice about half the time. And we’re totally aghast at the increasing costs of care when we get really sick.

And the #1 reason healthcare in America is broken...

1. The current system is set up to reward sickness. Doctors get paid when you see them. And you only see them when something’s wrong, right? Hospitals get paid when someone gets injured or is sick. Pharmaceutical companies make outrageous profits when their drugs are prescribed (and they lavish gifts worth more than your annual salary to the doctors who prescribe the most…see #5). Insurance companies take in more money when there are more sick people to cover. Everything revolves around us being sick.

Monday, August 17, 2009

U. S. Healthcare is Broken! Let's Fix It! 1

-We pay more per-capita for healthcare than other industrialized nations, and this is growing far faster than inflation
-We receive low quality care, ranking 37th in the world according to the WHO
-appx. 47 million people in the US lack healthcare insurance. These people can get medical treatment from free clinics, emergency rooms, and other sources, but these costs are socialized
-the cost of treating the uninsured is paid by the insured, from higher hospital/doctor fees and socialized costs
-among the insured, most bankruptcies are caused by healthcare expenses
-among the insured, treatment is often denied by corporate bureaucrats
-among the insured, coverage is often denied if you want to buy insurance and have a pre-existing condition
-nearly 30% of us are covered by socialized medicine
-the insured pay from 5-30% more than the socialized programs, from higher administrative costs at private insurers
-employers are laying off workers, taking less profit, and going bankrupt from increased group medical insurance costs
-our manufacturing industries are globally uncompetitive without socialized healthcare
-for-profit medical providers often choose procedures and treatments based on how much revenue they can derive, not on the best outcome for the patient
-standards for medical practice are different and not portable between states
-we have the best-quality treatment in the world available, yet often these treatments are available only based on the ability to pay, not on need or potential outcome
-dental care is expensive and not covered in many cases, yet it has a direct effect on patients' overall health: inflammation from gum disease is often a major contributor or cause of cardiovascular disease
-more, more, more

Friday, June 19, 2009

Impeach Clarence Thomas!

Supreme Court makes age-bias suits harder to win - Los Angeles Times

...if a worker could show age was one of the factors in a layoff or demotion, then the employer was required to prove it had a legitimate reason for its action apart from age...

Supreme Court rules DNA tests for prisoners not a constitutional right
The court's conservative majority, led by Justice Clarence Thomas, threw out this two-step approach. Instead, the court said, workers bear the full burden of proving that age was the deciding factor in their dismissal or demotion.

This is the most egregious example of an activist Supreme Court legislating from the bench in a generation.

Federal and State law, long-standing court decisions, and just-plain common sense tell us that this decision is very very wrong. Yet, the tyranny of a few politically motivated Supreme Court justices is threatening protections that should be common to all of us as a matter of human rights, in so many ways including this decision.

Let's hope that Congress can correct this soon.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich -

Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich -

Laffer and Moore are idiots. Or treasonists.

America was at its strongest when our tax rates on the top earners (and on capital gains) were at their highest.

Nothing in history suggests a downturn or negative effect by reasonable progressive taxation in times of need. Nothing in history shows any significant improvement in the lives of the vast majority of our citizens when we game the system to let the extremely wealthy retain more of their extreme wealth.

Yet, politicians and jerks like Laffer and Moore have repeatedly been able to con a significant percentage of voters into supporting economic policies clearly against our self-interest.

Time to build a strong middle class - this is the only way America can survive and prosper.

California Reckoning -

California Reckoning -

Fundamental misunderstanding of the political and economic situation in California leads to ignorant editorials like this.

Repeal Prop 13! 13 Was not a populist tax revolt. No grandmothers were being kicked to the curb as their property taxes increased with their property value. 13 was simply a power and money grab by state politicians and already-wealthy interests, and led to fundamental changes in both residential real estate and local government.

The boom and bust cycles that followed 13 in CA, although not unprecedented, have simply led to exclusion - the majority of residents of much of CA can't afford to buy a home here, something people from out of state or insanely out of the middle-class, like Murdoch's minions. When your neighbor, simply by staying put, pays 1/10 of what you do in property taxes for the same 1959 tract home, something's fundamentally wrong.

When CA goes from the top of the heap in education and other hallmarks of society to nearly the bottom, something's fundamentally wrong.

It's the state's voters who have voted away local power and local jobs. When we give this to a state legislature but also tie their hands with restrictive proposition after restrictive proposition, it is us who drove into this gridlock.

Yes, vote down these initiatives, except for 1F as a symbolic gesture (in my opinion, legislators should work for no pay until they get the state working reasonably again). But we will all need to suffer , and pay more, for our shortsighted devotion to the insane Jarvis extremists.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Copyright Critics Rationalize Theft -

repeatedly assert, copyright is an unjustifiable tax, a monopoly, and a bar to
creativity, why wouldn't they or anyone else be against it, as in fact they are?

Copyright is no more a tax than the price a merchant charges for an item in his shop or what a laborer receives for his labor. Nor is it a monopoly any more than you have a monopoly on the sale of a watermelon you might grow in your garden

Mark Helprin is an idiot, and shouldn't be allowed to write about a subject which he obviously does not understand.

Who suggests copyright is a tax? No one. It is an exclusive Right to Copy, on par with other rights established in our constitution. It is a Right with exclusions. These exclusions limit who owns the right, how long the right is, what can be protected, etc.

These exclusions have always been designed to be the balance between monopoly and chaos, and our congress, imbued with the power to regulate copyright, has a tough task to enforce a position of balance between the free creation of works and the free commerce of works.

The Statutes of Queen Anne wouldn't work anymore, since the technology to distribute is not concentrated to a wealthy and powerful few, but freely available to each creative artist.

Calling infringement theft and infringers pirates do nothing to encourage more, and better, works of the creative arts. The theives and pirates are in-fact the best customer of the creative artists - every distribution entity knows this, yet won't address it because they have an infantile need to hold on to how they have done things in the past.

Us vs. Them arguments simply serve to secure a hierarchical distribution system rooted in past technology and a revenue distribution system clearly benefitting the already-wealthy few. We need to protect more-firmly the ability of each creative artist to derive direct revenue from his or her work.

Helprin, read copyright law and the constitution, and grow a creative heart, and get back to us.