The Watering Hole, Monday, June 1, 2015: Another Conservative Myth Busted

Will Conservatives never learn? I suppose that’s like asking, “Does the Pope shit in the woods?”, which, given the Holy See Hippie we have now, I wouldn’t put it past him to go on a few “Nature walks” now and then. But when it comes to tax policy, the answer is Yes, they never learn. Case in point: Kansas, a/k/a “KS”, a/k/a “Koch State” (H/T Jane), a/k/a “Land of Tornadoes, Cute Little Flying Monkeys, and Blood Thirsty Munchkins.” Yes, that Kansas. Way back in 2012, the brilliant minds of the Conservative Republican-controlled State Legislature decided to heed the demands of David Koch and cut taxes drastically. (Don’t waste my time and yours by asking me to prove they did this at the behest of the Koch Brothers. If you honestly think the Kochs had no influence on the tax policy of the state in which Koch Industries is headquartered, you’re too naive to be reading political blogs and should go back to bed, curled up in a fetal position, rocking back and forth while sucking your thumb. Or just read 1980 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential nominee David Koch’s official platform.) But now, three years later, the job growth never happened, and KS finds itself with a $400 million budget shortfall. They realize they’ve cut as many public services as they can get away with cutting (I’m sure they’ve gone too far, but that’s an argument for another day), and now they have to consider doing something anathema to them: raising taxes. They justified their tax cuts to the public by claiming that tax cuts would spur economic growth, and businesses would come rushing to the state to take advantage of the low taxes and bring jobs to KS. They always say that. And it’s never true. Not once.

“We hoped they would just be a magic lantern and everybody would react to it,” [Senator Les Donovan] said. “But, eh, it’s hard to get a company to uproot their business when they’re established and move to another place just because of this difference in tax policy.”

That’s the problem with Conservative philosophy. It tends to be rooted in what people want to believe is true, and not on what actually is true. They believe greed is good, that it’s okay not just to want more for yourself than what your neighbor has, but to want more than you could ever possibly need in your lifetime. But Greed is not good, Conservative People. Selfishness in not a Virtue. We are all Human Beings on this planet, and none of us is any more special than any other. That includes you. We survive because we know that we need each other to do so. Nobody in this country “made it” alone. You may have created a business from scratch, and it may have grown into a nice income producer for you and your family. But your success is not entirely of your own doing.

Your business likely sells one of two things, goods or services. Either way, you want to get something in exchange for those goods or services, and if you don’t want to work on the barter system, then you need something to exchange on which you both agree on the value. Money. And to make sure that the money you’re using is legitimate, you agree to only accept money made by the Government (the ones who decide what its value is, under the Constitution.) Now, right there you’ve proven that taxes are necessary. Someone has to pay for the things the Government does on your behalf. One of the things the government does is build and maintain the roads you use to bring your goods to your customers or yourselves to perform services. Someone has to protect those roads from highway bandits, so we hire police, who also make sure our other laws are enforced. I could go on with more examples, but the point is that everybody benefits from the things we all pay taxes to have done. And that includes that little business you created. Your business benefits from the things our government does, so why shouldn’t your business pay taxes? Your business is not a person like you, it’s an artificial entity created on paper to act as if it were a person in legal proceedings, which includes the sale of goods and services to your customers. They aren’t paying you for your goods and services, they’re paying your business. There is no such thing in Nature as a business or corporation, so they can’t possibly have “natural rights.” They can only have what rights the government that sanctioned their creation gave them. And if any Conservative tries to argue that our Founders wanted Corporations to be able to act free of the interference of Government, they are flat out lying to you. They barely tolerated their existence, being all too familiar with what was done to them in the name of Corporations. such as the East India Company. So, no, they would never go along with the idea that corporations shouldn’t be taxed and shouldn’t be regulated.

So the Conservative Republicans (you might think that redundant if only because there are no more Liberal Republicans, but I think it’s important to differentiate between the party and its ideology; there are Conservatives in the Democratic Party, and they’re every bit as dangerous as Conservative Republicans) have had it their way and tried to grow their economy through austerity and found, much to no one’s surprise who knew what they were talking about, that it didn’t work. That’s because Conservatives have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to taxes, in this case, or anything, in all the other cases. And that’s because their entire philosophy is rooted in the false notion that we’re all alike, and we would all behave the same way (their way) in any situation, and that looking out for yourself is more important than looking out for your fellow human being because nobody needs anybody else to survive. So why on Earth would you want to put any of them in charge of the government that’s supposed to be looking out for you? Someone, please explain that to me.

This is our daily open thread. Have at it.

The Watering Hole, Monday, April 21st, 2014: SCALIA: JUSTice REVOLTing

Why does Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia keep giving us more reasons to question his fitness for his job?

It’s not like he hasn’t provided ample evidence of judicial bias over the years, the most fateful of which being his participation in the Selection of George W. Bush as President in Bush v Gore. Scalia’s later spinning of that decision, along with his callous exhortations to Gore voters to “get over it!”, calls into question both the decision and his more recent mental competence. One commenter on the linked article, which is from 2012, succinctly put it:

“Since Supreme Court decisions are intended to set legal precedent going forward (although in this bizarre instance the court stated this decision was meant to be sui generis, an abrogation of its function) then it is literally impossible to “get over” a Supreme Court decision. Maybe this swaggering jerk should step down if he doesn’t get that.”

justice scalia being rude
From a 2012 article in The Daily Beast, some info about the most infamous photo of Scalia:

“Vaffanculo”
Scalia didn’t appreciate a reporter from the Boston Herald asking him in 2006 how he responds to critics who say his religion impairs his fairness in rulings. “To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo,’” Scalia reportedly said, flicking his right hand from under his chin. In Italian, this not-so subtle phrase means “f–k off” and the accompanying hand flick is equally rude. “You’re not going to print that are you?” he apparently asked in an interaction that occurred, it’s worth noting, inside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross at Sunday mass.”

[emphasis mine]

Scalia has no love for LGBT Americans, as discussed in a 2013 Mother Jones article. One example:

“In his dissent in Lawrence [Lawrence v Texas], Scalia argued that moral objections to homosexuality were sufficient justification for criminalizing gay sex. “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home,” he wrote. “They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”

And in this Mother Jones article from February of 2012, sarcastically entitled “Supreme Court Poised to Declare Racism Over”, the [dis]honarable Justice Scalia displays his views on racial discrimination during Shelby County, Alabama’s challenge to the Voting Rights Act. From the article:

That’s not to say all discrimination is a thing of the past. In the eyes of the high court’s conservatives, America has transcended its tragic history of disenfranchising minorities, but there’s still one kind of discrimination that matters: Discrimination against the states covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Justice Antonin Scalia said that it was “sort of extraordinary to say” that “Congress can just pick out…these eight states,” referring to the states covered by Section 5.

Later, Scalia telegraphed his reasoning for what will almost certainly be a vote to strike down part of the law. Explaining overwhelming support for the Voting Rights Act reauthorization in Congress in 2006, Scalia called Section 5 the “perpetuation of a racial entitlement” that legislators would never have the courage to overturn. “In the House there are practically black districts by law now,” Scalia complained.

[Makes ya wonder how Scalia’s Siamese twin, Clarence Thomas, REALLY feels about discrimination against other American citizens of color.]

When Supreme Court Justices are connected at the spine

When Supreme Court Justices are connected at the spine


Conan O'Brien hits the nail on the head

Conan O’Brien hits the nail on the head

And then there’s these:
scalia court not political

Delusions of grandeur?

Delusions of grandeur?

Last week, Justice Scalia came out with another disturbing notion. From yesterday’s Think Progress thread:

“During an event at the University of Tennessee’s law school on Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia suggested to the capacity crowd that perhaps they should revolt against the U.S government if their taxes ever get too high.

During a question and answer part of the event, a student asked Scalia about the constitutionality of a federal income tax. Scalia assured the questioner that the tax was in fact permissible by the constitution, but added that if it ever became too high, “perhaps you should revolt.” … Supreme Court justices have largely refrained from such rhetoric. Still, in recent years, Scalia has shifted even further to the right than when he was first appointed.

Days later, at a joint appearance with fellow Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Scalia offered a bit of ironic commentary on inflammatory rhetoric. “It sometimes annoys me when somebody has made outrageous statements that are hateful,” he told the audience at the National Press Club. “Sometimes the press will say, ‘well, he was just exercising his first amendment rights’…You can be using your first amendment rights and it can be abominable that you are using your first amendment rights. I’ll defend your right to use it, but I will not defend the appropriateness of the manner in which you are using it.”

[Right back atcha, Antonin.]

And all of this from someone who was once a regular on the PBS series “Ethics In America”. The series was produced by the Columbia University Seminars on Media and Society and was hosted by Fred Friendly; individual episodes can be viewed here. I recommend checking out some of the episodes; the ones with Scalia show a younger, more reasonable and slightly more jovial Antonin Scalia.

These days, I don’t believe that Antonin Scalia knows the meaning of the word “ethics.”

This is our daily open thread–what’s on YOUR mind?

The Watering Hole, Monday, December 3rd, 2012: Conservative BS on Taxes

Since I forced myself to wallow in some of the crap on Newsmax, I figured that I should share some of the sliminess with you all. Let’s start with the arrogantly delusional George Will, who manages to squeeze a lie into each paragraph of his dementia-driven article. Here’s just a few examples of Will’s drivel; he starts off with:

“With a chip on his shoulder larger than his margin of victory, Barack Obama is approaching his second term by replicating the mistake of his first. Then his overreaching involved healthcare — expanding the entitlement state at the expense of economic growth. Now he seeks another surge of statism, enlarging the portion of gross domestic product grasped by government and dispensed by politics. The occasion is the misnamed “fiscal cliff,” the proper name for which is: the Democratic Party’s agenda.”

– and –

“…he surely understands that the entitlement state he favors requires raising taxes on the cohort that has most of the nation’s money — the middle class.”

– and –

“Republicans…respond that because lower rates reduce incentives to distort economic decisions, they promote growth by enhancing efficiency. Hence restoration of the higher rates would be a giant step away from, and might effectively doom, pro-growth tax reform…Furthermore, restoration of the Clinton-era top rate of 39.6 percent would occur in the very different Obama era of regulatory excesses and Obamacare taxes. Hence Republicans rightly resist higher rates.”

On to forever-lugubrious John Boehner:

“I would say we’re nowhere, period,” Boehner said on a taped segment of the “Fox News Sunday” program that aired today. “We’ve put a serious offer on the table by putting revenues up there to try to get this question resolved. But the White House has responded with virtually nothing.”

Yet, from the same article:

“Obama has proposed a framework that would raise taxes immediately on top earners and set an Aug. 1 deadline for rewriting the tax code and deciding on spending cuts, according to administration officials. It calls for $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $350 billion in cuts in health programs, $250 billion in cuts in other programs and $800 billion in assumed savings from the wind-down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Next, we’ve got the ubiquitous Grover Norquist. Norquist, despite a growing number of Republicans attempting to put some daylight between themselves and the Norquist pledge, stated last week:

“Well, the Republicans also have other leverage. Continuing resolutions on spending and the debt ceiling increase. They can give him debt ceiling increases once a month. They can have him on a rather short leash, you know, here’s your allowance, come back next month…Monthly if he’s good. Weekly if he’s not.”

In the Newsmax article, Norquist continues in the same childish vein, threatening “Tea Party 2“:

“Republicans want to continue the Bush tax cuts, and the extenders and the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] package . . . it’s the president who’s threatening to raise taxes if he stamps his feet and doesn’t get his way.”

And in case you aren’t sickened enough by those three, there’s the Sue Ann Niven of the Republicans, Peggy Noonan, saying:

“The election is over, a new era begins — and it looks just like the old one…A crisis is declared. Confusion, frustration, and a more embittered process follow. This is the Obama Way.”

Got your blood boiling yet?

This is our daily open thread — it’s Monday, wake up and start discussing something!

I Pledge Allegiance

Is Mitt Romney really an American?  Which country does Mitt Romney serve?  Is there something suspicious in Mitt Romney’s tax returns?  What is he hiding?  Why does he fly the flag of another country?  Is this the country that Mitt Romney pledges allegiance to?

The party yacht proudly displays the flag of the Cayman Islands.

More questions, were there years that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes?  Is he using accounts in the Cayman Island to hide his money so that he doesn’t have to pay taxes to the United States government?

No wonder Mitt Romney is out of touch with the American people. He doesn’t know what it is like to worry about where his next meal will come from or if he still has a job or if he can pay for his mortgage or rent.  His only worry is how can he hide his money so that he doesn’t have to pay taxes.

Mitt was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.  He doesn’t know what it is like to be an ordinary American.

Watering Hole: August 3, 2012 – Just for chuckles…

Someone sent me this link to an article where anonymous claims to have “hacked the IRS database” and retrieved Romney’s tax records. It is really funny.

Here’s a few excepts that caught my eye:

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul stated last week that “there has been no year in which Romney paid zero taxes”. In 2008, this was true. He earned $23,425,316 and paid $412.18 in federal income taxes. This calculates to a federal tax rate of 0.0018%. How did Romney get his tax burden so low? According to his return, he had approximately $23,407,000 in itemized deductions. These deductions ranged from $78,923 for “Toupee Creators Unlimited” and $41,826 for “Spray-on tan services” to a $3.8 million dollar write-off for a trip to Las Vegas with potential campaign donors. The Romney family also paid salaries to their numerous employees including, two yacht captains, three pilots for their private jets, two professional dog walkers, one toupee stylist and a “live-in contortionist”. What someone does with a live-in contortionist, one can only speculate. However, the $891,064 Romney spent on an “EWS Donor Party at the Pennsylvania Mansion” might give us a clue. While the return does not indicate what “EWS” stands for, given that the deducted supplies for the party included “Venetian masks, alcohol, lubricant and various Egyptian leather accessories” it was most likely an “Eyes Wide Shut” party.

And then there is this part:

In addition to his wild nights, Romney also deducted health related expenses.  These included $127,000 for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for a condition termed “Pseudologia fantastica” also known as Compulsive Liar Syndrome. This may explain why the Republican nominee’s views seem to change dramatically depending on his audience. In fact, his recent string of political gaffes may be the direct result of his inability to keep up with the many competing “truths” he has spoken over the past year. According to noted Psychiatrist Bryan King, “Pathological liars seem utterly sincere about their lies, but if confronted with facts to the contrary, will often just as sincerely reverse their story.” According to Politifact, a news organization that researches the veracity of politician’s statements, only 16% of Romney’s examined statements were found to be completely true.

Enjoy the laughs.

Watering Hole: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 – Apples

They say that apples don’t fall far from the tree.  It’s a metaphor used for explaining the behaviors of parents and their children.  Most of the time, the apples remain close to the tree unless they are carried away by an animal or roll down a hill.

I don’t know what happened to Mitt Romney as he lacks the integrity that his father displayed.  This is what George Romney had to say about politicians and taxes.  Perhaps Mitt does have something to hide.

This is our Open Thread.  What do you think?  Speak Up!