Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In God's Image?

Deep thought for the evening: If we are indeed made in god's image, does that mean god is circumcised, or not? Think about it, and discuss. I'll be eating buttered popcorn in the meantime. Big smile :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

~23 Years of Tax Returns

Dear Mitt, My previous letters and appeals have gone unanswered.

Just in case they have all been accidentally lost, here again is my question: If it was appropriate for you to give over twenty years' worth of tax records to the McCain presidential campaign when they were vetting you for the VP spot, why isn't it appropriate for you to give those same records to the American people, as we are vetting you for the Presidency?

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Romney's "Plan" - Debt

How on earth does Mitt Romney plan to abide by the balanced-budget amendment he claims to support?

Well, by cutting spending, of course! Because it's actually possible to pull off a balanced budget in the United States purely by cutting spending, without causing economic chaos, right? Infrastructure will just fund itself, you know, if at least a plurality of Americans clap their hands a la reviving Tinkerbell.

No, that's not good enough. Obviously, he would have to implement strategies that cut spending, making up the difference by closing unspecified loopholes in our confusing and often-exploited tax code, right? So it's like a balanced approach: trim some fat here, bulk up the revenues on the other side by closing loopholes that individuals and corporations are currently taking advantage of. Like offshore accounts, or revoking one's citizenship.

But wait, there's more:

Romney would keep the Bush-era tax cuts, AND then proceed to cut all marginal income tax rates by 20 percent. Good, sound, balanced budgeting there!

But wait, there's more: Romney would also lower the corporate tax rate and says he wants to eliminate estate taxes.

All this in spite of history, which says that in times of economic stress, taxes should be made more progressive (that means raise them primarily on the wealthy) and demand should be inflated artificially through, yes, debt-financed stimulus.

Although it seems to be impossible to effect a stimulus without making mistakes and/or investing in some programs which fail, the point is to do the best you can to lay a firm foundation for recovery by investing in projects that citizens take for granted in the good times: infrastructure improvements, education, R&D, etc. The Nation's need for various government functions will NOT cease simply because you fire 10% of public sector employees. What happens is that those needs will be filled with far more expensive private contractors.

Thus, stimulus tends to be more effective when a fair portion of it is devoted to wisely expanding public sector job growth (see, for example, the Reagan years). When the recovery begins to pick up steam, you can roll back the stimulative efforts as tax receipts grow, and then begin the process of taking care of the debt issue (see, for example, the Clinton years). In short, strict austerity never works (see much of Europe as well as Wisconsin), mild austerity frequently hurts (see Texas), and we must continue to look to history for its overwhelming refutation of the notion that lower taxes increase job creation.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It Takes Two to Tango

It seems that most conservatives, especially the ones who are extremely socially conservative and/or religious, have forgotten that promiscuity, in and of itself, requires at least two actors. Like the capitalism they fall over themselves to promote blindly. Time and time again, we see people like Bryan Fischer and Peter LaBarbera blaming only one side of the promiscuous equation: the women. Not once have I heard them attack promiscuous men, unless those men are gay. Nonsensical links to studies showing that make homosexual behavior is higher-risk than heterosexual behavior are just one of their tools. It once again demonstrates a clearly biblical bias in their thinking: the bible is well-known for espousing a general distaste for lady parts, an almost pathological need to control every aspect of a woman's life. Yet, the bible also clearly states that fornication is a sin, regardless of the participants' gender. In the other hand, it is the husband who is punished much more lightly in cases of adultery than the woman. If a wif strays, she is stoned to death; if a husband strays, it is actually possible to blame the woman. And the man with whom she strays isn't punished, or if he is, he is punished lightly (certainly more lightly than automatic social homicide). A little balance - that would be nice. But my expectations of balance are obviously way too high.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mitt Romney's Tax Returns

Still asking: if Mr. Romney felt it was appropriate to release -20 years of his personal tax returns to the McCain campaign, why isn't it appropriate to release them to the American people?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Credit for OBL Death

Amazing to me that this is being spun. By either side. Look: somehow or other, we got solid intel that led us to discover Osama bin Laden's location. We investigated further, confirmed a few things, maybe watched the compound to learn the daily routine, etc. Undoubtedly it was scanned and analyzed by any number of most-likely classified technologies. In addition, the Navy SEAL team practiced that mission for weeks beforehand to iron out any kinks in timing, logistics, and planning. Then Obama, through the appropriate chain of command, gave the order (or at least a green light) to proceed with the mission. His underlings issued the appropriate orders to make it happen. So, it happened. This extreme oversimplification of a world-class, complex operation has been brought to you by the letter P: Please stop trying to spin obvious shit. Bush might have, or could have, but didn't. Clinton - same deal. Carter - doesn't belong in this conversation. Romney - like all candidates running for president, should be aware of how easy it is to say "I would have done x in heartbeat." Maybe, maybe not. Obama can take credit for a gutsy decision that wound up working out extremely well, given all the possible failure scenarios. The pictures would be nice, but no one has been bitching about them since July of last year, so stop bitching about them now. Can we please start talking about things that are really substantive to the upcoming election, like sunset provisions, taxes, the documented destructive shortsighted amoral stupidity that is supply-side economics? Pretty please? The letter P is asking nicely.