Lose weight the delicious way...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ruminations From the Void

Not a legal play.....
One weekend of March Madness left to go.  My bracket has been begging for over a week to be put out of its misery.  VCU happily obliged and finished it off.  All the fun aside, I must admit that this is probably a terrible way to determine which team is the best in the nation.  Does anyone really believe that VCU belongs in the Final Four?  Of course they don’t.  But it sure has been fun watching them get there.  NCAA football probably has the better system for deciding the best team, even though it is the most disparaged.  Despite the inherent problems of allowing 68 teams to play a one loss-you’re out tournament, I’m still a big fan of March Madness though.  It’s a three week party for both the hoops aficionados and the March-only fans.  Plus, what championship can top “One Shining Moment”?

>>  GE recently announced that they have stolen many taxpayer dollars from you and me.  The company reported profit of $14.2 billion, $5.1 of it from operations here in the US.  Any guess to how much in tax they paid?  That’s right class – a big fat goose egg.  Well, technically that’s not correct.  They actually received a ‘benefit’ of $3.2 billion.  By my simplistic math calculations, our tax dollars supplied 63% of domestic profit.  Feeling angry yet?  Remember that GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt was selected to head President Obama’s Jobs Council, which I thought was as an unpaid volunteer, but it’s hard to say now.

So how does one go about such thievery?  The New York Times explains,

an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore. G.E.’s giant tax department, led by a bow-tied former Treasury official named John Samuels, is often referred to as the world’s best tax law firm. Indeed, the company’s slogan “Imagination at Work” fits this department well. The team includes former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress.
As NRO’s Kevin Williamson writes at his Exchequer blog in a post aptly titled, Our Tax Code is Corrupt,
In spite of our having the second-highest nominal corporate-income tax rate in the developed world (Hello, Japan!), the rates actually paid by businesses vary wildly according to their political clout. Progressives look at that and see the evidence of businesses’ having undue influence on Washington; I look at that and see evidence of Washington’s undue influence on business. But it’s a two-way street, and the end product smells the same.
The truth is that when Big Business and Big Government collude together, they win and we lose.  All I can add is Flat Tax FTW!  Loopholes aren’t the problem.  The whole ballgame is fixed; or rather in need of fixing.  But if voters don’t demand it, this reform may never happen.  While I have no place in my heart for GE, this isn’t an anti-business issue – it’s a political issue.

>>  So, did anyone turn their lights off for Earth Hour?  If you did, I commend you for at least being aware of Earth Hour (seems not too many did).  For those who are all gung-ho for a quick conversion to renewable energy, just remember what you were doing during that hour.  While sitting in the dark & reading by candlelight may make for a nice way to spend an hour, I don’t think we’d like a lack of electric power every night.  BTW, the heat was still running right?  The fridge and water heater?  In the rolling blackouts that will accompany an over-reliance on renewables, those don’t stay running when the power goes out.  Just FYI.

Ross McKitrick at the Vancouver Sun writes,
The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity. People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too. [h/t Ed Driscoll]
Earth Hour winner – Journalist David Menzies:

“I have rented four rotating Hollywood movie lights which will light up the sky for miles,” he said.  “I don’t need to give you my address because all you need to do is look to the sky.”
Last year the lights attracted people down to the darkened street, sans that one home.  “A lot of people who followed the lights came in and all they saw was a guy out with his kids having a barbecue,” he said laughing. “It went so well we are going to do it again.”
>>  On Libya – There was a lot that came from Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates’ appearances on the morning news show on Sunday.  The key line was when Gates admitted that there was no vital national interest in LibyaClinton tried picking up the pieces to create a circumstantial case that further Mideast disruption would be bad. 

At this point, it doesn’t matter, so we can have that discussion later.  All that matters is that when we’re finished, Gaddafi is gone; and by gone, I mean dead or restrained.  Gaddafi has been quite happy to sponsor terrorists and kill American citizens.  He is probably even now, planning or equipping future attacks.  Any result that leaves him in a position to see such attacks to fruition is not acceptable.  Now that we are in, we are all in.  American lives are now more at threat than they were two weeks ago. 

I hope all our coalition buddies understand what the endgame must be.  I really hope our President understands too.

>>  BTW, I wish President Obama would stop hyping his grand coalition as if it’s some big deal.  Both Iraq war coalitions were larger.  The only real difference is that France is on board this time and that isn’t saying much since France gets so much of its oil from Libya

In fact, we didn’t invite France to this war, they invited us.  Wait a minute…no…you don’t think…are we helping France fight a war for oil?  All I will say is that a much stronger case can be made for this than could be said about Bush and Iraq.  And it was said about Bush and Iraq...at length....ad nauseum.....and it was wholly false.

Don’t worry, I’m not accusing the President of being taken in by France on this whole war deal, I just like making Bush’s critics squirm a little.  I take a good amount of satisfaction in it.  (Don’t get mad- Just have some principles and stick with them and it won’t hurt so much).

>>  In my mind, we’ll know more about the Obama Doctrine as we see what he does about Syria.  Assad has begun a similar type of crackdown that could easily escalate into a humanitarian crisis.  The difference is that there is no organized military rebellion as exists in Libya.  If you listen to his comments and read the UN Resolution, this shouldn’t matter, but I think it will.

Many of his supporters claim that stepping in to aid an existing war is better than starting a war.  But the President only speaks of preventing civilian deaths.  If Syria becomes a bloodbath, civilians will be dying by the thousands.  As the Bible says, “you will know him by his fruits.”

>>  Obamacare was quite unpopular when it was passed a year ago (I know, hard to believe).  Feeling this may hurt them politically, the Obama administration put together some TV ads with the ever-lovable Andy Griffith.  They failed.  Today, Obamacare is still quite unpopular.  Apparently Matlock couldn’t make the case.  Despite spending $3.5 million in taxpayer money for those commercials, the law is still so toxic that even its biggest supporters talk of ‘fixing’ it.  I’ll see your ‘fix’ and raise you one REPEAL.

>>   As a mathoholic, I'm constantly amazed when protest speakers get on stage and makes this real blunder - "Force the rich to pay their fair share!".   The top 15% pay half of the income tax collected and the bottom 50% pay no income taxes.  Trust me, none of us non-rich want the rich to only pay their fair share.  What these protesters really want is for the rich to pay it all.  Either that or they're really bad at math.  Since teachers are now a large part of these protests, I can only hope it's not the latter.

As a union leader about to begin negotiating a new labor contract,  I can tell you Obama's Health Care Reform will be a drag on our wages.  Why should I take a hit on my wages to pay for my fellow worker's 25 year old child?  For the record, why are we referring to a 25 year old as a child?  All the supposed pro-labor protesters need to figure out which side they are on.  For that matter, does Tom Morello really understand the issues, or is he just a rich rocker who thinks social justice is the cool and trendy thing to do.  

Speaking of the rich paying their fair share, how much does Tom Morello pay?  We know Obama's buddy Jeffrey Immelt's company GE isn't paying any.  Claire McCaskill has had trouble with this along with many of Obama's appointees.  Perhaps these protests are directed in the wrong direction.  Maybe only the liberal rich aren't paying their fair share. 

>>  Still too early to make any real judgment on the Japanese Nuclear crisis.  I promise to weigh-in after the facts are all known.

>>  Top Dem leaders still living in La-La land.  Illinois Senator Dick Durbin has this to say about current budget talks,
It’s very hard, very difficult, when you get into the entitlements, but you can’t have a serious conversation about the future of our economy and our deficit without putting everything on the table. Social Security is a little different. It does not add a penny to the deficit.
Good to know that even though we are already paying out more than we are collecting, this money is not adding to the deficit.  I suppose it's possible that we now have fairy pixies who create all those pennies to pay benefits without adding any to the deficit.  Otherwise, I don't know where they are coming from.

>>  ESPN had 5.9 million entries into it NCAA tournament contest.  As I said earlier, my bracket predictions ended last night.  As it turns out, I'm in good company.  Only 2 - that's t-w-o  - 2 entries correctly identified all of the Final Four participants.  I guess that makes me feel better, but it doesn't make the 36" x 30" bracket hanging on my wall look any prettier.

That's all I have today.  I encourage all of you toward better citizenship by finding ways to educate yourself, not only on today's important issues, but also on history.  When our founders formed our nation, they did not only argue their day's issues, but framed their discussion in the light of mankind's previous attempts to govern themselves.  

We are privileged to live in this great nation, but we, like them, must understand history to retain what they have given us.  Too much has already been lost, so we must fight even harder and stand our ground.  But our stance should be rooted in our shared history.

God Bless.

No comments:

Post a Comment