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eniwetok

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Spiritual home: the rocky Maine coast
Member since: Sun Mar 27, 2016, 08:06 PM
Number of posts: 1,629

About Me

Greetings... what can I say? I'm an old time hippie and anti-war activist from the 60's. I was radicalized then and have always remained political. One's politics can have different aspects. Economically I'm an FDR liberal. Socially I believe in the Ninth Amendment that government has no legitimate power to limit some rights such as responsible drug use, the right to choose, or one's sexual behavior. Politically I'm to the left of the Democratic Party. Why? Over the years I realized the focus of activists should not be stamping out brush fires and putting band-aids on problems. The effort must always be to keep in mind the root of most of our problems such as wealth inequality, growing corporate power, voter apathy, climate change, etc... is an electoral system that is incapable of measuring the popular will and a political system that is incapable of implementing it. Sadly, the Democratic Party seems to need a push to find a greater appreciation for... and to work towards, implementing common sense democratic reforms to both those electoral and political systems.

Journal Archives

Here's The Moral Basis For Progressive Taxation

Sorry for the title change... I think this new one better describes the topic...

Bernie often says corporations and the rich need to "pay their fair share"... and sure. Sounds good. But I have no idea what it means. Some seem to think that if I dare suggest such a phrase be fleshed out... that I'm a closet right winger when what I want the left to do is come up with a strong narrative for progressive taxation. So... to borrow what I've posted in the Thom Hartmann forum...

What would Steve Job's concept for the iPhone be worth in an impoverished 3ed or 4th world nation without the prerequisite prior inventions or necessary infrastructure to exploit that idea?

What infrastructure? How about a nation secure from invasion provided by our military? How about law enforcement provided by various federal, state, and local agencies? What about our highways, harbors, and airports that allow for easy transport of product to market? How about a literate and educated workforce? What about a economic system that allows for the existence of limited liability corporations which facilitate business by protecting the private property of business owners and shareholders. What about FREE intellectual property monopolies such as patents, copyrights and trademarks? What about FREE limited liability protection for corporations and shareholders. What would be the added costs if a corporation had to purchase the above as insurance in the private market? What about a judicial system to protect such freebies and oversee contract laws? What about stable monetary and banking systems from which to get credit? What about a regulated stock market that permits corporations to raise capital? What about subsidized capital gains tax rates? Arguably the business was the nations first official welfare program.

What about a system to insure public health... from clean water to vaccination programs to prevent pandemics? What of publicly financed basic research that saves companies money in R&D? What of a system that redistributes wealth so poor states or towns aren't left behind or a nation that permits workers enough income to provide demand for products?

When run well, the public and private sectors bootstrap each other to higher levels of prosperity. Without such infrastructures, that killer idea for Steve Job's iPhone would be worth nothing. Great wealth might not even be possible. And THIS is the moral basis for a strongly progressive tax code... that the rich pay more for their use of these freebies and infrastructure. Perhaps the income tax should be renamed the Opportunity Tax. It's a tax on the opportunity this nation provides to accumulate wealth.

Political Catch Phrases Constrict Thought?

When we hear the Right use the term "pro-choice" it contains built-in argument... and implies that anyone who disagrees must therefore be "anti-life". Some do think in such simplistic terms. In reality, it usually means anti-abortion... unless there's some moral consistency being against the death penalty and war. Religious freedom for the Right often just means their right to discriminate or oppress others. "War On Xmas" is another such laughable phrase given that Xmas is our nation's most obnoxious holiday... in our faces for an entire month. "Self made" might fit the category since it implies complete independence in what one has earned... while it sweeps under the rug all those backdoor freebies government gives to business... free limited liability protection for corporations and shareholders, low tax rates for capital gains, free intellectual property monopolies, etc.

So when I hear Dems throw around terms like corporations and the rich must pay their "fair share" in taxes... it's a similar phrase with a built in argument. OF COURSE they should pay their "fair share"... but the phrase doesn't provide any criteria for what "fair share" even means... a topic for another thread, perhaps. "Living wage" is another such phrase... that sounds meaningful and good intentioned... and anyone who disagrees with some arbitrary number must be for predatory employment. Again, it's just a phrase anyone can project anything they want into. Depending on a worker's circumstances a "living wage" might still not be enough, or it might be pure gravy. Democracy is another such phrase that's often used by liberal Dems. But when one scratches the surface almost without exception we find what's being supported is un- or antidemocratic

So I think we should be cautious throwing around such catch phrases that lack operative definitions.



Let's pay 16 year olds $31.2k to sweep floors!!!!

Raising the minimum wage to $15 over the next 4-5-6 years in high flying urban areas may make perfect sense. But does $15 make sense as a NATIONAL minimum wage... to be applied to ALL areas of the nation... be they high flying urban areas or depressed backwaters?

Is the owner of Joe's Garage in East Coalcake WV or the owner of the KKK General Store in Jeb Stuartville MS really going to pay some 16 year old $31.2k a year to sweep floors, pick up trash, and clean toilets when those owners may just be getting by on $25k?


15
40 ×
52 ×
--------------------------
$31,200 =

Add to that the employer will have to pay another $1200+ in extra FICA over the current MW.

Of course it's scandalous that Washington has allowed the MW to depreciate from it's highest value... which would be $10.95 today. Someone's been making off with that value that should have been going to workers. But it's oh so easy for some here to say OF COURSE those businesses should pay $15... when it's someone else's money! Anything less is predatory employment! OF COURSE there won't be any disruptions to the economy. If anyone disagrees THEY ARE RIGHT WINGERS: IGNORE!!!

I love Bernie... but I think some of the justifications and accusations I've been hearing on this board for a $15 national MW are just nutty. It's one thing to use it as an opening gambit in negotiations. It's another to believe it MUST be the ultimate goal.



Trump's Continued Descent Into Paranoia. (I can't wait for the GOP convention!)

The Trump campaign issued this gracious concession over his loss in Wisconsin yesterday...

Donald J. Trump withstood the onslaught of the establishment yet again. Lyin’ Ted Cruz had the Governor of Wisconsin, many conservative talk radio show hosts, and the entire party apparatus behind him. Not only was he propelled by the anti-Trump Super PAC’s spending countless millions of dollars on false advertising against Mr. Trump, but he was illegally coordinating with his own Super PAC’s (which is illegal) who totally control him. Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet—he is a Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump. We had total confidence that Mr. Trump will go on to win in New York, where he holds a substantial lead in all the polls, and beyond. Mr. Trump is the only candidate who can secure the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination and ultimately defeat Hillary Clinton, or whomever is the Democratic nominee, in order to Make America Great Again.

http://dailycaller.com/2016/04/05/trump-blames-wisconsin-loss-on-party-bosses-attempting-to-steal-the-nomination/

True Trump has every reason to be paranoid given that the GOP is looking for every reason to sabotage his campaign. But he had two choices... to make a gracious concession as Hillary did... or to act like the narcissistic buffoon we know him to be. He didn't disappoint. He's deliberately whipping up his base to make them more hostile to the GOP... and I'm loving it. July can't come fast enough. I can't wait for the GOP convention... and may it be open carry!

Did Congress REALLY Vote For The Iraq War?

This is not a thread to get Hillary off the hook for stupidly trusting Bush... but whether Bush violated the AUMF. Like most of my threads here they were originally posted in the Thom Hartmann forum.

If you ignore all the endless litany of "whereas" after "whereas", and skip to the end of the 2002 Authorization To Use Military Force, it seems Congress approved a conditional AUMF, not a blank check. Here's the final section

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-107publ243/html/PLAW-107publ243.htm

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This joint resolution may be cited as the ``Authorization for Use of
Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002''.

[[Page 116 STAT. 1501]]

SEC. 2. SUPPORT FOR UNITED STATES DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS.

The Congress of the United States supports the efforts by the
President to--
(1) strictly enforce through the United Nations Security
Council all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq
and encourages him in those efforts; and
(2) obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security
Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay,
evasion and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies
with all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.



There were no existing UN resolutions authorizing force. The US tried to get a new one. In its original
drafts the US sought permission to attack on its own and it was REJECTED. The US only got the UNSC to
demand WMD inspectors be allowed back into Iraq or there were would be dire consequences. The UNSC never
actually authorized force.

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

(a) Authorization.--The President is authorized to use the Armed
Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and
appropriate in order to--
(1) defend the national security of the United States
against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council
resolutions regarding Iraq.


With no UNSC resolutions authorizing force, for Bush to invade he had
had to claim there WAS a "continuing threat" from Iraq.

(b) Presidential Determination.--In connection with the exercise of
the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President
shall, prior to such exercise or as soon thereafter as may be feasible,
but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make
available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the
President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that--
(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or
other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately
protect the national security of the United States against the
continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to
enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council
resolutions regarding Iraq; and


Here Bush simply lied. The UN had acted. Inspectors were back in Iraq... and they were finding evidence that Saddam's WMDs had been destroyed back in 1991. But Bush had a timetable... the optimum time to invade would be in the early spring so the work of the Inspectors had to be sabotaged.

(2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent
with the United States and other countries continuing to take
the necessary actions against international terrorist and
terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations,
or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the
terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.


The Iraq/911 connection was always untrue.

Congress was foolish for trusting Bush who since the spring was public about setting up a rationale to invade Iraq. Congress allowed Bush to roll right over them with a carefully crafted strategy just before the election. Bush claimed he was interested in the viability
of the UN... and resolutions had to be enforced. He claimed he was not interested in a war, it was a last resort. In reality he was stalling for time... until weather conditions were optimum. He never cared what Congress or the UN wanted. He was going to invade either way and played the public, Congress, and the UN like a fiddle... and We The People have let him get away with war crimes.

Wall Street Reform: FDR vs Obama


When FDR came into office in March 1933 he and the Democrats faced head on the dangerous aspects of an unregulated economy and passed structural reforms within 3 months with the 1933 Banking Act. It was that Act that included Glass Steagall.

When faced with another collapsed economy in 2008 we might expect the braindead ideologues in the GOP to refuse to reflect on how their ideas on deregulation caused the collapse and how dangerous it was NOT to make major reforms. But Obama should have known better. Yet he and key Dems refused to do what FDR did: quickly introduce and pass key reforms. In March 2009 Obama told the Wall Street perps that he stood between them and the people with the pitchforks.

Reform was stretched out and Dodd Frank wasn't passed until July 2010... 18 MONTHS after Obama took office.

Given the scope of the problem Dodd Frank was a pathetically weak bill and it would take additional years to be implemented. As of early 2015 the SEC was still writing rules to implement DF https://www.sec.gov/spotlight/dodd-frank/derivatives.shtml In the mean time the too big to fail banks were now bigger and time bombs in the economy were still ticking. And ultimately the Obama administration refused to prosecute any of these Wall Street thieves and sociopaths. They got away with paying large fines... other people's money.

So here we all, 8 years after the crash. The government is now trillions more in debt, the FED has exhausted it's main arsenal... interest rates, and the world economy is looking unstable again.

Should there be another crash... will history look back and curse the GOP and Obama for refusing to fix the core defects in the economy?

I suspect so. We desperately needed another FDR and instead we got a corporate Dem as president.

Can Capitalism Thrive Without Free Goodies From Government?

This thread is not about crony capitalism... but some aspects of US capitalism we don't often think about... and certainly nothing the Orwellian Right would want to mention.

What would be the free market value of all those intellectual monopolies, tax breaks, and immunities we give corporations? Could capitalism thrive without those intellectual monopolies, tax breaks, and immunities? Could anyone really amass giant fortunes without these freebies?

Government grants intellectual property monopolies to provide incentives to push the envelope... but if patents, copyrights, and trademarks didn't exist... what would US capitalism be like?

If corporations were forced to buy limited liability insurance on the open market to cover bankruptcy costs for 100c on the dollar... and protect shareholder profits and assets from clawbacks by creditors, and what would US capitalism be like?

How easy would it be for corporations to amass capital if taxes on profits were not given special preferential capital gains rates and shareholders never received limited liability protections for their investments?

Would any private insurer ever want to insure a mega corporation for all of the above? Nuclear power might never get off the ground if the government hadn't passed the Price Anderson Act.

What would the American economy look like without the free goodies We The People give to corporations and those who invest in them?

And if we can't imagine these corporations growing to the behemoths they are without those freebies... then what do those corporations and those who get rich from them... owe We The People back?


Sorry... a $15 minimum wage is too high


The depreciation of the minimum wage from its high point in 1968 is scandalous. If merely adjusted to inflation that $1.60 of 1968 would be worth $10.95 today.

We've built too much of the economy around the exploitation of these MW workers... and all those who fall between $7.25 and that $10.95. If the MW had merely been adjusted to inflation every year the economy would have had time to adjust. Instead the economy has become addicted to this exploitation... and no doubt this has played a huge role in how the the bottom quintile's share of national aggregate income has gone down 28% since 1974 while the top quintile has gone up 32%.

That being said, $15 may be fine in urban areas but as a national MW $15 would cause enormous disruptions... especially since we've foolishly allowed US companies to outsource and bring back their good from cheap labor nations. And yes, moving to even that $10.95 will cause disruptions. This adjustment alone would mean a whopping $7300 a year more for a full time MW worker. But there's a strong moral case that this is a wrong that must be corrected. A caveat, that perhaps if we went to Single Payer, this would free up employer resources to justify a MW higher than $10.95.

Is a democracy legitimate if votes don't weigh the same?

Is a democracy morally legitimate if votes don't weigh the same? By weight I simply mean how votes get translated into representation. For example, imagine one group of 1000 citizen vote and get one seat in a legislature yet another group of 1000 votes and gets 3 seats. Would any laws passed by those 3 legislators be morally legitimate?

GOP's Next Step: Restroom Gestapo!


So if a transgendered man, even if dressed as a man, must use a women's room... and vice versa, how are these rabid right states to prevent cross dressing pranksters or voyeurs from using either restroom? It's going to take a restroom Gestapo sitting outside of each restroom asking for birth certificates.

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