Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Budget Cutting Test -

Live in the South? Every Congressman has been to their districts lately saying the same thing, "We've got to cut government spending!"...Ask your Congressman about their support for Rep. Betty McCollum's amendment, it appears when Rep. McCollum put them to the test... they ran backwards. And just what was Rep. McCollum's amendment?

She proposed to cut Government funding for NASCAR...

"McCollum filed an amendment this month to prohibit the Defense Department from spending money to sponsor NASCAR teams..." and "racetrack owners received tax breaks worth $45 million in 2010 and 2011, aimed at helping them make improvements to their facilities. ... Her amendment failed, 281-148."

More here

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Seth Godin

I'm reading Seth Godin's "Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?"... It is awesome. His take on our education system in the book is spot on, so I went looking for more. Here's a short interview with Seth where he lays it out -



Wisconsin

From the Huffington Post:

"There is a kernel of truth in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's claim of a "budget shortfall" of $137 million. But Walker, a Republican, ... pushed through $117 million in tax breaks for business allies of the GOP. There is your crisis.

The state Legislature's Legislative Fiscal Bureau -- Wisconsin's equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office and a refuge for professional expertise and nonpartisanship -- warned Walker and the legislature that the measure would create a budget gap. There is your shortfall -- and not one resulting from established public employee benefits. Before the tax giveaways, the fiscal agency predicted a surplus for the state."

But, the conversation has been all about collective bargaining, greedy union 'bosses', state employee wages, etc.? Why is that?

On the Federal level the budget is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING on the public's mind... after the Republican's pushed for the extension of the Bush tax credits for those making over $250K...

It's remarkable that in this country, there is no chance we will join our Egyptian brothers and sisters in the streets and say, "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" to the rich bastards that control and manipulate our lives.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Budget will KILL US ALL...

Budget hysteria is completely politically motivated. As this piece points out:

"When the talk about cutting the budget, both parties focus on domestic discretionary spending, which accounts for just over 12% of the budget. They squabble over tiny line items, like funding for public broadcasting. But in the budgetary big picture, whether or not we fund NPR is hardly an important issue. Politicians focus on issues like this because it is politically less dangerous to do so."

Get this, if they cut every damn thing that they're fighting about it's only 12% of the budget. They're talking about cutting out a Starbucks visit a week to save money, all the while you own a million dollar home and are 5 months late on the mortgage payments.

As much as everybody likes to use the personal finance analogies (as I just did) they are stupid. The Federal Budget is NOT ANYTHING LIKE your personal budget! Well, I can't help myself, I'm going to use the stupid analogy again - if you pack your lunch everyday at work and save $5 a day... congratulations at the end of 10 freaking years you've saved enough for a very used Toyota! You can't save your way to wealth... you've got to grow it.

"A focus on cost-cutting and efficiency has helped many organizations weather the downturn, but this approach will ultimately render them obsolete. Only the constant pursuit of innovation can ensure long-term success."
-- Daniel Muzyka, Sauder School of Business, Univ. of British Columbia

Grow the damn economy, put more people back to work, pay people higher wages, and guess what? THEY PAY MORE TAXES! THEY BUY MORE CRAP! COMPANIES MAKE MORE MONEY! Then they get bigger, and pollute the environment more, and screw more poor people, and exploit the system for their own gain... uh, on second thought, just keep bitching and moaning about the trivial, we're f'd either way.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Media Conglomeration and Right vs Left -

The story we're told is that we have liberal networks and conservative networks. And this is "fair", because people get "choices"... sited for evidence of this is MSNBC and FOX. The liberals saw a conspiracy when Keith O was fired after Comcast bought MSNBC, the theory was that his firing was evidence of the conservative Comcast using their heavy hand. Keith O goes to the new network founded by that "global warming conspiracy theorist" Al Gore. When MSNBC.com reported on the story, I was intrigued by this disclaimer at the end:

"(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBCUniversal, which is majority owned by Comcast. Comcast also owns a stake in Current’s parent company, Current Media.)"

We're told of the great media divide, and our supposed choice, only to keep us preoccupied with the trivial, which in effect keeps our minds off the fact that a few big corporations control everything we see and hear.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Writing the history books and/or pulling the strings

A couple of interesting post about Reagan -

10 Things Conservatives Don't Want You to Know About Reagan
"As governor of California, Reagan “signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of any state up till then.” Meanwhile, state spending nearly doubled. As president, Reagan “raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office,” including four times in just two years."

Remembering Ronald Reagan -- The Man Not the Icon
"It's not hard to understand why conservatives would be angry with a president who has dramatically increased the federal debt, passed multiple tax increases, championed immigration reform, and selected a female moderate-at-best Supreme Court justice. Such a president could hardly expect his approval ratings to do much better than 50 percent. On this 100th anniversary of the birth of conservative icon Ronald Reagan, a president who has violated conservative principles so thoroughly has to be particularly enraging. Except that the president just described was Ronald Reagan."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egypt

In this interview with Amy Goodman at Democracy Now, Noam Chomsky has some insightful comments on what's happening in Egypt -

An excerpt:
"NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, first of all, what’s happening is absolutely spectacular. The courage and determination and commitment of the demonstrators is remarkable. And whatever happens, these are moments that won’t be forgotten and are sure to have long-term consequences, as the fact that they overwhelmed the police, took Tahrir Square, are staying there in the face of organized pro-Mubarak mobs, organized by the government to try to either drive them out or to set up a situation in which the army will claim to have to move in to restore order and then to maybe install some kind of military rule, whatever."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

John Forte'

Another one of my favorite things - the great John Forte'