Time To End Welfare

If I linger for a moment the Right wingers will see the title and will jump to my side, pat me on the back as a well informed “liberal”…..(linger…..Linger….Linger)……

But they would be premature in doing so…..for I am not talking about the welfare that the Reaganites have hated for 50 years…if you are old enough then you will remember the “welfare Queens” the the GOP have been attacking for decades……those poor people that use benefits provided by the government.

Nope the “welfare” I am referring to is corporate welfare…..these are the programs that give lots of aid to corporations….tax, breaks, subsidies……”gimmes” tho corporations that do not need them to continue to perform……

Every Congress we have this debate about the deficit and of course to the GOP it is all that money given to poor people through direct payments or programs that is causing the problem.

You see if your payments out weigh your income then you have a deficit…..and since the income for the nation comes from taxes then lower taxes does little but make the deficit higher….and yet we keep playing the same game because corporations want it so….time for that to change….

A day after President Donald Trump touted his “scam” tax proposal, the Institute for Policy Studies’ #PayUpCorps campaign highlighted needs in infrastructure, healthcare, and other sectors that could be paid for with all the money corporations stand to save under the Koch brothers’-backed tax plan.

Trump and Republican leaders in Congress hope to cut the corporate tax rate from an already low 35 percent to 20 percent—though the Institute on Tax and Economic Policy has found that many Fortune 500 companies effectively already pay only about 20 percent of their profits in taxes, and contrary to Republican promises, the savings don’t lead to job creation.

Source: #PayUpCorps Campaign Highlights All Nation Could Do If Corporations Paid Their Fair Share | Common Dreams

And we have this conversation every Congress and the GOP usually wins in some form or another…..Trump has a tax plan as well…..and guess what nothing new….

Each of the four principles Trump claims will inform what he calls “tax reform” is actually mocked in the plans the administration is cooking up behind closed doors.

The only question is whether Americans are gullible enough to buy what Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republicans are selling. And whether Democrats will unite to expose the con and demand progressive tax reforms that are long overdue.

Source: Trump’s Tax Plan Is a Confidence Scam | By Robert Borosage | Common Dreams

I have given my idea for a tax reform….simply put….everyone pays their fair share and the deficits will shrink…..it is really not that hard to grasp…..

Of course a more realistic budget would help with those darn deficits….that will be a post for another op-ed.

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ANTIFA: Out Of The Shadows

A few weeks ago it was reported that a few thousand neo-Nazis, KKK and other assorted fascists were going to Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee…….with that report a group known as ANTIFA decided that they would show up to protest the protest.

Before we go any further maybe here would be a good place to define the ANTIFA for those that know mlittle of this organization……

They wear black pants and sweatshirts, with either helmets or hoods over their heads, bandanas across their faces — and dark sunglasses, goggles or gas masks over their eyes. Many carry makeshift shields and flags, whose staffs can quickly become weapons.

They call themselves “antifa,” short for anti-fascist, and they’re part of a loosely organized national network of anonymous anarchists. The movement during much of this decade has been a common sight at Bay Area protests spurred by police shootings, the Occupy Wall Street movement and Donald Trump’s election as president.

The primary goal is to stop neo-Nazis and white supremacists from gaining a platform rather than to promote a specific antifa agenda. The antifa groups are decidedly anti-racist, anti-sexist and anti-homophobia, but also by and large socially leftist and anti-capitalist.  Yes, we can assume that if they are anti-fascist then they may well be anarchist, socialists, etc….the natural enemy of fascists.

Fore decades the neo-Nazis have been protesting with shield, clubs and violence and in that time only the JDL stood in their way…..so if a armed group should want to protest why not a counter-protest that is also armed?

First nit was Charlottesville and a week later Berkeley….and as was predictable….it turned violent…..

Recently, at the anti-Alt-Right rally in Berkeley, I watched groups of masked Antifa members in Black Bloc formation swarm individuals who were apparently antagonizing them, and pummel them with their fists, feet, and flagpoles. When the victims tried to escape, they were run down, and in at least one case, cut off by the Antifa mob and beaten down some more.

In the incidents I witnessed, about five or six Antifa members at a time participated in the attacks, while perhaps 50 others stood behind them, forming an impenetrable wall that blocked bystanders from intervening, or documenting the violence on camera. Those people would also help chase the victims when they fled.

Source: The Ugly Side of Antifa – LA Progressive

The neo-Nazis have been labeled a terrorist group or call it hate if like, but now will the ANTIFA be so labeled?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has formally classified the activities of anti-fascist groups (antifa) as “domestic terrorist violence” since early 2016, according to confidential law enforcement documents obtained by Politico and interviews.

Federal authorities have reportedly warned state and local officials the antifa has become “increasingly confrontational” in efforts to thwart white supremacist groups.

Source: Are the Antifa Terrorists?

Personally, I am glad to see a group show up that will not take the bullies gruff…..I do not believe that non-violence will counter the tactics of the neo-Nazis……and it is good to see someone that will step up to the task.

War: The Untold Story

The US has been at war for most of the 20th century and into the 21st century…..these we are fighting out longest war ever……Afghanistan has been raging for damn near 17 years.

I have been writing about my opposition to these wars for a decade now……

The MSM reports our successes and some of our failures and in most of that time the one issue that seems to be ignored is that of the death of civilians.

Others as well as myself see the useless death of civilians as a major problem that is growing exponentially….in the last week the stories are such…..

For the second day in a row, US and NATO forces have deliberately attacked civilian houses known to contain civilian bystanders in an attempt to target Taliban fighters. Yesterday’s strike took place in Herat, where warplanes hit a Taliban compound, then targeting a whole neighborhood because the Taliban fighters scattered and they figured they were in some of those homes. 16 civilians were among the slain.

Today’s attack was further east, in Logar, where a US helicopter had decided Taliban fighters had taken shelter inside a civilian house, and fired missiles into it. 11 civilians were slain in the attack, which NATO promised to look into. There was no report of Taliban casualties, despite the pretext for the attack.

(antiwar.com)

The military got its body count unfortunately none of the dead were Taleban.

Then the news from Somalia……

A joint US-Somali raid on the farming village of Barire a week ago left 10 civilians dead, all of them executed one at a time by the troops. Today, after a week of disputes, the Somali national government finally admitted to the incident, and promised compensatory payments to the survivors.

Locals brought the slain to the capital of Mogadishu for display, and protested the killings, with provincial officials supporting their demands. Ultimately, the national government agreed to admit to the incident, pay “blood money” both for slain civilians and cattle, and to help resolve the tribal dispute in a way that wouldn’t lead to further massacres.

(antiwar.com)

“Blood Money” will be covered by the US no doubt…..”Hush Money” is a better term….

Then there is Syria…Raqqa to be exact……

UN officials are warning that the city’s population is paying an “unacceptable price” from the US airstrikes, and that continued US bombardment may be in violation of international law as a result. The US has been trying to back an invasion of Raqqa against ISIS.

An estimated 20,000 civilians remain in Raqqa, and the US has labeled them “human shields.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that in just the month of August they’d documented 151 civilian deaths from the US-led invasion and US airstrikes.

(antiwar.com)

These are just the results from last week and this thing has been on-going for more than a decade…bombs do not distinguish good from bad.

This is a humanitarian crisis that the West will not acknowledge their part in creating.

The whole world should be angered at the deaths of women and children for no other reason that they were in the neighborhood.

North Korea

My normal region of focus is the Middle East…..I never studied other regions much at all….but since North Korea and the world are having a good shouting match I have decided my horizons.

The news these days is fascinating…..one day it is Russia….the next DACA…..the next North Korea….all this while two or three major conflicts are being fought daily with little notice.

As it is today we have two macho bullies showing who has the biggest penis.

North Korea in the last couple of years has exploded several large nuke weapons and fired off many missiles to show their resolve…..and of course as a retort the US has shown its cajones by threatening all sorts of retaliation.

Their latest missile firing has indicated that they are progressing well and has struck the fear of the spirits in Japan…..

President Trump on Wednesday followed up on his “all options are on the table” warning to North Korea by suggesting that negotiations are not one of those options. “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years,” he tweeted. “Talking is not the answer!” It’s not clear what Trump means by “extortion money,” notes the New York Times. The new warning follows the North’s decision to fire a ballistic missile over Japan for the first time, and an analysis at 38 North sees a potentially “ominous” clue in the test results: The missile flew a relatively short distance of about 1,700 miles. It’s possible engineers deliberately shut down the engine early, but the distance (and reports of the missile breaking into three pieces) suggests a more troubling possibility: Pyongyang is testing something called a “post-boost vehicle” on the missile.

PBVs are standard on US and Russian ICBMs, explains Michael Elleman, because they not only provide an added boost for the payload (some kind of warhead), they also provide for more accuracy. If the North had tested the missile with a PBV, and the test failed, the distance traveled would make sense. If that’s the case, “it is another sign that Pyongyang is deadly serious about developing and fielding nuclear-tipped missiles capable of striking the US mainland, and critical US military bases in the Pacific Ocean,” writes Elleman, who thinks North Korea is a year or two away from posing a credible threat to the US. Meanwhile, the Navy shot down a medium-range ballistic missile during a test off Hawaii, reports NBC News. “We will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves,” says a Pentagon official.

Of course the word coming out of the US is that any attempt to strike an ally would be shear suicide for NK.

But would it be suicide?  What would the US be willing to sacrifice?  LA?  Maybe Chicago?

“Are we really willing to risk Los Angeles or Chicago in retaliation for an attack on a US military base in the region? Probably not,” nuclear strategy specialist Vipin Narang tells the AP. And that’s exactly the calculation that gives North Korea a small shot at “winning” in a nuclear conflict, challenging the assumption that launching a nuclear weapon would be automatic suicide for the country. If North Korea feels threatened to the point of using a nuclear weapon, a first target would likely be a US military base in Japan; North Korea would then use its long-range nukes to threaten the US mainland and avoid a retaliatory strike. Experts say this is Kim Jong Un’s “theory of victory”—one that President Trump may be attempting to combat with an unsuccessful version of the “madman strategy.”

Trump said “all options are on the table.” This was, all things considered, a “measured” response from the president, according to the Atlantic. It was an official statement instead of a tweet, didn’t threaten “fire and fury,” and avoided calling Kim Jong Un a “wack job.”

While this situation is being mulled over by the “experts”……and then NK set off what is being called an “H-Bomb”……..(new twist)……

North Korea detonated a thermonuclear device Sunday in its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date, which it called a “perfect success” as its neighbors condemned it. Though the strength of the blast is undetermined, the artificial earthquake it caused was several times stronger than tremors generated by previous tests. It reportedly shook buildings in China and Russia. The test was carried out at 12:29pm local time at the Punggye-ri site where North Korea has conducted nearly all of its nuclear tests. Seoul put the magnitude at 5.7, while the USGS said it was 6.3. North Korea’s state-run television reported Sunday that Kim Jong Un attended a meeting of the ruling party’s presidium and signed the go-ahead order. Earlier in the day, the party’s newspaper printed photos of Kim examining what it said was a nuclear warhead being fitted onto the nose of an ICBM.

North Korea in July test-launched two ICBMs believed to be capable of reaching the mainland US, reports the AP; this is the North’s first nuclear test since President Trump assumed office. The North claimed the device was a thermonuclear weapon—commonly called an H-bomb. That could be hard to independently confirm. It said the underground test site did not leak radioactive materials, which would make such a determination even harder. The North claims the device was made domestically and has explosive power that can range from tens to hundreds of kilotons. Outside experts suggested the yield might be in that ballpark, though closer to the lower range. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a 15-kiloton yield. Kim, according to the state-run KCNA, claimed all components of the device were domestically produced, which he said means the North can make “as many as it wants.”

What does that mean?

In military planning “all options” are always on the table….matters not the region…all angles must be covered.

Trump’s world becomes a bit more dangerous with each passing Tweet.

Tax Reform—-2017 Edition

Slowly but slowly some fresh air is filtering into DC as the Congress is on their Summer break.

The GOP attempt to ‘repeal and replace”, something they had been harping on for at least 7 years, fell on its face hard….and when they return after Labor Day will try move on to something new?

You guessed it!

It is that time again…..that time when the GOP jumps on the issue of tax reform.  That time ever session when the GOP talks a mean case for protecting jobs and helping hard working Americans.

You do realize that it is all BS, right?

Why?

The Congress has been cutting taxes for 40 years and in all that time the Middle Class has lost out and in all that time the voter falls for the BS every time it is proposed…even though I can see it with every paycheck that it is a LIE!

Oh there will be the usual….tax breaks, tax reform, the corporate tax rate and the ever popular going after that offshore cash and finally the slogan about helping hard working Americans….all have been said before…..every time their is a GOP tax package we hear the same lame promises and slogans.

For instance……the tax package in 2013 and the package that the GOP was championing….

Source: What About Those Pesky Corporate Tax Rates? – In Saner Thought

But do not take my well informed word for it……

This is the joint statement by Ryan and McConnell on the upcoming tax package….

Source: Joint Statement on Tax Reform | Speaker.gov

Let’s be honest, something that the GOP would never consider doing, the package today is the same package from 4 years ago…..the only ones to benefit from this deal will be the wealthy.

Unlike most people that bitch about taxes…..I have on several occasions offered my idea of how to handle taxes and such…….

Since taxation is our major source of income…then everyone who participates in this country should be paying their fair share….

First let’s be real…..anyone that believes the lie of tax cuts for corporations will somehow bring jobs and a better economy is just delusional fools.

Corporations…..a flat 15% corporate tax….no deductions or cuts or breaks…all pay the price.

Corporations should pay the same income tax as the individual or flatten it out to a 15% tax on all income…not on profit…income.  Deductions for employee health plans and buying new equipment only.

Individuals:

$0-50,000 no tax

$50,001-100,000 pays 15%

$100,001-250,00 pays 25%

$250,001-up pays 35%

Deductions to be worked out…but from my plan there will be very limited deductions.

I realize that this is an ambitious plan and will probably never see the light of day in my lifetime….but it is a fair plan and ALL Americans can participate in the prosperity of their country.

But even the Trump White House has those that see the wealthy should be pulling more weight when it comes to taxes….

ex-White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon has an unusual proposal for a Republican: He wants to raise income taxes on the richest Americans.

Specifically, a tax rate of 44 percent on all income over $5 million. Currently, the country’s highest rate is 39.6 percent.

Bannon’s economic views sit noticeably to the left of the GOP donor class. That means there’s scant chance Republicans will take Bannon up on the idea. But if they were smart, they would.

Source: Bannon’s bright idea

Although I do like the idea of them paying 90+% in taxes….but those days are long gone.

We need a truly equatable tax code….not one that hides corporate welfare behind a pile or volumes of legal-ese.

Think Things Are Bad?

Daily news reports tell some that we are in bad times….and yet others think we are doing fine and will progress beyond the stifling partisanship.

For 7 months things have been going downhill….Congress is getting fed up with the president and his agenda (that may be the wrong word for I do not see any agenda in his future)……September will be the tell all….we have a deficit fight coming….we have budgetary fight coming….and in all that is the silliness of tax reform.

But believe it or not things may get a lot worse than we are seeing now…..

For several months following the extraordinary outcome of last year’s presidential election, much of the country found itself stumbling through a severe case of politically inspired post-traumatic stress disorder.

Many anti-Trump conservatives, liberals, progressives, and those further to the left were at first stunned and then consumed by a mixture of outrage and revulsion that showed itself in the enormous protests that followed President Trump’s inauguration. It also fueled spasms of blame-casting, with a rotating cast of characters coming in for abuse: Russian President Vladimir Putin, then-FBI Director James Comey, the press (for unfairly focusing undue attention on Hillary Clinton’s email server management practices), and finally the nearly 63 million Americans who voted to elevate a sociopathic moron to the Oval Office.

Source: Things are going to get much, much worse

Trump’s cooperation with Congress is quickly sliding into a pit…..his mash-up with Senate majority leader McConnell is close to epic……so far House majority leader Ryan has kept a civil tongue in his mouth as if he does not want to make a foe of Trump regardless how bad his agenda is.

Some have been saying that with the departure of Bannon from the White House that the “populist” takeover of the government is done

There’s no questioning that President Trump, after seven months in office, is still talking (and tweeting) like a right-wing populist. Indeed, at his fiery, free-form rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night, the president took repeated angry swipes at the media, suggested he’d pardon strident opponent of illegal immigration ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and even gestured toward “terminating NAFTA at some point.” But beyond such outbursts, which amount to little more than gusts of hot air, the hostile populist takeover of the GOP that Trump promised to lead has come to almost nothing.

That could have momentous consequences for the country — and particularly, for the Democrats.

Source: The end of the hostile populist takeover of the GOP

I do not see much change in the tone from the Trump White House with the departure of the so-called alt-right.

Personally I tire of the “America First” crowd….because it is not about making America great again but rather the pursuit of a small minded perverted ideology.

So the journey began with the Trump victory will continue from day one to the day he leaves office…..however long that is.

A Weasel In The Hen House?

That age old saying could be used to describe the White House of today.

There are factions within the WH…the alt-Right faction and the sane faction……and the latest polls may make it worse…..recent polls say that Trump is losing the conservatives….not necessarily his base but the conservs in a broader sense.

More Republicans will turn against Donald Trump and his politics of populism, a GOP senator and leading critic of the president has predicted, as the Guardian surveys the conservative landscape 200 days into the Trump presidency.

Jeff Flake of Arizona, among 17 conservative politicians, activists, officials and pundits interviewed over two months, revealed that while the president has given rightwing fringe groups a seat at the table, his alliance with his own party remains highly precarious.

Source: The conservatives turning against Donald Trump | US news | The Guardian

To add fuel to this fire word came out that VP Pence had set up a PAC and speculation went crazy about his possible run for the presidency in 2020…..,but he quickly tapped down this speculation…..

Mike Pence is at the center of a juicy DC rumor—and he’s not having it. Per the AP, Pence released a statement Sunday disavowing a New York Times story that reports he’s among Republicans gearing up for a shot at the White House in 2020 should Trump decide not to run for reelection. Pence’s statement said the article “is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team.” It called the allegations “categorically false,” “laughable and absurd,” and described them as an attempt by the media to divide the Trump administration. The Times piece looks at members of the GOP who are possibly laying the groundwork for “shadow campaigns,” citing political maneuvers and fundraising by senators Cotton and Sasse as well as Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

But the article considers Pence at length, calling him the “pacesetter,” with mentions of his fundraising committee recently racking up $1 million at a Washington fundraiser, and his robust political event schedule. It says unnamed advisers to the vice president have indicated to donors that Pence is interested in a presidential bid, but only if Trump doesn’t seek another term. Kellyanne Conway doubled down on Pence’s statement during media rounds, saying, “It is absolutely true the vice president is getting ready for 2020—for reelection as vice president” on ABC’s This Week. A New York Times spokeswoman told the AP in an email statement that the paper is “confident in the accuracy of our reporting and will let the story speak for itself.”

But Pence’s denial rang hallow to at least one GOP strategist, Rick Wilson…..

Republican strategist Rick Wilson on Monday said Pence’s denial rings very hollow — and he predicted that there would be growing support for ousting Trump among Republicans should Trump continue to flounder as president.

“His denial is a full confession of guilt,” Wilson wrote on Twitter Monday. “The ‘Pence is running’ whispers follow months of ‘Pence is a circuit breaker for Trump’s cray’ whispers. Pence is a *major* safety blanket for GOP Members, particularly in the Senate. He’s a kind of ‘But Gorsuch!’ talisman they clutch in the dark, stormy moments of Trump’s most evident instability.”

Source: GOP Strategist Explains Why Pence Is Destined to Betray Trump | Alternet

I agree with Wilson on this….I have been saying since Pence was chosen as Trump’s running mate that he would be a backstabber….at the first opportunity.

I do not like his politics….not because he is a conservative but that he is a theocrat and in my book no better than those imans calling for jihad.  If he is successful at taking the government then he will most likely impose his brand of Christianity on us all.

I said at the beginning and I still feel that he is nothing more than the “weasel in the hen house” waiting for the best opportunity to stab Trump in the back and grab the prize.