Friday, June 29, 2012

Right wing takes flight

One of the great things about the Supreme Court ruling Thursday on "Obamacare" was the reaction from the deranged elements of the far-right-wing fringe.

Kudos to, an otherwise middle or the road website, for compiling the top 10 lunatic statements.

A sampling: "This is the greatest destruction of individual liberty since Dred Scott. This is the end of America as know it. No exaggeration." -- Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large of

The comments after stories on the Wall Street Journal were also fun to read since many of the commenters have a tenuous grab on reality.

One sample: "It's like I woke one morning and found myself in the Soviet Union. How do I get my  country back." -- Susan Plonsky.

Well, you can move back to the Soviet Union or what's left of it.

Unfortunately, Fox doesn't let us see the comments to their articles. Usually, the comments are extremely racist, which, amazingly, is embarrassing to the honchos at Fox News.

There is also this little bit: "Pro-'Life' Republican Screams in Joy at (False) News of Millions Losing Healthcare."

Of course, it didn't help that Fox News and CNN rushed to mis-inform their viewers to what the Supreme Court actually ruled.

Republicans demonstrated that they were united, not for America, but against Obama.

But is the mandate a tax? And, what did Mitt do in Massachusetts?

Well, here's your answer.

The Mitt-wit said: "...  either buy the insurance or pay your own way; don’t be free-riders.”

Oh, and by the way, the mandate/tax affects few Americans.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Health care for all

Roberts: The new 'swing' justice
If there was an indication how the Supreme Court would rule on "Obamacare," it appeared Monday during the ruling on Arizona's immigration law.

Justice Antonin Scalia went completely off the rails in assailing President Obama for not deporting children of illegal immigrants.

Scalia seemed edgier than normal when he delivered his rant where he defended the very principles in decisions that were used to uphold slavery.

I suspected then that Scalia was expressing anger over losing the bigger issue delivered today on the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In fact, Scalia wrote what he thought was the majority opinion on Obamacare.

But, Chief Justice John Roberts apparently stiffed Scalia to show him that he's the boss of the high court.

Roberts will now go down in right-wing lore as another traitor to the cause.

What cause?

Well, the cause to discriminate against women, people of color and those without the means to object.

It's always funny to read Supreme Court decisions because the justices try their darndest to find some line, or their interpretation of a phrase in the Constitution to justify their opinions, which only shows how imperfect the Constitution really is.

The "commerce clause" of the Constitution was used to justify all sorts of legislation including Obamacare.

But, in a major shift, Roberts did not defend Obamacare through the commerce clause, but rather through the government's constitutional right to tax its citizens.

In other words, Roberts wants to let Congress know that he favors a much more limited interpretation of the commerce clause, which could have a profound effect on future decisions.

Still, Roberts, like many chief justices before him including Warren Burger, found himself as the surprise "swing" justice siding with "liberal" justices on major issues this week because he found their arguments more persuasive.

The Supreme Court, like any institution, is always ruled by politics and personalities.

In the Arizona immigration case and the ACA, Roberts leaned left of center. Perhaps, Roberts is tiring of Scalia's antics, Clarence Thomas' muteness and Samuel Alito's narrow-mindedness. Or, maybe Roberts is looking out for his own legacy as someone who can read the writing on the wall and doesn't need any document to tell him what it says.

Judging from the high court's oral arguments on the ACA, most everyone assumed that the law was going down to defeat.

House Speaker John Boehner thought so and warned Republican members to avoid high-fiving after the expected smackdown. Oops.

And, the Mitt-wit Romney, who championed the health insurance mandate as governor of Massachusetts, now claims, if elected president, he'll get rid of Obamacare. Will the Mitt-wit ask for a do-over in the Bay State as well?

I'm sure the ruling today will galvanize the Republican base that wasn't thrilled with the Mitt-wit as the GOP nominee.

But, being stridently against Obama or Obamacare or anything associated with Democrats is not a sure-fire way to attract the ever-important "independent" voter.

In fact, it will likely turn them off. At some point, you have to be for something.

Trying to undo Obamacare doesn't exactly scream "job creation."

If it's the economy, stupid, then Congress should be working on creating jobs, not repealing Obamacare that the high court has upheld as constitutional.

Otherwise, whatever despair right-wingnuts feel today will become quadrupled in November.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another black eye for Apple

Remember when 1984 wasn't going to be like 1984?
The New York Times is relentless in reporting how the iEconomy enriches the few at the expense of the many.

In this case, it involves Apple workers in the U.S., not China, who suffer low comparative wages, workdays without breaks and dismissal for getting sick.

In essence, salesmen and women, called "specialists," at the sleek-white Apple stores earn about as much as real apple pickers in Washington State.

In a story titled "Apple's Retail Army, Long on Loyalty but Short on Pay," the Times notes that one worker at an Apple store in New Hampshire sold more than $750,000 worth of product in a three-month span. Yet, he makes $11.25 an hour and no commission.

Meanwhile, the long story notes, Apple CEO Tim Cook made the equivalent of $570 million last year.

Welcome to income disparity, American style.

Also, there is no reason for a decent salesperson to work for Apple when you barely make enough money to live on.

You would make more at Costco, a company that does quite well and pays its employees decently.

It is "cool," though, to use Apple products and even cooler to work at a place that only sells Apple products.

But, cool has its price, for the buyer and the lowly seller.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The greatest athlete in the world

Eaton set world decathlon record in the 100 meters on Friday
Ashton Eaton of Bend, Ore., broke the world record in the decathlon at the Olympic trials in Eugene today and can now claim the title as "the world's greatest athlete."

Eaton also owns the world record in the heptathlon.

Along the way over the past two days, Eaton set world decathlon records in the 100 meters and the long jump.

In fact, his long jump of 27 feet was better than any competitor in the long jump competition.

Obviously, Eaton also set the new American record held by Dan O'Brien, who achieved his feat 20 years ago.

Coincidentally, O'Brien hailed from another small, isolated town in Oregon: Klamath Falls.

O'Brien was on hand to congratulate Eaton on the 100th-anniversary of the Olympic decathlon event, won famously by the greatest athlete of all time, Jim Thorpe, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Like, O'Brien, Eaton is bi-racial.

Eaton becomes only the second man to cross the 9,000-point threshold and he did so under rainy conditions.

Eaton graduated from Mountain View High School in Bend and also the University of Oregon in Eugene, where he was a five-time NCAA champion.

In high school, Eaton nearly won the state title for Mountain View all by himself.

Today's record is a phenomenal achievement for Eaton that coaches in La Pine, where Eaton spent his formative years, in Bend and at UO, can all share in the moment.

Congratulations to all involved.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mitt's outsourcing problem

'You should see how little we pay the Chinese'
The Mitt-wit is in trouble on a number of fronts, from immigration to job creation.

As part of his myth as a "job creator," Mitt has been touting his time as the main man at Bain Capital.

Well, as is always the case with Republicans, facts get in the way.

The Washington Post, whose own polls skew toward Republicans, published a story June 22, with the headline: "Romney's Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas."

The news isn't that startling.

Bain Capital came of age, in the '80s-'90s, when American companies saw the huge value in exploiting workers in a changing China. This now-hybrid communist/capitalist country, along with much of its citizenry, welcomed such exploitation.

As Chinese workers realize, though, that they can't afford to purchase the products they produce, they will become even more disenchanted with their lot in life. Unrest is likely to follow.

It's something that they'll have in common with American workers.

America was founded on slavery and, while slavery per se no longer exists, terrible exploitation of workers exists from China to India to Mexico.

The choice for American voters is this: Do you want a president, like the Mitt-wit, who knows how to make millions sending jobs overseas or do you want a president, like Barack Obama, trying to bring those jobs back home to America.

In other words, do you want to be unemployed and forced to buy your basic necessities at Walmart, which only sells goods made in China and other foreign countries, or do you want to have a job in America and be able to buy from any American store you choose?

I think the answer is obvious.

The Mitt-wit represents the 1 percent and wants to increase the American unemployment rate by outsourcing even more American jobs overseas.

President Obama represents the 99 percent and wants more Americans to have decent jobs here at home.

I'm backing Barack.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Realtors push hike in property tax

There is no real estate transfer tax (RETT) in Oregon and there doesn't seem to be one on the horizon anytime soon.

But, that hasn't stopped Realtors from asking voters to block imposition of any real estate transfer tax in the future. 

A RETT is a tax shared by buyers and sellers when a property is sold and it helps fund government, which finances such things as road construction, public education and public safety.

Oregon has no sales tax.

So, it leaves income and property taxpayers to carry the heaviest freight of government funding. And, the income tax has only been raised once in the past century.

But, what Realtors are saying is that if government needs more money, just jack up property taxes more. Oh, and just increase the tax on residential, but not commercial, property.

It's the same argument used by the beer lobby, which has successfully blocked any increase in Oregon's beer tax, one of the lowest in the country.

Put the burden of government funding on property owners, they say, not us.

What happens, then, is that homeowners get enraged about their escalating property taxes and vote no on property tax measures placed before them.

This, in turn, further depletes government resources, which leads to crumbling roadways, inferior schools, particularly in higher education, and decreased public safety.

In other words, the overall "quality of life" diminishes, which apparently doesn't mean much to Realtors, who, nevertheless, use "quality of life" as a major selling point, particularly in Central Oregon.

The reason why Realtors don't want a real estate transfer tax is that it can be used as a bargaining chip during negotiations.

"Yo, you eat the RETT and I'll take the rest."

Basically, it could slightly reduce the ridiculously high commissions Realtors extort for doing little, actual work. That is the only reason why Realtors are opposed to a RETT.

In reality, there is no evidence that a RETT kills real estate sales.

But, what it can do is slow down the "flipping" process by which Realtors and some builders try to cash in on a hot market.

We saw what happened to Central Oregon during our hot times in the last decade where, thanks to speculators like Realtors, Bend became the most over-valued real estate market in the country.

Naturally, during the crash, Bend then led the nation in plummeting home prices, which led to foreclosures and bankruptcies by the score.

A RETT won't eliminate such irresponsible behavior by the realty and building sectors, but it could put a slight damper on real estate speculation that eventually devastates a community.

And, a RETT could actually improve the vaunted "quality of life" by helping fund government services.

You would think a Bend Realtor would be in favor of such a thing.

In any case, vote against anything a Realtor proposes this November.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Knopp proves he's a dope

When the Koch brothers donate to your campaign, they expect something in return.

So it is with Tim Knopp, who dislodged a competent fellow Republican in the May primary for a state senate seat from the Bend area.

He did so with money from the Koch brothers, who are spending millions to unseat President Obama.

A pet project of the Koch brothers, who are multimillionaires, is to get rid of the estate tax, which only affects the very rich like the Koch brothers.

So, Knopp, which indeed rhymes with dope, is now pushing the repeal of the estate tax in Oregon.

The claim is that the poor "family" farmer won't be able to pass their farm onto their heirs because of our "extreme" estate taxes.

And how many family farms have been lost to the estate tax in Oregon?


How man family farms have been lost to the estate tax across America?


It is a completely bogus claim perpetuated by a media too stupid to properly inform it readers, viewers or listeners.

But, what would a repeal of the Oregon estate tax mean for government services in Oregon?

Well, it would mean one less week of school for all public school students. Knopp doesn't care about public schools, or public universities, because he home-schools his kids.

It would mean less money for higher education. Yes, that means there would be no money for the expansion of OSU-Cascades in Bend, a supposedly pet project of folks like Knopp.

Why do these ignorant conservatives think that if there is less money for education at all levels, that it will somehow expand educational opportunities?

Well, it won't.

If you want a full-fledged, four-year university in Bend, you're going to have to pay for it.

You can't borrow your way to get it and you can't get rid of the estate tax to fund it.

You have to pay for it.

Get it.

Pay for it, through taxes like the estate tax.

Knopp has demonstrated once again that he does not belong anywhere near state government or any government since he is opposed to the foundation of our government.

The estate tax separates us from the old aristocracies of Europe.

You want another revolution? Get rid of the estate tax and we'll get one.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lazy local media

We have an international story in Central Oregon, but you have to read The Oregonian in Portland to get much information.

A Crook County man, apparently in his 50s and has no name, was infected with the bubonic plague from the family's cat after it came back, from a few days' absence, looking ill.

The man is in critical condition at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.

And that's all we know from local media. The story has shown up on websites in countries throughout the world.

Local media types apparently rely on government handouts for what to report.

Well, how about locating Prineville on a map, drive the 45 miles to get there and make some inquiries.

I'm sure reporters could find where this man lived. They could talk to his family and his neighbors.

Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control were there. They even have the cat, who died.

What about St. Charles? What additional precautions has the hospital implemented knowing they have a man there with a highly contagious disease that wiped out a third of Europe's population about 500 years ago?

Yes, antibiotics can greatly minimize the danger to those infected with the plague today. Yet, this guy was still in critical condition on Friday, almost a week after the story broke.

It is harder to get information these days on health-related issues, but it does not mean that the local media should throw up its hands and say, oh well.

But, as struggling newspapers scale back coverage to match understaffed TV and radio stations, we get less news that's fit to report.

Obviously, it means that we can find the news we want on the internet.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Myth of liberal media

Below is an infographic that shows how six corporations control 90 percent of the media today.

Nearly 30 years ago, that same percentage was held by 50 different companies.

The big six are: GE, News Corp., Disney, Viacom, Time-Warner and CBS.

Let's be blunt: None of those six cares about fairness, accuracy or the truth.

They are interested in the same thing JP Morgan Chase is: profit, no matter what the cost.

If profit means catering to racists, sexists, homophobes, birthers or teabaggers, then so be it.

Whatever brings in the ratings, which means advertisers, which means the green, is the only operating principle that exists.

The only liberal voice among the big six is MSNBC, which is owned by GE.

And, GE has zero interest in the liberal viewpoint. It allows MSNBC to skew to the left, the way Fox embraces the right-wingnuts, because there are too few viewers to get exercised about. MSNBC is an indulgence by GE to show America how "liberal" the "mainstream" media is.

For those who think CBS is liberal, well, you clearly don't watch CBS.

Thank god we have the internet to get viewpoints, that are ignored and even suppressed by the big six, out into the open.

Naturally, the big six want to control the internet, too.

Thankfully, the genie is out of the bottle and there is no going back.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The presidential race today

It always helps to have more information, rather than less (unless you're a Fox News devotee), to make informed decisions on the presidential race.

With that being said, I have to turn to the guru of political prognosticators, Nate Silver, for his near mid-June report.

Nate's Nov. 6 electoral vote count, as of 9:44 p.m. on June 12, was 289.4 for President Obama versus  248.6 for Mitt Romney.

Obviously, since it only takes 270 EVs to win the presidency, Obama is definitely ahead.

But, it is close.

Real Clear Politics, which skews conservative, shows Obama ahead of Romney by 221 to 170, with Obama having a 62 percent chance of winning.

This is similar to Intrade, which shows Obama at 53 percent to Romney's 43 percent.

Again, the popular vote at Nate's site, which shows a much closer race, 50.4 to 48.5, is irrelevant.

Over at CNN, which is a completely lost network, Obama has 247 EVs to Romney's 206.

The Huffington Post, which skews Democratic, shows Obama ahead, 270 to 191.

The national polls show a mixed bag and they don't really reflect that the battleground states of Ohio, Florida and Virginia, will likely decide the next president. At RCP, Obama is ahead in Ohio and Virginia.

Meanwhile, it looks as if the Democrat will retain Gabby Giffords' seat in Arizona.

Thank god for small victories.

The fix was in and we're not surprised

A story in The Oregonian shows how the Northwest got hosed by high gas prices this spring and that it was price-fixing at its worst.

How bad was it?

Well, the guy who helped expose Enron's bogus business model says we were had to the tune of $48 million -- per day.


Even some of our federal lawmakers are calling for an investigation.

No one is surprised that we live under an "oiligarchy."

Still, this is an outrage.

Talk about trying to kill a recovery. Big Oil, along with big banks, sure don't want the Northwest's economy to rebound.

Too bad we won't nationalize our banks and oil companies. But, that's what they deserve.

This is all the more reason why President Obama should get re-elected because these institutions are doing everything they can to thwart him.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Beer, pot and spirits, oh my!

When Washington state voters approved privatizing their hard liquor business last November, they didn't expect that the price of vodka or tequila would actually increase by up to 30 percent this spring.

That's because they were smart in Washington to tax alcohol sales to replace tax revenues lost to privatization.

It's something that Oregon could implement should the alcohol-privatization hysteria sweep this state, too. Oregon has enough state-run liquor stores in every town to satisfy the most craven desires, but it's never enough. Beer and wine are already sold everywhere.

So far, though, those clamoring for the sale of the hooch at every store possible are either an alcoholic or a libertarian, or both.

As long as we tax all alcohol, beer and wine too, to the hilt like we do cigarettes, I'm all in favor of selling it anywhere.

In fact, don't stop there. Completely legalize marijuana as long as it is taxed appropriately to discourage over-consumption.

The problem with marijuana, though, is that anyone can grow it and they don't need to buy it at a store.

Of course, people can brew beer at home and plenty of them do, but it has had almost no impact on store sales.

Bend has become a beer hub with a new brewpub or brewery opening every month, or so it seems from the breathless news coverage.

Since the logging industry died around here about 20 years ago, and since the housing market is in a prolonged slump, Bend 's beer production is the new big thing.

The local community college offers classes to cater to the beer-maker, amateur and pro alike.

But, why stop at beer. There are plenty of vacant retail stores here that could house sophisticated marijuana-growing operations along with trendy retail fronts from which to sell the weed, pre-rolled or in bulk.

The community college could expand its educational offerings to include marijuana cultivation and pot sales strategies.

Then, when we legalize casinos and prostitution, both taxed of course, Bend could return to its roots as a rollicking frontier town.

It's pro-business and pro-growth.

And tourism, our main "stable" industry, would really attract a diverse crowd.

Think of the jobs! Think of the tax revenues!

And, we won't be thinking of anything else.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Killing health care reform

When the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, kills the Affordable Care Act known as "Obamacare," or upholds it 7-2, meaning the war over health care flares anew, it would be nice, but unrealistic, to think we could finally achieve a "single-payer" system in this country.

Big business, those not connected to health insurance or pharmaceutical companies, are in favor of a single-payer system similar to Medicare.

Recently, the Big Three automakers and the auto-workers' union signed a letter to the government that national health care should be "preserved and renewed."

Of course, we're talking about Canada. And yes, we're talking about General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler.

Here are some highlights from the joint letter:

"Canada's publicly funded health care system provides essential and affordable health care services for all Canadians, regardless of their income. Publicly funded health care also enhances Canada's economic performance in several important ways."

"Workers in the auto industry, and in the many manufacturing and service industries which supply automakers, benefit directly from access to public health care services. Thanks to this system, they are healthier and more productive. Employers in the auto industry, meanwhile, enjoy significant total labour cost savings because most health care services are supplied through public programs (rather than through private insurance plans.)"

"The public health care system significantly reduces total labour costs for automobile manufacturing firms, compared to the cost of equivalent private insurance services purchased by U.S.-based automakers; these health insurance savings can amount to several dollars per hour of labour worked. Publicly funded health care thus accounts for a significant portion of Canada's overall labour cost advantage in auto assembly, versus the U.S., which in turn has been a significant factor in maintaining and attracting new auto investment to Canada."

"For both employers and workers in the auto industry, it is vitally important that the publicly funded health care system be preserved and renewed, on the existing principles of universality, accessibility, portability, comprehensiveness, and public administration."

As they have learned in Canada, a government single-payer health care system is far more efficient than private insurance plans, plus the health outcomes are better.

Here's a link to well-documented story on how Medicare in America is more efficient than private insurance companies.

Topics in the piece include:

1) Medicare has controlled costs better than private insurance.

2) Medicare has lower administrative costs than private plans.

3) So-called "competition" in the private health care market has driven costs up.

4) Medicare is publicly accountable, private plans are not.

Anyone who has private health insurance, whether through a government employer or on your own, knows that your costs increase about 20 percent a year, while your coverage decreases about 20 percent a year.

Does anyone know a doctor whose income increases 20 percent every year?


That money goes in the pocket of health care executives, some who "earn" in excess of $20 million per year for increasing insurance premiums while denying coverage. 

It's a crooked system that needs to be destroyed. 

"Obamacare" won't get the chance to prove its worth, but it doesn't matter since it is not a single-payer system.

Canada, and other industrialized nations, know that a single-payer system works. 

For a comprehensive and authoritative account on how America's health care system stacks up next to other developed countries, check out T.R. Reid's "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care."

Or, you can wait for the Romney-Ryan health care plan, which essentially eliminates Medicare so that executives at insurance companies can make a few more millions per year.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The end of unions?

With unions unable to recall the governor of Wisconsin on Tuesday, the coffin is starting to close.

But, to say that unions were ever this monstrous force in the political arena is largely hysterics.

During their heyday in the late 1940s through the early 1950s, when a somewhat-stable middle class finally emerged in America, unions represented less than a third of the workforce. 

Today, that margin is down to under 12 percent

But, what about the public unions?

Yes, they still exist, but only about 37 percent of public workers are unionized compared to 6.9 percent in the private sector.

To quote from the report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

"Over half of the 14.8 million union members in the U.S. lived in just seven states (California, 2.4 million; New York, 1.9 million; Illinois, 0.9 million; Pennsylvania, 0.8 percent; Michigan, 0.7 million; and New Jersey and Ohio, 0.6 million each)."

So, to suggest that unions ruined our economy, and our state budgets, is ridiculous.

If there were no unions in America, our economy would be in worse shape and workers would make dramatically less money with few benefits.

Of course, that is what is happening. Unemployment is high and low-wage jobs are replacing high-wage jobs. 

Public-sector employment has dropped more dramatically under President Obama than any other president. Since February 2009, public employment has dropped by 608,000 workers, mostly at the state and local level where it does the most damage to the economy. There was spike from the stimulus in 2010, but that is now long gone.

Health insurance now comes with high deductibles. Yes, even for public-union workers. 

Retirement benefits, in the form of 401(k) for private-sector workers and 403(b) for public-sector workers, proved to be gifts to the pit bosses at the gambling meccas on Wall Street.

The real lesson to be learned form Wisconsin is this: The Republican governor, backed by out-of-state billionaires like the Koch brothers, out-raised the "union-backed" Democratic challenger by the tune of $30.5 million to $3.9 million.

Big money wins big elections. 

And, the biggest money by far, as always, comes from the corporate sector.

End of story.

Update: Except that Stephen Colbert, and his passel of 17 writers, had their say.

Monday, June 4, 2012

GOP class warfare: pit worker vs worker

The ones shouting the loudest about "class warfare" usually represent the interests of the 1 percent.

In other words, they represent the folks who won this "class warfare" long ago.

The GOP and its media outlet, Fox News, try to frame "class warfare" as an attack upon the wealthy, the very people, who through their largesse, bestow humble work upon their servants.

Yeah, the poor "job creators" are being attacked for creating jobs overseas rather than in America.

The way to divert attention away from the 1 percent is to pit worker against worker. These means public versus private worker and non-union worker versus union worker.

In essence, by keeping middle class workers fighting among themselves for the scraps leftover by the 1 percent, these workers won't have the energy or the will to fight the 1 percent for redress on the staggering income inequality in this country.

So in Wisconsin on Tuesday, voters will likely reject the recall of the Republican governor because the debate has been successfully framed as: Dammit, I've lost my private job during this great recession, and you greedy union workers should lose yours, too.

It's a classic divide and conquer strategy that almost always works.

The working class really can't comprehend the wealth of the 1 percent, like a home elevator for cars, but middle class workers do understand fellow members in their class. It's plain for them to see someone like them keep their job, health insurance and retirement benefits, while they are losing theirs. And, this angers them.

So, it's easier to fight someone you know, rather than someone you don't know.

This is one of the main reasons why the 1 percent remain largely untouched during these hard times.

The GOP is still looking out for the interests of the 1 percent, which can only be maintained if more tax dollars are shifted, under the Ryan plan, from the have-nots to the haves.

To have it otherwise, is called socialism.

But, what we have now is "corporate socialism," where corporations evade paying any taxes at all, and are subsidized to stay in business with the ruse that all those workers will be paying taxes.

It's gotten so bad that more than 2,700 companies in 16 states keep state income taxes that they collect from their workers. Workers are paying their bosses to have a job when they think their tax dollars are going for the collective good of society.

In turn, less money is paid to the government, which then reduces services such as education and infrastructure improvement. By reducing funding for these basic, yet critical components of a viable society, we ultimately witness a society in decline.

What happens in Wisconsin will pave the way for fewer government services in the future at a time when people will demand more from their government.

What the 1 percent really enjoy is seeing the masses railing against their government.

Which leads to this question: Why do the 1 percent defenders hate America so much that they want to see it decline?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Presidential race tightening

The money folks at Intrade show that the presidential race is indeed tightening.

Last month, President Obama was sitting pretty at around 60 with the Mitt-wit in the mid- to upper-30s.

Well, Obama is now down around 53.3 while Mitt is rising to 42.6.

Yes, things are trending in Mitt's favor,  even the national polls are moving his way, but he is still behind. When the odds for election is 54 to 43 at Intrade, it still favors Obama.

Plus, Real Clear Politics still has Obama at 237 electoral votes and only 170 EVs for Mitt.

This means that Obama needs only 33 EVs to win re-election. Mitt hasn't budged from 170.

Much has been written about the gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin and what it means for the presidential race in November.

Prediction: Obama wins Wisconsin easily.

He also takes Michigan, which some see as in play. No way.

The battle, as always, is Ohio. Obama holds a tenuous lead at this point, but it is almost certain that Mitt will pick Ohio Sen. Rob Portman as his running mate so that he has a great chance in capturing the Buckeye State.

Nevermind that Portman is a lily-white male like Mitt. The only thing that matters is carrying the state of Ohio.

Mitt is assuming he'll carry Florida, even without Sen. Marco Rubio as his running mate. But, it's an assumption Mitt can't afford to make.

The path to the White House, in electoral votes, is limited for Mitt. He knows it.

Mitt, though, is struggling to define himself to the electorate. The Obama campaign is doing a good job, like Bush II did to John Kerry, of defining Mitt. He's the type of person who destroyed our economy. Why would you want him back.

It's an accurate portrayal. Plus, the Obama campaign hasn't really exploited the fact the Mitt is a RINO, who championed Obamacare before Obama was even president. Or, the fact that Mitt "believes in America" so much that he keeps his money in foreign accounts. Or, that he is a leader in the Mormon church who could impose his Mormon beliefs upon America.

Mitt's negatives outweigh his positives.

Mitt knows that his fate rests on Ohio and Florida. If he loses either one, he has no chance of becoming president. If he wins both, he still needs Colorado, New Hampshire and New Mexico to break his way.

They won't and Mitt will lose.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Faith and doubt

On the religious front, there are many stories and personal essays on the web that reveal how much we have in common and how far we are apart.

Since we have a Mormon elder running for president, it's worth checking out this piece on titled: "But I'm a good Mormon wife."

The comments after it are also worth reading.

Speaking of Salon, here's a provocative essay, titled "The Sound of Sin," on how a radio led to the end of an orthodox Jewish marriage. Fascinating stuff here for those of us who know nothing about this segment of society.

Naturally, like most closed societies, orthodox Jews fear the internet, not just for porn, but for the truth that can found on the worldwide web.

Which leads to a piece in the New York Times on how child sex abuse cases in orthodox Jewish communities are dealt with differently.

Speaking of abuse, this leads to a discussion of the ongoing saga of sex abuse cases in the Catholic church, this time in Philadelphia.

This, of course, leads to the new saga of American Catholic nuns versus the Vatican.

I side with the nuns on this issue because they hold the moral high ground.

Meanwhile, there was an excommunication from Scientology. Who knew?

I'll close with Gotye's "State of the Art." It doesn't relate to anything above. And that's a good thing.