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Monday, November 20, 2017

The Right's Dirty Little Secret

"Free Things == Lower Taxes

The right wing in the United States have a number of dirty little secrets. But the biggest dirty secret, is that the wealthy are dependent on government welfare for their wealth and privilege. They love to talk about the mob "demanding Free Things", but it is all projection as it is our wealthy and connected who assume privilege and demand "free things" from Government. Case in point is the con about our Corporate taxes being "higher" than other countries. The truth is that:

  1. Our effective tax rate is already among the lowest.
  2. The cons point to the nominal rate, but the nominal rate is based on the principle of marginal taxation, which differentiates between actual capital, encourages it, and loot, which should be taxed. When they point to closing "loopholes" that is a distraction, as taxes should always be on net income after legitimate expenses and compensation, and most "loopholes" are legitimate except when they are purchased by corporate lobbyists.

  3. The economy does better when the nominal rate is higher!
  4. Our economy has done better when the nominal rate was even higher. Corporations do not hire people, pay higher compensation or any good deeds in any quantity, out of the goodness of their hearts. Lowering the rates means more stock buy backs, dividends and more money for the CEO, but almost none will "trickle down". The hucksters advancing this fraud are lying.

  5. If you want higher pay for employees, then subsidize payroll and punish substandard wages.
  6. Don't give more money to Oligarchs. It is a simple as that. If you want corporations to be better citizens, put it in the law and punish them financially when they break it. If you don't want them to cheat, hold cheaters liable, incentivize whistle blowers and auditors, and make it profitable to do the right thing. Simple things like a finder fee on reporting fraud. Of course our current corporate climate incentivizes bad behavior.

So the first dirty little secret is that the corporate culture in our country thinks they own the government and can loot the treasury with impunity.

Allying with Nasties

The second dirty little secret is that the business right allies with those who will distract the general public and let them loot with impunity. Thus they have traditionally supported hard right causes, sometimes because it is in the financial interest of the CEOs, but more often because economic power is easily converted to political power and political power buys more loot than productive capital does. After all actual capital has to be spent to produce any gains. A politician can be bought for a few thousand dollars. Imagine making a million dollars and only spending 1000$? It's no wonder that whenever we get oligarchic ownership of business we get oligarchic features in our government.

https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/10/29/tax-cut-fraudulence-the-usual-suspects/
https://www.npr.org/2017/11/13/563420070/is-a-corporate-tax-cut-really-what-the-economy-needs-right-now
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/4/in_1898_white_supremacists_killed_60

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Mafia State Patriarchs, Oligarchs, Poligarchs

Masha Gessen writes in the New Yorker, an Article titled:

"The Poligarchs, Oligarchs, and Stooges of the Paradise Papers":

The subtitle of which is:

In Russia, Vladimir Putin has created a mafia state, with him as the patriarch.

I liken these dictators and wannabe dictators to Pirate Captains, but Mafia Dons works as well. The analogy M. Gessen uses compares them to Mafia organizations, which makes sense, since the Sea Dogs of Britain, the Netherlands, France and Spain are the Mafioso of those lands. Gessen draws on the work of Bálint Magyar, who compares them to Mafioso. Marauding Invader's works as well. The analogies to Vandals and Goths might apply too, except these people are integrated into their societies and emerge from within.

A Hierarchy of Fear, Oppression and Tyranny

Gessen describes a hierarchy of Putin's Russia, with it's "Poligarchs", who always have a chief, an extended family. The chief is the patriarch, who provides unified direction and keeps the bloodthirsty "family" members from offing each other. A Poligarch is a political chief. Gessen writes:

"The word “poligarch” combines “political” and “oligarchy”; the poligarchs are first endowed with political power, which they use to procure material wealth."

But in the Polygarch Scheme, the oligarchs get their wealth and power from those with power, and in return must do as they are told. In Putin's Russia, Hitler's maxim of not nationalizing Industry, but nationalizing the Industrialists, has become a reality. Oligarchs either bend to Putin's rule, or they find themselves losing everything. Politicians can draw wealth and hidden power from the Oligarchs, and the Oligarchs exercise power from behind the scenes.

And Always the Stooges

And below them are the stooges. Always the Stooges.

He also writes on the Paradise Papers, which details the corrupt money relationships between Putin, his pet politicians "polygarchs", and oligarchs. All of whom are bound by secret stashes of money in Caribbean and Mediterranean Islands.

The point is that Trump wants that system for here.

For more on this read:

https://www.icij.org/investigations/paradise-papers/
https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-poligarchs-oligarchs-and-stooges-of-the-paradise-papers

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

If Trump were Mexican

I was trying to get into Mexico. Somehow I was trying to get over the wall into Mexico, but there were police and military Guarding the boarder to keep the Gringo's out. I couldn't do it. But then you know how it is...

I was suddenly in Mexico. But it was too late. The People's paradise of Mexico had just elected Donaldo el Trompetista and the Gazpacho were everywhere in their red Vans blowing their Trumpets. We ran til they stopped along the road and took out their red bowls, ate Gazpacho soup and took a siesta. We stopped at the Tavern and the La Resistencia started drinking Sangría azul. Our fight was between the red and the blue here too!

His cry "Make Mexico Great Again!" And "Throw the Gringos out was very popular. But today the fighting was done. Mañana! I needed a break anyway.

I wandered around the country, and all the common folks were out wearing traditional garb and saying "how did we elect such a maleducado our president?" And I heard him on the TV in the Cafe:

Trump: "I really respect my country! I want to make it great again!"
Trump: "I think you need a strong leader, and I'm here to lead you!"
And the Announcer said:
"We've already had too many Caudillos. We don't need another."
Trump: "Get him out of here!"
That is when I remembered, Trump is our Caudillo, and woke up sweating. The Mexicans have already had their share of cheesy Caudillos. This one is our mess.

That is what I get for eating Gazpacho soup late at night.

Please Vote. We don't need a Caudillo!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Voter Turnaway not Low Turnout

Normalizing Voter Suppression

First published 11/16/2017, draft dates to 12/2016, updated 1/4/2018

Snopes initially told us that there was no evidence that three hundred thousand voters were turned away at the polls due to voter ID requirements. I published this post rage-posting after seeing that. Politifact rated it as false based on the lack of evidence that all 300,000 of the people barred from voting due to insufficient voting were actually turned away. Snopes changed their rating to unproven based on the following:

"ruling gauged that roughly 300,000 registered voters in Wisconsin did not possess sufficient identification to vote at the time that the ruling was issued in April 2014, but it did not suggest that all 300,000 had tried and failed to vote"

Given that turnout in the USA is often abysmal, it is likely that the suppression was more or less 300,000 as people who were in doubt over whether they had sufficient ID stayed home. Of course some people may have gotten the ID they needed. The claim of 300,000 was exaggerated, but given that 27,000 votes made the difference in the count, there is no doubt that it played a major role in the election.

Politifact
Snopes
The Nation Article

I was right

I wrote at the time:

We will never know how many were turned away, so the honest answer is "unverifiable." Blame the voter critics count people discouraged due to improper ID or caged, as "no-shows", most just don't show up. There is no doubt that approximately 16,800 in Milwaukee County and Madison’s Dane County. Extrapolated to the rest of the state the numbers probably come out to nearly 300,000.

Adding Voter ID, to closing polling places, removing people from the rolls arbitrarly by "caging," sending postcards to 100,000 voters. Anyone who didn't answer the post card was removed from the roles. This is a tried and true method to remove valid voters, as many people only vote in Presidential races and may not see a post card sent to them as anything important to respond to. They also remove people convicted of Felonies. [http://elections.wi.gov/node/3656], and there are claims of people with similar names to felons being removed as well. Add this to targeted ads it is easy to see how voter suppression played a major role in Republican dominance of the State.

As I noted back in November:

When people know they'll be turned away when they show up to vote, many will simply not show up. Election dates and times are designed to suppress the votes of working people. Republicans don't like attributes of democracy, because they claim that most of us are too stupid to act like anything but a mob when we are allowed to assemble. Since that attitude also justifies manipulating voters, they wind up the ones stoking fear, anger and bigotry in mobs. We Democrats believe in participation. Republicans used to. Voter suppression is designed to intimidate people not to show up and vote. They want to turn away voters, but they don't want to appear to be so.

But what they are doing is voter turn away. The problem in states like this is this not so much low voter turnout. We combat it by turnout. They combat turnout by voter suppression:

It's not just Wisconsin. And these are only the overt acts. As we see in places like Virginia, with the parody of a recount that just occurred there, there is official election official misconduct going on. Difficult to prove, but obvious. We need uniform rules for election judging; ballots, protected rolls, process protections, bi(multi) partisan judging, audits and permanent record paper trails.

Further Reading and Sources

More on Voting Issues
Brennan Center: https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/separating-fact-fiction-voter-id-statistics
American Progress: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/democracy/reports/2016/11/11/292322/voter-suppression-laws-cost-americans-their-voices-at-the-polls/
Brookings: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2016/11/08/voter-suppression-in-u-s-elections/
ACLU: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2016/11/08/voter-suppression-in-u-s-elections/

Wisconsin:

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/10/wisconsin-shows-how-to-do-voter-suppression-right/?utm_campaign=socialflow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=social
http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/09/26/wisconsin-voter-id-law-deterred-nearly-17-000-voting-uw-study-says/702026001/