Saturday, April 21, 2012

Scott Walker Gives 218 State Workers $765,000 In Bonuses and Raises After Public Workers Took Cuts

Laura Clawson on Fri Apr 20, 2012

Wisconsin's budget crisis was so severe that, according to Gov. Scott Walker, pay cuts for public workers across the state were an absolute must. Pay cuts for rank-and-file public workers, that is. For teachers and librarians and snowplow drivers and custodians. The state's managers and lawyers, though, are a different story:

An analysis of data The Associated Press obtained through an open records request showed Wisconsin agencies have handed out more than $765,000 in bonuses and merit raises this year to nearly 220 employees.

The money was awarded under a program former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle suspended but Walker reinstated last year.

That includes nearly $300,000 in raises and bonuses to staff at the Department of Justice, which had previously tried to cut its Sexual Assault Victim Services program's grants by 42.5 percent for budgetary reasons. Assistant Attorney General Maria Lazar and Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John got raises of $3,000 and $5,000.
The Republican governor's top aide, Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, said Walker brought the program back because he felt it was important to mirror the private sector and provide rewards for outstanding work.
Scott Walker is literally, explicitly promoting two different systems for public workers: If you're already high up the food chain, you should be eligible for more, regardless of the state's budget situation. If you're just another worker making sure kids are educated or streets are safe, you should face cuts and be blamed for budget problems.

Make a $5 donation to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to help defeat Scott Walker.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Funnies: Early Edition

  Another week of only the best stand-up comedy from the Republican Comedy Club.

Conan O'Brien: "Did you hear how they caught those Secret Service agents with prostitutes in Colombia? Apparently the men were walking around wearing nothing but their sunglasses and those earpieces."

"Mitt Romney has already begun the process of choosing a running mate. Romney wants someone with a different ethnicity who appeals to women, so his first choice is President Obama."

"Today Newt Gingrich is blaming the failure of his presidential campaign on Fox News. Newt's also blaming the failure of his diet on Cinnabon.”

Stephen Colbert: "The Democrats accuse the Republicans of launching a war on women. Then the Republicans accuse the Democrats of the same thing. At this point, who can remember who enacted reproductive health restrictions in 36 states including mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds?"

Jimmy Kim

mel: "At the St. Louis Zoo, Newt Gingrich got too close to one of the animals and was bit on the hand by a penguin. If you're named after a lizard, you have to assume birds are going to try to eat you."

"There's certainly nothing fun about paying taxes, but you have to remember... all the money goes to a good cause, like paying the salaries of the meter maids who give you our parking tickets, and keeping welfare checks going to the Octomom, and important things like that."

Bill Maher: "New Jersey Mayor Corey Booker last night personally rescued a woman from a burning building. Or as Fox News reported it, ‘black man loots house, steals white woman.’"

"It's that time of year again, April 15, taxes. I know it's depressing, but just remember, you're paying for roads, bridges, hospitals, and an army to keep the nation free. Unfortunately that nation is Afghanistan."

"Speaking of problems taking care of itself, Rick Santorum dropped out of the race. Rick dropped out, but said he was going to keep fighting against liberalism, against secularism, and against the urge to blow Jon Hamm."

Jay Leno: "President Obama released his tax returns. It turns out he made $900,000 less in 2011 then he did in 2010. You know what that means? Even Obama is doing worse under President Obama."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ted Nugent; Poster Boy For Republican “ Stupid “

  With the rants and ravings as of late from this aging piece of shit, one has to wonder if all of that alcohol and drugs that he didn’t do really fucked up his mind. But wait! He’s a Republican. He has no mind.

Thu Apr 19, 2012

Ted Nugent himself is a cowardly pseudo-macho poser incapable of doing any real physical damage on his own. This disgusting pervert would rather sit around in his own feces than join the army and his sexual proclivities run to young girls rather than real women for whom he has no appeal. Nugent compares himself to a 'Black Jew At A Nazi-Klan Rally'and it seems clear he does not think the NRA is a Nazi-Klan.

We are all aware of the dangers posed when a person yells "FIRE" in a crowded theater. So when members of Wayne LaPierre's NRA gather together for a convention to hear Ted Nugent, we have a full crowd of heavily armed individuals conditioned by that organization to view liberals as mortal enemies seeking to take away their guns, their freedom and their country. Here in Knoxville Tennessee we've already seen one clear tragic example of the damage that can be done by such talk.

Nugent began his career with The Amboy Dukes and an album called Journey to the Center of the Mind. This was obviously a very abbreviated trip for Ted for which there was no return ticket. His philosophical musings went only so deep as the question Why is a Carrot More Orange than an Orange. The costumes and go-go girls in the video give us a glimpse of Ted's early affectations and his efforts as a guitarist whose musical style was "restricted to the Key of A and as melodic as a dial tone". The rather obvious limited musical talent is what eventually led Ted to his current shtick of gaining publicity for inflammatory rants on stage. As he has become increasingly irrelevant as a musician he has tried to become relevant as an outrageous wingnut firebrand.

So what's the harm in having this insufferable idiot spouting his violent rhetoric? He is such an obvious nut job it's difficult to believe anyone would take him seriously. But then most of us cannot fathom any rational person taking Glen Beck, The Limbaughtomy, Nitwitty or Annthrax Coulter seriously. Regretably one man we know took Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Bernard Goldberg far too seriously.

Back in July of 2008 here in Knoxville, Tennessee a Sunday morning Unitarian Church service was interrupted by Jim David Adkisson, an indigent food stamp recipient, with a shotgun. Adkisson shot and killed two people including the hero who stopped him and wounded 7 more during a youth musical performance. Adkisson had his shotgun and a pouch filled with ample ammunition along with a keen desire to kill the people who voted liberals into office.

Of course there are no liberals in office who were voted there by any of the people in the Second Congressional District of Tennessee. This is a staunchly Republican area that has never had a Democrat in Congress. But that did not register with Mr. Adkisson. He was inspired by talk radio personalities like Limbaugh and Fox television pundits like Coulter and Glenn Beck. He was particularly fond of Goldberg's 100 People Who Were Screwing Up America Adkisson took seriously the idea that liberals are traitors responsible for ruining America.

During his police interview Adkisson stated that he had targeted the church because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of major liberal media outlets. Adkisson made statements that because he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them into office. This according to the affidavit of an interrogating officer.
So back to this NRA gathering with Mr Nugent on the stage with his AK 47 props

Nugent took the stage in front of NRA gun owners using the rhetoric of war and battlefields to speak of death or jail. His words fell on the ears of 100s of liberal-hating armed zealots conditioned by the NRA President to believe that liberals and President Obama wanted to take their guns as LaPierre had ranted in this speech before CPAC.

  Nevermind that the President has not proposed any legislation or even mentioned gun control in over three years in office. The NRA has convinced the membership of a conspiracy that will somehow ram a law through Congress despite their well-paid members with the effect of removing guns from the entire population. So why shouldn't we be seriously worried about the effect of Nugent's and LaPierre's rhetoric on minds deluded enough to believe what the NRA suggests they should. The NRA is powerful enough to own most of Congress. Should we believe they lack the power to inspire violence in their well armed membership? 

These people believe Obama has raised their taxes even though he lowered them. They believe he is a Muslim. They believe he was born in Kenya or Malaysia. They believe he and we are Socialists and that 80 members of Congress are Communists. They believe we are unAmerican Godless soulless traitors. Why wouldn't they believe Ted Nugent is serious when he incites them to chop off the heads of liberals? Why wouldn't they consider it their patriotic duty to rid the country of us?

Now we've learned that Mitt Romney went out of his way to court the support of Mr. Nugent by spending the time to have a long conversation assuring him that he will save the country from the gun hating liberals with his help. Nugent is the same madman who shared a stage with Sarah Palin and John McCain during the Game Change election of 2008. He is a Republican rock star of weight - or so believes Romney through his son   

And what of Romney's response to those who suggested that he repudiate Nugent's call for violence? Nugent called President Obama a criminal and denounced his “vile, evil America-hating administration” which is “wiping its ass with the Constitution.” So Romney suggested that “Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from, Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.” That's as far as the leader of the Republican party is willing to go in moderating Ted Nugent. He was far harder on Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich of his 'mild by comparison' opposition. 

We all remember what happened to the Dixie Chicks for simply saying that they were "ashamed that President Bush is from Texas". Some wingnuts suggest that what Natalie Maines said was worse than Nugent's remarks. The Chicks were certainly punished more for their mild remark. And the website Politico suggest that Nugent is the Hillary Rosen of the Romney campaign. These people think Rosen speaking the truth "Ann Romney never worked a day in her life" is the same thing as Nugent saying "We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November. Any questions?" "Any Questions" indeed. This obvious false equivalency raises all kinds of questions about Politico's mental stability, reason, and logic even though all those thoughts about Nugent have been completely settled.

There is evidently no answer to the clear and Nugent danger to liberals in America. The Republicans have no interest in toning down the rhetoric of right wing hate. They prefer to wage a war of false equivalencies trying to equate Bill Maher or Keith Olbermann with Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck, Hannity, Nugent, Murdock, Ailes, The Koch Brothers, Goldberg, Kristol, Savage, Michelle Malkin and a plethora of similar liars and distorters that ruin any chance of rational dialogue. Of course that's all Republican's can do when the truth and reason would have at least 80% of Americans voting for their own best health, wage, tax, job, education, freedom and economic interests with the Democrats. They simply cannot sell their elitist pro wealth anti-woman agenda with the truth. Thus they prefer to put all of us at risk for our lives from the seriously unhinged who could easily take the words of Ted Nugent and other flame throwing Republican pundits as a call to violent action against imaginary traitors.

If this does not cause some alarm it should. Just ask the members of Knoxville's Unitarian Church or the people targeted by a Sarah Palin website in Arizona. These being two of the most reactionary states in the country by virtue of recent laws passed in their state legislatures. They should be the least susceptible to attacks on their marginalized and ineffective liberals. We are increasingly being targeted by rightwing hate-mongers using violent rhetoric and we know from experience the potentially dire consequences involved. Be safe out there and watch your back. Romney and his friends aren't going to waste a word to calm the situation and put a stop to the Ted Nugents of their party. They depend on them help fool their woefully misguided base into voting for the party that will do them real harm.

Originally posted to aurabass on Thu Apr 19, 2012


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Catholic Bishops To House Republicans: Your Budget Makes Jesus Cry. John Boehner To Bishops: STFU.

  Then again, I’m pretty sure that anything that a Republican does, and many democrats, makes Jesus cry.

Wed Apr 18, 2012

You know how Republicans in Congress believe all of our laws should be Catholic Church-approved, right? Well, all of our laws regarding lady parts, anyway. Other stuff, like, say, the federal budget ... meh, not so much.

Seems like only yesterday, Republicans couldn't stop shoving bishops in front of cameras to explain why women's health care is immoral. But now that the bishops have some strong words for Republicans on their immoral budget to screw the poor, Republicans are sticking their fingers in their ears and saying, "Lalalalalala, we can't hear you." In fact, House Republicans would prefer the bishops shut up and stop talking about morality:

House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) chastised Catholic bishops at a Wednesday news conference on Capitol Hill, saying they needed to look at the bigger picture after they complained that the GOP budget plan fails to meet "moral criteria."
Gosh, it's not so fun when the Catholic bishops call you out for being immoral, is it?
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is criticizing the House Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan for cutting food stamps and other assistance programs for the poor.

In a letter sent to the House Agriculture Committee on Monday, the bishops say the budget fails to meet certain “moral criteria” by disproportionately cutting programs that “serve poor and vulnerable people.”

The bishops sent this letter after Rep. Paul Ryan gave a rather bizarre interview, in which he claimed that he's "using [his] Catholic faith" to justify cutting, for example, food stamps. Because, he says, that's how to "help people get out of poverty out onto life of independence."

The bishops disagreed:

[T]he bishops urged lawmakers to reject "unacceptable cuts to hunger and nutrition" programs for "moral and human reasons." [...] Lawmakers should "protect essential programs that serve poor and hungry people over subsidies that assist large and relatively well-off agricultural enterprises," said the letter, signed by Bishop Stephen E. Blaire.

"Cuts to nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors and workers who cannot find employment. These cuts are unjustified and wrong."

SNAP happens to be one of the programs Republicans plan to cut in order to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and to give the Pentagon more money than it even wants. If Paul Ryan, John Boehner, and their fellow Republican Catholics in Congress think we should be following the moral dictates of the Church, they might want to reconsider those Church-endorsed programs that bishops say address "the needs of the hungry, the homeless and the unemployed first" and "reflect the shared responsibility of government and other institutions to promote the common good of all, especially 'workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times.'"

After all, it's what Jesus would want.

Originally posted to Kaili Joy Gray on Wed Apr 18, 2012


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rmoney's Tax Rate is Very High ...

Lib Dem FoP     Mon Apr 16, 2012

…compared to the rates paid by Google, Amazon and some multi-millionaires in Britain.

Mitt Romney's effective tax rate of 15% maybe low but it is 120 times the rate paid by Gooogle for its operations in the UK.  According to CNN, the Romneys paid $3.2 million in federal taxes on a joint income of $21 million. However in the UK Google had advertising sales of £2.1 billion but used various devices to pay only £5 million in UK taxes:

Google has shielded itself from the British taxman by locating its international operations in Ireland, where the corporation tax rate is a mere 12.5 per cent, around half that in Britain. Even that rock-bottom Irish rate, however, is not low enough to satisfy the company and its wealthy founders.

It has deployed complex  techniques known to tax experts as a ‘Double Irish’ or a ‘Dutch Sandwich’ to funnel profits to the white sands of Bermuda, via the Netherlands. The result: Google, which makes much of its money from advertising, racked up sales of £2.1billion in the UK, but paid a mere £5million of tax, or a rate of less than a quarter of one per cent

Amazon managed to pay nothing in corporation taxes or on it's sales (VAT) by designating its UK operations a "distribution center" and using another tax dodge.
Last night Richard Murphy, a tax expert and founder of the Tax Justice Network, said: ‘Luxembourg is a tax haven used by lawyers and accountants to help their clients get out of paying tax.’

He estimates Amazon’s sales in the UK were around £2.8billion in 2010, which would have resulted in profits of around £125million.

If it had paid corporation tax, charged at 28 per cent in 2010, this would have resulted in a tax bill of £35million.

Corporation tax is one of the biggest sources of income for the Government, used to pay for vital services such as hospitals, schools and care homes.

Amazon passes on to Luxembourg its 2% VAT on e-books it sells direct to consumers in the UK. The British authorities get nothing.

Rmoney's income tax rate outstrips that paid by some of the richest in the UK. One dodge that is regularly used is to arrange their affairs so they are not in the country for more than 90 days a year, thus paying "non domicile" rates. People like F1 racing car drivers (most F1 cars are designed, built and tested in Britain) set up home in tax haven like Monarco. That still involves the minor inconvenience of having to pay income tax at their much lower rate but if you are rich enough, you can avoid even that. The Inland Revenue count a day "resident" if you are in the country at midnight.

She said the donor was so rich that it was worth his while making flights to nowhere to avoid an enormous tax bill.

The lobbyist said that with a fortune like his, 'you can sleep on your jet three times a week. You can do whatever you want. The world literally is your oyster.'

She said a helicopter took the donor to Luton airport where he stepped onto his jet and retired for the night in an onboard bedroom.

Since 2008, the tax authorities' 'midnight rule' has applied to anyone who is still in the UK on midnight of the 91st

So this guy would spend the night flying in international air space and therefore owe tax to nobody.  Apparently the guy has now stopped his "snooze cruise at 20,000 feet".

Despite being right wing led, the current UK coalition government is taking steps to close all these tax loopholes. (The Liberal Democrats campaigned on raising the starting point of tax to £10,000 over the parliament and the leader, Nick Clegg's speech included reference to the scandal of a managing director paying less tax than the person who cleans his office.) The Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) George Osborne commissioned a report on tax avoidance by the very highly paid and found many had an effective tax rate of under 10%.

The report found that Britain’s 20 biggest tax avoiders have used three main loopholes to legally reduce their their income tax bills by a total of £145 million in a year.

Two thirds of them wrote off business losses in one of their companies against their income tax bill, reducing it by as much as half .

Several of them offset the cost of business mortgages or borrowing on buy-to-let properties against their income tax bill, while others took advantage of relief on donations to charity.

Mr Osborne is now determined that millionaires will have to pay tax of more than a third of their earnings.

From next year, the total amount of tax relief that any individual can claim will be limited to 25 percent of their income or £50,000 – whichever is greater.

One of the difficulties that Osbourne has run into is that many were using donations to charities to avoid paying income tax at higher levels. While there are some dubious overseas charities currently benefiting and some UK charities, like the fee paying school Eaton may be surprising, some big charities are claiming this will prevent large benefactions.

Ordinary "Pay As You Earn" income tax payers, the vast majority, do not get such tax relief. Instead the charities can claim an amount of roughly 22% to represent the income tax that would have been paid. I see no reason why a similar scheme could not be extended to higher rate tax payer making donations over, say £50,000 where the charity would get a tax benefit, not the individual. That should sort the benefactors from the tax avoiders.

                                  Original Post


Monday, April 16, 2012

Buffett Rule Takes Center Stage With Early Evening Vote Scheduled In Senate

  By  Jed Lewison  Mon Apr 16, 2012      


Voters want the Buffett Rule passed, but the GOP will say no
After spending most of last week trying to talk about everything but the Buffett Rule, Mitt Romney's Republican party will finally go on record against tax fairness when the U.S. Senate votes on the Buffett Rule this evening at around 5:30 PM.

Mitt Romney and Mitch McConnell are going to want the moment to go quietly, because even they understand how unpopular it is to fight for Mitt Romney's 15 percent tax rate while people making a fraction of his $21 million income pay a lot more. Hell, Mitt Romney himself was so desperate to avoid the issue last week that he let his bogus 92.3 percent stat and @hilaryr occupy his campaign. But today is when the rubber hits the road, and they can dodge no longer.

Please join Daily Kos and SEIU by sending an email to your senators, telling them to vote in favor of the Buffett Rule.

Buffet Rule Fact Check

Sunday, April 15, 2012

America:Passing The Blame

I ran across this joke on the Internet and I thought that I would post it because it is so true in America. I do not know who created this.

  We yanks just love to pass the blame. What other country can boast of 3 lawyers for every citizen. We come up with the best reasons to blame others for our own problems. Here's a small list...If a woman burns her thighs on the hot coffee she's holding in her lap while driving,she blames the restaurant.If your teen-age son kills himself or then next door neighbors,you blame the rock 'n' roll music or musician he liked.If you smoke three packs a day for 40 years and die of lung cancer,your family blames the tobacco company.If your daughter gets pregnant by the football captain you blame the school for poor sex education.If your neighbor crashes into a tree while driving home drunk, you blame the bartender.If your cousin gets AIDS because the needle he used to shoot up with heroin was dirty,you blame the government for not providing clean ones.If your grandchildren are brats without manners, you blame television.If your friend is shot by a deranged madman, you blame the gun manufacturer.And if a crazed person breaks into the cockpit and tries to kill the pilots at 35,000 feet, and the passengers kill him instead, the mother of the deceased blames the airline.I guess I'll just never understand the world as it is anymore...So if I die while my ass is parked in front of this computer while posting you this joke - I want you to blame Bill Gates, OK?