Monday, May 31, 2010

Is it time for a more balanced policy?

Aid to Israel is often considered a sacred cow.
To criticize our policy on this subject is almost taboo.
But is it time to at least begin a discussion on the subject?

However you personally feel on the subject, certain things reasonable people will accept as true,
To even question American support for Israel is something almost considered unheard of,
its something that is rarely even debated.
The other thing is regardless of whose version of what happened you believe,
this incident occurred well into international waters, and has now created a firestorm of outrage all over the world
Turkey Israel's only ally in the region is furious,
But what will we do? As Americans we give billions of dollars in aid to Israel every year,
so don't we at least have the right to question our policy?
And if not why not?
In a free society there should be no subjects that are off limits to debate
The irony of the history of modern HUMANITY is how quickly the victims of oppression become the perpetrators of it once they get the upper hand, this incident is not unique, this isn't just the middle east, its happened all over the world, down through recorded history, and is reflective of a huge flaw in human character overall ,not specifically unique to any one group, BUT OF ALL OF US.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Why yes Newt thats exactly what you and glenn...HEY look Newt
under FDR the top tax bracket was 94% under Eisenhower its was 91%..we've been redistributing wealth for over half a century
the top tax bracket is now 35% , in 1987 under Reagan it was 38.5, the lowest it has been since then has been 28%
History of progressivity in federal income tax
The federal income tax rates in the United States have varied widely since 1913. For example, in 1954 the Congress imposed a federal income tax on individuals, with the tax imposed in layers of 24 income brackets at tax rates ranging from 20% to 91% (for a chart, see Internal Revenue Code of 1954). Here is a partial history of changes in the U.S. federal income tax rates for individuals (and the income brackets) since 1913:

Top U.S. Federal marginal income tax rate from 1913 to 2009.
Partial History of
U.S. Federal Marginal Income Tax Rates
Since 1913
Year Income
brackets First
bracket Top
bracket Source
1913-1915 - 1% 7% IRS
1916 - 2% 15% IRS
1917 - 2% 67% IRS
1918 - 6% 77% IRS
1919-1920 - 4% 73% IRS
1921 - 4% 73% IRS
1922 - 4% 56% IRS
1923 - 3% 56% IRS
1924 - 1.5% 46% IRS
1925-1928 - 1.5% 25% IRS
1929 - 0.375% 24% IRS
1930-1931 - 1.125% 25% IRS
1932-1933 - 4% 63% IRS
1934-1935 - 4% 63% IRS
1936-1939 - 4% 79% IRS
1940 - 4.4% 81.1% IRS
1941 - 10% 81% IRS
1942-1943 - 19% 88% IRS
1944-1945 - 23% 94% IRS
1946-1947 - 19% 86.45% IRS
1948-1949 - 16.6% 82.13% IRS
1950 - 17.4% 84.36% IRS
1951 - 20.4% 91% IRS
1952-1953 - 22.2% 92% IRS
1954-1963 - 20% 91% IRS
1964 - 16% 77% IRS
1965-1967 - 14% 70% IRS
1968 - 14% 75.25% IRS
1969 - 14% 77% IRS
1970 - 14% 71.75% IRS
1971-1981 15 brackets 14% 70% IRS
1982-1986 12 brackets 12% 50% IRS
1987 5 brackets 11% 38.5% IRS
1988-1990 3 brackets 15% 28% IRS
1991-1992 3 brackets 15% 31% IRS
1993-2000 5 brackets 15% 39.6% IRS
2001 5 brackets 15% 39.1% IRS
2002 6 brackets 10% 38.6% IRS
2003-2009 6 brackets 10% 35% Tax Foundation
income tax rates in the 20th century
YOU'RE A LIAR NEWT AND YOU KNOW YOU ARE LIEING,and your lies are what threaten to our way of life

Friday, May 28, 2010

Monty python and the French revolution

I've given this a lot of thought , and I have come to the conclusion that I am old fashioned.
Basically hopeless Romantic stuck in the past
hopelessly bound to an 18th century philosophy
To me honestly there were two significant events in modern history
One was the French revolution. Arguably the event that changed Western History the most
a bunch of peasants got really angry and broke into a prison and nothing has been the same since

A lot has happened since some good a lot bad, but I don't think it was till recently that anyone really
remembered properly what the age of reason and the french revolution wanted people to do,
UNTIL MONTY PYTHON MADE THE LIFE OF BRIAN, in my mind the second most important event in modern history
but to be serious for just one moment the life of brian did cause quiet a stir because it made a mockery of dogmas
Think for yourselves!, we are all individuals we are all different, we do all have to work it out for ourselves.
Whatever we think of believe I think its important to remember we are all individuals
and the NO ideology no ism should blind us to using independent thought

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Who's fault is the oil spill?


A question for those who actually know about this issue, why is the acoustic switch system, which more than likely could have prevented this from happening, required for British petroleum wells of the coast of Norway, yet not required in the Gulf of Mexico in American wells? Is not the correct answer to this the fact that the Bush administrations deregulation and being so cozy with oil meant that even basic safety measures were not mandatory? If you know actually know about this issue and I am not correct can you please tell me how and why? I really would like to know. THANKS.
more of the above interview..

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

austerity sweeps USA?

Economics. Wish I understood it.
When I was a kid, that was back in the late 1970's early 1980's
some European cousins converted me to Socialism,
just about the time the "Socialist" world started to take a tumble
anyone remember 1979?

Now a serious question, are we seeing this happen again, only on a bigger scale?
Europe, which is sort of a model home of Social Democratic policies,
is in trouble, no really it is.
I mean its hard sometimes to determine what is really going on because no news source is truly unbiased but European economies seem to be toppling like dominoes onto the austerity bandwagon
Is this what is in store for us?
I mean I'm in the middle, I've always been for spending, mostly because I never have to pay for it.
Health care education, housing , jobs, I'm for all that stuff the environment, public transportation.
100% behind all those good things, tax the rich feed the poor, equality, justice, fraternity etc so forth.
But do we need to be realistic. Will too much of a good thing bankrupt us?
Do we have to fear what we see in Europe happening here?
I'm a fiscal moderate, I like to think of myself as a realist, maybe I'm just getting cynical.
But how much good can a society do for its people if its economy goes belly up?
A thought its just a thought.

Monday, May 17, 2010

is there something terribly wrong?

I often wonder how close we are to disaster? What little push would it take to send us over the edge,and how many will prefer the certainty of order, to the potential of chaos?
What would it take to produce a breakdown in our democratic order?
In the late 1920's and early 1930's and economic disaster created a monster known as NAZI germany that eventually lead to a war that consumed the world and left much of it in ruins
How close are we to that?

Many nations in Europe along with many American states are bankrupt , the euro is collapsing , and a feeling of dread is beginning to spread.
Is that enough? So what else is new?! There is always some crisis some where in the world, how can anyone predict if and when the bottom will fall out? Why bother? Could World War One have been avoided or predicted? Could the Great Depression?
Hitler Stalin?
I think the thing that gets me is that many people actually feel FDR prolonged the Great Depression when it seems all to clear to me he saved this nation from absolute disaster. We all to easily could have ended up with a Hitler or Mussolini or a Stalin, we came very close to getting Huey Long who did many great things for the poor people of Louisiana but was undoubtedly a thug
along the lines of a Hugo Chavez.
Now i supposed what the question is is Obama able to do what FDR did? Is he up to that? Because FDR was really more remarkable than most people can fathom taking us through both a depression and a world war?
And this November the nation decides the Obama administration's fate. It could be the beginning of the end depending on how well the Republicans do. And then what?
I would not put it past someone to allow a bit of chaos so THEY may establish order.
And then what? What will the people do? Will order be preferable to chaos? Perhaps everyone must look in the mirror and ask that question.

Friday, May 14, 2010

and then you break down and you cry

i have certain dubious traits.
I am a great time waster.spent most of my life wasting time, mostly thinking of days gone by and what could have been.
i'm a drinker, and not by American standards, but by the metric European standard.
Studies show that the only people in the world that drink more than the French(no the Irish are a distant third and Germany and Australians trail miserably)are the Luxembourgeois, I could keep up with them.
and yes i can document that
I cry easily. I hear an Edith Piaf song and there are automatically tears in my eyes.
Not really an appealing trait for an American male.
So yesterday I 'm wasting time, having a few beers, okay, more than a few beers, starting to feel it,
great place to waste time and feel psuedo-intellectual at the same time
and i hear this voice
I've had just enough to cloud my memory that little bit
but I recognize the voice
a voice from long ago
a voice I haven't heard in a long long time
and then that sad recognition that its one of my favorites
the one who only puts out a new album every ten years
I spend so much of my life feeling so angry and so frustrated
at myself at the world
every once in a while I have a few glasses of beer
and I hear a song that makes me realize there are things more important than money or cold hard facts or ideology
every so often, perhaps its only every ten years, I hear something that surrounds me and embraces me
and then I break down and I cry
terribly embarrassing thing to happen in public, but for a brief moment I realize I am still human
and think maybe its a good thing Sade only puts out an album every ten years
I can't be caught crying in public more than once every ten years
I have a reputation to maintain.
but i'm still alive

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


May you live in interesting times, often referred to euphemistically as the Chinese curse, is reputed to be the English translation of an ancient Chinese proverb and curse, although it may have originated among the English themselves (or Americans). It is reported that it was the first of three curses of increasing severity, the other two being:
May you come to the attention of those in authority (sometimes rendered May the government be aware of you)
May you find what you are looking for
It is arguable but I would venture we live in interesting times. The present to most people is always the worst of times. tomorrow will be better, yesterday was a golden age we have declined from
But the truth is things are not so bad. sure we have bad economic times and that war in the mid east, but its nothing compared to world war 2 or the great depression. In the mid 14th and 15th centuries the English and the French slaughtered each other for 100 years as two royal houses slugged it out for the Throne of France. During the Thirty years war in Germany during the Protestant reformation one third of the population died of famine disease or in combat.The Black death made the aids epidemic and the crack epidemic of a few decades ago look like a head cold.truth is we are all pretty lucky to live now.
As annoying and as dangerous as the tea party movement seems.Imagine living in Europe in say 1940.
Political activity often cost people their lives. Heck during the middle ages a man was burned for translating the bible from latin to English.
What exactly are we? we are people who want to make things better we support progress, hence the term progressives.
We want to make the world a bit better this way and that over time.But if you study history you realize how dangerous
it can be to be a visionary.Heck they almost burned Galileo for saying the earth went round the sun
and really in the big carl sagan cosmos scheme of things 1612 wasn't that long ago
yes we really are lucky to be here and to be here now,Eugene v debs spent years in prison for opposing world war 1
so yes it could and did happen here
there was slavery segregation the internment of the japanese people treated horribly simply because of race.
Through most of the history of humanity there has been was slavery misery and oppression.
And having a new idea or being principled could cost you your life.
We are lucky we live in a time when we can emerge from these shadows oh yes these shadows into the light
if only for a moment.
for we are the resistance, resistance to the conventional injustice that is the status quo
but we are lucky, for though we live in interesting times,and although repression still exists in the USA . still - putting up with the odd tea party extremist is a darn site better than hiding from the gestapo.
or the kgb
or joseph Mac Carthy.
We do not have to live in the shadows, and for that we should be grateful.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What does it mean? Or does it?

update exit polls give conservative 305 seats 21 short of a majority

and the greek economy is in chaos
We live in interesting times, and that is the case both here and abroad.The world is in turmoil. But what does that mean for us?
Aren't our problems ours and theirs theirs? Or is it all some how connected?
Can we make predictions about the outcome of our November election, based on trends and emotions boiling out of the British election? The British have a centrist center left government , the Labour Party has been in power in Britain since 1997. thats the longest period the Labour party has ever managed to maintain power in Britain , once a traditionally Socialist party, New Labour
in the 1990's moved to the center to be more in tune with the electorate and contemporary economic realities, as Clinton and the American New Democrats did in the same period of time.Bill Clinton and Tony Blair both embrace more centrist policies and abandoned traditional Keynesian policies of years past.As the economic crisis of the early 21st century manifested itself,
both the New Obama administration and the Labour party under Gordon Browns more traditional ideology re embraced
more traditional policies of tax and spend to stimulate the troubled economies of the USA and the UK. The jury is still out on how well all that spending has done, but many in the USA are quite angry about all the government spending and policy feeling that it is a betrayal of traditional American values that revere limited government and Constitutional restrictions on the role of government in our society. Britain has an older tradition that is more open to a bigger role for government. Beginning in 1945
the british Labour party Nationalized Coal and Steel and created the National Health Service, and thus Socialist Britain was born.
But centuries before that the British monarchy and even the Tory Conservatives had always felt a big government appropriate.
But in the late 1970s and early 1980s both Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the USA embraced the economic ideas of Fredrick Hayek and Milton Friedman abandoned Keynesian policies that had been accepted for decades as gospel and embraced neo liberalism, with debatable results . But it is easy enough to see that the fate of the UK and the USA in the recent past have been significantly linked. So can looking at the state of British economy, society ,and elections going on as we speak
predict anything for us in November? Its all too complicated, but the one thing that is obvious is the electorates of both nations are angry with government performance and in a mood to throw incumbents out, who ever they may be.
The other situation everyone seems to be buzzing about , and a situation so serious its driving down the stock market,
is the State of the Greek economy,and the protests and riots going on over austerity measures, years of excessive
government spending and socialist policies have allegedly bankrupt Greece and left it in an absolute shambles,
other EU countries are reluctant to bail Greece out and even others like Spain and Portugal are nearing the same situation
economically . Many people seem to think that our country will soon be going the way of Greece or the state of California
if we keep spending and government keeps expanding and use Greece as a cautionary example of why we must change course in November.
Personally I think any analogies drawn from events in other societies is limited , life and history are too complex to directly compare one to the other. But on the other hand I think as a society Americans need to be more aware of what is going on in the rest of the world. The good and the bad, to get a better idea what we should be doing here.
But the one observation I would notice about Britain and the USA is we both went through similar problems in the 1980s.
People felt government was too big and became very angry as the economy of the late 1970's worsened. And both nation's adopted almost identical policies to remedy this, cuts in taxes and spending, privatization in Britain , de regulation here.
The economy here seems to be improving, but is it enough to satisfy the electorate that Obama's policies are working?
If it's not we may be seeing a repeat of Reagan's policies of the 1980's or the Republican Congress of the 1990's Mantra
to radically reduce the role of government.
Its anyones guess what will happen, but its a good idea to keep an eye on current events, and historical trends.

I've never really understood economics as well as I would like, I've always had an idea of the way things should be or I'd lie them to be but very little knowledge about how economies actually work, and what is going on now, is an extension of changes that occurred int eh 20th century, and never in my life have I come across anything that explained them better than this >>
thank you PBS