Monthly Archives: June 2015

Here’s how thinkers reply to “Everyone Know” lies.

My @Quora answer to How do smart liberals (the US term) reply when right-wingers say that “the left knows nothing ab… http://qr.ae/LvU8U  (see link for missing charts)

We reply with charts, history, math, and Facts.
Like this:
http://www.businessinsider.com/best-and-worst-presidents-for-gdp-growth-2012-10








Now… note that “conservatives” like to scream about entitlements, while completely ignoring the fact that collections from corporations has been intentionally tanked through “declaring” their international game of Three Card Monte with their profits  (Called off shoring profits) to be “legal” … That little decision which resulted from bribed and treasonous Congresscritters gave us this:



So… despite all the hand wringing and hair tearing by Republican Party Brass and our major “news” outlets about “entitlements are the problem”… what we really have is a convenient, Congressionaly created out of whole cloth, “problem” with collections from their largest corporate bribers.

Here’s the “hidden” money, which you can easily find by looking at almost any corporate prospectus answer searching for the phrase “retained earnings in anticipation of tax liability”:

http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2014/06/offshore_shell_games_2014.php#4

Here’s just a few of the hundreds of these tax dollar thieves:

Bank of America, which reports having 264 subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. Kept afloat by taxpayers during the 2008 financial meltdown, the bank reports hold­ing $17 billion offshore, on which it would otherwise owe $4.3 billion in U.S. taxes.14 That implies that it currently pays a ten percent tax rate to foreign governments on the profits it has booked offshore, suggest­ing much of those profits are booked to tax havens.
PepsiCo maintains 137 subsidiaries in off­shore tax havens. The soft drink maker re­ports holding $34.1 billion offshore for tax purposes, though it does not disclose what its estimated tax bill would be if it didn’t keep those profits offshore.

Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker, op­erates 128 subsidiaries in tax havens and of­ficially reports $69 billion in profits offshore for tax purposes, the third highest among the Fortune 500.15 The company made more than 40 percent of its sales in the U.S. between 2010 and 2012,16 but managed to report no federal taxable income six years in a row. This is because Pfizer uses account­ing techniques to shift the location of its taxable profits offshore. For example, the company can license patents for its drugs to a subsidiary in a low or no-tax country. Then, when the U.S. branch of Pfizer sells the drug in the U.S., it must pay its own offshore subsidiary high licensing fees that turn domestic profits into on-the-books losses and shifts profit overseas.
Pfizer recently attempted a corporate “in­version” in which it would have acquired a smaller foreign competitor so it could rein­corporate on paper in the UK and no longer be an American company. A key reason Pfiz­er attemped this maneuver is that it would have allowed the company to more aggres­sively shift U.S. profits offshore and have full, unrestricted access to its offshore cash.

All of which brings us to this: There’s an estimated +$10 Trillion (thst we know about) in “hidden” and completely untaxed profits which were “earned” using Our infrastructure and which these scoff laws refuse to pay any tax on by use of simple evasion, obfuscation, and bribery of Congresscritters.

Here’s the bribery writ large for all to see:

http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2009/04/09/return-on-lobbying-investment-22000/

The study zeros in on 93 firms that spent as much as $282.7 million lobbying on the issue during that period, and ultimately saved a total of $62.5 billion through the tax change. Researchers used publicly available lobbying disclosures filed with Congress and financial statements submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission to compare the amount each company saved with its lobbying expenditures.
“It calls into question what Congress did in 2004,” said Stephen Mazza, who conducted the study with Raquel Alexander and Susan Scholz. “It clearly is a very lucrative field for lobbyists. Congress wanted to create jobs, and what they probably did was create jobs for the lobbyists.”
This is a pretty outrageous, although entirely predictable, result, pointing to a serious problem in governance. If investment in lobbying is the number one determinant in firm growth, how can we trust policy makers to do what is best for anyone other than those with money to spare on lobbyists? As we have been explaining all week, one way to expose influence and mitigate its excesses is to require the real time disclosure of lobbying contacts,  providing more detail as to whom lobbyists meet with and what they discuss.
“Saved $62.5 Billion” in ONE tax year… nice work if you can get it.

Here’s the end results of that bribery and corporate fraud:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM

Bottom line:
We are not “broke”, and never have been (as Republican claim). We are being ROBBED BLIND by insanely wealthy multinational corporations in full collusion with the vast majority of “our” bribed and treasonous Congresscritters.

This brand of corporate fascisim is the entire (Congressionaly created) “problem” with our deficit spending, lack of funding for schools, roads, libraries, police, Medicare, Medicaid, and our nation’s debt.

Kris Rosvold shared an answer on Quora with you

My @Quora answer to Will Bernie Sanders cut back spending and balance the budget? http://qr.ae/0c3HR
Almost certainly not…
Aside from the fact that he’d have no power to do so, he wouldn’t use “cutting spending” (which is an Orwellian meme for “slashing welfare”) as a solution for the Congressionaly created “deficit problem”.

Primarily because the spending isn’t the problem… well, except for the Fact that We are forced to spend more than the next 14 “big” spenders combined in “defense” and that we pay double any other first world nation for health “care” while some 24% to 30% of our Citizens have no usable access to actual care. (And no! A F’ing +$3000 bill for ER care doth not usable make)

The real problem* is the Fact that our average corporate effective tax rate was 12.6% in 2013, while Citizens are paying closer to 40% or more when you factor in all hidden excise taxes and taxes “hidden” as fees.

Here’s the international game of Three Card Monte with profits so that We The People can’t easily see just how badly we’re bring ripped off and conned:
http://ctj.org/corporatetaxdodgers/tax-dodgers-index.php
Companies By 5-Year Federal Tax Rate:
Pepco Holdings (-33%)
PG&E Corp. (-17%)
NiSource (-14%)
Wisconsin Energy (-14%)
CenterPoint Energy (-9%)
General Electric (-9%)
Atmos Energy (-8%)
Integrys Energy Group (-8%)
American Electric Power (-6%)
Tenet Healthcare (-6%)
Ryder System (-5%)
Con-way (-4%)
Duke Energy (-3%)
FirstEnergy (-3%)
Priceline.com (-3%)
Apache (-2%)
Boeing (-2%)
Interpublic Group (-2%)
NextEra Energy (-2%)
Verizon Communications (-2%)
CMS Energy (-1%)
Consolidated Edison (-1%)
Northeast Utilities (-1%)
Cablevision Systems (0%)
Corning (-0%)
MetroPCS Communications (-0%)
Paccar (-0%)
Mattel (1%)
Oneok (1%)
Xcel Energy (1%)
Ameren (2%)
Here’s the money they’re hiding from all legitimate taxation:
http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2014/06/offshore_shell_games_2014.php#4

Apple: Apple has booked $111.3 billion offshore—more than any other company. It would owe $36.4 billion in U.S. taxes if these profits were not officially held off­shore for tax purposes. A 2013 Senate in­vestigation found that Apple has structured two Irish subsidiaries to be tax residents of neither the U.S.—where they are managed and controlled—nor Ireland—where they are incorporated. This arrangement en­sures that they pay no taxes toany govern­ment on the lion’s share of their offshore profits.
American Express: The credit card com­pany officially reports $9.6 billion offshore for tax purposes on which it would other­wise owe $3 billion in U.S. taxes. That im­plies that American Express currently pays only a 3.8 percent tax rate on its offshore profits to foreign governments, suggesting that most of the money is booked in tax ha­vens levying little to no tax. American Ex­press maintains 23 subsidiaries in offshore tax havens.
Nike: The sneaker giant officially holds $6.7 billion offshore for tax purposes, on which it would otherwise owe $2.2 billion in U.S. taxes. That implies Nike pays a mere 2.2 percent tax rate to foreign governments on those offshore profits, suggesting that nearly all of the money is officially held by subsidiaries in tax havens. Nike does this in part by licensing the trademarks for some of its products to 12 subsidiaries in Bermu­da to which it then pays royalties.

Some companies that report a significant amount of money offshore maintain hun­dreds of subsidiaries in tax havens, includ­ing the following:
Bank of America reports having 264 sub­sidiaries in offshore tax havens—more than any other company. The bank officially holds $17 billion offshore for tax purposes, on which it would otherwise owe $4.3 bil­lion in U.S. taxes. That means it currently pays a ten percent tax rate to foreign gov­ernments on the profits it has booked off­shore, implying much of those profits are booked to tax havens.
PepsiCo maintains 137 subsidiaries in off­shore tax havens. The soft drink maker re­ports holding $34.1 billion offshore for tax purposes, though it does not disclose what its estimated tax bill would be if it didn’t keep those profits booked offshore for tax purposes.
Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker, oper­ates 128 subsidiaries in tax havens and offi­cially holds $69 billion in profits offshore for tax purposes, the third highest among the Fortune 500. Pfizer recently attempted the acquisition of a smaller foreign competitor so it could reincorporate on paper as a “for­eign company.” Pulling this off would have allowed the company a tax-free way to use its supposedly offshore profits in the U.S.





* This actual problem was created entirely by Congress at the behest of, and in full collusion with, their corporate bribers, and which is “most carefully and with great concern” never, ever talked about by any “investigative” journalist.

They, none of them, are actually working for you, your nation, or your Constitution, which they gave a legally binding Oath to protect.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5tu32CCA_Ig

So… you HATE Socialism? Um, sorry to tell ya, but…

My @Quora answer to If average Americans knew more about politics abroad, about what actually happens in other count… http://qr.ae/jbxqT

I think that if average Americans (my fellow Citizens) actually thought at all outside of what our corporatist “news” media tells them to think, they’d have no problem at all with socialist ideals. Note that this is regardless of any knowledge of foreign affairs, politics, or the policies of other nations.

After all here’s just a few of the socialist* structures we use every single day:
Roads
Schools
Police protection
Fire protection
Water delivery infrastructure
Power delivery infrastructure
Mail delivery
Social Security
State parks
Federal parks
City parks
Street parking (less so now with the enforcement being sold off to private companies)
Jails
Prisons
Legal System
Etc. Etc. Etc….

Here’s two of those Etcetera (yes… its already plural) from Andrew McKenzie, in the comments. *Tips hat*

School buses (free mass transportation)
High school sports (taking our tax money so that a relative handful of kids could play sports most of their parents couldn’t afford if they had to play club sports)

Both of which, though costly, serve very useful civic and educational purposes, so we’re happy to socialize them. (And no, sports do not pay for themselves, so don’t even bother with that old excuse).

*Systems owned and paid for by society to benefit all Citizens.

Author’s note: Trope Busted!

On tools for enforcement of Our Constitution upon Our government.

My @Quora answer to What might prevent the three branches of the US government from having a long closed door meetin… http://qr.ae/diP4d

There is nothing to prevent Congress proposing a Constitutional Amendment of whatever sort; but under the Constitution, it is mandated that any change to our Constitution be Ratified (aka: explicitly agreed to as being acceptable law) by at least 3/4 of the several States.

No Ratification by the States? The change (aka: Amendment) is null and void.

This is why many Citizens consider that grand Orwellian misnomer, the “Patriot” Act (and F.I.S.A., and the last 6 years of N.D.A.A.)to be such a grave and dangerous problem.

I refer to these fiats of “law” by their legally proper name: Insurrection and Rebellion against the U.S. Constitution by Congresscritters.

Why do I call it that? Because Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

See, each Congresscritter freely gave this legally binding Oath:

The current oath was enacted in 1884:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me.

To act (aka: vote =/= “protected debate”) to pass a fiat by law which so directly and blatantly rejects the entire Bill of Rights without using the inherent protections of the mandated Amendment Process for such changes, is an act of rebellion against Our Constitution.

There simply is no polite way to put it.  Such actions are actions of treason against Our Constitution, which actions Section 3 of the 14th Amendment specifically call out as being high crimes with the punishment of being forever barred from any position in our government.

Kris Rosvold shared an answer on Quora with you

My @Quora answer to What are some positions of Senator Elizabeth Warren that some people object to? http://qr.ae/7XRuhz

It depends entirely upon which “who” were talking about.

From a Citizen’s perspective I frankly don’t see a single thing to object to in her positions.

As I’ve noted previously here: Kris Rosvold’s answer to Do you think Elizabeth Warren would be a better US presidential candidate than Hillary Clinton?

Like Ms. Warren (and unlike Hillary):

I don’t think banks should get +8% on student loans of our money which serve the Nation as a whole by offering Us a path to a more educated, thoughtful, and cynical electorate.

I don’t think that any business which rips off Citizens by blatant Frauds should have their directing managers and boards protected from the purpose written laws of RICO.

I don’t think that such criminals should ever be bailed out of the repercussions of their frauds… no matter how much money they have.

I don’t think that torture should ever be accepted, or that those who violate Our Constitution should ever be protected from legitimate prosecution because they’re “doing it to protect Tha nashiun.”

I think that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution means precisely what it’s actual words say… that actions (votes) by Congress to violate Our Constitution are the High Crime of “Insurrection and rebellion against the United States Constitution,” and that such traitors to their Oath and Our Constitution damned well should be bounced off the Capitol Steps on their way out.
(Where’s that wonderful Asshole Teddy when you need him and his Big Stick?)

*briefly enjoys the visual of Teddy leaving large lumps about the heads and shoulders of Congresscritters on both “sides” of the aisle… and  thump, Thump, Thump, Congresscritters fleeing at high speed onto the waiting arms of a Million Man March replete with tar and feathers*

So, from a thinking Citizen’s perspective: What’s not to love?!
One little flaw… She didn’t declare even when a whole passle of Citizens asked her to declare.

Now, standing on the corporate fascist side of things there’s lots to hate on:

She’s spectacularly disinterested in servicing corporate bribers the way Hillary has.

She’s also disinterested in allowing the national drive for oligarchy we’ve seen over the past 40 years or so to continue.

She calls out corporate liars and thieves as being liars and thieves.

She calls out bribed “regulators” as being bribed “regulators.”

She, as I do, asserts that whistleblowers serve a critical function in Our government and society and that they should be protected.

She’s dead set against that grand Orwellian lie of the “Patriot” Act.

So… If you’re a Citizen there’s lots to like; but if you’re a corporate fascist, or an oligarch, there’s even more to hate.

And hate they do.

Bernie Sanders gives us much the same metrics, but he has declared.

I’m going to be voting for him hell or high water, even if I have to write him in… which I suspect will be needed thanks to our utterly rigged first past the post voting system (Where’s the U.N. when you need them?).

The Democratic Party Brass can Officially take thier “wasted vote” meme and ram it where the sun don’t shine. I’m no longer willing to vote for another shit sandwich dressed up as a Reuben.

Thoughts to ponder… what if we poke the bear and wake up that 45% of opted out eligible voters to vote for Bernie?

There’s a number which both major parties combined can’t touch!

Oops. Did I just say all that in my “out loud” voice? sorry.

Wasted Vote my ass!

Time to go poke the bear some more.

So… Obama takes “too many vacations? Seriously?

My @Quora answer to Has Obama spent more time on vacation than any other US president? http://qr.ae/M1EAU

There’s lots of legitimate things to nail him on. Lets try those instead.
As others have said here, Obama actually has taken less than 1/4 the number of the vacation days taken by Bush Junior.

Now, I’m no fan of either of president, but I don’t see a valid issue here.

However…

IF you want to get mad about vacation time taken by those feeding at the Public Trough, might I suggest that it might serve you to take a long hard look at “your” Congresscritters!

Last year they “worked” some 134 days, WITH full benefits of such generosity that no Citizen realistically even hopes to have; at an annual income which puts them solidly in the top 5% of earners. (The average citizen works some 180 to 240 days)

Average Citizens have a 40 hour workweek, which has been reduced (without pay, unlike Congress) to 30 hours or less.

But WAIT!  It gets even better… Congress has given themselves a real, live 2 for 1 offer, depending upon how you figure it, it might be a 4 for 1 offer (Neither I nor anyone I know approved it!)!!

See, they don’t even work for Us as much as they claim to because they spend 4 to 6 hours out of “our” (were paying for it after all) 8 hour day … dialing for dollars at the demand of their parties (which Party fundraising efforts are not, Not, NOT, a legitimate “function of government” in any way, shape or form… yet we still “get to” pay them… very well… for that time).

How would you like to have a “job” where you get to NOT do the work, write your own benefit package, give yourself a raise (REGARDLESS of the economy, how well the company is doing, or how well you “do” your job), and get paid full time wages and benefits for working far less than 1/2 time??!  How would your boss react to those terms?
I suggest that the SAME reaction that your boss would have is entirely appropriate here!

So… in short, we’re paying them a full time wage, with truly stellar benefits, to work “for us” on “our business” 1/2, or less, the number of hours the average wage earner works… at more than quadruple the pay.  Essentially they’re getting $170k a year for working (if you can call it that) less than 540 hours per year at the Job we pay them full time wages, and VERY WELL to do.

THIS while the average Citizen works 1920 to 1440 hours a year at their jobs for FAR less than 1/4 the pay and benefits!

Here’s the kicker card… all of the above directly creates this:

Better yet: Of the 10 richest members of “our” Congress, 100% voted to extend the Shrub tax cuts for the wealthy (at OUR direct expense… ever wonder why our States are “soooo broke” that OUR State and local taxes keep going up while we get fewer and fewer services? I do.)
OK, NOW you can get mad!

In fact, if you’re not outraged, you are not paying attention!

We need to REPLACE 467/535 of the Chimps in Congress.

My @Quora answer to What is it about the structure of the US government that motivates even well-intentioned politic… http://qr.ae/Lp5vy

There’s an 1967 study in crowd psychology* done with chimps which describes the mechanism operating in Congress.

*http://books.google.co.za/books?id=x_hfmoOaHpoC&lpg=PA77&ots=IqFtSYj5di&dq=Social%20Transmission%20of%20Acquired%20Behavior%3A%20A%20Discussion%20of%20Tradition%20and%20Social%20Learning&lr&pg=PA88#v=onepage&q=Social%20Transmission%20of%20Acquired%20Behavior%3A%20A%20Discussion%20of%20Tradition%20and%20Social%20Learning&f=false

In a more recent version  (1980’s… It may have been at Stanford, but I don’t recollect precisely: any edits offered for citations would be appreciated)

They took a large cage with an electrified floor, placed a set of stairs with a trigger switch in the base for the electric floor, and hung bannanas so that they could only be reached by climbing the stairs.

Then they turned off the power and introduced several chimps.

The chimps loved the bannana and the stairs until the researchers turned on the power.

The cycle went like this:

Floor power on.
Hang bannana
Chimp climbs stairs to get bannana.
Other chimps get zapped.
Repeat.
Eventually the chimps figured it out and started beating down the chimp trying for the bannana…. every time.
Researchers leave floor off.
Introduce new chimp.
New chimp tries for bannana and gets beat down.
All but one chimp are replaced
old chimp beats down any new chimp trying for the bannana… Never mind that the floor has been off the whole time.

In “our” coopted by multinational corporations and wealthy government the vast roaring waterfalls of money are the bannana to these chimps in Our Congress, and the electric floor is to removal of that money; or the very clear Bribery and Extortion of Public Officials* inherent in: “I’m giving my money to your opponent if you don’t service me from corporate “donors.” Which effectively ends the career because if you can’t be bought, you have no use for these corporate fascists.

*Bribery and Extortion of Public Officials is clearly and specifically dealt with, on both sides, by RICO. This is the genesis of my Battle Cry ” #RICOtheBastards ” which is a demand for redress from my government and a demand that the vigorously apply that purpose written Law consistently without regard to the wealth of someone being a political “donor.”

Heres the Solution to our bribed and treasonous Congresscritters: Turn off the floor and replace all the chimps.

Turning off the floor requires that we limit Congresscritters to only those funds which come directly from their constituents, and banning corporations from any and all political “contributions” beyond what the median private Citizens can muster, because the Right to do so is already vested in the individual Citizens, and allowing corporations to “contribute” (even indirectly) only serves to give the wealthy multiple “voices” in our government.

This is the exact reason for the (conveniently unenforced) sections in RICO dealing with “Bribery of a Public Official,” and the fact that it used to be (THANKS for nothing SC(r)OTUS!) a crime for foreign corporations to “donate” to any public official.

We had this in 1973. It works, and, because it works, it’s been gutted out of law by diligent and long term bribery of Our Congresscritters.

Welcome to 1984! Orwell warned us, as did Eisenhower, and the founding fathers:

“I give you a democratic Republic, if you can keep it.”

“… the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants; it is it’s natural manure.”