Patrick's Rants



11/1/2004

The Last Days of These United States

Filed under: Politics — site admin @ 9:53 am

One hopes that the history of the United States is not a book whose story is nearing its end.

This country was founded by people fleeing their oppresive governments. The orginal settlers were not only seeking freedom of religion, but also freedom from religion. The separation of church and state is so fundamental to the continued survival of our country that I can only believe the end of our great experiment called democracy is nearing its end. George W Bush is handing government money to so-called faith based initiatives, he wants to amend the constitution- our most sacred document – to define, one might say redefine, marriage, we are currently fighting a crusade like war in Iraq, we are breaking the promise of Social Security. Our country is broke. Our political line of credit is used up. Our standing in the world is one of the big bully. Instead of jobs, Bush talks about No Child Left Behind, a program that discriminates against gifted programs, underfunded schools and every state that is struggling to find money just for text books.

The government now owes more money that could be paid for by selling everything owned by everyone living in this country. We are owned by foreign governments and investors.

With the “Patriot Act” the Bill of Rights is eroded, illegal search and seizure doesn’t apply. A search warrant is not required. One must take care to note that the “Patriot Act” was proposed before 9/11/2001. It has nothing to do with fighting terrorism and everything to do with eroding the Bill of Rights. Of course the reduced funding for local law enforcement balances out the big brother effect of the Patriot Act.

So what hangs in the balance this Tuesday? A woman’s right to choose, the makeup of the Supreme Court, Democracy itself.

The revolution must take place with the ballot or I fear that it will take place in the streets. We revolted against England when the oppression was too much to take, our militia may soon begin to feel the need to arm itself against our leaders.

Wolf Packs For Truth

Filed under: Politics — site admin @ 6:57 am

George W Bush’s is running a commercial showing wolves running around in the woods while telling you that John Kerry will cut the spending and make the United States more dangerous. Apparently, the terrorists are wolves and we must take these vicious creatures off the Endangered Species List to make America safer.
The wolves, in classic political thrust and parry fashion, have created a web site to respond to George W Bush’s false and misleading attacks on John Kerry that disparage the American Wolf

10/28/2004

A better dividend tax break?

Filed under: Politics,Sensible Tax Reform — site admin @ 11:58 am

Over the last few years we have heard time and again that GW is going to cut the double taxation on dividends by making them tax free for investors. While that sounds like a good idea to some, let’s look at the realities of ‘tax-free’ dividends:

  • Only individuals investing directly in stocks will benefit.
  • If you own stocks through your company retirement plan, 401(k), SIMPLE, SEP, or Traditional IRA, all withdrawals from those plans are considered Ordinary Income just like a paycheck. No benefit from investing in tax free bonds exists now and certainly no benefit will exist in the future regarding dividends without an serious overhaul of the tax code- an overhaul that is not coming no matter what anyone says. Additionally, if you are invested in a ROTH IRA all your withdrawals are tax free as long as you meet the basic rules of the ROTH since you pay tax on the money when you earned it in your paycheck. No benefit of the ‘tax-free’ dividend will be seen by you.

  • There is no real incentive for companies to pay dividends
  • The way dividends currently work at the corporate level, the corporation pays tax on its net earnings. Net earnings include the amount of dividends paid out. In other words, the corporation does not subtract what is arguably an expense from its earnings. This is the main reason Subchapter S corporations are popular with small corporations; taxes are only paid on one, level the individual share holders. The S Corp itself pays no taxes (well there are a couple different ones they do pay but not generally on regular income) but passes the income and expenses to its shareholders who then report the income and expenses on their personal tax return.

  • The tax code is more complex due to no subtraction for this expense
  • A corporation owning a certain percentage of another companies stock can subtract a portion of that dividend income. Of course this is only if they have followed all the rules regarding how long they have held the stock and how much of the stock they actually own. There are somewhere between 3 and 5 different percentages of stock that qualify for the ‘Dividends Received Deduction’.

Reclassifying this as an expense – not retroactive of course, that would be a serious headache – would allow corporate books to be less complex, reduce the record keeping and tax preparation burden on corporations, would not discriminate against lower income individuals who might only own stock within a retirement plan in favor of higher income individuals who might tend to hold stock directly, and even give corporations a real incentive to pay dividends to their shareholders (case in point Microsoft has horded over $30 billion in cash)
Real tax reform must be sensible and make sense. This is only area of Federal Income taxation that I’m personally aware of where income is taxed twice. If you want to change it Mr Bush do it the right way.

10/27/2004

Site upgrades and CSS

Filed under: General — site admin @ 4:24 pm

If you checked out the site using Internet Explorer recently you would have seen an ugly page… the menu was at the bottom (should have been on the right), nothing was where was supposed to be and the general formatting was all messed up.
Well, between an extra parenthasis mark and a newer version of Word Press I managed to totally break formatting… except I didn’t see it using Fire Fox. It should be all better now 🙂

10/26/2004

Hind sight is 20/20- but only if you open your eyes

Filed under: Politics — site admin @ 9:07 am

A little over a year ago I was having a ‘debate’ with some Bush supporters, heavy Republicans. I bring this up because as I recall I was debating with a couple of Vets, neither of which actually fought in any war if I remember correctly. I suppose if they read this they may recognize themselves and correct me or they will just bad mouth me to their own detriment 😉
As I recall I was asked if I thought Saddam Hussein was a bad and evil man, if he had mistreated his own people and people of other countries. I said that yes, he was bad, he did those things, mistreating people abusing women, etc. but that’s not what George W Bush said was his reasoning for going into Iraq. In other words the GOP back-pedaling from his own supporters had begun nearly as quickly as the war itself. Part of the discussion involved prostestors who had chained themselves in front of Rick Renzi’s offices in Flagstaff, some about the protestors who had blocked traffic. Interestingly enough, these ‘conservatives’ were in favor of knocking back the right to assemble with a thinly veiled ‘well they’re tying up emergency services, someone could have been hurt or died while they were blocking traffic’. They are absolutely right. But I have to wonder what they think about the protests at Kent State over the Vietnam war, the protests over equal rights in the south, and Rosa Parks’ refusal to stand at the back of the bus. Everyone involved was breaking the law at the time, because the law was unjust, or the cause in Vietnam was costing the lives of US soldiers daily. Should we throw out the first amendment because someone doesn’t like what we may have to say? This is exactly what the first amendment is about. Your right to say things I don’t like. In truth, the full value of protests and the willingness of brave, patriotic Americans to break laws which are unjust is not fully appreciated at the time.
As we ended our discussion, I was asked if I had ever ‘served my country’. Why is it that conservatives think that the only way to ‘serve’ one’s country is to join the armed forces? Our own armed forces are refusing to serve in what they believe to be dangerous and pointless missions. Additionally, over 800 troops have not shown up for duty despite being called up for duty. The administration is trying to quietly resolve the failure of the troops to show up- presumably because they don’t want the troops to say publicly that they don’t believe in the war.
However, my response to the question is that I have and do serve my country: I vote. Serve your country, vote, protest, exercise your constitutional rights support the constitution.

10/25/2004

LIVE CHAT FOR KERRY EDWARDS SUPPORTERS NOW THROUGH ELECTION

Filed under: Politics — site admin @ 3:00 pm

Type in a nickname and kerryedwards in the channel name field: http://www.chat4all.org/eng_yourchatroom.html
If you’d rather join the room from mIRC or another IRC client, enter the server irc.chat4all.org, the port 6667, and the room #kerryedwards. Warning – trolls will be banned. Open now through the inauguration.

380 tons of explosives missing in Iraq

Filed under: Politics — site admin @ 9:56 am

In yet another example of the blazing incompetence of the Bush administration we learn that 380 tons of explosives that should have been guarded when we invaded Iraq were left unguarded so that soldiers could stand at oil refineries.

There was no immediate response from the Bush administration on the IAEA announcement.

But a senior administration official told CNN that national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was notified about the missing weapons about a month ago. Iraq Survey Group inspectors are investigating, the official said.

The discovery was not made public sooner because standard intelligence practice is not to let the enemy know such information, the official said.

I beg to differ- the enemy stole the explosives they already know.

10/24/2004

Bush supporters ignorant of reality regarding Iraq

Filed under: Politics — site admin @ 8:08 pm

According to a recent poll published by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, University of Maryland, Bush supporters blindly, ignorantly believe Iraq had MWD, direct ties to Al Qaeda, and was directly involved in 9/11 despite every bit of evidence to the contrary.

Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.
Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.

This blind faith is very unsettling. There are two possible conclusions that we can draw from this study;

  1. Supporters of George W Bush believe him so completely that facts and reality do not persuade them.
  2. Those who cannot grasp reality due to mental deficiency, self delusion, ignorance or idiocy are more likely to support GW.

I’m not sure which conclusion is scarier- that W is able to sway so many people even with his exaggerated and contorted speech looking much like the puppets in Team America, World Police, or that there are so many people walking around with their eyes closed that they feel only W can represent them.
I guess you could say that intelligent people that can think for themselves, believe the results of a bi-partisan independent commission will be voting for someone other than Bush- most likely John Kerry. Those that can’t grasp reality even when it is reported everywhere and don’t even understand Bush’s own proclaimed positions will vote Bush.

New Times calling for election reform

Filed under: Politics — site admin @ 4:11 pm

The New York Times is calling attention to many potential problems with the so-called Help America Vote Act of 2002 and for real election law reform. It’s time for Congress to take a real non-partisan look at voting on the federal level, send a copy of The New York Times call for election reform to your representatives. How can we expect a fair uncontested election if the rules aren’t the same for everyone and the vote goes into a mysterious blackbox to be counted?

10/23/2004

Michael Moore – a wanted man over clean underwear

Filed under: Politics — site admin @ 6:48 pm

Michael Moore is a wanted man in Michigan for bribing voters with clean underwear and Ramen noodles. It is ironic that after putting up with Bush’s crap for the last three and a half years, giving out clean underwear is is a crime.
Enjoy

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