Monthly Archives: July 2011

No Laffing Matter

Economist Arthur Laffer, part of the Reagan Economic Policy Advisory Board, came up with one of the simplest ways in history to equate taxation to actual revenue taken in by the federal government. According to Laffer, a linear curves exists where taxation brings in zero revenue and a tip of a bell curve that could be thought to be the optimum rate for taxation.  This theory, in graph form, became The Laffer Curve. At 0 and 100% tax rates, no revenue is derived. Zero is self-explanatory and 100% should be self-evident – you have no incentive to work if every penny goes to the government. Somewhere in between is where people can make money and pay taxes. 

One little problem with the Curve – it does not account for the nearly 49% of Americans who pay zero in taxes. Therefore, the ones on the curve are paying their share and the share of those who pay no taxes.

Enter the debt ceiling debate. There are serious ramifications for the debt ceiling debates coming down to the wire before next week. It boils down to spending, our ability to pay off the debt, interest rates on the debt, etc. I have no doubt that a deal will be reached and the US will not default. I also doubt with the Senate and White House still in Dem hands that the debt ceiling will be left as is. It will be increased to get a deal done. While this round of this heavyweight battle has been laden with jabs, it will be a draw when it settles. The real question once again comes to the table about taxes and the impact on the ability to repay this Goliath.

A key anchor in the US economic ship right now is uncertainty of future taxes. We know the Communist One wants to raise the living hell out of taxes to pay for his social wonderland. The reality is that our current tax rate is already onerous enough as is. The current max income tax bracket is 35% on income. However, that is before Social Security and Medicare take their bites. That is 4.2 % and 1.45% respectively for a total of 40.65%. However, there are other taxes placed on high income earners such as  the Alternative Income Tax that make the effective rate over 50%. This does not include any state income or sales taxes people also pay from the hip.For 2013, the income bracket goes up another 4.6%. Past 2013 no one is certain and with this mountain of debt, many forecast additional increases to pay down the debt. Somehow the Dem’s feel that taking more than 40 to 50% of your money at the federal level is not fair. What dope are they smoking??

I am leaning more and more to a flat tax on everyone of 15 to 20% with the only way to raise taxes to be 2/3 majority of the House and Senate. If everyone pays, then everyone watches the money closer. There is solid evidence the government would lose revenue under such a system and it would be forced to shrink in size. This would be fair across the board to taxpayers and would provide the mechanism to force the government back to essential services and eliminate waste.

There is no easy way out. Even when we start getting the cuts we need in spending, it will have a negative economic impact if the private sector cannot absorb public sector losses. We know it will be hard to absorb all that into the private sector due to the damage wrought by this Administration and the 111th Congress; so expect a sluggish economy for a while.  No matter how we tackle this, it is going to be long, loud, and painful.

And that, my friends, is no Laffing Matter.

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The Dark Side of the Moon.

Just in case you’re wondering, this is not an update on Pink Floyd. With apologies to Roger, Nick, Richard, and David – this is a commentary on a sad day in American history. Yesterday, July 21, 2011 marked the end of an era in US Space Flight with the final landing of the shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is one of the most significant decisions in US aerospace exploration and defense and the attention paid to it by the general public is shameful. Gone are the days of dreaming of the USA being the first to land a man on Mars. The Russians, Chinese, and Indians are hot on that pursuit. The Earth is now gate kept by the Russians – think that will have any impact on our relations? We all better pray to the Lord the themes like those from the movies Deep Impact and Armageddon never become true. If they do, I do not want my hide relying on the Kremlin or the Chinese to save us.

As much as I would like to lay this at the feet of Obama, I can’t. Not that he has not added his personal touch in further relegating NASA to the sideline, but this rotten egg was laid by Barry’s predecessor Bush 43.  Every President from Kennedy to Reagan knew the importance of the Space Program. Since Reagan, the attitude has been subdued at best. Bush 41 and Clinton cut NASA with the military, as if it were one and the same. Bush 43 killed the shuttle program in 2005 after the investigation of the 2003 crash of Columbia. Hmm, that’s not exactly correct. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board made return-to-flight recommendation — modify the space shuttle external tank to prevent it from shedding insulating foam. NASA was supposed to replace the shuttle with a new craft to get the job done. However, instead of heading back into deep space and exploring the last frontier for the US and mankind, Bush 43 pushed a new directive to return to the Moon for further exploration.

That’s right – the Moon. The same one we landed on in 1969 and frequented in the early 1970’s. The same one that short of a defense post against aggression and some neat mining benefits does not hold a great deal of hope of further colonization for mankind.  I still have no clue why W felt the agency should head this way, with his dad claiming Houston as home. One would think the Bush’s would want Houston to continue to kick butt for NASA. If someone has an answer – please share it.

I have a few core areas that I am a fan of government investment for research and development and space is one of them. I want private enterprise investing as well, even partnering with NASA on projects. What I cannot stand is to see what has been, along with the US Military, one of the few bright spots in the US Government be turned into mush. If Obama wanted to actually create government jobs in NASA that will actually benefit the US and the world, I would applaud it. We need engineers, physicists, and mathematicians working on projects that would have the aerospace and related industries building more spacecraft and support parts. That would employ more people who would need homes, buy cars, etc. Reality is that Barry will never invest in NASA as he sees it as part of the American Colonization Machine that he hates so dearly. That is one of the reasons he has not released to Congress the new design NASA has been working on in response to The Columbia Accident Investigation Board recommendations.

There are some long-term realities that humanity will have to face in future centuries in that we have a good shot on having a bit of a population issue. Unlike the liberals, NAZI’s, Chinese, and other population control freaks of the world – I believe God endowed mankind with the intelligence to create, engineer, and build the required technologies to live beyond the borders of the Earth. The Universe is too vast to be merely dreamed about. It demands exploration. Mars is the next step and enough research has come forward from the efforts of NASA that the creation of an atmosphere is not beyond the realm of developing technologies. However, you have to be able to transport people and machines to make it happen.

Does NASA have a future? Reality demands a healthy yes, albeit not in this current White House Administration. The US has led in this area for too long, mistakes and all, to simply quit the game. The current direction of NASA is not just taking a step back, but stepping back into a cave in aerospace darkness. It is a direction that is unsustainable for US defense, exploration, and potential colonization efforts.

Like the Conservative Agenda we are currently fighting to re-claim in the local, state, and federal legislative chambers, a day will come when we can re-claim the lead in the Space Race. Until then, we have to live with the dark side of the Moon.

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Time to Secede from the United Nations

While there is no doubt we are part of a Global Economy, we are in no way a One World Government as the Communist One and his followers are working for. What is the real benefit, if any, to having the US be involved in the United Nations?

Before we examine that question, a brief glimpse needs to be reviewed on the UN’s failed predecessor – The League Of Nations. While not a Marvel Comic alliance, the League was comical in its influence, or lack thereof, on world political events. After World War I, The League was formed from the Treaty of Versailles in what to do with Germany. The Treaty was heavy-handed to Germany and many believe it led to World War II. The League of Nations, of which the US was a charter nation and one of the “Big Three” with Britain and France, was to be the peace keeping world body to ensure another massive world engagement would never happen again.

The Russian Revolution, Italy’s dissatisfaction with its place in The League, and the total evisceration of Germany in the Treaty doomed the League from the start. The conditions for the Treaty placed the League in a situation of carrying out massive penalties on Germany which included giving back land, keeping Germany’s military reduced, and collecting reparations for the War. In 1922 Germany defaulted on payment of monies or goods claiming that did not have the means to make the payment. League of Nation Members France and Belgium violated League rules and invaded the German Ruhr, Germany’s industrial zone. This violation of League Rule by Key Members set a tone that The League of Nations was a paper tiger at best. A year later, Italy claimed an attack on its men from Greece and convinced the League to fine Greece 50 million lire. A young Benito Mussolini led this effort and had other successes of undermining League Rules for Italian gains during this period. Is his rise to Chancellor, Adolph Hitler was able to use the failure of the The League of Nations and the harsh Treaty of Versailles to rally Germany to his side.

The League was toothless in enforcing resolutions or stopping aggression of nations in the 1930’s when World War II began. The League was fundamentally defunct, as its purpose was to prevent war and many of the Key Members in starting new aggressions that led to World War II. The League was a failure and dissolved at the end of World War II. The United Nations was formed in its place and inherited many of its agencies. The UN’s goals are international cooperation on international law and security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and to keep world peace. Sounds neat.

The UN partition of Palestine in 1947 re-created the state of Israel.  There is no doubt a great achievement in aid to Israel and democracy in the Middle East. However, we know the Arab League and other Arab groups condemned this action and thus started chaos in a region riddled with issues. Since this bold move, it would be hard to argue that the UN has done anything more than perhaps be a conduit for disaster relief aid.

Does the UN have any teeth to its actions at all. In short – no. Let’s examine a few key parts of the UN for validity to this charge. The UN Security Council is a solid place to examine failure. The US, Britain, France, Russia, and China are the 5 permanent members to this body. Hmm, let’s see…. Oh yeah – China backed North Korea in the Korean War and are still the Puppet Master for Pyongyang. Then there was this little skirmish in Vietnam where both Russia and China were at odds with the US. If memory serves, when Iraq invaded Kuwait those UN sanctions were laughed at by Saddam until US led and organized Coalition Forces moved him back. There were 17 Un resolutions against Saddam prior to the US invasion in 2003 that were never enforced and comical. How many UN resolutions have been passed against the nuclear issues in N Korea and Iran without action? Did the UN send forces after 9-11-01 as a means for “global peace” or were US Forces kicking ass? These are just a few examples of the futility of this organization’s ability to keep peace.

Has the UN helped 3rd world nations or disaster areas or does the US pony up the majority of dough for relief? Failure there. Who was the last country that can claim the UN helped develop their economy? None, so it’s a failure there too. Human Rights – do not get me started. This bozo organization have had some of the worlds worst criminals on their Human Rights Council. Just take a look at the Sudan as a reminder.  Oh – does anyone remember the boondoggle “Food For Oil” program that had the UN scamming billions of Iraqi oil? Just me I guess.

So, what’s left for the UN? Law & Security. Here is where they are trying to make a last-ditch effort at something and with this effort eliminate any sovereignty that the US has left. Secretary of State Billary Clinton and O’Communist have been trying their best to take our guns. They cannot get it done in with US law, so they are trying the good ole UN. The Arms Trade Treaty is nothing more than a global gun grab done under the guise of protecting against terrorism and is a load of bunk. While I am not a fan of everything the National Rifle Association does, their Exec VP Wayne LaPierre showed he had a great big set of brass ones with his speech.  Here is the link to the speech:

Folks, the UN is not a functional organization for any of its purposes. If the rest of the world wants to keep this failure afloat – let them. It is time for America to take care of its own and when we are well and back on our feet, well be glad to come to the aid of the world. OR – if you want us to be the World Police then pay for the service, otherwise take a powder. The US will always come to the aid of the tired and downtrodden, even in our hard times. However, it is high time we quit wasting are time with this group of collective do-nothings and fix our nation and the world on our terms.

I hear France has cheap space for rent….

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Declaring Freedom

Rather than write about this great document, I feel it best to just share the words and let you reflect on the significance that created a nation and changed the world:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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Death of the TSA Legislation.

Just a few days ago I was blogging about how the Anti-Grope TSA Bill (aka HB 41) was about to pass and send a message to the feds on 4th Amendment rights. Little did I know that as I was pecking away on my keyboard, the bill was dying somewhere  in Austin.

How did the bill die? Well, there is no concrete evidence. The poo is flying all over the place in Texas and the big wigs are looking for shields, so double-check everything you read and hear on this one. What I offer is the opinion of yours truly, with a spot of political insight and investigation mixed in.

I think I should start by going back a smidge in time to point the proper finger to the culprit that killed the bill during the regular Session of the Texas Legislature. That person is Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. The original bill authored by Texas Rep. David Simpson had already passed the Texas House and was on its way to passing in the Texas Senate. When US Attorney John Murphy sent a letter to Texas Legislators threatening a government shutdown of flights out of Texas if the bill passed, it was Dewhurst who went weak in the knees. If you would like to send a love letter to the Lt. Gov his fax is 512-463-0677 . Never has a leader so high in Texas Republican politics failed so many in one swift move. It showed a lack of courage, an abdication of leadership, as well as flushing out logical sense. The TSA was not about to shut down Texas flights – the threat was weak and everyone knew it. Unfortunately, the Texas Senate still has too many RINO’s and Dewhurst is leader of the pack and killed the bill in debate. Dewhurst also meddled in the Special Session vote by issuing press releases just a few days before the needed 3rd reading and vote. The press releases hammered the Dems in DC and ticked off Texas Dems who were in support of the bill. Bad timing and poor judgement to play partisan on an issue where none was needed. So when the hammer starts falling in Texas for the failure to pass this much-needed legislation, Dewhurst’s name needs to be at the top of the list. Should current Gov Rick Perry run for President and have a successful bid, this man’s steps in as Gov. Geesh…..

The next person that aided in the untimely death of HB 41 was Governor Rick Perry, albeit not by intention. The Governor of Texas controls the agenda of Special Sessions and Perry should have placed the TSA Bill right on the list from the start. The delay ended up placing HB41 in a procedural rift. The Texas Constitutional protocol requires 3 readings during a session ro pass. The bill got 2 readings but needed a third to pass. The bill was not read a third time Wednesday amid numerous rumors that are not confirmed. The only way to suspend that protocol and vote for a bill without 3 readings is by having 4/5th of House voting on the measure. That is 80% of Members and was not about to happen due to partisan politics and the fact the Speaker of the House allowed Members to leave Special Session early for vacation. Perry now has egg on his face for this gaffe in the House on what should have been a slam dunk.

The next finger points directly to Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss. The Speaker controls the legislative flow and could have worked to get the bill up in a more timely manner to avoid the procedural issue that helped to kill the bill. Strauss showed his stripes during the last week of the session by blasting the bill as a “publicity stunt” which cost Member support. The early vacations given to those lackey Members helped nail down the lid to the coffin.

Finally, the last finger needs to be pointed to Representatives Members who allowed this fail. A collaborative effort should have been pushed through by Members. A huge opportunity was allowed to slip by. How anyone explains this to voters is a trick to me.

There are those that say Representative David Simpson cost the bill, although never by intention. Stories are now circulating on how Simpson got sucked into a situation at a dinner table Tuesday night and made a rookie legislative mistake. Somehow he did not play ball with the power people and this bill died. Two days earlier, changes had been made to the bill upon recommendations by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott over specific words that needed changing to survive federal challenges. The changes would ensure that IF the feds wanted to challenge this law (and that was doubtful) that the challenge would zip right through Texas Federal Judges and sail on to the Supremes. That would take the TSA procedures and turn them into the 4th Amendment violation it needs to be. The rumor mill now is flowing that Simpson welched on the changes from the days before. This meant a another debate and there was no time. Pardon that pun, it was really bad. The challenge with this story is that there is nothing on the Texas Legislative website to corroborate the story.

So instead of making political history –  a rotten egg was laid.

Going to need a large stockpile of air freshener to clear the stink out of the air on this one.

Gas mask please!

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