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Rags and Bones

A monthly column by Jonathan Wallace


Invention of religion by the near-sighted

“I have a theory that religion was invented by near-sighted people. I mean this literally, not metaphorically.

In prehistoric times, a near-sighted individual could be of no possible use to the tribe. I imagine such people sooner or later woke up one morning to find that everyone else had left them alone, to die slowly as they failed to hunt and gather enough food to survive, or to successfully defend against predators. The dumb near-sighted all died over time, but the intelligent near-sighted figured out they could make themselves indispensable to the tribe by inventing origin myths and deities who must be propitiated through the intervention of the near-sighted individual. From that day to this,, intelligence and the need for glasses have become inextricably bound to one another.

The selfish elderly

Its becoming clear that a significant constituency opposing health care reform are Medicare recipients afraid their benefits will be cut. This pampered group (beneficiaries, by the way, of a highly successful American experiment in “socialized” medicine) is being stunningly uncharitable to other Americans who are suffering and dying for lack of coverage.

“Rationing” is one of the buzz words that frightens people, but as I learned in a highly fascinating Harvard Law School course taught by Professor Alan Stone thirty years ago, health care has always been rationed, like every other resource. The Medicare folk are fighting to protect a system of rationing which favors them at the expense of others. Besides, there is no concrete proof that a fairer, more inclusive system will take anything away from them. Like recent immigrants fighting to restrict new immigration, they are just looking to close a door after themselves. “I’m all right, Jack—so fuck you.”

I hate Microsoft

I am writing this on the first Macintosh I have ever owned, a notebook. I always rooted for Apple at a distance, but as a lawyer and corporate executive, always felt trapped in the Microsoft world at the desktop level (and proud to be in the Unix world at the server level).

Over the years, I was always shocked by Bill Gates’ arrogance and ruthlessness, and his company’s ability to drive superior products from the marketplace (such as Lotus 123) by the deployment of mediocre competitors which were more tightly integrated into the OS. On security issues alone, the failure of Microsoft in almost thirty years to make any significant progress towards closing the gaping holes which allow viruses and malware to invade and even control our computers, illustrates the ability of a company with major economic clout to force us to standardize on a really shoddy product.

I have never owned a DOS or Windows PC that did not mysteriously freeze or crash on a regular basis. Often while running proprietary Microsoft software. One computer I regularly use today always locks up after an hour or two if I have multiple Explorer windows open (just two or three of them). It then obligingly asks if I want to send a message to Microsoft with the information on the crash. I always do but wonder who is analyzing these messages.

The sad thing is that, like people who grew up in Soviet-dominated countries, after a while you become resigned to the situation and accommodate yourself to it, hopeless that anything better can be accomplished. For decades of my life, I accepted that computers lock up and need to be restarted from time to time. In the year I have owned it, my Mac has never frozen and needed to be restarted. It also is reportedly far less vulnerable to viruses than any Windows machine.

Microsoft is a glaring illustration of the fact that a free market system without government restraint leads to a monopoly, which forces us to use flawed, inferior and expensive products. The Department of Justice was very late to the game, intervening only when the Internet came along and Microsoft proposed to integrate the browser into the OS. But where is Netscape today? The triumph of Explorer, despite DOJ action, is just one more sign of the economic power Microsoft achieved in good times and bad.

The most thoughtful, ideological Libertarian I know is a software developer who hates Microsoft with a passion. I once teased him that his philosophy could be summarized as follows: the sole acceptable purpose of government is to fuck up Microsoft.

I am thinking about the evil giant today because of something which happened a few days ago. I turned on my Mac and saw a message asking if I wanted to update Microsoft Office. Naturally I said yes. I have done this several times in the year I owned the machine. I still use Word on most computers, out of years of habit and for lack of an effective alternative (where is WordStar or Wordperfect today?). This time, after the update installed, something new happened: when I tried to launch Word, I was faced by a message that my copy of Office did not have a valid key.

My used computer came with the Office applications already installed. Microsoft let me update Office several times without crippling it. I bought the laptop at a small computer store and did not receive any documentation with it. If they sold me a pirated copy of Office, shame on them; I have always been very respectful of copyright and wouldn’t knowingly have bought an illegal copy.

Of course, if I own a legal copy of Office, even more shame on Microsoft. But let’s assume for a moment that there is no valid key associated with my apps. I am a purchaser in good faith who has used my Mac as my main computer for a solid year. I am presently living 1100 miles away from home and the store where I got the machine. I was a couple days short of my deadline for producing the September issue of The Ethical Spectacle. And Microsoft had the temerity to reach across the Internet, onto my laptop, and cripple an application, heedless of my circumstances and what effect this action might have on my business life. Shades of the recent scandal about Amazon reaching out to Kindles in people’s homes and deleting books they had purchased. If its not OK for Amazon, why would it be all right for Microsoft? Amazon apologized within days; but we have had so many decades of Microsoft behaving stupidly and brutally, we are more used to it.

Within minutes, I downloaded and installed a free and legal copy of Open Office, Sun’s freeware which mirrors all Word commands. That is what I am using to write this. I also have this software on two other computers, a desktop back home and an Acer netbook I bought recently, neither of which came with Office pre-installed. I vow never again to purchase Microsoft software.”


In this undated photo provided by the Bergdahl family and released by the Idaho National Guard, Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, Idaho is shown. The Pentagon on Sunday, July 19, 2009 confirmed that the American soldier who went missing from his base in Afghanistan has been captured and identified him as a private from Idaho serving with an Alaska-based infantry regiment. The Defense Department released the name of Pfc. Bergdahl, one day after he was seen in a video posted online as saying he was ‘scared I won’t be able to go home.’


U.S. Private Bowe Bergdahl speaks in a video released by his captors in Afghanistan, July 19, 2009. The U.S. military denounced on Sunday the release of the video showing a soldier captured in Afghanistan, describing the images as Taliban propaganda that violated international law.


That’s it. Plain and Simple. I Want Him Back Now!!!

My friend Don’s sent me this link, I think it sums it up nicely.  Don’t  miss the 4 ways topic that follows it.  It’s another good read if you think Obama is the holy one.


Ali Sina

I must confess, I was not impressed by Sen. Barack Obama from the first time
I saw him. At first I was excited to see a black candidate. He looked
youthful, spoke well, appeared to be confident, a wholesome presidential
package. I was put off soon, not just because of his shallowness but also
because there was an air of haughtiness in his demeanor
that was unsettling. His posture and his body language were louder than his
empty words. Obama’s speeches are un;like any political speech we have heard
in American history.
Never a politician in this land had such a quasi “religious” impact on so
many people. The fact that Obama is a total incognito with zero
accomplishment makes this inexplicable infatuation alarming. Obama is not an
ordinary man. He is not a genius. In fact, he is quite ignorant on most
important subjects. Barack Obama is a narcissist. Dr. Sam Vaknin, the author
of “Malignant Self Love,” also believes, “Barack Obama appears to be a

Vaknin is a world authority on narcissism. He understands it and describes
the inner mind of a narcissist like no other person. When he talks about
narcissism everyone listens. Vaknin says that Obama’s language, posture and
demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, nearest and dearest suggest
that the Senator is either a narcissist or he may have
narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Narcissists project a grandiose but false image of themselves. Jim Jones,
the charismatic leader of People’s Temple, the man who led over 900 of his
followers to cheerfully commit mass suicide and even murder their own
children was also a narcissist. Charles Manson, Joseph Koni, Shoko Asahara,
Joe Stalin, Saddam, Mao Zedong, Kim Jong IL, and Adolph
Hitler are a few examples of narcissists of our time. All these men had a
tremendous influence over their fanciers and followers. They created a
personality cult around themselves, and with their blazing speeches elevated
their admirer’s souls, filled their hearts with enthusiasm and instilled in
their minds a new zest for life. Those men gave their followers hope! They
promised them the moon, but alas, they invariably brought them to their
doom. When you are a victim of a cult of personality, you don’t know it
until it is too late.

One determining factor in the development of NPD is childhood abuse.
“Obama’s early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and
mentally bruising dislocations,” says Vaknin. “Mixed-race marriages were
even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an
infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died
in a car accident. His mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to
Indonesia, a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by
a stepfather. He was raised as an only child, full of himself and no others.
He never had to share the spotlight with any siblings. At the age of ten, he
was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his
mother only intermittently in the following few years and
then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995.”

One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological
narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms
those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become
like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at
his service. The narcissist shapes the world around him and
reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of
personality; his admirers become his co-dependents.

Narcissists have no interest in things that do not hel7 them to reach their
personal objectives. They are focused on one thing alone, and that is power.
All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their
precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath
them and does not deserve their attention. If an issue raised in the Senate
does not help Obama in one way or another, he has no interest in it. The
“Present” vote is a safe vote; he used the “Present” all the time as a
member of the Illinois legislature. No one can criticize him if things go
wrong. Why should he implicate himself in issues that may become
controversial when they don’t help him personally?
Those issues are unworthy by their very nature because they are not about

Obama’s election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review led
to a contract and an advance to write a book about race relations. The
University of Chicago Law School provided him with a fellowship and an
office to work on his book. The book took him a lot longer than expected and
at the end it devolved into., guess what? His own autobiography! Instead of
writing a scholarly paper focusing on race relations, for which he had been
paid, Obama could not resist writing about his most sublime self. He
entitled the book “Dreams from My Father.”

Not surprisingly, Adolph Hitler also wrote his own autobiography when he was
still nobody. So did Stalin. For a narcissist no subject is as important as
his own self. Why would he waste his precious time and genius writing about
insignificant things when he can write about such an august being as
himself? Narcissists are often callous and even ruthless. As the norm, they
lack conscience. This is evident from Obama’s lack of interest in his own
brother who lives on only one dollar per month. A man who lives in luxury,
who takes a private jet to vacation in Hawaii, and who has raised nearly a
half billion dollars for his campaign (something unprecedented in history)
has no interest in the plight of his own brother. Why? His brother cannot be
used for his ascent to power. A narcissist cares for no one but himself.

This election is like no other election in the history of America. The
issues are insignificant compared to what is at stake. What can be more
dangerous than having a man bereft of a conscience, a serial liar, and one
who cannot distinguish his fantasies from reality as the
leader of the free world?

I hate to sound alarmist, but one must be a fool if one is not alarmed. Many
politicians are narcissists. They pose no threat to others. They are simply
self-serving and selfish. [Witness Al Gore’s Income Tax; it reveals that he
gave away NO MONEY to charities, not even to a church!] Obama evinces
symptoms of pathological narcissism, which is different from the
run-of-the-mill narcissism of a Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton, for example.
To him reality and fantasy are intertwined. This is a mental health issue,
not just a character flaw.

Pathological narcissists are dangerous because they look normal and even
intelligent. It is this disguise that makes them treacherous. [Look up the
word ‘treachery.’]

Today the Democrats have placed all their hopes in Obama. But this man could
put an end to their party [and to this great nation]. The great majority of
blacks have also decided to vote for Obama. Only a fool does not know that
their support for him is racially driven.

This is racism, pure and
simple. The truth is that, while everyone carries a misconceived collective
guilt towards blacks for wrongs done centuries ago by a bygone people to a
bygone people, the blacks carry a collective rancor, enmity or vendetta
towards non-blacks, and to this day want to “stand up” to the white man.
They seem to be stuck in 19th century [encouraged by race baiters like Al
Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and others].

The downside of this is, that if Obama turns out to be the disaster I
predict, he will cause widespread resentment among the whites. The blacks
are unlikely to give up their support of their man. Cultic mentality is
pernicious and unrelenting. They will dig their heads deeper in the sand and
blame Obama’s detractors of racism. This will cause a backlash among the
whites. The white supremacists will take advantage of the discontent and
they will receive widespread support. I predict that in less than four
years, racial tensions will increase to levels not seen since the turbulent
1960s. Obama will set the clock back decades. Americais the bastion of
freedom. The peace of the world depends on the strength of America, and its
weakness translates into the triumph of terrorism and victory of rogue
nations. It is no wonder that Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, the Maoist
Castroists, the Hezbollah, the Hamas, the lawyers of the Guantanamo
terrorists, and virtually all sworn enemies of America are
so thrilled by the prospect of “their man” in the White House. America is on
the verge of
destruction. There is no insanity greater than electing a pathological
narcissist as president.

You can Google Dr. Sam Vaknin and get the same information.

Only two definning forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and American Soldier one died for your soul the other for your freedom…2&d=1198628312

4 Myths About the Obama-Geithner Bailout Plan

February 11, 2009 02:43 PM ET | Rick Newman | Permanent Link | Print

So far, it’s an epic disappointment. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has pledged to harness the “full force of the U.S. government” to stabilize the financial system and set the stage for an economic recovery. The ultimate cost could be $2.5 trillion, a number so big that many Americans couldn’t tell you how many zeroes it entails.

Yet Wall Street hissed, the press piled on, and critics groaned that the still-evolving plan is far too sketchy to inspire any confidence. If they had it to do over, no doubt Obama and Geithner would wait till they could offer more specifics instead of staging the faux-dramatic show of governmental force that they’ve managed so far.

[See why Geithner’s missteps might work in his favor.]

But a big reason the Obama bailout plan has landed with such a thud is that we’ve been expecting way too much of it. Excessive expectations always breed disappointment, which is why smart leaders learn to underpromise and overdeliver. Here are some of the myths about the Obama bailout plan that we’ve been clinging to:

Obama has a secret formula. We have a new president promising to take America in a new direction and solve the problems that vexed the last president. That means there must be some new and improved way to rescue the banks, right? Wrong.

Obama and Geithner have one advantage over Bush and his Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson: The virtue of hindsight and lessons learned from past mistakes. But the Troubled Assets Relief Program has been an unprecedented, trial-and-error intervention in the banking system since Paulson first devised it last fall. And it still is, to some extent.

[See how Wall Street continues to doom itself.]

Geithner – who worked closely with Paulson on the original TARP – doesn’t know something that Paulson didn’t. He doesn’t have a secret weapon. The range of solutions now are the same ones Paulson considered: Investing money directly in banks, helping them get bad loans off their books, and taking steps to stimulate consumer credit. Geithner can call if a fresh start, but he knows that it’s really a restart at best.

More accountability will solve the problem. Another advantage Obama and Geithner have is they’re not working in the midst of pandemonium. The original bailout did accomplish one thing: It forestalled a financial panic after Lehman Brothers failed and AIG almost did. That means Obama’s team can be more deliberate, and take more time to get it right. Paulson didn’t have that option last fall: The clock was ticking, the markets were plunging, and value was being destroyed minute-by-minute.

[See what 8 bailout CEOs need to explain.]

Requiring more accountability from banks that get bailout money is an essential step forward at this point. Ideally, that would have been baked into the bailout at the beginning, but it wasn’t. If done right, more accountability will improve confidence in the government and the markets. But it won’t change the essential problem, which is that many banks – including some of the biggest, like Citigroup and Bank of America – still face deep losses that constrain their ability to lend, and maybe even their viability. An insolvent bank is a disaster, whether its books are open or closed.

The bailout will be good for Wall Street. The markets enjoyed a bailout bump in the days prior to Geithner’s leaden announcement. Why? Apparently Wall Street expected a renewed bailout plan to generate stability or other conditions favorable to investors.

[Want to land a plum job without paying taxes? Here’s how.]

But Geithner ended up sending the message that under Obama’s terms, bailouts will be tough on banks. They’ll have to pass a “stress test” to prove they’re worth investing taxpayer money in, and explain how the investment will be in taxpayers’ interest. That’s good for the economy and it’s good for taxpayers, but the unstated message is the government WON’T be willing to help banks in the worst shape. And those on the margin will bear most of the responsibility for fixing their own problems.

For bank shareholders, that’s terrible news, because they could lose much or all of their investment. Eventually, a stronger economy will benefit Wall Street, because stocks will rise once the banks and their borrowers are healthier. But traders don’t want results eventually. They want results now.

The bailout will fix the housing problem. We keep falling for this one. There have been several government and industry programs so far that have been designed to reverse the housing bust, slow the ballooning foreclosure rate, and keep more homeowners in their homes. None have worked on a large scale. There’s a reason: This is an extraordinarily difficult problem to solve.

There may be as many as 5 million mortgages still at risk of foreclosure. Workouts and loan modifications may help save a small portion of them. But the vast majority of troubled mortgages aren’t held by the banks that issued them. These are the mortgages that have been broken into components, bundled into securities (now derided as “toxic assets”), and sold to investors around the world. To renegotiate any one of those mortgages requires the participation of multiple parties, including some who will lose money and expect to be compensated. Now, multiply that by 5 million.

[See why the feds rescue banks, not homeowners.]

Obama has to take a stab at solving the problem, because doing nothing would make it look like he’s helping the bankers while sacrificing the little guy. That was the rap against Bush and Paulson. But even the most ambitious plans would only help homeowners indirectly, by creating stronger incentives for lenders to help them out. And there’s mounting evidence that about half of all modified loans end up in foreclosure anyway.

It’s possible that a complex loan-modification program – with more moving parts than most people in Washington will be able to understand – might help roll back the foreclosure problem. But it won’t be a quick fix. Instead, it will take time, diligence, and more tolerance of trial-and-error than most of us have shown so far. And it still might not work. So lower your expectations, or prepare to be deeply disappointed. Again.

World bids farewell to ‘Bush-isms’

World bids farewell to 'Bush-isms' AFP – US President George W. Bush in Washington, DC, January 13.(AFP/Jim Watson)

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President George W. Bush may be passing out of the White House and into history, but he has bequeathed to the nation and the world volumes of unforgettable quotes.

Herewith are some of the more memorable “Bush-isms:”


“We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them,”

— Washington, September 11, 2001

“The deliberate and deadly attacks which were carried out yesterday against our country were more than acts of terror. They were acts of war,”

— Washington, September 12, 2001

“I can hear you. I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon,”

— New York, September 14, 2001

“I want justice. There’s an old poster out west, as I recall, that said, “Wanted: Dead or Alive,”

— Washington, September 17, 2001

“Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,”

— Washington, September 20, 2001

“States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world,”

— Washington, January 29, 2002

“My fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended… The tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free,”

USS Abraham Lincoln at sea off the coast of San Diego, California, May 1, 2003

“There are some who feel like — that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring them on,”

— Washington, July 2, 2003

“I’m the decider, and I decide what is best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of Defense,”

— Washington, April 18, 2006



“They misunderestimated me,”

— Bentonville, Arkansas, November 6, 2000

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on … shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again,”

Nashville, Tennessee, September 17, 2002

“I want to thank my friend, Senator Bill Frist, for joining us today … He married a Texas girl, I want you to know. Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me,”

— Nashville, Tennessee, May 27, 2004

“I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office,”

— to Israeli journalists in Washington in an interview published May 12, 2008.


“I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace,”

— Washington, June 18, 2002

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we,” — Washington, August 5, 2004

“You know, when I campaigned here in 2000, I said, I want to be a war president. No president wants to be a war president, but I am one,”

Des Moines, Iowa, October 26, 2006


“For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times,”

— Tokyo, February 18, 2002

“I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep on the soil of a friend,”

— on the prospect of visiting Denmark, Washington, June 29, 2005

“Thank you, Your Holiness. Awesome speech,”

— Washington April 16, 2008 to Pope Benedict XVI.

“I remember meeting a mother of a child who was abducted by the North Koreans right here in the Oval Office,”

— Washington, June 26, 2008


“I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully,”

Saginaw, Michigan, September 29, 2000


“Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country,”

— Poplar Bluff, Missouri, September 6, 2004

“It would be a mistake for the United States Senate to allow any kind of human cloning to come out of that chamber,”

— Washington, April 10, 2002


“Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”

Florence, South Carolina, January 11, 2000

“You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test,”

Townsend, Tennessee, February 21, 2001


“Those who enter the country illegally violate the law,”

Tucson, Arizona, November 28, 2005

Well that sums ‘er up!

Democrat Rules Package Restricts Participation and Repeals Reforms

Despite promising a more transparent and bipartisan Congress, House Democrats voted for a rules package for the 111th Congress which significantly restricts the rights of minority Members to offer alternatives on spending and revenue bills.  Specifically, the rules package rolls back the guarantee of the Minority to offer an alternative through the motion to recommit, a parliamentary technique to alter or delay legislation before final passage.  By restricting the form in which the Minority can offer their alternatives, the Democratic Leadership has made it nearly impossible to strike a tax increase from a bill.  Moreover, the rules package repeals a key reform put in place in 1995—six-year term limits for standing committee chairmen.  The term limits rule was designed to ensure that no one has a monopoly on important policy questions facing our nation and that fresh ideas and new perspectives are considered.  The rules package restricts participation, stifles debate, and repeals critical reforms.

House Passes Expansion of Government-Run Health Care

The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to dramatically expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which is set to expire at the end of April 2009.  However, rather than refocus SCHIP as a targeted safety net for low-income uninsured children, the House passed a bill to extend coverage to children in families with significantly higher incomes and opened the program to fraudulent use by illegal immigrants.  Under this bill, states are allowed to expand coverage for children up to 350 percent above the poverty level, 95 percent of whom already have some form of private insurance.  Additionally, a provision was included allowing individuals to receive SCHIP benefits without having to show proof of citizenship, potentially allowing illegal immigrants to take advantage of taxpayer-funded health care. It will institute government-run health care in middle class America and allow illegal immigrants to further flood our nation’s hospitals.

Well there you go.  That should make things run smoother and a little less painful.  For the Dems in Congress, all you have to do walk up and put your money in the basket.

WASHINGTON – Hillary Rodham Clinton, President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for secretary of state, rejected calls Tuesday for more details about donors to her husband’s foundation, saying she has revealed enough to avoid even the hint of conflicts. An Associated Press review found that Clinton stepped in at least a half-dozen times on issues involving businesses and others who later gave to the charity.

Clinton said as secretary of state she will not be influenced by her husband’s contributors, which include foreign governments.

“It will not be in the atmosphere,” Clinton said.

Richard Lugar of Indiana was among GOP senators on the Foreign Relations Committee pressing for full transparency about contributors to the William J. Clinton Foundation and one of its main projects, the Clinton Global Initiative.


WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to run the Treasury Department and lead the nation’s economic rescue failed to pay $34,000 in taxes from 2001 to 2004, but the last-minute disclosure didn’t stop Senate Democrats from moving forward with his nomination. Timothy Geithner had paid some of the back taxes in 2006 after the IRS sent him a bill. When the Obama transition team discovered he owed even more back taxes, Geithner paid those additional taxes days before Obama announced his choice in November, according to materials released by the Senate Finance Committee considering his nomination.

Do you think he would have paid the taxes if not for the nomination?  I guess if your not hiring illegals other dodges are ok.

Can you believe this?  We need alternative fuels! Stop using petroleum based fuels!  Oh shit! How will we get our gas taxes that we rob from the transportation tax fund and roll into the general fund so we can spend it on government hand-out programs.  Boy, they loved it when we were driving 12mi/gal SUV’s, but buy an alternate fuel vehicle and have the oil prices skyrocket and now they don’t have enough taxes.  Answer, 50% hike in fuel taxes and mandatory GPS equipment in every vehicle so they can get you for the amount of miles you drive.  I’ll bet Garmin is rubbing there hands together and polishing up the sales pitch for the auto industry.  Maybe, there is a new satellite system for all of this tracking that Big Brother wants?  In the end, the consumer will be the one getting stimulated.  Pass the environmentally safe,  non-toxic, non-petroleum based lubricant.


Motorists’ habits spur call for tax increases

Congressional Committee Calls For Gas Tax Boost Play Video CBS 2 / KCAL 9 Los Angeles – Congressional Committee Calls For Gas Tax Boost

In this Nov. 28, 2008 file photo, gas prices posted at a Shell gas station in AP – In this Nov. 28, 2008 file photo, gas prices posted at a Shell gas station in Stockton, Calif. A 50 …

WASHINGTON – Motorists are driving less and buying less gasoline, which means fuel taxes aren’t raising enough money to keep pace with the cost of road, bridge and transit programs.

A federal commission created by Congress to find a way to make up the growing revenue shortfall in the program that funds highway repairs and construction is talking about increasing federal gas and diesel taxes.

A roughly 50 percent increase in gasoline and diesel fuel taxes is being urged by the commission until the government devises another way for motorists to pay for using public roads.

The 15-member National Commission on Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing is the second group in a year to call for increasing the current 18.4 cents a gallon federal tax on gasoline and the 24.4 cents a gallon tax on diesel. State fuel taxes vary from state to state.

In a report expected in late January, members of the infrastructure financing commission say they will urge Congress to raise the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon and the diesel tax by about 12 cents to 15 cents a gallon. At the same time, the commission will recommend tying the fuel tax rates to inflation.

The commission will also recommend that states raise their fuel taxes and make greater use of toll roads and fees for rush-hour driving.

Although the cost of gasoline has dropped dramatically in recent months, such tax increases could be politically treacherous for Democratic leaders in Congress. A gas tax hike was one of the reasons they lost control of the House and Senate in the 1994 elections. President-elect Barack Obama has expressed concern about raising fuel taxes in the current economic climate.

But commission members said the government must find more road and bridge building money somewhere.

“I’m not excited about a gas tax increase, but the reality is our current gas tax doesn’t pay for upkeep of the system we have now,” said Adrian Moore, vice president of the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank in Los Angeles, and a member of the highway revenue commission. “We can either let the roads go to hell or we can pay more.”

The dilemma for Congress is that highway and transit programs are dependent for revenue on fuel taxes that are not sustainable. Many Americans are driving less and switching to more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and a shift to new fuels and technologies like plug-in hybrid electric cars will further erode gasoline sales.

According to a draft of the financing commission’s recommendations, the nation needs to move to a new system that taxes motorists according to how much they use roads. While details have not been worked out, such a system would mean equipping every car and truck with a device that uses global positioning satellites and transponders to record how many miles the vehicle has been driven, and perhaps the type of roads and time of day.

“Most if not all of the commissioners have a strong belief and commitment that we need a fundamental transformation of the current system,” said commission chairman Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a technology policy think tank in Washington.

A study by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies estimated that the annual gap between revenues and the investment needed to improve highway and transit systems was about $105 billion in 2007, and will increase to $134 billion in 2017 under current trends.

Projected shortfalls in revenue led the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, in a report issued in January 2008, to call for an increase of as much as 40 cents a gallon in the gas tax, phased in over five years.

Charles Whittington, chairman of the American Trucking Associations, which supports a fuel tax increase as long as the money goes to highway projects, said Congress may decide to disguise a fuel tax hike as a surcharge to combat climate change.

Transportation is responsible for about a third of all U.S. carbon emissions created by burning fossil fuels. Traffic congestion wastes an estimated 2.9 billion gallons of fuel a year. Less congestion would reduce greenhouse gases and dependence on foreign oil.

“Instead of calling it a gas tax, call it a carbon tax,” Whittington said.

Bottlenecks around the nation cost the trucking industry about 243 million lost truck hours and about $7.8 billion per year, according to the commission.


Emphasis is mine

Merry Christmas to all!


LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Historians say Ponzi schemes and con men are a fact of life. The best, the brightest and the richest can all become victims: from President Ulysses S. Grant in 1884 when the partners of his Wall Street firm left him penniless a year before he died of throat cancer to Bernard Madoff’s investors, many whom became instantly penniless, just before Christmas and Hanukkah. Greed is a fact of life.

Thomas Friedman said it best in the N.Y. Times: “I have no sympathy for Madoff. But the fact is, his alleged Ponzi scheme was only slightly more outrageous than the ‘legal’ scheme that Wall Street was running, fueled by cheap credit, low standards and high greed.

“What do you call giving a worker who makes only $14,000 a year a nothing-down and nothing-to-pay-for-two-years mortgage to buy a $750,000 home, and then bundling that mortgage with 100 others into bonds, which Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s rate AAA, and then selling them to banks and pension funds the world over? That is what our financial industry was doing. If that isn’t a pyramid scheme, what is?”


Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse along comes Madoff, the new poster boy for everything that’s happened to the America’s soul the past eight years: greed, arrogance, stupidity and megalomania.

Just look at the DJII over the last 20yrs. Even 1985 to 1995 was impressive growth, the real productivity of bringing in PC computers into the workplace. 1995 to 2000 whoa baby, the Internet is the greatest thing since sliced bread but let’s get serious. What happens next is the impressive attribute of “America’s soul the past eight years: greed, arrogance, stupidity and megalomania”


Whoa, crap, it’s been a long time since I have posted. Well the silly season is upon us.  I woke up this morning to a presidential news conference where our beloved president again has popped his head out of his ass and declared that the auto industry must not fail and chapter 11 won’t work for them because no one will buy there cars if they have doubts about the company’s ability to support their products.  Free market again shows the right direction and thAuto Bailoute government seems to know better.  I, as well as you, own more real estate, financial bonds, and automobiles then I had ever imagined in my life.  I think it would now be prudent to diversify into health, energy, and consumer staples.  Oh, that’s right the government already runs Medicare, the Department of Energy, and Farm subsidies. I guess were covered.  BTW check their track record with those three.  I saw this last week and was waiting to post it until heard the news this morning.

I also saw this and thought it summed up the 2008 presidential election quite well


[Correction:  I was mistaken he decided to NOT sign the budget presented to him today.  There may be hope! But, in the end I doubt it]  P.S. As I was writing this they announced over the radio that that f#@king Gray Davis in disguise Terminator just signed into law a 30cnt per gallon gas tax.  I’ve got to get out of this state.  Merry Christmas everyone, gonna get me a bailout.