Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving, and Winning the World's Lottery...

Unless you've just arrived here from Guadalajara and have yet to unpack your duffel and prepare for your life of relative ease here in beautiful downtown America, you know that you, meaning you and me, have already hit the World's Lottery.

That means that you and me were either among the 5% of the Earth's population that were born in the United States of America, or wisely chose to come here, legally or otherwise.  The other 95% were consigned, as an accident of birth, to be relegated to a life in many cases devoid of simple human needs.  Needs like enough to eat, or enough clean water to drink, or a safe, secure place to lay your head down each night.  Think of it:  You could have been born in North Korea, or Cuba, or communist China, or Zimbabwe, for God's sake!

So, while much of the rest of the world is scrambling for a crust of bread to placate its gnawing, debilitating hunger, you and I are arguing about tax rates, and sexual harassment, and not-so-nice possible, but so far unproven meddling by Russia in our election process.

Those complaints sort of pale in importance, doncha' think? Just yesterday NoKo soldiers assassinated one of their own at the DMZ.  He was caught trying to defect, and they tried, unsuccessfully, to kill him for doing so.  Remember, the wall there in the Korean Peninsula, and the one famously torn down a couple of decades ago in East Berlin, were there to keep their citizenry in, not the Visigoths (enemy) out. 

I suggest that we all just take a step back, and a deep breath, and come to realize that we are all God's children, that we all cherish freedom and hope and love and a full tummy, and that not so very long into the future we'll all be pushing up daisies and none of this will matter at all.  And then give the very next carbon-based life form you bump into a nice, warm hug.  He (or she) deserves it.  And you'll feel better for having given it.*

So, take a moment during your feast today and lift your eyes skyward, and whisper a silent prayer of thanks to God for having graced you at the moment of your birth with a starting spot at the front of the pack...

*  Be careful.  Hug too firmly or for too long, and you'll be charged with groping...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"There Are Two Types of People."

There are only two types of people here in this Grand Experiment known as the United States of America:

Those who divide people into two types, and those who don't...

That was a joke, people!  Laugh, okay?

Now that you've wiped your eyes and blown your nose and recovered your composure from your uncontrollable belly-laughing guffaws, let me tell you about another "two types" worthy of our focus and discussion.

Based upon what I've learned over the past month or so, I'd say there's only two types of people in Hollywood and the District of Columbia:  1),Those who've been caught groping and raping and harassing and sexually abusing poor, under-aged, stars-in-their-eyes, wayward waifs; and 2), those who haven't.  Yet.

We awakened one morning just about a month ago to discover that MiraMax-Head Honcho Harvey Weinstein, an ugly, unshaven, balding, fatuous lout with a mouth full of bad teeth and a libido apparently larger even than his gargantuan ego, had been accused of attempting to convince some poor wannabe celebrity to engage in all sorts of bizarre sexual antics.  Like watching good ol' Harv shower, doncha' know.  Don't know about you, but that's one of the very last things on my bucket list...

And then dozens and dozens of doyennes came forth to puke out their own recollections of Harv's nefarious exploits to a salivating Mainstream Media of having been abused, harassed, hassled, manipulated, groped, or even outright raped by Weinstein, and then threatened into silence.  And it didn't stop with ol' Harv.  No siree Bob!  

Oh wait.  Bob's his brother.  And as you'll learn below, he's got his own problems.

Within days the floodgates opened.  Another bunch of Hollywood-types found themselves all over the cover of the "The Hollywood Reporter."   It seems that there's almost no successful female actress who got that way without being forced by some evil producer or director or actor to take their "casting couch" for a test drive.  

And don't think that politicians got off easy, either.  No, my friends, as soon as the Tinseltown accusations started to surface, so did those in what Trump likes to call "The Swamp."  (BTW, the "Swamp" is called the "Swamp, because 250 years ago, what is now Washington, D.C., was just a tidewater basin off the back bay area in western Maryland.  Turning it into the Federal City started with reclaiming all that land from what was once a swamp.).

We know that Billy Jeff "Blue Dress" Clinton engaged in some other-than-acceptable activity with a young female intern in the early 90's (he got his knob polished).  He was impeached as a result, and fined $600,000 for lying about it ("I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky"), and had his law license forcibly extricated from his bottomless pocket for committing a bald-faced perjury.  And that was then, this is now.  

Let me state that again:  William Jefferson Clinton was, and still is, the only U.S. President to have been found guilty of perjury in a court of law.  That's a felony, by the way.  Does the Dem-friendly media ever remind you of that fact?  No?

So, in addition to the 90 or so Hollywood "stars" who have been accused of all manner of nasty sexual antics lately, another few dozen of D.C.'s movers and shakers have seen their faces plastered all across the front pages of salacious publications after having been "outed" by those who've managed somehow to keep their lips sealed about them for lo, these many years.  Stars like Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. and Ben Affleck.  

Within days of Harv's Fall From Grace, the Heavens opened up with accusations against elected politicians. It seems that old saying, "Politics is Hollywood for ugly people," has gone full circle.  Now we have both camps vying for which is the biggest bunch of Neanderthal sleezebags.  And it's looking like Tinseltown has the edge, so far, at least in total numbers.  But who really knows?  Don't count out those slimy pocket-pickers from Inside The Beltway.  They've actually had more practice being felons-in-training that those wannabe's in Hollywood, even if for no other reason then they've been at it longer.

NOTE:  A FOIA lawsuit just forced the Feds to release a previously secreted bit of data yesterday indicating that we, you and me, have paid out more than $17 Million Dollars in hush money awards, from our tax dollars, to 246 recipients, because our elected leaders in Congress can't keep their lizards in their trousers.

So, in the interest of keeping you, my loyal readers, up to date, here's a far-from-complete but representative sampling of those in 90210 who have been "outed" as grimy, nasty, dirty old men, probably without the raincoats, as of November 15, 2017 (but if they had raincoats, they'd probably be made by Burberry.)

Terry Richardson:  Celebrity photographer.  Accused of sexual harassment.

Roman Polanski:  Famed, Oscar-winning director.  Accused of, and plead guilty to, rape of an under-aged female.  Four other young girls claim this guy assaulted them as minors. Roundly hailed as an auteur and artiste by his contemporaries.  Received standing ovation from his "peers" when given an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.  Hmmm.

Oliver Stone:  Oscar-winning director.  Accused of groping a woman at a party.  Just another star came out today blasting Stone for all manner of past transgressions.

Harvey Weinstein:  Oscar-winning producer (is there something about "Oscar-winning" that makes one more likely to commit heinous sex crimes?).  Removed from the Board of Directors of the company he co-founded due to dozens of accusations of sexual harassment, groping and rape.  More than 100 accusers at present.  No doubt more to come.  Word has it that they are shutting down the company as it's too damaged to continue.

Bob Weinstein:  Oscar-winning producer.  Good ol' Harv's brother.  And apparently his co-conspirator.  Over 200 sexual harassment allegations.  Looks like Harv was emulating his older brother.

Harvey Knowles:  Founder of "Ain't it Cool" news.  Don't worry, I've never heard of it either.  Stepped down due to allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment and groping.

Devin Faraci:  Movie writer at "Birth.Death.Movies:"  Ditto the above.

Roy Price:  Ex-head of Amazon Studios.  Resigned due to allegations of sexual misconduct.

Twiggy Ramirez:  Bass player for Marilyn Manson.  Accused of raping former girlfriend.

Tyler Graham:  Talent agent.  Resigned due to allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment of his male, underage clients.

Netflix:  One of the most powerful names in entertainment.  Paid $1.5 Million claim filed by heterosexual male executive who claimed he'd been sexually harassed by both male and female superiors.  Is it hard to get that good looking?

Lockhart Steele:  Media director at Vox.  Fired over allegations of sexual harassment.

Andy Signore:  Creator of "Honest Trailers."  Fired due to numerous allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.

David Blaine:  Superstar magician.  Accused of drugging and raping a 21 year-old model.  Couldn't he have just used magic?

John Besh:  Celebrity chef.  Accused of sexual assault and harassment.  I'm told the restaurant bizzzz comes in at a close third in terms of industry-wide sexual harassment.

Shadie Elnashai:  Cinefamily executive.  Resigned over allegations of sexual harassment.

Hadrian Belove:  Cinefamily executive.  Resigned over allegations of sexual harassment.  (Maybe somebody should check out this Cinefamily bunch...might be in the water)

Woody Allen:  Oscar-winning screenwriter and director.  Accusations of child molestations.  More than accusations.  He married the target of his molestation.  Maybe to prevent her from testifying?

Stevan Seagal:  Actor.  Allegations of sexual harassment. Rumor has it he might have gained some weight over the years.

Chris Savino:  Creator Nickelodian's "Loud House."  Fired over allegations of sexual harassment.

Bill Cosby:  Dozens of accusations of drugging and raping women.  This man has made a second career out of defending himself in courts all over the Northeast.

Mark Halperin:  Journalist.  TV producer.  Fired over multiple accusations of sexual misconduct and harassment.

David O. Russell:  Oscar-nominated director.  Accused of groping, on-set verbal and physical abuse.

Ben Affleck:  Actor, Oscar-winning director and screenwriter.  Multiple allegations of groping, one of which he apologized for.  I guess he's not sorry for all the others.

Kirt Webster:  CEO Country music firm, Webster PR.  Multiple allegations of sexual harassment, assaulting and drugging clients.

Ryan Ly:  CAA agent.  Fired over multiple allegations from female staffers, including groping.

Erik Horine:  ICM agent.  Fired for "inappropriate behavior."

John Grissom:  Writer, actor.  Accused of molesting Corey Feldman.

Danny Masterson:  Actor.  Four accusations of rape.

David Corn:  Reporter, actor.  Accusations of sexual touching of female staffers, rape jokes.

Brett Ratner:  Director, producer behind RatPac Entertainment.  Multiple accusations of sexual assault, harassment. Gal Gadot, his female lead in "Wonder Woman," just stated she will not do a sequel if he's involved in the production. 

Dustin Hoffman:  Oscar-winning actor.  Accused of sexual misconduct, groping of 17 year-old actress.

In closing, it would seem that those with a proclivity toward groping, abusing, molesting and raping might well look into careers as talent agents, movie producers/directors/actors or elected politicians. They would seem to have greater access to prospective victims in those professions.  

In closing, Number Two, it would seem that you'd have to be completely aware that those standing between you and "stardom" might well require some "fresh meat" as the price of entry.  And those possessing some of that "fresh meat" might have to accept the fact that sharing it could well be the price of admission.  And I guess we're now learning which ones elected to keep quiet back then when opening up could have saved a lot of their fellow Americans a lot of future pain and suffering.

In closing, Number Three, I'm wondering just how these people get anything done when it's apparent there's only one thing on their minds, and it's not their hair.

In closing, Number Four, it seems to me this sexual deviancy thing is rampant in both the entertainment industry and politics.  And given this, why, exactly, do you think we've not heard about it before now?  

Answer:  Maybe it's because the Media's corrupt and complicit?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Paying Your "Fair Share!"

Trump just dropped his long-awaited plans for how to get figurative blood out of our collective turnip.

Not happy with our current tax plan (but then again, who is?), Trump's brand-spanking New One, unveiled yesterday with mucho fanfare, will take the existing 7 brackets, extorting from us way, way, way too much, to three, which will still be way, way too much, however will serve to reduce the already too-high rates a little bit, but not, in my humble opinion, by nearly enough.  

Like that sentence?  Knew that you would.

So, fellow taxpayers and tax-avoiders, we're in for several months of knock-down, drag-out, bare-knuckle fights in the Halls of Congress over this proposal.  And in the TV studios, where carefully-coiffed talking heads will tell us, condescendingly, that Trump's proposal is nothing but a gift to the rich, especially him.  Apparently they have too-soon forgotten that he is working as POTUS for free, and thus I would suggest you might want to cut him some slack over just how greedy he might actually be.

The Republicans will hesitatingly accept it, with a sniff and a scowl, nose upturned, upset that it doesn't go far enough, and the Democrats will howl in pain!  They will flagellate themselves in an effort to prove to their constituents that they are the Party of the "little guy," and that Trump's new Tax Plan is nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt to wrest the food from their babies' mouths and platinum-spoon it directly into Warren Buffett's gaping maw.

They will waste no time in proclaiming, "Make the rich pay their fair share!"  And God knows, we all want everybody to pay their "fair share," right?  Sure we do.  And everybody knows that the rich are misers who pay not nearly enough, right?  And we're bigly pissed!  I mean, they have too much money, right?  How did they get all that money, anyway?  They probably stole it from some poor Black Arkansas farmer, who's on disability from pancreatic cancer due to Agent Orange, and who just wants to be left alone to scratch out his meager existence from his tiny hardscrabble dirt patch.  And so these rich dudes ought to be willing to "pay a little bit more" so that the rest of us can have a plate of rice and beans for dinner.  It's only "fair," right?  I mean, we all know that if Bill Gates gets richer, then some of us must be made poorer, right?  I mean, there's only so many slices in a pizza, right?  

Of course, none of that is true.  If it were, then Steve Jobs would have stolen all the money from all the cancer-ridden Black Arkansas farmers with the advent of his cute little I-Phone.  Or, perhaps his invention served to create new wealth.  Like Gates did with Microsoft and Elon Musk did with Tesla.  Considering that I am a graduate economist and entrepreneur, who actually knows, in this one rare instance at least, what I'm talking about, me thinks so...

In other words, the pizza has an infinite number of slices if you make it out of ever-expanding dough.

So, in the interest of learning the truth, let's explore together just "who" pays "what" in our society.  Let's take a moment and look at the most recent year the U. S. Treasury will make data available and compare just who paid what, and to whom. Okay?

-  In 2014 there were 139.6 Million income tax filers, "contributing" more than $1.37 Trillion in taxes to the Federal Treasury.  That's an all time record for Federal tax receipts.  Yet, apparently not nearly enough, as we routinely spend another $500 Billion or so as a country more than we take in each and every year.  Year after year.

-  The top 1% of income tax filers earned 20.6% of all income, but paid 39.5% of all taxes!  

-  The top 50% of all income tax filers paid 97.3% of all taxes!  The bottom 50% paid only 2.7%!

-  Put another way, the top 1% of all income earners paid more taxes as a share of their income than did the bottom 90%!

-  And let's take a look at the various lesser categories, shall we kiddies?  The top 5% paid 41.96% of all taxes!  The top 10% paid 47.21% of all taxes!  The top 25% paid 68.91% of every tax dollar we collected!  

And here's a question for you.  Why, exactly, are those who espouse a Leftist persuasion so dead-set on preventing the "rich" from getting even a modest reduction in their taxes, given that they pay nearly all of the taxes we're fighting over.  Class warfare?  Me thinks so...

So let's review, shall we?  The "rich" (that's Liberal-speak for anyone who makes more money than you do) pay virtually all the income taxes collected by the U. S. Treasury.  Yet, the raging Left-wing loons want to force them to pay more.  I'm wondering, what's enough?  90%?  100%?  110%?  Why don't we just confiscate every single penny they earn?  And their beach houses?  And their Manhattan penthouse apartments?  And their Ferraris?  

And, oh yeah, their lumber yards and 7-11's and used car lots and pharmacies and family farms and Italian restaurants where they serve ever-expanding pizzas? 

Or better yet, how about we just hunt them down and frog-march them right into the Gray Bar Hotel for daring, daring to become successful!  Class envy and jealousy and identity politics is what the Democrats deal in.  And the American People should learn to get their collective arms around that little factoid.

And lest we forget, poor people don't hire anyone.  Put another way, it might be a good idea to leave the wealth producers with a few dollars so they can create some more jobs to help get us out of the economic malaise we've been in for at least a decade.  

So, as the debate rages on, and Senate Minority Leader Chuckie Schumer and House Rep." San Fran Nan" Pelosi proceed to try and hipmotizzzzze you with their incessant bleatings about Republicans taking money from the Treasury that is so desperately needed by the "poor and downtrodden," just remember that:

-  The Federal Government has no money of its own.  Lemme' repeat that again:  The Federal Government has no money of its own!  Before the Gummint can give something to somebody, it has to first confiscate that something from somebody!  In essence, it has to stick its massive mitt into our collective pockets and extract what it wants under threat of criminal prosecution so it can redistribute that booty to others to curry favor and win votes.  And remember, this Great Country got along just fine for 150 years without a Federal Income Tax of any kind!

-  If we strangle the Treasury's income by reducing taxes, we're not taking its money.  That money was never the Gummint's in the first place.  It belongs to the people who earned it, and no doubt could do a much better job of spending it then can Uncle Sugar.  And any shortfall due to tax reductions does not have to be "paid for" prior to passage.  Just spend less, O' Government of ours!  Spend less!

-  Obama (mis)managed to take our Federal Debt from just over $9 Trillion Dollars at the time of his inauguration to $20 Trillion Dollars by the time he was dragged kicking and screaming from the White House.  That works out to about $100 Billion Dollars a Month for every month he was in office.  Remember when he called George W. Bush "unpatriotic" for running the FedDebt up by $2 Trillion to $9 Trillion during his presidency?  Did I miss his apology for having lied through his nicotine-stained teeth? 

-  Obama (mis)managed to be the only U. S. President in history to serve two full terms with not one of his eight years showing a growth in Gross Domestic Product as high as 3%.  In other words, eight stagnant, barely chugging-along years of an economy that could not grow itself into prosperity due to the imposition of Obama's socialist policies and procedures.  Oh yeah, Trump's economy is performing quite nicely, I'd say.  The stock market's up more than 5,000 points since his inauguration and we've enjoyed two consecutive quarters with GDP growth of more than 3%!  That's the first time that's happened in more than 8 years, doncha' know...

-  For comparison, all of Reagan's years after he got his tax reductions through with the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1986 grew at 4% or more, with one of those years at an astounding 7.8%!  In other words, that's not an incidental factoid.  No, it's proof that lowering taxes creates an incentive to work harder and create more and invest for your future.  It's called "enlightened self-interest."  

-  Continuing, each increase of 1% in the Gross Domestic product corresponds to an increase of approximately $One and One-Half Trillion Dollars in tax receipts to the U. S. Treasury!  So, the $1.5 Trillion Dollars "lost" by the new tax plan over the next decade which the Democrats have been hollering about would be easily replaced by a single 1% increase in the Gross Domestic Product. And were the GDP to grow at 4% or 5%, just think of the flood of new tax dollars that would be flowing to The Swamp.  Got it?  Knew you would...  

And so, kiddies, here's the takeaway from this little essay.  Don't believe the Pablum that the Alphabet Media shovels your way.  When Obama was deficit spending more of our tax money than all previous U. S. Presidents combined, the Dinosaur Media said not a word.  Not a peep.  Not even a whisper.  They cared not a whit over our increased indebtedness.  Now?  They're breaking out in a rash over the mere thought of any increase in our Federal Debt.  Media bias?  Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm, yes...

So every year that States like California jack up the taxes on their "rich," some of those self same "rich folks" are heading to the nearest airport to board a nice, shiny new Gulfstream 550 with their saddle bag full of cash, and head off to more friendly climes. Like Panama, say, or Belize, or Costa Rica, countries that appreciate those who create and spend and buy and build and hire and produce by not filleting them with onerous tax burdens.  And who could really blame these people for making their exit?  You work hard, you invest your money, you build companies, you hire and train and pay two-thirds of the workers in this Country, taking huge risks all along the way, and then get lambasted by the corrupt redistributionist politicians and weenie media-types for not "paying your fair share."  And remember, whatever you pay, it will never be enough.

Makes me want to puke.  How about you?