Crazy Economic "Experts"

Sometimes, John McCain appears to be so out-of-touch with reality that you'd think he might be slipping into senility. I tried (honest) to watch the debate last night, but McCain's constant smirk (reminiscent of another Republican moron) drove me back to working on my attic. His commentary on "taxes" is so supid and childish that It was impossible for me to listen to it without wanting to toss something heavy at the television. McSame is the candidate of the rich and powerful. I'm not rich or powerful, therefore he has nothing to say that could possibly have anything to do with my life.

John Nichols, in an article for The Nation (http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2008/10/16-0) said exactly what I was thinking, "But while McCain clung to the failed fantasies of the past, Obama offered America a community rarely served up on the presidential debate stages of recent campaigns: realism. " I read the kind of crap McSame is jabbering in every Republican propaganda piece I get in the mail these days. Some bonehead named "Kudlow" from CNBC is quoted in an RNC piece as saying Obama "has a very poor grasp of basic economic principles. First off, you don't raise taxes during a recession. That's a no-brainer." Great, morons are defining "no-brainers?"

A tax history source stated that "The Revenue Act of 1932 was the first tax law passed during the Great Depression (Revenue Acts, June 6, 1932, ch. 209, 47 Stat. 169). It increased the individual maximum rate from 25 to 63 percent, and reduced personal exemptions from $1,500 to $1,000 for single persons, and from $3,500 to $2,500 for married couples. The NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL RECOVERY ACT OF 1933 (NIRA), part of President FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT's NEW DEAL, imposed a five percent excise tax on dividend receipts, imposed a capital stock tax and an excess profits tax, and suspended all deductions for losses (June 16, 1933, ch. 90, 48 Stat. 195). The repeal in 1933 of the EIGHTEENTH AMENDMENT, which had prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol, brought in an estimated $90 million in new liquor taxes in 1934. The SOCIAL SECURITY ACT OF 1935 provided for a wage tax, half to be paid by the employee and half by the employer, to establish a federal retirement fund (Old Age Pension Act, Aug. 14, 1935, ch. 531, 49 Stat. 620).

"The Wealth Tax Act, also known as the Revenue Act of 1935, increased the maximum tax rate to 79 percent, the Revenue Acts of 1940 and 1941 increased it to 81 percent, the Revenue Act of 1942 raised it to 88 percent, and the Individual Income Tax Act of 1944 raised the individual maximum rate to 94 percent."

The previous administrations, Hoover and Bush, certainly set the standard for no-brainers and putting an economic burden on the top income bracket is the smartest way to balance the budget, again. Republicans are the party of "spend and spend and borrow and spend" and Democrats have been, for the last 50 years, the part of social economic responsibility. That is a no-brainer.

There is no "miracle of the market." There is no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, or magic bullet. Apparently, there are no economic conservative Republicans.


#191 Religulous

I saw Bill Maher's Religulous last night with a friend in a tiny, out-of-the-way theater in St. Paul. Two theaters are showing this film, although the show was better attended than all of the offerings in my local mega-theater for a very late night showing in an area with limited parking. It's not for lack of audience that this film is languishing in obscure "art theaters." It's most likely fear.

Many of the film's reviewers tentatively talk about their reaction to Religulous by reminding us all that "religion is a sensitive subject." In this case, "sensitive" means "dangerous." Overwhelmingly, religious people share traits with other crazy people, especially the trait of unpredictable (and predictable) violence. When a few of the major theaters attempted to cash in on Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, protestors swarmed those theaters attempting to scare off viewers with their abortion clinic tactics. Mostly, they found themselves outwitted, overwhelmed by numbers, and ignored, but the message was received by the theater chains. None of the major corporate commies have anything resembling the courage to show a film as controversial as Religulous, but showing a snuff flick like The Passion of Christ is right up their alley, sewer, or ditch.

Religulous is well made, entertaining (as this subject can be), intelligent, and disturbing. As any rational person knows, the connection between many nations possessing the means to destroy the world (in fire) and the desire to create a self-fulfilling prophesy by so many fools is scary stuff. Listening to these fools try to justify their "Bronze Age" beliefs is depressing and scary. The first twenty minutes are funny, but after a while the relentless stupidity of the "faithful" is nothing more than ghoulish and gloomy. Maher isn't trying to entertain us. He's trying to frighten the few remaining intelligent, unsuperstitious souls left on the planet into action. Mostly, he succeeded in convincing me that humans are the bottom of the evolutionary heap and the best thing that could happen is for humanity to breed itself into a plague that reduces our numbers as quickly as possible, to save the rest of the world from "God's dumbest creation."

I've read some reviewers complain that Maher "made to look foolish" the faithful he interviewed. Maher simply asked them questions and reported their foolish answers. Religious nuts, apparently, don't like mirrors.

One of the typically irrational reviewers of Religulous, Tim McNabb in a website misnamed The American Thinker, claimed "Maher claims that agnostics represent 16% of the population, but so far they have not built 16% of the nation's charities (unless you count voting for Democrats)." That's typical of religious arguments. As Maher discovers when he interviews Francis Collins, a "scientist" who made strange claims for "faith" and backed his arguments with an obvious lack of knowledge of the Bible he worships. If he's the head of the US government's Genome Project, that segment of the scientific world is in trouble, if not dead and buried. Fortunately, the US is no longer leading this field of research, so progress has not been stopped by Collins. As Maher reminds us, the majority of scientists in the world are agnostic or atheist. They attempt to remedy the world's problems with science and technologies that actually "fix" those problems rather than cater to the pitiful consequences of overpopulation, starvation, superstition, and ignorance.

Another religious apologist asked, "Was Maher afraid he might muddy his clownish jape if he actually brought into the mix a learned theologian." Actually, that tactic has been tried (The God Who Wasn't There and The Lost Gospel of Judas) and religious nuts liked it even less. "Learned theologians" tend to be as agnostic as they become historians or scientists. The more you know about the history of, for instance, Christianity, the more you doubt. Obviously, Maher consulted with many learned theologians, because his timeline of Christianity was accurate and his knowledge of the history of the Bible and the things actually in the Bible exceeded that of the Christians he interviewed. In fact, most of the professed "Christians" know less about their religion than the average uninterested agnostic.

Religious excuse-makers argue that "99% of the world's population can't be wrong." That's the dumbest of all arguments for any subject. Humans are insane and ignorant by nature. We're nothing more sophisticated than an ignorant animal with technology. Not only can 99% of us be wrong, but as Maher says, we have a long, violent, depressing history of getting practically "everything exactly wrong." From math to nature to the universe, humans have long believed in concepts that were so far from logical or right that it's hard to take humans serious, even if you are one. Mark Twain speculated that we "fell from the higher animals." If we don't start correcting some of the more dangerous misunderstandings our species believes, we may take out the higher animals with us in our suicidal drive to Armageddon.

Maher has either created this link or linked himself to it, http://disbeliefnet.com/. Whatever, it's an interesting source of information/entertainment on what the majority of the world's nutjobs are up to.

October 2008