Tax cuts and filibusters

Once the super committee failed the House and Senate were boxed in tight. Usually, legislation has to be passed for tax increases and cuts to kick in. But this deal was set up differently, taxes go up and cuts kick in automatically unless ledge is passed. Those tax increases affect half the population, including the very wealthy, and the cuts affect sacred cows, including the DoD. Which means the Senate in particular is hoisted by their own filibuster petard: [Read more...]

The hard-work lottery and the myth of success

There’s a myth in the US, fanned by agents of the super wealthy, that if you just work hard, keep your nose to the grindstone, you’ll be rewarded with riches. It’s an easy sell all the way around. Regular people want to believe it, and it fluffs the tender feelings of those who are rich. Work hard and you’ll succeed, everyone wins! Good luck, you’ll need it. There are more powerball lottery winners in the US than people who started in the middle class and became billionaires. But even for more moderate winners it’s just not true. I know this for a fact, I’m one of the moderate winners. [Read more...]

Black Friday & pepper spray

I’ve always loved Black Friday. Back in my broker days it was the best day of the year to go to work. An old depression era rule decrees the stock market cannot be closed more than three days in a row, the only time it’s been broken was in the darkest days right after 9-11. So the NYSE and NASDAQ dutifully open for three or four hours, junior floor specialists and a handful of market-makers man the exchanges. In hundreds of broker-dealer offices around the country, like the one I worked in for years, a few sales assistants and maybe a standing compliance officer come to work, the sweet odor of margaritas and egg nog have been known to waft delicately through the empty hallways and offices.
But Black Friday for retail is a whole different story. It’s hustle and bustle, the official start of the Christmas shopping season. Later last night at a Walmart in California one neurotic shopper took that way, way too far. And where do you suppose she got this crowd control idea?

(LAtimes) — Matthew Lopez went to the Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch on Thursday night for the Black Friday sale but instead was caught in a pepper-spray attack by a woman who authorities said was “competitive shopping.” Lopez described a chaotic scene in the San Fernando Valley store among shoppers looking for video games soon after the sale began.

What if we threw a super committee and no one came?

The Super Committee, no doubt meeting furiously in their secret lair which may or may not be affiliated with the Legion of Doom, has reached an impasse.

(ABC News) — The bipartisan 12-member panel is sputtering to a close after two months of talks in which key members and top congressional leaders never got close to bridging a fundamental divide over how much to raise taxes.

[Read more...]

Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these …

Social conservatives, the kind of folks who love killing and imprisoning other Americans while saving microscopic blobs of protoplasm in the name of Jesus, don’t have the heft they used to. But there’s enough true-believing fanatics around that the GOP clownshow had to pander to the fascist wing of the god party, sans Mormons and teh Gay of course. [Read more...]

UC Berkeley doesn’t need a task force

In this image made from video, a police officer uses pepper spray as he walks down a line of Occupy demonstrators sitting on the ground at the University of California, Davis on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Photo: Thomas K. Fowler / AP

The image above is one of many showing police officers, once again strapped down like Dawg-the-Bounty Hunter, needlessly macing a handful of peaceful students. Their crime? Protesting income inequality and student debt as part of the Occupy movement by sitting down in an open mall area on campus specifically created for students and faculty to stroll, chat, and sit: [Read more...]

How to win elections: asymmetrical class warfare

It’s not hard to win elections, you do that by doing one thing: vote. Every vote you cast costs the billionaire boyz money. Every vote you cast tanks their investments. Voting is asymmetrical class warfare. Ohio and Mississippi proved that again last night. If you don’t vote, your feelings literally do not count.

I’m sure I’ll write more on this and include with useful websites by state, but for now if you’ve moved, are just reaching voting age, are deployed overseas, if you currently lack ID, check with your local state office and Rock the Vote. [Read more...]