Friday, August 26, 2011

Local Idiot: Tax The Poor!

In a letter entitled Rhoades At It Again in The Pilot (where my weekly column appears), local idiot Jack Jakucyk once again raises that old discredited argument that it's not the rich, but the poor who aren't paying their fair share. In reference to this column, he starts off with the name-calling right wingers claim to despise, unless they're engaging in it:

Dusty, with his degree from the Karl Marx School of Economics, suggests that the rich not only don’t create jobs, they also don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes.

Then he goes on to parrot one of the more egregiously stupid arguments of the American Right:

At the other end of the spectrum, the bottom half (71 million returns) contributed only 3 percent of total tax revenues. And 51.8 million of the 142 million returns from your fellow Americans had no income tax liabilities due to deductions, tax credits, etc. This may seem counterintuitive, but I wonder if it’s a good thing for our society when half the population pays essentially no taxes. They have no dog in the fight. But Dusty Rhoades is on their side.

They don't pay taxes because they're poor, doofus. It's the old "lucky duckies" argument that was so roundly mocked when the WSJ first floated it. Take, for example, this article by Noble Prize laureate Paul Krugman which points out that:

The Journal considers a hypothetical ducky who earns only $12,000 a year ? some guys have all the luck! ? and therefore, according to the editorial, "pays a little less than 4% of income in taxes." Not surprisingly, that statement is a deliberate misrepresentation; the calculation refers only to income taxes. If you include payroll and sales taxes, a worker earning $12,000 probably pays well over 20 percent of income in taxes. But who's counting?

Or then there's Reuben Bolling, who brilliantly skewered the whole idea with his character "Lucky Ducky":

It's such a persistent fallacy of the Right that I thought it merited being addressed for a wider audience.

Just keep in mind, every time someone raises this claptrap about how "some people at the bottom don't pay any taxes, and that's not fair" that:

(a) it's a deliberate misrepresentation; and
(b) what they're really demanding is more taxes on the poor.

As Jonathan Chait wrote:
One of the things that has fascinated me about The Wall Street Journal editorial page is its occasional capacity to rise above the routine moral callousness of hack conservative punditry and attain a level of exquisite depravity normally reserved for villains in James Bond movies.

So I guess we we can say that Mr. Jakucyk studied at the Blofeld School of Economics.

Oh, and he conveniently fails to address the statistics showing that tax rates don't affect job creation. Wonder why that is? Maybe because he can't...Fox News hasn't  told him how. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

NRO Columnist Takes Issue With the President's Reading Choices, Makes Self Look Like Complete Idiot

National Review Online apparently needed to fill some column space and was running out of things to complain about in regard to Barack Obama. So they applied a scraper to the bottom of the barrel and came up with some dripping clump of ooze by the name of Tevi Troy, who's got his right wing panties in a bunch over--get this-- the books the President brought with him on vacation.

First, five of the six are novels, and the near-absence of nonfiction sends the wrong message for any president, because it sets him up for the charge that he is out of touch with reality.


Beyond the issue of fiction vs. nonfiction, there is also the question of genre. The Bayou Trilogy [by Daniel Woodrell of Winter's Bone fame]  has received excellent reviews, but it is a mystery series. While there is nothing wrong with that per se, not every presidential reading selection is worth revealing to the public....Room is another well-received novel, but it is about a mother and child trapped in an 11-by-11-foot room. This claustrophobic adventure does not strike me as the right choice for someone trying to escape the perception that he is trapped in a White House bubble....

This year’s list suggests that Obama needs to consider the messages sent by his reading more carefully. According to Mickey Kaus, the Obama list is “heavy on the wrenching stories of immigrant experiences, something the President already knows quite a bit about.” For this reason, Kaus feels that the list reveals an intellectually incurious president. Either that, or it is “a bit of politicized PR BS designed to help the President out.” In that case, he notes, “it’s sending the wrong message.” Either way, the annual book list should be a relatively easy way to make the president appear to be on top of things and in control. This year’s list, alas, reveals a president who appears to be neither.

Words fail me.

Oh, wait, no they don't.

Are you KIDDING ME?  Is there literally nothing these people  will not bitch about? JFK read James Bond novels and helped launch Ian Fleming from a writer with  middling sales to an icon. St Ronnie Reagan read The Hunt for Red October and did the same for Tom Clancy. But Barack Obama reads Daniel Woodrell and this somehow shows he's not "on top of things or in control?"

Maybe somebody should remind this  "Tevi Troy" person that the founder of the print version of National Review, William F. Buckley, also wrote genre fiction, namely eleven spy novels. Pretty good ones, too, at least judging from the couple I've read. But then, this so-called "senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former senior White House aide" probably never actually read Buckley, a true conservative whose shoes the current Klown Kollege at the NRO is not worthy to shine. Buckley's  probably spinning like a dynamo in his grave with the way these morons have defiled the name of conservatism. It used to be a political philosophy;  now it's nothing more than a reflex, an immediate rush to yell "foul" about anything the Democratic President does, no matter how trivial. The people at the NRO specialize in this sort of smallness, silliness and pettiness, and they make the entire movement look even more  ridiculous than Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin combined could do, and brother, that is saying something.

Satire Just Can't Keep Up, Again

Me, August 21st: 

It looks like it’s going to be another election filled with nonstories about whether the candidate’s tie or his lunch or his choice of hobbies makes him think he’s better than you, along with celebrations of some random ignoramus like Joe-Not-Really-the-Plumber.

Wonkette, August 25th:

Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, is considering a run against U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur in 2012, according to Republican Party sources.

Jon Stainbrook, chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, said there is “high-level interest in the national Republican Party” in a potential Wurzelbacher candidacy.
“We are encouraging Joe to run,” Mr. Stainbrook said. “He hasn’t made any official decision yet.”

 Not only can you not fix stupid, as Ron White said, you can't stay ahead of it.

Of course, God would have to change His mind for Joe to run.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Today's Awesome Advice

From Chuck Wendig, 25 Things Writers Should Know About Social Media, at his great blog Terrible Minds.

"People want to follow other people. People don’t want to follow brands."

"Talk to people, and try not to be a dick."

"Be an escort, not a whore."

Best advice I can give you is, check it out. Wendig speaks truth.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Quote of the Day: On the Use of the Term "Political Correctness"

Writer Steven Hart, on Facebook:  

  I'm old enough to remember that "PC" began as an ironic joke among leftie academics. The wingers took it up as a cudgel, and now the  term is useless except as a signal of low-to-zero IQ on the part of the user. When it crops up, like the phrase "I'm really a classical liberal" or  "I'm a student of history," it's a warning that a tandem-trailer load of bullshit is about to come up your driveway..

Amen, brother. I don't de-friend or ban  people for disagreeing with me. However, if you insist that people are disagreeing with you because of 'political correctness", you're on the short list to go in the Bozo Bin. It's condescending, dismissive and lazy. Any time someone starts a sentence with "I know it's not PC to say this," you can bet that what  follows will be some sort of ill-thought-out, racist, and/or bigoted garbage. Frankly, if the words "political correctness" or the letters "PC" crop up in your argument, I'm going to assume you're a non-sentient jagoff until proven otherwise.  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Dumb Starts Earlier Every Time

Latest Newspaper Column:

I know that every time there’s an election, I’m going to see things in the national media that are so silly, so shallow, so utterly dimwitted, that they’re going to make me want to bang my head on my desk until the darkness claims me and the pain goes away.

But why, oh why, does it have to start so early?

Recently, Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared his candidacy for the presidency of the country he once openly talked about seceding from. Like an entire pack of Pavlov’s dogs, the right-wing media immediately went into full-out idiot mode and started drooling over Perry as the second coming of George Dubbya Bush.

Not only that, but they did it as if that was a good thing. 

For instance, columnist Kathleen Parker, writing in the supposedly liberal Washington Post, went all squealing fangirl on Perry, telling us with breathless adoration that Perry was a real Manly Man like Dubbya, claiming that they both “have that same je ne sais quoi that corresponds to the way a confident Southern male asks a girl to take a spin around the dance floor: ‘Wanna dance?”

She went on, like a bad romance novelist describing the handsome rogue who’ll soon be ripping the bodice of the feisty heroine: “There’s something slightly lazy in the mouth, half a smile, a knowing look … Weathered, creased and comfortable in jeans, they convey a regular guyness that everyday Americans relate to. Take it or leave it, it happens to be true.”

Oh, for God’s sake. The man’s a candidate for the highest office in the land, not the king of the freakin’ prom. I had hoped that the eight-year disaster that was the Dubbya Reign of Error had at long last put a stake though the heart of this “the president needs to be a regular guy” nonsense. I’d hoped we were done with selecting our chief executive on the basis of which one you’d rather have a beer with. 

Let me tell you, folks, I am a guy you would love to have a beer with. Ask anyone who’s ever had a beer with me. I am all kinds of fun in a beer-enabled environment. I can do the half-smile and the knowing look. I’m so comfortable in jeans you have to shake me from time to time to keep me from falling asleep. But even I’ll be the first to tell you: You do not want me to be president of the United States.

Here’s the thing: Anyone who wants to be the president of the United States is not a “regular guy” (or girl), and I don’t want them to be. It is a supreme act of arrogance for anyone, of any party, to stand in front of the cameras and tell the watching multitudes, “I am qualified to be the leader of the Free World.”

Anyone who pretends that it’s anything else, and tries to convince you that hey, they’re just like you, needs to be viewed with the same skepticism as a guy offering to sell you a Rolex watch on the street.

One of the biggest problems with this country right now is that we’ve made being smart something to be suspicious of. We’ve made, “Well, I guess you think you’re pretty smart, don't you,” a legitimate retort. We’ve become a society where the phrase, “Well, I might not know much, but I know one thing,” is never followed, as it should be, with “and it’s that I need to shut up.”

But I want the president to be the smartest person in the room, any room, and I don’t really care if he or she acts like it. I want an elitist president, just like I want an elitist brain surgeon, or an elitist fireman, or an elitist Special Forces guy coming to get me out the hands of kidnappers.

I want somebody doing the tough jobs who’s a lot better at them than I’m ever going to be, and if he’s a little cocky about it, well, as the great American poet Kid Rock once wrote, “It ain’t braggin’, [bad word] if you back it up.”

It looks like it’s going to be another election filled with nonstories about whether the candidate’s tie or his lunch or his choice of hobbies makes him think he’s better than you, along with celebrations of some random ignoramus like Joe-Not-Really-the-Plumber.

It’s going to be a long campaign, not to mention another painfully dumb one.