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Monday, January 29, 2018

The FBI's No. 2 official, who has for months been under fire from President Donald Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill, is resigning. FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who served as the acting director of the bureau last year after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, is stepping down, NBC's Pete Williams first reported.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

On the campaign trail, Trump said the issue of marijuana legalization should be "up to the states," continuing the policy under President Obama. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama's policy and gave federal prosecutors the authority to pursue marijuana cases, even where its legal under state law. The action has made banks afraid to take marijuana cash, which can be prosecuted as money laundering, which incurs stiff criminal penalties. Yet, the U.S. government is the largest launderer of marijuana cash in the nation. They make a profit by snatching up to 70% of marijuana shop revenues, instead of the usual 30% tax. It does this by branding marijuana businesses criminal enterprises who cannot deduct their expenses when filing their taxes. The IRS takes the money as taxes, turning it into "clean" money. It is not an unwitting accomplice to the crime. Estimates are that marijuana business owners in the U.S. will pay $2.8 billion in taxes to the feds in 2018. read more


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Since at least May 2016, the National Security Agency (NSA) had featured honesty as the first of four "core values" listed on NSA.gov, alongside "respect for the law," "integrity," and "transparency." The agency vowed on the site to "be truthful with each other." On January 12, however, the NSA removed the mission statement page (can still be viewed through the Internet Archive) and replaced it with a new version. Now, the parts about honesty and the pledge to be truthful have been deleted. The agency's new top value is "commitment to service," which it says means "excellence in the pursuit of our critical mission." read more


Monday, January 22, 2018

The current system of having money created by private banks as interest-bearing debt is unnecessary and dangerous. The industrialists and economists of the classical period of capitalism, the producers of things for profit thought that the proper role of banking and credit was to be a service for the productive sector of the economy. Every society should understand the danger when that relationship is reversed, as it is today. Understanding how money works, in Modern Monetary Terms (MMT), makes visible why it's entirely unnecessary to figure out how to "collect" money for social programs, and why it's absolutely necessary to surtax the wealthy. It also implies that any minimum income program requires what should be a maximum income policy as well. Taxes do not fund government spending. MMT is not well understood at all, and most people, including capitalist economists, fall back to the taxes-for-spending paradigm that is completely wrong. read more


SCOTUS has done this before. Millions of Ohio voters have tried to vote on Election Day over the past four presidential elections, only to find they were no longer registered to vote. GOP secretaries of state have become experts at the game of selective purging. In 2004, then-Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, stripped some 309,000 voters from the rolls and nearly all came from heavily Democratic cities, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo. In Cleveland 25% of all voters were removed from the voting rolls. Nine "Justices" have just heard oral arguments in the Ohio voter registration case. If their decision goes with Secretary of State Jon Husted, it will mean Republicans throughout the country can scrub from the voter rolls millions of citizens merely because they might vote Democrat. This is a country where Attorney-General Sessions fought for state's rights to prevent racial integration but is now overriding the decision by some thirty states to legalize marijuana. read more


Comments

Women's work in the home becomes an asset in divorce, entitling her to up to a 18 years of child support and a lifetime of alimony, at the standard of living she enjoyed during the marriage. These awards are often so large they leave a male living out of the trunk of his car, which can become an argument for denying visitation. If that eventually costs him his job he can find himself jailed. This has happened to activated Reserve troops, when they return from overseas duty, having been activated faster than they can get a support agreement modified. There is no such thing as retroactive modification in a notoriously slow overloaded system. That never happens to a women, whether they are required to pay support or not. There are endless weird examples. Marrying an irrational selfish women is a very dangerous move for a man.

Worst I ever heard comes from Australia. Mother runs off with another man for two years, leaving father to work and care for their three children. That doesn't work out for her either, so she returns two years later and demands the kids back. Court says no. So the mother accuses the father of rape and gets him sentenced to 30 years in prison. Yes, under Australian law a man can be convicted of rape based solely on the women's testimony alone, even her husband.

Occasionally, family law is twisted against a women, but the general rule is the man is guilty until proven innocent, a very expensive process. For the women, guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

madbomber,

I am an engineer and have never taken an economics course. However, I have read extensively since 2008, including Keynes, Keen, Picketty, Hudson, and Roberts. This puts me out on the fringe of mainstream economics. But history tells us that the mainstream was out to lunch in 2007 under the guidance of the likes of Greenspan. In fact most of what is wrong with our system can be corrected by closing the Fed and restoring the legal structure that FDR put in place after the first great recession. The other way to improve our economy is to incorporate more profit sharing into company plans for employees, based on longevity and contribution.

Most mainstream economists acknowledge that Marx's exploration of the relationship between labor, economic development, capital accumulation, and the boom and bust cycle has enduring value.

My own independent understanding of economic history is that Marx's proletariat revolution never happened in Russia, China or Vietnam, countries which used Marx for propaganda reasons while operating dictatorships. However, it did occur in the EU and USA when labor organized in the face of extremely harsh working conditions and police violence to achieve living wages. A PBS series claimed that Ford's wife cut him off, until he raised wages. Western economies have realized Marx's optimistic predictions better than other parts of the globe. But those ideas are hated and suppressed by the 1% that control our Government and mass media. Again this puts me out of the mainstream, but that in itself is no proof of error. Ignorance dominates human history.

madbomber,

We live in a neoclassical era. An important criteria which distinguishes neoclassical economics from classical economics is that the classical economists sought to tax "passive (unearned) income" at a higher rate than "earned income" in order to prevent grotesque inequality. Passive income includes rent, interest charges, capital gains. I rank production above finance because the first is earned and the later is unearned, by which I mean it is earned while sleeping. If tax policy fails to distinguish these two methods sooner or later landlords and owners have everything, as easily observed in Monopoly. This is the mathematics of compound interest, which is driving this country and the world into unsustainable debt. Student debt $1.5 trillion, credit card debt $1 trillion, housing debt $13 trillion, automobile debt $1.2 trillion will never be paid. The only question is when is the next crash.

You speak in generalities, without any concrete examples. Your ideology shines through.

Why don't you present a retort? For example, the State run Bank of North Dakota is a better example of how to operate banks than the Federal Reserve and Wall Street can ever be, because, unlike Wall Street and the Federal Reserve they have a track record of honesty, profitability and solvency, without any bailouts. They are a socialist institution, invented to protect the public against the invasion of the railroad tycoons. Or argue against Lincoln's assertion instead of changing the subject and declaring a fake victory?

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