Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Last Call

How do you know Occupy Wall Street is working?  Wall Street has changed tactics, instead of warning protesters off the record, they are warning Dems on the record and saying there will be hell to pay unless the Democrats start backing the One Percent immediately.

After the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent a recent email urging supporters to sign a petition backing the wave of Occupy Wall Street protests, phones at the party committee started ringing.

Banking executives personally called the offices of DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and DCCC Finance Chairman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) last week demanding answers, three financial services lobbyists told POLITICO.

“They were livid,” said one Democratic lobbyist with banking clients.

The execs asked the lawmakers: “What are you doing? Do you even understand some of the things that they’ve called for?” said another lobbyist with financial services clients who is a former Democratic Senate aide.

Democrats’ friends on Wall Street have a message for them: you can’t have it both ways.

Wall Street's pissed at the Dems.  You'd almost think they cared about American voters more than Wall Street.  Gosh, that's practically a crime.

Dinosaur Steve Versus The Axe Man

In three weeks here in Kentucky we'll choose a governor.  Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear is famous for giving tens of millions in tax breaks to the Ark Park, and he's the guy I'm voting for without hesitation.  It should tell you how bad his opponent, Republican David Williams, truly is.  Here's the Williams economic plan:  Axe the Tax.

Republican gubernatorial nominee David Williams wants to eliminate state personal and corporate income taxes as part of his plan to create and retain jobs in Kentucky.
Williams' plan, released Wednesday, also recommends several short-term tax suspensions designed to jump-start Kentucky's job market and several changes in the law, including allowing voters to decide whether their counties should have a right-to-work law, which would allow an employee to opt out of joining a union.
The plan also would allow voters to decide whether their local governments should have to pay the prevailing wage for public works projects.

Revenue problem?  Why, I have no idea what you're talking about.  Knocking out some $3.8 billion in yearly revenue (more than 10%) doesn't seem to bother the Axe Man much.  What will the state do in the meantime?

Williams did not explicitly say how he would make up for revenue if income taxes are eliminated, but his plan calls for a commission of economic and tax experts to come up with a new state and local tax structure that would receive an up-or-down vote in the legislature.

He has no clue.  When your entire economic plan is "eliminate the state income tax and wait until A Wild Jobs Appears and throw a Pokeball at it" it seems people aren't taking it very seriously at all around here as Williams has been forced to complain it's the media's fault why he's losing by 30 points.  The again, maybe it's because that "new state and local tax structure" will of course fall directly on working class families in the form of his new "consumption tax".

Williams would replace the state’s personal and corporate income taxes with a broader consumption tax of some sort. He says of this proposal, “If you tax consumption, people will make discerning choices about consumption and you will encourage productivity.”
Consumption taxes as a substitute for income taxes is backwards tax policy at its worst and is catastrophic for middle- and low- income families. In fact, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP)  found that the impact of a similar proposal in 2009 was disastrous:  the poorest 20 percent of Kentuckians would have seen their taxes rise by $136 on average, while the richest one percent would have received an average tax cut of $40,910.

But Williams has managed one thing, however:  he's made me want to get up early in three weeks and go vote for Dinosaur Steve.  Who said Kentucky Republicans can't accomplish things?

Real Americans Suffer In Silence

And if you thought Bill Keller's take on OWS completely missed the point, we have David Brooks making Keller look like Nostradamus.

If, in the 1960s, you had tried to judge America by looking at the sit-ins and Woodstock, you would have had a very distorted picture of where the country was heading. You wouldn’t have been able to predict that Richard Nixon would win the youth vote in 1972, which he did. You wouldn’t have been able to predict that Republicans would go on to win four out of the next five presidential elections, a streak only interrupted by Jimmy Carter, who ran as a conservative Democrat.
Similarly, if you look only at the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements that have been getting so much coverage in the news media, you know very little about the wider America. Most Americans seem to understand this. According to data from the Pew Research Center, they are paying less attention to the Occupy Wall Street movement than any other major story — less than Afghanistan, Amanda Knox, the 2012 election, the death of Steve Jobs and far, far less than news about the economy.
While the cameras surround the flamboyant fringes, the rest of the country is on a different mission. Quietly and untelegenically, Americans are trying to repair their economic values.

The salt of the Earth, rock-ribbed masses are embracing austerity and reaffirming their role as doormats for the wealthy, apparently.  The meek shall inherit the Earth, well after the people with the money and the megaphones get done pillaging anything and everything of worth from it.  Not only does Brooks dismiss the Occupy Together protesters in cities across the country, he then assumes people are angry because government's spending too much and that people want tax cuts for our precious tax creators and cuts to the social safety net that supports them.

How dare, Brooks says, do these Dirty Effing Hippies demand anything and seek to lift their noses from the grindstone that has eroded household income to 1996 levels.  Banks cutting credit limits and charging more fees, energy and food prices rising due to commodity speculation, the wealth gap growing yearly?  Tighten your belts like the Puritan strain you are and accept it.  Real Americans in Bobo's world ignore OWS and get back to work.  Those with jobs, anyway.

Most of all, Real Americans fanatically embrace centrism and austerity to protect our nation's greatest resource, the job creators.  Trickle-down serfdom is all the rage where Brooks is.  After all, we've been there for over three decades.  Why would the silly masses actually want anything more in a country where the wealthiest 400 individuals have more than the bottom 50% combined, and banks continue to report billions in profit this week after taking hundreds of billions in taxpayer loans?

The Divine Right of Job Creators, indeed.  Real Americans suffer in silence, apparently.

Pot, Meet Kettle

(CNN) - Rep. Michele Bachmann wasn't laughing Monday at Herman Cain's "joke" about building an electrified fence on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Speaking to the media in Phoenix, the Minnesota congresswoman gave a full-throated endorsement of a border fence, but said that joking about the matter detracted from the gravity of the issue.

Oh really? I guess that whole thing about saying God sent the hurricane and earthquake to punish sinners "joke" that Michele Bachmann was spouting is different then, right? I mean, she wasn't taking advantage of victims to make a message or anything... oh, wait.

The sad truth is, they're both freaking idiots, and delusional to boot.  And that's no joke.

Blackberry Jam Apology

To give credit where it is due, RIM has offered $100 in free select apps that affected customers can download.  Not surprisingly, several Blackberry users have a problem with this.

First, downloads are nice but most people already have what they want.  While RIM could not have sent a monetary reimbursement, this is insulting to some who use their Blackberry devices for email and calling, period.  That is a huge number of Blackberry users, by the way.  Customers who follow premium apps and flash have already moved on to Android or Apple devices.

Second, how well will this appease the customers?  Its' a nice gesture, but reality is that users are already asking what good it will do for them to have apps that won't connect to the network, or games to play while their email sits in limbo.  Those customers feel insulted and paid off without being heard. 

Finally, there are customers who cannot take advantage of the offer.  Corporate users are not allowed to have games and certain permissions set on their phones.  For those, the customers who depended on Blackberry the most, there is nothing but an empty apology.  A free month of tech support or an extension by a month for current subscribers doesn't mean much to the people who were scrambling to get their work done.

I am not sure what apps are included, but I'm a bit skeptical.  How much do you want to bet RIM made some profit by selecting which apps were selected?  I just know how business works, and to profit from an apology for incompetence (if that is in fact what is happening here) will drive even more customers away who feel their misfortune was sold out.

It looks even worse for Blackberry than it did a few days ago.

Government Shock Absorbers

Hey folks, here's "big intrusive government" going and doing things again, like getting wireless carriers to actually warn consumers when they are over their plan limits in order to prevent folks from running up hundreds if not thousands in charges.

The vast majority of America's wireless carriers came to terms with the Federal Communications Commission on Monday, agreeing to alert consumers when they are approaching their monthly limits for voice, data and text messages, or when they are about to incur international roaming charges. Mobile providers will send a second alert when customers reach those limits.

The news comes after a nearly two-year FCC probe into "bill shock" -- the sudden, unexpected increase in monthly wireless charges without a change to a customer's plan. The regulator estimates about 30 million Americans have experienced some form of bill shock.

A study that the FCC conducted last year found that 84% of Americans who experienced bill shock said they were not tipped off by their wireless company when they were about to exceed their limits, and 88% said they heard nothing from their provider after they went over.
There's the real "shock".  Your cell phone company?  If you went over your plan minutes and started to incur additional charges, they wouldn't inform you.  They would simply let you run up the tab and then hit you with a massive bill.  Nearly nine in ten times they would leave you to hang.

Now?  Gosh, it's like government is actually helping the people under President Obama.  I can't wait to see how conservatives spin wireless companies ripping off Grandma because she didn't understand the plan you sold her or Billy sending 3000 text messages in a month without an unlimited text plan is bad for the economy, and how telling people they are over their limit for the month is European soshuleesm.

The bad news?  We're supposed to trust the wireless providers that they'll actually do this.  It's voluntary.  But the FCC promises if the cell carriers don't play fair, they might make it mandatory.  Maybe.  Some day.

Of course the second the GOP gets control of the FCC, this will of course cease to be enforced period.

Chart Of The Day

Steve Benen finds there's no "liberal media" when it comes to the 2012 race for the White House, and that the person getting the most bad press is President Obama.

To recap, looking at all the news stories from May to early October, a grand total of 9% were positive to 34% negative for the President.  But they're all "in the tank" for Obama, right?

This is the reality of our major news media, folks.  They are doing their damnedest to make President Obama lose in 2012,  because they are owned by large corporations who want Republicans to give them billions and resent anyone regulating them at all.

Keep that in mind.


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