The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Taxes

GOOD SUNDAY TO YOU WIDDERSHINS!

As I said in the comments to DYB’s post, I’ll be busy this weekend doing my taxes and getting ready to send the forms and money to the I.R.S.

Nevertheless, I have a couple of funny or amusing, or sad stories for y’all.

* * *

This first one comes from…Floriduh and concerns a new high-speed rail line that runs between Miami through Ft. Lauderdale to West Palm Beach.  This is a private rail line that provides the service.   It seems however that people there can’t seem to be able to…well…stay away from the tracks.  (It appears that one of these cases may have been a suicide)

Sunday’s victim was the fourth person to be struck and killed by a high-speed train since service began in January. Among the other deaths: a 51-year-old man on a bicycle, and a 32-year-old woman, both of whom tried and failed to beat oncoming trains after the gates had lowered, police told the Palm Beach Post.

Honestly, I have never understood this “trying to beat the gates” thing that folks do around trains.

Patrick Goddard, Brightline’s COO and president, said in January that the company was working with transportation officials to raise awareness about the train/

“We implore the public to be patient and not circumvent the safety devices in place to keep you safe,” Goddard said. “Your life is worth more than waiting a few extra seconds for a train to pass.”

As I said, I don’t get it with the awareness thing.  It’s a train.  Those are tracks.  In this case the train goes real fast.  Don’t argue with the train.

* * *

Okay this next one is truly amusing.

So you think you’re being a whole lot safer and “cleaner” by using those hand air dryers in the restrooms?  Well, think again.

A study done by the University of Connecticut School of Medicine found that nope, that’s not true.

It turns out that those dryers in the bathrooms will help to spread around bacteria in those bathrooms.

Scientists comparing normal bathroom air to that blasted from hand dryer nozzles have found far more bacterial colonies develop in samples exposed to the latter. The results were published this month in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

And what type of bacteria do we find in bathrooms?  (Need you really ask?)

“Bacteria in bathrooms will come from feces, which can be aerosolized a bit when toilets, especially lidless toilets, are flushed,” study author Peter Setlow told Newsweek. The simple movement of lots of people in and out of the bathroom, shedding microbes from their skin, he said, adds to the messy picture.

Hand dryers suck up bathroom air and spew it out at speed. So, in the brief moments your hands rest below the nozzle, they’ll be exposed to far more air than usual—and far more bacteria.

So what’s the solution?

For now, Setlow (the study’s author) is sticking to paper towels—as is the University of Connecticut, which has added them to all 36 bathrooms surveyed in the study.

Lastly, since I’m working on taxes, here’s a very old Top Ten List from David Letterman on Top Ten Ways To Annoy An IRS Agent.

Open thread for this, of course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , ,

Noted scholar and transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” So to begin my self-allotted 800 words, what do I do? I quote a smart man explaining his utter disdain for quotes.

True story. I love quotes. Collect them I do. I’m always looking for smart words from those who have journeyed before. Their wisdom is manifest and unmistakable. I find comfort in that.

So this week while thinking about this post, I began looking for a quote about shame. There weren’t that many shame quotes and the few I found were all wrong. They talked about shame as a regulator of behavior – as something to be “ashamed of”. There weren’t any quotes about the lack of shame.

Given the lack of quotes about shamelessness, it might indicate we are regressing along the evolutionary continuum. I imagine shamelessness requires less higher reasoning and a greater reliance on the lower brain stem – which brings me to Supreme Commander Monkey Butt (hereinafter “His Redness” or sometimes “Dolt 45” or “His High Assholiness”).

When I’ve described Dolt 45’s personality traits, I’ve been quite reticent about his mental health. With a high degree of probability I can surmise his behavior patterns, but his mental condition I will leave to others.

This brings me to his shamelessness. The only shame he fears is being labeled a fraud which is his primary and paramount behavioral avoidance priority. For all other types of normal, human shame – he has none. The shame a normal human would suffer does not faze him.

Within the last forty-eight hours, he told Tea Party groups not to worry if the Trump/RyanCare plan failed because he would make sure the ACA failed so he could blame the Democrats. Or telling the same groups he was fine with accelerating the human suffering by speeding up the Medicaid cutbacks by two years if that’s what it takes to win. Sociopathic behavior for sure, but no evidence of shame.

My point is this: While His High Assholiness’ behavior is abhorrent, it is the new Republican Trumpism. He is near the perfect Republican or so says at least 89% of self-described Republicans. Again, my feeble mind is called to a quote from H.L. Mencken:

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

The great and glorious day has arrived and the White House is now resplendently adorned by the consummate “downright moron” who happens to be unburdened by shame. He was the apple-eyed desire of the plain folks or at least 70,000 under-educated white men in three states. That desire still burns white-hot in nine out of ten Republican hearts.

The areas in green fare better under Trump/Ryan Care while the areas shaded in maroon fare better under the ACA.

These Trumpian sycophants know no shame. Just consider: Passing legislation affecting one-sixth of the economy without a hearing in the dead of night. Or ending life-sustaining medical care for maybe 15,000,000 people. Or ending opioid therapy or mental health treatment for millions. Or ending health clinics and outreach for the poorest and most under-served populations. Or doing all of this without an estimate of the costs.

All of this to give the wealthiest, most secure, and most powerful a massive tax cut. And on top of that giving insurance companies and medical device manufacturers a tax cut. And on top of that making sure the inadequate tax credits are as regressive as possible without regard to need or ability to pay. And on top of that, and this is where the shamelessness is extraordinary, financing the whole damn thing by draconian cuts to Medicaid – cuts to the poorest, weakest, and most vulnerable among us.

This bill isn’t a health care plan, it is a massive tax cut disguised as a political slogan to repeal the ACA. It is a WealthCare plan. It is a risible act of ignominy so outrageous it wouldn’t even make the SNL trashcan.

Not for a second do I believe this nasty pettiness wasn’t planned as a feature to make Grandpa Grumpy happy…

As discerning Widdershins, you are asking, “Why isn’t he mentioning the hypocrisy?” The answer is simple – without shame there is no hypocrisy. Talking to these people about hypocrisy is like talking to a cobra about venom or a skunk about stink. It is what makes them who they are.

The inimitable Mr. Emerson was a transcendentalist meaning he believed in the inherent goodness of individuals. I want to believe that too since there’s no shame in that – at least not yet.

I’m going to leave you with a musical interlude then I’ll list some links for interesting stories I couldn’t work into my self-indulgent rant/therapy. As always, take the safety off, comment at will, and thanks for listening.

 

Speaking of clowns, here’s one, and he’s a substitute for the Presidential Daily Briefing:

 

A wonderfully researched study of 1.25 million stories by the Columbia Journalism Review indicating Breitbart to be the right-wing media anchor hub of a distinct and insulated media system that appears to have set the agenda and overall tone for Hillary’s negative coverage.

An interactive demonstration that the “higher premium” lamentation by the shameless Republicans is, like so many things, made of whole cloth.

The lackadaisical use of military force is troubling and a bad omen of things to come. One week of bombing is equal to one year of missions under Obama.

Watch Paul Ryan’s Adam’s Apple when he’s asked about his “good, best friends” the rich.

One way the Trump Administration is a fine-tooled machine.

Taxes

Russia Investigation

Country over Party

Six words, that’s it.  If we’re lucky, by 2018 we won’t even need a noun or a verb to finish the thoughts.

Come for the chaos, stay for conflagration.  This is the Dolt 45 fine-tuned machine.

Yesterday’s performance was a guided tour of Dolt 45’s brain. In 77 minutes, he demonstrated what I have so inadequately tried to explain.  He is the San Andreas of emotional fragility.  He’s not going to change.  You saw what stress does.  Behavior patterns become more pronounced.trump-presser

Dolt 45 is not crazy.  He’s a 70-year old man who has never worked an honest day’s work in his life who likes to watch television and tweet.  He believes he’s infallible because he doesn’t know what the word means.

Setting up warring factions in the White House ensures he is the eye in a hurricane of chaos.  It provides him the self-esteem he so desperately craves and the charade of power sustaining his veneer of legitimacy.

Let me try to explain.  Think about the best, mind-blowing, earth-moving sex you ever had.  That is what yesterday’s press conference was for the citrus pustule.  As he said, “I’m having a good time doing it.”

Here’s what I know from studying leadership.  Any organization centered on charismatic leadership (personality-centric) rests upon clay feet.  It is like the Platte River – a mile wide and three inches deep.  It evaporates in the least bit of heat.whats-wrong-with-trump

Crises are not planned via e-invites.  They are coming.  Whether it is a natural disaster, a Horizon oil spill, an incident in the Strait of Hormuz, or a terrorist attack, the time is ticking down.  It won’t just be a failure; it will be a Category 5, Frontline documentary fiasco.  Failure is simply the non-presence of success, but a fiasco is where anarchy apportions anguish and adversity.

This weekend troubles me.  It has been almost 84-years to the day since the Reichstag Fire.  It was a planned provocative act of arson to set emotions ablaze.  This weekend event in Florida has a certain suspicious air about it.  Nothing would change the media’s attention faster than paid insurrectionists rioting at an event where Dolt 45 is whisked away by Secret Service.  Just sayin’.gop-support-for-trump

Currently among Republicans, SCROTUS (So Called Ruler of the U.S.) is at a more robust approval rating than either Bush or Reagan was at a comparable time.  The symbiosis is complete.  Congratulations Dr. Frankenstein, it’s a boy.

And this brings me to the Country over Party part of TRICOP.  Never before has the reverse concept been so clear to me.  I’m guilty of mindlessly accusing Republicans of prostituting themselves as Party over Country and Power over Country, but when a future drapery salesman from South Carolina is your party’s lone moral compass, the GOP ain’t exactly writing new chapters for Profiles in Courage.

Here’s the takeaway:  The Republican Party will allow this orange stooge to do immeasurable harm to the country in order to eviscerate FDR’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society.

There is an ugly, angry, maniacal lust at work to deprive twenty million poor people of health insurance in order to allow the One-Percenters an obscene tax break.  I lack the intellectual capacity to understand that.  It isn’t just the repeal of the A.C.A.  It is also a rollback of Medicaid that happens to be the primary financing mechanism for the country’s nursing home/end of life care.

The gobsmacking piece of all of this:  To finance the lipstick for the piglet they are going to pass off as a “replacement,” they are proposing taxing some portion of employer furnished health insurance.

Here are a few highlights from the first 25 days:what-coal-mining-does-to-streams

The first Republican counteroffensive against the War on Coal was signed into law this past week.  Coal mines will now be free to pollute some 6,000 miles of once protected waterways in the country.

For those poor, over-regulated, underappreciated oil companies, they will no longer have to report their payments to foreign governments.  Anti-corruption is so déclassé.

If you are keeping score, this weekend we will be spending $1,240,000 a day to protect Trump Tower with no one home, another $3.0 Million for another Mar-a-Lago golf outing, and about $200,000 for Uday and Qusay Trump to open their Dubai golf course.

Finally, if you are a policy wonk like me, we can be alarmed that Dolt 45 swatted away 50-years of U.S. policy supporting a two-state Middle East solution as easily as he would a Citrus Whitefly.  And if you were worried about that pesky dust-up over a “One China” policy, it seems to have ironed itself out quite coincidentally with the granting of Chinese Trump trademarks.

For those 70,000 under-educated white guys in the upper Midwest:  Is America great enough yet?

What’s on your mind today?  Spasibo.  Never too early to learn some Russian.

a-trump-hat

 

Good morning Widdershins.  Hope this is a “widderful Wednesday” for everyone.Trump Sanders gif

Today’s offering is going to be a bit different.  I had intended to follow-up on my repeated comments that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are just different sides of the same coin or counterfeit slug if you want to be specific.

Having made that claim several times, I thought it was high time I justified my rather sweeping indictment of these two souls crippled under the weight of Brobdingnagian egos.  Dana Milbank beat me to it and did a much better job than I could ever do.

So instead of trying to reinvent the wheel I’ll just link the article.  Here are some of the highlights.  It starts:

Free trade agreements “have been disastrous” for the United States, the candidate said, and have sent jobs to Mexico and China. “I will stop it by renegotiating all of the trade agreements that we have.”

It sounded like just another threat from Donald Trump to “rip up those trade deals” and “make really good ones” instead. Such a policy could set off a global trade war and impoverish millions.

But the candidate who said this was Bernie Sanders, April 1 in New York. And that’s no coincidence: He and Trump are peas in a pod….

[T]he two are the yin and yang of outlandish policy proposals. Both men — and to a great extent Ted Cruz, too — have grounded their platforms in fantasy.

The article concludes:

These proposals aren’t dangerous because they could actually happen; they can’t. They’re dangerous because supporters of these three men, believing these fantasies masquerading as policies, are headed for disillusionment.

This is why I find this worrisome.  Call me crazy, but I happen to believe political and electoral engagement is important in a democracy.  We are suffering through a half a generation still awaiting the “hopey changey” stuff.  Why not go for a full generation by finishing off the disillusionment by breaking promises of free college, universal health care, and adding trillions to the national debt?  Trump, Sanders, and Cruz are doing their dead level best to put the grunt back into disgruntlement for a whole new generation.

Something else that has been on my mind is the furor over the envisioned epidemic of armies of transgender storm troopers heading to the bathrooms of the South, particularly the fine porcelain latrines of North Carolina.  This is another one of those epidemics that are invisible except to those who conjure them – much like voter fraud.

Bathroom lawThe war of scary things that don’t happen is now raging in North Carolina and this is the water closet line of demarcation.  This is a shame since the Tar Heel State was always thought to be the “sane Carolina”.  It is now catching up on the crazy with its sister state to the south.

I mention this for one reason and it’s not the obvious one.  There aren’t going to be bathroom patrols proclaiming, “Urinator, show me your birth certificate!”  The media is focused on the shiny faucets of the bathrooms, but the real purpose of these laws is the nullification of local ordinances outlawing discrimination.

What these “bathroom laws” do is make it illegal for local communities to outlaw discrimination in housing or employment based upon orientation or gender identification.  Simply put, these laws protect and enable discrimination in cities where the local government wants it to end.  In keeping with Republican philosophy, there’s nothing like smaller government to match the smaller minds of those doing the governing.

The last issue catching my attention is based upon the saying of Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”  That is an admonition we have not heeded when it comes to Republican economic theory.

Republicans have four tenets:  Low taxes, small government, strong defense, and traditional values.  It is the first one, low taxes, upon which I want to focus.  When Republicans talk “low taxes” they are leaving out for whom they want to provide low taxes.  Therein lies the rub.mayaangelou383371

You see, time and again, Republicans have shown us who they are.  They are interested in lowering the taxes for the wealthiest Americans.  We just have never listened.  Time and time again, the Republicans prove they just can’t quit the rich folk.

They are at it again.  They want to turn the banning of trickling in the bathrooms of North Carolina and again promote the fictitious trickling of economics.  Trouble is, it doesn’t work.

Never has worked.

Never will work, but just like the unicorn that poops rainbows, it might happen in their fantasy world.  There’s just a little problem.  Only 13% of Americans think the wealthy pay too much in taxes while 61% think they should pay more.  Even in the topsy-turvy world of Republican mathematics, that isn’t a good return on political investment.

We should take Ms. Angelou’s advice.  Messrs. Trump, Sanders, and Cruz have shown us who they are.  North Carolina has proven that they like to protect discrimination.  And Republicans have shown us they really want to help people, if they are rich.  In each case, they have shown us who they are.  We should believe them.

What’s on your mind today?

 

Good Good Friday Widdershins. I hope all your egg laying bunnies are particularly productive this weekend.

This past week there were a couple of events that unequivocally demonstrate the primary economic theory of the One Percenters and those “Trickling from on High”. It is cost-shifting.

Cliven Bundy -- freedom is never having to follow the law.

Cliven Bundy — freedom is never having to follow the law.

There’s no one who illustrates the concept better than a one Mr. Cliven Bundy. Mr. Bundy is a successful Nevada rancher (I guess Cliven is plural for Cloven). Old Cliven hasn’t paid public land grazing fees for his cattle since 1993. He owes the Bureau of Land Management (that’s us) about a million dollars. Cliven disputes this and in some convoluted logic proclaims he’s never going to pay the $300,000.00 he owes. Go figure.

The stories about Cliven and his extended family are annotated here and you can read about the twenty years of legal travails trying to get him to pay up. There is a slight hiccup — Cliven doesn’t believe in the federal government although he does believe the recent “blood moon” was an Obama conspiracy.

This Sagebrush Rebellion redux is playing out in and around places called Bunkerville and Battle Mountain. Fitting since Bundy’s primary supporters are armed out-of-state militiamen who are yearning for the good old days of Ruby Ridge and Waco. Of course, the right-wing echo chamber, much to the chagrin of his law-abiding neighbors, portrays him as some sort patriotic hero. This is an actual, aired quote on Faux News from a Bundy supporter:

We are actually strategizing to put all the women up front. If they are going to start shooting, it is going to be women getting shot and televised around the world.

All those who have been covering Cliven, his armed thugs, his trespassing cattle, and the Bureau of Land Management have centered their stories on an angry old white guy who thinks freedom means not having to follow the law. That’s one angle, but I think there’s a better learning.

With visions of Waco dancing in his head, Idaho militiaman Eric Parker points his high-powered, telescoped First Amendment instrument...

With visions of Waco dancing in his head, Idaho militiaman Eric Parker points his high-powered, telescoped First Amendment instrument…

What Cliven is doing puts him squarely in the saddle of Mitt Romney’s 47% of takers. Of course, Cliven would consider those “fightin’ words”. Never mind that the successful Bundy ranch ships their livestock to market over the interstates someone else pays for. Not for a second does the Bundy family consider there is a market for their beef courtesy of consumer confidence in the food supply because of USDA inspectors. What really tans the hide of Cliven is his fanatical belief he can use public resources to make a personal profit — sounds downright Putinesque to me.

Mr. Bundy is employing cost-shifting — shifting the cost of grazing to the taxpayers to give Cliven an advantage over other ranchers who are law-abiding enough to follow the law and pay their grazing fees.

This week we also saw the annual high church sermons about new methods of cost-shifting since it was the 15th of April. Every year around tax day the hue and cry for a simpler tax code makes the rounds. Here’s a news bulletin, taxes are pretty simple for the vast majority of Americans who take a standard deduction. Taxes only get more difficult when the One Percenters, who bought and paid for exemptions, deductions, and special treatments, actually employ them.

We hear cries for a flat tax, a value added tax, or a consumption tax. Each of these are merely “cost-shifting” the tax burden away from the wealthy to the poor and middle class. Someone like Malcolm Forbes trumpeting a flat tax is as outrageous as fitting an elephant with Spanx — the whole elephant is still there just crammed in differently. These regressive tax plans are nothing more than eradicating progressive tax rates and increasing the burden on those less financially endowed.

All raised amongst copious amounts of cow manure...

All raised amongst copious amounts of cow manure…

The same cost-shifting concept is true for the constant cries for deregulation or tort reform. You won’t see many One Percenters driving accelerating Toyotas or catastrophically decelerating Chevy Cobalts. You won’t see many one-footed lawn care professionals or man-boobed twenty-somethings touting the merits of consumer deregulation. Neither will you see the families of victims of the latest pharmaceutically induced schizophrenia calling for tort reform.  All forms of cost-shifting.

The saying goes, “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” that is unless you are enjoying the view from the top of Defecation Mountain where, with the help of gravity, the effluent is rolling downhill upon the unwashed masses. Defecation Mountain is where the concept of cost-shifting is gospel and those enjoying its rewards are kings.

So if Cliven and his cattle taught us anything this week, it’s that shifty scofflaws of whatever ilk, be they shiftless Wall Streeters or ranchers, should be fenced in so that societal costs are shifted less.

This is an open thread.

 


Keep Up

Atrocities Documented:

What the F*ck Just Happened?!

Victories Won:

Your Victories Against Drumpf!

Trump doesn’t like this pic don’t share it or anything

It’s here: QUARANTINE BINGO!

Wanna Be A Widdershin?

Send us a sample post at:

widdershinssubmissions at gmail dot com

2020 Presidential Election

Election DayNovember 3rd, 2020
4 months to go.

Our Frontpagers

Twittershins

I’m ready. Are you?

Blog Archive

July 2020
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
6 months to go.

Mueller Time!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

Trump spam

IOW Dumb = Happy?

Simply Put

Ironic

Dems are coming for ya