Tax day but where does it all go?

484Like most of you, I paid my taxes and filed them too and on time.  I am not opposed to paying taxes.  I believe in a social contract.  I want to be protected from an enemy invasion.  I am not one who believes we should abolish the IRS, as some have called for, people like Groover Norquist, I wonder if he was named after former President Grover Cleveland, a conservative, pro-business leader who lead the U.S. into a major depression.  Fringe candidates Ran Paul, and Marcus Rubio are also notorious critics of the IRS.  Now, I don’t love the IRS, but without taxes, there can be no government, no military, no support for public schools, no social security, no environmental protection, no regulation of food and drugs.  I guess we could have an all-volunteer government, install a monarch or ask a big company like Apple or Proctor and Gamble to just take over.  Maybe Warren Buffet and Mitt Romney could be in charge of investments.  Our government leaders are already beholden to big business and with special interest PACs calling the shots, the interests of the 99% are not seriously addressed.  It’s so bad that big oil and gas can compel educated politicians who know better to say stupid things like we should invest in KLEEN coal, and that “there is no consensus in the scientific community on climate change” or that “the science is not settled as to whether humans have contributed to the problem of global warming”.  They can’t admit what they know to be true that carbon emissions from our persistent use of fossil fuels is a major region why we are having catastrophic weather events that one might have previously witnessed once in a lifetime, practically twice a year.

Did you know that in 2014, 27 cents of every tax dollar went toward military spending?  2.5 cents went to support public education.  1.6 cents went to the energy and environment and just 1.5 cents went to science.  President Obama’s proposed discretionary spending for 2015, which needs congressional approval, has 55% going to the military, 6% to education, and 3% to science.  When you add in mandatory spending on entitlement programs which includes social security and unemployment, veterans benefits, food and agriculture, it’d be 16% to the military, 2% to education and 1% to science.  Some priorities.  It’s no wonder that American students significantly lag their peers in other countries in math and science.  It should also come as no surprise that companies have to search for talent outside the U.S. to fill positions that require a high degree of scientific expertise. Nor should it be a surprise that so many Americans actually don’t believe in science at all.  They don’t understand it and would rather just take a lazy political side and deny or take a hard line religious stance with a literal interpretation of the creation story and claim the earth is something like 6,000 years old contrary to scientific evidence that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

Let me ask you this:  Do we really need to spend 640 billion on the military each year?  How much does safe enough cost? Do we really need to spend 391.2 billion on 2,443 F-35 fighter jets at 160 million a piece? By comparison, we are slated to spend around 100 billion on education AND science in 2015.  That’s it.  Doesn’t this disproportionally light in comparison to our spending on defense? Don’t we want a literate and competitive populace?  The 1% and their minions in Congress don’t.  If the voting public wised up, Congress would be out of a job and the 1% scrambling to create the next scam. I say people and the planet over profits and a little more equality please.

Musings on Rand Paul, C. Sheen & OxiClean


Charlie Sheen almost makes sense but then he doesn’t.

Rand Paul almost made sense too on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and finally did, not that I agreed, thanks to Jon’s clarification on what he meant when he said we are better off because of regulations.  He meant regulations gone awry can have negative consequences.  Something about we can’t have clean air and electricity too; that there needs to be a balance and I agree, but it seems he meant that we have to chose between clean air or cheap electricity, that we can’t have both, which is simply ludicrous.  The thing is with Paul, is that his ideological purity and rigidity gets him in trouble like when he tried to argue against Civil Rights legislation on the Rachel Maddow show by saying it went too far.

Funny, when I think of his name, I can’t help but be reminded of the novelist, philosopher and noted atheist Ayn Rand, who like Paul, believed in limited government and individualism.  She’d have been a polarizing Tea Party member were she alive today.  And then his name also conjures up the great jazz pianist and composer Ran Blake. I am not a fan of Rand.  Paul that is.

Very much like Rand Paul and Charlie Sheen, the Oscar winning Inception made no sense whatsoever.

An electric motorcycle is an oxymoron.  And OxiClean is little more than hydrogen peroxide.

Herbie Hancock’s Sunlight LP is probably the funkiest least heard album of the 70’s.

John McLaughlin’s Electric Guitarist LP could be my favorite record of the 70’s, and I bought it in a head shop (Peaches Records and Tapes) without ever having heard any of his stuff before, though I had read somewhere, Guitar Player magazine I think, that he could play lightening fast.   A blind buy, and one hell of a pick!

Stay tuned for more episodes of The Thing Is…..

Thoughts on Politics of the Day – this day, today

A community ID card such as the one available to undocumented immigrants in Trenton, New Jersey, is a good, no, great idea.  With the ID card, folks without legal papers can check out a library book, visit a health clinic and open a bank account.  Literacy, health care and safe banking are human rights.  Yes, banking.   Crime falls when fewer people are carrying around wads of cash.

The incumbent corporate centrist Blanche Lincoln will lose in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat in Arkansas to Bill Halter.   Halter will not falter.  He won’t.

At 80, Arlen Specter will beat back his opponent and ultimately be reelected for another Senate term by the good people of Pennsylvania.  Too bad the Obama administration did not respect Specter and make an endorsement appearance. With the mood of the country as it is, it might not have been a good idea.  Obama’s coat tails are about as long as a jeans jacket.  A cocktail might have longer tails.

Richard Blumenthal out in Connecticut claimed to have served in Vietnam on numerous occasions.  Turns out, he simply served during Vietnam, not actually in it.  In fact he received deferments from 1965-70 to avoid combat.  He served in the Marine Reserve for six years starting in 1970.   Americans don’t like deception and I would argue that Blumenthal’s chances of rising in the Democratic party are slim to none.  I can’t help but think of the PR disaster of Mike Dukakis riding in a tank when he ran for President and the swift boat attacks on one-time presidential hopeful John Kerry.

One final thought.  Is Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Republican Rand Paul related to Ron Paul, or Ayn Rand?  If he were to either, he’d be a much more interesting prospect IMHO.