• flashinreno commented on the blog post Study Shows Being Rich Makes You An ‘Asshole’

    2014-07-08 18:55:26View | Delete

    A part of Rockefeller’s 50% giveaway was the creation of the University of Chicago, for which we can credit “trickle down”, austerity, Pinochet, deregulation mania, regressive taxes, etc.

    That’s not charity, it’s passing on 1% ideology to future generations.

  • No real capitalist would sell such a property. Detroit should rent it for $100M/yr, or $450M/yr, or whatever. Detroiters can become rentiers themselves, retaining the right of eviction and foreclosure, and any other development rights and exclusions. How would Detroit feel about the Commonwealth of Belle Isle building a nuclear power plant? How about a [...]

  • flashinreno commented on the diary post Richard Eskow Asks: Which Side Are You On? by letsgetitdone.

    2012-12-23 08:56:27View | Delete

    I was OK with Reagan’s SS tax increase and the creation of the trust fund at the time. It always had this bomb in it, though: it’s time to start drawing the trust fund down. That means net $100B/yr for 25 years will be going out to SS recipients. The financial elites look at that [...]

  • With respect to homeless/mental illness, the mental illness came first. I had a paranoid/schizophrenic uncle who was committed in California in the 50s/60s, who was turned out into the street by Reagan when he closed the state mental hospitals. Sick first, homeless thereafter. I realize it happens differently for different people, but in this case I’m sure. Before that SF was not full of panhandlers — that was a pure Reagan creation.

  • flashinreno commented on the diary post This is how twisted Gingrich is by TobyWollin.

    2012-04-01 06:59:46View | Delete

    Actually, even hypocrites need a role model.

  • The amendment gives Muslim-owned corporations the legal right to impose Sharia law on their employees. Do the Republicans really want to be on the record doing this?

  • flashinreno commented on the blog post The Brewing Debate Over Domestic Drones

    2012-02-25 10:42:37View | Delete

    If you look up “RC flight video” on YouTube you will see a lot of high and fast RC flights. Those things are everywhere already, and as a pilot it scares me, since they are so small I can’t see and avoid them, and I can’t maneuver fast enough anyway.

    I have no idea what the FAA might think, but they will probably come up with some transponder requirement for large drones, and altitude and line-of-sight limits on small ones. Sounds like chaos to me.

    Today there is nothing to stop an RC going 200 mph at 20 feet above Market Street, and nothing to protect pedestrians when it gets beyond radio range.

    If someone shoots it down, and it hits someone, who is at fault? The person with the radio, or the person with the gun?

    I side with tuezday@1 — NO WAY.

  • flashinreno commented on the blog post Pull Up a Chair

    2012-02-25 09:36:22View | Delete

    The Bay Area in those days felt like ground zero, and we wanted to amp it up. In retrospect it’s apparent that the whole idea of an out-of-control youth movement so alarmed the PTB it set the stage for what came later. The FSM and sitins at Berkeley so infuriated Reagan that he ended free higher education in California, and destroyed the American dream for a lot of folks.

    That was just Reagan acting on impulse like a spoiled kid, but at the same time we had the Lewis Powell memo of 1971 which layed out the plan for an all-out war against liberalism and free thought that brought us to where we are now.

    Reagan first came onto my radar in 1959 when my junior high English teacher told us about an inspiring politician she had met at a neighborhood tea party. At that point he was known as a B actor and SAG president, but obviously had higher ambitions. Those years marked a transition for him, from a union boss to a committed 1%er. He became the governor who went to war against all students, and alienated his younger children Ron and Patty, but kept the allegience of the older kids Mike and Maureen. He became a real politician in those years.

    I remember the “Taxes should hurt” speech in the same year he paid no state income tax. Asked about it at a press conference, he cited “business reverses”. Our family friend Jim Wrightson (Sacramento Bee) found those business reverses — a herd of cattle on a ranch in Montana that gave Reagan a $2 deduction for every $1 invested. The year after, he cut the state sales tax from 5% down to 6%, and the income tax from 9% down to 13%. He claimed to be a small government fan, but grew it every year as governor. I worked on the recall effort, but it was just a spittin’ into the wind thing.

    He lived those years in a profound state of denial about the differences between the things he did, and the way he thought of their effects. He raised taxes, but thought of himself as a tax cutter. He raised university tuition, and kept thousands of kids from going to college, but thought of it as instituting a bought-in committment on the part of the kids who could then actually afford to buy in. I don’t believe he realized the harm he did.

    That self-delusion led him to confuse storytelling with history, to the point of believing he participated in the war while never leaving home, freeing concentration camps from his living room. He personalized the rich as victims with the Cadillac-driving welfare queen, she who fraudulently collected government payments taken from the taxes collected from hard-working rich folks like him (and by transference, you and me).

    He was personally charming, but not smart enough to realize the team he was cheerleading for was about to go a bridge too far.

    Paddy Chayefsky told us what was coming in Network, and Oliver Stone cemented it in Wall Street.

    Reagan and Arthur Laffer gave us a massive income tax cut for rich folks in 1981, and payroll tax and fee increases for the rest of us every year after that. Now corporations and rich folks pay less taxes than anytime in the past 60 years, and they have completely unlearned Grandma’s lesson of “too much of a good thing”.

    So all the welfare queen stories Reagan told served to legitimize the all out war the 1% have waged on the 99% for the past 40 years. So now the 1% own 50% of everything, and have enough money to buy the rest, if only they can get us to agree to let them do it, in the form of “privitizing” the things the rest of us own in the form of schools, parks, public land, and everything we have traditionally thought of as the commons.

    The OWS folks are telling us what’s wrong, but it’s up to the rest of us to make the changes.

  • flashinreno commented on the blog post 500 US Deaths From Police Taser Use in Past Decade

    2012-02-15 18:26:51View | Delete

    I’ve been crusading for years now about police Taser use. Since they have proven lethal, the police should treat them as such. Each and every police use of a Taser should be followed by a “shooting review board”, with the board eventually issuing a public report on the conclusions of the review.

    That should, over time, make individual officers realize that use of a Taser is not an automatic “Get Out of Jail Free” card when people are not automatically obedient to police demands.

  • Just rereading Thomas Paine “Rights of Man”, and in a few paragraphs he takes down primogeniture, where the firstborn inherits everything, and younger siblings are dumped onto the dole:

    “Unnecessary offices and places in governments and courts are created at the expense of the public to maintain them.”

    This SGKC fiasco has made clear that SGKC is simply a resting place for wingers while they seek other gainful employment (e. g. Handel). However, they must faithfully follow the greater right wing agenda to remain qualified to receive right wing largesse.

    They will receive none from me.

  • After 8 years of Bush and 15% capital gains rate, corporation were holding $2T in cash domestically and another $1T offshore, we had 10% unemployment and 2 million jobs lost over the eight years. The case for a capital gains tax preference as a spur to investment stands in the complete absence of supporting evidence.

    I say abolish the tax preference, and tax all income at the same rate, regardless where it comes from. Republicans want to simplify taxes? Simplify this.

  • flashinreno commented on the blog post We Can’t Afford This Oligarchy

    2011-11-27 18:45:25View | Delete

    I rate self-proclaimed exceptionalism as entirely ordinary.

  • flashinreno commented on the blog post Do-Nothing Option on Deficits Finally Gets Noticed

    2011-11-22 11:53:52View | Delete

    Well, bubbles are like lemming rushes. They have to follow someone, and Goldman Sachs have not announced the next big thing.

  • flashinreno commented on the blog post Do-Nothing Option on Deficits Finally Gets Noticed

    2011-11-22 11:27:58View | Delete

    If we don’t give them more tax breaks, how will they inflate the next bubble?

  • flashinreno commented on the blog post OccupySupply and UPS Shipping Issues…Hello FedEx

    2011-11-19 23:32:16View | Delete

    Don’t mind the nudge, just responding to the post.

    Member FDL, donor OccupySupply, SF native, now doing best to democratize Nevada …

  • flashinreno commented on the blog post OccupySupply and UPS Shipping Issues…Hello FedEx

    2011-11-19 23:15:03View | Delete

    Yes, Jane, these shipping companies became big companies, eventually unable to understand how to relate to their customers, or even who were the customers.

    I am a small business, and used to have a FedEx credit account, back when UPS wouldn’t deal with me. That was fine for a few years, until I had an incoming international shipment (returned product for repair) and FedEx paid US Customs $1000 for duty. and billed it to my company, even though we had the account set up to disallow third-party billing. After many months of pestering me, they finally rescinded they customs charge, which was never due anyway, and we thought things would be back to usual. But NO, their accounting department charged us another $200 late finance charge for failing to pay the (wrongly billed) $1000 duty on time. That ended my voluntary relationship with FedEx.

    Now I ship UPS on my UPS account. If my customer wants to ship FedEx, they have to give me their FedEx account number.

    My relations with both UPS and FedEx local pickup/deliver drivers, and local UPS and FedEx locations are really friendly, but both corporate offices are clueless.

    Just sayin …

  • Who would McCain have put on the Supreme Court? I shudder to imagine.

  • flashinreno commented on the blog post It Looks the Same but Something Has Changed

    2011-10-02 14:55:48View | Delete

    “To some extent, that’s already happened. Not just here but everywhere a hefty percentage of new jobs are in “security” (read surveillance) and detention.”

    In my post at 19 I referred to natural monopolies.

    Prisons are one of those natural monopolies, and when it was privatized it developed a profit motive. The profit motive distorts the picture with a perverse motivation that leads to bribing judges to impose long detentions, leads to lobbying for stiff mandatory sentences, leads to lobbying for 3-strike laws where people can be sentenced to life without parole for stealing a candy bar, all in the name of growing the market for prisons/detention facilities.

    Society does not have an interest in making prisons a growth industry, but allowing it to have a profit motive makes it one.

  • flashinreno commented on the blog post It Looks the Same but Something Has Changed

    2011-10-02 11:01:22View | Delete

    I am an engineer. I designed the machines that replaced a lot of workers.

    I recall a conversation fifty years ago with my mother in which she foresaw that the folks who would own the machines would abandon care for the workers who were replaced by the machines. She became a socialist.

    I became a Keynesian, believing that the role of government is to maintain balance in the economy by being the consumer of last resort, as well as to be the employer of last resort. This is necessary to provide a counter to the natural outcome of capitalism to be a winner-take-all economy.

    It isn’t necessary for the government to own the means of production, but it is necessary for there to be a means to share the results of production. If the owners of the means of production won’t do it voluntarily, then government must do it through taxation. Rather than pay unemployment, it is more productive to pay people to do work that private employers will not, hence the employer of last resort role.

    We have a number of socially productive government jobs, such as teachers, police, firefighters. They perform functions that are socially necessary, have an element of natural monopoly, and work very well with no profit motive. We need more of those jobs, and we need a broader public discussion about other job descriptions should be added to the list.

    I happen to believe that all natural monopolies belong on the list. When a private company performs a monopolistic service, the profit motive distorts the service value into a search for a way to deliver less service, rather than more. So ATT delivers Americans less service for a lot more money than French customers receive from their telecom providers.

    Good post, and I’m sorry to have to agree that it won’t happen.

  • flashinreno commented on the blog post The War on Us

    2011-10-02 09:48:28View | Delete

    If we are forced to measure sociopathy and empathy on the same axis it might well be more bimodal than Gaussian, but I don’t believe they are different values of the same property, rather they are different properties that individuals tend not to have in positively correlated amounts.

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