Sarah B.

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  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Israel Moves to Become Formal Ethnocracy

    2014-11-25 17:34:27View | Delete

    Hugo Boss has more experience* in this department.

    Actually, Hugo Boss and the Nazi connection was reported in the NYT in 1997:

    Hugo Boss Acknowledges Link to Nazi Regime
    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/15/business/hugo-boss-acknowledges-link-to-nazi-regime.html

    Before Hugo Boss A.G. became known for classic men’s suits and flashy ties, the clothing manufacturer made uniforms for the Nazis, a company spokeswoman acknowledged today.

    The company said it had become aware of the dealings with the Nazis after the name of its founder, Hugo Boss, who died in 1948, appeared on a list of dormant accounts released by Swiss bankers last month.

    “Right now we are trying to get a handle on the situation, a spokeswoman for Boss,” Monika Steilen, said. “This is a very new theme for us. We have nothing in our archives.”

    Ms. Steilen said the company had not determined what kind of account Mr. Boss might have had in Switzerland. She added that Hugo Boss was considering hiring a historian to look into its past, something that other concerns, including the Allianz insurance company and the German railroad, have done.

    In the 1930’s, when the company began making Nazi uniforms, it was a family-run business that manufactured police and postal uniforms.

    The Nazis awarded contracts to thousands of companies to produce the black uniforms, worn by SS units, the brown shirts worn by SA storm troopers and the black-and-brown uniforms of the Hitler Youth, according to Eckhard Trox, a military uniform expert at the museum in Ludenscheid.

    “Of course my father belonged to the Nazi Party,” Siegfried Boss, 83, said in the latest issue of the Austrian news weekly Profil. “But who didn’t belong back then? The whole industry worked for the Nazi Army.”

    Hugo Boss founded the textile factory in 1923, Ms. Steilen said. He joined the Nazi Party in 1931, and two years later, began manufacturing Nazi uniforms. Production continued throughout the war, and according to Profil, the company brought forced laborers from Poland and France to its factory to increase output in the later years.

    After Hugo Boss’s death, the factory returned to making uniforms for postal and police workers. It produced its first men’s suits in the 1950’s, but did not focus exclusively on men’s fashion until the early 1970’s.

    A majority of the company stock was sold to the Italian group Marzotto in 1993.

    After World War II, Boss was fined for his support of Nazism and was not allowed to vote.

    Finally, the ignominy: Boss died of a tooth abscess in 1948.

    PS — Nietzsche was right.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Israel Moves to Become Formal Ethnocracy

    2014-11-25 17:13:54View | Delete

    Hugo Boss — a better call than mine.

    Almost too much baggage, but no one can argue the history, expertise, and experience of that fashion particular house in making Nazi uniforms — and, given the direction in which the Israelis are heading, Hugo Boss might be just the ticket.

    If past is prologue, Hugo Boss could follow the tradition of the company’s namesake and arrange for the Palestinians to sew the uniforms in forced-labor factories. They could put all those women and children in Israeli prisons to work doing something productive for The Jewish State.

    Plus, the bold and innovative Hugo Boss plan would fit in well with the Israelis’ current practices of imposing starvation diets and “mowing the lawn” on the people of Gaza and bulldozing houses, mass incarceration, collective punishment, targeted assassinations, and confiscation of Palestinian homes and farms and olive groves in the West Bank as well.

    Could be a Win-Win!

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Israel Moves to Become Formal Ethnocracy

    2014-11-25 16:06:34View | Delete

    Who will design their sNazzi uniforms?

    Isaac Mizrahi?

    Born October 14, 1961 (age 53)
    Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
    Nationality American

    Education Yeshivah of Flatbush
    High School of Performing Arts
    Parsons School for Design

    Occupation Fashion designer

    Religion Jewish — (Eligible for Israeli citizenship)
    Spouse(s) Arnold Germer (m. 2011)

    Awards CFDA: Womenswear Designer of the Year (1989 and 1991)
    Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design (2002)
    Labels Isaac Mizrahi New York

    Sounds like Mizrahi would be a good fit, so to speak, although some of the ultra-orthodox Israelis — specifically, the crazies in the settlements — might have a problem with his having a male spouse.
    Oh, well. They could make it a teachable moment.

    (h/t Wiki)

  • The mandate IS proof of the Dem’s “liberal” or “leftish” credentials … it is bottom-line evidence that they mean business.

    I do recall that when Obama and the Democrats did allude obliquely to the individual mandate, it was always in the context of pusillanimous mewling about the need for a mechanism to discourage those dreaded health-care abusing “Free Riders” who would inevitably suck up every unit of available health care extant in the land and stick us all with the bills. Damn them!

    Actually, Obama and the well-intentioned Democrats sought to protect us from those sinister “Free Riders” — much too discerning and savvy in their health-insurance shopping selections — in precisely the same way that Reagan and the GOPers protected us from the Welfare Queens.

    Obama and the Democrats chose not to protect us from AHIP and PhRMA and Big Hospital and Big Medical Device, but the “Free Riders” will never have their way with us.

    Indeed, the only thing standing between us and the profligate “Free Riders” is the individual mandate.

    And, yet, where is the gratitude? Because, if there is one thing that Americans hate most, it’s the soul-crushing prospect of a health care free ride. Please, anything but that!

  • What Is the Point of an Individual Mandate if You Don’t Talk About the Mandate?

    Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    It took a 5/4 decision by the Roberts court just to establish definitively that the individual mandate was, in fact, a tax and not penalty.

    Yet, we are asked to believe that a quintessential problem with Obamacare lies in the fact that Obama and the Democrats just didn’t talk about the individual mandate with sufficient force and frequency to more fully emphasize the point of the mandate.

    Damn! — if only Obama and the Democrats had talked about the individual mandate more often. It could have made all the difference. Whatever could have prevented the from doing so?

    Anyone care to speculate?

  • Obamacare plan choices are simpler than Medicare.

    That, dear mulp, is bullshit! — not to put too fine a point on it.

    Even the Medicare Advantage plans — which are semi-privatized, more expensive, and more restrictive than traditional Medicare, which is a public program — are significantly less complicated than Obamacare and its bewildering “choices” of plans on the exchanges.

    But, at least, there is a legitimate choice between traditional Medicare and the Medicare Advantage plans.

    Because there is no public alternative, and because enrollment is mandated under the penalty of a tax administered by the IRS, Obamacare offers a false, deceptive, and coerced “choice” that really constitutes no choice at all given that you will pay more to receive less actual health care.

    That said, Obamacare is working exactly as intended for its targeted cohort. Just look at the share prices of the AHIP corporations on the New York Stock Exchange at the closing bell these days — Bullish!

  • Obama Immigration Action is Extremely Popular With Latino Voters

    Yes, indeedy!

    Just like Obama’s bold executive action to invoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in June 2012, five months before the presidential election, which placated Latinos sufficiently to get them to the polls to re-elect Obama and keep the Democrats in control of the Senate.

    So, what happened to the Latino voters in the November 2014 midterm elections? Did the glow of the DACA effect wear off?

    Or, did the Latino voters — frustrated and angry at Obama based on the administration’s real or perceived record deportations and Obama’s failure to pass the much promised comprehensive immigration reform during the past two years — just stay home?

    When DACA was first announced, the Pew Research Center estimated that up to 1.7 million people might be eligible. As of June 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has granted DACA status to about 581,000 individuals and denied status to about 24,000 applicants.

    Consequently, the number of estimated or anticipated applications for DACA status far exceeded the actual number of DACA status grants.

    In November 2014, Obama announced changes to DACA which would expand it to include illegal immigrants who entered the country before 2010, eliminate the requirement that applicants be younger than 31 years old, and lengthen the renewable deferral period to three years. The Pew Research Center estimated that this would increase the number of eligible people by about 330,000. We shall see if the estimated number of eligible applicants exceeds the actual number of status grants in this latest presidential iteration of DACA modifications.

    Again, it remains to be seen how many eligible people will actually apply for the new-and-improved DACA status, given that far fewer than the expected number applicants have taken advantage of the program since its inception in 2012.

    Plus, it also remains to be seen whether Obama’s latest executive action on immigration announced post-election — estimated to affect between four and five million undocumented immigrants — will help Hillary and Democrats at the polls in 2016 despite its alleged popularity.

    If the very recent past is prologue, perhaps, not so much. To wit:

    The GOPers now control majorities in the House and Senate on a scale not seen since 1928!
    The GOPers can now also boast 31 of the nation’s governors, the highest number since 1998!
    The GOPers now control both chambers of the legislatures in 29 states, the most since 1920!

    The Democratic Party = The Demographic Party

    But wait! — Hillary and the Demographs can promise to pass comprehensive immigration reform in her first year in office — that should put the salsa back into the Latino voters in 2016 — Ole!

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Vice President Biden Visits Ukraine To Show Support

    2014-11-24 00:18:32View | Delete

    Oh, good, you used the Google.

    I am well-aware that Olga Bogomolets is a dermatologist — her Wiki page lists her training and medical credentials — but I didn’t mention her specialty because it is irrelevant to the work she performed treating wounded protesters in Maidan Square.

    According to the transcript of the leaked telephone conversation between the Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet and the EU foreign affairs chief Baroness Catherine Ashton, Bogomolets told Paet what she had witnessed and experienced first-hand and that she had photos which would have been of enormous value to any forensic examination.

    She never presented herself as a criminal ballistics expert, but simply as a medical doctor who was in a position to offer her own eye-witness testimony from the wounded demonstrators and their supporters, and she reported that she had collected evidence from the scene, including photos, that could have made a serious contribution to any credible investigation.

    Bogomolets wouldn’t need to be a criminal ballistics expert to be able to discern markings on recovered shell casings and ordinance she extracted from gunshot wounds. Her testimony and physical evidence and photos constituted prima facie evidence that would have greatly facilitated any forensic investigation had the coup government chosen to conduct a credible inquiry. But, the coup government chose not to investigate and to stifle any further opposition that did not further their agenda.

    I don’t know if Bogomolets was “silenced” or if she decided to silence herself in the absence of any interest or political will to investigate the snipers and to seek justice for the victims by Yats and the Rats in Kiev. She recanted her story not long after the audio of the Paet/Ashton telephone call was leaked to the media, and it seems clear that she has decided not to pursue the matter further.

    It’s clear that Bogomolets recanted her story on March 5, 2014, in a piece that appeared in The Telegraph, and that she decided to drop any further pursuit of a serious investigation regarding the snipers in Kiev in February 2014.

    It’s also clear that Bogomolets was rewarded with a very prestigious position as special adviser to President Petro Poroshenko on September 1, 2014. Whether a quid pro quo was involved is impossible to say for certain, but it certainly is suggestive that six months after she recanted her story and dropped any further pursuit of an investigation that Poroshenko appointed her to be his special adviser.

    Actually, forensic investigations are not that difficult to conduct months and even years after the fact, as evidenced by the myriad cold-case files that are reopened and investigated every year, in which the innocents are exonerated and the culprits are brought to justice.

    A team of forensic investigators recently exhumed and identified the remains of Richard III (1452 – 1485), who was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Perhaps you have heard of DNA — Google it.

    Ukraine Crisis – What You’re Not Being Told
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWkfpGCAAuw#t=14

    With regard to the massacre in Odessa, the evidence is clear:

    Independent report on massacre in Odessa (House of Trade Unions, May 2, 2014)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yflMScowPfk#t=152

    The Odessa Massacre – What REALLY Happened [Video]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4dJRnI-X8Q

    The Odessa Massacre – What REALLY Happened [Video and Photos]
    http://scgnews.com/the-odessa-massacre-what-really-happened

    Of course unanswered questions remain regarding the truth about who was responsible for ordering and implementing the sniper killings in Maidan Square in February 2014, and the Odessa massacre in May 2014, but the preponderance of the evidence to date points to neo-Nazis and fascists from Svoboda and Right Sector and those who sympathize with them.

    It is little wonder that the coup government in Kiev and their apologists have no interest in investigations, accountability, and justice for the victims. They might have to arrest themselves and their fellow coup leaders.

    Your reference to “a lot of documentation” regarding Yanukovych’s corruption, including statements from Georgia’s leader, et al., is laughable:

    Do you mean this Georgian leader? — Pot meet Kettle!

    March 27, 2014

    Mikheil Saakashvili: Georgia threatens arrest warrant
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26764926

    Or, this Georgian leader? — Former Prime Minister Ivane Merabishvili?

    February 17, 2014

    Former Prime Minister of Georgia Convicted of Corruption
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/18/world/europe/former-georgian-prime-minister-convicted-of-corruption.html

    Or, do you mean the latest Georgian leader, Giorgi Margvelashvili, handpicked to replace Saakashvili, by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, an oligarch and the richest man in Georgia?

    October 27, 2013

    Georgia PM ally Giorgi Margvelashvili ’wins presidency’
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-24696261

    Prime Minister Ivanishvili has dismissed Saakashvili’s achievements, calling him a “liar” and a “dictator.”

    Saakashvili is now living in exile in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and is plotting his comeback in Georgia, despite the fact that he will be arrested and put on trial for corruption upon setting foot in the country.

    Indeed, those leaders of the Republic of Georgia certainly are well-qualified experts on corruption.

    PS — References to snipers and grassy knolls are worn-out clichés and regarded as satire.

  • Sarah B. commented on the diary post Mark Udall and the Unspeakable by David Swanson.

    2014-11-23 16:02:07View | Delete

    Close Ties and Keeping Secrets Former Dean of UC Berkely Law School + Barack Obama = Political Symbiosis: Obama Presidential Campaigns — Top Donor: 2008 — University of California — $1,799,460 2014 — University of California — $1,212,245 John Yoo, the torture enthusiast who wrote legal memos to justify torturing some folks, must be especially [...]

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post House Republicans Finally File Suit Against President Obama

    2014-11-22 22:41:22View | Delete

    What if the Senate does not agree with the House’s position on the matter?

    Thanks for the thoughtful response. You raise an important question regarding the reluctance of the courts to intervene to resolve issues that are essentially political differences — if not petty partisan squabbles in which both sides are guilty — within upper and lower chambers of the legislature and/or between the executive and legislative branches versus the actual constitutional challenges these cases might present.

    But, come January, the Republican House and the Republican Senate are going to be joined at the navel politically on the issues extant in both the King and Halbig cases, so that the court can move beyond the parochial House versus Senate realm to concentrate more fully on the conflict between the executive and legislative branches on constitutional grounds. Indeed, the Senate could petition the court to join the House plaintiffs in this litigation once the Republican majority is sworn in and seated in January 2015.

    Consequently, the degree to which Turley and the plaintiffs can shape the litigation moving forward, I suspect that the court will become more focused on the conflict between the executive and legislative branches vis-à-vis the separation of powers and discrepancies between the language and the intent of a key provision of the Obamacare legislation.

    Turley views the King case — and the Halbig case even more so — as fundamental separation-of-powers and executive-branch overeach cases, and, with a U.S. Supreme Court filled almost to the brim with self-proclaimed “strict constrictionists” and ideologues, the likelihood that the high court will manage to eke out a 5/4 decision by the usual suspects in favor the House, possibly joined by the Senate, plaintiffs is not too far-fetched to imagine.

    But, we shall see. Second-guessing the Roberts court is always a fool’s errand.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post The Nuclear Option Catch-22 for Republicans

    2014-11-22 19:41:06View | Delete

    The Nuclear Option Catch-22 for Republicans

    Compared to what — the Nuclear Option Catch-22 for Harry Reid and the Democrats?

    Mitch McConnell will restore the filibuster to its former status, or not, based upon whichever condition he perceives will give him and his fellow GOPers the greatest degree of leverage over the Dembots. Period. Full stop. End of story.

    One thing is certain — Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are not going to play the roles of butler and caterer to Obama, as their predecessors did when they held the majorities in the House and Senate.

    I’m looking forward to the State of the Union address when Obama and Biden are forced look out over a vast sea of GOPers on a scale not seen since 1928! The principal difference was that Herbert Hoover was a GOPer, too. And, while he is notoriously Hooveresque in myriad and sundry ways, Obama, will not be so fortunate come January.

    Some call it schadenfreude.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Vice President Biden Visits Ukraine To Show Support

    2014-11-22 19:05:53View | Delete

    As if right on cue:

    I read that piece by Ewen MacAskill in The Guardian when it first appeared in early March 2014, and I was immediately put off by his dismissive suggestion that the bugged call reveals a “conspiracy theory” about the Kiev snipers, while offering zero evidence to support his assertion.

    MacAskill claims that the participants in the call — Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet and the EU foreign affairs chief Baroness Catherine Ashton — were actually discussing a “conspiracy theory” during the 11-minuted audio of the recorded conversation.

    But in listening to the audio, there is no mention whatsoever of a “conspiracy” or a “rumor” or a “theory” — Paet refers in his remarks to “a woman named Olga” who was an eye witness to the snipers’ victims, and that in her capacity as a doctor she treated their wounds at the scene.

    The “woman named Olga” was later identified Olga Bogomolets, a prominent Ukrainian doctor, who was a supporter of the “Euromaidan” protests and treated injured members of the crowd on both sides of the conflict when the live ammunition was fired from rooftops and from behind barricades.

    Here is precisely what Paet said to Ashton from the transcript of the call:

    What was quite disturbing, this same Olga told that, well, all the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides.

    So she also showed me some photos, she said that as medical doctor, she can say it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened.

    So there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition.

    To which Ashton, seemingly gobsmacked, replies:

    I think we do want to investigate. I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh.

    Paet claims that Dr. Olga Bogomolets showed him some photos and stated that she could identify the signatures on the bullets and that the new coalition (coup government) did not want to investigate what happened. Was she, too, a player in fomenting the “conspiracy theory”? Plus, whatever happened to those photos?

    Paet goes on to say that there is “stronger and stronger understanding” (evidence?) that it was not Yanukovych behind the snipers, but somebody from the coup government.

    Because the content of the conversation was so incendiary and damning to the vested interests of the U.S., UK, EU, and NATO in their eagerness to embrace and advance Yats and the Rats as the legitimate government of Ukraine — and because the voices on the audio are so unmistakably those of Paet and Ashton — the only way to spin the story away was to claim, through a compliant media tool, that the two were really discussing a “conspiracy theory” despite ample evidence to the contrary.

    The Western leaders were determined to make Yanukovych, and by association Putin, the villains of the piece, and Dr. Bogomolets’ expert eye-witness testimony and photos had the potential to demolish their cherished narrative that it was those evil Russians wot done it.

    I regarded McAskill’s “conspiracy theory” explanation laughable at the time and even more so now in light of the developments in Eastern Ukraine since last March, and in particular, the death and destruction that has since been visited upon in Donetsk and Luhansk, and which continues despite the cease-fire and the Minsk agreement.

    You need only to read the transcript from the audio recording to see that there is no mention of or allusion to a “conspiracy theory” of any kind. Do you believe McAskill or your own lying eyes? I prefer to go with the latter.

    When government officials want to divert and deflect and dissemble the facts to cover up their involvement in violations of international law, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, a favorite defense tactic is to charge their critics and those who seek to question their official narratives with engaging in “conspiracy theory” and unfounded rumors in an effort to discredit and silence them — the Romans referred to the practice as “Shoot the messenger.”

    Also, too, McAskill just couldn’t resist tossing in the loaded reference to the “Kremlin-funded Russia Today” — how selective and gratuitous! — especially, given the fact that The Guardian would never refer to the “Westminster-funded BBC”, despite the fact that the BBC is publicly-owned and licensed by Her Majesty’s Government and is funded by fees (taxes) collected from the British public.

    After the leak, Bogomolets’ mobile phone began ringing incessantly, and the Euromaidan protesters — and no doubt Yats and the Rats and the coup leaders as well — saw their AstroTurf “revolution” being called into question. In an interview with Britain’s Telegraph newspaper in early March 2014, Bogomolets distanced herself from Paets’ remarks, insisting that she hadn’t said what he had reported, and demanded that the new government investigate the incidents.

    In late March 2014, Ukraine’s interim interior minister, Arsen Avakov, released a predictable and self-serving report claiming that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian security agents had been involved in the planning that resulted in the deadly use of force in February. But, in what has become standard practice for the coup government, he blamed Russia and presented not a shred of proof.

    Since backtracking from her previous statements to Paet, which he recounts to Ashton with exquisite clarity in the leaked audio recording, Bogomolets has found common ground with the coup government in Kiev.

    Olga Bogomolets ran for President of Ukraine in the May 2014 presidential election, in which Petro Poroshenko (Independent) received 54.70%, and Yulia Tymoshenko (Fatherland Party) won 12.81%. Bogomolets (Independent supported by the Socialist Party) won 1.91% of the vote. Still, she fared better than neo-Nazis Oleh Tyahnybok (Svoboda Party) who received 1.16%, and Dmytro Yarosh, Right Sector, who received 0.70%.

    On September 1, 2014 Bogomolets was appointed as adviser to President Petro Poroshenko.

    Finally, how do you know that “there is no there there” when no credible investigation has ever been seriously conducted and completed, and the culprits have yet to be identified and held accountable, let alone brought to justice?

    The default response by Yats and the Rats of blaming the evil Russians for everything — while offering zero evidence to support their claims — is getting stale, as evidenced by the anger and disgust expressed at Poroshenko by former Euromaidan supporters now turned protesters.

    The angry protesters shouting at Poroshenko at the wreath-laying ceremony in the recent video (linked at Comment #18) are demanding answers regarding the snipers who fired on crowds during the Euromaidan protests, as they call for the officials of the previous government, whom they believe are responsible for the violence, to be brought to justice.

    Frustrated family members shouted: “Where are their killers?” and “Down with Poroshenko!”

    Please explain why there have been no serious and credible investigations and/or charges filed against the perpetrators almost ten months after the events in question? Or, would the coup government prefer that those inconvenient questions and demands just quietly go away for reasons they prefer not to disclose to the so-called international community?

    PS — Speaking of investigations, accountability, and justice, where is the timely and credible investigation by the coup government in Kiev of the vicious perpetrators of the massacre of peaceful protesters at the Trade Unions Building in Odessa on May 2, 2014? [*Crickets*]

  • I think the whole back taxes thing is pretty impractical….

    And, if not impractical, then certainly confusing, extremely difficult to document, and a bureaucratic nightmare to process and collect.

    Yves Smith addresses some of those hurdles in the link that I included in Comment #45.

    But let’s focus on what is the truly thorny issue, which is what to do about foreigners now working in the US. The Obama promise that he’ll handle the issue “responsibly” is already a big red flag. His high concept proposal:

    So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve with been in America more than five years. If you have children who are American citizens or illegal residents. If you register, pass a criminal background check and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.

    How many people will actually pass this bar? The fact sheet suggests that the number that will qualify is five million (although the, out of a total estimated illegal immigrant population of 11 million. And the main mechanism is the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program:

    DHS will expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include more immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. DHS will also create a new deferred action program for people who are parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and have lived in the United States for five years or longer if they register, pass a background check and pay taxes.

    Notice this differs from past amnesty programs which required applicants to pay back taxes, an almost impossible bar (I have one acquaintance, an illegal immigrant of 15 years with his own Social Security number who has consistently paid taxes who said he’d be the only person to qualify) in requiring taxes to be paid prospectively. But how many people who have been under the radar can prove they’ve lived in the US for five years?

    Finally, on the tax issue, Yves Smith echoes your skepticism:

    Oh, and as details are rolled out, be sure to look for the exemptions. For instance, you can bet there will be a provision to let “seasonal” as in migrant farm workers, to obtain entry. That could actually be positive if they come in though with a short-term visa and some sort of tax registration, since that has the potential to reduce employer abuses (particularly wage level abuses). But as in other cases, the devil lies in the details. (Emphasis added)

    Indeed, when dealing with Obama and any his pet policies, the devil is always in the details.

    But, Faites attention! — because the details are also in the devil, so to speak.

    As with DACA, where each applicant pays a $465 fee up front to receive the benefit — and another $465 to renew DACA status! — Obama’s new immigration reform “deal” may contain the ghost of Gruber: call it a fee instead of a tax, because the American people are stupid.

    If I had been living in this country for years and had a job — especially, if I had already managed to acquire an ITIN number — I might well decide that I would rather stay “in the shadows” if the only payoff for jumping through all those hoops was an assurance that I would not be deported for three years. BFD!

    Obama has actually managed to breathe new life into the words of his hero, Ronald Reagan:

    The 10 most dangerous words in the English language are, ’Hi, I”m from the Government, and I’m here to help.’

    Two more years! — Two more years! — What could possibly go wrong?

  • You stepped on your own comment by failing to give the attribution, to wit:

    Shock Flashback: — What Obama Said in 2006:

    Obama Says Illegal Immigration HURTS ‘Blue-Collar Americans,’ STRAINS Welfare [Audio]
    http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/16/shock-flashback-obama-says-illegal-immigration-hurts-blue-collar-americans-strains-welfare-video/

    President Barack Obama once declared that an influx of illegal immigrants will harm “the wages of blue-collar Americans” and “put strains on an already overburdened safety net.” (Emphasis added)

    “[T]here’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border—a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before,” then-Senator Obama wrote in his 2006 autobiography, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.”

    “Not all these fears are irrational,” he wrote. (Emphasis added)

    “The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century,” Obama noted. “If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole—especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan—it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”

    If these feel like the words of one of Obama’s opponents, it’s because they’re the exact argument the president’s critics have been making as he now rushes to announce a sweeping executive order that would give work permits to millions of illegal immigrants in the country. (Emphasis added)

    In the passage, Obama also reveals that he personally feels “patriotic resentment” when he sees Mexican flags at immigration rallies. (Emphasis added)

    “Native-born Americans suspect that it is they, and not the immigrant, who are being forced to adapt” to social changes caused by migration, he said. (Emphasis added)

    “And if I’m honest with myself, I must admit that I’m not entirely immune to such nativist sentiments,” Obama wrote. “When I see Mexican flags waved at pro-immigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.” (Emphasis added)

    Obama’s frank statements were written in 2006, as he was eyeing a run for the presidency.

    Those worries are mainstream, according to recent polls. Obama now presides over a very porous southern border, and he’s allowed 130,000 Central American migrants across since October 2013.

    Yikes! — clearly, Obama has “evolved” significantly (180°) beyond his 2006 statements on immigration.

    In his Big Speech, Obama piled on the bathos with a gratuitous biblical reference:

    Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too. My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.

    If you listened to Obama in 2006, and again on November 20, 2014, you might well wonder, Who in the hell is this shape-shifting stranger? “We were strangers once, too”? Speak for yourself, Mr. President.

    PS — Would it fair to assume that your oblique reference to Obama as “this progressive” was intended as satire? Or sarcasm, at the very least?

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Vice President Biden Visits Ukraine To Show Support

    2014-11-21 23:09:23View | Delete

    Sorry about that bad link — here is the good one:

    ’Shame on you!’ Ukrainian president booed by protesters on Maidan (Video, Photos)
    http://rt.com/news/207687-poroshenko-booed-maidan-ukraine/

    Not sure how that happened. Oh, well.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post The Importance of Not Being Quiet

    2014-11-21 23:03:28View | Delete

    Nice piece Jon but…I have to fault your comrades in the 4th estate. From Hartmann to CNN, from ABC to MSNBC.

    Excellent point. Here is the quintessential Dembot hypocrite Thom Hartmann from 2006:

    Published on Wednesday, March 8, 2006 by CommonDreams.org

    Illegal Workers: the Con’s Secret Weapon
    http://www.thomhartmann.com/articles/2006/03/illegal-workers-cons-secret-weapon

    Conservatives are all atwitter about illegal immigrants. Some want to give them amnesty. Others want to reinstitute the old Bracero program. Others want to build a wall around America, like the communists did around East Berlin. Some advocate all of the above.

    But none will tell Americans the truth about why we have eleven million illegal aliens in this nation now (when it was fewer than 2 million when Reagan came into office), why they’re staying, or why they keep coming. In a word, it’s “jobs.” In conservative lexicon, it’s “cheap labor to increase corporate profits.”

    Hartmann continues to drone on and on and on, as he is wont to do, but you get the idea. George W. Bush was president in 2006, and Hartmann was fiercely opposed to all of Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform proposals, to wit:

    It’s really all about breaking the back of the most democratic (and Democratic) of American institutions – the American middle class.

    One of the tools conservatives have used very successfully over the past 25 years to drive down wages, bust unions, and increase CEO salaries has been to encourage illegal immigrant labor in the US. Their technique is transparently simple.

    Conservatives well understand supply and demand. If there’s more of something, its price goes down. If it becomes scarce, its price goes up.

    They also understand that this applies just as readily to labor as it does to houses, cars, soybeans, or oil. While the history of much of the progressive movement in the United States has been to control the supply of labor (mostly through pushing for maximum-hour, right-to-strike, and child-labor laws) to thus be able to bargain decent wages for working people, the history of conservative America has, from its earliest days grounded in slavery and indentured workers from Europe, been to increase the supply of labor and drive down its cost.

    Hartmann took every opportunity to invoke the wisdom of British economist David Ricardo (1772-1823), a highly-respected contemporary of Adam Smith, whose essay The Iron Law of Wages (1817), proposed a law of economics that asserts that real wages always tend, in the long run, toward the minimum wage necessary to sustain the life of the worker. In other words, a significant increase in the labor supply will always result in depressed wages, and a shortage of labor will result in higher wages based on the fundamental dynamic of supply and demand.

    But, now that Barack Obama is in the White House at the close of 2014, poor besotted Hartmann is a fierce champion and defender of Obama’s sweeping executive actions on immigration, and he has apparently developed selective amnesia about where he stood on the issue in 2006, when he wrote the referenced piece. Of course, there is no mention these days of David Ricardo and The Iron Law of Wages — because Obama.

    According to Hartmann, Bush’s immigration reform — which had mixed support in bills that came to the floor in the House and Senate and finally died the Senate committee in 2007 — was going to break the back of the Middle Class.

    But, in Hartmann’s blinkered view, Obama’s massive executive action on immigration reform poses no threat whatsoever to the Middle Class regarding employment and wages and flooding the labor market with between 4 million and 5 million workers now with newly-acquired legal status:

    Labor Participation Rate Drops To 36 Year Low; Record 92.6 Million Americans Not In Labor Force
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-03/labor-participation-rate-drops-36-year-low-record-926-million-americans-not-labor-fo

    So the next time Obama asks you if you are “better off now than 6 years ago” show him this chart of employment to the overall population: it speaks louder than the president ever could.

    The Labor Force Participation Rate in the U.S. is currently at lows not seen since 1978, during the Jimmy Carter recession, but we are being encouraged by the Consummate Liar in the White House not to worry about this sudden massive new flooding of the labor market — because Obama.

    Legal immigration in a controlled and carefully-managed process is a wonderful addition to any society and contributes to the richness of the culture as well as the economy, but Obama’s cynical political fix through executive fiat does nothing to address the current problems and will only contribute to current patterns of depressed wages and fewer opportunities for American workers.

    If you don’t believe me, read David Ricardo — he still makes good sense after almost 200 years — he certainly makes a whole lot more sense than Barack Obama, who has no idea of the ways in which an economy is supposed to function.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post House Republicans Finally File Suit Against President Obama

    2014-11-21 21:04:41View | Delete

    House Republicans Finally File Suit Against President Obama

    Professor Turley explaining his legal rationale in his own words:

    November 21, 2014

    House Files Challenge Over the Changes to the Affordable Care Act
    http://jonathanturley.org/2014/11/21/house-files-challenge-over-the-changes-to-the-affordable-care-act/

    Today, we filed our complaint United States House of Representatives v. Burwell (Case 1:14-cv-01967), in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The House’s complaint contains eight counts concerning constitutional and statutory violations of law related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). There are a myriad of unilateral amendments to this Act, ordered by President Obama’s Administration, which could be the subject of a challenge, and there are a number of changes that are already being litigated, including King v. Burwell, which has been accepted by the Supreme Court for review. The House’s complaint, however, focuses on the Administration’s usurpation not only of the House’s Article I legislative authority, but also of the defining “power of purse.” Both of these powers were placed exclusively in Article I by the Framers of our Constitution. These constitutional and statutory claims are highly illustrative of the current conflict between the branches over the basic principles of the separation of powers. The House’s complaint seeks to reaffirm the clear constitutional lines of separation between the branches – a doctrine that is the very foundation of our constitutional system of government. To put it simply, the complaint focuses on the means rather than ends. The complaint is posted below.

    This is not a new question. Indeed, in some respects, it is the original question. The Framers were well aware that governmental actors would seek to aggrandize power within the system the Framers had created. In Federalist 51, James Madison warned that “[i]n framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” Accordingly, the Framers put into place what Madison called “the necessity of auxiliary precautions” to maintain the balance of powers within the system. Such precautions are of little value absent judicial review to maintain the lines of separation; to arrest what Madison called the “encroaching nature” of power.

    Once again, as lead counsel, I have to remain circumspect in any public statements on the filing in deference to the Court and the legal process.

    Jonathan Turley
    Lead Counsel

    Here is the Complaint
    https://jonathanturley.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/house-v-burwell-d-d-c-complaint-filed.pdf

    United States House of Representatives v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, United States Department of Health and Human Services; Jacob J. Lew, Department of the Treasury; U.S. Department of the Treasury

    I suspect that there is significantly more merit to this case than meets the partisan eye, or else Jonathan Turley — a genuine Constitutional scholar with a track record in the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and a lengthy academic paper trail, who actually voted for Obama twice — would not have agreed to act as lead counsel on the case.

    I have but one thing to say: Break a leg, counselor!

  • I’ll be waiting…

    Well, you can expect a bloody long wait, because what I do in my private life vis-à-vis direct political action is none of your business.

    I was not registering “complaints” in my comment — that’s your construction — I was simply pointing out that the payment of back taxes is an essential component of the Senate immigration bill, which Obama is so eager to see passed by the House, and I questioned why anyone raising that very legitimate issue would be relegated to the troll department.

    If Eric Holder, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, refuses to hold the banksters and hedge fundsters accountable, what possible impact would I be able to exert to achieve that outcome? Zero.

    Plus, it wasn’t just Holder, the state attorneys general around the country — Eric Schneiderman in New York, Kamala Harris in California, and Beau Biden of Delaware, to name but a few — all caved in favor of settlements instead of criminal prosecutions.

    Frankly, I find it impossible to get my knickers in a twist about Mitt Romney’s tax burden, such as it is, when Obama has had six years to work with the Congress to reform the tax code — two of those years with super majorities of Democrats in the House and Senate — and what did he do? [*Crickets*]

    That suggests to me that Obama and the Democrats like the tax code just the way it is — especially since so many of them benefit from those schedules and loopholes and exemptions — and they are determined to maintain the status quo. Obama does have two lame duck years left on the clock, but I am not holding my breath about tax reform on his watch.

    Still, I’m not surprised that you failed to get my point, based on your statement:

    It’s just that the whiners here constantly vetch and moan and complain about the horrid lucky duckies in the 47% who don’t pay Fed Income Tax… because they make such paltry wages that they don’t have to pay. They’re not scofflaws, as you so charmingly mis-represent & lie about it.

    Clearly, the tax scofflaws to whom I referred in my comment are “the wealthiest top-tier Americans — the top 1%, but, more specifically, the 0.1%”, followed by a list of the specific Obama administration officials who possessed the methods, the means, and the obligation to prosecute and chose to punt instead, to wit:

    If you want action taken on the tax scofflaws among the wealthiest top-tier Americans — the top 1%, but, more specifically, the 0.1% — you need to consult Barack Obama, former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who believed it was his job to “foam the runway” for the banks, current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

    So, before you accuse me of misrepresenting and lying — albeit “charmingly” — about the scofflaws to whom I referred with exquisite specificity in my comment, the least you can do is attempt to read and comprehend the text as it is written and intended by the writer.

    D’oh! — Did you really think that I was referring to the so-called 47%?

    In my reply to justasking (Comment #54), I questioned why the exploited undocumented workers should even be required to pay back taxes at all? That burden should be borne by the employers, who are required to withhold federal income and payroll taxes (FICA) from their employees’ wages and submit them to the IRS, and their failure to do so is a felony punishable by fines or prison or both.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Vice President Biden Visits Ukraine To Show Support

    2014-11-21 17:19:47View | Delete

    Vice President Biden Visits Ukraine To Show Support

    The Biden “balls” deflate under pressure from angry Maidan crowd:

    ’Shame on you!’ Ukrainian president booed by protesters on Maidan (Video, Photos)
    http://news.firedoglake.com/2014/11/21/vice-president-biden-visits-ukraine-to-show-support/#comments

    I love that video — Yats and the Rats hurriedly skulking away surrounded by bodygards — while Poroshenko tries to plead with the crowd to no avail.

    Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently in Ukraine, had been due to make a visit to the area off Kiev’s Independence Square but called it off, apparently for security reasons.

    Poroshenko was shouted down by angry relatives of 100 protesters killed in Kiev’s “Euromaidan” revolution at a ceremony on Friday to pay tribute to the victims.

    Frustrated by Poroshenko’s failure to bring officials of the previous government to justice, the family members shouted: “Who is a hero for you, Poroshenko?”, “Where are their killers?” and “Down with Poroshenko!”

    Many Euromaidan victims were gunned down by sniper fire, with the ongoing official investigation by Kiev blaming a group of elite soldiers from the Berkut riot police for the killings.

    The protesters appear to be under the impression that the Yanykovich government was responsible for the snipers, but there are also very strong suspicions — backed by a leaked phone call between the Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and EU foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton — that the snipers were actually hired by the leaders of the Maidan protests.

    The protesters also criticized Poroshenko for failing to keep a promise to confer the title of national hero on the victims, which would bring financial benefits to their families.

    It was the first real public display of anger against Poroshenko, who was elected president in May after the pro-Moscow Viktor Yanukovich fled the country.

    Friday marked the first anniversary of the decision by the Yanukovich government to ditch a political and free trade agreement with the European Union in favor of renewed trade ties with Russia. The move sparked protests from tens of thousands who see Ukraine’s future in the European mainstream.

    Yats and the Rats and Poroshenko would be better served by paying closer attention to the potential for explosive anger among the people of Kiev and Western Ukraine — perhaps a “Euromaidan” 2.0 on the horizon this winter aimed at the coup government — and stop their paranoid ravings about phantom Russian tanks moving into Donetsk and Luhansk every other day in the total absence of evidence to support their claims.

    At the risk of resorting to political cliché: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”

    PS — If only Victoria Nuland could have been there.

    (h/t W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”)

  • Undocumented workers: we always get the trolls out whining and crying about how they never ever pay any taxes. But same trolls are completely happy with the rentiers in the 1% fleecing them. Go figure.

    Who exactly is the troll?

    The payment of any owed taxes is a specific provision of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744), passed by the Senate on June 27, 2013 — the bill that Obama supports enthusiastically and still wants to see passed by the House:

    National Immigration Law Center
    http://www.nilc.org/irsenateS744faq.html

    In re: Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) Status:

    Q. Will I have to pay back taxes?

    In order to get RPI status, you will have to show that you have paid all “assessed federal tax liability.” If you have an assessed federal tax liability, it means that the U.S. tax-collecting agency (the Internal Revenue Service) has told you that you must pay a certain amount of tax (plus any interest or penalty if you didn’t pay the tax on time) and that you have not yet paid what you owe.

    The way that RPI applicants must show that they have paid all assessed federal tax liability will be established by the rules that will be written to carry out the law, if the Senate bill eventually becomes law. Under current law, all workers in the U.S. who have “net taxable income,” including undocumented workers and workers with any other immigration status, are required to pay federal income taxes.

    If you want action taken on the tax scofflaws among the wealthiest top-tier Americans — the top 1%, but, more specifically, the 0.1% — you need to consult Barack Obama, former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who believed it was his job to “foam the runway” for the banks, current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

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