Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mars landing and update

By the time you read this (Aug 6), we will probably know if the latest Mars lander, Curiosity, has arrived safely on the Red Planet. You might want to check out the video by scrolling down at this site to find out what did or didn't happen:

Mars Landing


Friday, August 3, 2012

Voter IDs and the IRS

To paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald:

Let me tell you about the Republicans. They are different from you and me. 

They are more concerned about virtually non-existent voter fraud than they are about the income tax fraud that costs this country tens of billions of dollars a year. They have passed, in at least 30 states, voter ID laws that may disenfranchise millions of people who are legally entitled to vote. When a commission that, if anything, was tilted toward the Republicans, was formed to look into voter fraud, its statistics found the crime to be virtually non-existent; yet, when the report was made public, its Republican majority defied its own statistics in the public summary. You can find more facts and links at the People for the American Way website. In my attempts to find substantiated accounts of voter fraud, the largest figure I could come up with was under 100 cases, out of tens of millions of votes cast every year in national and local elections over several decades.

Meanwhile, as part of the their strategy to starve the government, the Republicans have voted time and again to cut the IRS budget, especially its fraud division. Although every dollar spent on IRS investigation of tax fraud nets $10 in repayments and penalties, the motive of the Party of The Rich (PTR, formerly the GOP) is clear: most tax tax fraud (in dollars) is the result of wealthy tax payers cheating on their returns. Many claim false deductions or failure to state income from investments clearly, correctly, or at all. The IRS simply does not have the resources to go after these people, and the PTR wants to keep it that way.

It isn't that the PTR just wages a war against women: it is waging a war against everyone who is not wealthy, with special emphasis on women and minorities -- i.e. people who might actually vote against them. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Idiocy from Romney on the Middle East

I decided when I started writing this blog not to make specific comments on the politics of the Middle East. However, here's what I think of Mitt Romney's comment on the Middle East: What he said about Palestinian vs. Israeli culture accounting for economic differences is, to be charitable, deliberately superficial, and certainly absurd. Anyone who can disregard billions of foreign aid and investments sent to Israel, as well as the asymmetrical power relationship between Israel and the Palestinians, is either a fool or a knave. This of course fits what any reasonable person should already have observed about Mitt Romney.

Romney first denied that he meant these remarks, then recently said, yes, he did. Not only can't he decide on which side of an issue he stands, he can't seem to decide whether he said or meant any particular thing, even two days after videos and tapes caught his words. So strong is the Romney/Republican faith in the Big Lie that they simply refuse to acknowledge the accuracy of recording equipment.

American investors, especially American Jews, as well and the U.S. government as a whole, have bankrolled Israeli industry and its military for decades now. The fact the the Arab religious and political oligarchies have done so little for the Palestinians -- as well as their own populations -- is an absolute scandal and outrage. The Israelis know this of course.

So Mitt Romney, ever glib and ever stupid, bulls his way into the china shop -- ignoring facts and subtleties, ever on the lookout for the Florida Jewish vote. How despicable can you be?

BTW: Just heard via Harry Reid that a long-time Bain investor claims that Romney paid little or no income taxes in the years before the only two returns he made public (check out the HuffPo). Now of course this is simply an allegation, yet there certainly has to be some reason why Romney refuses to release these returns. They may also show the extent of the off-shore sheltering of his investments, and the fact that he gave nowhere near the 10% that he claims to always donate to the Mormon church. In any case, in spite of advice from many in his own party, he won't show us what he claims to be proud of. His main defense so far is to repeat a lie (see ref. to "Big Lie" above) about how many years of tax returns John Kerry released.

If the Democratic ad agencies and their supposed stable of Hollywood artists can exploit this, there should be a congressional investigation.