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May 18th, 2014
thesmithian
…anybody who stops and says “What the hell is going on here?” is a chump. No one wants to be led back, everybody wants to go forward. So the rich and educated buy insurance. Putting the money they already have in hedge funds where the proprietors are taxed at capital gains rates while you and me pay through the nose. If they’ve got to work, they get jobs most people can’t even understand. The rest of us try to get on reality TV, or develop apps, or get on TV singing shows. Did you see they were dying? Because people would rather watch “Shark Tank.” That’s the American dream, coming up with something to strike it rich. But not everybody wants to play the odds, some people just want to live comfortably. But unions are anathema and the left wing says to bring manufacturing back but isn’t about to give up $200 flat screens. So we’ve got a wealth of disinformation and where does this leave me? Like John Lennon said, the dream is over. Face it. We’re all chumps. Except for the few winners. Do I expect it to go on forever? No, the Fox News audience is aging out. The rich have become embattled, that’s why they hide behind walls. And the poor are uneducated and uninformed. But everybody’s pissed that they can’t get an abortion, health care, welfare, that there’s no safety net. Of course there is one, but it’s not extensive like it used to be, they’re pulling the rug out from under you. How am I supposed to pick myself up by my bootstraps if there’s no OPPORTUNITY?
April 17th, 2014
thesmithian

Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico, didn’t start out Republican. She and her husband…had always been Democrats. But she’d long dreamed of running for office, and when word got out that she had her eyes on the district attorney’s seat, two local Republican activists asked her to lunch. At the meeting, the story goes, her suitors didn’t talk about party affiliation or ideology. They zeroed in on issues—taxes, welfare, gun rights, the death penalty. Afterward, Martinez got into the car, turned to her husband, and said, “I’ll be damned, we’re Republicans.”

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Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico, didn’t start out Republican. She and her husband…had always been Democrats. But she’d long dreamed of running for office, and when word got out that she had her eyes on the district attorney’s seat, two local Republican activists asked her to lunch. At the meeting, the story goes, her suitors didn’t talk about party affiliation or ideology. They zeroed in on issues—taxes, welfare, gun rights, the death penalty. Afterward, Martinez got into the car, turned to her husband, and said, “I’ll be damned, we’re Republicans.”

more.

February 1st, 2014
thesmithian

"…I’m still impressed by the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, which was about seeing past ethnic or tribal categories. I wish Christians and other religions would learn that. We all just are who we are walking down the road. We want to be seen as no more and no less than that…"

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December 30th, 2013
thesmithian

'Greater civic engagement. Increasing use for online access. More frequent digital downloads. And a strong desire for lower and fair taxes. That’s how Asian-Americans see wireless communication in their lives…'

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December 15th, 2013
thesmithian

…a major metropolitan area run by armed teenagers with no access to jobs or healthy food, and…while the rest of America was ranting about debt ceilings and Obamacares, Camden quietly got pushed off the map. That was three years ago, when new governor and presumptive future presidential candidate Chris Christie abruptly cut back on the state subsidies that kept Camden on life support. The move left the city almost completely ungoverned—a graphic preview of what might lie ahead for communities that don’t generate enough of their own tax revenue to keep their lights on. Over three years, fires raged, violent crime spiked and the murder rate soared so high that on a per-capita basis, it “put us somewhere between Honduras and Somalia,” says Police Chief J. Scott Thomson.

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November 30th, 2013
thesmithian

The Affordable Care Act depends on richer people paying higher taxes to finance health insurance for lower-income people…

…Starting this year, a healthcare surtax of 3.8 percent is applied to capital gains and dividend income of individuals earning more than $200,000 and a nine-tenths of 1 percent healthcare tax to wages over $200,000 or couples over $250,000. Together, the two taxes will raise an estimated $317.7 billion over 10 years…the justification is plain: We are becoming a vastly unequal society in which most of the economic gains are going to the top. It’s only just that those with higher incomes bear some responsibility for maintaining the health of Americans who are less fortunate…This is a profoundly moral argument about who we are and what we owe each other as Americans. But Democrats have failed to make it…

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November 4th, 2013
thesmithian

'…insurance companies have sent misleading letters to consumers, trying to lock them into the companies' own, sometimes more expensive health insurance plans rather than let them shop for insurance and tax credits on the Obamacare marketplaces—which could lead to people…spending thousands more…than the law intended. In some cases, mentions of the marketplace…are relegated to a mere footnote…The extreme lengths to which some insurance companies are going to hold on to existing customers at higher price, as the Affordable Care Act fundamentally re-orders the individual insurance market, has caught the attention of state insurance regulators. The insurance companies argue that it's simply capitalism at work. But regulators don't see it that way.'

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November 2nd, 2013
thesmithian

…the majestic draw of [the Caymans]…is starting to be [touched] by social and political tensions and threats to its tax haven status…[the] destination attracts a…broad demographic of residents. It is this which may…have caused a widening cultural and generational gap…

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October 16th, 2013
thesmithian

The health care reform law will not be defunded or delayed. No taxes will be cut, and the deal calls for no new cuts to federal spending or limits to social welfare programs. The only things Republicans achieved were billions of dollars in damage to the economy, harm to the nation’s reputation and a rock-bottom public approval rating.

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September 20th, 2013
thesmithian

'Fighting drug abuse is serious business. Addiction kills more people than car accidents. A third of drug users are unemployed. With health-care costs, it amounts to a $180 billion-a-year sinkhole, and, since we’re tabulating, toss in the war Nixon declared on drugs in 1971, which has cost taxpayers another $1 trillion. The wreckage of life is incalculable—despair over seemingly unkickable habits, relapse rates that swell as high as 90 percent. Cocaine is especially insidious. It results in the most drug-related ER visits and has no substitute-drug helper, like methadone for heroin.'

more.

September 8th, 2013
thesmithian

…took it upon themselves to give…US Tax forms such as the…W9 and 1040 a much needed makeover for both hardcopies and digital.

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September 8th, 2013
thesmithian
The geopolitics of Syria affect everything from oil to Iran to Israel to the defense budget—and those concerns might be what’s really driving the push to war. But the public sales pitch for war cannot dare admit that because such a truth is taboo. Thus, the warmongers are trying to appeal to our sense of self-worth. They assume that we are so narcissistic that it will be easy to build support for killing other people with long-distance bombs, as long as most Americans aren’t asked to sacrifice at all with higher taxes or casualties, and as long as all the ensuing carnage makes Americans feel like good, decent, moral people.
David Sirota, at Salon
August 31st, 2013
thesmithian

'Exotic dance deserves exemption alongside other forms of dance because it is a choreographed theatrical performance that communicates through a learned skill with its own aesthetic.'

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August 2nd, 2013
thesmithian

'The Republican response…is to immediately move the conversation back to…where there’s no chance for agreement. That’s not what you do when you want to get to “yes.” It’s what you do when you want to remain at “no.”'

That’s the problem with subjecting every single policy idea to this political test: If the opposition party doesn’t want to cut a deal, there won’t be a deal. And if all coverage of policy is colored by that core political decision, then there’ll never be real pressure on them to make a deal, either. But there’s an alternative world on offer, one where the coverage of new policy ideas leaves their political future alone and focuses, at least at the outset, on whether they’re good ideas. If they’re bad ideas, then the conversation should end there. If they are good ideas, and people know that, then perhaps the knowledge will move a few Republican senators, or even—unlikely as it is—the public, and a policy that began with no evident path to passage will find a way forward. It’s…early to say whether the White House’s corporate tax overhaul and job-creation plans are good ideas. All we have right now are broad-brush previews…But it’d be nice to see these proposals covered in terms of whether they make sense for the economy rather than in terms of whether Republicans will accept them before they’ve even read them.

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