Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mid-Week Machinations from The Internets

This thread is updated throughout the day except when The Curmudgeon is taking a nap or contemplating buying the iPhone 6

Here are some of the neat things you can find flowing through the Tubes of the Internets today...

In case you didn't know, the Michigan GOP is more-and-more a subsidiary of Amway.
This latest report is just the tip of the DeVos iceberg. Their latest $1-million in gifts are on top of another $400,000 or so given to the GOP state office earlier in this cycle.
"Our investment portfolio includes
ownership of the Michigan Republican Party."
The $1-million also does not include donations to individual candidates or various PACs.
You may recall that right after the Legislature doubled the donation limits for legislative PACs, nine members of the always generous DeVos family maxed out to donate a total of $360,000 for the purpose of keeping the GOP in control of the Senate.
You may also recall that it was Dick DeVos who ordered Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville to jam through the Right to Work for Less law during the lame-duck session, threatening to turn off the cash spigot if Richardville defied him.
The Devos agenda (in addition to destroying labor unions) includes privatizing "public" education by expanding for-profit alternatives including charter schools and online "education." They are adamantly against the right of women to control their own healthcare decisions.
They also benefited mightily from the repeal of most Michigan business taxes.

Governor Snyder's in-house hatchet man doesn't seem to understand that when you mess us, you shut up and hope the mess fades away.
Eclectatablog reports that Baird, who took advantage of the tax advantages of claiming to live in both Illinois and Michigan and then got caught, is threatening to sue damned near everyone for libel. First he threatened Sen. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan AFL-CIO President Karla Swift with a lawsuit because they took umbrage at his tax-paying history in newspaper columns. Now he's threatening to sue the Detroit Free Press and Gannett (publishers of the Lansing State Journal and several other Michigan newspapers).
Bath Township officials say it was their mistake, not Baird's, that resulted in his large underpayment of property taxes. The one-time managing partner at the world's second-largest accounting firm, and who works for "The Accountant in Chief," didn't notice he was underpaying his taxes by nearly $17,000.
The Eclectablog post includes the full text of a response letter from Swift, in which she basically tells Baird to shove it.
Baird also doesn't understand libel laws when it comes to "public figures." Under longstanding precedent (Sullivan v. New York Times) he has to prove malice, deliberate lies, and damages. Good luck with that.

Still not answered: Baird claims to live in Michigan for purposes of voting - he is registered to vote in Clinton County from his golf course home, and has had his Illinois voter registration cancelled. But he claims for tax purposes to live in Illinois which is the location of his primary residence.
Baird, who is a retired managing partner of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, undoubtedly has a huge pension. Is he an Illinois "resident" to avoid Michigan's pension tax, which he helped Governor Snyder enact? (Illinois doesn't tax pensions!)
The Curmudgeon sent an email to Snyder's press secretary asking if Baird paid Michigan income tax on his pension. As expected, there has been no response.

Sorry, Koch Brothers.
Sorry Speaker Boehner.
Sorry Half-Governor Palin.
Sorry Fox News.
You lose on this one.
One contribution to the rational, informed
debate on the Affordable Healthcare Act
The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Obamacare tracking just like Medicare did 40 years ago ... controversial, staunchly opposed by GOP troglodytes, gaining popularity as actual people figure out that most of the anti-ACA rhetoric was a load of hooey.
Bottom line: 57% of voters either support the law or don't support it, but want to let it go ahead and see how it works. 39% want it repealed. And the numbers of similar in red and blue states.
A second poll, by the Kaiser Family Foundation, shows significantly more of those who disapprove of the law want to fix it rather than repeal it (63-33%).
So it would appear the tens-of-millions of oil dollars spent by the world's richest brothers was wasted on a fool's mission. And those 50+ votes in the U.S. House to repeal the law: a total waste of time in a Congress that is the most inept in modern history.

Yah, we knew that. But this is a column from that left-wing rag Forbes. It comes complete with a bunch of really dandy charts showing The Kenyan Socialist outgunning St. Ronnie of Hollywood. 
The President's poor approval rating (although a mile ahead of Congress) is more the result of relentless criticism from Republicans more interested in power than governing, and from right-wing media intent on milking every dime they can out of the angry, resentful lemmings that make up the GOP base.
The reality is that the President pulled us out of the Bush Great Recession, had had consistent job growth for more than two years (with the rate accelerating), seen the stock market more than double, had a revival of the housing market, and seen corporate profits go through the roof. We can thank the do-nothing Congress for leaving many Americans behind through tax policies paid-and-bought-for by the uber-rich and their lobbyists ... and a refusal to raise the minimum wage to track inflation.
Read the column. It is well documented.
And he has cut the annual deficit he inherited from 'W' in half ... Reagan exploded the deficit during his presidency. Obama has reduced civilian federal government employment (Reagan increased it) and, with the help of the Federal Reserve, maintained extremely low inflation.
That is what the GOP calls a "failed presidency". What utter horse shit.
Read the comments section of the Forbes post. The give-and-take is quite revealing about the unwillingness of many to give Obama credit where credit is due, and to continue to create a Reagan Mythology far removed from reality.

The latest ad in the Michigan U.S. Senate race makes it very clear: the Koch brothers aren't focused on Michigan's best interests. They want a Senator who will vote to maximize their profits, no matter how much harm it causes the people of this state. 

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