Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tuesday Mashup (4/5/11)

  • The New York Times told us last weekend here about how Number 43 and Laura are “kicking it”(this is from the former First Lady)…
    We built this house during the 2000 campaign. We knew we wanted it to be energy efficient. We have geothermal heat and air. We built a big cistern, and water runs off the roof into a trough into the cistern.
    That’s OK as nearly as I can tell, even though the following should be noted from here…
    ... The Bush family homestead in Crawford is nothing more than an elaborate set. The house, built in 2000, was designed to be ready for Bush to step into - like a set awaiting an actor - during the 2000 presidential election. Not only was the "ranch" created in 2000 - so, essentially, was the "town" of Crawford! Before then only about 400 people lived in the area. The Crawford Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture were formed shortly after the ranch was finished.

    The 1,600 acres on which the "ranch" sits was purchased in 1999 .Oh, and that "homey ole ranch house?" It's actually a 10,000-square-foot single level mansion/compound that won't even be 2 years old until this November! The compound features a swimming pool for daughters Jenna and Barbara, who apparently loudly demanded it - the Bushes call it the girls' "Whining pool."

    The original completion date of the house was November 7 - election day 2000.

    In other words, the curtain went up on the set on schedule for "show time." The very timing of this event indicates that Bush was absolutely confident that the election would be successfully engineered in his favor.
    The Times story also tells us the following about Mrs. Bush…
    I love cleaning. The girls love to make fun of me about this. I just like for things to be orderly. My husband is pretty orderly, too. We’re both ruthless about getting rid of clutter.
    Given that statement, it’s a shame that Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History didn’t find a way to get rid of the “clutter” from his administration: a war of choice in Iraq that has wrought virtually nothing except disaster; a more-legitimate campaign in Afghanistan that was completely short-changed to the point where it is now a tragic, pathetic burlesque not worthy of what is supposed to be the greatest democracy on earth; a barely functioning federal government, almost crippled by patronage and lack of funding and/or oversight (and which now, as noted here, is about to shut down); the boondoggle of Medicare Part D; and ruinous tax cuts that have played a major role in almost completely wrecking our economy.

  • Next, with all of the attention quite rightly paid to Hosni Mubarak Walker in Wisconsin along with John Kasich in Ohio, Lex Luthor in Florida, Governor Bully and our own Tom “Space Cadet” Corbett, let’s not forget some other Repug gubernatorial “lesser lights,” one of whom is Nathan Deal of Georgia; as Think Progress tells us here, Deal (all together now) is proposing massive tax cuts for the rich while everybody else gets it in the proverbial neck.

    Deal ascended to his current position after “serving” in the U.S. House (using the term loosely); CREW named him one of the 15 most corrupt members of that body here (and it’s funny to see Deal get attacked here by his own ideological fellow travelers of the “Republic” Party here for what is viewed as excessive government spending).

    Oh, and as noted here, Deal is also a “birther” (gapolitico tells us that pols like Deal “is the reason people hate the South”…uh, yep).

    Of course, we have nothing to brag about in PA as I alluded to above with Corbett; this tells us that “Space Cadet” Tom is playing from the save foul Repug playbook, even though, as noted here, PA’s job performance actually improved over the last year or so when this guy was in charge – a shame that didn’t translate into a win for Dem candidate Dan Onorato instead.

  • Further, leave it to the Murdoch Street Journal to look out for our “betters” also here…
    The Internal Revenue Service is stepping up audits of wealthier taxpayers as part of a multiyear effort to crack down on tax avoidance.

    According to the agency's latest statistical report for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the percentage of taxpayers who were audited increased in every category of adjusted gross income above $500,000, compared with a year earlier.

    The biggest jumps came at the top of the income ladder. About 18% of Americans earning at least $10 million were audited in fiscal 2010, up from 11% in fiscal 2009, according to the IRS. For those earning $500,000 to $1 million, the audit rate rose to 3.4% from 2.8%.

    Accountants and tax preparers said the IRS's heightened scrutiny of wealthier taxpayers is in sharp contrast to the agency's audit practices during the previous decade.

    David Lifson, an accountant in New York for Crowe Horwath LLP, said the number of audits among his high-earning clients has "at least doubled, if not tripled" in the past two years. The audits often are "correspondence" exams in which a series of letters is exchanged. Such exams account for more than 70% of IRS audits of individuals.

    "They are touching a broader group of high-income taxpayers, asking about one or two issues at a time," Mr. Lifson said. Common issues include high deductions for mortgage interest and charitable gifts.
    However, as noted here from March 2009, barely two months after President Obama was inaugurated…
    Syracuse, NY — The Internal Revenue Service's audit rate for wealthy Americans sharply declined in the just-ended fiscal year, according to agency data obtained by the Transactional Record Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).

    The significant turndown in audits for richer Americans from FY 2007 to FY 2008 sharply contrasts with the IRS claim in a 2008 press release boasting that the agency was making "strong progress in a number of key enforcement areas," especially for "those with incomes of $1 million or more."

    The IRS data clearly show that the audit rate on the 300,000-plus returns reporting incomes of more than $1 million was substantially down last year — dropping at least 19 percent. But because of admitted agency accounting errors and two sets of conflicting numbers the IRS published just last Friday (March 13, 2009), the actual extent of this decline may be much larger.

    Given the lag between the year that income is received, a return is filed, and then becomes subject to audit, the drop in the audits occurred for those returns with income earned at the height of the real estate boom, just before the economy turned sour.

    And similar to many of the corporate financial reports of that era, the audit numbers that the IRS was so loudly trumpeting have turned out to be based upon inaccurate data drawn from the agency's own books.
    And on top of that, this tells you that making the “pay no price, bear no burden” bunch pay their fair share would do a hell of a lot more to preserve “certainty” than anything else (except revoking those stinking tax cuts and ending the wars, of course).

  • In addition, John Harwood of the New York Times told us the following yesterday here about the Repug 2012 presidential candidates seeking a “delay…in entering the race. Aside from conserving energy and resources, that would distance contenders like Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts from the unpredictable budget showdown between Republicans and Democrats in Washington.”

    Maybe, but it should be noted here that the Repug presidential hopefuls use PACs to get around campaign finance laws (no evidence that the Dems do it too, but I wouldn’t be surprised). Also, it turns out that Baby Newton Leroy Gingrich is being bankrolled by a certain Sheldon Adelson, as noted here (more on Adelson here).

    And as for Willard Mitt Romney, I thought this was hilarious (Bachmann-mania, anyone?)

  • Finally, someone named Eric Golub over at Tucker Carlson’s Crayon Scribble Page talked a lot of smack about recently departed (as in pursuing new career opportunities) New York Times columnist Bob Herbert yesterday here…
    …as Barack Obama tries to wage a kinetic conflict with one hand tied behind American military backs to remove Gaddafi, Americans of all stripes can be thankful that at least Herbert was unwilling to obtain weapons, in keeping with his anti-gun views.

    Just to be clear, Bob Herbert is nowhere near as bad as Gaddafi. Herbert is, however, worse than most people.

    So what do we do with people like Gaddafi and Herbert now? What would be an appropriate way for these men to spend their final years in exile?

    The solution is obvious. Send them both to Detroit.
    Actually, smart guy, Herbert signed off his final column by telling us here that…
    This is my last column for The New York Times after an exhilarating, nearly 18-year run. I’m off to write a book and expand my efforts on behalf of working people, the poor and others who are struggling in our society. My thanks to all the readers who have been so kind to me over the years.
    Would that Golub had a fraction of Bob Herbert’s character. Or guts. Or talent.
  • No comments: