A Heritage Foundationarticle reports on the source of funding for Matt Damon's latest anti-anything-American film which, this time, condems the oil industry.
"Matt Damon's 'Promised Land' Condemns Fracking, Funded by Arab Royalty A new film starring Matt Damon presents American oil and natural gas
producers as money-grubbing villains purportedly poisoning rural
American towns. It is therefore of particular note that it is financed
in part by the royal family of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates."
It's sorta like the American Dental
Association funding a movie showing the horrors of fluoridated water.
Adding insult to inury, according to Phelim McAleer of The New York Post, the film's script had to be altered after some inconvenient facts got in the way (bold added):
"...'Promised Land' was about fracking and now I can reveal that the
script’s seen some very hasty rewriting because of real-world evidence
that anti-fracking activists may be the true villains.
In courtroom after courtroom, it has been proved that anti-fracking activists have been guilty of fraud or misrepresentation.
...So, according to sources close to the movie, they’ve come up with a
solution — suggest that anti-fracking fraudsters are really secret
agents employed by the fossil-fuel industry to discredit the
In the revised script, Damon exposes
Krasinski as a fraud — only to realize that Krasinski’s character is
working deep undercover for the oil industry to smear fracking
At $40K a pop, the Chevy Volt is NOT priced for the 99%'ers. According to GM, the average income of the Chevy Volt buyer is $170,000/yr. Tax breaks for the rich, anyone?
So, I got a chuckle out of this piece by MSNBC contributer, Rick Aristotle Munarriz that pumps up the Chevy Volt by denigrating gas stations (they're a hassle and dangerous). Not really a selling point 99%'ers in $12-20K cars can take advantage of. But, hey, let 'em eat cake:
"Gas stations are a hassle. Taking five minutes out of a commute to refuel may not seem like a lot of time, but it adds up in a world where time really is money. (And then there's the radio programming that gets interrupted.)
There's also a safety issue. Robberies, assaults, and worse happen routinely at gas stations around the country. You'll never see an electric-car maker try to drive that controversial point home, but it's true."
This 2006 column by David Hogberg, Ph.D points out rather effectively how statistics are being used to elicit emotions rather than encourage rational debate our in today's national health care conversation.
Two commonly cited stats by those who don't like our flawed health care system (and it is flawed) are life expectance and infant mortality rates.
ead more here: https://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/29/3683818/even-after-supreme-court-ruling.html#storylink=cpy
"...Life expectancy and infant mortality are widely used as measures of a health care system because doing so serves an ideological agenda of greater government involvement in health care. However, these measures are useless for trying to determine the effectiveness of a health care system. Even some advocates of government-run health care acknowledge this. For example, Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic states 'those statistics are pretty crude measures'..."
The first problem is that life expectancy tells us nothing about ACTUAL patient/health care provider interaction:
"...open any newspaper and, chances are, there are stories about people who die 'in their sleep,' in a car accident or of some medical ailment before an ambulance ever arrives. If an individual dies with no interaction with the health care system, then his death tells us little about the quality of a health care system. Yet all such deaths are computed into the life expectancy statistic..."
And, because it involves babies which naturally evokes a visceral reaction, claiming that the U.S. has one of the highest infant mortality rates is a deliberately misleading tactic:
"...infant mortality tells us a lot less about a health care system than one might think. The main problem is inconsistent measurement across nations. The United Nations Statistics Division, which collects data on infant mortality, stipulates that an infant, once it is removed from its mother and then 'breathes or shows any other evidence of life such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles... is considered live-born regardless of gestational age.' While the U.S. follows that definition, many other nations do not..." (bold added)
Consider Switerland in that light:
"...in Switzerland 'an infant must be at least 30 centimeters long at birth to be counted as living.' This excludes many of the most vulnerable infants from Switzerland's infant mortality measure..."
And, of course, everyone's poster child (both good and bad) for nationalized healthcare, Canada:
"...Canada counts births to Canadians living in the U.S., but not Americans living in Canada. In short, many nations count births that are in no way an indication of the efficacy of their own health care systems."
ead more here: https://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/29/3683818/even-after-supreme-court-ruling.html#comment-573188431#storylink=cpy
In "Romney’s Tax Returns and Effective Tax Rates of the Rich," Scott Hodges outlines how the tax returns for filers with an Adjusted Gross Income of one million dollars or more, basically only .2 percent of all the tax returns filed, account for a full twenty percent of all revenue collected.
Sounds progressive to me.
"For the entire universe of American taxpayers, the average tax rate is 11 percent of our AGI. The highest average tax rate paid by anyone earning under $100,000 is 8 percent. That shows the power of the sundry tax credits available to the 'middle-class.'
By contrast, millionaires pay an average rate of 25 percent. Although taxpayers earning between $2 million and $5 million pay an average tax rate of 26 percent, while those earning more than $10 million pay an average of 22 percent. We can speculate that one of the reasons for this is that much of their overall income comes from capital gains, which is taxed at 15 percent (only 20 percent of the total AGI for these $10 million-plus taxpayers is from salaries). However, even with this 'preferential' tax rate on capital gains, the data clearly shows that their overall average tax rate is at least twice that of the nation as a whole."
Time Magazine's January 23rd cover story, "Warren Buffett Is on a Radical Track" spends 5000 words dicussing Warren Buffett's nontraditional views on how the wealthy should pay their "fair share" BUT doesn't ONCE mention that his own company, Berkshire Hathaway has has been fighting the IRS over a billion dollars (give or take) since 2002.
This alone doesn't necessarily invalidate ANY of Buffett's views on taxation. BUT, in the context of the article (again, 5000 words), it has to be worth at least one fucking footnote.
"At December 31, 2010 and 2009, net unrecognized tax benefits were $1,005 million and $926 million, respectively. Included in the balance at December 31, 2010, are $774 million of tax positions that, if recognized, would impact the effective tax rate."
An "unrecognized tax benefit" is the difference between the numbers that a company submits on its tax return for a given time period and what it thinks it will actually end up owing after negotiating with the government. So, one could argue that Buffet, if he really means what he says, should tell his accountants to just pay the damn money and save the IRS a lot of fuss and bother.
Twinkies and Wonder Bread maker Hostess Brands Inc filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than three years, after failing to reach an agreement with workers on pension and health benefits.
Newman: "All right, it's true! Of course nobody needs mail. What do you think, you're so clever for figuring that out? But you don't know the half of what goes on here. So just walk away, Kramer. I beg of you."