The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I think I need a drink... even if my liver doesn't

Since it is Saturday (where does the time go?) again, I get to rant a bit about political things. You get to ignore me. And life will go on regardless.

Locally, we have a manager of a restaurant being arrested for trying to buy some moonshine from a guy from Tennessee. It isn't clear whether the `shine was for personal consumption or she intended to re-sell it at the restaurant. I suspect the former. It's been a rather long time since I ran across moonshine sales. I almost forgot it is illegal. I realize this isn't political, it's just a bit silly.

Included in the "silly" category is one Julian Assange. Not what he's done, mind you, there's nothing silly about that. It's how he presents himself as some kind of political hero and martyr. He and/or his associates hack into various government databases, or collects the sensitive data from someone like PFC Manning, and then posts this stuff online. He feels, apparently, he is doing the world a favor. He does not understand diplomacy, I suspect.

“DIPLOMACY, n. The patriotic art of lying for one's country.” [Ambrose Bierce]

Assange hasn't revealed anything that rational people don't already know about governments. He has, however, fed the delusions of the willfully paranoid. No surprise to me about most of these things. The only things that come close to surprising me are things like Hillary "suggesting" diplomats (and staff, one presumes) gather intelligence about their counterparts from North Korea (and elsewhere). They have to be told???? I assumed (as I am sure most diplomatic staffs everywhere do) that this intelligence is gathered all the time. Perhaps I am being naive.

So we now know the Saudis do not trust the Iranian government. And that they see it as a greater threat, apparently, than Israel. Let's see... Israel which has yet to threaten to wipe any nation off the face of the earth or Iran, which has. Personally, I think most Middle Eastern governments want Israel to stick around. Saber rattling at Israel or complaining loudly about it serves as an excellent diversion for the problems of their own people and induces concessions and favorable deals from the Western nations. Most of these M.E. governments seem to treat their own people worse than Israel treats the Palestinians.

Can you imagine what Syria might do to Kurds demanding a chunk of that country and lobbing missiles toward Damascus? And examine the history of Syria's "governorship" of Lebanon sometime. Not to mention the treatment Palestinians were given in Jordan.

Still, Assange thinks he is revealing things of great importance. We'll see how it goes. I truly hope that Mr. Assange is not guilty of the sexual assault charges. I suspect he isn't, that they are trumped up. Unless his ego is as great as what he feels (and I concur) a lot of national leaders are. In which case, he probably did what they charge.

North Korea is rattling its saber lately, too. I feel for the North Korean population. They starve while their leader (and his cohorts) live quite well. I read a comment by someone the other day that maybe the North's population would welcome an invasion by the South, the the N.K. military would throw down its arms and join the South in overthrowing the North's regime. But human beings aren't all that rational and the military might see it (an invasion by the South) as a real threat to its well being. After all, the North's military isn't starving.

Back here in the US, the Senate is going to take up a couple of Democratic Party proposals regarding the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Normally, after 10 years, people wouldn't call them tax cuts. They'd just be the status quo. I suspect the strategy is to dump this on the Republicans' backs. No actual resolution before Congress goes home, the ousted Representatives and Senators retiring to become well paid lobbyists and consultants and part of the army of "talking heads" on TV, and the rest of us will hope we don't get hurt by all this political squabbling. It seems unlikely my taxes will go up regardless of what happens.

I am just opposed to anyone's taxes being raised. What's the point? If the rich were taxed at 90% (as they were in the 50's) it wouldn't reduce the middle class' taxes by one penny. Congress would just have a little more money to overspend. The bottom 50% of the nominally taxable pay little or nothing, it seems. It does stand to reason that if you have no earnings, you will pay no taxes. But they still "borrow" from you only to return it (without interest) after you file. In some cases, you get even more back than you paid (see Earned Income Tax Credit). But we all pay other taxes; state and local sales taxes, property taxes (even renters are impacted by the property taxes of their landlords), the various "fees" for licenses and tags and s on.

Here are some interesting articles about taxes and who pays them:

And the politicians wonder why the American voter is upset? I don't think they really do. But I do think they are surprised that the unrest is affecting their ability to retain power.

Lastly, let me mention Charles Rangel (Dem., NY). Mr. Rangel overlooked a fair portion of his taxes (didn't pay them) for some 17 years, illegally took advantage of rent-controlled apartments, and probably abused his office by using it o pressure people into donating to a pet project. Among other things, I'm sure. But it's okay, he did all this without intending to. So he gets called something short of despicable and gets to keep his seat in the House and will get his pension. It appears the foxes took a vote and decided that Charlie really didn't do all that much harm to the hen house and deserves to keep his chicken supply.

See you next week.

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