Thursday, April 26, 2012

.@TSABlogTeam TSA agents harass 7-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and developmental disability #p2 #tcot

The Transportation Security Administration launched the "TSA Cares" program to assist disabled fliers just four months ago, but a story making the rounds today proves that the TSA definitely does not. The Frank family was traveling from New York City's JFK airport to Florida, and were abruptly pulled aside after a dispute over how their 7-year-old daughter Dina was screened. The child is developmentally disabled and has cerebral palsy. She walks with crutches and leg braces.

.@TSABlogTeam TSA screeners in LA ran drug ring, took narco bribes #p2 #tcot

Photo: Reuters. A man is screened with a backscatter x-ray machine at an LAX TSA checkpoint.

Four present and past security screeners at LAX took 22 payments of up to $2400 each to let large shipments of coke, meth, and pot slip through baggage X-ray machines. Oh, we are so very, very shocked.

In one incident detailed in the 40-page indictment (Link), screeners plotted to allow eight pounds of crystal meth to get through—then one of them ducked into an airport men's room where he was handed $600, the second payment for that delivery.

Just think! If you've flown out of LA recently, you law-abiding person, one of these very dirtbags may have harassed you over your terror-toothpaste.

.@TSABlogTeam Who did the TSA terrorize today? A 4-year-old girl. Why? She hugged her grandma #p2 #tcot

PHOTO: Snapshot by Lori Croft of her 4-year-old granddaughter Isabella Brademeyer, in Wichita, Kan., where she was a flower girl at her uncle's wedding. The child was harassed by TSA goons on the way back from that family event, for the crime of hugging her granny.

Earlier this week on Boing Boing, Cory blogged about a 95-year-old Air Force veteran who was robbed of $300 at a TSA checkpoint. After picking on the elderly, today the TSA is bullying children. A 4-year-old girl who was upset during a TSA screening at the Wichita, KS airport was forced to undergo a manual pat-down after hugging her grandmother. Agents yelled at the child, and called her an uncooperative suspect.

Nope, we're not making this up.

The child's mom, Michelle Brademeyer of Montana, shared the incident in a public Facebook post last week, and the story has since spread widely.

"They didn't explain anything and she did not know what was going on," the grandmother told the Associated Press. "She saw people grabbing at her and raising their voices. To her, someone was trying to kidnap her or harm her in some way."

Think the TSA has apologized? Nah. The agency is defending its agents, despite promised changes in operational standards to "reduce pat-downs of children."

tranny pissed because no one in @gop can pull off anything that cool: Ann Coulter Calls Obama's Jimmy Fallon Appearance 'Pathetic'

Ann Coulter blasted President Obama's recent appearance with Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday night's "Hannity."

Obama appeared on the late night show on Tuesday to discuss his student loans, Mitt Romney and the Secret Service scandal. Hearrived to "slow-jam the news" with Fallon.

Coulter reacted to the appearance on Wednesday, saying that "it's been a very bad week" for Obama. "I'd wanna change the topic too if I were the president," she told Sean Hannity.

She commended Mitt Romney's victory speech after GOP primaries in the northeast as "magnificent." Hannity agreed with her assessment. "I don't care that he goes on a late night show, just compare the two," he said of Obama.

Coulter went on to praise Romney's improved performance as a politician since he ran for president in 2008. She opined that Obama just could not stack up, and dissed Jimmy Fallon for good measure.

"I don't know what Obama is gonna do," she said. "Is he gonna keep going on silly late night TV shows? With shockingly few viewers by the way."

Friday, April 20, 2012

fact sheet: What You Need to Know about America’s Tax System #p2 #tcot


America is NOT overtaxed.  
■ Of the world's developed countries, only two (Chile and Mexico) collect less tax revenue as a share of 
their economy than does the U.S.
■ The countries collecting more in taxes, as a share of their economy, than the U.S. include our trade 
partners and competitors, like France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Korea and others.  
Virtually all Americans, including the poorest Americans, are paying some type of tax.  
■ When someone says almost half of Americans are not paying taxes, that refers to just one tax, the 
federal personal income tax, and ignores the many other taxes Americans at all income levels pay.  
■ Most of the other taxes (like federal payroll taxes and state and local sales and property taxes, for 
example) take a larger share of income from a poor family than they take from a higher-income family.
Wealthy Americans are NOT overtaxed.  
■ When you add up all the different federal, state and local taxes that Americans pay, you find that our 
overall tax system is just barely progressive.  
■ The richest one percent of Americans pay 21.6 percent of the total taxes in America, but they also 
take in 21.0 percent of the total income in America.
Some millionaires who live off their investments are paying a smaller share of their income in 
taxes than many middle-income people pay.  
■ While it's true that most millionaires pay a larger percentage of their income in taxes than the rest of 
us, some millionaires do pay less because they live on investment income, which is taxed at lower rates 
than income from work.  
■ About a third of the Americans who have incomes of $10 million or more get the majority of their 
income from investments and therefore pay a lower effective tax rate than many working people.
U.S. corporations are NOT overtaxed.  
■ CTJ's study of 280 Fortune 500 corporations that were profitable for three years in a row (2008 
through 2010) found that they paid just 18.5 percent of their profits in taxes, on average, during those 
three years. That's about half the official corporate tax rate of 35 percent.
■ Thirty corporations, including GE, Boeing, Wells Fargo and others, paid nothing during that time.


Yesterday, Eric Cantor, the Republican House Majority Leader, announced that those taxpayers who pay federal payroll taxes and other types of taxes, but who don't have enough income to owe federal personal income taxes, should be required to pay the federal personal income tax as well. Cantor made his remarks at an event (subscription required) hosted by Bank of America.

"We also know that over 45 percent of the people in this country don't pay income taxes at all," Cantor said, "and we have to question whether that's fair. And should we broaden the base in a way that we can lower the rates for everybody that pays taxes... Should they even have a dollar in the game on income taxes, which is the notion of broadening the base."

When asked if this would mean "a tax increase on the 45 percent who right now pay no federal income tax," Cantor said, "I'm saying that, just in a macro way of looking at it, you've got to discuss that issue."

CTJ's figures show that Americans in every income group do, in fact, pay taxes and that the tax system as a whole (including all the types of taxes that Americans pay) is just barely progressive.

For example, in 2011 the richest one percent of Americans paid 21.6 percent of the total (federal, state and local) taxes but also received 21 percent of the total income in the U.S. that year. Similarly, the poorest fifth of Americans paid just 2.1 percent of the total taxes in the U.S., but only received 3.4 percent of the total income in the U.S. In other words, the richest one percent are not paying more than their share, and the poorest Americans are not getting much largesse from the tax system.

The term "broadening the base" has often been used to describe a tax reform that would end the various loopholes and tax subsidies that reduce the amount of revenue a given tax at given rates can collect.

Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan recently made it clear that his idea of base-broadening would not involve repealing those tax loopholes and tax subsidies that benefit wealthy investors (the tax preferences for capital gains and stock dividends which mostly benefit the richest one percent). Cantor's comments suggest that, like Rep. Ryan, he is interested in ending those tax subsidies that benefit the lower-income or middle-income households but not those benefitting the rich.

Several tax expenditures in the federal personal income tax reduce or eliminate the federal personal income tax for many lower-income and middle-income Americans. The refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit are available only to those who work and therefore pay federal payroll taxes. The rules exempting most Social Security income benefits people who paid taxes over the course of their working lives. The standard deduction and personal exemptions ensure that people whose income does not meet a basic threshold are not subject to the personal income tax, similar to how corporations that are not profitable are not expected to pay the corporate tax. (Our complaints about corporations are limited to those that are profitable and still manage to pay no corporate income taxes.)

It's unclear if Cantor is proposing to repeal the EITC and the Child Tax Credit, or the rule exempting most Social Security benefits from income taxes, or the standard deduction and personal exemptions, or what exactly. Any of these options would take a tax system that is just barely progressive and make it regressive.

CPA's beware of the following scam email: "Termination of your CPA license" - see link for FBI update Internet Crime Complaint Center


Internet Crime Complaint Center's (IC3)
Scam Alerts

This report, which is based upon information from law enforcement and complaints submitted to the IC3, details recent cyber crime trends, new twists to previously-existing cyber scams, and announcements.


The IC3 continues to receive complaints involving subjects who have obtained the names and social security numbers of individuals for illegal purposes. Subjects use the information to defraud the U.S. government by electronically submitting a fraudulent tax return for a hefty refund. The prevalence of such complaints mirrors the recent surge in tax fraud cases involving identity theft.

Investment fraud is another scheme with an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) nexus, on which the IC3 has received complaints. Subjects are incorporating the use of bogus IRS documents to perpetrate this scheme. One example of how subjects are using bogus IRS documents to commit investment fraud and steal victims' identities is by the subjects posing as a tax consulting firm. The subjects engage potential victims via telephone and attempt to convince them to sell their underperforming shares in a company. The potential victim is advised to sell their corporate shares, applicable taxes must be paid. Some of the victims were also advised they had to buy other certain shares with their profit. Documents such as share certificates and invoices for federal and state taxes were exchanged via e-mail. After the funds were wired, the subjects became unresponsive to the victim's inquiries. An open source search also revealed multiple complaints concerning this scheme. It is unknown at this time how the subjects obtained knowledge that the victims actually owned underperforming stocks.

The loss amounts tend to be much higher with investment fraud complaints than in regular identity theft complaints.


Blackhole is currently the most widely purchased exploit pack in the underground market. An exploit pack is a software toolkit that is injected into malicious and/or compromised websites, allowing the attacker to push a variety of exploits targeting vulnerabilities of popular applications like Java and Flash.

On March 25, 2012, the Blackhole Exploit Kit 1.2.3 was released. This kit included the latest critical vulnerability in Java, allowing the bypassing of Java's sandbox environment. Java's sandbox is designed to provide security for downloading and running Java applications, while preventing them access to the hard drive or network. New malware samples appearing in the wild have been highly successful at exploiting this flaw. It is estimated at least 60% of Java users have not yet patched against this latest flaw, CVE-2012-0507.

The table below illustrates the number of vulnerabilities loaded by type and the overall percentage:
Java Array14,982 82.94
PDF LIBTIFF1,960 10.85
PDF ALL 681 3.77
HCP173 0.96
MDAC 141 0.78
Flash 126 0.70


Recently, unsolicited e-mails titled "[BULK] Termination of your CPA license" have been sent to numerous IC3 e-mail accounts. One example of the many e-mail addresses used was The IC3 has also received complaints reporting this spam campaign.

The e-mails were purportedly from The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants concerning a complaint filed against the recipient for filing fraudulent tax refunds for their clients. A link was provided for the recipient to view the complaint. Recipients were advised to provide feedback within a specific period of time and threatened with possible termination of their accountant licenses if they failed to do so.

Analysis conducted by an IC3 Information Technology Specialist found the e-mails were pushing out a Blackhole exploit kit containing a Trojan redirector. It was also determined that the IP addresses used in this campaign have been involved in large volumes of DDoSactivity from the same botnet and appear to have originated from Brazil.


Several complainants reported a scam to the IC3 involving the advertising of a company's logo on their personal vehicle while they go about their normal daily routine. Although legitimate offers exist, those scammed reported to the IC3 that initial contact with the subject was mostly through online ad postings. The posting offered an easy way to earn extra income by allowing businesses to advertise their logo on the complainant's personal vehicle through a vinyl decal or "auto wrap." The fraudsters were using company names such as Coca Cola, Monster Energy drink, Carlsberg beer, Heineken Co., and Red Bull.

Individuals were advised they would be paid an average of $400-$600 per week in exchange for driving around with vinyl advertising signs wrapped around their vehicle. Those interested in participating were asked to provide their contact information and vehicle details. They were promised an up-front payment, which would be sent by check or money order.

The employment offer was, of course, entirely bogus. Those who fell for the scam received a check or money order for more than the promised amount. They were directed to cash it and wire the difference to a third party, who was supposed to be the graphics designer to pay for the cost of the design. The checks and money orders turned out to counterfeit and the criminals, once again, were able to convert fraudulent checks and money orders into untraceable cash, leaving the victim responsible for the bank's losses.


The IC3 continues to receive complaints regarding rental property scams from victims and real estate agencies. Several real estate agencies reported that their listings are being duplicated to perpetrate fraudulent online postings. These postings have been damaging to their companies reputations. These complaints make it evident that there are many who capitalize on people are looking to rent property and attempt to take advantage of those individuals, especially when they are in pressing situations in which they need to find a residence within a short amount of time.

Below are some scenarios of the scheme recently reported to the IC3:

  • A fraudster posted rental property online. When the prospective renter inquired about the property via e-mail, the fraudster requested detailed personal information, as well as a security deposit of $1000 to hold the home. Payment, in the form of a money order, was requested because of the "online scams." After the deposit was received, the fraudster claimed that he mailed the keys and lease agreement for a hard copy to be signed. Later, the victim received an e-mail from an individual posing as the fraudster's "lawyer" stating a hold had been placed on the package containing the key until the full amount of the first and last month's rent is paid. The victim realized it was a scam after they contacted the realtor who advised the home had been foreclosed.
  • Another victim also responded via e-mail to an online post advertising a house for rent. The victim was asked to submit an online credit report. The fraudster then provided a link in his e-mail, allowing the victim's credit report information to be directly accessible to him.
  • A complainant had inquired about a condo rental advertised online. The complainant was advised to go to the condo and call the fraudster so he could meet her with the keys. Upon placing the call, no one answered. Later, the fraudster provided the complainant an excuse for not being available and requested the deposit be made through an online payment service. After the deposit was made, the complainant realized it was a scam and contacted the online payment service. Upon an investigation, the receiver of the deposit advised they had been defrauded as well and was only acting as the "pay agent" for the true fraudster.

For more information regarding online scams visit our Press Room page for the most current Public Service Announcements.

.@gop Is Your Child Being Left Behind By Budget Cuts?


Has your state slashed spending where it matters most?

Meet the Media Companies Lobbying Against Transparency: - News Corp, Disney, NBCUniversal, Gannett Broadcasting #p2 #tcot

"News organizations cultivate a reputation for demanding transparency, whether by suing for access to government documents, dispatching camera crews to the doorsteps of recalcitrant politicians, or editorializing in favor of open government.

But now many of the country's biggest media companies — which own dozens of newspapers and TV news operations — are flexing their muscle in Washington in a fightagainst a government initiative to increase transparency of political spending.

The corporate owners or sister companies of some of the biggest names in journalism — NBC News, ABC News, Fox News, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and dozens of local TV news outlets — are lobbying against a Federal Communications Commission measure to require broadcasters to post political ad data on the Internet.

As we have recently detailed, political ad data is public by law but is not widely accessible because it is currently kept only in paper files at individual stations. The FCC has proposed fixing that by requiring broadcasters to post on the Internet details of political ad purchases including the identity of the buyer and the price.

(ProPublica has been inviting readers and other journalists to send in the files to be posted as part of our Free the Files project.)

Over the past few months, several major media companies have dispatched top executives or outside lobbyists to the FCC to oppose the proposed rule or to push a watered down version, disclosure filings show. (The FCC is voting on the issue April 27.)"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Predatory Payday Lenders On Pace To Make Record Amount Of Political Donations #p2 #tcot @dloesch

According to a new analysis by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the payday lending industry has been going gangbusters with its spending in Washington over the last few years. In addition to spending nearly $5 million lobbying last year — up from less than $1 million in 2005 — payday lenders are on pace to make more in campaign donations to federal candidates than they ever have before:

CREW's research shows the payday loan industry is on course to donate more than ever to federal candidates this election cycle. Payday lenders' political action committees (PACs), trade associations, and employees have contributed at least $1.32 million so far, according to campaign contributions tracked by Political Moneyline. That is already almost equal to the $1.5 million payday lenders contributed over the course of the entire 2010 election cycle. So how, exactly, are payday lenders expecting to collect interest on this investment?

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numbskull: Tea Party Congressman: Obama Will Commit Treason If Reelected #p2 #tcot @dloesch #teaparty

Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA)

At a campaign fundraiser last week, Tea Party Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) warned attendees that President Obama would commit treason if reelected in November.

Fitzpatrick was listing the reasons why voters should not support the President, and for reason number three, he told the audience that President Obama would have no qualms auctioning off state secrets to foreign countries.

The Huffington Post flagged Fitzpatrick's comments, which were distributed by the progressive advocacy group Credo SuperPAC:

"When he left the microphone on in Russia, we all heard what he said … left unrestrained, without the inhibitions of the next election — he'd have flexibility, he said, flexibility to do what he wants to do. Whether it's trade away … the secrets of our national intelligence, to, what he could do to the United States Supreme Court in the next four years."

Watch it (the remarks begin at around the 4 minute mark):

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@foxnews Krauthammer Downplays New G.I. Photos: Dead Insurgents ‘Did Not Treat Their Own Bodies With Respect’ #p2 #tcot @dloesch

"The Los Angeles Times yesterday published photos from nearly two years ago of U.S. troops posing with body parts of dead insurgents in Afghanistan. Top U.S. officials immediately condemned their actions. "The behavior depicted absolutely violates our regulations and, more importantly, our core values," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. A Pentagon spokesman called the conduct "inhuman," while White House press secretary Jay Carney yesterday said the troops behavior was "reprehensible."

But conservative foreign policy chieftain Charles Krauthammer has a different take. Last night on Fox News, he downplayed — but made sure not to excuse — the incident, saying it's not as bad as people are saying because some of the dead insurgents were suicide attackers and "did not treat their own bodies with respect":"

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what an asshole: GOP Rep. Foxx, Who Has ‘Very Little Tolerance’ For People With Student Loans, Is Heavily-Financed By For-Profit Colleges #p2 #tcot @dloesch

"Last week, ThinkProgress reported that Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who chairs the House subcommittee on higher education, said she has "very little tolerance" for people with high amounts of student loans. The Center for Responsive Politics did some digging into her campaign donations and found that the North Carolina congresswoman is heavily-financed by the for-profit education industry:

In her first year on the [Higher Education and Workforce Training] subcommittee, Foxx picked up at least $48,668 from PACs or individuals affiliated with for-profit colleges. We counted 22 companies or trade associations in the for-profit college industry on the list of her top contributors, including: Bridgepoint Education, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the Apollo Group (which owns the University of Phoenix) and student loan lender NelNet Inc.

As we've noted, for-profit schools engage in aggressive recruiting and marketing tactics to find new students, who are often left with huge amounts of student debt and bleak job prospects. Ironically, for-profit colleges are significantly more expensive than community colleges and many public universities. In other words, for-profit colleges actually encourage the large student loans for which Foxx claims she has no tolerance.

Foxx made no mention of her ties to the for-profit college's during the radio interview. Instead, her explanation for why she had "very little tolerance" for people who have to take out large student loans to pay for college was that she didn't have to. "I worked my way through, it took me seven years, I never borrowed a dime of money," she said."

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@FoxNews analysts accept and encourage soldiers breaking U.S. military law #p2 #tcot @dloesch

"Fox News military analysts, retired Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney and retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, today dismissed recently published photos of soldiers posing with Afghan corpses as an incident that "did not even rise to the level of a fraternity prank," and "young people blowing off testosterone," as Peters put it. Peters and McInerney also attacked the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper that first published the photos, and Peters went after the anonymous soldier who reportedly provided the photos, suggesting the soldier was "a misfit who couldn't measure up to the very high standards of the 82nd Airborne."

The photos have been widely condemned by the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and the senior allied commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen. Army spokesman Col. Tomas W. Collins was quoted as saying: "[T]hese photos are probably a manifestation of the soldiers' relief that this insurgent no longer posed a threat to them or their fellow soldiers. That cannot excuse what they did. We are the United States Army, and the world rightly has very high expectations that our soldiers will do what's right. Clearly, that didn't happen in this case." Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called the photos "inhumane and provocative."

Appearing on Fox News' America Live to talk about the controversy the photos have generated, Peters said that "the LA Times editors are liars" and that they published the photos "because their paper is on the rocks and they're trying to push up circulation." He added: "I think there really is maybe a scandal out there at the LA Times." McInerney added that the Times "is the problem" and "they should be condemned."

Peters also took the opportunity to attack the unnamed soldier, saying: "If it is a soldier, why wait two years to enforce good order and discipline? Was the soldier really in the unit? Was the soldier present at any of these events? Was the soldier a misfit who couldn't measure up to the very high standards of the 82nd Airborne?""

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follow @ALECexposed on twitter #p2 #tcot @dloesch!/ALECexposed

ALEC Wants You To Pay 750 Percent More For High-Speed Internet #p2 #tcot @dloesch

"The organization has come under fire recently for backing "Stand Your Ground" laws and voter suppression efforts, leading to an exodus of some of its strongest corporate funders. But the group's policy agenda stretches far beyond these areas, and impacts just about every area of American life.

Take public high-speed broadband Internet. A few years ago, the city of Wilson, North Carolina, decided that it would create its own broadband system, which it called Greenlight. The service offered speeds twice as fast as private competitors in the area for a similar price. Soon, the success of the service spread, and a number of other cities began offering municipal broadband systems that were cheaper and/or faster than private competitors'.

But state legislators — who received $600,000 in contributions from the telecom industry in the previous election cycle — reacted to the spread of these successful services by undercutting them with a bill that made it very difficult for cities to operate their own broadband systems. One provision in the bill made it illegal for cities to offer broadband services that are priced below their costs. "This bill will make it practically impossible for cities to provide a fundamental service. Where's the bill to govern [cable provider] Time Warner? Let's be clear about whose bill this is. This is Time Warner's bill. You need to know who you're doing this for!" thundered Rep. Bill Faison (D) at the time. The bill was unfortunatelypassed into law.

ALEC did not publicly say that it was behind the North Carolina bill, but the bill bears similarities to ALEC legislation.  ALEC is an outspoken opponent of municipal broadband and crafts model bills to limit and kill these systems. Telecom companies like AT&TComcast, and Time Warner are all ALEC funders."

Rich Countries Seek to Block UN From Working on Global Finance Reforms #p2 #tcot @dloesch

"An important fight between rich countries and developing countries over the question of UN involvement in researching and advocating for a new global financial architecture has spilled into the open in the weeks leading up to the April 21-26 quadrennial ministerial meeting in Doha, Qatar, of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). At issue are apparent efforts by the rich countries to water down and block the key planks of UNCTAD's proposed work plan related to needed reforms in finance and the global financial architecture. The proposed work agenda for the next four years is set to be approved in Doha. However, in an unprecedented step, nearly 50 former UNCTAD officials and staff recently issued a public letter of concern expressing alarm at the degree of pressure being placed on UNCTAD by the industrialized countries, which have long been critical of UNCTAD's policy advice to developing nations. According to trade officials from developing countries, industrialized countries such as the United States and the EU believe that UNCTAD's advice on finance, environment, food security, intellectual property rights and development clashes with their agenda for free trade and free markets.

As currently drafted, UNCTAD's next four-year work plan outlines its proposed research and policy advice on subjects including the current economic recession, exchange rate misalignments, the volatility and financialization of commodity markets, special and differential treatment for developing countries, regional financial and monetary cooperation, and the need for the reform of the international financial and economic architecture. UNCTAD has called for a paradigmatic shift to development-oriented growth that would bring about sustainable and inclusive economic and social change in the world's least-developed countries (LDCs), including a host of alternative macroeconomic development policies and a range of broad reforms to the global financial architecture."

Threatened, ALEC Sics Right-Wing Bloggers on 'Liberal Media' @gop #p2 #tcot @dloesch

"Watch live streaming video from heritagefoundation at

If you can get through this whole thing, you've got a stronger stomach than I do.

Just like when one turns on the light in a tenement apartment and the cockroaches go scurrying, ALEC is desperately looking for dark corners to once again hide their presence. The work that various progressive groups have pulled together to call attention to the wholly undemocratic and corporatist work getting draconian conservative legislation in all the states has made to date eleven corporate members drop them (the latest:Blue Cross). Facing horrible press and dwindling membership fees, ALEC announced that they weredropping the task forces focusing on the Stand Your Ground laws and Voter ID/Fraud. ALEC had been working so successfully in the shadows undermining democracy and citizen representation that this kind of scrutiny had to be uncomfortable.

And so--to return to my cockroach metaphor-- ALEC wants to make that tenement so unpalatable to enter that they need never worry about those pesky lights again. How does one do that? By attacking the "liberal media" responsible for shining the light on ALEC's activities. And who better to do that than someone whose association with Andrew Breitbart shows they have little interest in fairness, truth or accuracy, but do love to destroy things liberals hold near and dear."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

what @foxnews doesn't say is that many of the expiring tax laws benefit the mega wealthy - Analysts Warn US Facing $500 Billion 'Taxmageddon' #p2 #tcot


"(FOX News) - As many Americans were scrambling to get this year's taxes done, analysts were warning about a bigger tax day -- what some call a tax Armageddon, or "Taxmageddon," to characterize its potential effect on the US economy.

At the end of the year, some $500 billion in tax breaks expire all at once, hitting American households with an average tax increase of $3,800 -- if Congress doesn't act.

The potential increases include $165 billion more from taxpayers as a result of expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, which would push taxes from a bottom rate of 10 percent and a top rate of 35 percent to a bottom rate of 15 percent and a top rate of 39.6 percent.

"Taxmageddon is a $500 billion, one-year tax hike that hits the economy on Jan. 1, 2013," Curtis Dubay of the Heritage Foundation said.

It would cut the child tax credit by half, from $1,000 a child to $500. The marriage penalty would return and the tax on dividends, which many seniors rely on, would soar from 15 percent to as high as 39.6 percent.

A separate $124 billion cut in the payroll tax would end and a temporary fix to the alternative minimum tax would be erased. The tax originally was aimed at millionaires, but it could would hit some 34 million taxpayers next year.

"Almost the entire tax code has been put on a year-to-year lease, and in some cases, month-to-month lease, which is no way to run a tax system," Scott Hodge of the Tax Foundation said.

The expiring cuts would hit all income groups, but those at low and middle incomes would suffer the most.

"'Taxmageddon' falls 70 percent on middle and low income families. That's because 60 percent of the Bush tax cuts were for middle and low-income taxpayers," Dubay said. The payroll tax cut was aimed at the same taxpayers.

"No American will be unscathed at the end of this year," Hodge said. "'Taxmageddon' hits all of us."

That could have a serious impact on the economy, including a drop in disposable income for individuals, which would put a damper on the overall economy.

With all that facing the economy, wouldn't Congress act? Ordinarily, yes -- but this is a presidential election year.

"It's my guess that nothing will happen on any of these issues until after the election," Hodge said. "Here we have a case where many in Congress will be retiring, maybe even a president. How do you fix a system with that uncertainty?""

Monday, April 16, 2012

A TSA Agent Has Been Stealing iPads from Passenger Luggage

"Here's another awful thing to add to your oft updated list of why the TSA is terrible: a TSA baggage inspector has been charged with theft by a public servant for stealing eight iPads (on different occasions) from passenger luggage at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Predictably, the TSA is saying this 'rogue' agent ain't their fault. In a statement:

The unacceptable behavior of this individual in no way reflects the dedication of our nearly 50,000 transportation security officers who work tirelessly to keep our skies safe"