10 Companies That Pay Little to No Tax!

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Friday, February 17th, 2012 by rick |
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10 Incredible churches infograph…

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Friday, January 27th, 2012 by rick |
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Why They Didn’t Use Snakes on Abu Zubaydah

I’m just saying, how do you find the time to bring in caterpillars, much less the evil and effective snakes as an enhanced interrogation technique when you are busy waterboarding the guy 83 times in one month. Abu Zubaydah got off easy – Khalid Sheikh Mohammed got the waterboard 183 times in one month.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

We saw the memo outlining authorized methods of enhanced interrogation under the Bush Administration. When I say they used insects on Abu Zubaydah, I wondered as an aside why they didn’t use snakes. Hey, if Indiana Jones hates snakes, even Chuck Norris would hate snakes, right? Well, now we know. They were too busy waterboarding Abu Zubaydah to deal with snakes. They waterboarded Abu Zubaydah 83 times in one month, which doesn’t come near the 183 times they waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in one month. Emptywheel at Firedoglake has the links to the CIA memos where this is detailed.

Man, that’s a lot of waterboarding. I’d hate to have to pay that water bill. And I’d hate to have to be the one to figure out the gibberish that crap produced. As to defending the practice, only a Rush Limbaugh could even try, and as head of the Republican Party he surely will.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |
Category: Uncategorized

Kudlow’s America: Some Eat Steak, The Rest Eat Cake

Larry Kudlow has a recipe for steak. Unfortunately, it’s a meal most won’t enjoy. Instead, the vast majority are relegated to eating cake and trying to keep up with the accelerating pace on the proverbial hamster wheel.


Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

If there were ever to be a way to demonstrate the unedited and unadulterated mind set of the GOP elite, Larry Kudlow succeeds in presenting it in an article he titles, Put Some Steak On The Plate. Kudlow, while offering his take on yesterdays GOP debate, is kind enough to also insert his not so subtle thesis for a Republican victory in 2008 and therefore the means to insure that he and his cronies have the idyllic “steak” placed squarely upon their plates.

Last night’s GOP debate featured strong, pro-growth, supply-side policies from the four major candidates – Rudy, Romney, McCain, and Thompson. [...]

This is all good. But let me remind folks that yesterday I suggested that Republicans were put on this planet to cut spending and taxes. And the proof of the pudding is in the eating. In other words, we need specifics. In other words, where’s the beef?

OK, I don’t begrudge Kudlow his ideology…he’s entitled to support whichever economic strategy he prefers. Further, I probably agree with the notion of prudent spending and reasonable taxation. Unfortunately, once Kudlow spells out the details by which he would pursue his stated objectives, our differences become more evident and his self-serving and less than palatable bias begins to emerge.

The Republican party needs to re-brand itself as the fiscal-disciplinarian party. GOP candidates must get specific about which departments and program clusters they’re going to curtail. The sooner the better. The burden is on their backs to reestablish credibility.

And while the Democrats are making hay with middle-class anxieties over taxes, health care, tuition, etc., Republicans need to launch an aggressive middle-class tax offensive.

For example, we don’t need six income-tax brackets. Here’s a thought: Take the 33 percent bracket that starts at $188,450 and get rid of it. Ditto for the 28 percent bracket at $123,700 and the 25 percent bracket at $61,300. Get rid of them. Collapse it all down into one simple 15 percent tax bracket. Then figure out what kind of spending cuts are necessary to finance it.

Let’s look at Kudlow’s two fundamental objectives. First, the revision of the tax structure advances a disproportionate boon to those making the most money (33 percent to 15 percent)…a goal consistent with his supply-side, pro-growth agenda…albeit one which is premised upon the belief that giving money back to the wealthy will facilitate reinvestment into the economy to better “float the boat”. While that is true to a point, it would simultaneously consolidates larger amounts of wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer people…a move which further shrinks the middle class by pushing a small percentage of individuals upward and a much larger number downward.

Second, the reduction of spending immediately calls entitlements into question despite the fact that Kudlow states his own reservation with the cutting of Social Security benefits…a reservation I contend isn’t motivated by a concern for those who may be hurt but rather a measured calculation that the same can be achieved with far less repercussions than an open endorsement of such a plan. His motives and his modus operandi are revealed when he contrasts his “recipe” with that of the Democrats. Here’s how his strategy works. I contend the formula is little more than the classic carrot on a stick approach whereby the tax cuts must first be offered as the enticement (the means to procure votes) which then delivers the authority to enact the desired spending cuts.

As the bad news is disseminated (we have to pay for these tax cuts), the notion of self-interest leads a majority of voters to oppose cutting essential services while endorsing the reduction of money spent on programs perceived as “government handouts”. In other words, the underlying premise is that hard working individuals (defined as those who make enough money to receive the tax cuts) should be rewarded and those who don’t carry their own weight (defined as those receiving government assistance) should be penalized.

The end result is more of the same. In order to succeed, both spouses are compelled to work harder in order to make ends meet. Those on the top rung (the powerful) reinforce the merits of their message by offering the reward (a tax cut)…a reward they frame as needing to be extracted from those at the lowest rung on the ladder. As such, the focus is removed from those who benefited the most from the tax cuts (themselves) and they succeed in being portraying as the champions of the hard working middle class while vilifying those who have the least.

The ire of those caught in the hamster wheel has been masterfully directed downward. Thus the dangling vegetable is obediently chased in hopes it will lead to the quintessential prize…steak. Consequently, one either embraces the equation or one tumbles further down the ladder in shame…deserving of little more than reproach…and cake.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Daniel DiRito |
Category: Uncategorized

Let’s Play! Name this GOP Entitlement Syndrome!

Following the example they have set in Coleman v. Franken, of filing endless appeals, Jim Tedisco in the NY-20 special election is going further, declaring victory with fewer votes than his opponent Scott Murphy. There’s a GOP Entitlement Syndrome developing, and the CDC should be called in. Democracy as we know it is at risk.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Trailing Democrat Scott Murphy in the vote count in the special Congressional election in District 20 in New York, Republican Jim Tedisco has asked the court to declare him the winner. Yes, it boggles the mind, but he’s a Republican, so he feels entitled. Heck, Tedisco felt entitled to challenge the election results before election day was even over, so this reach for an entutlement should surprise us no at all. From the Register-Star in New York:

20th Congressional District candidate Republican Jim Tedisco submitted a petition to the Dutchess County Supreme Court Thursday asking the judge to declare him the winner of the extremely close special election race, despite the numbers currently being in favor of his opponent, Democrat Scott Murphy.

According to The Associated Press, Murphy leads Tedisco by 178 votes district wide – 79,452 to 79,274. The only ballots that have not been counted are those challenged by each candidate’s lawyers, and while Tedisco’s office has said the challenges are roughly evenly split between the two camps, Columbia County lawyers for Murphy have only challenged 22 ballots, while Tedisco’s have challenged 258.

Tedisco is also asking the court to authorize recanvasing of all machine ballots to acquire the “proper” tallies. He would like them to reassess the validity of absentee votes already counted, and keep ballots challenged by Tedisco unopened. County Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner Virginia Martin said this new development could result in the election taking quite a bit more time to be decided. She would not venture a guess on how long it will be before the 20th District has a representative in congress.

Beyond that we desperately need a name for the Republican Entitlement Syndrome that seemingly dictates that Americans are not allowed to have deomcratically elected representatives until the Republicans get all their legal whining out of the way, it is time to recognize this as the biggest feature of the Republican strategy going forward. No plans for the nation’s future, no cures for economic problems, and no coherent leadership. They are offering us sex-crazed teabagging parties, a dose of “Just Say No” to everything not proposed by Republicans, and withholding democratic representation through childlike legal fits.

Let’s get a name for this trend. I’ll start off. How about “Just Say No to Democracy?” It fits with their other stances, no?

They are also writing about this development at DKos.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |
Category: Uncategorized

Tweetin’ and Twitterin’

An early adopter goes public…

Commentary By: Richard Blair

I’ve been signed up with twitter almost since the beginning of tweeting, but never really used it much. It kind of impresses me as the web equivalent of crack, but what does a geezer know about these things? All the kewl kidz are doing it.

Anyway, if you use twitter, and feel like cyberstalking All Spin Zone, you can follow ASZ at http://twitter.com/allspinzone.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

Arlen Specter: Sen. Craig’s Sexuality Not Relevant

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa) once again has come out in defense of his senate friend, Larry Craig. Even as Craig was not permitted to withdraw his guilty plea in a Minneapolis courtroom yesterday, Specter was going to bat for him saying that Craig’s sexuality “isn’t relevant”. While most progressives agree, surely Specter’s characterization is making the rabid homophobic wing of the GOP shudder…

Commentary By: Richard Blair

When the arrest of Sen. Larry Craig (R-Wide Stance) for pandering in an airport men’s room first surfaced, most of his senate GOP colleagues privately urged him to resign. In the wake of revelations of Sen David Vitter’s (R-Depends) proclivity for hetero kink, the last thing the GOP senate leadership needed was a gay sex scandal.

Well, after a week’s worth of recuperation / image rehabilitation (and/or neutering with a dull butter knife by his wife), Vitter was welcomed back to the senate to “thunderous applause” by his GOP caucus in a rousing show of approval. After all, men will be little boys, sometimes. (Incontinent little boys, apparently.)

But no one came to Larry Craig’s defense except Sen. Arlen Specter. Indeed, some would say that we have Specter to thank for the gift of a GOP gay sex scandal that will keep on giving for at least another year. Today, in his friend’s defense, Specter opined:

“Disorderly conduct is not moral turpitude,” Specter said, “and is not a basis for leaving the Senate.”

“I don’t think it reflects on the party at all,” Specter said. “Larry Craig is an individual. He doesn’t represent the party or any other individual senator or any Republican. The conduct which is described here at worst is disorderly conduct. I don’t know what his sexual preference is. It’s not relevant to the issue in any respect.”

Ok, let’s make this clear, in case it hasn’t already been made clear: Larry Craig was not originally charged with “disorderly conduct”. He was arrested for soliciting gay sex in an airport bathroom, and then bargained his plea down to disorderly conduct in order to avoid publicity. Go back and listen to the interview by the Minneapolis cop who conducted the arresting interview with Craig – any questions? Apparently, Specter hasn’t heard the interview.

In any case, it is quite refreshing to find that a senior member of the GOP senate leadership team apparently has no problem with Sen. Craig’s sexual orientation. Hell, I don’t think any progressive has a problem with whatever direction that Larry Craig swings (or anyone else, for that matter).

It occurs to me, though, that Arlen might want to check with his Pennsyltucky base. Because I don’t think they’re so forgiving of either Craig, or Specter’s endorsement. In fact, the great thing about the Vitter and Craig cases (and the Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson presidential candidacies) is that they have combined to remove the most duplicitous of cudgels from the GOP’s bag of phony phucking election rhetoric:

Family values.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

Get Your Popcorn Out, The Teabagging Adventure’s About to Begin

The teabaggers are ready to go and you should get your popcorn ready. The crowds will be boistrous and there’s sure to be whack job comment sreported all over. The head astroturfers are counting on rallying the whack job Republican base, and we can expect little connection with reality and maybe a dose of racism in the mix.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

I’m going to predict that this Republican sexcapade (Hot Lesbian Action in Virginia GOP circles!) masquerading as a Teabagging patriotic thing is going to turn out to be a bunch of nothing today. but there’s a little room for drama here. No, Marilyn Chambers will not be appearing at the Alamo with Glenn Beck. Beck, though, might just blow another gasket, and he seems to have an inexhausible supply of them, so I’m not sure Glenn Beck will go insane, or at least to the point getting hospitalization. Yesterday Beck was on a tear advocating secession, though he refrained from the real tears this time.

jack again There’s my son Jack to the left, rubbing his hands with glee. He doesn’t get any popcorn, since he has no teeth, after all, but he will join me watching the right-wingnuttery this afternoon.

This is all about Faux populists led by FauxNews backed up by funding from Gingrich and Dick Army of course. It is an astroturfed grassroots movement, and that’s been shown many times. But who are these people attracted to the teabagging? It appears they are the same people clinging to the conspiracy theory that Obama wasn’t really born in the Us, that he’s a secret Muslim, etc. Check it out – teabaggers in Cleveland, 100% of those asked, held strange conspiracy theories as truth. There is a racist coloring to this astroturfing, and as such there’s no surprise that they are attracting members of Stormfront in droves, so that they might recruit to swell their rank ranks. All this teabagging is causing a whole bunch of trouble in Congress, where leaking envelopes of the stuff are attracting security concerns, but the Republicans don’t care. This sex-crazed teabag stunt is the only idea they’ve got.

Ideas? The Republicans are void of ideas. Some Republicans might be struggling to find some ideas with which to center their party, ideas other than sex-crazed orgies, but there’s no success on that score in sight. I’m guessing there will be more fracturing of the GOP before there is any unity, and that unity might end up with a lot smaller base than the Republicans enjoy now. The infighting that has occured so far between some Republicans and their leader will pale in comparison with what’s to come. As Juan Cole aptly notes, the Republicans are freaking out in response to virtually ever move from the Obama White House, not that I’m crying tears over that. Heck, that’s why I’ve got the popcorn, after all.

The real problem for Republicans and this stupid faux anti-tex movement is that Americans don’t agree with them, in huge numbers. That’s according to a recent poll where huge numbers of Americans say they don’t mind an increase int he size of government with the aim of getting us out of this recession. From USA Today:

A USA TODAY analysis of the survey finds demographic divisions when it comes to what the federal government should do.

– The largest group, 37% of respondents, is comfortable with big government and solidly behind Obama. Nine of 10 approve of the job the president is doing and 85% endorse the government’s expanded role to deal with the financial crisis. Nearly all of them see big business as a more foreboding threat to the country than Big Government.

This group is mostly Democratic and includes the most liberals. It has more women than men and is slightly younger and better educated than the sample as a whole.

“I don’t worry about Big Government,” says Lillie Thomas, 74, a retired hotel housekeeping supervisor in Las Vegas. “We should try to help people get back to work and get better health care.”

– At the other end of the spectrum is a smaller group that is solidly against the expansion of government and Obama’s approach. Even the plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, supported by at least three of four people in every other group, is backed by just 8%.

Members of this group, which includes 21% of respondents, tend to be white and male with education and income levels above the average. They are overwhelmingly Republican and mostly conservative.

Letting the market work – even if that means allowing automakers such as GM and Chrysler to fail – would be better than giving the government a say in the companies’ leadership and direction, says John Cronkwright, 40, a civil engineer from Liverpool, N.Y. “If we start telling these companies, –You’ve got to make this product and that product,’ that’s not really the American way of free enterprise,” he says. “That’s more toward socialism.”

– In the middle is a group that supports Obama’s plan but without much enthusiasm. Most say the government needs to take action to fix the country’s economic problems; they also want government’s reach cut back when the crisis is over.

These reluctant supporters, 15% of respondents, make up the most bipartisan group. A majority are Democrats but nearly four in 10 are Republicans. They are evenly divided between men and women, and the group reflects the national average in income and education.

Pedro Navarro, 21, lives in Muskegon, which has the highest unemployment rate of anywhere in hard-hit Michigan. He is working in a factory that makes truck parts but has seen friends and family members lose their jobs. As for the rescue plan for Detroit, “I believe it’s warranted to keep the auto industry up on its feet. Otherwise, the industry will pretty much go under.”

Even so, he worries about the government wasting money, and he says it “should step back a little bit” when businesses regain their footing.

– The final group is conflicted and uncertain. They both approve of the job Obama is doing and oppose most of the initiatives he has proposed. This group, 27% of respondents, has the lowest average income and education levels of the four groups as well as the largest proportion of women.

“I’m not sitting where I can see all the ins-and-outs,” says Edna Baatile, 60, of Tulsa, a former human resources manager for American Airlines. “I guess I just have to keep praying every day for the president and his advisers that they make the right decisions, because nobody knows.”

Yeah, that group where the teabaggers fall is about 21% in this poll. They don’t even want to help homeowners rooked out of their homes and life’s savings. Realpolitic would say that’s a bad way to attract voters. But FauxNews is egging these folks on today to be heard! They’ll be carrying their misspelled signs and hollaring about some inane conspiracy theories and generally showing the true face of the Republican Party nowadays, the Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber and George Bush face of it. Failure. Man, this is going to be a good thing for Democratic chances in 2010!

Let me be clear on one thing. I do not predict violence from these people today. Insanity, yes, especially from Glenn Beck. But I do not predict violence, as much as Beck might hope for it for reasons of boosting his ratings.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |
Category: Uncategorized

Larry Craig Guilty Plea Stands, but He Won’t Resign

A Minnesota judge has refused to let Larry Craig withdraw his guilty plea in connection with bathroom stall hijinx in a Minneapolis airport bathroom. But will Craig now resign from the Senate? We hope not.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

A Minnesota judge has denied Sen. Larry Craig’s (R-Wide Stance) request to withdraw his guilty plea in connection with his bust for soliciting gay sex from an officer during a police sting operation in an airport bathroom:

“Because the defendant’s plea was accurate, voluntary and intelligent, and because the conviction is supported by the evidence … the defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea is denied,” Hennepin County Judge Charles Porter wrote.

…”It is not a manifest injustice to force the defendant to be bound by his plea bargain and the waivers and admissions which he made in conjunction with the execution of that bargain,” Porter wrote.

Craig had indicated that he was going to resign from the U.S. Senate effective September 30th, but then decided to wait until the judge had ruled on the motion. And, it looks like his GOP colleagues are going to be waiting awhile longer before Craig makes a move.

As we’ve noted before at ASZ, that’s quite fine with us. We believe that Senator Craig should indeed continue to serve in the (largely ceremonial) role of a fetid, rotting weasel carcass draped around the collective neck of a sanctimonious, family-values-spouting GOP. And in the spirit of bi-partisanship and comity, we additionally suggest that Craig also dig his heels in, and continue to pursue his re-election bid in Idaho during the 2008 election season.

Finally, we propose that Harry Reid introduce a “sense of the Senate” resolution to formally endorse ASZ’s position.

Update: AP is now reporting that Sen. Craig has announced he will serve out his term.

WASHINGTON – Idaho Sen. Larry Craig defiantly vowed to serve out his term in office on Thursday despite losing a court attempt to rescind his guilty plea in a men’s room sex sting.

“I have seen that it is possible for me to work here effectively,” Craig said in a written statement certain to disappoint fellow Republicans who have long urged him to step down…

We at ASZ applaud Sen. Craig’s courageous wide stance.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

New GOP Internal Poll: “We’re Screwed”

A GOP internal poll obtained today by the AP tells a shocking story for the Republican Party: only the hardcore wingnuts now support the GOP agenda.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

It’s becoming an article of faith, no pun intended, that the GOP (as presently represented by the most loathsome faces of the party) finds itself hip deep in elephant poo. Even Republican-leaning pundits and “strategists” are lamenting on how far the party has fallen, in such a relatively short period of time. What they can’t seem to wrap their heads around is how to get their leadership heading back in the right direction.

Therein lays their biggest problem: when the best the Republican party leadership can do is to trot out John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush as the “new face” of the GOP, the poo pile seems bottomless.

Based on the numbers in a recent GOP internal poll obtained by the Associated Press, the situation might be even more grave than the most loyal of the Republican loyalists imagined:

Republicans are widely viewed by the public as less competent than Democrats to handle issue ranging from health care to education and energy, according to internal polling presented to top GOP officials in Congress…

The survey found the public holds greater confidence in Democrats than in Republicans in handling most of the issues that are involved in Obama’s legislative agenda…Democrats were favored by a margin of 61 percent to 29 percent on education; 59 percent to 30 percent on health care and 59 percent to 31 percent on energy…Democats were also viewed with more confidence in handling taxes, long a Republican strong suit. The only issue among nine in the survey where the two parties were rated as even was in the war on terror.

The survey found Obama’s job approval at 62 percent.

However, lest we get too cocky about the current state of the GOP, let’s remember that it wasn’t so long ago that conventional political wisdom held forth that the GOP was heading for a permanent political majority in America.

National politics is a particularly fickle animal, and it would only take a few negative events to turn opinion quickly. The Dems retook the majority not so much based on their own ideas and plans, but because those of the GOP had become so absolutely toxic.

The time nears for the Democratic Party leadership to put the boldest of plans in motion: an inclusive national healthcare plan that leaves no American without access to good medical care, labor laws that favor workers over corporations, and an end to regressive tax laws that cause the working class to shoulder a disproportionate share of the common tax burden.

Do those three things, and the Democratic Party will be closer to a true permanent majority than the GOP ever dreamed of having.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized
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