Thursday, January 03, 2013

What To Permit or What Not to Permit -- That is the Question


Social deviance and anomie was one of the first phrases I learned in freshman sociology class.  In short, it means that social disorder or crime is linked to a feeling of personal alienation or anomie from the culture.  I thought it a good seguĂ© as to how I might express the profundity of what I think has gone wrong in our nation.  Why am I even bothered by this question?  I am bothered because I believe it matters and, yes, I am bothered that I sometimes am seduced by the anger of our new age.

I am a fervent protector of the First Amendment BUT as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s opinion stated in the famous case of Schenck v. United States, 249 US 47 (1919), when, quoting Wikipedia, the Supreme Court explored the limits of the First Amendment protection of free speech.  Justice Holmes said:

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.

I aver there is a panic in our crowded theater because there are no limits, no boundaries and no behavioral brakes in our nation's system any longer.  I stand in utter disbelief at the filth that passes as art and the violence that passes as entertainment in our nation. There is no sense of decorum and there is no fear of the consequences of one’s actions or speech.  There is a sexual and violent anarchy of greed in our land that makes this so.  

What is permissible to do and say and what is not that is the question.  At long last, paraphrasing Joseph Welch at the Army McCarthy hearings, have we no sense of decency?   

Kathy Griffin on New Years Eve with the supposed journalist Anderson Cooper spoke things and did things on CNN during the New Year's Eve celebration that I might read on a bathroom wall so the entire world (including children) could see. It was utterly embarrassing and monumentally profane.  Anderson Cooper is supposed to be better than that or so I thought.   

Two evenings ago I happened see part of the film "Reservoir Dogs."  I had heard it was violent but I wanted to see for myself if it was as difficult to watch as some had said and it was so much so I could not watch it as torture and mayhem were visited upon human beings in utterly sickening blood drenched detail.  

Then I happened upon a film called "Good Time Max" about two brothers both of whom were drug addicted.  Do I know that the behavior of addicts can be profane? Yes, of course, I do.  But this film depicted a confrontation between brothers that took the word filth to a new low actually filming and showing one brother's own excrement to exact revenge on the other. The camera cannot simply allude to it but it must show it directly.  I exploded in incredulity.

We are a nation adrift caring little for one another.  Our films show it, our TV news shows it, our books, newspapers and magazines show it, our advertisements show it and the cacophonic decibels of shock jock radio sound it.  Our Congress shows it when one member of status can use the most profane word in disrespect to his colleague so others can hear it or when some in Congress seek the best way to ruin the most vulnerable among us by stripping Medicare or Social Security. When is enough enough?

Is it any wonder we have a murderous Newtown or a theater in Aurora or a Virginia Tech when we have so much vicious violence directed at children and an NRA that thinks more guns carried by teachers armed to the teeth in schools is the answer to the devastating problem of the murder of innocents? What could possibly go wrong?   Is it any wonder we have 300 MILLION guns in our closets?  Is it any wonder we have ad infinitum war conducted by a country supposedly known for its democratic due process exceptionalism but one which has committed abominable atrocities and conducted a war based on lies?  We are a nation that has gone wild and knows no boundaries for its wildness whether at home or abroad.  Worse, most of it has been done for the money it earns.

The Kathy Griffin/Anderson Cooper spectacle was done for ratings which means money and how big an audience can something attain. How much money can the latest violent video game or violent movie make?  How far can sexualized cable TV go to get those ratings and money through its unbridled vulgarity and lasciviousness?  

Who would tune in on New Years Eve to a Guy Lombardo orchestra any more? Okay, so who wants to go back to that?  But Kathy Griffin's profanity with a clearly embarrassed Anderson Cooper is UNACCEPTABLE and is an example of how low we have culturally gone.  Those media events are mere microcosms of how many examples of cultural mayhem there are. Where are the boundaries of vulgarity, violence and greed? There are none and that is sad because of the social deviance and anomie it produces for generations to come.







One More Short IMPORTANT ITEM

When they said that the fiscal so called cliff scenario was only the first part of the fiscal legislation they were right. The Boston Globe quote explains the rest and WHY we must hold Washington’s feat to the fire NOT NOT NOT to destroy Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Write, call or send smoke signals to all of Washington and anyone else you know. It said:


“The fiscal patch creates extraordinary pressure to make cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and Social Security,” said Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now, a grassroots organization that helped pass the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. “These protections are vital to the health and economic security of America’s middle class and those working their way into it. Supporters of these programs need to make clear right now that they will not agree to beneficiary cuts in the future. “

“This deal was only a first step toward tax fairness,” Rome said in a statement Wednesday.“We need comprehensive tax reform that makes the wealthiest Americans and corporations pay their fair share and raises revenue for investments in health care, education, and jobs.”

“Instead of cutting benefits, Washington should be looking for responsible solutions that address the long-term challenges facing Social Security and Medicare — like reducing health care costs throughout the system, not just shifting costs onto seniors,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s executive vice president.

YET AGAIN WHY DEMOCRATS MUST BE ELECTED. CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED TO US IF SOCIAL SECURITY WERE NOT THERE DURING THE GREAT RECESSION? WELL WE ARE NOT TOTALLY OUT OF THAT AND MOST IMPORTANTLY OUR CURRENT ECONOMIC SYSTEM IS GUARANTEED TO HAVE MORE AS IT HAS THROUGHOUT OUR HISTORY. BOOMS, BUSTS, PANICS, RECESSIONS AND DEPRESSIONS ARE PART OF OUR ECONOMIC LANDSCAPE FROM THE BEGINNING! THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS BEEN TRYING TO RID US OF MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY FOR DECADES. FDR'S NEW DEAL SAVED THE REPUBLIC DO NOT LET REPUBLICANS TURN IT INTO MORE OF THE NEAR OLIGARCHY IT ALREADY IN MANY WAYS IS.
--

Best Explanation of tax cuts and increases I have found


Nope, I surely am not Einstein and when a number or the word tax is in a sentence. My brain spasms.   CNN explained last evening why EVERYONE was going to see some kind of tax increase.  I did not get it as I thought the president ensured 99% would not.  What I was not understanding was the PAYROLL tax for those who are working.   I prefer to call a "holiday" and it was in place for only two years by Obama.   The PAYROLL tax is different from the rest of the tax increases where those making under 400,000 will NOT see an increase at all but if you are rich you will.     As I understand it the Payroll Tax was ONLY a TWO year holiday anyway.  NOTE BENE:  Payroll taxes SUPPORT Social Security!.  Everyone especially the middle class and working class SHOULD want that if you want any kind of retirement short of the street.  
The following is in the publication "The Blaze."  I thought it the best explanation yet of the fiscal cliff deal.  This is how they explain it for those whose synapses are short circuiting about the dry subject of  taxes:
“For most people, [the increase for wage earners] is just the payroll tax,” said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.
The tax increases could be a lot higher. A huge package of tax cuts first enacted under President George W. Bush was scheduled to expire Tuesday as part of the “fiscal cliff.” The Bush-era tax cuts lowered taxes for families at every income level, reduced investment taxes and the estate tax, and enhanced a number of tax credits, including a $1,000-per-child credit.
The package passed Tuesday by the Senate and House extends most the Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making less than $400,000 and married couples making less than $450,000.
Obama said the deal “protects 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small business owners from a middle-class tax hike. While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country.”
The income threshold covers more than 99 percent of all households, exceeding Obama’s claim, according to the Tax Policy Center. However, the increase in payroll taxes will hit nearly every wage earner.
Social Security is financed by a 12.4 percent tax on wages (payroll) up to $113,700, with employers paying half and workers paying the other half. Obama and Congress reduced the share paid by workers from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for 2011 and 2012, saving a typical family about $1,000 a year.
***Obama pushed hard to enact the payroll tax cut for 2011 and to extend it through 2012. But it was never fully embraced by either party, and this time around, there was general agreement to let it expire.
The new tax package would increase the income tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent on income above $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for married couples. Investment taxes would increase for people who fall in the new top tax bracket.
High-income families will also pay higher taxes this year as part of Obama’s 2010 health care law. As part of that law, a new 3.8 percent tax is being imposed on investment income for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and couples making more than $250,000.
Together, the new tax package and Obama’s health care law will produce significant tax increases for many high-income families.
For 2013, households making between $500,000 and $1 million would get an average tax increase of $14,812, according to the Tax Policy Center analysis. Households making more than $1 million would get an average tax increase of $170,341. [THEY SHOULD!]
“If you’re rich, you’re almost certain to get a big tax increase,” Williams said. [I SAY GOOD and remember to separate the PAYROLL TAX from everything else!]
IT IS CLEAR WHY THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SHOULD BE SUPPORTED AND WHY WE MUST ELECT DEMOCRATS ACROSS THE BOARD.  THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS NOT ABOUT MOST ANYONE EXCEPT THE TOP 2% IN WEALTH! AND THEY DO NOT NOT NOT CREATE JOBS.  THEY SINK AN ECONOMY AS THEY DID DURING THE PAST 30 YEARS!!