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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Class Warfare - Guess Which Class Is Winning?

"There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war - and we're winning."

--Warren E. Buffet, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway (interview with Ben Stein) Sunday NY Times 11/26/06

Ben Stein recently conducted a lengthy interview with 'one of the smartest men on the planet', Warren E. Buffett. One of the main subjects they discussed was taxes.

Mr. Stein wrote in his article, "Put simply, the rich pay a lot of taxes as a total percentage of taxes collected, but they don't pay a lot of taxes as a percentage of what they can afford to pay, or as a percentage of what the government needs to close the deficit gap."...

"...Mr. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid far, far less (in taxes) as a fraction of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office...and Mr. Buffett doesn't use any tax planning at all. He just pays as the Internal Revenue Code requires... 'How can this be can this be right?' asked Mr. Buffett."...

Ben Stein noted that, "(according to some) the mere suggestion of raising taxes, particularly for the wealthiest individuals, constituted 'class warfare'." Which led to Buffett's retort at the beginning of this post.

Mr. Stein discusses how he can be a conservative and still want higher taxes. "...I thought that conservatives were supposed to like balanced budgets. I thought it was the conservative position not to leave heavy indebtedness to our grandchildren...and the view that there should be some balance between income and outflow. When did this change?..."

"...It changed when we figured out that we could cut taxes and generate so much revenue that we would balance the budget. But isn't that what doctors call magical thinking? Haven't the facts proved that this theory, though charming and beguiling, was wrong?..."

"This brings me back to Mr. Buffett. If, in fact, it's all just a giveaway to the rich masquerading as a new way of stimulating the economy and balancing the budget...let's rethink it...I don't like the idea that Mr. Buffett pays a lot less in tax as a percentage of his income than my housekeeper does or than I do..."

"...I don't want class warfare from any direction, through the tax system or any other way..."

MrKen calls attention to the utter hypocrisy of our federal government. In a supposed 'time of war', it lavishes money on its rich supporters with tax cuts when it should be raising taxes to support our overstretched military. And instead of raising taxes in anticipation of the great wave of 'boomer retirees' who deserve a secure Social Security Retirement & Healthcare system(Medicare & Medicaid), it wages economic war against these soon-to-be-retirees and the poor. It refuses to raise the minimum wage even once in ten years but gives itself 8 pay raises worth $15/hour & 30,000/yr in that period.

The war is over, opines MrKen - the rich have already won...

For the full NY Times article, follow this link...

*italics & bolding added by MrKen for emphasis

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bush compares U.S. wars in Vietnam, Iraq

HANOI, Vietnam -

By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer

President Bush, on his first visit to a country where America lost a two-decade-long fight against communism, said Friday the Vietnam War's lesson for today's confounding Iraq conflict is that freedom takes time to trump hatred.

Embracing a former enemy that remains communist but is allowing capitalism to surge, Bush opened a four-day stay here that was fueling an already raging debate over his war policy. Democrats who won control of Congress say last week's elections validate their call for U.S. troops to start coming home soon, while Bush argues — as he did again Friday — for patience with a mission he says can't be ended until Iraq can remain stable on its own...

..."We'll succeed," Bush added, "unless we quit."

In a day of meetings with Vietnamese leaders, the Vietnam-Iraq comparisons gave way to a focus on areas of cooperation. Those include continuing military-to-military links, work on AIDS and bird flu, trade, and cooperation on information about more than 1,300 U.S. military personnel still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War...

The president's welcome by the public was much less enthusiastic than the rock-star treatment afforded President Clinton when he came in 2000. Happy crowds thronged Clinton, who normalized relations with Vietnam.

But Bush encountered a country where many with long memories deeply disapprove of the U.S. invasion of Iraq — even as they yearn for continued economic progress to stamp out still-rampant poverty.

With all traffic halted, many Hanoi residents gaped at his long motorcade from their motorbikes. Other clusters of onlookers gathered before storefronts, a few waving but most merely looking on impassively.

Huynh Tuyet, 71, a North Vietnamese veteran who had his hand blown off fighting the Americans, recalled his own lesson.

"Even though the Americans were more powerful with all their massive weapons, the main factor in war is the people," he said. "The Vietnamese people were very determined. We would not give up. That's why we won."...

to read the complete AP article, follow this link:

MrKen notes that our 'Dear Leader' and the Neocons have learned nothing from the Vietnam War. What can one expect when 'W' is being advised by that architect of American failure, Henry Kissinger. Please refer to my post (10/4) and discussion of Maureen Dowd's excellent NY Times piece: "Dr. Strangelove's second chance'.

And I guess Kissinger also has the ear of Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who wants to send MORE U. S. troops to Iraq.

Mr Ken agrees with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio); he explains why cutting off funding for the Iraq war is the only way to TRULY protect American troops.

Follow this link to his interview at :