How would you like to wake up one morning to find that the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, all your local TV stations and media outlets coast to coast are dissecting you and your posts on Facebook?
In a case of unbridled bullying and harassment, the Human Rights Campaign and a New Jersey "gay" advocacy group are jumping all over a Union High School teacher. If she loses her job – and she teaches in liberal New Jersey, so it's outrageous but possible – these reprehensible actions might qualify as libel.
What could Viki Knox possibly have done to deserve such attention? Is she a felon? Has she embezzled school funds? Did she steal cookies at a bake sale?
No, she posted – imagine this – opinions about homosexuality on her Facebook page! Yes, the New York Times is cutting staff, but somehow they find time to pile on a New Jersey special education teacher because she expressed her dismay over a school bulletin board praising famous "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender" people. I applaud her for having enough real heart and caring about kids that she found this misleading and harmful propaganda disturbing.
What's the next breaking news story at the Times: Laura's and Jenna's text messages to each other in biology class?
Viki's Facebook posts were originally confined to a dialogue among her actual friends, but then others whom she did not know began to jump in with the usual accusations – that she was hateful, prejudiced, blah, blah, blah.
She posted several quizzical comments wondering who these new people were. She also commented that "homosexuality is a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation." This wise insight, which may serve to educate many people during her 15 minutes of fame, has demanded nothing less than full-on retribution, as only the charming homosexual lobby and their lock-step media co-dependents can deliver it. And I include in that group the partisan Times, MSNBC, Huffington Post, the Daily Kos and others.
One very strange twist in the whole story is the role of an attorney named John Paragano. He claims to be the one who alerted Garden State [In]Equality to the Facebook posting (slow day at court, apparently), and is even quoted as saying, "Hateful public comments from a teacher cannot be tolerated. She has a right to say it. But she does not have a right to keep her job after saying it." John might want to get himself an attorney for that future libel case Viki may have.
Yet Paragano surely already has an attorney, or possibly several. This is the same John Paragano, former Union Township, N.J., municipal court judge, who recently divorced a New York radio personality, Diane Prior, and received probation after a 2009 assault charge. It seems he attacked his wife, then posted unflattering material about her on the Internet. His probation agreement includes refraining from such Internet activities again, as well as – wait for it – undergoing mental-health/anger management counseling. You can't make this stuff up.
Paragano resigned from the bench after a DWI and an earlier assault charge in 2004 involving then-girlfriend Diane. Classy guy.
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Monday, October 17, 2011
I’ve been asked a few times about Herman Cain’s 999 Plan, so here are some initial thoughts. I haven’t seen the details, and perhaps the specifics haven’t been hammered out at this point, but my information about the 999 plan comes from Cain’s website. Essentially, the plan is to replace the current federal tax system with a 9% Business Flat Tax, a 9% Individual Flat Tax, and a 9% National Sales Tax.
One criticism I’ve heard of the plan is that while it would be a tax cut for the rich, most people will pay higher taxes under Cain’s plan. This is unlikely to be true for people who are working, and spending less than their incomes. Those people would pay at most 9% of their incomes in income tax and 9% of their incomes in sales tax if they spent all of their incomes on sales-taxable items, for a total of 18% in personal taxes. But the employee and employer shares of the current Social Security Payroll tax is more than 15%, which is pretty close to the 18% in the 999 Plan. If people don’t consume their entire incomes, and don’t pay the whole 9% income tax (Cain deducts charitable contributions from taxable incomes, and would have additional deductions for those in “empowerment zones”) they would pay less than 18%, and today anybody who pays federal taxes beyond the Social Security tax already pays more than 15%. That criticism only appears to hold water for people who are consuming more than they are earning.
Another criticism I’ve heard is that the 999 Plan would generate less revenue for the federal government. Of course, some people (especially people who tend to read this blog) would not consider that to be a criticism. Let’s see how that holds up with a back-of-the-envelope calculation. Consumption is about 70% of GDP, and if that is what is taxed by the National Sales Tax it would raise 6.3% of GDP in revenue. Corporate profits are about 5% of GDP, and if that is what is taxed by the Business Flat Tax it would raise 0.45% of GDP. Labor income is about 75% of GDP and if that is what is taxed by the Individual Flat Tax it would raise about 6.75% of GDP. Add them together and the 999 plan would raise about 13.5% of GDP in taxes.
Federal tax revenues as a share of GDP are 14.4% for 2011, so even with revenues depressed as a result of the recession it appears Cain’s 999 plan would not raise as much in revenues as the current tax system. Perhaps my back-of-the-envelope calculation underestimates some revenue, and in particular the Business Flat Tax might raise more. But even if it raised twice what I estimated, that would put 999 revenues at around 14% of GDP. So, the criticism that the 999 plan would generate less in federal tax revenues appears to hold up.
The biggest issue I have with the 999 plan is that it would introduce a new national sales tax, and it is easy to envision the tax rate starting at 9% and doubling or more (which would still leave it below the Value Added Tax rates in most of the EU). Cain’s longer-term plan is to phase out the business and personal income taxes and replace it with a larger National Sales Tax. But one could easily imagine the larger sales tax along with rising rates on incomes when spending continues to be so much larger than revenues. My reservations on the 999 Plan would be mitigated if it were implemented as a result of a Constitutional amendment that would mandate that the rates not rise.
Yesterday I passed along some thoughts on Herman Cain’s 999 plan, and on thinking about it some more, I probably underestimated the amount that would be paid through the Business Flat Tax. I estimated it assuming the tax base would be corporate profits, but it appears the tax base, which is gross revenues minus purchases from other companies, capital investment, and net exports, includes wages paid to the firm’s employees. That adds up to about one-third of GDP, so a 9% tax on it would add another 3% to my earlier estimate that the 999 plan would raise revenues of about 13.5% of GDP. I’ll revise that to 16.5%.
This is a rough “back-of-the-envelope” estimate, and I conjecture it overstates what the plan would really raise because I assumed all labor income would be taxed and all consumption purchases would be taxed. No income tax in the real world, and no consumption tax in the real world, comes close to taxing all of its tax base.
If I had my way, federal spending would be far less than 16.5% of GDP — or 13.5% of GDP for that matter — and the 999 plan would raise more than enough revenue for the federal government. President Reagan’s experience shows it is easier to cut taxes than it is to cut federal spending. So even with this higher estimate of revenues under the 999 plan, it wouldn’t balance the budget.
One commenter on my earlier post said that economic growth would increase under the 999 plan, increasing GDP and government revenues, and I think that is true. High marginal tax rates impede economic growth, and Cain’s plan proposes to keep the marginal rate on all federal taxes below 10%. But as I stated yesterday, I do fear that with a national sales tax in place, we would see rising tax rates in all those taxes without a constitutional amendment preventing it. Deficit spending could easily turn the 999 plan into the 15-15-15 plan, or worse.
I like Herman Cain’s bold thinking, the 999 plan has much to recommend it, and I don’t mean to criticize Cain’s plan with my comments yesterday and today. Taking a realistic look at the likely implications of the plan isn’t a criticism. Should Cain win the presidency, we know that the president’s plans are rarely implemented without modification. It does appear that Cain is pushing in the right direction here.
“It is impossible for a Muslim to be a democrat.”
Vlaams Belang sent us a link to the video below, and included the following note:Attached you will find an online video of Cities Against Islamization (CAI) concerning the spread of Islamic extremism in Europe. It is a compilation of stunning quotes by Abu Imran, the leader of the fundamentalist organization Sharia4Belgium.For example, he declares that a Muslim can never be a democrat, that all Muslims are obliged to support terrorism as a part of Jihad, and that every insult to the Prophet should be dreadfully avenged.In the video you’ll hear the Sharia4Belgium representative being brutally frank about his vision for Belgium’s place in the coming Caliphate. It’s obvious that there are no laws against sedition in Belgium — or at least none that are enforced against Muslim fanatics.
You’ll also hear Filip Dewinter’s excellent responses to Sharia4Belgium:
This clip was removed from YouTube/Google despite them carrying pro-terrorist propaganda by Hamas, the Taliban and other Islamic sewer pipes.
WARNING: Graphic images.
"The principle for which we contend is bound to reassert itself, though it may be at another time and in another form."
“A question settled by violence or in disregard of law must remain unsettled forever.”
Truth crushed to the earth is truth still and like a seed will rise again.
"The contest is not over, the strife is not ended. It has only entered upon a new and enlarged arena.
Remember that classic Beatles riff of the 1960s: “You say you want a revolution?” Imagine this instead: a devolution. Picture an America that is run not, as now, by a top-heavy Washington autocracy but, in freewheeling style, by an assemblage of largely autonomous regional republics reflecting the eclectic economic and cultural character of the society.
There might be an austere Republic of New England, with a natural strength in higher education and technology; a Caribbean-flavored city-state Republic of Greater Miami, with an anchor in the Latin American economy; and maybe even a Republic of Las Vegas with unfettered license to pursue its ambitions as a global gambling, entertainment and conventioneer destination. California? America’s broke, ill-governed and way-too-big nation-like state might be saved, truly saved, not by an emergency federal bailout, but by a merciful carve-up into a trio of republics that would rely on their own ingenuity in making their connections to the wider world. And while we’re at it, let’s make this project bi-national—economic logic suggests a natural multilingual combination between Greater San Diego and Mexico’s Northern Baja, and, to the Pacific north, between Seattle and Vancouver in a megaregion already dubbed “Cascadia” by economic cartographers.
Such sentiments resonate beyond the libertarian fringe. The Daily Kos, a liberal Web site, recently asked Perry’s fellow Texas Republicans, “Do you think Texas would be better off as an independent nation or as part of the United States of America? It was an even split: 48% for the U.S., 48% for a sovereign Texas, 4% not sure. Amongst all Texans, more than a third—35%—said an independent Texas would be better. The Texas Nationalist Movement claims that over 250,000 Texans have signed a form affirming the organization’s goal of a Texas nation.