Adieu!

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So France has unveiled its new taxation scheme, which will include a 75 percent tax on those earning over one million euros a year.

With Hollande facing record unemployment and economic stagnation, there were also fears the deficit target will slip as France falls short of the modest 0.8 percent economic growth rate on which it is banking for next year.

“This is a fighting budget to get the country back on the rails,” Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said, adding that the 0.8 percent growth target was “realistic and ambitious”.

Hmmmm. Let me see.

Any company or individual who earns more than a million euros will have earnings confiscated. It’s UNAVOOOOOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIIIDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABLEEEEEE!

Ministers defended measures that included a 75 percent top tax rate as unavoidable if France is to get its finances under control and meet European Union deficit targets deemed essential to avoid the collapse of the euro single currency.

How long before the nation’s most productive individuals bid France “Adieu!” and find a country that will not enslave them in order to fix years of overspending?

Think corporations that create jobs will stick around just to see their profits appropriated?

Think individuals such as Bernard Arnault, who have the business acumen ingenuity to build companies and create jobs will stick around to be exploited by the socialists? Think they’ll take the jobs their companies create with them?

Think Liliane Bettencourt will stick around to see the fruits of her labor appropriated? And if she doesn’t, will she take her philanthropic organizations with her?

And what will happen when millions or even billions leave the French economy?

Who will be next on the socialists’ “to eat” list? Those who earn $750,000 euros per year? I mean, look how much they still have to loot?

And once they’re done with those “rich,” who’s next on the consumption chain?

If it were me earning more than a million euros in France, I’d get the fuck out of there before the socialists realize that unless they make it impossible to leave, there won’t be anyone left to loot!

Because then, they’ll really be stuck!

Nick Woodhams – creating first world problems out of nothing

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The iPhone 5. I don’t have one. I don’t particularly care about owning one. I was dragged kicking and screaming into the iPhone purchase after my Blackberry began acting like a cranky octogenarian who just ingested a gallon of Colon Blow. I felt like I was assimilated into the Borg Collective. I don’t dislike my iPhone, but to me, it’s a tool. Nothing that gives me a religious experience. I use it for calls, texting, music and emails. Pretty utilitarian overall. Nothing to genuflect over.

That’s why I have a hard time understanding douchenozzles such as this Nick Woodhams, whose entire privileged existence seems to have been irrevocably and traumatically marred by the AT&T store’s treatment of his lily snowflake ass during the launch of the new iPhone.

I was invited into the AT&T store this morning, after a long wait, to purchase my iPhone 5. I avoided looking at the display model iPhones on the way in, and averted my gaze from everyone elses iPhones. I wanted to enrich the experience of opening my own iPhone 5, and make it more special than it already would be. The sales rep retrieved the iPhone I requested…

Then he then proceeded to open the iPhone himself, with his back to me.

My stomach sank. Opening an Apple product is a religious experience. It’s one of the best things about the first day with your shiny new device. He took that from me. I felt like this sales rep had stolen from me. They were stealing from everyone. No one was opening their new iPhone. Is it not supposed to be special anymore?

[...]

I finally walk out of the store with my iPhone, and I can tell you unequivocally that they ruined my first impression with the iPhone 5. Having used the phone now for several hours, I love it.. but the way that AT&T handled the launch today was a travesty.

Oh noes! I’m getting a gadget that costs more than the annual per capita income of most third world nations, but I’m upset, because the clerk didn’t let me open my new toy! He ruined my religious experience, and forever scarred my delicate, spiritual psyche! AND HE DROPPED MY CHARGER!

Is this what we’ve come to? Have we run out of starvation, disease, tyrannies, mass murders, illiteracy and other problems, and are now forced to invent first-world problems to feed our needy ennui?

You know what’s a travesty, Nick? Millions of people unemployed. That’s a travesty. Government infringements on our basic rights. That’s a travesty. Hungry kids, incurable diseases, tin-pot dictators killing their own citizens, women getting their genitals mutilated in third-world shitholes, suicide bombers, thousands murdered by terrorists… That’s a travesty!

Some clerk opening your new expensive gadget for you instead of letting you do it DOES NOT QUALIFY!

Asshole!

Is it any wonder I want to go live on a deserted island?

Jessica Alba and other Hollywood twits know nothing about the Pledge of Allegiance

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In an effort to encourage drooling, catatonic, ignorant masses to vote for Teh Won in November, Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and other retards are engaged in a campaign encouraging supporters to take pictures of themselves with their hands on their hearts and a note explaining why they support President Obama.

“Growing up, my classmates and I started every day with a ritual: We’d stand up, put our right hand over our hearts, and say the Pledge of Allegiance,” explains Alba. “To me, that gesture was a promise. A promise to be involved and engaged in this country’s future. A promise to work for liberty and justice — and for affordable education, health care, and equality — for all.”

OK, let’s examine this a bit. The text of the original pledge, composed by Christian Socialist Francis Bellamy, reads as follows:

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

After another change that included  the name of our nation, Congress added “under God” in 1954. The text that has been in the US Code since then reads thusly:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible under God, with liberty and justice for all.

We could go on and on about whether the words “under God” should even be included, and whether they violate the separation of church and state… blah, blah, blah. That’s not what this post is about, so if you’re wishing to bloviate on the issue, and expect me to care, I don’t.

I do, however, want to address the pledge and its intent.

We pledge allegiance to the flag – the symbol of the United States of America  and the republic for which it stands. The flag doesn’t stand for a simple democracy. It stands for the republic created by our founders.

One nation indivisible (feels sort of fake even saying these words sometimes, given the amount of division this country is currently experiencing) – the pledge is an expression to the nation that was created – a nation that came together as one country – under one flag.

With liberty and justice for all. Liberty. Freedom. Justice – equality under the law, rightfulness, lawfulness…

First and foremost, I don’t see anything in this pledge that directs us to vote for or support an individual or a leader. It’s a pledge of dedication to a nation of ideals and principles, and to somehow skew and twist it to conform to a demented pledge of allegiance to a politician is a really sick distortion.

Second, pledging allegiance to a politician smacks of the cult of personality, that worship of a “cool” leader who reaches out and draws the cattle to him.

Third, liberty and justice are not equivalent to free services for all, regardless of whether or not the providers are willing to bestow said services. Education is not a right. Health care is not a right. No matter how much these vapid Hollywood idjits blather on about equal rights, you cannot advocate the use of government force to compel one group to give up what they have worked for in order to give it to a group that hasn’t earned it and then call it justice.

Is it justice to force a doctor, who has spent 10 years in school, worked long hours, slept little, used every effort to hone his skills and be the best physician he can be, to provide a service to someone who will not pay him for said expertise? Is it fair to force said doctor to provide his blood, sweat and tears, without allowing him to set his own value for his own work, because someone else uses their need as a claim ticket?

Here’s a clue, bimbettes: any time you have to use force to give a service provided by someone else free of charge to one group, that is not justice! Any time you penalize those who have achieved and succeeded by taking away what they have by force and giving it to those who haven’t achieved the same merely because they have more, that’s not justice!

And yes, education, as desirable as it is for everyone, is also a service. It is provided by someone to someone.

Force ≠ Justice.

Need ≠ Legitimate Claim.

Here’s another clue, bimbettes: as women you DO have equal rights. You have the right to achieve. You have the right to succeed. You have the right to work. You have the right to make your own choices about your life. Government doesn’t have any authority to prevent you from doing so. Is life always fair? No. Are employers always just? No. Will the outcome of your work be always satisfactory? No. Nonetheless, you do not have the right to advocate the use of government force to force equality of outcome.  Sometimes employers are unfair. Sometimes they’re outright jerks. And sometimes they make stupid decisions. But in this country, we have the freedom to be unfair and ignorant, as well as to make stupid decisions. We also have the right to deal with the consequences of said decisions. (Note that after hysterical losers went on an economic rampage against Chick-fil-A because of the CEO’s personal views, the company apparently changed its policies and promised to stop giving money to anti-gay groups. Government force not required, nor would it have been appreciated. And as stupid pointless as I thought your protests were, they produced results.) Employers have the right to make decisions with which you disagree, and you have no right to compel them to change using government force, while screeching about “equality.”

Equality of opportunity ≠ Equality of outcome.

Government force to promote your personal views ≠ Justice

Oh, and by the way, you have the right to contraception. You don’t have the right to force me to pay for it.

And none of it has anything to do with the pledge of allegiance – whether it’s the original text or the current one.

So please, keep your day jobs and stick to what you know: pretending to be someone else, clothes, shoes and parties.

About those defense cuts…

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The one thing that any sovereign nation needs is a strong defense force. We need to effectively protect our borders, ensure our national security abroad and take care of our wounded warriors. Of course, we also need to balance the federal checkbook. But how can it be done with all these competing priorities?

To be sure there are cuts to be made.

There are weapon systems, aircraft, etc. the Pentagon doesn’t even want, but Congress keeps forcing the DoD to purchase them. For instance, in 2010 the DoD told Congress it needed no more C-17 transport aircraft. “We have enough C-17s,” said Mike McCord, the principal deputy undersecretary of defense (comptroller). “Money spent on things we don’t need takes away from those we do need.” So what did Congress do?

Along with Mr. McCord, Maj. Gen. Susan Y. Desjardins, the director of strategic plans for Air Mobility Command, and Alan Estevez, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for logistical and materiel readiness, repeated Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ position against the purchase of more C-17 Globemaster IIIs to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs’ federal financial management subcommittee.

All three defense officials agreed with the subcommittee’s leaders, Sens. Thomas Carper and John McCain, that the C-17, in addition to the C-5 Galaxy, has been critical to airlift in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan. However, they said, the military’s current fleet of 223 C-17s and 111 C-5s is more than enough airlift capability for years to come.

A department study that concluded in February was consistent with two other studies that found that the current fleet is sufficient “even in the most demanding environments” to take the military through 2016, Mr. McCord said.

The oldest plane in the transport fleet, Lockheed’s C-5, will be viable until 2025, and the fleet as a whole should last until 2040, he said.

The department has not requested C-17s, built by Boeing, since the fiscal 2007 budget, yet Congress has added them every year since, spending about $1.25 billion on C-17s “that we don’t want or need,” said Mr. McCord, who was a 21-year staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee before his current appointment.

And why would that be? Well, in this case, I’d have to agree with (GASP!) Think Progress and say: Lobbying.

As Congressional Quarterly pointed out, Congress’ insistence on funding a plane the Pentagon doesn’t want is “due in no small part to the lobbying efforts of Boeing Co., which builds the planes in California, Missouri, Georgia, Connecticut and elsewhere.”

Hmmmm. I wonder whose districts those are!

And then there was the F-35 boondoggle.

Condemned as a $450 million-a-year boondoggle earmark from House leaders who represent General Electric jet engine workers, supporters on the GOP-controlled House Armed Services Committee yesterday included a provision in the fiscal 2012 Pentagon spending bill that would force the department to continue the dueling engine programs for the Joint Strike Fighter.

Section 215 of the markup from the tactical air and land forces committee, however, does not include any funding. Instead, it limits spending for improvements to the F-35 Lightning II propulsion system, now focused only on Pratt & Whitney engines, unless the secretary of defense continues with the General Electric engine project.

A committee spokesman said that the panel continues to feel that having Pratt & Whitney and GE-Rolls Royce continue competing to supply the F-35 engine will save money and provide a better product.

Today there’s this: in one of the more ridiculous moves I’ve seen lately, the DoD is purchasing 1500 Chevy Volts. Not even kidding. In an effort to “green up” the military support faltering Government Motors sales and minimize their losses, the military is now buying a bunch of these idiot vehicles! It certainly doesn’t matter that the public has no desire to purchase these potential death traps, which may or may not have a tendency to catch fire when left plugged in. The government will force you to pay for them anyway – and purchase a whole lot of them at the bargain price of $49,000 per tin can!

And there’s, of course, the Navy’s “green fleet,” which purchases biofuels at nearly $27 per gallon in an effort to prop up the current administration’s environmental policies, no doubt.

Meanwhile…

Military retirees’ health care costs are getting jacked up. So much for not balancing the budget on the backs of military veterans, eh?

The Marines will cut four battalions and 12 air squadrons, as it cuts 20,000 personnel to meet budgetary constraints.

And more than a million jobs could be lost as a result of looming cuts.

We have a priorities problem. Cutting budgets is not the issue.

Buying stupid, politically correct, unneeded crap is the problem.

What happens when government takes over?

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When the Obama Administration took over General Motors, we were all assured that this was a “good thing.”

“American taxpayers are now positioned to recover more than my administration invested in GM, and that’s a good thing,” Obama said, speaking of the government’s $50 billion taxpayer-backed rescue of the venerable automaker.

Several years later, we have to ask ourselves: was this really a good thing?

The taxpayers now own 26.5% of the company.

GM can’t seem to get its shit straight, and once again has to turn to the government for help – this time to the DoD, which will purchase 1,500 pathetic Chevy volts at the bargain price of $40K each to make the military just a bit more “green” – something ordinary citizens obviously don’t see as a value.

GM loses up to $49,000 on every Volt it builds; it has sold only 13,500 Volts this year, 33.75% of its 40,000 goal; and the assembly plant that makes Volts will be closed for four weeks beginning September 17 due to low sales.

GM’s initial investment in the Volt was over $1 billion, and since its release, the company has spent even more trying to re-engineer the vehicle for a flaw which has led to it catching fire when charging overnight.

(As an aside, we apparently don’t have the resources to properly fund veterans’ health care, but it’s OK to purchase an expensive, possibly dangerous hunk of junk that might catch on fire, to prop up GM?)

The government has imposed pay restrictions on the company, limiting its ability to pay top dollar for top talent.

GM wants to buy back 200 million of the roughly 500 million shares that the government holds and ask Treasury to resell the remaining shares through a public stock offering, but at roughly $24 per share, the taxpayers stand to lose a lot of money. Hell, I wouldn’t want to purchase shares in a company that is known as “Government Motors” either.

So how was this a good thing, again?

Your awesome dog video for today

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Meet Loca the Singing Pug, who can’t feckin’ run.

There’s nothing more awesome (aside from a large, drooling, farting St. Bernard, of course) than a pug from Belfast, Ireland who sings.

 

You don’t say!

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You mean pumping a bunch of worthless paper into the economy, diluting the value of the currency and artificially depressing interest rates makes a nation less credit-worthy?

Ratings firm Egan-Jones cut its credit rating on the U.S. government to “AA-” from “AA,” citing its opinion that quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve would hurt the U.S. economy and the country’s credit quality.

[...]

In its downgrade, the firm said that issuing more currency and depressing interest rates through purchasing mortgage-backed securities does little to raise the U.S.’s real gross domestic product, but reduces the value of the dollar.

In turn, this increases the cost of commodities, which will pressure the profitability of businesses and increase the costs of consumers thereby reducing consumer purchasing power, the firm said.

No shit! Really?

Thanks, TheBenBernanke!

Perhaps you should go back to Princeton… or Goldman Sachs… or hell.

If I want economic expertise, I’ll ask the guy who mows my lawn. At least he understands the value of a dollar.

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