William Thien

During the previous presidential election cycle Mitt Romney made the remark that corporations are “people.” This was a surprise to many in the public, but it is true. From the standpoint of the tax code and corporate law, corporations are treated as people.

As a staunch conservative and a recent graduate of one of the most prestigious MBA programs in the country I probably shouldn’t say this, but the problem with “corporations as people” is that the “people” many corporations portray are bullies and sociopaths and those corporate “people” often display the most anti-social, psychopathic behaviors, demonstrating complete disregard for the environment or treating The American Public and employees like chattel.

I think the big disconnect when it comes to understanding that corporations are treated like “people” by the law arises when there is the realization that were certain corporations truly “people,” those figurative corporate-people would be locked up or worse, dead by now were those corporations truly, really “people.”

I should also state here that I am not calling for any generalized reform. I think the system of regulation works quite well in most cases. I am merely explaining the motivation of a particular group of voters during this presidential election cycle.

To me this is one reason Bernie Sanders is doing so well against Hillary Clinton. His followers have reached a similar conclusion.

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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Last year one of my favorite sports personalities came clean about his use of “performance enhancing drugs.” It was a big deal in the media.

To me what was really disturbing about the episode, though, was not so much that he used steroids, or whatever he was using, but that almost immediately a regional convenience store and gasoline chain dropped its endorsement of the guy.

At first I suppose you could say, “Well, I guess he had it coming to him.”

But at the time the price of gasoline was well over $3 a gallon, closer to $4 a gallon, and it had remained at that level for several years.

It occurred to me that the convenience store chain’s move to drop their endorsement of the guy was a bit hypocritical.

Here they were raising the price of gasoline when someone sneezed in a foreign country or when the weather changed one way or the other (they used both as excuses), or when there was a tropical storm in some other part of the world, or when one single fuel truck somewhere ran off the road, or when some politician was caught for infidelity, or when some little war somewhere flared up, or when the seasons changed, or when there was a holiday and people were traveling, or when global warming was announced, then climate change, then it was determined that global warming might not happen, then only when climate change happened some times, then when baby boomers started retiring, when some volcano somewhere fired up, when it flooded somewhere, when there was a drought, when it snowed, when it rained, when the sun was shining, on cloudy days, when birds started migrating, when the birds returned, and the list goes on and on.

Here and everywhere else the gasoline station/convenience store chain was giving it pretty thoroughly to everyone up the you know what along with all of the others who sell gasoline and totally mucking up the economy, eating up everyone’s discretionary income, and THEY, yes THEY were dropping the endorsement of some guy who used performance enhancing drugs so he looked a little better on the field.

I tell you what!

Why don’t they take the ethanol out of my gasoline because that definitely doesn’t enhance the performance of my car and it is driving up the cost of food, too. Why don’t they stop adding water to the gasoline? That would help, particularly at this time of year. And take all of those varnish type solutions out of the gasoline so I can store it for a couple of years like I used to be able to do. If you ask me, America’s fuel supply could use some “performance enhancements” itself, particularly now that the price of gasoline though down recently is going right back up.

Needless to stay I stopped buying my gasoline from that convenience store chain.

Copyright © William Thien 2015

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Recently two westerners were convicted of crimes against the state in North Korea, a communist country that I’ve written about in the past, and both westerners were subject to harsh sentences to be served in North Korean prison camps, which is often a death sentence.

The sentence for one of the indicted, a student named Otto Warmbier, will be fifteen years of hard labor in a North Korean prison camp for attempting to take a propaganda poster home with him upon his return from a college trip.

Another, a Korean born American convicted of stealing secrets and “unpardonable espionage” received only a ten year sentence.

Aside from the disparity in sentences for the two seemingly different levels of crime, one rather petty and the other considered serious by all governments, the thought occurred to me that the reason for the harsh sentences, which are somewhat out of character for westerners, is that North Korea is reacting to the idiotic film that recently came out of Hollywood and Sony Pictures titled “The Interview,” where the leader of North Korea is spoofed rather thoroughly and his head is exploded while the country of North Korea is mocked rather severely.

Otto Warmbier, a college student on a visit, merely attempted to take a propaganda poster as a sort of triumphal souvenir that we all might be tempted to snatch at that age and his sentence was substantially longer than that of Kim Dong Chul, who was convicted of espionage.

This may seem like a stretch, but the major differences in punishment and the methods North Korea used to announce the punishments indicate to me that North Korea is administering revenge for the ridiculous film “The Interview” produced by Sony Pictures. What else explains the differences in punishment for two substantially different levels of crime? We have little to go on but North Korea is a reclusive, communist country. What else is there? In fact, the mere absence of anything to go on indicates to me that it is exactly that, a response to the movie which explains the harsh sentences.

In my previous writings on the subject of the arrangement of North and South Korea and the DMZ I intimated that The US has received the short end of the stick in the matter.

Now it appears The US is getting wrapped over the hands with that same stick and is not only losing out economically from the unusual arrangement South Korea profits so thoroughly from, The US is being substantially marginalized by what appears to me to be perhaps some unspoken agreement between North and South Korea to perpetuate the arrangement that will certainly not end well for The US.

Copyright © William Thien 2016

 

Trump is right, the primary elections are rigged and to top it off there is substantial collusion between the two remaining candidates that trail Trump. No longer is it every man (or woman) for himself, it has become a socialistic political scheme to save a system most conservatives want to see change.

Now I don’t claim any one candidate is better than the other, but after making Trump sign the GOP pledge, something the party made no other candidate sign in such dramatic fashion, such collusive behavior on the part of the other two candidates should disqualify them. The GOP is not policing its own ranks.

It makes you wonder if this is all merely political histrionics to maintain the public’s attention or does it indicate something else?

Copyright © William Thien 2016

 

Whereas the individual tax payer has been made a tax surrogate and has been indentured by the tax code on behalf of unrelated others:

If the (a) government is going to tax an individual taxpayer at a rate or using a method that is different from others simply because the others own property or have a family with dependents, if the government is going to tax an individual taxpayer so that they must pay proportionately more in tax or so that they see less of a return for their efforts after taxes when compensated than others who own property or have a family, that is blatantly unfair to the individual tax payer.

The fact that someone has a family or the fact that someone is making mortgage payments on property are the result of life choices made by that particular person or family. They should not receive a lower tax rate or be taxed using a method that is different from an individual who has not made those same choices, particularly when the there is a greater likelihood that more government services are used by the family or the property owner.

These are the facts. The fact that it is difficult and expensive to raise a family or the fact that making mortgage payments is financially burdensome are invalid reasons to tax someone unrelated to those activities to compensate for the cost of those activities.

 

As I writer I understand the depth and significance of the ‘freedom of speech’ clause in The US Constitution rather plainly.

No where does it say that members of the media can follow citizens around in real-time and collect information about citizens in real-time or monitor their internet activity (as a contemporary example). No where does it say the media can take physical action of any kind or harass, but that is exactly what the media does.

You see that type of behavior quite frequently today as the media becomes more tabloid in format, behavior such as character assassination if you are running for office and don’t buy lots of ad space like your competition, following subjects around in cars if they have an interesting life (public persons) or are trying to bring some form of social change, none of it having anything to do with actual “press” activity but rather more often than not corporate activity to achieve ratings. Simply because you step outside your door does not entitle some media corporation a full invasion of your privacy for the sake of ratings, whether you are a public person or not.

The Supreme Court has examined the matter somewhat from time to time and has fallen in favor of corporatized media intrusiveness. But the Supreme Court has also ruled that money is speech. Money is not speech. Clearly The Supreme Court has a twisted sense of the matter and is likely somewhat derelict.

It could be that members of The Supreme Court are themselves afraid of the media, a powerful and seemingly uncontrolled institution in contemporary society to which we are clearly meant all to live in fear of, as the media plays the moralist, selectively of course.

If we are living in fear of anything, the government, gangs, whatever, the only entity that exists today which is given a clear mandate and a protection to spread fear is the media, we are told by the media. That protection, the media claim, is called The First Amendment, which is of course a false, self-serving interpretation.

Maybe it is time for a new amendment to the constitution that governs how the media (no longer “the press” to which The First Amendment refers, now something more complex and all-encompassing), maybe it is time for a new amendment that governs how the contemporary, intrusive, parasitic corporate media behaves.

Yes, I think it is.

Copyright © William Thien 2016

The FED and the administration have been saying inflation is under control but the numbers tell us otherwise. In a recent article on Reuters it was determined that many major pharmaceutical manufacturers are charging prices as much as one hundred percent (100 %) higher than just five years ago for necessary medications. Is it inflation? Is it price gouging? Is it ethical? One thing is for sure, the prices are up. That signifies inflation.

Read the article here, Makers took big price increases on widely used U.S. drugs.

Drug price increases at 100 percent over five years and inflation is under control? What’s that you say?

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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