William Thien

Archive for the ‘Political Observations’ Category

Because of the holiday I had Monday off and was watching the morning show/news/whatever you call it and the two talking heads, both females which I shall not name, were interviewing one of America’s best athletes who had just won a Silver Medal in a skiing competition. This was his second contest and he was very proud of his success winning the medal as all Americans should be. He was beaming with pride. It was great to watch.

So, these two talking heads were interviewing him about the great moment and ‘how did it feel?’ and ‘what were you thinking at the time?’ and it was all very exciting to watch.

Then, as if to derail the athlete’s magical moment and that of all of the American’s who were watching and enjoying his success and that of the country’s, one of the imbeciles interviewing him asked him something to the effect of, “so how was it getting over your substance abuse problems after the last Olympics?”

Luckily, the athlete kept his composure and he brought his hand to his face to keep from grimacing, it was clear, (who wouldn’t) and he responded that he was glad things were better or something like that. It’s not really important what he said in the context of this observation.

What is significant is that it appears to me that The United States is way down in the medal count during this Olympics. At least that’s what the sports casters are saying. And there really is no reason for it at least that they can see.

I tell you there is a reason. In any other country on the planet that athlete would be seen as a national hero. The gleam of the metal he brought back, Silver, would be seen as a brilliant, shiny gleam that brought great pride to the country as well as to the athlete as a result of his outstanding performance. But not in America! No, not with a venomous corporate media that is willing to destroy the very morale of every athlete at The Olympics and that of the country merely for the sake of ratings (and who knows if the “surprise!” question about the athlete’s substance abuse problem even did anything for the ratings).

Imagine the questions that arose in the minds of all of the other athletes on the team that were watching the interview or that heard about it. Gee, if I win a medal and get interviewed, are the media going to ask me about my personal problems, weaknesses? Has the media been out there digging up dirt on me that I don’t know about.

Imagine what that does to the athlete. You know what it does? It demoralizes the athlete. It causes the athlete to second guess themselves. Such questions by the media are the introduction of doubt into the mind of an athlete that must believe, that must believe they can do it, that they can overcome the incredible physical and mental pain many of the events cause to the athlete, that they can overcome a mindset of defeat in order to achieve success.

That question was such a diversion from the wonderful moment, so destructive jab, a poisonous production call (I’m sure someone on the interviewer’s headset told her to ask the question), the question was such a shock to the athlete and the viewer that it could have been meant to be nothing other than a slight, meant to be destructive to his morale. There can be no question.

Were I there, within arms reach of that producer or the interviewer, well ask anyone who knows me, there would be no telling what would have happened.

That was uncalled for. There was no need for that comment at all!

If you ask me, the media needs to learn a lesson or two or three or maybe a whole lot of lessons about what they are doing to this country.

Yes.

Copyright © William Thien 2018

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The founding fathers didn’t see corporate America coming when they were around and there is one quote by George Washington that I believe were he still alive today he would have expanded upon a bit and that is:

“A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”

I believe were Washington still alive today he would have added “and corporations.” at the very end of that statement.

The operative word in that quote is “abuse” as in “abuse them.”

Modern American corporations, particularly media corporations, often take in more revenue and have more power than entire states in the union. Such corporations are subject to fewer laws and have more authority and control over our lives as their reach is greater even than the borders of the land. Consolidation of resources and complete and total control of the marketplace means that such corporations can ABUSE, ostracize, ridicule, and even make it impossible for citizens to live comfortably and without fear of persecution or access to resources within a given community or the country for that matter, making daily life more uncomfortable, more unsettling than any government could. Corporations often act that way because they can, not because they need to in order to be profitable or to protect themselves but because our elected make it possible for them to do so, removing layer upon layer of regulation that protect the consumer and giving corporations carte blanche to do whatever they want, whether it makes those corporations more profitable or not. It’s clearly an absolute power corrupts absolutely thing.

So, were George Washington still alive I believe he would have expanded upon his quote and it would say something more like:

“A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government AND CORPORATIONS.”

I’m not saying we should start shooting up corporations, nothing like that. Rather, I’m saying if corporations don’t act in the best interest of the public and individuals, they should not expect the protection, whether they seek it in the courts or the media, they should not expect the protections of the government and tax payers from a response in kind to their own transgressions against the people whether they be an individual or people in the plural sense.

I’m a capitalist conservative and there times even I believe that. Shhhh! I’m not supposed to say anything, though, so don’t tell anyone I did say it.

Copyright © William Thien 2018

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As tax time approaches once again I wanted you to read one of my most popular essays, America’s Unfair Tax Code and The Brown Headed Cowbird. I have debated often about socialism and communism in The United States and how socialism and communism are implemented through the tax code and in that way their effects are less obvious, though still pernicious. I will be talking a lot about America’s tax code in the next couple of months. To my friends and colleagues who utilize the tax breaks I speak of, I say, use them. Don’t feel guilty for my meager commentary on what is unfair about them. Were I in your shoes, I would do the same. But know they must change. The tax code must be made fair. It was in fact the unfair tax code during colonial times that led to the formation of this country and I don’t see that things should ever change in that regard.

America’s Unfair Tax Code and The Brown Headed Cowbird

An associate of mine was telling me that he had received a substantial tax refund this year and when comparing it to mine I was rather surprised as it was many thousands of dollars more. During the time that we have worked together, he has received close to a year’s salary in total tax refunds more than I. That’s substantial and a bit of an insult to me since we have the same position and are paid exactly the same. We are not businessmen so we do not have a large number of operating costs we can write off. We both make the same amount of money. He is married, I am not, but that was only a minor difference. The major difference between his tax return and mine was that he has five children.

On his tax return each of his children represented a large deduction to his earnings and as a result, he received a substantially larger tax refund than I did. At first I thought, OK, raising children is expensive these days, why shouldn’t he get some help from the government (that’s us the taxpayers, by the way)? But then the thought occurred to me (I didn’t tell him and I hope he doesn’t read my blog) that his children are going to public schools and at times he has used public services for medical support of his family. Again, there is nothing wrong with that. It is good that we offer the best public education in the world and can provide medical support to families in need.

But to give him a tax break substantially larger than mine when in fact he uses more public services than I do, uses more services in a substantially greater amount than I do, seems like foolish and definitely unfair tax policy. What is essentially happening is that I am paying for his children to attend school and to obtain free health care. The tax break, the deduction that he receives is possible because I do not receive the tax break. In essence I am paying to raise his children. That’s how they offer him a tax break. They take it from me in some way or another and give it to him in the form of a deduction.

In the region of the country where I live there is a bird that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds and then lets the other birds rear their young. The name of the bird is The Brown Headed Cowbird. It sneaks up to another bird’s nest when the other bird is away foraging and deposits its egg in the other bird’s nest. When the bird that is out foraging returns to the nest, more often than not they simply begin incubating the Brown Headed Cowbird’s egg along with their own and then they rear the fledgling as if it was their own. Sometimes the host bird can’t raise its own and is only able to raise the fledgling of the Brown Headed Cowbird due to diminished resources in that vicinity and the voracity of the Cowbird fledgling.

It occurs to me that much like the unwitting bird who is rearing the Brown Headed Cowbird’s egg, the invader’s egg, a parasite as defined by ornithologists, I am paying to raise the children of others. If you ask me, that is unfair tax policy. Some might say, well that’s just the way it is, and I myself, I’m not certain I have a problem with that really.

But perhaps many of the problems we have with balancing governmental budgets, many of the problems we have with massive abuses of the huge system of entitlements we have in this country stems from the perception that people have originating from the tax code. Can we afford to have another child? Heck yea! It’s a tax break! And as families have more and more children using more and more government services, we as a country are at a loss for how to pay for those services used because we in fact give people a tax break for using them. In a sense, that is what is happening. And similar tax policies apply to corporations as well for conducting certain types of business or using certain types of resources, natural resources even.

No business in their right mind pays people 100 percent of the cost of their products to purchase their products. You will not find one truly successful business that says, “we will give you five dollars for every hamburger you buy from us.” Instead of you paying us, we will pay you. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Until of course it comes time to pay all those people behind the counter, the servers, the ones cooking the food, the maintenance people. Where is the money? Well, boss, we gave it to the customers. Well, where are they? Get the money back! They are at the restaurant across the street eating with the money we gave them. Well whose harebrained idea was it to give them the money in the first place?

It seems to me that if we want to balance the country’s budget and the budgets of all of the states and municipalities we need realistic tax codes and policies that address budget disparities, tax policies that somehow seek payment for services used and not payment to the users, particularly the Brown Headed Cowbirds of America.

It’s only fair.

Or, how about this? Do you have a Brown Headed Cowbird living in your back yard? Check this box for your standard Brown Headed Cowbird deduction, and if you are a corporation, double the deduction.

Copyright © William Thien 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

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I recently received a note from one of my credit cards that said due to the massive security breach at Equifax I should do my taxes early in order to avoid having someone false file them.

As a result I have been paying closer attention than normal to the tax bill recently ratified by our elected. This tax plan calculator gives you a guesstimate of how the new tax plan will affect your taxes.

Trump Tax Plan Calculator: http://taxplancalculator.com/

One of the pros of this new tax plan is that corporations have had the taxation of profits lowered substantially. That is the meat of the tax plan if you ask me. And that’s a good thing. The previous rendition of the tax code drove profits offshore into secretive banking accounts and resulted in lost tax revenue and the offshoring of jobs. Makes you wonder who the F is running this country, Americans or foreigners? You know what they say? Follow the money.

So The Trump Administration gets some serious Kudos for that. Great job! Bring it back home, Donny! Way to go!

In my case, since I have no property or dependents to write off, the only benefit to my taxes was that my standard deduction was doubled and that resulted, supposedly, (guesstimate) in an annual savings of $577, not much when were I to put in several dependents and a piece of property on my filing, my refund would be pretty substantial.

Now that’s not to say it is not a good taxation scheme (all systems of taxation in The US appear to me to be some form of lobbied “scheme” and that’s exactly what they are). And the benefit many received in the form of mortgage interested deductions has been reduced. To me, that makes good fiscal sense. The fact that the dependent tax credit was increased substantially to me is fiscal folly. Most of those dependents use public services throughout their lives (50% of all babies birthed last year used Medicaid. 50%. And they got a tax break, too. Really!) and to give a tax break to those who use those services is like paying people to buy your products. Unless you are the government, you won’t be in business very long. But hey, how else are our elected going to get re-elected? Half of them can’t even form a complete sentence, so they have to give our money away. That’s all they know, and there isn’t anything you can do about it. Or is there?

So, it is still an extremely unfair tax code if you ask me, just less so than before. And for that, I have to give kudos to our elected which ratified the new “scheme.” The others, they can take a long walk off a short pier.

Let’s hope it is a start that gets the ball rolling in the right direction. Maybe there will be some momentum to improve taxation in The United Sates. Let’s hope they can bring our taxes down more and tax those that deserve to be taxed, tax those who use all the services for example, and provide some relief for those who use very few services instead of just the opposite, which is what it is now. WTF?!

Because though we don’t have a socialist government, it is through the tax code that massive wealth is redistributed in this country (so basically we have a socialist government) and that doesn’t seem to have changed much with this new taxation “scheme.”

There are some good things in this new scheme of taxation and some serious things that still need to be addressed, with fairness being the biggest issue to me that needs to be addressed.

So Kudos are in store.

But because it involves taxes, I have to say kudos…kudos so far, so good, so what.

Because at my age, when I look back at how much someone with some children and a house payment received in tax refunds over the years compared to what I have received when making the same salary but with no children or property, I could have bought a house for cash with what that money the other has received in refunds, yet they use all the government services in comparison.

Through the tax code the socialist US government has been giving them my income because they have children and a house payment and taxing me and people like myself in order to do that.

And you know what that is? That ain’t right, that’s what that is. Doesn’t matter which way you look at it. I’m just the first one to say anything about it and you can bet they are working overtime to shut me up, too. You can bet on it. Because that’s what communism does. That’s what collectivism is. It’s mob rule whether they are right or wrong.

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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I recall late one afternoon returning along the footpath from Tijuana, Mexico to San Diego. We were on leave. A rush of people lurched suddenly across the footpath in front of us. There were maybe forty people, perhaps more. They had crawled through a large car-sized hole made in the fortified hurricane fencing that was the perimeter of the border, raced across the footpath, and through another hole in the fence on the American side. Then, hunched down as if to escape detection they dispersed in a matter of seconds among the cars in a large parking lot and were gone, free to move about as they like, now in America.

A few moments later a border patrol helicopter hovered in with a floodlight swirling around the cars in the parking lot and then it too vanished, discovering nobody.

That was in 1994, twenty-three years ago.

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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Most white Americans want nothing to do with any racist or fascist organization but often such organizations are the only organizations publicly enumerating white grievance in The US, where the government and the media often falsely place historical guilt upon white Americans to increase tax levies upon the middle classes, for all manner of social programs, many of which whites pay for but benefit from very little.

While white Americans also comprise a relatively stable number in population, minorities that benefit from such social programs are increasing in size, some of them dramatically, at rates unprecedented in American history.

So, while America’s population of whites remains relatively the same, the tax burden to pay for such social programs and the use AND ABUSE of such social programs is increasing dramatically, correspondingly increasing the burden upon white Americans whose population stays relatively the same.

Attempts by white Americans to organize and enumerate their grievances publicly have been met with 1st Amendment transgressions by municipal leadership or pandering to violent reactionaries in such cities as Berkeley and Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, and Baltimore.

Any attempts by white Americans to organize in the public square are now met almost automatically with false and slanderous calls of fascism and racism by the media and municipal governments as well as the threat of violence from reactionaries.

Unless there is change there will come a day when white America will no longer stand for it.

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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One of the more interesting aspects to me of social media are the inevitable conspiracy theories that appear after every tragedy. To me this phenomenon of what are often regular people trying to explain an event in direct contradiction to the media “party line” is a valuable analytical tool, if you want to call it that.

Though many of the conspiracy theories I read on one social media platform or another are just that, theories that have no factual basis, those theories nevertheless enhance the analytical process by demonstrating a different perspective that often solidifies public information on the matter or supports an alternative conclusion I may have reached.

Prior to social media, there was only the media “party line” that was prevalent on all readily accessible media outlets, no matter how quickly you could change the channel or turn the page.

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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