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Who: Kimball Corson. Text and Photos not disclaimed or that are obviously not mine are copyright (c) Kimball Corson 2004-2013
Port: Lake Pleasant, AZ
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Two American Extremes
Kimball Corson
09/02/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

The American Divide

In the hardest places to live in the United States -- areas of Kentucky, Arkansas, Maine, New Mexico and Oregon -- people spend a lot of time thinking about and web researching weight loss diets, religion, guns and health problems. In the easiest places to live -- Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming and much of the large metropolitan areas of the Northeast and West Coast -- people spend a lot of time thinking about and researching cameras, technological devices and foreign vacations.

The hardest and easiest places to live were based on an analysis of six factors including income, education and life expectancy.The rise of inequality over the last four decades has created two very different Americas, and life is a lot harder in one of them, as their preferences clearly indicate.

On Over Paid CEO's and Crooked CEO's
Kimball Corson
09/01/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Crooked and Not So Crooked Over Paid CEO's

Every year for the last 20 years, the Institute for Policy Studies has looked at the compensation packages of the top 25 highest-paid CEOs as defined by the Wall Street Journal. That's 500 annual spots. Of those, 112 were held by Wall Street CEOs who drove their companies to bankruptcy or bailout. Another 39 were held by CEOs who ended up being terminated. A final 38 were taken by executives who ended up paying fines or settlements arising from fraud charges. That's 189 out of 500, or 38 percent. Basically, two of every five of America's highest paid CEOs behaved in a way that, if they were regular workers, would have gotten them fired, disgraced, possibly prosecuted--maybe even jailed.

And these are just those who did miserably by those few measures. Lower profits, marketing and product misjudgments and the like are not included in the tally which would likely take it to 50 plus percent, more misfeasance rather than malfeasance.

The point is they are not a stellar lot and as such are over paid. They are not deserving, brilliant and hard working wunderkinds, as Greg Mankiew, a professor at Harvard argues while indoctrinating his students who occasionally revolt or boycott his classes. Harvard does too little about him. But the propaganda machine nationwide grinds on with Mankiew doing his small part.

The Roots of Progressivism
Kimball Corson
09/01/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

The Origins of Progressivism

Richard Hofstadter, in his classic work of historical analysis "The Age of Reform," published in 1955, argued that it was the disgust and disruption felt by those who had previously occupied the highest ranks of the social order toward the new superseding class of self-lavishing bankers and industrialists that ultimately allowed the Progressive movement to flourish. The undermining of status radicalized the formerly complacent, and class politics took shape because one segment of the population had so much money that the merely respectable could now identify with the actually poor.

The key word here has to be "allowed." Otherwise, I contend the argument fails and it might anyway. The roots of Progressivism can not be fairly said to have arisen from the peak felt by the "very rich" at being overtaken by the new "filthy rich." To be sure, curbs and restrictions on excesses bordering on nuisance were sought and imposed to clip the wings of the "filthy rich,", but this cannot fairly account for Progressive sentiment even when it gets carried away. Progressivism is a larger concept and one more principled.

It arises from repeated longer run observations of societal problems and fissures either caused by, or at least not remedied by the private enterprise system, necessitating bold remedial governmental intervention and action and, of course, the removal of all impediments to such action.

Progressivism, of course, is anathema to conservatives who alternatively deny either the existence of such problems and fissures or that they are caused or not remedied by private enterprise. The desire for smaller government, more freedom and lower taxes induces this viewpoint far more than the reality of facts. For that reason, conservatism as such is no longer a credible position. It is barefaced opposition.

We drown in problems than cannot be denied. They are not caused by government. They clearly arise from the free enterprise system being in fact too free and from government action being insufficient and inadequate to remedy the problems. But conservatives cannot bring themselves to realize these matters because 1) the problems and fissures are profitable to them and 2) they do not care about the welfare of others. They hide behind their ideologies and proclaim them as distractions.

Progressives and conservatives war and for now we are stuck at loggerheads which is a substantial victory for conservatives. The status quo rules.

The only solution is to have the American populace wake up, care and show conservatives the political door. Of course voting is a first step here and we seem to have a problem doing that, so in some sense we are getting what we deserve. A banana republic status of sorts.

Boycott Koch Brothers Products
Kimball Corson
09/01/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

KOCH BROTHERS PRODUCTS TO BOYCOTT
(they are sensitive about money)

Angel Soft toilet paper
Brawny paper towels
Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
Mardi Gras napkins and towels
Quilted Northern toilet paper
Soft 'n Gentle toilet paper
Sparkle napkins
Vanity fair napkins
Zee napkins
Georgia-Pacific paper products and envelopes
Lycra
Stainmaster Carpet

This One Is Heart Wrenching
Kimball Corson
09/01/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

A New Jersey woman who worked four jobs to make ends meet has died while napping in her car between shifts.

Maria Fernandes, 32, of Newark, died Monday from a mix of carbon monoxide and fumes from an overturned gas container that she kept in her car. Police found Maria Fernandes dead in her car on Monday night, parked in a convenience-store parking lot in Elizabeth, N.J. Fernandes, 32, was wearing a Dunkin' Donuts uniform when she was found. A friend and fellow employees told officials she worked as many as four jobs a week, said Lt. Daniel Saulnier, a spokesman for the Elizabeth police department, often from 10 to 40 hours for each shift or job.

Hazmat investigators found that fumes in Fernandes' car were caused by a gasoline can that had spilled in the back, and from carbon monoxide in the exhaust of her running car which leaked into the passenger compartment. Friends told police that Fernandes kept gas in her car to avoid running out of gas when traveling between jobs. And she often slept in parking lots to get a few hours of rest between jobs, authorities said.

No foul play is suspected, according to Elizabeth Police Lt. Daniel Saulnier."This sounds like someone who tried desperately to work and make ends meet, and met with a tragic accident," Saulnier told NJ.com. Fernandes, who was born in Portugal before emigrating to the U.S., was beloved by her co-workers at Dunkin' Donuts. "She used to work like three shifts every day," one told NJ.com. "Sometimes she wouldn't sleep for five days."

"It is a very sad story and really tragic, and it shines a light on what is a real problem, particularly for low-wage workers, today," said Elizabeth Watson, senior counsel and director of workplace justice for women at the National Women's Law Center. (HuffPo)

Prison would have been easier. The life she didn't have, just to stay alive. It is sad. The minimum wage needs to be raised, if for no other reason than to at least keep up with inflation, but also to be more fair to those working.

The Human Value Scale of Conservative Republicans
Kimball Corson
08/31/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

The Republican Scale of What a Life is Worth
(or What One Wants His Daughter to Marry)

Another conservative Republican with money........................100 percent
Another conservative Republican without money.....................80
A RINO with money............................................................ 50
A RINO without money........................................................40
A white Democrat with money..............................................35
A white Democrat without money.........................................,25
A white female who is a homemaker......................................22
A Progressive with or without money......................................20
An educated Muslim in the USA earning good money................18
A white female who is a business woman.................................12
A welfare recipient who is white..............................................10
A white atheist.......................................................................9
A Black with or without money.................................................8
A Black atheist.......................................................................7
A welfare recipient who is Black...............................................4
An illegal immigrant, adult or child...........................................3
A fundamentalist foreign Muslim who talks a lot about Jihad........1

The table works on multiples, that is, one conservative Republican with money is worth 100 Jihadist Muslims, two monied Rinos, 5 Progressives, and ten white welfare recipients, etc.

The results here are from a recent Yuck Foundation survey. The methodology used was to measure with a decible meter how loudly Republican conservatives with money yelled when it was proposed their favorite daughter marry or have repeated, unprotected sex with another person in the different categories. The lower the number, the louder they yelled.

The Doctor Business
Kimball Corson
08/30/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

How Doctors Have Damaged their Medical Profession

Doctors are whining about not getting enough respect from the public, "patients, physician colleagues and administrators," not being able to spend enough time with patients "because of paperwork," their lack of status in the community, about how they have become " impatient, occasionally indifferent, at times dismissive or paternalistic" toward patients, about their flat or decreasing incomes, about their low morale, about all the mandated CYA in the practice of medicine and about the managed care generally and HMO's in particular.

I submit this viewpoint doesn't understand the true position of doctors.

The real problem is their excessive efforts to get more income are failing. In 1940, in inflation-adjusted 2010 dollars, the mean income for U.S. physicians was about $50,000. By 1970, it was close to $250,000--nearly six times the median household income. However, after 1970 doctors' incomes started to slip, notwithstanding the the AMA imposed shortage of doctors. In 1970, the average inflation-adjusted income of general practitioners was $185,000. In 2010, it was $161,000, Seeing more patients is what many doctors did.to hustle more income. But make no mistake about it -- the desire for more income is at the heart of doctors' problems.

Reports of fraudulent billing practices and schemes and also CYA waste in the form of tests and procedures by doctors became rampant. A congressional investigation found that in 1974, surgeons performed 2.4 million unnecessary operations, costing nearly $4 billion and resulting in nearly 12,000 deaths. In 1969, the president of the New Haven County Medical Society warned his colleagues "to quit strangling the goose that can lay those golden eggs." In an effort to increase their incomes, doctors saw more patients, spent less time with them and became impatient with, indifferent toward and dismissive of those patients. They ran unnecessary tests and performed unnecessary procedures -- all to earn more income and as CYA for malpractice suits.

The managed care programs which resulted from these practices curtailed their deliberate mismanagement efforts to get more income. That included more documentation about how they exercised their medical judgment, that is, the increase paperwork about which they whine.

These are the real reasons doctors now have less status and respect from the community,administrators and others, why they are frustrated, why they have the attitudes toward patients they do, why they spend so little time with them and why their medical judgment is being second guessed at every step along the way and carefully documented. And why they are unhappy now.

Timorous Us
Kimball Corson
08/29/2014, Pago Pago, American

We Quake in Fear

The UK's terror threat level has been raised from "substantial" to "severe"
thanks to the jihad of the Islamic State. Prime Minister David Cameron said at least 500 people have left Britain to fight with the jihadists in Syria and potentially Iraq A .
"substantial" threat means a terror attack on the U.K. is "highly likely," but
the government said there is no intelligence to indicate that an attack is
"imminent."The U.K. is now on the second highest of five possible terror alert
levels. The concern, of course, is the return of these people, illegally to be sure, as terrorists.

Seems the Middle East mess with the Islamic State is being exported. The US, Saudi Arabia and several other countries have the same concerns. Meanwhile we dither and wring our hands.

The Koch Brothers
Kimball Corson
08/29/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

As I have been saying . . .

The Koch Brothers

I have been writing about the Koch brothers and their friends literally for years now. The change in conservative reactions over time is interesting --

1) initially it was, silence --
2) then it was, Who?
3) then it became, They don't matter politically.
4) this changed to "Yeah, but Soros . . . or but the NEA"
5) now, it is as it was in beginning, silence --

Koch brothers has become a household phrase now. Only six year olds and wilderness hermits don't know about them, although few realize the scope of their activities and their financing efforts.

The Koch brothers alone have raised their commitment from $120 million for the midterms to $300 million and say they will do more if necessary -- whatever it takes to win the Senate The Republicans are outspending the Democrats 3 to 1 and Nate Silver, the predictor par excelance, says of the six close Senate races, the Republicans only need to pick up three to win the Senate.

The Democratic National Campaign Committee is becoming discouraged because its grass roots campaign is not producing the funds needed to fight back in this post Citizens United world. Even Mitch McConnell has come out and said the money in politics has gotten out of hand.

Christianity and Cannibalism
Kimball Corson
08/29/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Human Edibles

Until the eleventh commandment of Christianity sunk in here -- Thou shall not eat the missionaries or other white men -- residents of larger Samoa, as it was called then, ate white men with impunity. But the scene was not what we picture -- a missionary tied up in a big bubbling caldron or huge pot of water turning beet read. That was not how they were eaten.

The method was to tie the "Palangue" or white man to a tall stake and then the natives each with a knife would cut strips off him while he was alive and eat them raw. When he died, they finished picking the bones and tossed the carcass into the sea. However, the eventual infusion of Christianity cut down on the cannibalism.

It was not a good way to go.

The Islamic State
Kimball Corson
08/29/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

The Ideological Roots of the Islamic State
Are in Saudi Arabian Wahhabism

Saudi Arabia is a somewhat divided nation. Its ruling elite is nominally split between the much-oil-controlling Wahhabis (23 percent of the population) and more moderate Sunnis.The fissure has been covered over for some time now by adoption of the Three Pillars Doctrine of "One Ruler, One Authority, One Mosque; submit to it or be killed" These three pillars refer to the Saudi King, his absolute authority, and his control of "the word," the mosque. Old ibin Saud was a Wahhabi warrior.

It is a compromise to make Saudi Arabia work. However, the fissure remains between the Saudis and the Islamic State. The Islamic State denies the Three Pillars Doctrine on which the whole of Sunni/Saudi authority presently rests and believes it is just belated, self serving doctrinal gloss. This fissure is why the Islamic State is a grave threat to Saudi Arabia, both doctrinally and politically.

Saudi Arabia applauds the Islamic State's fight with Iranian backed Shiites and it applauds the new new Wahhabi state taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony. The Saudi Wahhabis particularly like the fact that the new State is adopting the core tenets of Wahhabism which bans any prayer to saints and dead loved ones, pilgrimages to tombs and special mosques, religious festivals celebrating prophets, the honoring of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad's birthday, and even prohibits the use of gravestones when burying the dead. Only Allah may be worshiped.

The enforcement means of Wahhabism is that those who do not conform to this view of worshiping "should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated." This ruthlessness is the key means of enforcing these beliefs and it is a cornerstone of Wahhabism and the Islamic State. Think of Wahhabism as as extremist Sunnism.

In conquering the cities and fiefdoms to create Saudi Arabia as a nation, beginning in 1902 and concluding in 1932, old Ibin Saud and his tribe adopted the strategy that the Islamic State uses today: it was to ruthlessly bring the peoples whom they conquered into doctrinal conformity by instilling fear and killing dissenters.

Ibn Saud also reintroduced the idea of martyrdom in the name of jihad and claimed it granted those martyred immediate paradise. The ruthless was also born of Ibin Saud. When he pillaged the city of Karbala, during his conquest, he slayed in the course of one day, in circumstances of peculiar cruelty, more than five thousand of its inhabitants ..." [My father and mother both met this King and each got to know him over dinners shortly before he died.]

With the oil bonanza and the funds from it, Saudi Arabia resolved its internal divisions with the Three Pillars Doctrine and "reached out and spread that version of Wahhabism across the Muslim world ... to "Wahhabize" Islam, thereby reducing the "multitude of voices within the religion" to a "single creed" center around the Three Pillars-- a movement which would transcend national divisions. Billions of dollars were -- and continue to be -- invested in this manifestation and projection of soft power which embedded Wahhabism educationally, socially and culturally throughout the lands of Islam.

But the Islamic State -- while profoundly Wahhabist -- is radicalized and modernized and it rejects the Three Pillars of one King, one authority and one core set of beliefs. It is a challenge to Saudi Arabia and the two nations are on a long run collision course. Home grown radical Wahhabists internally conduct terrorist attacks within Saudia Arabia. Today, the Islamic State is' undermining the legitimacy of the King of Saudi Arabia and is pressing for a return to the true origins of the Saudi-Wahhab project, and return to a purified version of Wahhabism without the Three Pillars Doctrine, which is the glue that holds the Saudi regime together for the present.

The effort is sure to create rifts and divisions within the Kingdom as the Islamic State succeeds..
Like

The Democrats Are Doing Well, But . . .
Kimball Corson
08/27/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

The Democratic Grassroots Fund Raising Campaign Is Doing Well

BUT Boehner, the Kochs, and all the Republicans continue to outspend the Democrats nearly 3-to-1. The Koch Brothers have committed almost $300 million so far, and that doesn't count what their friends are doing.

The Dems do not feel a need to match Republican spending to win, but they do think they need to stay in the ball park, and they also feel they are slipping in that regard.

It is a post Citizens United world where money talks and high public office is for sale. Damn our Supreme Court. Dark money is running wild. The Citizen United Court mistakenly assumed full disclosure but such laws have been effectively blocked.

Conservatives Are Wrong Again
Kimball Corson
08/27/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Why Conservatives Are Wrong About Social Security and Medicare

They want to privatize both in one fashion or another, but the smarter among us know the Wall Street wolves will steal the money by hook or by crook and leave not enough for a mouse to fasten a tooth on.

Now,, we have an example to prove it. Gov. Chris Christy -- trying to curry favor with Wall Street for his larger ambitions -- shifted New Jersey pension assets in the form of cash to Wall Street and quickly lost New Jersey retirees $3.8 billion dollars.

Additionally, we see how the profit motive has gutted health insurance and care in America. We get much less effective health care and less of it but pay double for it relative to the other OECD nations. For the same reasons police and fire protection are public trusts and not for private profit, retirement pensions and health care should be too.

It is a matter of optimum social organization in an era of relative lawlessness and greed.

On Qatar, the Enemy
Kimball Corson
08/27/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

On its face this deceptively liberal, rich and progressive country is a major source of terrorism and trouble in the Middle East. It is time for the world to wake up and know Qatar for what it is. Qatar has spared no cost to dress up its country as a rich and liberal society, but it is a fraud because at its core the micro monarchy is aggressively financing radical Islamist movements, including elements in the Islamic State including the Muslim Bortherhood and al Qaeda.

It also heavily funds Hamas whose leader Khaled Meshal, fears the Mossad will get him and lives a life of protected luxury in Qatar. He does nothing without Qatari consent. Qatar wants to be a player, but has chosen the wrong side.

We should know our enemy when we seem him.

Invert-A-Burger
Kimball Corson
08/27/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Burger King is in talks to buy doughnut chain Tim Hortons and create a new holding company headquartered in Canada, a move that could shave its tax bill. Such an overseas shift, called a tax inversion, has become increasingly popular among U.S. companies and a hot political issue... In a tax inversion, a U.S. company reorganizes in a country with a lower tax rate by acquiring or merging with a company there. Inversions also allow companies to transfer money earned overseas to the parent company without paying additional U.S. taxes.

How a about a 100 percent tariff on companies' imports and exports after they have inverted. Take their US markets away. Any thoughts here?

 

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