Libertarian Leanings is a column by by Peter Burrows, who blogs at silvercityburro.com and can be reached at email@example.com.
It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Grant County Beat.
By Peter Burrows firstname.lastname@example.org 4/2/22
The ACLU has a proud history. It was formed in 1920 from groups that had opposed Woodrow Wilson's extensive violations of the constitution during WW I. Anybody who thinks an Adolf Hitler couldn't happen here doesn't know how close we came with Woodrow Wilson. (1)
In the Scopes "Monkey Trial" of 1925, the new ACLU established its First Amendment, free speech bona fides by supporting Clarence Darrow in his defense of the school teacher who taught evolution, a hot issue back then. The ACLU backed the NAACP in another hot issue in 1954 when the Supreme Court found school segregation unconstitutional in Brown v Board of Education. Perhaps the ACLU's most famous case was in 1977 when a Nazi organization requested their help to get a permit to parade in the heavily Jewish city of Skokie, IL. A Jewish lawyer at the ACLU took the case and prevailed!
By Peter Burrows elburropete.com
This was posted in 2014, but it's still relevant, which is a damn shame.
(Monsters From the Id 2/25/14 (Note to readers: This was written when we first began negotiating with the Iranians to prevent, or at least delay, their development of nuclear weapons. As this pamphlet is being printed in 2022, a new round of nuclear negotiations is underway and Iran is still ruled by Shias. Unfortunately, our leaders are still unaware of the inherent threat nuclear-armed Mahdis pose.)
I read recently that scientists in England are having success improving some peoples' mathematical abilities by using mild electrical stimulation to their brains. This reminded me of a classic sci-fi film from 1956, "Forbidden Planet."
The plot, in brief, has a space ship landing on a planet inhabited by only two people who arrived there sometime in the past, a mad scientist and his really ugly daughter. (Sure.) He tells the new arrivals that the planet was once occupied by an advanced species that totally and mysteriously disappeared.
By Peter Burrows 3/8/22 email@example.com
In the Koran, which is the eternal and infallible word of God, we are told that Jews and Christians are "the worst of creatures." God then tells us that Muslims are the "best of creatures." Elsewhere in the Koran, God clarifies that Muslims are not just the best relative to Jews and Christians, but that Muslims are "the best of people ever raised up for mankind."
God also tells us that between Jews and Christians, it is the Jews who are "the most hostile" to Muslims while Christians "are closest to feeling affection" for Muslims. Thus, of the two "worst of creatures," God leaves no doubt that the worst of the worst are the Jews.
These revelations, some 1400 years ago, came at the beginning of Islam while Judaism had been around for hundreds of years. The Jews obviously far outnumbered the Muslims then, but Muslims are fierce proselytizers, and in only a decade or two they outnumbered the Jews, who are anything but fierce proselytizers. Today, the world population of Muslims is about 1.8 billion and the Jews only about 15.2 million, a ratio of over 100 to one.
White math and the NFL By Peter Burrows firstname.lastname@example.org 2/21/22
My wife and I stopped watching professional football when they began playing a "black" national anthem before the games. That didn't last long. Having spent many years in Wisconsin, we both suffer from Packerism, which is incurable, and we were soon watching the games again.
I'm glad we did. The playoffs were terrific and an added bonus was seeing all those Covid-conscious fans wearing one or even two Fauci mandated masks. (Sarcasm, libs, sarcasm.) Also, the NFL is proof that all the rhetoric about "white privilege" and "systemic racism" against black Americans is just nonsense.
I'm excluding the systemic reverse racism inherent in programs such as affirmative action and, especially, the dumbing down of academics so that more black kids can get "passing" grades. All the kids, black and white, know just what that means, and if that would have been tried in my high school, the black kids would have kicked your honkey ass. Of course, back then I don't think 'honkey' was a word. It would have been your "white trash" ass that would have been kicked.
Hard copies of the following are available. Contact email@example.com The document is about 40 pages long, but can be read online at the following URL
By Peter Burrows 1/29/22 firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the time of year when the income tax gets peoples' attention, big time. Most of us have no idea how progressive our income tax is, and we always hear that 'the rich' don't pay their 'fair share,' whatever that is.
In fact, under our progressive tax system, in 2019 the top one percent of income earners earned about 20 percent of the taxable income and paid about 39 percent of total income taxes. By contrast, the bottom fifty percent of earners paid only 3 percent of the income taxes collected. Incredibly, the top one percent paid more than all of the bottom 90 percent.
Whether this is fair or not is debatable, but one advantage of a flat tax is that it would put an end to all the "fair" nonsense. That's a big reason why it will probably never happen. Politicians have so much fun with what's "fair" and what isn't. A more knowledgeable electorate would put an end to those politicians, but that probably isn't going to happen, either.In the face of that daunting reality, let's talk about the flat-tax anyway. First, a caveat: this is about the Federal income tax that is paid, not total Federal taxes paid, which would include Social Security taxes. In theory, SS payments are not taxes but retirement savings that go into the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and will be paid back to the individual. The reality is different, but that's a separate can of snakes.
As mentioned, in 2019 the top 1 percent of income earners paid 39 percent of the income taxes and the bottom 50 percent paid only 3 percent, and all issues of fairness aside, this creates incentives for the high-income payers to find ways to avoid taxes, both legal and illegal, that have nothing to do with economic merit.
For the low-income cohort, they have no incentive to be against increases in the income tax because they don't pay it. Since they also don't know anything about how the income tax works, demagogues go after their vote by railing about the rich not paying "their fair share." It happens all the time and nobody ever calls them out on it. Republicans? Ha!
As an aside, I think people who don't pay, on balance, any Federal taxes should not vote in national elections, and before you call me an evil-dirty-bastard-racist-plutocrat, you should know that this would mean that I couldn't vote in Congressional or Presidential elections. My Social Security benefits far outweigh any Federal income taxes I owe, which makes me a net tax consumer.
As it is, since most of us oldies actually vote, the politicians have thoughtfully increased the standard deduction for those over 65. I bet most of you whippersnappers didn't know that. It's a small example of how our current income tax structure encourages politicians to buy votes of some taxpayers at the expense of other tax payers. If most of us oldies couldn't vote, I doubt the politicians would have been so thoughtful.
A flat–tax would work something like the example below. The deductible amounts and the flat-tax rate can be changed to achieve different tax totals.
1) A standard deduction of $10,000 for an individual, $20,000 for a couple, and $5000 for each dependent. All income over that would be subject to the same rate, for example, 30%.
2) NO other deductions would be allowed. This means no deduction for state and local taxes, no deduction for interest paid, none for charitable contributions, etc., etc.
3) Capital gains would be taxed at the same rate.
This would send whole bunches of people into a huge tizzy: realtors, charities, and 501(c) (3)'s, who receive taxable deductions and whose ranks include such disparate entities as Planned Parenthood and Prager U. By far, though, the biggest objectors would be tax lawyers, tax preparation services and IRS employees.
Who needs all those people if income taxes can be calculated on a post card? A flat-tax would put most of them out of work and greatly reduce the cost of compliance, which has been estimated to be over $400 billion. That's BILLION.
Some will object by saying progressive rates are a good thing, i.e., higher incomes should have higher rates of taxation. In fact, flat-tax results ARE progressive. Using the above example, a couple with two dependents and $40,000 of income would have $10,000 of taxable income and pay $3000 in taxes, which is 7.5 percent of total income (3000/40000). The same couple with twice as much income, $80,000 would pay five times as much tax, $15,000, which is 18.5 percent of their income. If they had three times the income, $120,000, they would pay nine times as much, $27,000, which is 22.5 percent of their income.
Even with this flat tax idea, high incomes would still pay most of the income taxes and low incomes, those below the standard reduction, would still pay no taxes. I have no idea what the exact percentages would be across the spectrum of tax payers, only that the tax base would be considerably broadened and that the number of voters with 'skin' in the income tax game would be increased.
As it is, "tax game" is an all-too accurate description of our income tax, and it is a "game" open to all sorts of political manipulation. If the Republicans take control of Congress in the midterms, I hope that they will propose a flat tax. Sadly, I'm afraid that's not going to happen.
This is an election year, and Muslims are running for office all over the country. Most are doing so without a whisper of protest. People don't realize that Islam is an uncompromising theocracy that demands total obedience from its followers, and that includes Muslims seeking public office. Ironically, they are using the protection of the Constitution's First Amendment to destroy the First Amendment.
I would bet that at least 90 percent of the voters in America would honestly say that a person's religion, or lack of religion, is not an important consideration. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where what you don't know CAN hurt you. Islam is extremely dangerous and totally incompatible with our Constitution.
In fact, Muslims see our Constitution as a man-made abhorrence, an evil that needs to be replaced with Allah's law, which is based on Allah's book, the Koran, and Allah's prophet, Muhammad. Islam requires Muslims who live in non-Muslim countries to work towards that goal, otherwise they are living a life of "continuous sin." (Verse 4:100 in The Koran, as explained by Tafsir Ibn Kathir. See also Sayyid Mawdudi's 'Toward Understanding the Quran,' pg. 131, footnote 71 to Verse 4:100)
By Peter Burrows12/24/21 - email@example.com
[Here is some background for readers unfamiliar with the Jussie Smollett hoax and subsequent trial: https://people.com/crime/jussie-smollett-trial-begins-special-prosecutor-brought-charges/ ]
Jussie Smollett might have been Time's 'Man of the Year' if his hoax hadn't been so stupid. Maybe he should be anyway. After all, he did more than any black since Al Sharpton to show how ridiculous black privilege has become.
You libs are thinking, "What do you mean, Burro, "BLACK" privilege? And what's with the diss on The Rev? If Sharpton converts to Catholicism, he'll get sainted someday; get streets named for him, stuff like that."
No doubt true. Also, he's long overdue for a NOW award for defending Tawana Brawley against hoax charges. If you're not familiar with Tawana Brawley, Google-up her story. She was the Jussie Smollett of her day, some 35 years ago. Back then, the MSM was rife with racism and right away accused the black girl of a hoax. The dirty bastards. They couldn't see what a victim she was.