Search This Blog

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Warren Buffet speak for more taxes on his ilk

Op-Ed Contributor

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich


Published: August 14, 2011 NEW YORK TIMES ONLINE

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on August 15, 2011, on page
A21 of the New York edition with the headline: Stop Coddling the

OUR leaders have asked for "shared sacrifice." But when they did the
asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn
what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while
most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to
get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers
who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify
our income as "carried interest," thereby getting a bargain 15 percent
tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60
percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they'd been long-term

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in
Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were
spotted owls or some other endangered species. It's nice to have
friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as
payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That
sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of
my taxable income — and that's actually a lower percentage than was
paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens
ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do,
your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money
from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a

To understand why, you need to examine the sources of government
revenue. Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from
personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income
taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay
practically nothing in payroll taxes. It's a different story for the
middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent
income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher,
and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a
theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to
invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and

I didn't refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60
years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates
were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment
because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make
money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those
who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net
of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know
what's happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400
Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had
aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of
29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest
400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on
average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can
be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared
to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all,
though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren
may shun work but they all like to invest. (I can relate to that.)

I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very
decent people. They love America and appreciate the opportunity this
country has given them. Many have joined the Giving Pledge, promising
to give most of their wealth to philanthropy. Most wouldn't mind being
told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their
fellow citizens are truly suffering.

Twelve members of Congress will soon take on the crucial job of
rearranging our country's finances. They've been instructed to devise
a plan that reduces the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion.
It's vital, however, that they achieve far more than that. Americans
are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our
country's fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and
very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into
hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality.

Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a
rich America can't fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12
should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for
99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current
2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the
payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need
every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such
households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income
in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital
gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274
in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a
billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get
serious about shared sacrifice.

Warren E. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Imagine a NATO country, where the military is prosecuted for
killing civilians by planting "muslim" bombs and other unspeakable
CIA-type crimes and "false flag" special operations.
Why?   because to dismantle the DEEP STATE is an EU entry requirement.

Meet Turkey 2011 !

Turkey: Erdogan and the Turkish military: the challenge continues

The Turkish premier responds to the protest resignation of military leaders with new appointments, supported by the head of state Gul, emboldened by election victory two months ago. But the choices reveal a compromise. The new chief of staff accused of war crimes in the Kurdish provinces.

Thursday, August 11, 2011  By Asia News

Ankara - The ongoing showdown between Erdogan and the military seems to have no end. And as was the case in the previous two years the showdown takes place in the month of August, and, coincidentally, at the height of Ramadan. In fact, July 29, 2011, two months after the Erdogan's electoral victory, the heads of the armed forces, namely the Chief of Defense, the general Isik Kosaner followed by chiefs of the army, navy and air force have resigned from their posts. The reason for their resignation: disagreement with the government over the detention of 14 generals and approximately 160 senior officers, all in service, placed under investigation because indicted for conspiracy and for the investigation of the infamous "Ergenekon" (the "Turkish Gladio") and Beyloz cases.

They claim to be unjustly accused and not yet on trial, and thus prevented from participating in planned upcoming promotions during the month of August. The only one not to resign was the head of the gendarmerie, Gen. Necdet Ozel, who is also responsible for territorial security intelligence, which refers to by the Ministry of Interior as well as the police. The latter, as is well known, is very close to Erdogan.

Generalissimo Kosaner took the opportunity of his resignation to rail against pro-government media, guilty, in his view, of tarnishing the value and prestige of the Turkish Armed Forces, seen as pillars of contemporary Turkey. These are certainly sensational facts, this is the first time in Turkish history that military has resigned; to date in fact, it was armed forces which forced politicians to resign, even to the point of imposing the death sentence, as was the case 50 years ago when the then Prime Minister Menderes was hanged because accused of trying to oppose the excessive power of the military. This, therefore, marks a radical change which seems shocking and hard to get used to, as noted by the journalist of "Sabah" newspaper Mehmet Barla.

Erdogan's response was immediate, backed by President Gul, who thanks to the constitutional amendments of September 12, 2010 and subsequent to the decrees of March 2011 have essentially established the independence of political power from the Supreme Council of Defense, the decisions of which until then, were considered final. On August 4, 2011 Erdogan and Gul have proceeded to appoint as head of the army the only one who has not resigned, General Necdet Ozel and have even appointed him provisional Chief of Staff of defense.

Following this Erdogan convened under his absolute and authoritative presidency - also for the first time in the history of Republic of Turkey - the Supreme Defence Council, with only the presence of nine general of the 14 demanded by the Statute of the Council itself. As already mentioned, four generals had resigned and the fifth, Admiral Bilgin Bolandi, is under investigation for Beyloz and Ergenekon.

Three days ago, the Supreme Defense Council confirmed General Necdet Ozel as Chief of staff, and the appointment of leaders of the military (Hayri Kivrikoglu), aeronautics (Mehmet Erten), Navy (Emin Murat Bilgel) and gendarmerie (Bekir Kalyoncu). The new composition was the result of compromises and a degree of magnanimity on the part of Erdogan, also because of the impossibility of finding material to fill in the missing pieces, given that 14 generals are still under investigation, without upsetting at the same time the leadership of the Turkish Armed Forces.

The result of these compromises was the appointment of Bekir Kalyoncu to the head of the gendarmerie, as his name appears on the list those of the accused in the Ergenekon case, and the marginalization of Aslan Guner, former Deputy Chief of Staff of Defense, to the direction of the Academy of War. He is guilty of not having greeted the wife of President Gul because covered with the veil. Magnanimity, as we have said, on Erdogan's part since he has extended the temporarily suspended career of the 14 generals indicted for conspiracy. Another important fact is that the new appointments have been approved and communicated, for the first time, by the Presidency of the Republic and not by the Chief of Staff, as was customary until now.

Various comments have been made about this latest confrontation. First and foremost, from Erdogan, who, without mentioning the fact reiterated the urgent need for constitutional reform. Conservative and nationalist elements regard the gesture of the military leaders as a "harakiri", because they delivered themselves into the hands of Erdogan, while the newspaper Taraf, which over the years has supported the investigation of various conspiracies against military cadres involved in Beyloz and Ergenekon and the subsequent cleaning up of the armed forces, considered it as a failure and compromise by Erdogan. Milliyet in contrast, expression of the old establishment, described the events as a good start and made their own the words of President Gul, who granting an extension to the 14 generals under investigation said: "If an extension of their general's mandate were not granted, the new Chief of Staff would meet with great difficulty in his work. This gives him a good start, "said Gul.

Murat Belge, highest expression of civic conscience in Turkey, has said: "It is not enough to appoint a new Chief of Staff for Defense in Turkey to confirm democratic processes. Democracy does not happen by decree but it is a civil achievement, so we must take care. " Regarding the new Chief of Defense, Ozel, there was no negative comment about him in the media, except that of a group of German parliamentarians (Ulla Ozpeke, Anrej Hunk, Ingrid Remmers, Heidrun Dietrich and Harold Weinher) who speaking to local media accuse the new chief of defense for war crimes in the Kurdish provinces in1999, when he was head of the gendarmerie.

IMAGINE THE USA could do that.  Arresting the military/secret service (DIA, ONI, perpetrators of the 9/11 inside job!!

Monday, August 01, 2011

a USA view of AfPak war crimes only questions efficiency

US point of view of AfPak war crimes.

Letters at 3AM: A Show of Hands

There has never been a war like this

By Michael Ventura, Fri., July 29, 2011

Fact set No. 1:

The scene is Afghanistan: "'Let me see a show of hands,' says Admiral Mullen [chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff], 'how many of you are on your first deployment?' A couple dozen hands go up. 'Second deployment?' More hands go up. 'Third deployment?' Still lots of hands are raised. 'Fourth deployment?' A good dozen hands go up. 'Fifth deployment?' Still hands go up. 'Sixth deployment?' One hand goes up. Admiral Mullen asks the soldier to step forward to shake his hand" (The New York Times, July 22, 2009, p.A23).

Please note that date; four months before President Obama announced the so-called surge, his escalation of the Afghan war.

Set that beside this: "In a historical first, more U.S. troops were hospitalized for mental health disorders last year (17,538) than for battle wounds or other injuries (11,156). The Pentagon blamed 'prolonged exposure to combat,' resulting from soldiers' multiple deployments in [at the time] nine straight years of war" (The Week, May 28, 2010, p.18). Look again at the number: 17,538 not in therapy but hospitalized.

Set that beside this: "About 18 veterans commit suicide on an average day" (The New York Times, May 19, 2011, p.A26).

No discussion of U.S. foreign policy deserves to be taken seriously if it fails to begin and end with the facts of what we are doing to our troops.

"There is a significant risk the U.S. military may not be able to respond quickly and fully to new crises, a classified Pentagon assessment has concluded" (Associated Press online, Feb. 20, 2009). Again notice the date: This assessment was made nine months before Obama's escalation.

"Mullen is openly voicing concerns that professionalism and ethical standards across the armed forces are being severely challenged by the longest period of sustained combat in the nation's history" (The New York Times, Jan. 9, 2011, p.A20).

A discussion of foreign policy must begin with the question: What are we doing to our military personnel, and how long can we keep doing it?

[actualy, it should start with:  Is it legal? The US signed many fundamental agreements (UN charta) that make this war totally illegal.  2nd: Is it moral? (say "torture"). But these topics cannot be discussed without being labelled a communist-pinko-homo-lefty.  Welcome to fascism 2.0! ]

That is a question of resources and logistics, the two basic operational elements of fighting a war. Then there is the question of conscience.

Have we the right to use people this way? Who speaks for those young men and women? Who's looking out for them? A report by the Pentagon's inspector general revealed that "[m]ilitary leaders knew the dangers posed by roadside bombs before the start of the Iraq war but did little to develop vehicles that were known to better protect forces from what proved to be the conflict's deadliest weapon" (USA Today, Dec. 9, 2008, p.A1).

Fact set No. 2:

Here's a New York Times headline from July 30, 2008: "C.I.A. Outlines Pakistan Links With Militants." Lately there have been many "We're shocked, shocked do you hear?" stories about links between Pakistan's military and "militants," but it was known 16 months before Obama's escalation.

"Four-fifths of Pakistanis oppose America's striking al-Qaeda within their territory" (The Economist, Sept. 20, 2008, p.55). That's more than a year before escalation. How many fifths oppose American strikes now?

It is not credible to believe that the Obama administration did not know what it was getting into. Or maybe it is. Examine this evidence of arrogance:

"The United States Embassy has publicized plans for a vast new building in Islamabad for about 1,000 people" (The New York Times, Oct. 6, 2009, p.A1). That story reports Pakistani reactions: "'People think this government has sold us to the Americans again ...,' said ... a former [Pakistani] cabinet minister .... 'Some people think the United States is out to get Pakistan, to defang Pakistan, to destroy ... [Pakistan's] ability to influence events in India and Afghanistan. Everyone is saying about the Americans, 'Told you so.''" That's just two months before Obama assured our country that Pakistan was with the program and essential to its success.

"A report ... released this week by the London School of Economics, said that [Pakistan's] Inter-Services Intelligence not only provides 'sanctuary and very substantial financial, military, and logistical support' for the Taliban, but even has its own seat on the Taliban's leadership council [my italics]. And it's not a case of the ISI going rogue: The report said the Pakistani government ... fully supports the agency's activities" (The Week, June 25, 2010, p.7).

If the London School of Economics knew this in June 2010, the CIA knew it months earlier when Obama made his decision to escalate.

I don't think anything like this has ever been tried before. Consider these tactics: Declare Pakistan an ally when you know it's really not; declare Pakistan's cooperation crucial to your escalation when you know they won't play ball; declare that your "surge" is about troops in Afghanistan when, more to the point, it's about launching drones and raids into Pakistan – as became unavoidably clear mere weeks after Obama's announcement.

To wit: The CIA "is in effect running a war in Pakistan. ... The agency has also recently begun sending more operatives into Pakistan to, among other things, gather target intelligence for the drone program" (The New York Times, Jan. 1, 2010, p.A1). The report notes our "civilian spy agency's transformation in recent years into a paramilitary organization at the vanguard of America's far-flung wars."

The CIA was the primary element all along. The ground escalation in Afghanistan was staged to cover CIA acts of war against Pakistan. But from the start, the drone war has been reported as secondary. A drone war isn't really a war because the CIA is doing it and Obama doesn't talk about it.

Pakistan wasn't fooled. Two months after Obama's announcement of escalation, Pakistan was "shrugging off American pressure[.] [T]he Pakistani army said it would not launch any new offenses against militants this year" (The Week, Feb. 5, 2010, p.9).

Then consider this October 2007 Times headline: "U.S. Is Top Arms Seller to Developing World." The article lists Pakistan, India, and Saudi Arabia among the top buyers. And the U.S. is Pakistan's "largest trading partner" (Associated Press online, Oct. 3, 2010).

So: The U.S. sells its enemy, Pakistan, conventional weapons to fight a U.S. ally, India, while at the same time the U.S. sells arms to India in order to fight Pakistan, and all while the U.S. is also the largest supporter of Pakistan's economy and is killing Pakistanis with drones and commandos.

Got that? There's never been a war like this. Let's try again:

We arm Pakistan against India, and we arm India against Pakistan while we juice Pakistan's economy, fight important Pakistani factions, and hope Pakistan won't get so pissed that it gives anti-U.S. terrorists nukes to eviscerate our cities.

That's what is actually happening.

Given the chronology of events, there is no reason to doubt that Obama knew what he was getting us into, and there are plenty of reasons to doubt the judgment of everyone in his administration who overestimated U.S. power and underestimated the risk.

Fact set No. 3: The conventional part of this war costs us $10 billion a month (The Week, July 1, 2011, p.2A), while who knows what the CIA war costs?

The Week, Dec. 11, 2009, p.22: As Obama announced his escalation, one in four American children depended on food stamps for survival, one in eight Americans were receiving food stamps, and 20,000 additional people were signing up every day.