Sunday, April 22, 2012

Voter ID Myths De-Mystified by Lucky

Lucky Rosenbloom, Member of the State Council of Black Minnesotans, takes voting rights and voting very seriously.  He eloquently states his case for passing the Voter ID Amendment.  His words are filled with passion and a wonderful ability to sprinkle humor with his message.  His presentations are very moving and interesting.  Demonstrating the falsity of the opposition arguments that often fall back on blaming an "incapable citizenry" as the reason to oppose this movement supported by 80%  of the people.

I have been to League of Women Voters Myths presentations, where untruths and myths about this issue are spoken with little evidence or chance for rebuttal.  And the cloistered attitude of never letting a video be taken and shown are strong (see this video from another LWV session). 

At a Congressional Convention this weekend, 4/21/2012, I first met "Mr. Lucky" and had the experience of seeing his dynamic personality and message.  I met him after his presentation to tell him how much I enjoyed it, and to ask his permission to present it to you.  I hope you enjoy this brief, but entertaining rebuttal to the misrepresentations we get on this issue.  He discusses the "Myths" about Voter ID that are being perpetuated by the LWV and other opponent organizations.

If you enjoyed his presentation and information, then there are other videos available where you can see more of him:

1) His testimony where he brings his message of the empowerment of Voter ID in testifying before the legislature.  "People will no longer be turned away because they do not have a utility bill".  A problem he experienced himself

2) Lucky's debate on the February 24, 2012 Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac show opposite Dan McGrath of "Take Action Minnesota" where he dismantles the opposition arguments.

The claim of the progressive Take Action Dan McGrath (not to be confused), that the issue does not exist, further run counter to the real evidence shown by Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority, in my earlier article.

See more from Lucky Rosenbloom at:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Carver County Judiciary Investigation Requested

Julianne Ortman, member of the Judiciary Committee for Senate, on April 17, 2012 has sent a letter to the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court asking for an immediate review of Carver County Family Court proceedings to help restore confidence in the courts.  Several other legislators have also signed onto the document.

There have been long standing issues with judicial actions in Carver County that have no explanation and violate first amendment rights.

One outstanding case is that of Lea Sage-Banken  A young mother who was divorced by her husband while she was pregnant with their third child, and was then denied access to her children with no specified reason. Current law generally has a presumption of 25% parenting time, but such was not the case in Carver County in this case.  Shortly after the birth of her third child, the court took the baby away, giving sole rights to the wealthy father.

There were no finding of fact, no abuse, alcoholism, psychological evaluations or any other charges to indicate or explain why she should be denied rights to see her children.  The outrageousness of this case, and the free speech issue, is such that most other judges and lawyers simply say it cannot happen.  And often simply no longer respond when presented documents from the case.

This case was first discussed on Speechless last year, September 22, 2011.  Here is the video of that interview.

Lea Banken then put up a blog, to discuss the issues of her case and show just cause of claiming corruption in the system.  The judge in the case, Judge Richard C. Perkins, objected and issued an order to take down the blog.  Then he issued a fine of $50/day, ultimately totaling thousands of dollars.  There were a number of people involved in the blog beyond just Ms Banken.  While this seems a clear violation of free speech, stifling legitimate criticism, that blog was ultimately forced down by the judge.  Another blog,, was created by a group continuing the efforts to expose many more cases of unreasonable behavior in Carver County Family Court.
In testimony before the legislature, the following video shows Judge Jeff Thompson calling blogs on the internet the "vanity press of the demented".  He claims that "lazy judges, bad judges, arrogant judges," are well policed and held accountable by the board of judicial standards, and basically denies judicial corruption.  When Lea Banken testifies immediately following you can see Judge Thompson in the background reacting to her.  Minnesota State Rep Steve Simon (DFL 44A) then waves aside the claims of corruption as disgruntled litigants who simply don't like the outcome, stating a "wrong call" is not corruption.  While the distinction is a valid one, it ignores the first amendment violations and failing to issue findings of fact and conclusions of law etc that are present in the cases presented.

There are other cases in Carver County that show a similar trend of ignoring the rights of the citizens and they have also been testified to before the House and Senate committees this year.  While nothing has yet been rectified, the legislative request for investigation is a significant step forward in the effort to hold the Carver County Family Court Judiciary accountable.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tax Day 2012, next year Taxmaggedon!

If your like many others, you abhor Tax Day.  Might even make you want to attend the annual Tax Cut Rally Saturday, April 28, 2012 at the State Capital.  The excessive spending in Washington, with the dramatic increase in the Administration bureaucracy (here and here) and the frivolous spending exemplified by the recent GSA scandal should put you off pretty strongly.

In fact such reactions just may have culminated in a new "honor" last year for Minneapolis which made it into the top 10 tax procrastinating cities in the country for the first time

Intuits Comments on Minneapolis first time showing in the top 10 procrastinator cities:
Minneapolis – (First timer!): So many theaters, so little time! The TwinCities must be too busy theater hopping instead of hopping to start those

But a more realistic/rational reason is likely the depths of distrust and dislike for our taxation system, and government arrogance as typified by the GSA scandal.  However if you didn't dislike the tax system before, or even if you did, you are in for a very rude awakening next year.  Unless the unlikely happens and President Obama and the Democratic Senate see the light on helping to fix the impending avalanche of taxes due to occur for 2013, when current law expires! 
An analysis shows:
If President Obama and Congress fail to act this year, an enormous, unprecedented tax increase will fall on American taxpayers starting on January 1, 2013. The Washington Post called the looming tax increase “Taxmageddon,”[1] and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke called it a “massive fiscal cliff.”[2]
Congress and President Obama have developed a penchant for waiting until the very last minute to act on pressing tax legislation. In 2010, they waited until late December to extend the expiring Bush tax cuts for two years. At the end of 2011, they waited again until late December to extend the expiring payroll tax holiday. They should break themselves of this bad habit.
Instead, Obama and Congress should remove the uncertainty clouding jobs and family finances by removing the threat of Taxmageddon now. Businesses, families, and investors need to know as soon as possible that this massive tax increase will not hit them as they awaken on New Year’s Day 2013.
The Democrats (incl Rep Betty McCollum) and their minions in the media have taken great efforts to paint the "Bush Tax Cuts" as a favor done for the wealthy.  The truth is a little different.  It greatly increased the progressiveness of the tax system and gave huge benefits to the lower income groups, virtually eliminating many from paying any income taxes at all.
The Bush tax cuts included a radical increase in the progressivity of the Tax Code.  "[T]he share of overall tax liabilities of the top 1% increased from 22.9% to 25.3%, as the result of a tax system which became more progressive since 2000."  Bush "cut the lowest income tax bracket by one-third and doubled the refundable child tax credit -- taking 10 million low-income families off the income tax rolls. In fact, the poorest 40 percent of households now pay zero income taxes, and many actually receive checks from Washington on April 15."

Our Congressional Representative of course does not agree with that and follows the Obama message of increasing taxation.  From Rep Betty McCollum's website:
Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat, has never voted to instate or extend the Bush tax cuts. She said she's not about to start now.

But isn't Rep McCollum and President Obama's message that they wouldn't increase taxes on middle and lower income people? Yet that is where the main impact of these cuts are:
Taxmageddon Hits the Middle Class: Taxmageddon falls primarily on middle- and low-income Americans. That’s because 60 percent of the Bush tax cuts went to middle and low-income taxpayers. The expiration of the patch on the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will cause these taxpayers to pay a tax they were never supposed to be hit with, and the expiration of the payroll tax cut is a tax hike almost exclusively on middle- and low-income families. That’s just the direct impact. Americans at all income levels will feel the pain of Taxmageddon because it will slow job creation and wage growth.
The failures to address the lapsing "Bush Tax Cuts" accounts for about 34% of the Taxmageddon bill, but another tax that has been coming up year after year is the AMT, which accounts for an additional 25% of Taxmageddon.  The AMT was/is another misguided attempt to "tax the rich"
Congress enacted the AMT in 1969 following testimony by the Secretary of the Treasury that 155 people with adjusted gross income above $200,000 had paid zero federal income tax on their 1967 tax returns. (See Appendix for the AMT’s legislative history.) In inflation-adjusted terms, those 1967 incomes would be roughly $1.17 million in today’s dollars.

The AMT has the typical "unintended consequences" that have since become a threat to the middle class that requires an annual change in law to prevent
Another important tax break that's late in getting renewed -- assuming it does -- is the higher exemption from the dreaded alternative minimum tax. Originally envisioned as a way to capture at least some tax revenue from ultra-rich taxpayers who took advantage of other provisions to pay very little in taxes, the AMT now hits an estimated 3.8 million taxpayers. The number of people paying AMT would skyrocket by as much as 30 million if lawmakers don't get around to passing their annual "patch" in time -- and the extra tax bill could come to $8,000 for some of those taxpayers.

Sound familiar?  Its a lot like the motivations for the current discussions for the "Buffet Rule", which is targeted to affect wealthy taxpayers, except its namesake Warren Buffet. The Buffett Rule would affect only 2% of the 400,000 Americans making more than a million. That’s why it raises only $47 billion over the next decade.  Imagine an alternative of a 1% cut in each department in the federal government?  That would reduce spending by $33.6 billion.  And it would not create yet another impending unintended consequence for us to have to deal with in the future.  Hmmm, maybe revisiting the concepts like the fair tax, the flat tax, or possibly even the 999 plan (as long as its kept that way, er..., perhaps too much opportunity there for increasing the tax) don't sound so bad.