Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Meet Jay Inslee supporter, warrior spirit Ramtha

Jay Inslee and the WA state Dems are getting large donations courtesy of 35,000 year old warrior spirit Ramtha channeler JZ Knight. I would try to explain what that means but you would not believe me.

So the question I have is this... does Mr. Inslee believe in what JZ Knight is selling? Seems like a good question for tonight's debate.

Update: Since this was linked, thanks Orbusmax, I thought I should try to explain Ramtha. Emphasis on try....  From Wikipedia

Ramtha (the name is claimed to be derived from Ram and to mean "the God" in Ramtha's language) is an entity whom Knight claims to channel. According to Knight, Ramtha was a Lemurian warrior who fought the Atlanteans over 35,000 years ago.[17] Ramtha speaks of leading an army over 2.5 million strong (more than twice the estimated world population at about 30,000 BC) for 63 years, and conquering three fourths of the known world (which was allegedly going through cataclysmic geological changes). According to Ramtha, he led the army for ten years until he was betrayed and almost killed.[18] Ramtha says he spent the next seven years in isolation recovering and observing nature, the seasons, his army making homes and families, and many other things. He later mastered many skills, including foresight and out-of-body experiences, until he led his army to the Indus River while in his late fifties. Ramtha taught his soldiers everything he knew for 120 days, he bid them farewell, rose into the air and in a bright flash of light he ascended before them. He made a promise to his army that he would come back to teach them everything he had learned. JZ Knight says that in 1977 Ramtha appeared before her and told her that he had come to help her over the ditch. JZ Knight became his first student of what he calls the great work

I kid you not.

I sent a tweet to @jayinslee asking if he thought @jzknight and @ramtha were a fraud. No reply. Found out later that Knight has also contributed to President Obama. Sent @barackobama the same tweet. No reply.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Seattle University's Socialist Econ Professor / Candidate

An article in the Seattle Times talks about a lawsuit by Kshama Sawant. She filed to run in the 43rd L.D. position 1 and was endorsed as a write in candidate for the 43rd L.D. position 2. She finished 2nd in both primaries but can only be on the ballot in one race. So she picked position 2. State law says a write in candidate can't show the political party. Ms. Sawant is a member of the Alternative Soclialist Party. Ms. Sawant also does not think the current rules should apply to her and wants the party affiliation listed on the ballot and has sued. Now I will skip all discussion on the sanity of someone thinking that listing Alternative Socialist Party on the ballot will actually help them because, well it is Seattle after all so maybe it would help.

Here is my issue with the story. Ms. Sawant is an econ professor at South Seattle C.C. and Seattle University. The Alternative Socialist Party candidate is an econ professor at Seattle University, the school where I earned my degrees. OK, whatever, as long as I guess you understand econ and is not promoting some wacky ideas, like privatizing successful businesses that have created substantial wealth in the area...

•Break the power of Wall Street and Corporate America! Take the giant corporations that dominate Washington state such as Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon, into public ownership under democratic workers' control to be run for public good, not private profit.
Oops... guess not.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Is Jay Inslee a Tax Cheat?

Jay Inslee released his tax returns... and by released, I mean he let accredited reporters see some documents, not the voting public.

What the reporters have permitted us to learn was that Jay Inslee does not appear to be much of a manager of his own money. While reporting a household income of $237,000 in 2011, putting him in the top 2% of households in the country, he had to borrow from an IRA to replace his roof. Anyone who has an IRA knows that withdrawing money early from an IRA incurs a penalty. So Mr. Inlsee withdrew $45,000 and paid a penalty of $10,000 as a result. Seems like someone who is 60+, an attorney, has been bringing in a significant amount of income for a number of years should have other ways to come up with the money. Especially when it was used to replace a roof, an expense that is almost always anticipated many years in advance. But poor money management by someone who wants to run for Governor of the state of Washington is not the point of this post. Also included in the Seattle Times article is a mention of a loss incurred on a membership in a country club.

They also reported a loss on a membership in the Wing Point Golf and Country Club on Bainbridge Island. The tax returns show the couple acquired the membership in 1988 and sold it in 2009, reporting a $5,500 loss.

Now I am not a tax attorney but I am curious why exactly would a loss on a country club membership need to be included on a tax return? Did they take a deduction from the loss? If so, the question is under what circumstances would a loss from a sale of a country club membership qualify as a legitimate write off? If it was for personal use, I can't imagine that it would be allowed. I called the Inslee office but nobody has got back to me. I emailed the Seattle Times reporter but no answer. Its impossible for me to know the answers to my question since the tax records that were "released" are not available to the voting public.

Update: The Seattle Times reporter replied that he had to go to get a copy of the return and did not know of any restrictions on what he could do with the copy. He had not scanned what he has as of yet. Has not had the time to look into anything regarding the country club loss.

Update2: I called the country club and asked about membership and they only have equity memberships. To join you buy an existing share and pay an initiation fee. I was told there are a number of current members selling shares at no cost. Initiation fee is $5500, which of course is the same amount listed as the loss on the tax form. Which makes you wonder if the amount listed as the loss was on the stock, which just happens to match the initiation fee, or if it was in fact the initiation fee. If they are claiming a loss on an initiation fee, then that would raise even more questions as it should have been clear that was not an amount they would ever receive back and would in no way be seen as a capital loss. As I have said, I am not a tax attorney, I don't know the answers to these questions. I do think they are legitimate questions that should be answered.

Update3: Dori Monson covers the story. Thanks to Orbusmax for letting me know and for the link. Mr. Inslee's spokesperson seems to be confused between the concept of a country club membership and what Mr. Inslee has, an equity membership. Some country clubs are equity clubs. When you buy a membership, you are buying ownership, stock, in the club. Some clubs are non equity, your membership does not include any ownership. Some clubs have both membership options. Mr. Inslee's club is an equity club. As I stated previously, those current members who are selling their stock are doing so today for $0. As I also mentioned, for this club, to buy stock, you also need to pay an initiation fee to the club which is currently $5500. The amount of the loss Mr. Inslee stated on his tax return... wait for it... $5500. Sure, it could be a coincidence but it seems like there is a reasonable chance that Mr. Inslee deducted his initiation fee from his taxes and not a loss in his equity ownership stock. So once again, I am not a tax attorney but my best guess regarding the probability of legitimately deducting an initiation fee from your taxes is somewhere between 0 and 0. Now if the loss really was from an equity ownership, the probability in my opinion of that being a legit deduction on personal taxes would be approximately 0.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Andrew Breitbart

He inspired me to stick up for what I believe. It was a shock to hear this morning of his passing. This afternoon I was dropping off a package at UPS here in Seattle when another customer was ranting to the help about how it was "the bankers" who were behind all of the global financial problems. And by "bankers", I am fairly certain what he meant was "the Jews". And I said nothing. After I was out the door, on the way back to the office, I thought what I should have said was..."well maybe what we should do is find all of those "bankers" who held a gun to everyones head and forced them to borrow money... oh that's right, none of them did." And I felt horrible that I did not have the guts to confront him and ridicule him in public like he deserved. Because I did not want to put myself out there. Never again do I want to feel that way.

Never again, Andrew, never again.

You will be missed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

1000 Days Without a Budget

I noticed this morning that this was day 1000 without a budget for the U.S. government. Later I saw a video of Senator Kent Conrad, D-ND, chair of the Senate Budget Committee claiming to correct the falsehood that we have not had a budget for 1000 days. His reasoning is the Budget Control Act of 2011 is a budget. Click here to watch for yourself.

Now you may be asking yourself, "The Budget Control Act of 2011? What exactly is that?" Well its S. 365, also know as the law that came out of the debt ceiling debate we had in August that led to the infamous debt super committee right before we were downgraded... or as my Congressman Jay Inslee said, which helped us avoid a downgrade. Wrong again Jay.

I called the Senate Budget committee asking where I could see the budget that Senator Conrad insists was passed. Got a call back and was told they would send me a link to the actual budget and that yes indeed it was an actual budget, not a continuing resolution. Great, can't wait. Here is the link. The link is to S. 365, "an act to provide for budget control". In addition to allegedly containing the entire U.S. budget, it also covers:

1) 10 year discretionary caps
2) Vote on balanced budget amendment
3) Debt ceiling process
4) Deficit reduction
5) Pell grant and student loan

Seems like a lot for 28 pages. Seems to me that the U.S. budget alone would take more than 28 pages.

So I took a quick look at the document to see how much money we were going to spend on the Department of Education. No mention. The word Education comes up 4 times in reference to the Higher Education Act of 1965. What about the Department of the Interior. The word Interior does not appear. What about Health and Human Services. 1 reference where it states that "If a bill or joint resolution making appropriations for the fiscal year is enacted that specifies an amount for the health care fraud abuse control program at the Department of Health and Human Services...", then it goes on to set caps for the amount that can be included in the bill or joint resolution. It does not budget anything for HHS, just caps the amount that can be spent on HHS' fraud abuse control program.

So I replied back to Director of Planning and Outreach for the Senate Budget Committee asking where exactly is the budget part in this budget. Where does it specify how much is going to be spent on what? I am awaiting a reply.

I also called the local office of Senator Patty Murray who is on the budget committee and asked where I could see the budget and I was told they would have to research that and let me know.