Dear Comrade Socialist-Friends

Our dear, departed leader, Nikita Khrushchev was correct when he said, “America will destroy itself from the inside.”

Now that the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) has spoken saying  what is commonly referred to as “Obama-care,” is constitutional since Congress has the right to impose taxes on citizens, it’s time to see what sort of tax is in the bill.  Joyfully, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) includes 20 new and/or higher taxes on American families and small businesses.

These took effect last year:

1. Medicine Cabinet Tax: Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement account (HRA) pre-tax dollars to buy non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957-1,959.

2. HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike: Increases more tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantages them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which stay at 10 percent. PPACA; Page: 1,959.

These are taking effect this year:

3. Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals: $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new “community health assessment needs,” “financial help,” and “billing and collection” rules set by HHS. PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971.

4. Codification of the “economic substance doctrine.” This provision allows the IRS to disallow legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to cut taxes owed. Reconciliation Act; Page: 108-113.

5.  Cellulosic Biofuel Producer  tax hike. This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel made from wood byproducts. Reconciliation Act; Page: 105

6. Tax on Innovator Drug Companies: $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed on a share of sales made that year. PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980.

7. Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike: The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues spent on clinical services. PPACA; Page: 2,004.

8. Tax on Indoor Tanning Services: New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons. PPACA; Page: 2,397-2,399.

9. Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2: Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957.

These take effect in 2013:

10. Surtax on Investment Income: Creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single). This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income: Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 87-93.

2012 Capital gains: 15-percent, Dividends: 15-percent; *Other: 35-percent.

2013+ Capital gains: 23.8-percent, Dividends: 43.4-percent; *Other: 43.4-percent.

*Other unearned income includes gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations. It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income. It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans. The 3.8-percent surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

11. Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax: Current law and changes: First $200,000 for a single individual or $250,000 if married. PPACA, Reconciliation Act; Page: 2000-2003; 87-93.

12. Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers: Medical device manufacturers who employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3 percent excise tax and exempts items retailing for less than $100. PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986.

13. Raises Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5-percent to 10-percent of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of AGI. The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI, which is waived for taxpayers 65 years and old in 2013-2016 only. PPACA; Page: 1,994-1,995.

14. Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax”: Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited). This is indexed to meet inflation after 2013. PPACA; Page: 2,388-2,389.

15. Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D. PPACA; Page: 1,994.

16. $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives. PPACA; Page: 1,995-2,000.

These take effect in 2014:

17. Individual Mandate Excise Tax: Starting in 2014, anyone not buying a qualifying health insurance plan must pay income surtax according to the higher of the following:

2014: 1 Adult: 1-percent AGI/$95; 2 Adults: 1-percent AGI/$190; 3 or more Adults: 1-percent AGI/$285.
2015: 1 Adult: 2-percent AGI/$325; 2 Adults: 2-percent AGI/$650; 3 or more Adults: 2-percent AGI/$975.
2016+: 1 Adult: 2.5-percent AGI $695; 2 Adults: 2.5-percent AGI/$1390; 3 or more Adults: 2.5-percent AGI/$2085.

Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and/or hardship cases as determined by HHS. PPACA; Page: 317-337.

18. Employer Mandate Tax: If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees. This applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee or $600 if the period is 60 days or longer. PPACA; Page: 345-346.

19. Tax on Health Insurers: Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. This will be phased in gradually through 2018. This is immediately and fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993.

This one takes effect in 2018:

19. Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans: Starting in 2018, a new 40 percent excise tax on health insurance plans of $10,200 for one person or $27,500 per family. This includes higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions. This is based on collateral protection insurance, plus a one-percent point index. PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956.

Fortunately the SCOTUS failed to address the fact these new taxes — as the Justices referenced them – originated from the Senate and not the House of Representatives as the U.S. Constitution requires. Nor did they review the fact the same document says taxes are to be raised for the “expressed purposes of creating revenue,” not as a punishment for failing to purchase a qualifying insurance policy.

Americans  have lost even more of their rights with this ruling and do not yet know it, with that said, Socialist everywhere can rejoice. But be warned — the battle has jus’ begun for the control of freedom-loving peoples everywhere.

Do not forget to send a note of thanks to Chief Justice John Roberts for turning this into a victory for us by changing the argument from “Interstate Commerce,” to a federal taxation issue. He’s simply brilliant!

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Civilian

With the war overseas still raging, the inevitable happened — Jennifer Griffin received her draft notice. Her grandparents and parents were upset – she, however, was ecstatic.

Soon Jen, as she was known to her friends and family, was off to the Marine Corps Training Center at Parris Island.  It would be nearly four months before she’d be allowed leave to visit her family.

The two-weeks passed quickly and before anyone realized it – the time had come for her to board the bus for the long journey to her new duty site. Her mother and father, grandparents and even her younger brother came to the station to see her off.

They continued to wave, cry and watch as the brakes on the bus released and it began to move. It had gone about a thousand yards when it suddenly pulled to the side of the road and stopped.

Everyone gazed in wonder as the vehicle slowly backed up, returning to the station. It seemed like an eternity until the doors opened and Jen stepped out.

She looked over the crowd she’d jus’ left, “Damned my rotten luck! The war’s over.”

Jennifer Griffin still had four-years to fulfill to the Corps before she could again call herself a “civilian.”

Silver Tailings: The Girl I Left Behind

Described as a beautiful, tall, and slim brunette with dark eyes, the day she died, miners throughout the Comstock cried. The bludgeoning and strangling of 35-year-old prostitute Julia Bulette on January 20, 1867, stunned Virginia City’s residents.

Less than six-years earlier, in 1861, Virginia Fire Company No. 1 had led a grand parade through town. The town’s citizens were gathered to celebrate Independence Day.

Riding on top of the pumper, wearing a fireman’s helmet, a brass fire trumpet filled with roses in her arms was Julia.  The crowd cheered for the “Queen of the Independence Day Parade.”

Julia, born in London, England, in 1833, she and her family moved to New Orleans in 1848 and then to California with the gold rush.  She arrived on the Comstock around 1859, where she lived and worked in a small frame house on D Street in the town’s red light district.

Her reputation for helping the sick and the needy grew over time. This eventually led to her election as an honorary member of the Virginia Fire Company No. 1.

She donated large sums for new equipment and often personally lent a hand at working the water pump — in effect becoming the first woman-firefighter in the nation.

The day before she was found murdered, Julia went to see a performance at Piper’s Opera House. She was unable to attend the performance because she refused to sit in a section reserved for ‘working girls,’ and instead returned home after be escorted from the establishment.

The next morning her next-door neighbor, Gertrude Holmes, who was bringing Julia her Sunday-morning breakfast, found her lifeless body. The neighbor immediately sent for the police.

They found she had been struck with a pistol, beaten with a piece of firewood and strangled. Most of her costume jewelry and fancy dresses were missing.

Julia ‘s funeral was held at Virginia Fire Company No. 1.  Her fellow firefighters took up a collection and purchased a silver-handled casket.

After the sermon, a band led about 60 members of the fire department and 16 carriages of mourners, to the Flowery Hill Cemetery.  And although Julia was given a Catholic funeral, she could not buried in consecrated ground.

Instead she was entombed in a lonely grave half a mile east of town.  A simple wooden plank with the name “Julia” painted on it was all that marked her final resting place.

As the mourners filed back into town, the men of Virginia Fire Company No. 1 sang “The Girl I Left Behind.” The city was draped in black, and for the first time since President Lincoln’s assassination, it’s reported, saloons were closed.

Several months later, prostitute Martha Camp was awakened by someone approaching her bedside. Her screams sent the man fleeing, but she later recognized him on the street.

He was identified as Frenchman John Millian, a baker and drifter. A search of his belongings revealed some of Julia’s possessions, whereupon he was immediately arrested.

Jurors quickly convicted Millian and on April 24, 1868, he was escorted to the gallows where more than 4,000 spectators witnessed the execution. Among them was Mark Twain, who described what he witnessed.

“I saw it all,” wrote Twain. “I took exact note of every detail, even to Melanie’s (sic) considerately helping to fix the leather strap that bound his legs together and his quiet removal of his slippers — and I never wish to see it again.”

Twain finishes, “I can see that stiff, straight corpse hanging there yet, with its black pillow-cased head turned rigidly to one side, and the purple streaks creeping through the hands and driving the fleshy hue of life before them. Ugh!”

While Millian memory has become more-or-less a footnote in Nevada’s history, Julia’s legend continued after her death.

The Virginia and Truckee Railroad honored her memory by naming one of its club coaches after her. Her portrait hung in many Virginia City saloons, and author Rex Beach immortalized her as Cherry Malotte in his novel, The Spoilers, while Oscar Lewis in his book Silver Kings reported that Julia was written about more than any other woman on the Comstock.

An in an episode of the television series Bonanza titled “The Julia Bulette Story”, featured Little Joe falling in love with her, much to the chagrin of his father. Written by Al C. Ward and first aired on October 17, 1959, Julia was played by actress Jane Greer.

To this day visitors to Virginia City report seeing an elegantly dressed woman walking along the wooden boardwalks, only to watch her dissolve into nothingness. Could Julia still be watching over the town?

Ronald Reagan — the “Gay-hater”

Ronald Reagan campaigned for gay rights before he was President — a move considered by many a risk to his future political career. Reagan had been out of the California governor’s office for several years and was preparing to run again for President.

In 1978, California State Senator John Briggs pushed a state ballot initiative to prohibit the hiring of homosexuals as teachers. This was at  the height of Anita Bryant’s crusade against homosexuals and much of the religious-right opposed the concept of “gay rights.”

Support for the initiative was very strong initially and everyone around Reagan argued he should stay out of the fight. But, out of personal conviction people should only be judged on their merits, Reagan campaigned against the initiative.

He even went to so far as to write on op-ed in the now-defunct “Los Angeles Herald-Examiner,” against it in the closing days of the campaign.

“Whatever else it is, homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles. Prevailing scientific opinion is that an individual’s sexuality is determined at a very early age and that a child’s teachers do not really influence this.”

“Initiative 6,” as it was officially known, went down in defeat.  

Perhaps the greatest criticism surrounds Reagan’s “supposed silence” about the epidemic spreading in the 1980s.  First, it’s untrue the Reagan administration “said nothing” in response to the disease.

In June 1983, a year before the virus that causes AIDS had even been publicly identified, Reagan’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Margaret Heckler, announced at the U.S. Conference of Mayors the department “considers AIDS its number-one health priority.”  She specifically praised “the excellent work done by gay networks around the nation” that had spread information about the disease.

Despite the oft-repeated claim that Reagan himself didn’t mention AIDS publicly until 1987, he actually first discussed it in September 1985. Responding to a reporter’s question about the need for more funding, Reagan noted the federal government had already spent more than half a billion dollars on AIDS up to that point.

“So, this is a top priority with us,” said Reagan. “Yes, there’s no question about the seriousness of this and the need to find an answer.”

It must also be noted that Reagan was hardly alone. For years, New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who was presiding over the epicenter of the disease, refused even to meet with AIDS groups.

A review of federal spending on AIDS programs during the Reagan years shows annual spending rose from eight million dollars in 1982 to more than $2.3 billion in 1989. In all, the federal government spent almost six billion dollars on AIDS during Reagan’s tenure.

On the other hand, in 1983 New York Governor Mario Cuomo, nixed on fiscal grounds the state senate’s bid to spend $5.2 million on AIDS research and prevention programs. Cuomo’s state health commissioner responded to criticism by saying that hypertension was a more important health issue for the state.

Aside from spending, it was Reagan’s surgeon general who sent the first-ever bulletin to all American homes warning explicitly about AIDS transmission. Finally, it was Reagan who created the first presidential commission dealing with AIDS and, in 1988, barred discrimination against federal employees with HIV.

Ronald Reagan may have been a lot of things — but a “gay-hater,” is not one of them.

The Humble Beginnings of Sam Drucker

He was perhaps best known a “Sam Drucker” in three separate but simultaneous TV series during the 1960s – ‘Petticoat Junction,’ ‘Green Acres’ and ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’ Frank Cady passed away at age 96 at his Watsonville, Oregon home, on June 8, 2012.

Cady was born in Susanville, California, September 8, 1915. His family once lived in Genoa and the Reno area, eventually moving to Wilsonville, Oregon.

While in high school he worked at a local newspaper, The Lassen County Advocate. Later, Cady studied journalism and drama at Stanford University, where he was involved with the campus humor magazine, the Stanford Chaparral.

It was at Stanford where he first met Shirley, his wife, whom he married in 1940. Following college graduation Cady worked at the Westminster Theater appearing in four plays and made an early television appearance on the BBC in late 1938.

Cady then returned to Stanford in 1939 for graduate studies and a position as teaching assistant. Unsatisfied with academic life, two years later he began a series of jobs as an announcer and news broadcaster at various California radio stations.

His career was put on hold in 1943 when he joined the United States Army Air Corps, serving in England, France and Germany during World War II. After being discharged in 1946 Cady appeared in a series of plays in the Los Angeles area, which led to movie roles, beginning in 1947.

In 1950, he had a speaking role in the classic film noir drama ‘D.O.A.’ as Sam the bartender , and another role in ‘Father of the Bride’, requesting mint juleps from Spencer Tracy during the engagement party. He also had a small part in the noir classic ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ playing a witness who refused to identify a robbery suspect.

He appeared in the 1951 film ‘When Worlds Collide’ as the assistant to John Hoyt’s character. Cady had a prominent role in Billy Wilder’s film ‘Ace in the Hole’ – later retitle as ‘The Big Carnival.’

He had a small non-speaking role in one of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window, in 1954, portraying the husband of the woman who owns a dog, which is raised and lowered to their apartment window in a basket. Cady also played the husband of Eileen Heckart’s character in the 1956 movie ‘The Bad Seed.’

Cady appeared on the ‘Make Room For Daddy’ episode that was the pilot for ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ as the town drunk, preceding Hal Smith who eventually took over that role as Otis Campbell.  Cady also played Doc Williams in 19 episodes of ‘Ozzie and Harriet,’ between 1954 and 1965.

He appeared on some radio programs, including the ‘Gunsmoke’ episode titled “Outlaw Robin Hood” on January 8, 1955.  Cady also played the mayor of Abalone in the film, ‘7 Faces of Dr. Lao,’ in 1964.

“He was very sharp, very witty and lighthearted,” Frank Cady, elder Cady’s nephew said. “He was just a regular guy and very fun to be around.”

He was the only actor to play a recurring character on three television sitcoms at the same time, from 1968 to 1969.  Cady also was one of only three co-stars of Petticoat Junction who stayed with the series for its entire seven-year run, along with Edgar Buchanan and Linda Henning, appearing in 170 of the show’s 222 episodes.

His final acting role was in the 1990 television movie ‘Return to Green Acres.’ In 2005, Cady attended Eddie Albert’s funeral, along with co-stars Sid Melton and Mary Grace Canfield.

Cady and his wife had lived in Wilsonville since 1991. She preceded him in death on August 22, 2008, at age 91.

Immigration Shift: Then and Now

The White House will halt the deportation of as many as 800,000 young illegal immigrants and in some cases give them work permits. People under 30 who entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas when they were under the age of 16 will be immune from deportation if they have not committed a significant misdemeanor or felony and have graduated from a U.S. high school or joined the military.

They can apply for a renewable two-year work permit that won’t provide a path to citizenship but will allow them to work legally in the country. Applicants will have to prove they’ve lived in the country for five consecutive years.

The U.S. has been through this before and — yes — President Ronald Reagan got it wrong and admitted it. The Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 was a blanket amnesty for illegal aliens.

The act required employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status, made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit unauthorized immigrants, granted amnesty to certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants and granted amnesty to illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously.  It introduced the I-9 form to ensure that all employees presented documentary proof of their legal eligibility to accept employment in the United States.

This law was supposed to be a compromise — an attempt to finally limit illegal immigration through strengthened border security and increased immigration enforcement against employers — combined with amnesty for the millions of illegal workers in the United States. President Ronald Reagan approved this “path to citizenship” amnesty due to what was believed to be a relatively small illegal immigrant population.

For the first six months after the amnesty there was a modest fall in illegal immigration, but within 12 months illegal immigration was breaking all previous records, rising to 800,000 per year. In fact, the 1986 amnesty resulted in more amnesties from 1994 to 2000, awarding legal status to another 3 million illegal immigrants.

By 1997, the number of illegal immigrants in the country was back up to the 5.0 million in the U.S. before the 1986 amnesty according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies. The same 1997 report says the cost of amnesty for 2.7 million illegal immigrants had accumulated to $156.7 billion in 1986 dollars.

Breaking that cost down farther shows that  after $78.7 billion in tax collections  — it cost U.S. taxpayers $29,148 in 1986 dollars for each amnestied ‘immigrant’ . Furthermore, it displaced 1,872,000 American workers over the next 10-years.

Later, Reagan said of IRCA, “The amnesty was the worst mistake of my presidency.”

Today, about 12 million illegal aliens reside in the U. S. Most of those who violate our borders come from Mexico and other Latin American countries while about 6 percent of illegal immigrants come from Canada and Europe.

Finally, in 1986, about three million illegal immigrants were eligible for amnesty.  This time, roughly 9 million people are expected to be eligible for legalization — not the 800,000 being floated by the current administration.

Why Dove Mourns

This is a Karok story, I believe, because it mentions the Klamath River and Weitchpec, which is a village that rests along the river’s bank in Humboldt County and home to the ‘Up-Stream’ peoples.

Once a family of doves lived with their grandmother in a sheltered cave, and were all very happy. A spring gushed up outside; grasses grew everywhere and best of all there was a large tree to which they could fly in case of danger.

One day the eldest brother decided he wanted to fly up the Klamath River as far as Weitchpec. While he was there he fell in with bad company, and learned how to gamble the Indian way.

He played and played, day in and day out. He forgot all about his poor, sick grandmother at home, who was waiting so patiently for him to come back.

Finally a younger brother went to search for him. On finding him he told the older dove that their grandmother was dead.

He was very sorrowful then, and said that he would mourn in the trees with a ‘coo’ which would tell all the world that his grief would never cease.