Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Fickleness of a Uniform

Rumor has it now....that this Oslo shooter guy....Anders Breivik, has the intention of appearing at his court case in his Knights of the Templar uniform (seen to the right).

My guess is that he's made this hint to his lawyer....preparing the court folks for this request.  Legally, it may be hard to deny the guy this opportunity (being Norway and such).  If I were the judge...I would seek various ways to forbid this and force the guy to show up in a plain old suit.

The intention here?  He wants to show that he's some military authority (with medals) and working on a mission that will benefit his nation.  The medals?  All fake or given to him by his drinking buddies at the local Knights of the Templar meeting.  In essence, the uniform is fake, the medals are fake, and the guy is fake.

I could say a lot of negative things about some stunt like this.  He's already violated a number of rules that a military guy would swear an oath to.  Somehow, he's worn this enough times....that he starts to believe in some radical political ideology....some mission to save the country.....and that killing a significant number of teenagers will  help accomplish everything.  Allowing him to appear in court with this fickle uniform....is about the last thing on Earth that I'd allow, if I were judge.  It's a pleasure, that I just can't agree to.

The Millionaire Tax Scenario

One has to lay out a model of a millionaire tax increase....to understand the White House beliefs and what will happen next.....so here is a simplified scenario.

Karl was a lucky kid whose dad talked him into doing state college and not running off to the University of California like he dreamed.  His dad paid for everything....making him live out of the dorm for three years....kept his allowance within reason.  When Karl graduated....he didn't owe anyone any money.  At that point, he was twenty steps ahead of his buddies.

Karl had made a friendship or two in college and had this idea of buying houses....fixing them....and then flipping them.  He made up a partnership.....borrowed enough from his dad and the bank....and started this business in the local town where he grew up.  Within four years....he'd paid back his dad and the bank all the money.  He cut corners and lived cheaply as part of his efforts.

By age thirty.....he was pulling in $150k a year.  Karl owned a small gas station as part of his diversification, and had a quarter ownership in a building with sixty apartments.

By age forty....he was pulling in $4 million a year.  Karl was part of a real estate "syndicate" which bought up property, influenced politicians from the region, and sold it at disgustingly great profits.  Karl had bought his first McDonalds franchise, and bought up forty properties in real estate speculation effort.

By age fifty....he was pulling in almost $20 million a year.  Karl had to pay around $4 million in taxes.  It would have been more but all these various tax credits existed which were crafted by several congressmen that his syndicate had donated millions to their re-election campaign.  The same thing was done at the state level....so he had saved millions through the use of his profits.

As these extra millions lay in Karls hands....he simply kept building onto his empire.  He owned four McDonalds franchises, had several hotel properties, and had various business enterprises in his vision.  He and his partner even owned a private jet....which they used typically five times a month, and the rest of the time....they rented it out to various local rich guys to travel to meetings in style.

When the day came that the administration finally finally decided to dump new taxes on Karl....to meet this debt obligation...to make things FAIR (as mentioned so many times in speeches).  Karl's $4 million in taxes suddenly went to $5.5 million.  It was $1.5 million less that he had out of the original $16 million that he could continually play with.

The fifth McDonalds that Karl dreamed of?  Gone.  It would be two years before he'd sit down and get serious about adding more to his account.  That equaled nine full-time jobs and forty part-time jobs in some rural area of Kentucky.    The government would use the $1.5 to sponsor a study in Peru on why cocaine is such a big deal there and needed the University of Texas to tell them the reason.

The remodeling that he would have done to one hotel in Tulsa?  That job would have employed twelve guys for six months, but that's now delayed for one year.

The upgraded jet that he and his partner were looking at....hoping to trade their current jet up a notch?  That's now pushed back for two years....so that $4 million for a California company, which would have meant cash flow and jobs for their organization....gone.

The fancy new Cadillac that Karl was going to buy for his wife?  That has been pushed back six months.  It's delayed, and harms Cadillac a small amount because it won't happen this month.

You have to remember....this increase on Karl's taxes isn't for one year.  You can figure it's a minimum of four years....so Karl is giving up $6 million that won't flow into some business enterprise or sponsor jobs via his business connections.  In fact, it's pretty good odds that the $1.5 million a year going into the government's hands....never helped to create a single job.

The neat thing?  While the President smiles and talks about taking on this rich fat-cat jet owners?  Karl and his buddies ran down to Senator Snuffy....and had him quietly toss in some more fancy tax credits.  It took a year to make these take effect.....but he actually got back to "norm"....keeping his $1.5 million that they took for one year.....and in fact, he now now retains $2 million instead.  So they came out better in the end....thanks to Senator Snuffy's amazing tax credit writing abilities.

Course, we'd all thank the President for screwing over their rich fat-cat jet owners, and never realize how the system really works.

Meanwhile, Karl has these dreams of making $40 million a year by age sixty.  The curious thing....America is the only place in the world where a guy might be able do something like this and not have inherited a single penny of the empire from any relative.  Thanks to the American system, and Senator Snuffy....oh, and the President.

Using the Bad Word

At some point on Friday....as the Oslo business started to unfold....I took my office browser over to the BBC and got a live feed from London.  Naturally, they were trying to tell you just about everything that got dumped out of Norway.

Eventually, the topic of the camp on the island came up and the possible shootings there.  So about thirty minutes into this....they kinda lay out the who sponsored the camp for these 16-year old to 20-year old kids.....the national labor party.

I sat there and had this brief and fleeting image in my mind but I felt it was best not to imagine that because it's not part of the story.  When you have a political party sponsoring a bunch of teenagers....giving them pep talks and speeches....it tends to remind historians of Nazi Germany.  I felt it would have been better if the BBC folks avoided any description of who ran this camp deal and just seize on the facts evolving.

Well....today....Glenn Beck finally got around to analyzing the whole picture here.  He discussed the shooter, the Muslims there in Norway, and finally got to this camp for kids....run by the liberal left party of the country.  He could not avoid noting some minor comparison to the way that Germans ran their youth camps of the 1930s.

Naturally, this raised a huge fuss by the mid-afternoon.  Folks got terribly upset about these seventy-odd kids who were killed by this nut in Norway....and the camp being referred to in a Nazi fashion.  Beck probably has gotten a tremendous amount of negativity over his comments, and a bunch of Norwegians will really get hyper over such a claim.

So, here are the facts.  Norway is this country about the size of Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri.  They've got the population of five million....which is just about the same population as South Carolina.  Nobody leaves the country much.  As for folks moving to the country....it's just not on the top fifty countries that folks want to move to....with the exception of Muslims.  The climate in the winter can be nasty, and mosquitoes are a huge issue in the summer.

Up until the 1950s.....Norway was this poor country that didn't have any real economy.  Then, they found oil and natural gas.  By the 1980s....money poured into the infrastructure, and they've built up the whole country with schools, roads, bridges, and fixed just about everything that you could imagine.  It's not a bad place, and certainly isn't like some poor region of Mississippi anymore.

The thing about Norway....is that with barely five million folks....you tend to know most everyone in your local area and region.  TV stars are actually folks that you might bump into on a monthly basis.  You likely know the chief banker of your local town by his first name, and you probably can name all of the doctors in town with ease.

So when you talk politics....everyone knows each other's politics and ideology.  In families, it's the likely event that the parents kind expect junior to follow in their footsteps to being a liberal or conservative or radical.  So the parties tend to expand out, and support these camp-like functions as a training atmosphere and a chance to meet up with like-minded kids.

Now, we can talk about the negative of ROTC in American schools doing the same thing.  We can talk about religious schools operating and trying to keep their kids in a straight line.  Here, you simply have folks in Norway who doing basically the same business.

I'd hate to use the term Nazi, like Beck used.  But the simple words used by various European reporters opened this bucket of worms.  When you toss around terms like this and don't explain the nation's structure and why things run like this.....you simply aren't doing justice to the situation.