The Oregon Nevada militia idjits are being overwhelmed by dildo deliveries

Being one of the guys who’ve taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon must suck. It’s so cold that they’ve had to hide under tarps, people have started referring to them as Y’all Qaeda and there’s no snacks.

So far, the anti-government militia have been relying on donations — sent through the United States Postal Service — to maintain their siege. While they initially asked for cereal, shower gel, and other essentials, those who aren’t so supportive of their campaign have found some pretty interesting things to send their way.

Some threatened to glitter bomb them, while PETA hand–delivered the ranchers some vegan jerky. But the militia’s organizer, Jon Ritzheimer, seems most annoyed by all the dicks they’ve received.

But don’t worry, they have a plan! They’re going to sell all of the dildos on eBay.

You got us, Mo. I’m sure there’s a huge market for previously owned dildos on eBay.

These dorks think incongruous gift items are a sign of hatred. They don’t get it. Ordinary working folks find these jerks contemptible. Beneath hate.

We go to work every day, We obey the laws of the land. We don’t try to steal from taxpayers. We don’t hold up nature preserves with assault rifles.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Where do the really, really wealthy park their money?


Come to the Caribbean — visit Mitt Romney’s money

In some circles, “redistribution” of wealth has become a dirty word, and recent efforts to make the tax system more progressive have run into serious political resistance, above all from Republicans. But whatever your political party, you are unlikely to approve of the illegal use of tax havens. As it turns out, a lot of wealthy people in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere have been hiding money in foreign countries — above all, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Virgin Islands. As a result, they have been able to avoid paying taxes in their home countries. Until recently, however, officials have not known the magnitude of that problem.

But people are paying increasing attention to it. A vivid new documentary, The Price We Pay, connects tax havens, inequality, and insufficient regulation of financial transactions. The film makes a provocative argument that a new economic elite—wealthy managers and holders of capital—is now able to operate on a global scale, outside the constraints of any legal framework. In a particularly chilling moment, it shows one of the beneficiaries of the system cheerfully announcing on camera: “I don’t feel any remorse about not paying taxes. I think it’s a marvelous way in life.”

Gabriel Zucman, who teaches at the University of California at Berkeley, has two goals in his new book, The Hidden Wealth of Nations: to specify the costs of tax havens, and to figure out how to reduce those costs. While much of his analysis is technical, he writes with moral passion, even outrage; he sees tax havens as a “scourge.”

His figures are arresting. About 8 percent of the world’s wealth, or $7.6 trillion, is held in tax havens. In 2015, Switzerland alone held $2.3 trillion in foreign wealth. As a result of fraud from unreported foreign accounts, governments around the world lose about $200 billion in tax revenue each year. Most of this amount comes from the evasion of taxes on investment income, but a significant chunk comes from fraud on inheritances. In the United States, the annual tax loss is $35 billion; in Europe, it is $78 billion. In African nations, it is $14 billion.

Zucman is the first economist to produce specific numbers of this kind, and to do so, he had to undertake some creative detective work. In order to identify hidden wealth, he focuses on “anomalies”—situations in which international balance sheets show, in aggregate, more liabilities than assets…Zucman puts it this way: “as far back as statistics go, there is a ‘hole’; if we look at the world balance sheet, more financial assets are recorded as liabilities than as assets, as if planet Earth were in part held by Mars.”

For the purpose of producing an accounting of hidden wealth, that is actually helpful, because “money doesn’t evaporate randomly into the ether, but instead follows a precise pattern of tax evasion…”

A strong virtue of Zucman’s book is that it puts a bright spotlight on an area in which significant reforms might appeal to people who otherwise disagree on a great deal. You might believe that the tax system should be made more progressive, or you might believe that it should be made less so. But whatever you think, you are unlikely to support a situation in which trillions of dollars are hardly taxed at all.

RTFA for quite a detailed discussion internal to Sunstein and Zucman. As complex as the topic – but, you learn even more about the politics of wealth and deceit.

Solar energy jobs have doubled in the last 5 years

The number of solar jobs in the U.S. has more than doubled in five years. In fact, there are more people working in solar now than at oil rigs and in gas fields.

The solar industry added 35,000 jobs in 2015, up 20% from the previous year, according to the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit in Washington D.C.. The group is not funded by solar companies.

In contrast, oil and gas firms slashed nearly 17,000 extraction jobs in 2015 as energy prices continue to plummet. Oil prices are down a stunning 70% in the last 18 months and hovering just over $30 a barrel, a 12-year low.

There are about 209,000 solar energy employees in the U.S. They include solar panel installers, designers, engineers, sales folks and managers.

Today, the solar industry workforce is bigger than that of oil and gas construction, and nearly three times the size of the entire coal mining workforce.


Todd Valdez, owner of Sunkey Energy

Todd Valdez knows the money is good. He went to the Ecotech Institute in 2012 and started his own solar company, Sunkey Energy, two and a half years ago…

Valdez pays most of his employees $22 to $25 an hour, and his master electricians north of $30 an hour. Two of his employees left the oil industry last year to work for him. He says the amount of solar power his company installs has tripled in volume between 2014 and 2015…

Colorado is one of the hottest states for solar, Valdez says and California has the most solar energy jobs in the country.

Businesses and homeowners are eligible for a 30% tax credit if they install solar panels on their property. That’s been in place since 2006 but in December Congress renewed the tax credit for another six years. That lowers installation costs considerably.

Congress did figure out how to screw us a bit, though. Starting in 2017 that tax credit will be applied to less of the whole cost of private solar every year.