Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Taxes, Original Sin and Withholding

Today, unless you file an extension, federal tax returns are due to be submitted to the IRS.  Yesterday we learned that the Internal Revenue Service is licking its chops at getting its hands on; unearned; unclaimed 2010 tax refunds, to the tune of $760 million.  Monies Americans have earned and been coerced out of weekly by the IRS, with the complicit assistance of their employers.

Recently we also learned that a Harvard study calculates every American would have to cough up $106K to pay off the national debt.

Donald Sensing shared a few thoughts on this Harvard study news in a post titled Original debt wherein he states the following.

Anyone who does not understand the Christian theological concept of original sin need only to consider the equally real “original debt.” For according to a Harvard University study, an infant born today emerges into the world already in financial debt to the amount of $106,000.

While I find Sensing’s analogy eye catchingly interesting; he utilizes the concept of original sin to support his idea of original debt; because I find the idea of original sin as pronounced by theological poobahs as an almost insurmountable barrier to individuals interested in learning about the Christian faith, I think the analogy, though it will receive nods of approval in Christian circles, is somewhat lacking in effectiveness.

But let us return to taxes.  As if having to file your tax returns, and the IRS claiming unclaimed refunds, isn’t enough rotten news for the week, we also learned this past week that the IRS is seizing tax refunds of children to pay their parents’ tax debts.  My son, a financial advisor, notified me of this news in a note whose subject line was “Withholding,” informing me that he is having all his clients check their withholding allowances in an effort to prevent his clients’ tax refunds being seized to pay debts they have not incurred.  As I’ve mentioned here previously, taking home your take home pay is not illegal, and I would recommend you take home all your pay rather than allowing the government to use it, interest free, and eliminate the possibility of any tax refund due to you being seized by the IRS before those monies make it back into your pocket, where they well and truly belong.

UPDATE - 04.16.2014:  The IRS is backing down from collecting old tax debts, allegedly owed by parents, by seizing tax refunds of the children.  While this is good to learn, be assured that the policy will be reconsidered.  I still recommend taking home all your take home pay, rather than an end of tax year refund, as a means of keeping as much of your earnings out of the government’s hands as you possibly can.

Social Security stops trying to collect on old debts by seizing tax refunds

Posted by John Venlet on 04/15 at 10:23 AM
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Friday, April 11, 2014

114th Anniversary of the United States Submarine Force

Though the first documented use of a submarine in United States warfare was the Turtle, built in 1775, the United States Submarine Force was not founded in proper until 1900, on this date, April 11.

Here’s an news item, from the Marysville, TN The Daily Times, noting this anniversary, titled ‘Fraternity like no others:’ Blount submariners talk about force’s 114-year history, and here’s a bit of submarine history for those who are interested.

I salute all submariners, past, present, and future.  I’m proud to have served in the submarine force aboard the USS Los Angeles (SSN688)

Many thanks to Tim B. for alerting and pointing me to the link.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/11 at 03:56 PM
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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Gotta Payoff the ObamaCare Cronies Some Way

Paying off the ObamaCare cronies.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/08 at 11:06 AM
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Monday, April 07, 2014

And We’re Supposed To Be Surprised At This News?

Drudge’s current front and center headline reads, in big bold letters, as follows.

REPUBLICANS EXPAND OBAMACARE?

The headline leads to an article at My Way under the headline GOP seeks coverage choices in health law they hate wherein you can read about the Republicans finagling around tweaking ObamaCare to suit their fancies, rather than attempting to destroy ObamaCare.

Are we seriously supposed to be surprised at this news?

As noted here in 2010, both Malone Vandam and Billy Beck clearly stated what the Republicans ineffectual response to Obamacare would be when and if it became law.  First, Malone Vandam.

The Republicans stood against it, but by past performance they’ll only come back to manage the mess, not end the thing.

And Billy Beck.

The Republicans have not had a single morally probative principle under them in all of the fifty-three years that I have been alive. They have been passively complicit in this whole disaster every step of the way, in their spineless stupidity,...

If you’re surprised at the news of Republicans finagling around with ObamaCare, you’re not paying attention.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/07 at 08:37 AM
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Saturday, April 05, 2014

Submarining in the Artic

Though I spent some intense time in the Bering Sea, off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula eyeing things Russian, one experience that I unfortunately did not have the opportunity to enjoy was surfacing through the ice.

Thomas L. Friedman recently was able to experience surfacing through the Arctic ice on the USS New Mexico (SSN779), and shares his thoughts on the experience in an op-ed titled Parallel Parking in the Arctic Circle.  Friedman’s piece is an interesting read, but you should click the link to the piece just to view the repeating viddie showing the boat surfacing.

Thanks to my friend Matt for heads up.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/05 at 10:29 AM
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“The River” is Calling

The latest Gates Au Sable Lodge Fishing Report only reinforces my desire to get back in the water, fly rod in hand, on a consistent basis, and in a few weeks this desire will come to fruition.  I’m ready.

The fishing report also informs me that a new film will be released April 24th whose subject is the Au Sable River in Grayling, MI.  The film is titled The River.

The link takes you to a 5:40 trailer for the film, and the cinematography is very well done.  I know, or bump into in the river, most of the individuals featured in those 5 minutes and 40 seconds.  I’ll be ordering a copy of the DVD for myself.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/05 at 08:12 AM
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Suffering from Povery, or Not Beholden

Suffering or Not Beholden

The above photo is posted here with the following written description.

Kids suffering from poverty as a result of the Great Depression

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I look at that photo I don’t see children suffering.  Sure, those two boys look dirt poor, in the main definitive sense of being in a state of poverty;

the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions (bold by ed.)

but those boys don’t appear to be suffering.  Perhaps, the impish smile on the older boy’s face is the result of being brought up by his parents in a state of not being beholden to anybody, which can tend to put a smile on your face.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/28 at 08:27 AM
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Recommended Reading Lists

Recently, CA, at Western Rifle Shooters Association, posted a couple of links to recommended reading lists.  Billy Beck’s “A List of Books,” and Bill Buppert’s “The Beck Library: War and the State by Bill Buppert”, of which Part II is here.

Billy’s and Bill’s lists of books mirror each other, but not fully, and both gentlemen provide brief commentaries as to why these books are in their personal libraries.  I have approximately fifty percent or so of these recommended books in my own personal library, and search for those not in my library when wandering used book stores, estate sales and what have you.

I will not add to Billy or Bill’s lists of books, as organized, but I can recommend some volumes for individuals who share an interest in things not seen, philosophical, touching on matters of faith in God and how this informs daily lives now, and in the past.  And make no mistake, ignoring the role Christianity and faith had, and has, in history and in today’s world, is of importance and adds insights to the many volumes both Billy and Bill suggest.  My list of recommended books will not be all inclusive, exhaustive, or require undue concentration and deciphering.  Nor will I provide any commentary on these works, with the exception of noting that all of the writers write clearly, cleanly and often entertainingly.

Lynn Harold Hough’s Free Men - Forest Essays, The Clean Sword, and The Civilized Mind.

Lawrence Hyde’s The Learned Knife.

Francis Sydney Marvin’s The Living Past - A Sketch of Western Progress.

Charles Reynolds Brown’s Why I Believe in Religion.

Reinhold Neibuhr’s Moral Man and Immoral Society, and The Nature and the Destiny of Man.

Jacques Ellul’s Violence; Reflections from a Christian Perspective.

Francis A. Schaeffer’s The God Who Is There, Escape from Reason, and He Is There and He Is Not Silent.

Last, but definitely not least, would be the Bible, if only to understand the history, the evolution, of monotheism throughout recorded history.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/25 at 11:48 AM
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

What’s Going On, Here

Sorry for the down time, here, folks.  Have a couple/few issues to get straightened around in the back end.  We’re getting there.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/23 at 02:47 PM
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Man and Dog Futures

The National Journal asks, in a headline:

Are Robots About to Take Our Jobs?

I’ll allow Warren G. Bennis to respond to the question.

The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/11 at 06:34 PM
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Friday, March 07, 2014

Lake Michigan Views at Ottawa Beach

The Lovely Melis and I, and our critter Elsa too, took a stroll out on Lake Michigan this afternoon.  Ice as far as the eye can see.  Here’s a few pics.  Enjoy.  Temp was 44 degrees, and the sun was shining nicely.

Pier head


Berg view


Berg view from below


Blue ice


Blue ice


Big blue ice

Posted by John Venlet on 03/07 at 04:17 PM
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“Who Owns You?”

Josie The Outlaw asks, Who Owns You? (scroll down for the 4:36 video)

Via Joel.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/07 at 10:40 AM
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A More Useful Check on the Militarization of the Police, or Limits

InstaPundit, Glenn Reynolds, in linking to a Eugene Volokh piece in the Washington Post filed under the headline Are laws limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds constitutional?, states the following.

Personally, I think civilians and police should be able to carry the same kinds of weapons. That’s a useful check on the militarization of the police.

If we are to take Reynolds’ statement as logically objective, and a principle to be followed, and expand on it to consider the realities of the just how well armed the police are nowadays, then one of these vehicles should be parked in my driveway.

Here’s a more principled reason why civilians should be able to carry the same kinds of weapons as the police.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/07 at 09:36 AM
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Thursday, March 06, 2014

You Don’t Need No Doctor, Bill O’Reilly

The other day, Bill O’Reilly, an alleged bastion of conservatism and common sense, got all in a huff because an architect of the health care disaster known as ObamaCare, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, whom, coincidentally, is the brother of Rahm Emanuel, the king of Chicago, stated the following.

‘You Don’t Need a Doctor for Every Part of Your Health Care’

O’Reilly was bent out of shape because this statement of Dr. Emanuel suggested that individuals could just go to a clinic and see a Physician Assistant, or a Nurse Practitioner, for a throat swab, or have their child checked for an ear infection, rather than visiting an emergency room or an actual pediatrician’s office.

While I have no love for Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, or ObamaCare, I would suggest that Bill O’Reilly put on some big boy pants, rather than being a pantywaist about minor medical problems.

“You know me, I’m afraid of everything,” O’Reilly said.

It is no secret that unnecessary emergency room and doctor visits are rampant in these United States, with people rushing off to the doctor or emergency room for superficial medical reasons, when a band-aid, ice pack, or rest will do.

You don’t need no doctor, Bill O’Reilly, you need to grow up and quit over-exciting yourself for teevee ratings.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/06 at 04:39 PM
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What Ails America Juxtaposition

In a Roger L. Simon piece titled After Ukraine, We Need an American Spring, which does contain some sound advice, Simon makes the following statement.

The people aren’t the problem. It’s the state.

Now, contrast Simon’s view of the problem with Vaclav Klaus’.

The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency.  It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgement to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.  The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America.  Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast conspiracy of fools that made him their prince.  The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, only a fool.  It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him president.

Roger L. Simon piece linked via InstaPundit.

Vaclav Klaus quote via Vanderleun’s KA-CHING!.

UPDATE - 02.25.20114:  It has been brought to my attention, by Linda in comments to this post, that the above quote may not be attributable to Vaclav Klaus (see my comment to Linda).  I am attempting to clarify this.  I have contacted the Cato Institute where Mr. Klaus is a distinguished senior fellow, and Mr. Klaus himself through his DeSmogBlog in my attempts for clarification on the quote.  If I receive a response, from either source, I will update this post once again.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/25 at 09:08 AM
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