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Food for reflection today on the MLK Day US holiday.

One that wasn't even a "brokerage holiday" in the field where I worked for years, until 20 years ago. Shows the nation's priorities. I remember all the excuses of "Markets are closed too often already, adding a holiday will hurt the economy" from the industry starting from before my first programmer job on Wall Street. I also remember there being only 2 or 3 African-American developers out of the hundreds on just one floor of the cube farm at one of the most "progressive" and "less evil" brokerage firms I was at. Damn near none, at the three firms literally on Wall Street in NYC I worked for, with maybe just one as a way to say "See, we don't discriminate."

I'm old enough to recall the proof of the opinion writer's point. Old enough to have had some political awareness and pre-voter-age activism. I remember when politicians of both parties and many of my fellow Americans turned against Dr. King, once he openly started crying out against economic oppression, the Vietnam War and other US imperialism, and our nation's other ills beyond just "helping the blacks."

I was in high school when Dr. King was murdered. I wasn't sufficiently aware of the pervasiveness of racism, including that baked into my own experience, growing up in a white, working-class aspiring to middle-class family in a (then) lilly-white suburb of Boston. But I was aware of and disgusted by the overtly racist antics of those like Louise Day Hicks, agitating what we now call white nationalism, in Southie only 7 miles away. Rather than sensible discussion of issues of fixing neighborhood schools vs racial balance, "leaders" appealed to our worst tribal instincts.

Dr. King saw through so much evil yet saw so much hope. "Leaders" then and now hated what he proclaimed.

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"If Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, politicians would denounce him" https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/15/martin-luther-king-jr-legacy-politicians-hypocrisy
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I don't get why. <=> Can anyone explain this, in terms more intelligent than "rats deserting a sinking ship"?

Yes, a lot of them may lose re-election. But the guaranteed way not to be re-elected is to not run for re-election. Why are so many Republicans, including those in positions of relatively high power in Congress, not trying to stay in their positions?

Sure, the official partisan Democratic Congressional Commission had its mouthpiece say, “California Republicans clearly see the writing on the wall and realize that their party and its priorities are toxic to their re-election chances in 2018,” when speaking of Darrell Issa, one of the surprising quitters. But of course the Democrats will always say that about Republicans, and vice-versa. That is ultimately the same zero-content idiocy of "rats, sinking ship" that adds no light to my question.

Which again is, why are these Republicans giving up on any chance of re-election and in fact increasing the chance that Democrats will win some of these seats more easily than if the Republicans ran again?

Do note that I am NOT saying I WANT these Republicans to run again and win - I do not. Despite my non-hidden disgust of the Establishment Democrats for the past several years, I am still currently a registered Democrat with most (not all) of my positions aligning with what the Democratic Party SAYS it stands for. Even with my occasional Libertarian Party or Republican Party votes, I am at least at a 75% lifetime "vote Democrat" rate on each major office. There are a few Republicans I highly respect, but none of them are the ones leaving.

I just want to understand why they are running away from a fight and increasing their party's chance of losing Congressional power. It just doesn't make any sense.

Yes, I know, they are "tired of all the winning. Too much winning, Mr. President, I can't take it." Haha funny/ironic. Now let's get a serious answer to this if you have informed thoughts.
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Great idea: <=> Ban world leaders from Twitter. Or block them from retweeting, delay their tweets 6 hours.

Connor Friedersdorf, a libertarian, makes an excellent argument here. World leaders are different in power from the rest of us. Twitter is dangerously different from all other social media and personal publishing. It's an irresponsible mix.

There is of course no "censorship", "free speech", nor "equal access" problem, because Twitter is a private sector company, not any governmental entity. Private sector companies, including publicly-traded ones like Twitter, can choose their own customer types they'll accept, as long as they don't discriminate against specifically protected classes. Religion, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, race, are protected classes. Being a world leader isn't.
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New withholding will be messy. <=> But anyone who thinks "getting a big refund" is good is either ignorant or stupid.

Working out the problems with the proper new withholding rate tables is fixable. So is being ignorant of the fact that your "big refund" was you loaning the government a bunch of money at zero interest, something that nobody should do no matter how high or low their politics and party says the overall tax should be. Ignorance is fixable (there, I just fixed it in the prior sentence.)

Stupidity isn't.

Nobody, absolutely nobody, should ever want a big refund on your income tax.

If you are getting that, you are managing at least the financial part of your life entirely incorrectly. Really terribly wrongly. If you still want to get a big refund, rather than learn to manage your financial life at least minimally sensibly, then you are being deliberately stupid.

And that is true whether you wanted the new tax bill to fail, keeping the Obama-era tax rates and higher complexity, or wanted this imperfect partial simplification that did pass.

A perfect tax refund is $0. A realistically good tax return should get you no more than about a $100 or so refund or have you owing a payment of no more than $100 or so.

Meanwhile, every single paycheck during the year, you and your family should have been enjoying the benefit of the extra money in your pay deposit. If you wanted to save it "for taxes so I won't have to pay", or "so I get a big bunch of money in May or June", you can find 1.3% - 1.5% online savings accounts trivially easily from dozens of online-only banks, and 3-6&% savings/premium-checking accounts from dozens of easy-to-join credit unions.

(Ally Bank, Sallie Mae Bank, Marcus, Syncrony, many more for those online savings accounts, that can pull some money directly from your regular account at no charge. You can even thing of that direct debit from your regular account as "taxes" if you like, but you're paying yourself. "Anyone can join by joining an organization" credit unions with premium savings or checking like UNFCU and USAlliance Financial. Probably others near you.)

Instead you've loaned it at 0% interest to the Federal government. Even if you really want to loan money to the government, you could at least have bought some 1-month, 3-month, 6-month Treasury Bills, direct from the US Treasury via "Treasury Direct" for only $500 each time, so maybe one every 3 months, to give yourself at least some interest earned while literally loaning money to the government the sensible way. No brokerage account required, even though those are trivially easy to open online with no minimums to open, but $1000 per T-bill done that way.

(Schwab with Schwab Bank, zero min to open, $1000 at no commission to participate in the weekly T-Bill auction. Free liniks to your regular bank and likely Schwab Bank is a better bank than yours. Fidelity Cash Management Checking, also no minimum, works like a bank, but is a special type of brokerage account and likewise you can buy 1 $1000 T-bill in the same weekly auction in that account, with no commission.)

Now you have no excuse to want a big refund, unless, again, you want to remain deliberately ignorant. You could still structure this savings plan to end with a "big payout" in April of each year, so if you need some of it to pay your taxes, or for a big purchase, the bonds have rolled back into cash in your account freely transferable to your regular bank, or if you use the Schwab or Fidelity methods, right on the Visa Debit/ATM card that accesses them. And by then one of them might even be "your regular checking bank".

For the screeching subset of Democrats (note: I still am a registered Democrat who has lifetime voted at least 75% Democratic) need to shut up about how bad it is that hardworking Americans should get as much as possible of their own money in their paychecks. Even if you/we take over the House and Senate in 2018 and repeal this in 2019 so that somebody's new lower tax rate goes BACK UP(! Thanks, Dems!), you still should want that person to keep as much of her paycheck as possible.

It's OK to oppose the new tax bill and try to repeal it. It's evil to try to say that under the new or old rates, people should get less of their money in their paychecks and loan it free to Uncle Sam. If you are looking to lose again in 2018 and 2020, keep doing that.

Tax Refunds are a LIE. It was your money all along. Don't loan it free.

This post is 100% dietetic: No sugarcoating whatsoever.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/10/tax-reform-paychecks-irs-332183
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Why would Democrats think another celebrity rich "businessperson" whose "business" is only their name as brand, and which business is not even a public company with board and shareholder accountability and thus legally required financial transparency, be the way to win against Trump in 2020?

That's insanely wrong. Unless you view everything through race/gender identity politics and celebrity worship, rather than actual competency and experience qualifying one for the job. On that latter, of which Oprah 2020 has no more than Trump 2016 and by definition less than President Trump 2020.

Do we have to make the exact same mistake, just with "our celebrity"?
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So many liberals took this seriously. Stupid! <=> Get some common sense or we'll never be rid of Trump until Jan 2025.
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I am definitely in favor of this: <=> Mandatory paper trail, optical scan, voting machines. Auditable, with mandated post-election statistically significant audits. Don't change to this, your state / district loses federal funding for voting assistance.

Bipartisan bill. Please work to get it passed. Regardless of your party and political positions. Nobody should want our system of representative democracy in our constitutional federal republic undermined by buggy and easy to cheat voting machines.

Way too many vulnerabilities, opportunities for cheating, with touchscreen and other no-paper voting machines. And far too many reports and rumors of both Democrats and Republicans cheating and rigging the machines, over the past decade and half since they became prevalent.

P.S. Actually no credible evidence of Russians rigging them, only of Republicans and Democrats in elections from 2002 onward.
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I have zero problem with this. <=> H-1B was meant for temporary-only tech workers, only if no US workers.

"India, Inc." in conjunction with lies from Microsoft, Google, BofA Merrill, Fidelity, most other banking and finance firms, major healthcare chains, and the US Chamber of Commerce, destroyed careers, lives (some literally), and entire professions. Their actions and abuses were and still are warping H-1B into a pathway to permanently replacing US workers, underpaying for skilled work (the so-called "prevailing wage" provisions are laughably unenforced and trivial to loophole through.)

They've already nearly destroyed the programming / software development profession as a viable career path for US workers and as a prospective career for students. Well underway with destroying the registered nursing profession, paralegal, radiology, and engineering.

But they did their career-destruction beta test on us coders and analysts. Starting only a few years after the Clinton era of pushing that as the path to future good jobs. While still pushing lies right through the present about "learn to code", "coding bootcamps", "retrain in programming" to those who don't realize how much the Establishment Democrats and Establishment Republicans jointly sold out US STEM workers.

Unless the H-1B program is not only restricted but ultimately entirely destroyed, those jobs and career paths are further gone forever than the coal jobs.

"US Workers" of course includes legal permanent resident immigrants alongside US citizens. H-1B cheats legal permanent immigrants too.

There is NO "highly skilled US workers" shortage - only a shortage of decent US companies willing to pay fair professional wages and end age discrimination against STEM workers they discard.

I don't overall like Trump, and this move is too late by a nearly a decade to help me, but I celebrate this particular decision by his administration. It will help younger colleagues and friends. Truly progressive Democrats should also celebrate restricting the horrible neoliberal H-1B program even if "the bad guy from the other side" did it. Just like pulling out of TPP, some things the new Left and new Right can be in common, with the Establishment the enemy.
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Put this P.O.S. in hard-time prison for life. <=> If found guilty after a fair but harshly-prosecuted trial, of course. No leniency!
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Not arguing against this. You shouldn't either. <=> They coddled Osama bin Laden, fund lots of terrorists. Screw'em!
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