Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court, tax laws & insanity: What I learned at three rubber-chicken lunches recently

     The Berkeley-Albany Bar Association has been on a huge roll this year.  First we had a local expert on the U.S. Supreme Court speak at our January monthly luncheon, giving us the complete 411 regarding what the court had been up to this past year.  Not a pretty picture.  It's really hard to eat rubber chicken and contemplate Anton Scalia at the same time.  But I took lots of notes.  But then I lost them in the process of getting my apartment renovated.

     Then, two months ago, we had a tax-law expert tell us all about Congress's latest new IRS laws.  It was also totally informative and I also took a whole bunch of notes.  But then they got lost too.

     However, regarding taxes, it doesn't really matter what kinds of laws that Congress does or does not pass when it comes to you and me -- not while rich people are being allowed to hide approximately 32 trillion dollars in offshore tax loopholes; money that, unlike your and my money, will never ever be touched by the IRS.

     According to the Los Angeles Times, "
[32 trillion dollars is] roughly the size of the American and Japanese economies combined, according to the report from James Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey & Co.  And the figure only includes financial wealth, not real estate, yachts or other assets held abroad." http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/23/business/la-fi-mo-tax-havens-20120723

     The rich really are different from the rest of us -- especially when it comes to cheating on taxes.  We go to jail.  They don't.

     In 1950, corporations paid 40% of America's taxes.  And now they pay almost zip.

     This month's speaker at the BABA luncheon was a psychiatrist and he spoke to us about how to prevent substance abuse and mental illness.  Fascinating.  "It's mostly genetic," he said.

     Apparently if one of your parents or grandparents was nutzo or addicted, there is a 25% chance that you will be too.

     "Most substance abuse and/or mental illness shows up in adolescence,"
the speaker continued.  Great.  Now all we gotta do is keep our teenagers from being teenagers.  Problem solved.

     If only I myself had been able to somehow jump over those crucial hazardous teenage years.

     Then the psychiatrist gave us six main signs to look for as flags for future mental illness.  I think I had at least five of them -- but then I already know that I'm crazy because I keep hopelessly believing that Mankind is basically good, that world peace is possible, that we will someday give up letting Wall Street and War Street be our gods, that the internal combustion engine causes climate change and that too much television is bad for you.

PS:  Here are the six main flags for mental illness.  Enjoy.  But once you realize that you too (and almost everyone else in America) are also officially crazy, then you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

1.  Feeling that "something's not quite right"
2.  Jumbled thoughts and confusion
3.  Being fearful for no good reason
4.  Hearing sounds/voices that are not there
5.  Declining interest in people, activities and self-care
6.  Trouble speaking clearly.

PPS:  I just scored an actual solar-powered Lucky Kitty over in San Francisco Chinatown the other day.  How crazy-good is that!


Advertizements for myself: In these hard times of brutal (and illegal) corporatist ball-busting socialism-for-the-rich-only, I am doing whatever I can to make a spare dollar. Here are some of my current alternate-economy schemes that never seem to work -- but I keep hoping!



 If anyone ever wants to hire me on as a travel writer (or war correspondent), "Have laptop, will travel!"


Need someone to help you throw out stuff? I'm really good at deciding what needs to be thrown out (starting with all those corporate-owned bums in Washington!)


Need an actor to play an older woman in your movie?
Then I'm your man! I can portray all kinds of older women -- from judges, business execs and other insane zombies to bag ladies, cancer patients, kindly grandmothers and dying patients in rest homes. I've played them all. So send me a script and let's do this. Hollywood, here we come!

Are you a plaintiffs' attorney who is tired of writing those pesky personal injury settlement briefs all the time? No problem! I can write them for you. Years of experience. And pay me only if you win the case.

I recently got my Notary Public commission!

Need a Notary Public? Have seal, will travel. E-mail me at jpstillwater@yahoo.com and I'll stamp your document, make it official and only charge $10. Of course if you live outside of Berkeley, I may have to charge travel expenses -- but am well worth it!

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I also wrote a book about going on Hajj (also included as a chapter in "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket," but this book is cheaper -- but it's worth buying them both!) My book on the Hajj is so outstanding that I bet even Christian fundamentalists will love it! Please buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Mecca-Hajj-Lessons-Islamic-School/dp/0978615700/ref=cm_rdp_product


"Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World peace in one generation!"
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"Life is a competition. The winners are the ones who do the most good deeds."
You can also buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for those of us who are still idealists in these troubled times. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters