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October 2008

Opinion: Obama Is Our World's Last Best Hope

A Letter to the Breathlessly Waiting World: What is the difference between Powell and Obama? One wonders how much Obama shares Powell's conservative beliefs. I believe that Powell is maneuvering to recover political position, but that Obama, based on his Dreams from My Father, is not Powell. Powell believes that the so-called "free market/privatization" policies of the Republican agenda are valid (or he did before the economy dumped), and he's a strong believer in the use of force, but like Obama, believes in diplomacy first. I honestly don't know if there is much of a difference. So far, Obama has never found himself in the same position that Powell was in, having to lie for a globally important but  dishonest policy, but I think he would if he felt it was in the best interests of most of America, or his vision of most of America. Both are intelligent, but Powell has lived a long time in the military, while Obama has worked to alleviate poverty, and if his first book is a valid sign, he's a hell of a writer and has a much more creative mind. Despite Powell's shameful speech at the United Nations, he has some credibility with middle America, having broken in 2004 with Bush and Rumsfeld and the Republican hawks. Both, I believe, are highly political animals. Powell may easily have run for President after the first Iraq war, and possibly won. He still would have been more in agreement with the NeoCons, so Bill Clinton was, in my opinion, a better choice to neutralize the Gingrich Congress, though not much better, since Clinton is, after all, rather conservative, and has few guiding ideals as far as I can tell. A brilliant idiot.
    Obama offers hope. I think he's strong and intelligent enough and well grounded enough to see a much larger view of global issues than either of the Clintons or Powell. We'll have to see. I do believe Bill Clinton could have avoided our present day financial woes, not because he was a financial wizard himself, but because had a feel for the poor who might suffer and  he chose advisors well and surrounded himself with real economic thinkers (such as Robert Reich) who had an infinitely more humane world view than the Bush advisors, who were mostly interested in oil and eternal control of the administration of America. In the Clinton years, it's true that the first step to deregulate Glass-Steagall was taken, but as a result of a right-wing full court press. Under Bush, the final and witting deregulation of Glass-Steagall led to our subprime debacle. Bush, of course, is (I almost wrote was) no deep thinker with the ultimate welfare of the world in his heart. He's a shallow-minded conservative with lots of corporate friends, like Dick Cheney.  
      God. I have no patience with the political process, an endless smiling, handshaking lying job, until you get to the top, and then the lies are just bigger. I hope that Obama lives up to his Dreams from My Father, and that he lives long enough to make real changes. I am so sick of the depressed, violent state of America, of living in America under greedy little wannabe dictators with illusions of power and indifference to human needs, and that includes the majority of big-time politicians for the past 30 years, not quite three-fifths of my life. Hats off to those who can move up politically without losing their love for this world. A sensitive high-level politician is something of a paradox.  
    I prefer poetry. I prefer Archy and Mehitabel. Best hopes for all of us. Someone needs to help us out environmentally, and Obama is, most likely, our world's last best hope.


Fresh & Easy Is Coming to Town


Fresh & Easy Buzz is a blog with a wide readership: Fresh & Easy execs, Tesco execs in the U.K., Fresh & Easy store workers, people in the food and grocery industry globally, and consumers in general all over. Pacifica Riptide has been trading comments and news with Fresh & Easy Buzz about Pacifica's new Fresh & Easy store now under construction in Pedro Point shopping center. We would like to hear from you. Just click Comments at the bottom of this post. CROSS-POLLINATION: PACIFICA RIPTIDE AND FRESH & EASY BUZZ


True Lies at the Fog Fest Booths

"The Fog Fest proved that people are eager for Democratic change. Visitors swarmed our booth. We registered 83 new voters, passed out many voter registration forms, signed up new club members, and took in over $1,000 in donations. ...The Republican booth was surprisingly polite this year—they agreed not to tell lies about us, and we agreed not to tell the truth about them." (Jim Heldberg, newsletter editor, Pacifica Democrats)

Donut Time Owner Herr Joe Chen Dies

Herr Joe Chen, jovial owner of the popular Donut Time store in Linda Mar shopping center, died October 13, 2008. Joe's many customers will miss his quirky sense of humor and his excellent coffee and donuts. Watch Riptide and the Pacifica Tribune for an announcement from Joe's family. Here are two comments from a friend of Joe's, Avril Hughes:

"i was so sad to read of the death of joe chen this afternoon. he apparently died last monday. joe and jany have been my friends for the past almost 11 years. they also befriended my parents and were always asking after them and wanting to know when they were next going to visit, from canada.  joe was from laos. he and the surviving members of his family were refugees and in the late 70s/early 80s and were sponsored to move to canada by a church in winnipeg, manitoba, which was my home until april '94 when i arrived in pacifica. joe told everyone that i was his cousin from winnipeg! my art car friends from across the u.s. and canada that traveled to the bay area art car fest in 2004,5,6,7 or 8  were offered donuts from a suitcase. they were courtesy of herr joe  and his wife jany, very generous folks. joe and jany watched my art car, "grooovalicious purple princess of peace", from the start of her creation. they were always happy to see her and check out what was new. over the past 5 years they gave me thousands of donuts to bring along to the thursday morning meeting spot, to share with all the folks. i'm going to be helping out at the donut shop for the next couple of days or perhaps weeks and have started a donation can to try to collect up a few $$$ for jany. if you'd like to contribute please come by donut time, monday or tuesday between 6 a.m. and noon or email me at to make other arrangements."

Joe had a fatal heart attack on Monday, October 13, 2008. For some reason, perhaps cultural, the helpers at the donut shop were told to say he was okay. Please bring cards to Joe’s beloved wife Jany at Donut Time or at the Smoke Shop in the Linda Mar shopping center in care of Norma. A donation can has been set up for Jany and is at the Smoke Shop. This will be presented to her later this week. Please help to pass the word and check here on Riptide for the time and place of a local memorial and gathering for Joe. Anyone who would like to help make this happen should call Avril Hughes at 650-355-6592 or email


Putin & Palin Rear Their Heads: Russian Roulette

The Oxymoron Group Presents The People’s Think Tank
(Where we do your thinking for you!)

“As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right next to, they are right next to our state.”  (Sarah Palin)

Officials at the People’s Think Tank have it on good authority that Vladimir Putin has indeed reared his head and come into the airspace of the United States of America, most specifically Alaska. Rumors abound that Putin has contacted “First Dude” Todd Palin to offer him and the Alaska Independence Party help in seceding from the United States. In a secret memo, Putin declared that Russia could do for Alaska what it has been able to do for South Ossetia and Abkhazia: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. Putin explained that the Russian people have a strong affinity for Alaska, which of course used to be Russian America. In fact, many Russians are still upset that the purchase price was a mere $7,200,000 (not even enough to purchase a Malibu condo in today’s depressed real estate market) for a country awash in natural resources and methamphetamine. State and local authorities have reported that when Alaskans are now stopped for traffic violations and asked to produce their driver’s licenses. they are pulling out Russian passports and declaring that state and federal laws no longer apply to them. The situation has gotten so out of control that John McCain has issued a statement declaring “We are all Alaskans.” When he was told that statement could be construed to mean that he was supporting secession, he began wandering around, waving his arms and muttering, “My friends, maybe I should have picked Paris Hilton as my running mate. At least her mom sends me money.”


Ireland's Corrigan Brothers (Hardy Drew & The Nancy Boys) Sing About Irishman Barack O'Bama, and They Campaign for Obama


The original Barack O'Bama song is by the Corrigan Brothers, known as Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys. This Irish band is rocking the USA with the Obama Song and massive YouTube hit: Theres No One as Irish as Barack O'Bama


 For interviews or MP3 copies, email

For interviews, call Gerard Corrigan 0 0 353 61330994 or 00353 872897073



The Limerick, Ireland band has been on MSNBC Hardball with Chris Matthews and in the
WASHINGTON POSTNEWSWEEK MAGAZINE, and LOS ANGELES TIMES. The Corrigans will appear again on U.S. TV in mid-October.
The world's lowest rooftop concert for Barack in his Irish hometown of Moneygall on November 1, 2008. Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys will perform  their song “There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama" on a four-foot-high boiler house. The Corrigan brothers Ger, Brian, and Donny (who are known as Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys) conceived the idea following the international success of their hit song. “We have been delighted with the reaction to our song, we have received invites to perform from various Obama organizations and have an invite to one state's inauguration party if Barack is successful. We want to mobilize the enormous Irish vote for Barack.” The band will also perform its new song for the first time, “When President Obama comes back home to Moneygall.”


"Your Obama sentiments are ours too. We have done a lot of work on his behalf. Regards, Ger"

Neighborhood Schools: Choice vs. The Lottery

Some parents are unhappy with the current lottery system for Pacifica schools. They would prefer a "neighborhood schools" program, where children would be assigned to the school nearest them. People who want to eliminate school choice were a definite majority at Wednesday night's meeting.

Some arguments in favor of the lottery:

-You might be in favor of neighborhood schools because you like the school near your house. If neighborhood schools were implemented, the character of that school would change. Maybe for the better, maybe for the worse. If it changes for the worse, would you still be in favor of neighborhood schools?

-You might be in favor of neighborhood schools because you like a special program at your neighborhood school. But it would not be fair to have an "arts school" like Cabrillo if residents couldn't choose which school they attended.

- You might be in favor of neighborhood schools because you don't want to drive your kids all over town. But 87 percent of people get their first choice of school, and if you're willing to stay on the waiting list, those odds get even better. If you want your neighborhood school, you have stellar odds of getting it. Why force those people who might not want it?

If you have an opinion on school choice—pro or con—email Mike O'Neill at and let him know. Ask him to put you on the list so you'll be notified of the next meeting, and come speak your mind.


Loving: Truths About Sex No One Told You

Title page-1

I've written a book about the spiritual aspects of sex, and am about to launch it in Pacifica at Florey's Bookstore. Here's a quick introduction.

Loving – truths about sex no one told you
by Emmanuel Williams

 "... as so many people are having sex these days, people think it's just ordinary, normal. But the point is… you are making these decisions without having all the information! Because no one today knows about the spiritual consequences. " – Julia, Australia

The central premise of Loving is this: when we have sex. we open our deeper selves and make ourselves vulnerable to the energies alive in our partner. If we sleep around, we take in more and more of these energies, or imprints. These encumber our inners, causing us to lose touch with our true selves and with the guidance we need to keep ourselves from harm. Sex is therefore never casual, however casually we treat or regard it. There are always consequences to sex. A lot of books about sex are being published: two new ones about the hookup culture at American colleges (Michael Kimmel's Guyland and Donna Feitas' Sex and Soul) and others about the invasion of pornography into the mainstream of society. Most of these books—the product of interviews and research—take what I call the "horizontal" approach. In  Carol Platt Liebau's recently published Prude, for example, we are given a comprehensive survey of the increasingly heavy sexual content of our cultural "Pornotopia"—MTV, music, teenage novels, advertising, fashion, etc.—and its influence on teenagers and children, but little discussion about what sex actually means, about how it affects us psychically. This is not to criticize her book or any of the other recent or current publications on the subject, but it's true to say that the notion that sex has a spiritual aspect—the "vertical" approach—has received scant attention. Which is one of the reasons why I wrote Loving.

The book's central premise is supported by the author's own experiences and by stories from all over the world. These stories suggest that sex can lift us up: The night we conceived our second son, we were making love and suddenly we were way up high in the sky. I could look down and see the earth. Now I understand those paintings by Marc Chagall of lovers levitating.

And sex can drag us down: I was sleeping with an older Middle Eastern man. He really didn't want me other than for sex, whereas I pathetically pursued him. One night, we had just had sex, and he was lying beside me sleeping. I woke up, and felt myself to be lying beside a rotten corpse. No, he wasn't dead, but later I realized that I was experiencing his inner condition. I was truly disgusted.

Loving is not an abstinence manual. Written for young sexually active adults and for their parents; it's intended to help its readers make more conscious choices about their sex lives.

Here's a selections of  reviews: "When I was young and sleeping around, a little voice often told me not to, but I didn't listen. Loving offers excellent guidance about how to listen to that inner voice. I am now 43, single, and in my sexual prime. I recently found myself launching a quest to find a 'boy toy' or to become a 'cougar.' Yet something inside said it wasn't such a great idea. After reading Loving, my inner voice was validated. Now my quest has turned toward my spirituality. I'm happy with the result." (Leslie Arietta Miller, USA, Writer, Editor, Musician)

"At first I was a bit surprised. I wasn't anticipating the subjective perspective, but now find that to be the book's strength. Your honest search into human nature and your attempts to raise the spiritual questions relating to sex are more than admirable. You've done excellent work here, Emmanuel." (Rev. Ward Baumann, Episcopal priest, USA)

"You speak as a wise mentor helping young people define themselves, their values and their ability to make conscious choices in a world sadly lacking in such guidance. Religious leaders tend to preach: 'Just say No.' While you take a wider and more meaningful path, helping young people – no matter their feeling or religious faith or lack thereof – to see the spiritual damage they may do themselves if they cannot be their own 'gatekeepers.'" (Linda Peebles, former high school teacher, USA)

"Reading your book was a beautiful experience. The profound insights you convey so well have many echoes in my own life. This book is of great importance, and I can only hope that it is made available to young people everywhere." (Susannah Diver, teacher and mother, Ireland)

"I was particularly touched by your section on abortion, which moved me to tears. This is a profound, provocative book." (Reynold Feldman, published writer, Hawaii)

"Your book says things about sex that I've been thinking and feeling for years but never really looked at." (Marjorie Hall, student, USA)

Loving is available at (shop on Riptide's lower right sidebar) and at Florey's Books in Pacifica for $15.99. Check out my Web site: TRUTHS ABOUT SEX 


Reading the Moose Entrails: Palin Is Toast

I want to go on the record with a prediction that Sarah Palin will disappear into a well-deserved obscurity after the election is over. She is not a "comer." She is not the future of the Republican Party. She will not run for president in 2012. In fact, she won't maintain any kind of serious national political standing at all. At best, she'll spend the next few years being a celebrity starter at NASCAR races and speaking at Republican prayer breakfasts. At worst, she'll be an occasional butt of late-night comics. Palin is lazy, ill-informed, contemptuous of policy, and way too convinced that everybody in the country is dazzled by her folksy energy and thousand-watt smile. Yes, the diehard GOP base is rapturously in love with Palin and her media-mockin' ways, but that's more a reflection of the base's future, not hers. Palin is a three-day wonder who's already a month past her sell-by date, and on November 5 she'll disappear to Wasilla for good. (Kevin Drum Blog, Mother Jones magazine)

Opinion: Feds Should Stop Supporting Easy Credit

Interesting comment heard on CNBC recently (and I paraphrase): The government is doing the same thing it did in the 1930s, trying to prop up the credit market. It wants Americans to be able continue to borrow to send a kid to college. We need to stop supporting all this easy credit, and allow tuition prices to drop so it's possible to afford college without all this borrowing.

More on the parallels/differences between now and 1929 can be found in a recent story in THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE. The publication has leveled heavy criticism against the neoconservative movement, and thus far does not like either candidate for president: An excerpt: "The greed and stupidity quotient is doubtless the same, but the Americans of 1929 were a grittier bunch. They were more self reliant, if only because they did not live in a service economy. They were closer to the land and made do with far less. They were thinner, bonier people who did not live as long and worked harder."


Extreme Right to Life

The Oxymoron Group Presents The People’s Think Tank (Where we do your thinking for you!) A Republican operative with close ties to various unnamed evangelical organizations has revealed to the People’s Think Tank that they plan to begin what they call the Extreme Right to Life movement whose slogan is “Every Egg a Person.” The centerpiece of the program is to pass a Constitutional amendment outlawing menstruation. They believe that since all human life is deserving of constitutional rights then all pre-life (female egg cells) deserves the same protection. When asked how this would be implemented, a spokesperson said that the government would be required to establish a National Egg Retrieval Department (NERD), which would be tasked with harvesting all unfertilized eggs and storing them in a National Egg bank where they could be put in cold storage for a rainy day. Extreme Right-to-Lifers are hoping to attract support from the recycling movement since they will be using egg cells that were previously discarded. As of this writing, there has been no response from the National Recycling Coalition.


Barack Obama Talks Taxes with So-Called Joe the Plumber; Republican Businessman Clarifies


But get this! Joe, whose name is actually SAM and who IS NOT REALLY A PLUMBER, was used by McCain to attack Obama's tax proposal, though Joe/Sam actually would PAY LESS TAX under Obama if he actually got around to paying HIS TAXES.


During the McCain-Obama debate yesterday evening, McCain said Obama’s tax plan would hinder Joe the Plumber’s ability to buy the plumbing business for which he’s worked for so many years. Here are McCain’s exact words: "You (are) going to put him in a higher tax bracket which (is) going to increase his taxes, which (is) going to cause him not to be able to employ people, which Joe was trying to realize the American dream."

Will Obama’s plan derail Joe’s American Dream? Not likely. Here’s why. Business purchases are tax-deductible under the current tax code [1]. So, if Obama is elected and his proposed tax plan goes into effect, Joe the Plumber’s taxes would not go up until his purchase of the business is paid off. The reason is, again, buyers of businesses get to deduct from their taxable income the price they pay for a business [1].

By way of example, let’s assume: Joe has been taking home taxable income of $50,000 per year as a plumber-employee; the business Joe wants to purchase earns taxable income of $300,000 per year [2,3]; Obama’s tax plan will raise the tax rate on income over $250,000 from the current 33% to 35%; and the purchase price for the business is $800,000 [4].

Now 95% of business purchases in the United States are completed by purchase of the assets of the business, as opposed to purchase of the common stock. This is a legal distinction, but the tax consequences are significant. In short, a purchase by assets—a method that almost certainly will be used by Joe the Plumber—will allow Joe to deduct from future taxable income the price he pays for the business. Will Joe be able to deduct 100% of the purchased price? Well, not likely, but he’ll no doubt be able to deduct most of it. Here’s how. Let’s say the purchased assets are:

Accounts Receivable $100,000
Inventory $100,000
Trucks, Tools, Equipment, Furniture, etc. $400,000
Seller Consulting (over five years) $50,000
Goodwill (e.g., business name, customer lists, etc.) $150,000
Total $800,000

In this case, $650,000 of the purchase price (paid for trucks, tools, equipment, furniture, seller consulting and goodwill) will be deductible against taxable income. So Joe will enjoy an annual tax deduction of, say, $100,000 per year for the first five years that he owns the business and then $10,000 for another 10 years [5]. Assuming the business continues to earn $300,000 per year in profit (profit before depreciation, such as what Joe will get from his purchase of the business), Joe’s taxable income will be just $200,000 for the first five years and then $290,000 the following 10 years (after the above-stated depreciation is used to reduce the taxable income). After 15 years, the write-offs will be used up, but the business certainly will have been paid for by then. In fact, if Joe is like most business buyers, he'll have the business paid off within five years.

Consider as well that Joe almost certainly will have to borrow money to buy the business. This will generate tax-deductible interest expense and further lower the taxable income and, thereby, taxes that Joe will have to pay. Will Joe’s taxes go up under the Obama plan? Certainly not during Joe’s first five years when he’s paying off the purchase. Might they go up later? Well, if Joe is fortunate to succeed in the business and begin earning taxable income that exceeds $250,000 per year, yes. By how much? Let’s say that in years seven and beyond, Joe begins earning taxable income of $350,000. If Obama is elected and raises the tax rate on income that exceeds $250,000 from the current 33% to 35%, Joe’s tax bill will go up by $2,000 per year.

In conclusion, Obama’s tax plan should NOT in any way hinder Joe’s dream of buying his employer. The only question is whether it is fair that Joe should pay an additional $2,000 per year in taxes if, after he has fully paid for the business, his taxable income increases to $350,000 per year. This is for you to decide. But the good news is that if Joe is faced with this burden, he will have raised his annual income from $50,000 to $350,000 and, alas, achieved the American dream, well within his reach no matter who is elected the next president of the United States.

[1] Almost all private businesses today are purchased in a way that nearly all the price is deductible through depreciation of the assets purchased. [2] A taxable income of $300,000 is a reasonable estimate for a small plumbing business. In fact, it may be too high an estimate. I’ve consulted on the purchase and sale of hundreds of businesses, and before that I worked in small-business banking. A business like the one Joe wants to buy would have to do, say, $2 million in annual revenue to earn a taxable income of $300,000 per year. Keep in mind that there are many ways a business can and will reduce its taxable income. There are many tax breaks for businesses. [3] If Joe buys and owns the business he works for, he will almost certainly own it in what is referred to as a pass-through legal entity such as an LLC or S-Corp. This means that all the income of the business will “flow down” from the business to him personally. The business will not owe any taxes itself, rather the business income will show up on Joe’s personal tax return and Joe will pay the tax on that income. Thus, there is only one level of taxation. [4] Small private businesses like this sell for maybe three to three-and-a-half times their annual earnings (i.e., profit). For more details on this, obtain a copy of A Concise Overview of Business Valuation through your library or online from THE BUSINESS OWNER. But $800,000 is a reasonable estimate for a plumbing contracting business that earns $300,000 per year in annual profit. [5] Depreciation rules are a little complex, but these are reasonable assumptions about purchase-related depreciation that Joe should be able to use to shelter himself from taxes, given the facts used in this example.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I (David L. Perkins, Jr.) am a registered Republican. I did not write this to support or rebuke any candidate, rather to help people understand the facts—in this case, facts that lie within my very narrow area of expertise: purchase and sale of private companies.

DAVID L. Perkins,
918-748-7995 (office)  |  918-493-4924 (fax)  |  918-760-2715 (cell)
5727 South Lewis Avenue  |  Suite 400  |  Tulsa  |  Oklahoma 74105