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Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, March 11-13, 2005

 

 

Smokin' Kentucky

 

Kentucky, the state with the lowest tax on cigarettes is increasing their cigarette tax by three cents per pack. The reason is that because of less and less help from the President Bush's and his Washington Administration, the tax give-back to the rich and the soaring costs of health insurance, more and more states are finding it harder and harder to "make ends meet."

That sounds an awful lot like the American Middle Class' plight, to, , doesn't it?

Those of us in America's Middle Class, don't look to Washington and President Bush for help. It's every man, woman and child for themselves in this dog-eat-dog world.

I hope you're not wearing milk-bone flavored underwear.

-Noah Greenberg


We Need The ACLU Now More Than Ever
 

I ran across a story of a woman in Georgia who can't renew a driver's license because it has both her maiden and married name on it from 26 years ago. The Patriot Act requires a match against your social security card only if you are a citizen. But, in some states, a non-citizen can get a driver's license without offering any proof of identification - well, isn't that convenient for terrorists.

She was told she can't use her maiden name because it doesn't match her old driver's license but she can't use her married name because it doesn't match her social security card. She asked the DMV what should she do and was told - "You can get a divorce. Bring your divorce papers in and we'll change it." She is taking her case to the ACLU. We need the ACLU now more than ever.

-Robert Scardapane


On different note, trade deficit numbers reported today were awful:

WASHINGTON, March 11 - America's appetite for foreign imports broke all records in January, reaching $159.1 billion and contributing to a monthly trade deficit that is the second highest on record. The $58.3 billion trade deficit defied predictions that a weakened dollar and lower oil prices would narrow the United States' trade gap.

I am troubled that these biz-ness wizards miss obvious points:
1) If our nation has nothing to export, no products, how will a devaluated dollar help?
2) Americans don't have an appetite for imports, they have no choice other than imports!

The sins of outsourcing - this trade deficit is truly unsustainable.

-Robert Scardapane


GW and His Traveling, All-Star Circus


President Bush is on a 60 day, 60 stop tour to push his Social Security privatization scam (some call the tour "
Bamboozlepalooza"). Okay, sing it people:
To the tune of Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again":

On the road again
George Bush just can't wait to get on the road again.
The life he loves is makin' speeches to his friends.
And he can't wait to get on the road again.
On the road again.
Goin' to townhalls that he never go to again
Sayin things that he may never say again
And George Bush can't wait to get on the road again


Yee ha.

-Robert Scardapane

To the tune of "Yankee Doodle:

Ol George the Lipper saw his chance, to have his coorporate nuts advance.
He used the 9/11 hell to ring the patriotic bell.
George the lipper keep it up, Keep ol Carl Rove happy.
Keep on lying to us folks, just like your dear ol pappy.


-Jack Kashinsky


Renditions, Again

If the Bush government in Washington can pick up anyone they wish and send them off to Syria or another foreign country where torture is permitted, it is WRONG. I cannot live in a country that does that to anyone. This is not the America I was taught about. But don't anyone be misled --if this can happen to anyone, it can happen to YOU! First it is the possible terrorists, and before you know it, it is a progressive blogger!


-Pat Thompson


In response to, "Didn't the Bush Administration just take credit for the Lebanese people kicking the Pro-Syrian Government out?" Pat Thompson writes:

Yes, but who is actually paying attention?? It's too complicated, that foreign stuff. Better to worry about gays getting married, and feel good when Bush talks about God Bless America, and freedom being on the march.


The 3 Stooges, er Judges

Here's a brief summary of just the first three of the 20 partisan judges re-nominated by President Bush.
William Myers III has never been a judge and spent most of his career as a lobbyist for the cattle and mining industry. He has written that all habitat conservation laws are unconstitutional because they interfere with potential profit. In 2001, Bush appointed him as the chief lawyer for the Department of the Interior. In that role he continued as a champion of corporate interests, setting his agenda in meetings with former employers he promised not to speak with, and even illegally giving away sacred Native American land to be strip mined.

Terrence Boyle was a legal aide to Jesse Helms. As a judge, his signature decisions have attempted to circumvent federal laws barring employment discrimination by race, gender, and disability. His rulings have been overturned a staggering 120 times by the conservative 4th District Court of Appeals, either due to gross errors in judgment or simple incompetence.

William Pryor Jr. served as Attorney General of Alabama, where he took money from Phillip Morris, fought against the anti-tobacco lawsuit until it was almost over, and cost the people of Alabama billions in settlement money for their healthcare system as a result. He called Roe v. Wade "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history," and has consistently argued against the federal protections for the civil rights of minorities, lesbian and gay couples, women, and the disabled.

-Pat Thompson


Banks are biggest outsourcers of them all

These corps keeps saying that tort reform will create jobs. We'll see. But note how they will never commit to creating jobs? This also happened with the so-called American Jobs Bill Of 2004. Dems wanted to put in a clause saying that corps can repatriate their money but they must demonstrate that they created jobs. Guess what, Repubs said NO. So, what did that bill turn out to be - another corporate tax giveaway on the backs of the small guy. So, now we have another giveaway on bankruptcy that has no clause in it that says "X" number of jobs will be created in return? Should voters in Connecticut or Delaware favor such a bill? Perhaps, they are still buying into false promises on job creation. As I said, we'll see.

By the way, banks are the biggest outsourcers of white collar jobs. You might even say that they started the trend. I find it truly horrendous that they were rewarded with this blasted bankruptcy bill. Even worst that 13 Dems voted for it (about the same number that voted for the American Jobs Bill of 2004 - in fact, many of the names are the same!).

-Robert Scardapane


Conservative Republicans hate the Bankruptcy Bill

This is a typical comment:

Agreed, medical bankruptcy is wrong By: dissension in the ranks

Taking someone's house to pay their bills because they have gone into bankruptcy due to illness or an ill spouse or child is immoral, wrong, unChristian and unAmerican. People should take responsibility for their spending, but credit card companies should take responsibility for their lending. If you need to charge someone 30% interest on a credit card, you should not risk loaning money to them, and if you do, you should take responsibility for it when they inevitably don't pay you.

This bill is payback to special interests and big donors. And another reason why you can't trust politicians to do what's right for the people. Notice they only made rules for personal bankruptcy not for businesses. Also the exemptions for the wealthy who invest their assets in homes in other states, Fl and Tx really begs the question who looks out for the little guy anymore?

Okay folks - can someone explain to what justification any Dem had for voting for this bill? I can only think it was payoff for large corporate financial company contributors. Here was a golden opportunity to actually influence Republicans that the Dems are the party of the people. But, we blew it. It don't look so good for Biden. Lots of people point out he has a close relationship to MBNA bank. If the Dems want to get back into power, this sort of stuff must stop.

-Robert Scardapane


Shame on all that voted for the Bankruptcy Bill


What Would God Think Of the Bankruptcy Bill? Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne writes about how the U.S. Senate is on the verge of passing a credit-card-industry-backed bankruptcy bill that makes it harder for consumers to pay back their debts, and turns a blind eye to predatory lending practices. He notes that Senators are expected to cynically use values language to justify their support of this bill. (For more on the bill, see this earlier ThinkProgress post).

If that's the case, maybe Senators should review the Bible before their floor debate. As you can see from these quotes provided by Rep. Bernie Sanders office, the Bible is very clear about God's views on the evil of usury:

Leviticus 25:35-37:
If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you. You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit.

Ezekiel 22:12:
"In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten Me," says the Lord God.

Psalms 15:5:
He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

Ezekiel 22:13:
If he has exacted usury Or taken increase Shall he then live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, He shall surely die; His blood shall be upon him.

Ezekiel 18:7-9:
"If he has not oppressed anyone, But has restored to the debtor his pledge; Has robbed no one by violence, But has given his bread to the hungry And covered the naked with clothing; If he has not exacted usury Nor taken any increase, But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity And executed true judgment between man and man; If he
has walked in My statutes And kept My judgments faithfully He is just; He shall surely live!" Says the Lord God.

Proverbs 28:8:
One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion gathers it for him who will pity the poor.

Deuteronomy 23:19:
Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury.

Exodus 22:25:
If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.

-Compiled by Robert Scardapane
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Amendments to bankruptcy bill


I think all of these questions did show up as Democratic amendments. Actually, there were over twenty amendments and all were voted down by Repubs largely along party lines. Sadly, there was a core group of three Democrats who consistently sided with the Republicans - Conrad, Carper, Ben Nelson.

Biden and Lieberman rarely sided with the Republicans on the amendments by the way - so that's a plus for them. But, Biden is tied closely to MBNA bank who almost wrote this bill.

Why am I so steamed about this bill?

Three reasons:
1) It was a golden opportunity to find common ground with Republicans at the populist level - remember the populist, the people who vote, volunteer for campaigns, etc... Ummm, well the people reading messages in this yahoo group. If we want to bring in swing voters you need compelling reasons. It would be effective if we could say, look at what the Republicans did to you at a bread and butter level?

2) This bill throws everyone into one pot. Sure, there are genuine unsavory characters who run up bills with no intention of paying them. The bill could have targeted them. But instead, everyone is lumped together and subjected to a means test. By the way, it's the same means test that the IRS uses for their repayment plans - basically, it leaves you food and shelter, the rest of your wages can be garnished for up to five years under section 13. I think there is a maximum of 6,000 per year. We should not treat unsavory characters the same as a family that suffered a tragedy due to a medical crisis which drained their finances. Nor should we punish active duty military people whose family is already suffering from this back-door draft. This bill even punishs victims of identity theft!

3) The bill is one sided. It does nothing at all to end predatory credit practices. The loopholes for asset trusts are still there.

I sure hope Dems have a better showing on the medical tort reform bill - though I am not optimistic.

-Robert Scardapane


MEDIA MADMAN

Dozens of federal agencies are producing their own news programs.

I don't know why they bother. The "legitimate" news has sold out to the highest bidder long ago. And let us not forget the "Lying Arm" of the Bush Administration, FOX NEWS.

In these "self-produced and distributed news" programs, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security Privatization and No Child Left Behind have been heralded by US Taxpayer-paid dollars to tell us taxpayers how great GW Bush and his band of merry-men-in-reverse are doing. "Another success" by the Bush administration. The Bush administration is "Opening markets for the American Farmer." Fake interviews and self-serving quotes by "actors" portraying "reporters" are actually being picked up by news stations all over the country.

Hey, why bother investigating and reporting when you can receive pre-packed news for FREE!

Freedom of the press has taken on a whole new meaning.

-Noah Greenberg


Stupid or Scary Quotes

 

"They came in with the cranes and the lorries, and they depleted the whole sites. They knew what they were doing; they knew what they want. This was sophisticated looting."
-Sami al-Araji, deputy minister of industry regarding the looting and theft of explosives, munnitions and other military bomb-making materials from various, unprotected installations used by Iraq under Saddam Hussein


Some say that much of this material could have been used in the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, or WMD's. You remember WMD's, don't you? They are the weapons President Bush said we went to war to remove. They were the weapons that President Bush said Saddam Hussein had, and he wouldn't hesitate to use. They were the weapons that included chemical, biological and nuclear materials that the Bush administration said we had to remove before they were used on US soil. They were the weapons that the Bush administration, "would move Heaven and Earth to prevent." They were the weapons that President Bush and Condi Rice said would create a "great mushroom cloud" over the United States.

If there were these WMD's, and we knew where they were, President Bush, then why didn't YOU protect or remove them?

 

-Noah Greenberg


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-Noah Greenberg