Friday-Sunday, March 25-27, 2005
Tom Delay to Supporters - part of a Transcript of a Secret Tape (in RED)
And What I was Thinking as I Heard It (in Blue)
"One thing God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo," (As your very own, personal martyr, Tom?)
"...and so it's bigger than any one of us, and we have to do everything that is in our power save Terri Schiavo and anybody else that may be in this kind of position (except a 6 month-old child in Texas whose mother didn't want her child's life ended, but couldn't afford to keep him alive, so the hospital was given the "right" to end his life, with the help of a bill signed by then Governor Bush in 1999). And let me just finish with this, this is exactly the issue that's going on in America, that attacks against the conservatives, against me (because it's all about you, isn't it Tom) and against many others. The point is the other side (Democrats, and anyone with a brain) has figured out how to win (I thought the Republicans won. When we do win, it will be by telling the "truth.") and defeat the conservative movement, and that is to go after people personally, charging them with frivolous charges (fixing elections and breaking the Texas Constitution are frivolous charges? Only Tom Delay would say that.). A hate that will link that up with organizations funded by George Soros (hey Mr. Soros, where's my hate-link money?) and then get the national media on their side (like Fox News?). A whole syndicate that they have going on right now is for one purpose and one purpose only, and that's to destroy the conservative movement, is to destroy conservative leaders (nah... you guys are doing a great job all by yourselves)."
A New Strategy
A few days ago, I heard Jessie Jackson, Jr. on NPR. He seems to
have a good idea in getting visibility for the democratic ideas. He says that
when the Republicans want to make a
proposal, they start with a constitutional amendment. Of course they do not get
through, like the Anti-abortion proposal, the Anti-Gay Marriage proposal etc.,
but they get a lot of visibility and help them to organize their base. Why can
not the Democrats propose constitutional
amendments for Health Care, Poverty, Voting
Rights etc. In fact it will be embarrassing for
Republicans to oppose some of these proposals on the floor. I think
the Democrats should give it a serious
Tax and Social Security - A New Plan to Put "On the Table"
President Bush has repeatedly
said that where Tax and Social Security
reform are concerned, ďeverything is on the table.Ē So Iíll take the President
at his word and offer an unique plan to solve our fiscal problems.
I have problems with the VAT, Flat Tax, and other consumer based taxes which are being proposed by some Republicans because (a) they hit an already overstressed tax population, (b) they directly and visibly add to the cost of the product and thus inhibit consumption, which inhibits production, which inhibits employment, which inhibits consumption, which isn't good for anyone, (c) they are complex and thus not readily understood by the public, and (d) they propose to replace the Income Tax but are difficult to put into place at the same time the Income Tax is producing revenue.
As for Social Security reform, forget about this individual accounts idea. Itís too loaded with political ideology, and without the employersí contributions the amounts yielded on 6.2% deductions will be far too small to be of any value to the recipients. Also, as the Presidentís own supporters admit, the cost of setting up and handling the individual accounts just about equals the deficit he forecasts. Besides the people know the marketís too iffy and that averaging over decades doesnít mean diddly when you must eat every day and the rest of the bills come in every month. Heíll never sell it.
Because I don't believe in knocking the other guy's ideas unless I have what I think are better ones, I submit the following proposal to meet our fiscal problems, not in the distant future, but right now, just as fast as Congress and the President can put the pen to the paper regarding Social Security and Tax reform. Iím talking now money, not pie in the sky.
This proposal is simple, readily understood by the public, and can quickly be put in place without any disruption of the present income stream. And it's a three-fer. That is, it solves the Social Security problem, opens the door for a major tax reform that will eliminate the need for the hated Income Tax, rid us of the IRS and the Tax Code as we know them today, together with those burdensome returns and accounting and legal expensesónot to speak of the favoritisms resulting from manipulations of the Tax Codeóand commence the task of reducing the National Debt and establishing fiscal responsibility. Three major solutions for the price of one.
We propose to start this program off with a modest one half of one percent tax on all stock market trades, a Securities Transaction Tax (STT) as it is referred to in the literature. This is a mere 1/10th or less of the fees brokers collect from each side vast numbers of stock trade. Based on an average of the last four years of US stock exchanges trades as reported by the Statistical Abstract of the United States for 2003--such a tax for the same period would have produced annual revenue of $1,259.375 billion, or $129.895 billion more than was produced by the Income tax during the same period.
$1.3 trillion in new money! Why that sum alone is enough to make the Social Security Fund fully solvent in just one year. Then apply that revenue to retiring the National Debt, which now rests at some $7 trillion. And as that debt gets paid down, so does the cost of ďservicingĒ it, a staggering expense that is the third largest item in the annual Federal budget, right after social programs and defense spending.
And at no real cost or pain to anyone. Because it is incredible to suppose that a tiny tax of a mere one half of one percent on a stock trade of any significant financial value would discourage anyone from buying or selling a stock. Now arbitraging, yes. But who dares speak for those ruthless gamblers who donít shrink from destroying the economies of lesser nations with their predations? Surely not you gentle folks or the President.
Best of all, the mechanism for the collection of this tax is already in place. Itís how the SEC collects the funds by which it pays for the cost of its stock market regulatory activities. Just change a decimal point here and a number there in the SECís computer program and watch the money roll in, right now. Now money. New money. Money we need so desperately. Much better than going to the Borrowing Well. Much better than selling Tax Free government bonds which only add to the burden on future generations of taxpayers and shifts it from the very wealthiest of our citizens to the middle class.
Then, the immediate problems solved, extend the Securities Transaction Tax to all financial transactions, in which form it becomes known as a Money or Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), and a stream of revenue will painlessly result that is enough to meet the needs of all levels of government, Federal, State, and local. No more Income Tax. No more troublesome returns. No more incomprehensible tax codes. No more special favors. No more IRS.
Donít tax people or corporations, just tap into the flow of money as it courses through the economy. Like giving blood to the blood bank, or milking Old Bessie. But keep the percentiles low or youíll end up killing the cow. An added benefit is that the economy becomes totally transparent, which makes the solution to any number of problems become easier.
Something to think about? And devoutly to be desired.
Free Trade? Or Is It?
Here's a thought for you. Many Democrats
in fact embrace free trade. They have very different reasons for supporting free
trade compared to the Republicans.
The Republicans support free trade because business tells them it's a money maker.
Some Democrats support free trade because they think it is "raising all boats". In other words, it's a way to improve the world's economy thus creating a more peaceful world.
Unfortunately, free trade tends to be a race to the bottom. Often, it doesn't benefit developing nations. Instead, those nations are victims of pollution and sweat-shopping. Small farmers are chased off their land by mega-corporations.
Americans suffer as well. It's one heck of sacrifice to ask a person to give their career up so that someone in a foreign nation can benefit.
All in all, I think both parties are misguided. Republicans are often plain greedy, Democrats are often too utopian. I prefer pragmatic solutions to the trade issue. America will not be able to help the world if we are reduced to poverty.
Now, where do politicians like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton fit on this tough issue? They have nuanced positions and that is bad because the problem is chronic. Too many politicians talk about "fair trade" instead of "free trade". "Fair trade" implies intervention - indeed, even tariffs may be needed. Yet, with all of the talk about "fair trade", nothing much has been done while the trade deficit has grown intolerable.
I hope that the Democrats will emerge as leaders on this issue.
The great thing about being a Progressive is that you don't think like a "ditto-head." Thanks Robert. -NG
The View of a "Green"
Sometimes I pound my head in frustration
about the way the world is and what can be done. Lately I think the simple
answer to do as little as possible. I don't mean be a-political, but be
The causes of many of the worst situations
on this planet are getting to be familiar things like the SUV in your driveway
or the thermostats on your walls. Our political leaders are for the most part
front people for big corporations that have, by their very nature, collectively
ramped up the pace of life with mind numbing suggestions of consuming
brilliantly inserted into every space in our consciousness that money can buy.
Now we are running around trying to solve
energy and environmental problems caused by our hysterical running around. We
are consuming toxic and polluting pharmaceuticals to save ourselves from the
effects of deceptively advertised poisonous and nutrition less fast food. We
spend billions of dollars on wars on diseases caused by the making of the
billions of dollars, and wars against terrorists caused by politicians helping
those big corporations to make sure there is always fuel for the ramped up pace.
The corporations' influence is just a
natural, though malignant, growth in the dog eat dog economic system we have
come to worship. Corrupt government is nothing new, but more evil by many times
than ever before because of the extreme concentration of wealth, the
unprecedented investment in war and the dwindling environment. Worst of all, it
is a bipartisan conspiracy which will not yield power, and thanks to the
effectiveness of our big corporate media and our resultant well informed
unconsciousness it is unlikely that we will ever figure out how to take it.
But if you would like to turn the heat up on those maggots at the top then turn your thermostat down and find a good book, it's probably the only revolution we have left.
-Joe Hoar (Thanks to Pat Thompson)
In a letter to Stephen Spiro (The
Catholic Peace Fellowship), Eddie Konczal writes:
Actually, I'm a Catholic, pro-life liberal Democrat.
I am a member of Democrats for Life of America and was affiliated with Catholics for Kerry/Catholics for Faithful Citizenship during the 2004 election. While I'm much closer to the pro-life than the pro-choice side on abortion, I believe in exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother, and I'm not interested in sending mothers or doctors to jail. I'm more concerned with finding common ground between pro-life and pro-choice Democrats to reduce the number of abortions (as was accomplished during the Clinton years).
Other than abortion, I believe the Catholic Church has far more in common with the liberal agenda than the conservative: environment, gun control, social and economic justice, death penalty, war, to name a few issues.
"...we'd do that for anybody if they felt they were threatened - we wouldn't characterize that as special treatment."
-an FBI agent who didn't want to be identified on the "special treatment" provided to Saudi Royals after 911
"Although the F.B.I. took all possible steps to prevent any individuals who were involved in or had knowledge of the 9/11/2001 attacks from leaving the U.S. before they could be interviewed, it is not possible to state conclusively that no such individuals left the U.S. without F.B.I. knowledge."
I "thanked the F.B.I. for their assistance,"
-A Saudi prince in Las Vegas on 911
What the would one consider "special treatment"? I was in New York City on 911. I felt frightened for my life, as did everyone in New York City on that day. Does the FBI mean that if I walked into their office I would have been escorted to New Jersey for safety?
Why do I find the claim that the Saudis received no "special treatment" a little hard to believe?
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