Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, May 20-22, 2005


Tax Reform for the Benefit of... ?


Your column has been presenting offerings on the absurdities of Bush’s Social Security “Reform,” which I, as a Republican almost since the Flood (Hey... my name is Noah... I get it!), recognize as just another effort to kill Social Security altogether, but you have been rather light on exposing the pernicious direction of Bush’s Tax Reform ambitions, which have been chorused by his numerous variously striped supporters. Put in a nutshell, all such ideas and the one likely to be recommended by his Tax Reform panel will involve further shifts of the tax burden to working Americans, whom I define as those who labor with body or mind for wages or salaries, as distinguished from those who let their money work for them. But you’ll probably not hear a word about proposals which are likely to have much more popular appeal.

I know that at least three proposals have been made to the Panel for taxes automatically collected by computer from the flow of money as it passes through the economy, including the financial community which has been most notably successful in its ability to avoid taxes on its favorite commodity, money. One such proposal, called the Automated Payment Transaction Tax (APTTax), has been submitted by Dr. Edgar L. Feige, a well-written economics professor emeritus of the University of Wisconsin. A quite similar proposal, called the Transform America Fee, has been proposed by Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman Chakka Fattah. The Congressman’s proposal was for the Treasury Department to study the proposal and report back to Congress. Dr. Feige’s proposal calls for a much smaller tax, something in the order of one quarter of one percent, on all financial transactions of any nature whatsoever, to be paid by each side of a financial transaction, and putting the entire program into place while simultaneously repealing the Income Tax.

The third proposal was by me and called for an introductory or test application of a one half of one percent tax on all stock market transactions, with the proceeds being lock-boxed and dedicated to replenishing the Social Security Fund looted by generations of Congressmen and Presidents who lacked the courage to ask for added taxes to support their programs, follies or otherwise, and so resorted to theft and borrowing to make up their mounting deficits. This tax would also be collected by computer, with the collecting mechanism being the same program that is presently in place to support the SEC’s stock market regulatory functions. You might call this the PHATTax, for Phased Automatic Transaction Tax.

All three proposals were made one or more years ago and each apparently without any knowledge of one or both of the others, but all derive from identical or similar proposals that have been made by eminent economists and political figures for many years.

Indeed, the Income Tax itself, initially proposed at a mere 1%, probably was Big Money’s response to the New York Securities Transaction Tax that was in place for many years until abolished, probably as the result of Big Money pressures, after the income tax became thoroughly embedded and evolved into the present day SEC tax I mention above. Big Money isn’t stupid; its beady-eyes see and its acquisitive mind knows, both good and bad (from its greedy point of view), what the beady eyes see. In the world of Free Unbridled Enterprise (FUE for “Phew, what a stench?”), a man is entitled to have and hold in perpetuity whatever his hands can grasp, and “Let the Public be Damned,” “Every Man for Himself and Let the Devil Take the Hindmost.”

Well, I say it’s about time the Big Money Boys pick up their end of the log, the heavy end which they in their rush for the Bottom Line over the years have created all on their very own.

Anyhow, three sound proposals – and you’ll never hear a word about any of them from President Bush or his Tax Reform Panel.

I’d sure like to hear what you and your correspondents think about these proposals.

-Lew Warden

Hey, I'm Cold... There Must Be a DRAFT in Here

Sponsor John McHugh (R-NY) and the Armed Service's Committee in the House of Delays... er Representatives... approved a bill to prohibit the Pentagon from using women in direct combat roles. The vote in the Armed Service Committee was 61-1.This bill would replace the 10-year-old policy that prohibited women from "direct combat on the ground", but did allow the the separate services the "discretion" of using women in combat as needed.

"We're not taking away a single prerogative that the services now have,"
-Rep. McHugh

Then why even sponsor the bill, Representative McHugh? Is this just another grand-standing effort by the House of DeLays?

I don't want women in direct combat positions. Today, women soldiers are used just behind the direct combat troops in support roles. many of us remember Jessica Lynch. She was the supply clerk whose convoy took a wrong turn and ended up under attack. She was taken hostage while many of her friends were killed, including Army Spc. Lori Piestewa, her best friend and the first woman killed in Iraq.

Let me go a step further. I don't want women put in Jessica Lynch's or Lori Piestewa's position ever again. I don't want any male soldier put in that position either, but since we are still at war (although President Bush thinks the "mission was accomplished" already), I don't want women on the front lines. Other countries don't put their women in harm's way (for the most part), and when our women are captured, it becomes a distraction (see the Lynch saga) and they might be subject to atrocities that our servicemen wouldn't be subject to.

Democrats said that such a bill, if signed into law, would drastically effect the way the Pentagon operates during a time of war, especially this war. They're probably right.

What if there were an ulterior motive? What if the reason that the Republican-led House of Representatives wanted to bring this issue to the forefront is much more insidious? What if, in the not-too-distant-future the Republicans say, "We don't have enough 'feet-on-the-ground', so we're going to have to put many, many more women on the front lines." They'll say things like, "We tried to keep your wives and daughters away from battle, but there just aren't enough troops." I think the people of the United States of America would stand up and scream, "DON'T DO IT."

Then President Bush would stand up and say, "Well, if we can't use the women, and we don't have enough recruits, we're gonna have to put the draft back in. It's for YOUR FREEDOM and YOUR LIBERTY, folks."

The Republicans think at least 2- 3 moves ahead. Changing a law to make the same law is no change at all. Is it possible that
President Bush & his House of DeLay buddies are using women in battle as the start to institute another draft. And they are doing it to make the good people of the United states of America stand up and say, OK."

-Noah Greenberg

A Stem-Cell Smoothie, IF You Can Afford It

South Korean scientists cloned cells for particular individuals. Now it's going to ba possible for rich people to have their own, tailor-made interchangeable parts.


Remember the Wealthy Republican Mantra: He (or She) who dies with the most stuff WINS. (My apologies to Lewis Black.)

Good thing they got that big Republican tax-give-back to pay for it.

Like the Health Care system in the US now, the poor and middle class support the rich. The rich get healthy and the rest of us nothing.

Imagine this, if you will:
In the not-too-distant-future, a wealthy Republican, say, Tom DeLay goes to South Korea. He pays for the "Stem-Cell Program." there since it isn't available here in the United States. Tom gets sick and he goes through the "Stem-Cell Treatment". Tom's as good as new.

Other countries are pulling ahead in Stem-Cell research and only wealthy Americans will be able to take advantage of the fruits of this future of modern medicine. If you think I'm wrong, just take a look at abortion in the US back in the 1960's. If you were a woman in the US who wanted an abortion before Roe vs. Wade, then you either had to have a back alley abortion or you had to get one outside of the US. And who was able to take the "abortion trip?" Only wealthy Americans.

Stem-Cell research for the benefit of everybody! There are so many en-vitro fertilized embryos that are thrown out every year that could be put to use that it is more of a crime NOT to use them. I haven't heard one Republican politician say "put an end to en-vitro fertilization for couples because it creates a 'life' that will be destroyed." The reason?: Only rich people can afford en-vitro fertilization and rich people are, predominantly Republican.

Health Care and advantages for everybody! (As long as they can afford it.)

-Noah Greenberg

Sing a Song
"Rick Santorum" (To the tune of "Sanitarium", Metallica, 1986)

Welcome to where time stands still
No one leaves and no one will
Moon is full, never seems to change
Just labeled mentally deranged
Dream the same thing every night
I see our freedom in my sight
No locked doors, no windows barred
No things to make my brain seem scarred

Sleep, my friend, and you will see
That dream is my reality
They keep me locked up in this cage
Can't they see it's why my brain says “rage”

Rick Santorum, leave me be
Rick Santorum, just leave me alone

Build my fear of what's out there
Cannot breathe the open air
Whisper things into my brain
Assuring me that I'm insane
They think our heads are in their hands
But violent use brings violent plans
Keep him tied, it makes him well
He's getting better, can't you tell?

No more can they keep us in
Listen, damn it, we will win
They see it right, they see it well
But they think this saves us from our hell

Rick Santorum, leave me be
Rick Santorum, just leave me alone
Rick Santorum, just leave me alone
Rick Santorum

Fear of living on
Natives getting restless now
Mutiny in the air
Got some death to do
Mirror stares back hard
“Kill,” it's such a friendly word
Seems the only way
For reaching out again

-Eddie Konczal

Grover and Tom... Hypocrisy LIVES!

A funny thing happened on the way to the "Tribute To Tom Delay". The great champion of abused billionaires Grover "No Tax" Nordquist was subpoenaed! Instead, of paying homage to The Hammer and warming the seats at his five $2,000 tables, Mr. Nordquist had to do some explaining.


Apparently, Grover Norquist diverted an $850,000 donation from a Mississippi Indian tribe that was interested in avoiding taxes to the Alabama Christian Coalition.


Sounds like something that a Delay supporter would do.

-Robert Scardapane


In response to politicians owing their loyalty to those they represent, not to other politicians and special interests, Casey Sweet writes:

Noah, I had the exact same thought regarding “loyalty” that you made – elected officials should be loyal to those who elected them first and not blindly loyal to anyone or any party. Blind loyalty is not a natural Democrat tendency since it is the party of nuance that looks at all dimensions and often does not agree completely. John Kerry was constantly criticized for not making decisions or taking a long time to arrive at one. I always believed that was because he is a very intelligent, open-minded, and thoughtful person who had a hard time making conclusions after learning everything from both sides of an issue. That he could see value in many points of view and sticking with one was hard for him and he just didn’t always know when to stop considering all the nuance.

Republicans are the party of black & white, good & bad, right & wrong, and (most important to them) win & loose. In general, they are the party that does not have much tolerance for shades of gray or conflicting factors or dimensions – life to them is simpler: make a decision and stick with it until evidence to the contrary is so overwhelming that there might be a loss in sight and then quickly co-op the opposing position and switch to that position.

Look at the Bankruptcy bill that is ENTIRELY in favor of big business and does everything possible to lay all the burden on individuals. The Republicans decided it was “right” (oh I hate their bastardization of that word) and that all regular people should pay for all their debts with no exceptions (forget the “nuance” that most bankruptcies are a result of medical emergencies and unemployment). BUT, they maintained and reinforced the right of wealthy people wanting to go bankrupt to still be able to create trusts that hide money and real estate investments that hide money because they somehow decided it was “right” for wealthy individuals to keep all their money! Ain’t life easy for reptiles – see a bug, eat a bug.

Strategists (another word for those who value winning and loosing above all else) they are above all else. Inclusionists or Humanitarians they are not!

It's funny how campaign finance reform is ignored by those in office, Lip service... nothing but lip service -NG

The BIG, Stupid Quote

"The audacity of some members to stand up and say 'How dare you break this rule. It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.' "
-Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), on the Senate floor Thursday, regarding using Trent Lott's (R-MS) and Dr./ Sen. Speaker Bill Frist's (R-TN) nuclear option

It's the "The Stupid Quote of the Year!"

-Eddie Konczal

Rick Santorum is a disgrace. To compare any United States Senator to one of the most brutal dictators is beyond contempt. Mr. Santorum, I studied the history of the German Fascists. Rick Santorum's GOP is following the German Fascists'  strategy of demonizing the opposition as un-patriotic, un-religious, lacking moral values, etc... Mr. Santorum, you deserve to be censured.

-Robert Scardapane


Q: With respect, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it's appropriate for you, at that podium, speaking with the authority of the President of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not telling them. I'm saying that we would encourage them to help --

Q You're pressuring them.

Hmm, what's this? A White House reporter, Terry Moran of ABC, getting feisty? Jeff Gannon/Guckert, where are you now?

-Robert Scardapane

"Moved by the sworn testimony of U.S. officials and human-rights advocates that the 91 percent of the workforce who were immigrants -- from China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh -- were being paid barely half the U.S. minimum hourly wage and were forced to live behind barbed wire in squalid shacks minus plumbing, work 12 hours a day, often seven days a week, without any of the legal protections U.S. workers are guaranteed, (Senator Lisa) Murkowski (R-AK) wrote a bill to extend the protection of U.S. labor and minimum-wage laws to the workers in the U.S. territory of the Northern Marianas.

"So compelling was the case for change the
Alaska Republican marshaled that in early 2000, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Murkowski worker reform bill.

"But one man primarily stopped the U.S. House from even considering that worker-reform bill: then-House Republican Whip Tom DeLay.

"According to law firm records recently made public,
lobbyist Jack Abramoff, paid millions to stop reform and keep the status quo, met personally at least two dozen times with DeLay on the subject in one two-year period. The DeLay staff was often in daily contact with Abramoff.

DeLay traveled with his family and staff over New Year's of 1997 on an Abramoff scholarship endowed by his client, the government of the territory, to the Marianas, where golf and snorkeling were enjoyed.

"DeLay fully approved of the working and living conditions. The Texan's salute to the owners and Abramoff's government clients was recorded by ABC-TV News: 'You are a shining light for what is happening to the Republican Party, and you represent everything that is good about what we are trying to do in America and leading the world in the free-market system.'"

-Mark Shields, political commentator, regarding tom DeLay and the Northern Mariana Islands' Scandal

-Thanks to Robert Scardapane

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-Noah Greenberg