Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, May 23, 2005




"We've got a deal,"

-Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE)


"In a Senate that is increasingly polarized, the bipartisan center held,"

-Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)


Nice to have you back, Senator Lieberman. It appears that the far right maniac fascists of the "wrong-wing" of the Republican party didn't get their way. Yes, many of President "G"lobal "W"arming Bush's federal court nominees are going to get their "up-and-down" vote. More importantly, however, is that the most extreme and awful choices the "Spoiled rich kid from Connecticut" chose for are going to be blocked by filibuster. Period.


Senator Tom Harkin (R-IA) said on The Ed Schultz show that his office would be open until at least midnight and there will be staff to answer calls. he even said that he would be there to pick up the phone himself. Democrats were setting up cots and were ready for the long haul. A funny thing happened, though. The Republicans, basically, gave in.




-Noah Greenberg



"G"lobal "W"arming Bush and "The ROVErs" - PayAttention!

I have an idea. Sometime back around 100 years ago or so, in order to vote, one needed to pay a poll tax. Now, nothing can be more anti-democracy than this (unless you happen to be thinking the way President Bush, his corporate cronies and the House of Delay... er Representatives thinks). The poll tax of the 19th century was designed to disenfranchise black voters from performing their constitutional right to vote.

Today, President Bush, Karl Rove and Dick "Go F*uck Youself" Cheney have others ways to make sure Americans that don't think along the same ideological lines as they do lose the basic right of "one person - one vote." "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and the corporate shills who inhabit the White House and control both houses of Congress make sure that voting machines, provided by their contributors, don't work in minority neighborhoods. "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and "The ROVErs" make sure that there can be no paper trail to perform a "manual recount," as most states provide by their own stats' constitutions. "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and "The ROVErs" make sure that universities in pivotal polling places like Ohio State University have lines of 10 hours or more, to discourage the vote. "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and "The ROVErs" make sure high population areas like that same university have only 2 voting machines for the tens of thousands of students that attend the institution. "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and "The ROVErs" make sure voting rolls are missing from working class neighborhoods in Florida so people standing in line either wait, and miss a paycheck or forgoe voting altogether so they can feed their family.

What to do about all of this, one might ask?

Let's do a polling tax in reverse! How about a polling giveback? Here's how it would work:

First, in order to pay for this, we take back about $1.5 billion of the "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and "The ROVErs" tax give-back to the richest one percent of Americans. Then, we give everyone who votes in a national election (that's once every two years, for those of you keeping count) a brand new picture of the US' first secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. In other words, everyone who votes leaves their polling place with a ten dollar bill. In the last election, assuming a 10 percent increase of all voters nationally, this program would have cost the US taxpayer about $1.3 billion. Assuming a voter turnout of about 70 million in mid-term congressional races, the four year cost of this program would be a "paltry" $2 billion, or $500 million per year.

Hey... we can't afford that, can't we? President Bush spends $60,000 per trip around the country to pitch his ridiculous, expensive and selfish policies (that don't really exist) for Social Security.

Surely in a time where we can afford to "lose" $8.8 billion in Iraqi oil sales to the likes of Halliburton's KBR, we can afford this "small by comparison" sum.

-Noah Greenberg

The "Wrong-Wing" Media - All of It

I am a writer and international consultant who works primarily in the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) and CEE/CIS (Central and Eastern European countries + of Independent states) regions and is appalled at Newsweek's retraction of their article on US abusive tactics with regard to the Koran, as well as at your kowtowing to this administration's demands to cater to their POV!!! This erosion of press freedom must stop! At the very least, the mainstream media has to STOP buckling under to this administration's propaganda and control tactics. MANY of us are totally disappointed with Newsweek's handling of the government's response to their article and will cease to read your publication if something is not done to correct the situation!

All of us who work in the political arena, especially the international one, and are involved in issues regarding human rights violation KNOW that the incident in question DID in fact occur -- moreover, more than once. What is more, the government's complaint had nothing to do with whether the incident ever occurred or not but with your RIGHT to publish the same, given its consequences in Afghanistan!
The MANDATE of the MEDIA is to REPORT the NEWS -- GOOD OR BAD, and irrespective of the effect it may have!!! Your action betrays that mandate and reflects an abrogation of that right and responsibility!

Moreover, the Afghanis are not the only ones upset by what this administration is doing! All responsible American citizens and people of conscience are tired of the erosion of our human rights and civil liberties, both here at home AND abroad.

-Chris Tennant, UN Consultant, MENA and CEE/CIS Regions

The "Core Rate" and the "Society of Life"

The "core rate" of inflation is just about everything except for energy and food costs. Using the "core rate" of inflation formula, the dollar was worth just about the same last month as it was the month before. But we can't eat apparel and we don't fill our cars with Hotel Voucher Coupons. The "core" is a "rotten" one.

The Federal Reserve bank, or the Kingdom of Alan Greenspan, as some of us know it, will raise or lower interest rates based on the "core rate," not the actual rate. You see, the stock market cares little about what really matters and so does Mr. Greenspan.

So far, every month this year, real wages have not kept up with inflation, real of otherwise. That means, boys and girls, that in order for you to keep up, you and your spouse have to work more, spend less time with your children, or do without something you were doing with last month. And for those of you who are rated as "managers", you can't even keep up by working longer hours. Productivity to you means nothing more than a pat on the back or the ability to just keep your job.

What is President "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and his cronies' answer to US all? He tells US that "housing prices have risen" under his administration. Well that IS good news, however, if one sells one's house, where is one supposed to live? If one has to borrow money, in the form of equity, against the value of one's house in order to "make ends meet," then how is one supposed to get ahead?

Oh yeah... the Corporate Right (or "Wrong") Wing of the Right Wing party of family values (I'm speaking about the Republicans) say we live in a "capitalist society" and everyone has the opportunity to make their "own way in life." After all, we are an "ownership society" and it's "every man and woman for themselves."

Q: Are we to protect the fetus in the womb, but after he takes that first breathe of life, is he on his own?
Q: God helps those who help themselves, doesn't he?
Q: Am I my brother's keeper?

The answer, if you're a member of the "For Unborn Life ONLY Party" is Yes, Yes, and NO, respectively.

Are we just talk or are we going to take action. We should be looking at a quality of life, not just the life itself.

Are we, or are we not, promoting a
SOCIETY OF LIFE right here in the United States, where people get to see a doctor when they're sick or get the drugs they need to make them healthy?

Telling people to use their equity and credit cards to make up for the loss of their good paying jobs is no answer, but it is the only answer that the GOP and President Bush has to offer US.

-Noah Greenberg

Quickie Newsweek

Just a quick note. Newsweek said they will no longer use "unidentified sources" as their only source from now on.

I just wonder if Bob Novak of the "I don't care how many other journalists go to jail, as long as I'm not one of them," group is going to do the same thing.

I guess when all you've done is put the life of an undercover CIA agent at risk, there is no sense in going to "extremes."

-Noah Greenberg

The Election is OVER

Where are all the Republicans screaming and yelling that "It's over in Washington (state). We've lost... now get over it."

It appears as if hypocrisy is bi-coastal.

-Noah Greenberg


A Medicare Idea

According to my rather remedial calculations, there are some 4.2 million working people in New Jersey (US census estimates). Medicare insurance collected by the federal government (as a part of payroll taxes) is taxed at 1.45 percent of your total income from the first dollar you ear to the last. Your employer's share is an additional 1.45 percent. That adds up to 2.9 percent. The average New Jersey income is about $45,000 per year (The median income is about $80,000 - I guess I'm not living up to my end of the bargain).

If the federal government were to transfer the Medicare funds it receives to their respective states, I wonder what New jersey could do with their share?

The following chart shows how much money would be raised by New Jersey if the working uninsured paid a little extra for their own health care, based on a small percentage of their income, for basic health care and New Jersey was allowed to keep the money its workers paid into the existing Medicare system.

People in the NJ workforce 4,204,393 US Census Bureau
Average income $45,182 US Department of Labor
Total earned by NJ residents $189,962,884,526 workforce times income
2.9 percent paid into Medicare $5,508,923,651 Medicare paid by NJ residents
uninsured in NJ 1,954,000 Associated Press by the US Census Bureau
Percentage of NJ Population in workforce 64.2% US Census Bureau
Estimated working uninsured in NJ 1,254,468 uninsured times percentage in workforce
additional charge to uninsured for state Medicare 2.9% Madman's idea
Additional money raised by State Funded NJ Medicare $1,643,701,822 income times working uninsured times additional charge times 
Total Medicare Fund in NJ $7,152,625,473 Original 2.9 percent plus uninsured's additional 2.9 percent

The question is, could New Jersey insure its uninsured for basic, minimum health care if it were to collect and keep over $7.1 billion this year?

Maybe it IS time for an ownership society. maybe those states with large populations, such as New Jersey, should take OWNership of its OWN Medicare dollars and help its OWN citizens.

-Noah Greenberg


In response to "tax reform'" Jack Kashinsky writes:

Any "reform" that is dependent upon the health of the stock market at any given time is sick.

The current Tax Program is a product of many years of development and refinement.

The problem with ANY tax reform legislation is that it is subject to change by whatever party is in power at any given time.

Bush and virtually all of the Repugs we have in both houses today are in bed with the Sheriff of Nottingham, they have Robin Hood in the Dungeon, and will NEVER be amenable to any legislation that allows him out.

We need to rescue Robin Hood before we discuss actions that he is incapable of making.

John Hughes is a disgrace to NY. However, he is responding to the interests of his just as disgraceful constituency.

He is like a malignant tumor, but it must be recognized that he is a product of the cancerous cells in some parts of NY.

I believe in the dictum of equal rights. Most women that I know desire the right to face the same military dangers as their male counterparts.

This goes back to the matter of choice. Anyone going on record as pro choice, and then taking the disingenuous position of wanting to "protect" women from the same dangers facing their fellow soldiers is a hypocrite at best.

Robert Scardapane adds:

I read Dr Feige's proposal in the past. I wonder:

1) If the financial markets stagnant, might there be insufficient funding?
2) What happens to the capital gain tax and writing off capital losses?

In general, I am okay with a transaction tax as a substitute for the capital gains tax. However, I am dubious about abolishing the income tax. There are popular deductions, such as charity and real estate tax, that are tied to income tax. What happens to those deductions if the income tax is abolished? Some people are already on the edge of affording their homes. Abolishing the real estate tax deduction could push them over the cliff.

In response to Women and the Draft, Jo Davis writes:

Hi Noah, The Republicans want to keep women away from the front lines and use it as an excuse to start the draft again. The current restrictions on women soldiers complicate military planning and most of the brass would rather not mess with that complication. Voluntary enlistments are already down but if they can blame the need for a draft on protecting women, they kill two birds with one stone. First, they get the draft back so they can continue their war for control of oil as well as control of all U. S. Spending on anything but the so called entitlement programs. Second, they discredit women and put them back in their place. What a deal! Dirty that is.


Stupid Quotes
Pushing The Limits Of Decency

"Because the whole system [is] like going to a concentration camp and picking out which people go to the death chamber."
-Bob Novak on "Capital Gang" May 14, 2005, on why Republicans might not accept a filibuster compromise.

People who support giving detainees lawyers will “never get it until they grab Michael Kinsley out of his little house and they cut his head off… And maybe when the blade sinks in, he’ll go, “Perhaps O’Reilly was right.”
-Bill O'Reilly on a May 17, 2005, radio show, about LA Times editorialist Michael Kinsley's suggestion that Guantanamo Bay detainees should have legal counsel.

This is suppose to be intelligent commentary? These two turkeys should stop polluting the airwaves with their poisons

-Robert Scardapane

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-Noah Greenberg