Today's Note From a Madman
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
The "GOP": The "Greed Over People" Party
You Wash My Back and...
There's a new scheme being perpetrated by big corporations. Companies like Wal-Mart now require the newspapers, magazines, television and radio outlets they advertise with to "notify" them of an article that they consider "detrimental" to their mega-corporation "prior" to its publication. They can then decide if they want to advertise in that periodical.
This puts the members of the "fourth estate" in a peculiar position; If they do what's right, they lose money; If they do what's wrong, they betray the public trust. Guess who wins in that scenario? You know what I think about this? F*CK THEM. as Dick "Go F*ck Yourself" Cheney might say. Lose the ad and regain the public trust. If all of the legitimate media (if there are any of you left) did just that, then the only places these big corporations would advertise would be Fox News, The Washington Times and The New York Post. They can have each other.
Turning to Religion
People in this country, in times of trouble, turn to religion. This is usually a good thing. Religion is a way of finding solace. Religion could be a path to help. Religion is comfort. Religion can lead to a great change in one's personality. Take a look at prisons, for example. How many convicts find God in an 8 foot by 10 foot cell?
However, the United States isn't the only place that one might have an epiphany of sorts. When times and circumstances get tough for some here, like it did for "G"lobal "W"arming Bush not so long ago, they turn to Christ. Others, like those in the middle east, and even some in our prison cells, turn to Islam. When those in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and other similar places have little hope, and they turn to Islam, things like Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's) and Suicide Bombers explode and kill others. They kill innocent people as well as military personnel. they maim children as well as soldiers. Bombs don't make distinctions.
Terrorist leaders such as Osama bin-Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi rally their troops in much the same way that Dr. James Dobson rallies his troops. One could argue that the ends are different but the means remain the same. Both bastardize their holy books in order to make a point. Both cherry-pick words and phrases out of context in order to create anger and confusion and to control their flocks.
After the Iraqi invasion, we left many of the soldiers of Iraq nowhere to go except to the religious extremists. We could have let them stay organized as a police force. We could have used them to help control a difficult situation. These were the ideas of General Jay Garner, the first administrative head of Iraq, not mine. They were good ideas.
What scares me is that you know somebody saw this coming. The Bushies knew that they could use this tactic on the people of the religious right, so you have to think that someone in the administration would have figured out that someone like al-Zarqawi would use this to their advantage as well. One might even say that al-Zarqawi might have been schooled by the likes of Karl Rove and Company. One wonders if the cooler and smarter heads were silenced by the old, cold-war, iron-curtain heads. maybe this was the plan all along. Maybe by keeping the war going in Iraq, they are better able to keep those natural resources in the hands of the likes of Halliburton's KBR.
The reasons for the war in Iraq might not have been for WMD's (we know that already) or Freedom or Democracy or Liberty but just simply to rape the land of all it has to offer. If this is the case, then the Bushies knew that our American troops would be in harm's way and they made our brave American soldiers "expendable" and out losses "acceptable." That just plain sucks. Then, as a by-product, after all the oil is gone, and all hope with it, maybe we can make Iraq the new manufacturing outsourcing "Mecca" of the world. Any ay you slice it, the Bushies did it wrong.
There's a right way to do things; there's a wrong way to do things; then there's the Bushies' way to do things. The only difference between the wrong way and the Bushies' way is that, with the latter, you get to put the Karl Rovian "spin" on it.
The Driver's License Fiasco
and the GOP (Greed Over People)
The Bushies' to way to curtail illegal immigration is to institute national driver's license requirements. Oddly enough, this was the Democrats idea 10 years ago.
The Greed Over People Party (GOP) are adding a twist to it.
Get this, the GOP wants to force people to open up bank accounts as proof of residence. So what would happen if this were to be placed into law? People who live hand to mouth would have to keep money that they don't have in a bank account they can't touch. These working class people are going to have to: Keep a minimum balance; tie up their money so the banks could use it to give sweetheart loans to their corporate cronies; and get to pay a bank fee if they don't keep up that minimum balance.
The Greed Over People party thinks that everyone has a bank account. I guess they never saw a New York City check-cashing storefront on a Thursday afternoon. Basically, it's now going to cost you a monthly fee plus the usual costs to have a driver's license. Add this to the rising cost of auto insurance, and OWNing a car in this OWNership society will become something only a big business OWNer will be able to do.
A United Nation's Idea
When the new World Trade center is re-built, we should insist that the top floors be reserved for the United Nations . Additionally, all of the embassies should be located on the floors just beneath the Security Council Chamber where the Ambassadors meet. Let the world get OUR perspective.
Glen Beck, he of the "Wrong-Wing" Neo-Con Clear-Channel talk-radio genre said that he would like to "kill Michael Moore", and in order to justify the act, he would simply remove his, "What would Jesus do?" bracelet.
I guess the other media outlets just "missed" that one.
Is it getting "Chile" in Here?
In Chile, the people who invested wisely are happy. However, the people who invested unwisely are unhappy. Using a Social Insecurity system like Chile's in the United States, just who do you think is going to end up unhappy if the Bush scheme to privatize Social Security comes to fruition? I'll give you one hint: It ain't going to be any of the members of the Greed Over People Party.
In response to Madman in general, Matthew Lanser offers:
I have found that liberal-think generally is devoid of facts unless they're taken out of context and twisted to fit the purpose of the sloganeeing being indulged. Attitude is substituted for thought (hence the "politically correct" view) and feelings for logic. The result is the usual obfuscation that ensues from any liberal statement.
Then you'd be wrong, wouldn't you. Besides, I don't think you actually know even one liberal. -NG
When a virtuous man is in power all hell, quite literally, breaks loose against him. The slanders and baseless accusations against George Bush are witness to this. (We know who hell's puppets are.) Thank God for George Bush.
-Matthew Lanser, 9/15/2004, from http://911familiesforamerica.org/GBookArchivePg3.html
Scary, isn't it? I'm just going to let anyone who wants to respond to Mr. Lanser of Trinity College. -NG
In response to Nuclear Option Compromise, Jack Kashinsky writes:
Re: the so called "Nuclear Option Compromise":
The details of this poor excuse for a compromise, reveal a complete, and stupid sellout.
As I noted earlier, I NEVER place much credence in anything coming from traitor, oh excuse me, I meant Senator Leiberman.
What it has effectively accomplished is to make it infinitely easier for the top three nominees to get the "up and down vote" that the Bush*tters wanted, and still leaves the dangling sward of Damascus intact. It gives Leiberman the opportunity to state in the future: "Don't blame me, I was instrumental in securing the "compromise" measure.
Unfortunately it also allows the Repugs to spew out the same nonsense.
We would have been much better served if our "courageous" reps had called the Repugs bluff.
With all of the pressure on the Repug moderates, there was a fairly good chance that it may have been defeated
Our "Chamberlain from Connecticut" has now allowed the pressure to lift, and given the Repugs the opportunity to respond to future criticism by pointing out that the Dems voted for this so called compromise also.
While we now will never know just how the final vote would have been cast on this onerous bill, we do know that we have now given the Repugs ground cover, when they ultimately do use it. Of course they may never have to use it since most of The Lipper's nominees will have been approved by then anyhow.
Casey Sweet writes:
Last night many in both parties acted so excited to reach a compromise and I think much of their happiness was a sign of relief – none of them knew what was coming next except that it was not good for the Senate or Senators. As a Democrat, I don’t think there is much reason to celebrate, yet. What did the Democrats accomplish? We paid a heavy price of 3 extreme judges just for the right to postpone the filibuster. If we attempt to use the filibuster and one of the Reps in the “coalition” of 14 Senators does not deem it “extraordinary circumstances” we are right back where we started, right? WRONG, we are in a much worse place.
The Reps, in their typical strategic fashion, have set it up that from this point forward that the Dems, in effect, will have to obtain Rep permission to consider a filibuster. How else will the Dems know if “extraordinary circumstances” exist. Because to proceed forward without a commitment from the Reps that it qualifies as “ExtraCircum” means risking the nuclear option again. And the next time it will not be kind to the Dems.
Between now and the next time the nuclear option comes up, watch and see if there is a lot of “spin” in the political universe overflowing into the media about the goodness of a “constitutional option” and how it is good for patriotic Americans. In the spirit of Rep strategy, which typically outthinks Democratic strategists, it would be in Rep character to set the stage over the next months for winning their nuclear option when it reappears or even to provoke it to reappear. The religious right is not going anywhere and will be more committed to this action. After this rehearsal, it is now very clear what the fight is about, the Dems have revealed all their thinking and strategy, and it is just a matter of preparing.
Never underestimate the desire of Reps to win, it does not go away with minor delays. Never forget how a $85 million “flip-flop” campaign that everyone thought was the most foolish waste of money when it occurred in the spring, that is, until late summer when it was fired off like a gun and the public and media chimed in “flip-flop” at every opportunity and slandered Kerry with a negative and demeaning label so nebulous it could not be countered – one that applied as much or more to Bush.
The Reps are shrewd behaviorists and know how the mind works and how to infiltrate and program it with thoughts for a desired result. That’s why they reportedly make regular use of focus groups where they have the opportunity to see the inner workings of people’s minds and how they are likely to behave and react under different scenarios. I know, I have been conducting focus groups for years in business to find out how and why people make decisions and how to influence them.
And, think about it. IF the Dems interpretation of EC is different than Reps what might happen? The Reps are going to cry to the heavens that “the Democrats broke their word and created a filibuster they promised not to, DEMS are responsible for breaking the agreement and we are now going to do what they agreed to do which was to bring back the nuclear option.” Leaves the onus on the Democrats and by their own agreement. Leaves the Reps free and clear as the “enforcing” party.
Plus, right in the Memo of Understanding signed by the coalition of 14 it says regarding Future Nominations, “Signatories will exercise their responsibilities under the Advice and Consent Clause of the U.S. Constitution in good faith.” I can imagine Reps saying (and misstating) in the future that the Dems agreed, in writing, that they should be responsible for voting “up or down” under the Advice and Consent Clause and now they are going back on their word. One of the biggest debates has been does the Advice and Consent Clause mean there has to be a vote – the Reps interpret “Consent” to mean an “up or down vote” (are you as sick of hearing that as I am!) is required and the Dems have consistently said that the Advice and Consent Clause does not have to mean a specific vote because not voting (using a filibuster) is also Advice and Consent. I fear the Dems have given the Reps a big stick to hit them with on this in the future. Not necessarily the 7 Reps in the coalition, but the other 48.
And, in the spirit of “I don’t like that I may be the biggest loser here”, Sen. Frist already promised Tuesday he would happily bring back the nuclear option if things don’t go his way, though he said it was not a “threat” – HUH! A number of Rep Senators spoke Tuesday morn on cspan and expressed their sour grapes saying “we had the votes” and their demeanors suggested they were relishing hitting the nuclear button.
The only thing that could make this compromise worthwhile and work is if the Reps truly encourage the president to present suitable, non extreme candidates. President Bush has shown little interest in listening to Democrats and there is no evidence he will change (we can “hope” but that and $2 gets you on the subway in NYC). The memo states, “We believe that under Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, the word “Advice” speaks to consultation between the Senate and the President with regard to the use of the President’s power to make nominations. We encourage the Executive branch of government to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.” I am not convinced that Bush is going to feel bound in the least to doing this. In which case we will see what the Reps in the coalition do. Have they promised if the President refuses to cooperate to aid a filibuster by voting against cloture? We’ll see. This is the much smaller stick they gave the Democrats if they don’t follow through.
Looking on the bright side – never a dull moment with this Administration and Congress.
Regarding Robert Scardapane and Jack Kashinsky's responses to his "tax proposals", Lew Warden writes:
I have tried to reason with Jack in other forums, but I’m afraid he’s a lost cause. I suspect he suffers from a bad case of “partisanitis,” meaning any idea that comes from a Republican simply has to be a bad idea.
Of course Jack doesn’t know that many Democrats and former Democrats have proposed the same basic idea of taxing the flow of money, not the labor of people. Nor does he understand the substance of the three versions of the “financial transaction tax” or “money tax” as it has been called by other writers. Jack, read our lips: this tax does not depend upon the health of the stock market because stock market transactions are only a small fraction of all the financial transactions of our very complex economy.
We know that the stock market fluctuates, often wildly. But the income of people and corporations also fluctuate widely, even wildly, as where there is widespread unemployment, on the down side, or widespread speculation in the various markets, on the up side. It is because of these fluctuations that wise governmental leaders remember the Biblical message of the 7 fat years and the 7 lean years.
Jack also seems to forget, that unlike sales of gasoline, clothing, automobiles, homes – you name it – which are now taxed heavily by the states and lesser governmental entities, the stock and bond, commodities, and international money markets, and an almost infinite number of other betting opportunities afforded by our market economy, not to speak of casino and other outright gambling financial transactions are presently entirely untaxed.
But Jack is comfortable with the income tax. He is used to it. He may not even have to pay, which does tend to change one’s perspective. Anyhow, better the devil he knows than the devil he doesn’t. And so Jack, almost alone in this land of the free and the home of the brave, is happy with the income tax, because --get this folks – because it “is a product of many years of development and refinement.”
Besides, he sagely notes, “ANY tax reform legislation . . . is subject to change by whatever party is in power at any given time.”
Now why didn’t I think about that!
Robert’s concerns are more cerebral, but are readily answered:
(a) If the financial markets are “stagnant,” then the flow of income will be “stagnant,” whatever he means by that. But there has never been a year in all market history, where there was no appreciable volume of financial activity. In good times or bad, the money game, which is only part of the totality of economic activity, goes on. Just check the Statistical Abstract of the US, which has tracked market and other economic activity for many years.
(b) If the income tax is suddenly replaced by the APTTax, which is never going to happen in a single year, there will be no more capital gains tax and no need to “write off” losses. Those silly games--the product of the constant jockeying for advantage over working folks, who don’t have the chance to “write off” the depreciations of their bodies and minds as they labor in the vineyard but do suffer serious loss of income resulting from wearing out—and the enormously costly burden of complying with the present tax laws and filing returns, will be just another bad memory.
More likely, the new tax will be phased in, as I have urged, which will produce a significant stream of “new money” which, if lock-boxed, could be put to reducing the burdens of the extensive borrowing that has been going on far too long, and the income tax phased out, which will lessen the shock of transition from one system to the other.
(c) All “deductions” from income will be eliminated because the tax on income will be eliminated. Which has to be a plus from the taxpayer’s point of view. Besides, just because the is no income tax does not mean there is no tax on the transaction by which the income is passed from, say, employer to employee. The difference will be in the rate, a mere .25% under the transaction tax, versus 15% (or whatever the minimum is today) and upwards under the income tax system. Compare this with the 17% and 30% rates the Flat Tax and Fair Tax proponents are suggesting as reforms.
I fail to see how any home owner will be “pushed over the edge” if he doesn’t have to pay any income tax at all. Besides, although Dr. Feige will be aghast at the thought, there are so many homeowners—a truly formidable voting block—that you may be assured a Congress enacting new tax laws of such a fundamentally different nature, will provide appropriate relief.
The Right Wing is more concerned about framing the message than the message itself. They're more concerned about "how to say it" than "what they are saying."
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