Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, May 25, 2005



What's Wrong With Danieltown, NC?


"The Koran needs to be flushed,"
-The sign in front of the Danieltown Baptist Church, located at 2361 U.S. 221, a member of the Sandy Run Baptist Association

"I believe that it is a statement supporting the word of God and that it (the Bible) is above all and that any other religious book that does not teach Christ as savior and lord as the 66 books of the Bible teaches it, is wrong. I knew that whenever we decided to put that sign up that there would be people who wouldn't agree with it, and there would be some that would, and so we just have to stand up for what's right."
-Rev. Creighton Lovelace, pastor of the church

"Our creed as a Christian, or a Protestant, or a Baptist church -- of course we don't have a creed but the bible -- but we do have the Baptist faith and message that says that we should cling to the 66 books of the Holy Bible and any other book outside of that claiming to know the way of God or claiming to be God's word is automatically written off and is trying to defeat people from the way of true righteousness inside of our viewpoint in how we view the word of God,"
-Rev. Lovelace.

"Well, I thought about it (how the sign might make other people feel) and I said there may be people who are offended by it but the way I look at it, Jesus told his followers that if the world hates you, don't feel bad because they hated me first. If we stand for what is right and for God's word and for Christianity then the world is going to condemn us and so right away when I got a complaint I said 'well somebody's mad, somebody's offended, so we must be doing something right.'"

"So now I get it... This guy thinks that HE'S the next coming. "Though shalt have no other Gods before me." That's commandment number one, Rev. Lovelace. This refers to you, too."
-Noah Greenberg

"Each church can develop a stance on doctrinal issues and can develop its own stance on moral issues."
Rev. Jim Diehl, the Sandy Run Baptist Association's Director of Missions

"Way to close your eyes, Rev. Diehl."

-Noah Greenberg

"To say that the (above) incident is an outrage and certainly not something that Christ would approve of is an understatement! If the minister had wanted to talk on that subject, he could at least have paraphrased the sign as a question. Perhaps Lovelace needs to be reminded of his role as a representative of the Christian faith."
-Chris Tennant

"We need a certain degree of tolerance. That sign doesn't really reflect what I think this county is about."
-Seema Riley, a Muslim and resident of
Rutherford County, NC

By no stretch of the imagination do I think that this is the dominating thought process that is taught by Baptist Ministries. However, after reading Matthew Lanser's "Liberal Sloganeering" piece (Madman, May 25, 2005), one can no longer dismiss this thought process as just the millings of a religious fanatic. The religious right is always worrying about what is being taught in our public schools, yet care nothing for what is being ignored by their churches, in their homes and in their communities...TOLERANCE and the freedom of religion.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Yes, Rev. Lovelace has every right to have his sign say whatever he wants it to say, but common decency and tolerance and HIS very own religion begs him to use better judgment.


There is no LOVE in LOVELACE

-Forwarded by Chris Tennant, edited and contributions by Noah Greenberg


Another DeLay DeFeat

State District Judge Joe Hart ordered Bill Ceverha, treasurer of Texans for a Republican Majority, to pay nearly $200,000 in damages to five Democratic state legislators that lost races in 2002 in a civil case. The PAC was formed by Tom DeLay and failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions.

This is yet another card removed from DeLay's House of Cards that is scheduled to come down. Three of DeLay's top fund-raisers and eight corporations are under indictment for their part in the illegal activities in Austin, TX.

Ceverha and his lawyers' defense was tat the PAC operated legally, but was "confused" by the state's campaign funding laws.

The 2002 election saw the Texas State Legislature become Republican controlled for the first time since Reconstruction. This allowed the Republicans to re-draw the district lines to give the Republicans a greater majority in the House of Representatives. The process of redistricting before the next census is called "jerry mandering."

Why is it that every time the GOP, or Greed Over People Party do something illegal, they plead "ignorance?" They control both houses of congress and the presidency.


How far can "stupid" actually get you? Evidently all the way to the top of the Greed Over People Party and the presidency.

-Noah Greenberg

A Petition That Damages US All

As a decorated vet, I almost lost my life protecting the American Flag.

It is not the flag, but the American people and our Democracy which it stands for.

Any Veteran who signs off on your (addressed to Jack, sent by a group he receives email from) petition to allow idiots to continue desecrating our national symbol, needs to have his values, and his head examined.

Veterans for Commonsense...give me a break. You do not even have enough common sense to realize that stupid, insensitive actions that you are calling for are what gave the Repugs the last two elections!

The Repug right wing immorally wraps itself around the American Flag, and you criticize them for this, yet here you are asking us to sign a petition that even more immorally asks our legislators to make no attempt to stop the public desecration of the symbol of our country.

Mr. Miles, let me tell you something; in a Democracy we do have freedoms and rights, but your freedoms and rights stop where my nose begins!

Jack Kashinsky


In response to Madman's "You Wash My Back, and...", JJK in Minnesota writes:

I do like like a lot of the conversation and reflections shared at this website, but please get away from vulgarities, especially the "F" word. You must not be a married person as I cannot imagine married persons appreciating their special expression of love for each other constantly vulgarized and referred to in this vulgar way. Otherwise, keep up the good fight to take back America from the corporations. I especially loved the speech that Bill Moyers made at the journalists convention in St. Louis, but at the same time it is scary to see how much control the right wing extremists are trying to have over our country. I try to listen to all sides of the spectrum, but I am still angry over the way Ralph Nader and others were not allowed to share any ideas in the elections 5 years ago. Furthermore, I, like him, think that there really isn't that much difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. Both parties listen only to themselves.

Noah Greenberg responded: via email

I am married with 2 children. I have a daughter that is 2 weeks away from graduating High School and a son that was just a Bar-Mitzvah.

I use a reference to the F--- word on a rare occasion. I don't normally use it in my life, although I'm not perfect. I use it when speaking about VP Cheney because he desecrated the floor of the senate by using it himself, in anger, toward Vermont Democratic Senator, Patrick Leahy.

It's the only time you'll see it (and never the whole word) from one of my articles. But, because of how it might make some uncomfortable, from now on I'll just write Dick "Go <f-word> yourself" Cheney. I need to make the reference, but I'll make it ONLY as a reference.

My apologies.

JJK is right, and I will endeavor to not use VP Cheney's favorite word again. We are truly better than that. -NG

In response to "The Right Wing is more concerned about framing the message than the message itself," Casey Sweet writes:

I agree totally, though I might emphasize it even more to say they (the Greed Over People Party) are more committed to how they say it in order to obtain the result they desire – winning is everything to reps and message is only a means to that end. They likely have many coaches on persuasion skills and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) who do their jobs well to train them in the many communications techniques that will obtain the result. In the classes we took in NLP training we use to easily put each other in light trances and make suggestions about actions to take or thoughts to have. We proved over and again how easy it is to influence people. Some would say we are all in our own trances all of the time and others just pull us out of them and enroll us in theirs. Ever been happy and had a depressed friend call and all of a sudden the happiness is gone?

So the method is put people in your simple trance with simple thinking and they will repeat it in their minds and in the universe. The newest is – “Fair Up and Down Vote” which Frist and all his party says tens of times a day on C-SPAN and in interviews which they tend to link with “Constitutional Option” which they have muttered as many times. Neither one of those sounds threatening and, if fact, both imply the highest of intentions as compared to “Nuclear Option.” As you say – it is all framing and linkage and message is only a means to winning in the Republican world. For Democrats the message is often the end, which sometimes leaves them more focused on educating the listeners to understand the message and, consequently much less focused on winning. Dean seems to have a healthy balance of each and interesting to follow him in his DNC role as he creates a long-term structure to win.

In response to Lew Warden, Robert Scardapane writes:

I think it's only fair to explain why I am so suspicious of the GOP tax reform. Consider that the current tax cuts provide almost no benefit for median to low income families yet provide large breaks to the upper 5%. Consider that lowering the tax rate on stock dividends to 15% doesn't help 50% of the population who own no stock.

So, what's really on my mind when I hear of a tax that will replace income tax? I think the GOP will pervert the transaction tax and use it as an excuse:

1) Implement a consumption tax. They will argue that stock investors are being unfairly targeted while 50% of America pays little or no tax. So, why not tax all transactions even if they are not financial? Thus, the birth of a regressive consumption tax.

2) They will argue that if we want to lower the consumption tax, social security must be privatized so it will generate transaction tax income as shares are bought. This will be used as a way to force 100% of America into the stock market.

Either way, I suspect that the majority of people will lose. I would support replacing capital gains/loss tax with a transaction tax that feeds a lock-box to be used for social security. I see no major risks in doing that. Keep a progressive income tax with the most common deductions that help people in high real estate tax states such as New Jersey. If the GOP can close tax loopholes then great, I am not a fan of loopholes. How about going after offshore tax loopholes for instance?

Additionally, Robert adds:

I have to disagree with Mr. Wardnen's data. There have been years in the stock market that experienced light trading volume. During those years, a transaction tax would produce substantially less revenue. Money never sleeps but sometimes it gets locked away in long duration transactions such as bonds.

I didn't say I am a fan of capital gains or losses. I realize it doesn't apply to most people. I did say that I favored replacing capital gain/loss tax by a transaction tax. I think that would capture more money than the existing laws. I don't favor getting rid of income tax completely but would entertain reducing rates across the board. By the way, there is a potential danger in eliminating capital loss tax provisions in that venture capital may become more risk adverse. Also, note that people do use charitable deductions as a "loophole" - that is of course is both good and bad news.

I tend to agree that eliminating income tax completely, if plausible, would make up for the loss of deductions. But, could that really be done? This would trade off a reduction in income tax for a reduction in write-offs. I wonder if the trade-off would be equitable or yet another way to sock it to the middle class by eliminating a vital tax deduction? I have no doubt that Dr. Feight would be aghast at people losing homes but it's not him I fear. Sadly, the GOP appears bent on ringing every nickel out of ordinary Americans as they give the upper brackets huge tax breaks. Let's just say that I don't trust the GOP at all.

And Jack Kashinsky writes:

After scrupulously searching the Internet for tax reform material I learned that the overriding majority of those posting were either Libertarians or Repugs. There is the "Fair Tax" group, the "National Single Rate, Flat Income Tax" group, the "Tax Reform For America" group, who appear to have stolen some of Woodward's ideas, ad infinitum (nauseam).

Lew Warden, a Republican Lawyer, whose "plan" is, and has been available on the Internet for some time, assumes that the Federal Income Tax System is broke and needs drastic fixing. Sound familiar to Repug comments re. Social Security?

Any time a Republican asks us to help them fix something, duck for cover. We know all to well that the Repugs have been trying to "fix" all of the entitlements, the environment, the minimum wage and the workers wages in general. They have fixed our trade balance, our national budget, our national work force, our health care system, and now Woodward questions our intelligence by asking us to help him "fix" our National Tax System.

What needs to be fixed are a number of IRS regulations that hound the consumer and the small business people, who have had to go bankrupt, and those regulations that allow the more affluent individuals running Companies and Corporations to pass through bankruptcy virtually unscathed.

Corporations are considered as entities, yet the unscrupulous people that own and run them are not considered responsible for the Corporation's bankruptcy.

They do not have the IRS come out and nail their doors shut, or drive their cars away. They do not lose their credit for 10 years. They simply organize a new Corporation and continue with business as usual.

All we need to do to "save" out Tax System (and Social Security), is to remove the caps and require EVERYONE to pay taxes proportional to their TRUE income.

I would suggest that we lower taxes for the lower income people, and start proportionality at the $75,000.00 level.

To my "non cerebral" mind, this is the wealthiest country in the history of the world, and it is about time that more should be taken from the greediest and given to the neediest.


Buffett Quotes


"Corporate America is not suffering, I'll put it that way," he said. "Corporations are doing better in the total tax picture than the people I'll walk by on the street out here."

"I personally would increase the taxable base above the present ninety thousand. I pay very, very little in the way of social security taxes because I make a lot more than ninety thousand and the people in my office pay the full tax."

"I get a check for $1,700 or $1900 or something every month, I'm 74, and I cash it but I'll eat without it. The rich people would pay more, rich people are doing so well in this country - we've never had it so good."

"I think it's a terrific country - you never want to go short on America. The threat is real but in this country our children and grandchildren are going to look better than we do - no question in my mind."
-Warren Buffett on Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN

-Robert Scardapane


"Hungry people are going without food stamps, poor children are going without healthcare, elderly are going without medicine, and schoolchildren are going without textbooks because of war, tax cuts, and a lack of both attention and compassion from our political leaders.... The deepening injustice of America's domestic priorities is increasingly impossible to justify. It's becoming a religious issue. "
-Jim Wallis, a non-partisan critic of politics in America

The priorities of our nation are all wrong.

-Robert Scardapane

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-Noah Greenberg