Today's Note from a Madman

Wednesday, December 7, 2005


Today is the 45th anniversary of the japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, now the second worst day ever in US history. -NG

An Old Quote in the Lead

"We are sometimes asked in the name of patriotism to forget the merits of this fearful struggle, and to remember with equal admiration those who struck at the nation's life, and those who struck to save it-those who fought for slavery and those who fought for liberty and justice. I am no minister of malice ..., I would not repel the repentant, but ... may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I forget the difference between the parties to that ... bloody conflict."
-Frederick Douglas: "Address at the grave of the Unknown Dead," Arlington, Virginia, May 30,1871, as Forwarded by David W.

Sometimes we need to remember those great Americans of our past. Sometimes we need to hope to have great Americans in our future. Where are the Great Americans in our present? -NG

How to Buy American 101

From a Letter to the Editor in a New Jersey Newspaper

I was reading an expensive specialty catalog the other day and was struck by how many of the items were imported.

It got me to thinking about how many things I buy that aren't U.S. made. After making a quick inventory, I was very surprised at the number of labels that had other countries written on them. I'm not talking about dollar store stuff, but name brand products.

Evidently buying an American name from an American company doesn't guarantee that the item was made in America. Now I know that the labor rate in some countries is abysmally low. But if they are paying one-tenth the labor cost, why doesn't that show up in the price? Because they just want that huge profit margin, that's why.

When did all our big companies with their American names, their American logos and their American advertising, decide to go international? More and more of them are either making their products overseas or are moving their whole company out of America. The American worker means nothing to them. How do they expect an American worker who has been laid off or is working for a lot less money to keep buying their goods?

Well, here is what I am going to do. From now on, I'll be checking labels to see where it's made. I'll be specifically looking for stuff that's made in the U.S.A. If the price is competitive, or even a little more, I'll buy the U.S. product over the import. If enough people buy American, maybe we can swing the trade deficit around. At the very least, I'll have the peace of mind to know that I'm not part of the problem, but part of the solution.

Now, by myself, I won't have much of an effect, but if I can get enough people to start thinking this way, perhaps it will.

-Kurt Renart, from a forward by Eddie Konczal

"Long, Lengthy and Brutal"

"It can take years of hard work to build a healthy civil society. Iraqis have to overcome many challenges, including long-standing ethnic and religious tensions, and the legacy of, of brutal repression. But they're learning that democracy is the only way to build an just and peaceful society because it's the only system that gives every citizen a voice in determining its future."
-G"lobal "W"arming Bush

That should answer the question of "IF" the president LIED to US. By this statement alone, we know that the answer is "YES", President Bush, while standing in front of a banner that read "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" was doing nothing more than LIE to US. "It can take years" speaks volumes. Didn't GW know that it could take "years" before today? Didn't GW know of the "long-standing ethnic and religious tensions" before speaking those words today? Didn't GW know that Democracies aren't built overnight?

President Bush said that the Sunni's will learn to accept the new, Shi'ite government "that is strong enough to protect minority rights." I wonder if the new Shi'ite-led government will learn to accept, protect and respect the Sunni minority which had been their oppressors during the reign of Saddam Hussein. Do I really need to wonder?

Bush also said that we are already helping Iraqis promote "transparency and accountability" in public spending. I'd like to know when GW plans on having that same "transparency and accountability" in his spending of our money right here in the US.

Pointing to two cities, Najaf and and Mosul as "victories" in the war to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people is both misleading and dangerous. Iraq is a nation with over 25 million people who are being threatened by terrorists from abroad as well as homegrown. By pointing to those two places and claiming a "victory", President Bush is, yet again, standing in front of a banner that reads "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" as new bodies pile up all around him IED's kill US troops more than one at a time and Iraqis by the dozens.


Padding false accomplishments while ignoring your faults might be good on a resume, but when you get the job, you need to finally perform, Georgie-Boy.

It's time to end your rhetoric, Mr. Bush and get to work. Fixing Iraq begins with getting off the grandstand and working towards an end-game.

-Noah Greenberg

AMT Change

The following is a reprint of a Madman article dated February 21, 2005:
Semi-Rich and Rich Wannabee People Beware

The Bush administration's assault on you has begun. I guess since America's middle class is almost done being squeezed (How much juice does an orange really have anyway?), I guess you're next.

Welcome to our middle class Hell!

Since the alternative minimum tax has been changed for the worse, the money has to come from somewhere. So if you've had high deductions dues to high property tax, state or local income tax, and child deductions, you're screwed.

And guess where those people live? About half of them live in California, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. There's a whole lot of Blue there.

"In short, what this means is that because of the tax shift, those of us making in the $75,000 to $250,000 per year range will now be subject to the new alternative minimum tax. "Almost 19 million taxpayers will be subject next year to the alternative minimum tax, or A.M.T., up from roughly 3.4 million this year and 1.3 million in 2000, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research group whose calculations on this issue are widely accepted." -The New York Times, February 21, 2005

Since the cost of living in these areas, generally speaking, is so much higher than in other places, those at the lower end of the A.M.T. spectrum will have to due with less than ever before. Remember when $75,000 was a good salary?

Just ask Dr. Michael Levin, a physician in New York. He had to pay almost $5,000 more in federal taxes last year.

How much is your family’s share going to be?

...And Now, the Follow-Up

The change in the alternate minimum tax has been put off at least a year. The House voted 414 to 4 to stave off eliminating the AMT which would have cost middle class families who live in the suburbs of places like New York, Boston Los Angeles and San Francisco thousands of extra dollars in taxes and removed billions from the treasury. Its elimination would have cost about 15 million families thousands of extra dollars each in taxes each and every year.

The thing is these people vote and 2006 is an election year. If the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party isn't removed from its majority role in 2006 then the AMT will be gone by 2007. The working middle class will have to make up for hundreds of billions of dollars that the ultra-rich, with their new tax give backs wont be paying. The elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax is nothing but a new way to make US pay more.

Its effect would be felt mostly, if not wholly, by the upper middle class in places like New York's, Boston's and other big city suburbs... places that pay high property taxes and a higher cost of living. We all know that making $75,000 in New Jersey, for example, is a lot like making $45,000 in rural Mississippi.

The problem is this: Should the AMT be included in President's Bush's extension of his 2001 tax give back to the rich, which would cut the capital gains tax at the same time?

The answer is a simple "No." The elimination of the Capital Gains Tax and te Inheritance Tax would only increase the burden which has been too heavily laid upon the US working Middle Class.

It's time to stop playing games and make everyone pay their fair share. Fixing the AMT by allowing it to reflect the growth of inflation; leaving the Inheritance tax; and making those who "earn" their money on the selling and buying of stocks pay the same rate as those of US who earn our money the old fashioned way - by actually working - are the true ways of keeping this nation's economy stable. The American Middle Class are the true guardians of the US economy. If you want to boost it, boost US.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "Will the GOP restrict what 'private' schools teach if they take students who use a federally funded voucher for enrollment?", Robert Scardapane writes:

Will the GOP demand that the military recruiters have access to private schools when the students used federally funded vouchers? Thus far, I have heard no such demand and yet there are federally funded vouchers being used right now for students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. I am outraged by Roberts statement. As you correctly point out, it's not the federal government's money but it's the taxpayers money! The federal government generates no revenue of it's own - they depend on the people's money.

Therefore, the people have the right to demand that their money be invested in what they deem vital - that choice does not belong to politician, Supreme judges, etc... Government should represent the taxpayer. Otherwise, we have taxation without representation - I think I read that somewhere.

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-Noah Greenberg