Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Dummy Tax

  • We are in debt.
  • We are apathetic.
  • We don't vote.
  • If you don't vote you can't complain.
From here on out let's have a tax on those who don't vote. If you have a religious problem with taxes we will call it a tax-credit for you. (Makes it seem like you are saving something.)

Here is how it works. At the beginning of the year every citizen has a price placed on their head of $50. You have to pay this tax once you turn 18.

You get a tax-credit for voting in your local district that can be applied to your federal tax return at the end of the year. If you vote in the general election you get a $25 reduction. The reductions for the primaries are split equally among the number performed in the previous tax year. One primary gets $25. Two primaries are worth $12.50 each.

The county election board will report all those who voted in each election to the IRS so that you can claim your deduction properly. This will also help correct any anomalies related to people who have more than one home. You vote once in the elections - and it will be easier to track.

If the 100 million people who did not vote in the 2008 elections were charged this way that would be roughly 100 million times $50 or $5 billion in the treasury for essentially doing nothing.

The really fun part of this will be the reports that will get generated by the media touting the dumbest and smartest states or locales. We now have a metric - did you vote? If you didn't vote with this system - you are a dummy. Those would make great news stories.

Calculate the per-capita dummies for an area. It becomes another metric for the real estate folks.

And if a state or locale want to be known as dummies - great ! The rest of us get something out of it. They can get the attention for being a dummy and we get their cash.

If you want to be proud to be stupid - thanks - I appreciate it.

Let's tax these dummies. They don't have the right to complain.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Seriously, when are you going to stand up ?

Over the past year I have tried to affect change through writing, pleading, marching, etc.

I attempted to orchestrate a March on Washington in January just to say, "Mr. President we support you".

The powers that be within the DNC or OFA or whatever didn't want that. In fact, they worked against it.
Over the past month the Tea Party, in the wake of their race problems, has decided to convene a Race Summit at Independence Mall on 7/31.

I have tried to organize an alternative gathering 2 miles away at the Philadelphia Art Museum, using social media as the focal point. I called various Democratic Parties (National and State) to help, pleaded my case to anyone I could contact at this past week's Netroots Nation Gathering. I wanted to do it thru the grassroots and the party structure.

It was met with a big yawn.

Rather than subject those people who said they would come at their own expense to Philly. Some are coming for pretty far away, I am calling the event off.

As I call the event off I am left with great appreciation for those who would have been there. They were ready to step up.

For those who knew about this and did nothing, I question what you have in the tank. What fuels you? We (our country) are being confronted by an organized bully in this Tea Party System, but yet nothing moves you.
I heard on more than one occasion that
  • "These people are a fringe group."
  • "There aren't enough of them to do any harm." or
  • "You are only giving them attention by calling them out".

So were brown shirts in the 1930's. I am not saying the Tea Party is Nazi-based, but I am saying they were allowed to grow because no one stood up. All those excuses were used back then.

Please tell me where a group of people will stand and demonstrate for the America I worked for in 2008. The America I want us to become. The one fueled by the Hope of the future. Not the one that won't pay its bills because we are all "Taxed Enough Already". (What an incredible load of crap - we spent it on the wars - we all have to PAY IT BACK !)

Every time you let these people go without a response you encourage those who watered down health care and financial reform. These people have already promised an attempt to impeach the president if they gain control.

Yet, those who are supposed to lead and organize the opposition do nothing while this movement grows.
I am sorry about my frustrations here, but I can't see fighting for groups of people who won't stand up and fight for themselves.

All the splinter groups, all the Democratic Party Structures, all the lobbyists are all frauds with their hands out for themselves. If there is a place to enter credit card information on their site - they are in this category. They don't get that politics is a team game - not a money game. They (and the rest of the country) are being beaten by an organized group with energy, however small, that will punish the rest of the country as they grow.

As I said, I am calling the event off in Philly at the Art Museum, if someone else wants to take control - have at it.

The bottom line is - it was not the Tea Party that beat me on this event - it is the Democratic Party and the groups that mouth the great ideas and ideals but won't back them up when it counts.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Protection of Democracy is in the Numbers

This was originally published at the end of January.  I am re-releasing it now.

Here are some numbers from 50 somewhat randomly selected countries from the CIA Web site.

After all, the CIA does stand for Central Intelligence Agency...

Country Population Representatives in Lower House Type Of Legislature Representation Ratio
Marshall Islands 64522 33 Unicameral 1955
Iceland 306694 63 Unicameral 4868
Belize 307899 31 Bicameral 9932
Solomon Islands 595613 50 Unicameral 11912
Estonia 1299371 101 Unicameral 12865
Bahrain 728709 40 Bicameral 18218
Cuba 11451652 614 Unicameral 18651
Swaziland 1337186 65 Bicameral 20572
Armenia 2967004 131 Unicameral 22649
Ireland 4203200 166 Bicameral 25320
Denmark 5500510 179 Unicameral 30729
Korea, North 22665345 687 Unicameral 32992
Greece 10737428 300 Unicameral 35791
Switzerland 7604467 200 Bicameral 38022
Zimbabwe 11392629 210 Bicameral 54251
Angola 12799293 220 unicameral 58179
Israel 7233701 120 Unicameral 60281
Romania 22215421 334 Bicameral 66513
Belgium 10414336 150 Bicameral 69429
Yemen 22858238 301 Bicameral 75941
Malawi 15028757 193 Unicameral 77869
Belarus 9648533 110 Bicameral 87714
Haiti 9035536 99 Bicameral 91268
Italy 58126212 630 Bicameral 92264
United Kingdom 61113205 646 Bicameral 94602
Cameroon 18879301 180 Unicameral 104885
Iraq 28945569 275 Unicameral 105257
Canada 33487208 308 Bicameral 108725
Bosnia and Herzegovina 4613414 42 Bicameral 109843
France 64057792 577 Bicameral 111019
Spain 40525002 350 Bicameral 115786
Cambodia 14494293 123 Bicameral 117840
Turkey 76805524 550 Unicameral 139646
Australia 21262641 150 Bicameral 141751
Ethiopia 85237338 547 Bicameral 155827
Argentina 40913584 257 Bicameral 159197
Korea, South 48508972 299 Unicameral 162237
Egypt 78866635 454 Bicameral 173715
Vietnam 88576758 493 Unicameral 179669
Mexico 111211789 500 Bicameral 222424
Iran 66429284 290 Unicameral 229066
Russia 140041247 450 Bicameral 311203
Brazil 198739269 513 Bicameral 387406
Nigeria 149229090 360 Bicameral 414525
Japan 127078679 300 Bicameral 423596
China 1338612968 2987 Unicameral 448146
Pakistan 174578558 342 Bicameral 510464
Bangladesh 156050883 300 Unicameral 520170
United States 307212123 435 Bicameral 706235
India 1156897766 545 Bicameral 2122748

The Representation Ratio is how many persons are served by a representative.

What is this telling you?

I know when I see something like this I get depressed because it is obvious that we, as Americans, do not have nearly enough members in the House of Representatives.

We stopped adding them about 100 years ago when we added Arizona and New Mexico.

The party that properly takes on the message of adding to the House of Representatives will be granted the status of protector of the Democracy for the next generation.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Live Blogging - The Declaration of Independence

This may seem totally heretical - but ...

If you believe the Declaration of the United States is a living document - then read it with an eye towards today. Writing this is started me thinking of Thomas Jefferson as a Nostradamus.

I am throwing my commentary in where it seems interesting. I am not advocating overthrow of any government institutions here other than King George III.

Keep in mind this is a tirade against George III.

 The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

Probably the LAST time they agreed on anything.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We cannot separate by law. It is treason to try. Lincoln made sure of it.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
All Men are equal to Corporations, but those not born here or looking Northern European - well maybe you get some rights we feel like giving you - especially in AZ. Got a Turban - Forget it.
-- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
When did we say it was OK for George Bush Jr to run the country into the ground?
-- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Who wants to go first and take a shot at this? (can we get a camera in your holding cell?)
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
What Causes are rational today to enact change?
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
Are we still living by these precepts?
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
Just for fun, let's change some characters around - Put Bush Jr or Obama or John Boehner or the Supreme Court in as MadLibs.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
Hey Boehner and McConnell - you were predicted !
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
Bush's incompetitence with 9/11?
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
750,000 people per Congressman?
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
Jefferson predicted my local school district!
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
Today, manly firmness is really used all that often; especially with respect to the Representative Houses. Wet noodle flailing may be a better term.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
We aren't there yet...
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
Interesting given Immigration Policy
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
How's that Kagan Confirmation going?
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
Dick Cheney was alive back then too?
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
BP owns the Gulf - right?
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
What war and how to pay for it do you want to talk about?
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
Patriot Act
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
What a laundry list !
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
Xe Xe Xe Xe Xe Xe Xe Xe Xe Xe Xe Xe
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
I could get into bringing this one back. Invade the Cayman Islands?
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
Fox News ?
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren.
We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

-- And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Ahhh, for the good old days...

Do you think this crew would be considered terrorists today?

If my snarky running commentary got you to read this document for the first time in decades - it did what it was supposed to do.

Think about our founding documents as living documents.

Grab a Beer and a hot dog - have a great 4th of July.