I know I should CHEAT CUSTOMERS like you that know very little about what is involved that way I WILL have work YEARROUND by telling my guys to WORK SLOWER and charge more to YOU THE CUSTOMER. Sond good to YOU it does to ME.
I don't not blame Clinton. I did not mention him alongside Reagan & Georges Bush for reasons, yes, but probably not for the reasons you'd think. You probably suspect I omitted mention of him because he was a Democratic president, and you'd probably suspect wrong. I did not mention Clinton because Clinton did not campaign on upper-class tax cuts in his platform; rather, he slightly increased some of the upper-class taxes during his presidency and we wound up with a surplus by the end of his term! I omitted mention of Clinton because, at least on the taxation front, Clinton wasn't drinking the Kool-Aid the Republican presidents around him were. Free trade Kool-Aid, perhaps, but not upper-class tax cuts Kool-Aid. I was specifically discussing a taxation approach I opposed, which Clinton did not espouse so I - rightfully - did not include him there.
H. Ross Perot was right about the fact that there would be a "giant sucking sound" of jobs leaving the country after NAFTA passage... he was just wrong about where from. Mexico isn't thriving because of our shift towards free trade policy, China is. I don't see how NAFTA is responsible for that. I would imagine that, if we sent so many of our decent jobs down to Mexico as you're claiming, Mexicans would have no incentive to emigrate here. Yet out the other side of your mouth, you're saying there is a "swell" in illegal immigration. We sent so many good jobs in Mexico, and Mexicans all want to GTFO? Either we sent them some of our decent jobs and their standard of living went up, or things got bad enough that an increasing number of them wanted to leave for our country. I don't think it can be both, and as such your argument here doesn't carry much water with me. The scapegoat here shouldn't be Mexicans, or the Chinese for that matter, but rather the corporations and individuals who push such a treaty. You know, the ones who wouldn't have done this without our government's involvement/approval, the ones who are making the extra profit off the outsourcing. The damage isn't done without their involvement. Why do you think I've been babbling on about the man behind the curtain here? Funny thing how your sentence is pretty much perfectly capitalized (I myself would challenge upper-casing "Presidents" when not as a title or beginning a sentence.) except for two instances... both of which are the word "mexico." Sometimes you tell people things without actually saying them...
The Chinese economy has benefited greatly from the North American Free Trade Agreement. Now, China can design and manufacture a product in China, ship it to Mexico, pay Mexico’s import taxes (which are lower than American Tariffs), have Mexicans “assemble” the product, then ship it into the US without paying an additional tax.
And the scapegoat here is the politicians that sign such treaties into law. A corporation, or individual can push all he / she / it likes, but that doesn’t mean its going to happen. And as far as that last part, I already explained myself to Scroog.
I find flat tax to be regressive taxation. The lower your tax bracket, the larger your share of the burden shall be proportional to your income. I do not think this is wise policy. For one, consumer spending - which accounts for about 70% of our nation's economic activity - occurs primarily when the lower/middle classes have spending money. Give Joe Six-Pack a thousand dollars, and he'll catch up on some bills, take his family out to eat, perhaps buy a new washing machine or something. Give Joseph Reginald Chardonnay III a thousand dollars, and it's just going into a bank account or the stock market. I think doing the former is more stimulative of the economy than the latter. I'll go you one further and suggest that this whole crisis of the economy, and the crash that initiated it, happened precisely because we had rich people with money to burn acting recklessly. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this behavior is representative of ALL wealthy people, but since it exists something ought to be done about it - and it's currently not enough. I'm not saying every last person is a murderer, either... but I think murder statutes should apply to all persons, regardless. Same goes for some tightening of financial/market regulations. Behavior that has a negative impact on society should be regulated.
First let me define discrimination, the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit. Therefore, in essence, taxes based on income, or economic status, are an act of discrimination. Asking someone to give a larger percentage of their income, simply because they earn more than “Joe Six-Pack”, is, in my opinion, wrong.
Indeed, the economic crisis was caused mostly by greed. And personally, I would have like to have seen the greedy parties suffer more. While I understand the buyouts were planed and executed to protect the American way of life, it also let a lot of people off the hook. However, you have to be careful how you regulate this kind of activity, as it can very easily infringe on a persons personal liberty.
The rich were footing the bill for everyone else how? When we had those higher tax rates, businessmen were more likely to invest their earning back into their businesses to avoid those tax rates. When that happened, we had more people working, wages increasing, economic growth. Surely you're not implying the 1950s were some kind of socialist nightmare, are you? I don't think they were. The rich weren't getting as big a piece of the pie, yes... but at least then the pie was growing. As far as the rich "footing the bill for everyone else," I just want to say Fuck You on behalf of my honest, working, tax-paying grandfathers who put in their fair share in their day. They were better men than the deadbeats you imply they were. Our government is not Robin Hood. I'll agree to that. However, I suggest that you've got your head firmly planted betwixt your buttocks if you're trying to deny that levying taxes, generating revenue, and distributing funds are not basic essential functions of government. ANY government worth justifying its own existence is going to perform those functions. It's just a matter of how that government goes about it. I'll keep my reasoning short and sweet: the people who pay for the campaigns are the people who get the breaks, justly or (more likely) not.
A few things here, 1. I never called anyone a deadbeat. 2. Do you think that for some reason that I didn’t have grandparents? My maternal grandfather was a career man in the coastguard, and retired Command Master Chief Petty Officer, which I believe is the highest rank an enlisted man can achieve in the Coast Guard. Yes, he was well compensated for his work, but I assure you he put in his time. My father’s entire family was sharecroppers. My father was the first person in 4 generations of his family to go to college. 3. Do rich people use social services more than everyone else? Is that why their tax rate should be so high? I feel that everyone is entitled to the same social services, and therefore should pay the same percentage for access to those services. That is just the only way it makes sense to me. 4. I never claimed that the government wasn’t responsible for taxing, and in return providing social services. I just feel that the government should tax everyone the same.
Um... I've been chanting "Kill the bill!" a lot lately (see my sign up there?) and even I think this statement is extreme. Our trade agreements leave a lot to be desired, but I am in favor of renegotiation before withdrawing from them. As for trade embargoes, I will point out that these are not always economic - they are often used as (dis)incentive in the realm of international relations - and as such should not be judged on their economic merits alone. (I bet there's a shitload of money to be made selling arms to North Korea, after all, but that doesn't mean I think it should be done...) I think making such a generalization about withdrawing these treaties/embargoes does not necessarily consider our national best interest.
Obviously, “buring the trade agreements” was not meant to be taken literally (atleast I thought it was obvious). But I do believe that the “right” thing to do is to give every country a level playing field for importing. And if we can do that while bringing back some of the industry that we have lost over the last 20 years, lets do it. Also, I disagree with selling any form or weaponry, or weapon related technology to ANY other country. That said, I believe that the key to a peaceful and healthy relationship between any two countries is trading (and communication), hence, we should not refuse to trade common goods with any country.
I'm glad you brought up a specific proposal. Hope you don't mind if I borrow the keys and drive it like I stole it. I went to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website. They estimate that (as of 2008) your average Chinese manufacturing worker earns $1.36. Technically, $2.38 in urban areas and $.82 in towns and villages. The site also says more than two-thirds of all these workers are in the town/village category. Minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 as of mid-2009. How many Chinese workers does that price buy you?
2.38/7.25 = 3.05 urban manufacturing workers per U.S. minimum wage worker 0.82/7.25 = 8.84 rural manufacturing workers per U.S. minimum wage worker 1.36/7.25 = 5.33 average manufacturing workers per U.S. minimum wage worker
The return on investment of Chinese labor instead of American labor, in terms of hours worked, are 305%, 884% and 533% greater through outsourcing. Do you really think your 20% tariff is going to provide a disincentive by comparison to those rates? The return on that investment far exceeds the disincentive for which you advocate. It still makes economic sense to outsource that labor, even with your 20% tariff - hell, even with a 100% tariff. And beyond. You claimed that your policy suggestion would create jobs domestically. I see nothing to suggest that your prescription would do anything to remedy the actual problem. At best, it's ineffective... which would kind of make it a waste of taxpayer money to execute, don't you think?
I hope this helps cover two of the points of our agreement I mentioned at the beginning of this post: NAFTA had a negative impact on the economy. Clinton deserves blame.
As I said, I am with you to a degree on these points. I am myself far from pleased with his trade policies. Let's revisit that third point, in your exact words: "Our current tax situation is broken, and certainly favors the rich."
The ends of job creation have not been achieved by the means of elite-class tax cuts. Trickle-down economics did not deliver on its promises. As such, I find them to be a waste of taxpayer money as well. If you say "Cut my taxes and I'll create jobs" and then don't create jobs... you deserve to lose that tax cut. We put our money where the supply-siders' mouths were, and we lost. Balancing budgets isn't just about reducing expenses; it is also about generating revenue. I think it's a no-brainer to rescind tax breaks that failed to deliver on their promise. Rand Paul was on The Daily Show tonight. Even he was willing to concede that "the last time we had a balanced budget was Bill Clinton. If you take Bill Clinton's budget and just increased it with inflation, which should cover our cost, we'd be balanced." Think about what I was saying earlier, about the taxation agenda of recent Republican presidents occuring to the detriment of the public interest. For crying out loud, even Rand Paul admits that the Democrat had it right. That ought to make one stop and think.
Our budget problems are not exclusively on the reducing expenses side of things. It is also, and I think more crucially so, on the revenue generation side. Specifically, our increasing inability to raise them properly on account of the tax dodgers funding our politicians. Two or three years ago, Ohio - a state seeing a struggle similar to Wisconsin's these days - eliminated all corporate income tax. Their Tea Party-approved governor is also claiming a budget crisis as his basis for a similar measure. Scott Walker has made the same claims, but not before handing out $117 million in corporate tax breaks his first few weeks in office. Such ideological inconsistency screams to me that a politician has been bought off.
This budget crisis is not the fault of firemen, police, doctors, teachers, librarians, other school faculty, garbagemen, sewage workers, or any other public workers. Despite that, they have made the financial concessions asked of them - and their rights are under assault. Why should they sacrifice twice before others - who had a hand in creating the problem, mind you - are asked to sacrifice once?
To address pretty much every comment other than jhammett's since my last post: Hell yeah, I'm mad! (It certainly doesn't help that it's been three weeks since my last proper cigarette, which also has me rather testy lately.)
I don't think unjustifiably so, either. I'm a bit of a heathen, I'll admit, but I don't deny that there's good stuff to be found in the organized religions of the world. And I know all of the major ones have some room for a man named Jesus. From what I know about Jesus, I can only really think of one time where he ever got angry. That came when he cast the moneychangers out of the temple. He saw the poor and widows being scammed, overturned the merchants' tables and blocked merchandise from entering the temple. He called it a "den of thieves."
Before you accuse me of being selective or perhaps exaggerate things a bit further, allow me to proceed with a couple other things this Jesus said for context: "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24 "Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him." Mark 12:17
In light of all I've been saying about wealthy elites (and their corporations) and their tax avoidance... I think I'm quite justified in my anger over something rotten in Wisconsin.
First, if my 20% tariff doesn’t act as incentive for American businesses to operate more in the united states, then it will atleast generate some of that revenue you talked about.
Second, the economic system is broken, and the trickle down does not work, I agree with that. But that doesn’t mean that I agree with the way things were before either. I also believe that the government is spending BILLIONS of dollars each year on unnecessary or broken programs / ideas (foreign policy, trying to govern insurance companies, social security, medicare, etc)
Heres the way I see it this all started when WE THE PEOPLE stopped paying attention by not showing up to vote. This OBAMA CARE and MEDICARE are slated to be paid for with the exact same tax collected dollar. Yes our legislators have said such in public forums called TOWN MEETINGS. And we were forced to except this because our legislators made sure of it. All the while calling it a GREAT thing there doing. I need to learn how to makeone dollar pay TWO separate bills. Because thats EXACTLY what OBAMA CARE DOES.
Arlene: You asked why you shouldn't be able to draw an unemployment check if your business went under. I spoke in hypotheticals, and in the course of doing so discussed a hypothetical failure. You seem to think my hypothetical was intended as a personal attack, which it was not. You understand that I was unable to answer your inquiry about collecting unemployment (or not) without a business failure, right?
You didn't respond with anything about personal responsibility, or circumstances within or outside of your control... you babbled on about bidding processes in building a building. You do bring up your dealings with the government as a businessperson, though. You realize this process means you're negotiating with people representing taxpayers, correct? You realize this means that taxpayers are your ultimate customers when negotiating a government contract, right?
the scapegoat here is the politicians that sign such treaties into law. A corporation, or individual can push all he / she / it likes, but that doesn’t mean its going to happen.
So it's just coincidence that corporations and wealthy individuals always get their loopholes, tax breaks, trade agreements and the like? Give me a break. I listen to the person who gives me a job and pays me, and I'm sure everyone participating in this thread does the same. How are elected officials any different? I want to stop anyone who thinks I'm talking about we the taxpayers here, because I'm not. Yes, it's citizens' votes that send them into office... and yes, it is our tax dollars that pay them a salary for holding office. That's not what I'm talking about.
The salary from holding office pales in comparison to the amount of money it takes to win that seat in the first place. It's not even close. A U.S. Senator earns $174,000 annually. Multiply that by six years of a term, and a U.S. Senator earns $1.044 million during the term for which they are elected. Compare that to the cost of a Senate race. In Wisconsin, our Senate race last year cost over $36 million - and that's just between the two general election candidates. What do you think holds more sway: the million and change paid by the taxpayers for having the seat, or the $15-20 million that had to be raised to win that seat? Even at the low end of $15 million, that means an officeholder has to raise $2.5 million annually to win/retain their seat. Divide that by 365, and a politician has to raise $6850 every single day. I'm sorry, but you don't raise that kind of money without having strings attached. Money buys access, access gets you influence, influence fulfills your policy aims... in short money buys influence. Both you and I know this. Why are you ignoring and/or denying this?
First let me define discrimination, the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit. Therefore, in essence, taxes based on income, or economic status, are an act of discrimination. Asking someone to give a larger percentage of their income, simply because they earn more than “Joe Six-Pack”, is, in my opinion, wrong.
I agree with your definition highlighted above. However, your definition is incomplete and therefore incorrect. You omit (and I'm not sure whether it was intentional or not) a very, very crucial point. A requisite criteria of legal discrimination is that it occurs on the basis of an immutable characteristic - things about you that were inherent at birth or which one cannot change... your race, your ethnicity, your nationality, any disabilities. Religious discrimination is included (arguably, on a case-by-case basis) because of rights granted within the constitution. Unless you can explain to me why and how belonging to a wealthy class is an immutable characteristic, your argument is invalid. Economic status is NOT static. I've got two words for you: American dream. How can someone work hard, prosper, and advance to a higher economic class when you're saying that economic classes are set in stone and should be enforced by the state? Your argument here, quite frankly, is neo-feudalistic bullhonkey. We can agree - and have agreed - on parts of our arguments before, but here I believe you are flat-out wrong. You seek to undermine legitimate grounds for protection against discrimination to enforce a socioeconomic structure which does not benefit society? Shame on you.
Indeed, the economic crisis was caused mostly by greed. And personally, I would have like to have seen the greedy parties suffer more.
How can you suffer more when you haven't suffered in the first place? The rich haven't suffered at all. To the contrary, they're the only class that hasn't suffered as a result of the crisis. The stock market rebounded, so people made their money back... economists use the term "jobless recovery" to describe it. That term was used during Bush's term with the post-9/11 recession, and it's been used again lately. To me, that term means "the rich people got their money back, lower and middle classes be damned."
However, you have to be careful how you regulate this kind of activity, as it can very easily infringe on a persons personal liberty.
My 8th grade social studies teacher Mr. Kempen (who, perhaps relevantly here, was my district's teachers' union rep) was arguably the best teacher I had throughout all my years of public education. It's in no small part because of him that I'm so interested and invested in political causes. He gave an example in class that has stuck with me through the years, and it goes something like this:
You have the freedom to take a swing at someone if you like, but your rights end the moment your fist makes contact. One person's liberty ends where others receive injury.
Others have undeniably received injury because of the actions of others... why defend the liberties of the guy taking the swing?
Not using that exact word, but riddle me this: what do you call the "everyone else" in your assertion that the rich are "footing the bill for everyone else" then? You might not use the specific word "deadbeat," but I'm fairly certain that whatever term you would use is synonymous with it. Propose to me your alternative, and we will see...
I do believe that the “right” thing to do is to give every country a level playing field for importing. And if we can do that while bringing back some of the industry that we have lost over the last 20 years, lets do it. Also, I disagree with selling any form or weaponry, or weapon related technology to ANY other country. That said, I believe that the key to a peaceful and healthy relationship between any two countries is trading (and communication), hence, we should not refuse to trade common goods with any country
First off, about the weapons comment... you originally said you were against "all standing Trade Agreements and Trade Embargoes." I brought up arms sales to North Korea to highlight a downside of your extremist view. I actually agree with most of what you said here. I beg to differ about bringing back industry we lost of the past few decades. I think we're better off investing in the industries in the future rather than the outsourced ones of the past. We're better off investing in clean energy manufacturing than making cheap plastic toys, are we not?
Do rich people use social services more than everyone else? Is that why their tax rate should be so high? I feel that everyone is entitled to the same social services, and therefore should pay the same percentage for access to those services. That is just the only way it makes sense to me.
Do middle-class people use more roads, utilities, trash collection, water/sewage, and other public infrastructure than a corporation? Do middle-class people demand, as a condition of their coming to/remaining in a town, that new infrastructure be built, land annexation and rezoning happen in their name? Do middle-class people establish themselves as a P.O. Box in the Cayman Islands or have loopholes written into tax codes only to take advantage of them? This goes both ways. Now, let's say I have a dollar in my pocket. That is more than the tax liability of General Electric, Bank of America, Citibank, or Exxon - just using these as examples of something that's commonplace. Commonplace to the extent that a supermajority of our top hundred corporations (in terms of annual profits) pay less than that dollar back in taxes. Now... how many dollars of benefits do these companies extract from our system without contributing a dollar? What are the consequences when your average member of the middle class would skirt their tax obligations in the same manner? With those last two questions in mind... is this fair? I don't think so.
I choose the companies above because GE makes a pretty penny on military contracts; we saved BoA and Citibank's donkeys in the bailouts; and there are entire tax loopholes written for the oil industry at a time they're making record profits. In refusing to invest in the communities which nurtured them, these corporations show a blatant lack of economic patriotism... I won't go so far as to call that lack of patriotism "economic treason," but if it's not it's pretty damn close.
I just feel that the government should tax everyone the same.
You proposed in the course of this an 18% across-the-board tax. You do realize 18% is a tax increase on most (if not all) of the lower classes while cutting the topmost tax rate in more than half, correct? Is that solution not more of the problem?
But that doesn’t mean that I agree with the way things were before either.
We've got 200+ years of "before" in this country, so excuse me if I'm highlighting the wrong part... but are you saying that you take issue with Clinton's raising of uppermost tax rates, creating a surplus and reducing income inequality in the process? (I mention Clinton policies because I earlier singled him out as the lone president in my lifetime who was not a proponent of upper-class tax cuts) I'm sorry, but I agree wholeheartedly with lowering income inequality and operating government under a surplus. There's no way we're going to dig our way out of the debt hole that's been dug without generating more revenue than our operating expenses. Merely balancing a budget (something, I will add, only Democratic presidents have done in my lifetime) is not enough at this point.
I also believe that the government is spending BILLIONS of dollars each year on unnecessary or broken programs / ideas (foreign policy, trying to govern insurance companies, social security, medicare, etc)
I sure hope you're counting our wars in the "foreign policy" part of this. You know a Tomahawk cruise missile costs in the neighborhood of $550-600K, right? And that we're firing them at Libya by the hundreds? What's that costing us? At the same time we're being told that teachers and other public workers are the problem? Shouldn't we be considering our current taxation system and method of enforcing it (or not) a broken idea on the revenue generation end?
Finally, since I'm out of your statements to which I may respond... There is not a direct one-to-one correlation between a dollar of cuts versus a dollar of savings. For example, every dollar that we spend on IRS enforcement of our tax laws brings in $3-4 as a result. That dollar invested makes 300-400% profit. That dollar cut is not a dollar saved; that dollar cut loses three to four dollars in revenue. What happens when we cut money from the IRS' enforcement budget? Congressional Republicans would like to cut the IRS enforcement budget by $285 million (out of $600+ million overall for the agency) if/when the current budget stalemate passes. Obama's 2012 budget, while neither final nor formally introduced, is expected to increase the amount of money going towards IRS enforcement by millions of dollars.
A few closing questions for you, jhammett... 1. Who is more fiscally responsible here: Republican leadership or Democratic leadership? 2. Who's in charge in the nearly twenty states which have introduced bills stripping collective bargaining: Republican governors or Democratic governors? 3. It's November 6th, 2012... are you voting for Obama or the Republican?
Mister foward no I refuse to deal with gouvernment contracts because they want top dollar equipment installedat lower than they cost or at cost to the installer. The gouvernment wants the lowest bid no matter what. So doing gouvernment contracts costs the installer unless it is a huge contract filled with extras. I prefer to be forth right and see the bottem line up front that way the customer and I know at the begining what they are getting for the money they are spending and I know what I'm getting for the time I'm spending.
Yes, every major conflict with have been in since WWII can be tied to our interventionist foreign policy. That does not mean that I disagree with the causes we were supporting with some of those conflicts, but I do COMPLETELY disagree with the idea of occupying countries as a means of keeping peace.
Yes, an 18% flat tax (which, by the way, would only be for individuals, not businesses) would generate less revenue, quite a bit less. But I bet the shortfall would increase less than you're thinking. How many people in the high tax bracket, as a means of circumventing taxation, make political and charitable contributions. I believe that these contributions should NOT be tax deductable.
I do believe in tax brackets for business tax, for many reasons, but mainly to make life easier on the small businesses of the US.
When I said "the rich are footing be bill for everyone else", i meant that the rich, with their ridiculously high tax rates, were paying for the majority of the social services that everyone used. When I say social services, I am refering to police and fire departments, food banks, homeless shelters, public health departments, etc. The public services you describe (waste collection, electricity, water, sewer, natural gas) are still mostly paid for (for the most part) based on the volume used. And I don't know about Wisconsin, but i n Tennessee, our roads are paid for by state and federal gas taxes, as well as vehicle registration taxes, which I am perfectly happy with.
Also, rich people with reckless spending habits were not the cause of the economic downturn, big rich businesses were. Now, obviously, big businesses are run by people, and these people probably rich, and they can act recklessly because the are protected by a corporate veil of financial protection. Perhaps one method of regulating recklessness in corporate america would be to eliminate this veil of protection, atleast to a degree. If you are a primary shareholder in a corporation that files for bankruptcy, i believe that the majority of your personal assets should be levied against.
Finally, America is rife with corruption, and it would be impossible to completely eliminate that. Fighting the corruption is the responsibility of the American people. As a whole, the american people need to: 1. Stop being sheep. Nothing pisses me off more then people who vote for someone based on the letter beside their name. 2. Better educate ourselves on the social issues, and the candidates running for office. Before we vote, we should know their views, and what, if any history they have in legislation. 3. HOLD OUR POLITICIANS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY.
A prime example of this would be the great mayor we had in memphis for 17 years. I refered to him as King Willie. He was the super intendant of Memphis City Schools before he ran for mayor, and he resigned from that job because of an affair he was having with an employee. As mayor, he did good things for the School System, but he otherwise destroyed the city. Thanks to his lack of communication, and awful fiscal mismanagement, Memphis now has the highest crime rate (per population) in the US. Yet he was elected to 5 consecutive terms by the people of memphis.
To answer your questions,
1. Who is more fiscally responsible here: Republican leadership or Democratic leadership? I wouldn't blame one party over the other, it was a collective effort between them that got us into this mess.
2. Who's in charge in the nearly twenty states which have introduced bills stripping collective bargaining: Republican governors or Democratic governors? Republican's, but remember that I detest collective bargining
3. It's November 6th, 2012... are you voting for Obama or the Republican? Likely neither. I am 26 years old, I have voted in 2 presidential elections. In 2004, I voted for John Kerry, not because I liked him, or his ideas, but because I didn't want to see another for years of Bush. In 2008, I voted for Ron Paul in the Rebuplican Primary, and then wrote in Ron Paul in the national election, because McCain's ignorance on foreign policy, and Palin's general ignorance scared the shit out of me, there was no way in hell I was voting for Obama (mainly because of his support and promise to sign FOCA)
I know I didn't cover everything, but I am at work, and have quite a bit of work to do.
I'm glad I went back and edited to include question three. I was suspecting I'd get an answer like "None of the above" or "What's behind Door Number Three?" when I added that.
I am surprised we had this much back-and-forth without my coming to realize it. You're more deliberative and rational than a good deal of Republicans I wax political with, I should've guessed.
Funny how we support people who are considered extremists within their own parties, yet can still agree on so much. You probably hate Boehner as I do Harry Reid, yet we probably agree with one another more than we agree with the Congressional leaders of the party of the candidates for whom we voted. I admit, sometimes you Paul people seem spot-on to me and other times you seem completely batshit to me... but I'll concede I probably agree with y'all more than the mainstream of your party - and possibly vice versa? Seems like we both know what it's like to be on the fringe of our respective parties. I don't particularly envy being a fringe Republican, though... I think the GOP is more bought-off overall than Democrats. (As I see it: You only need to buy a majority stake in one party and a plurality of the other to achieve your ends, and I see corporations as having a majority stake in the GOP.) I think fringe Republicans have even more of an uphill battle than fringe Democrats like myself.
I'm sure we can both agree that if you never vote your heart, your heart will never win.
I think Ron Paul was the best candidate for our country in 2010 and his party was too dumb to know it. As an independent, I could not vote for him in the primary and did not want McPalin to win, so I put my vote with the guy who sounded the best and had the best chance to not let the GOP back into the white house. I like Obama, but I think maybe someone showed him the "video", because he has under performed. It should be noted now or at least when it happened, that the economy started showing signs of recovery in summer '10 and that carried into some small gains during the forth quarter. This started before Republicans took the House, this probably would have happened without the bailouts, if not sooner, and the Democrats did nothing to stimulate this. Not sure who I am going to vote for this year, but I think Lewis Black is on to something here.
The link is of Lewis Black on the Daily Show showing his support for a "crazy third world dictator" as our new leader. "'This is what I've been waiting for my whole life,' Black said. 'A President who's not afraid to tell the truth about being a lying asshole.'" Good stuff! Wanted to post the video, but I only know how to do that with Youtube vids.
Now that I think about it, maybe Ron Paul is not dumb enough to be the GOP candidate?
Pictures in this post are all from Tuesday, March 1st.
Lady Forward is always a good place to start. She watches over the corner where Capitol Square meets State Street, a mile-long pedestrian thoroughfare which runs from Capitol Square to UW-Madison's Library Mall in the heart of campus. Only things I've seen similar to State Street are Austin's 6th Street and Memphis' Beale Street.
This is the crowd seen from the end of State Street, filling up all the sidewalk and some of the snow. Scott Walker was giving an address at that wing of the capitol that afternoon; we were there to make some noise.
Two signs I liked. The latter is one of the Ian's Pizza boxes. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but Ian's closed down for a week-plus and cranked out pizzas solely to feed protesters occupying the capitol. They took donations; they came from all fifty states and all seven continents (yes, even the Antarctica weather station!)
This Hollywood liberal sponsored some of those pizzas, and paid Ian's a visit when she was in town to speak at a later rally. Note their new slogan on her shirt.
These people have quite a following. That word's gotten quite popular over the course of all this.
This is the line of defense between the capitol and Walker giving an address. As soon as his speech ended, they pretty much turned and walked away, letting protesters right up to the capitol.
In the madness, I managed to get up in one of the doorwells. I jumped from the snow over a rail, beating most of the rush to the capitol. I was pretty much pinned up against a capitol door as this picture was taken.
No answer when people pounded on the doors.
Clauses from the Wisconsin Constitution posted on the door. It's a sad state of affairs when you have to use your own constitution as protest speech Do you wonder if perhaps the tops of those door hinges are easily unscrewed? I refuse to comment
Word spreads that Fox News is taping... on the other end of the capitol. Protesters begin to parade around the building. (I have a hypothesis that protest marches observe the Coriolis effect, but haven't had time to test it out.)
As they march, a trombone plays the Star Wars "Imperial March."
A lone man in a suit, who appears to be watching the stairway in some official capacity, is dancing... these pictures were taken eight minutes apart.
Shortly after that, I got down from my perch. A coffee cart was coming to set up shop, and I wanted in. I had barely gotten my coffee when I saw the crowd pursuing Sen. Grothman for the video I posted a few pages back. I shot video myself, but shared my boy Phil's back there. My phone battery died and I had to work that night, so that's all I have for this day.
By this point, everyone has seen the Fox News clip with the palm trees - as evidenced by the inflatable palm trees scattered about the capitol vicinity.
One of the beastly guys I've pointed out before takes a perch.
With all the talk I've made of men behind curtains and/or holding up puppets, I can't help but love this sign.
This man's sign speaks for itself.
Post-It notes cover a capitol door with messages for Walker.
This was Walkerville that night. Protesters, denied access to the capitol at this point, took to sleeping on the capitol lawn. It was thirty-three degrees and balmy. I set up shop around this corner nearer to the capitol door. I went to a nearby establishment for some cheese curds and a nightcap; rain was imminent by the time I returned.
I relocated to a preferable spot, inside a stairwell outside one of the entrances. I had dumpsters ten feet in one direction and a capitol entrance about fifteen feet in the other. I had barely set this up by the time it started raining. (Yes, I am a grown man with a Spongebob sheet set; they are my backups and they were a gift.) I got chummy with an officer who came out for smoke before I went to sleep. He seemed kind of curious about my e-cigarette; exactly the kind of thing Tom Morello mentioned a couple weeks prior, about how it's weird to be at a protest and buddy-buddy with the police. It was one of the most uncomfortable sleeps in my life, but also one of the most gratifying.
This is March 9th. In terms of this thread, it's the night I was mid-post and bailed because I said it was "code red" in Madison. My car had been in the shop for a few days and I'd just gotten it back about an hour before I heard about code red. I had been planning to stay in and go to Madison the following day, but found myself dropping everything and heading to the capitol. Code red was because the state senate had gone back to Walker's un-passed budget repair bill and, despite their repeated assertions over the previous weeks that the collective bargaining provisions were necessary in a fiscal bill... severed the collective bargaining provisions and made them a stand-alone bill, which was able to be passed by the nineteen Republican Senators & Republican-dominated Assembly. (Fiscal bills have a quorum of twenty; non-fiscal bills can pass with less...)
The crowd was pretty dense and intense that night.
I couldn't place this guy at first; I later pinned him to CNN.
The CNN correspondent is just outside this picture to the right. I knew he had a camera with eyeballs on the other end, so I was doing what they call "visibility" and/or being "on message" in campaign season. A friend saw me and took this picture; it wound up getting back to me via Facebook.
General Strike pamphlets on a car parked outside the capitol; these and the IWW poster (the KMFDM-looking one with the cat I posted earlier) were beginning to be distributed.
Somehow, someone opened doors to the capitol. I'm not sure who, I just know I didn't see anyone in authority on my way inside to the rotunda.
I'm not sure who put these on either, but someone managed to re-secure the doors. Someone in authority slapped handcuffs on the inside of the capitol doors to prevent exit, which I'm pretty sure was against fire code. Knowing we were locked inside the capitol like that had me more worried for my safety than any point in these entire protests. Phil told me these handcuffs were later picked (and kept) by a man who refused to identify himself. I asked Phil if the guy looked more like cop or criminal, and he said the latter
Once the doors were open, I took this security checkpoint with metal detector...
...and began to turn it into a People's Welcome Center
It started when my man Phil sat there for a moment to upload some photos, including those of the handcuffs that were (at the time) keeping us inside. At that point, getting the image out to prove we were locked inside was kind of important. We didn't know what was going on. This is just step one, when we wrapped up the metal detector. The guy framed by the metal detector is another one of my newfound protest friends... I keep running into him taking pictures while I'm out, but I can't for the life of me remember his name.
Along the way, those handcuffs got picked and the doors were opened. I set up a makeshift sign before I gradually built it up...
I had to make sure people left the capitol that night with an uplifting message... which also happens to be true ;D I wound up with pamphlets of sheets on civil disobedience/resisting arrest, Ian's Pizza box maps of the capitol, a trash can - with designated table space for recycling - noting that recycling is done to Walker's chagrin, a copy of the court order which (theoretically) reopened the capitol to citizens while the government conducted business, and gave away some abandoned packs of cigarettes and unopened water bottles found nearby. You might notice my vuvuzela in there too... in violation of the court order. I think it's the first law I broke all protest
This guy Matthew set up along the wall nearby. It was the first time that I had been able to go up to someone and say "Hi, I've seen you in pictures..." and strike up a conversation. He carries around a fifty-page synopsis of Walker's budget repair bill, and said that sign took him three days to make. I offered him table space while I was setting up, but he was fine where he was.
I ran my People's Welcome Center for at least a couple hours before I saw anyone official. I saw a handful of State Troopers heading down my hallway from the rotunda and started packing my things with a quickness. They primarily seemed concerned with pushing the metal detector off into a safe corner, but I can't be sure... I snagged a couple of my signs behind their backs and got the hell out of there rather than find out.
Today was the 10th day of the Secretary of State's ten-day window to publish the law after the governor's signature; Secretary of State Doug La Follette has been under - and abided by - a judge's restraining order not to publish the bill until the case could be heard on its merits.
The state appealed that restraining order; that appeals court refused to issue a ruling on that, leaving the restraining order in effect. The state has been appealing that ruling as well, while awaiting a judge's ruling on the original case's merits.
Secretary La Follette had rescinded previous instructions to publish the bill today as a result of the restraining order. The legislature's Reference Bureau, used in the drafting and research of statutes, published the bill today despite that.
2011 WISCONSIN ACT 10 AN ACT relating to: state finances, collective bargaining for public employees, compensation and fringe benefits of public employees, the state civil service system, the Medical Assistance program. ^ How the hell does this description indicate that this is a non-fiscal bill? The first thing it relates to is "state finances!"
They violated quorum on fiscal bills; they ignored open meetings law; they defied a court order... do they really thing this bill is going to survive every legal challenge?
Republicans claim the law goes into effect on Monday. It's going to be an interesting weekend.
A few more Random Notes I've been meaning to include....
I admit I'm not familiar with either of the works which inspired them, but I keep hearing people talk back about these flash mobs after the fact: Newsies flash mob on capitol square.
Lés Miserables flash mob takes to the mic in the capitol rotunda
This is a fourteen-minute video of protesters (an activist and a disabled veteran) defying what they see as an unconstitutional law, baiting police into citing or arresting them.
These two were cited for violating Department of Administration orders which may run afoul of the law. These are the kinds of acts that get unjust laws challenged in court. We'll see how this turns out.
Local activist Ben Masel is primarily known as a marijuana activist, who has a strong civil liberties streak as a result. He went to the capitol the next day, tried to get arrested/cited doing the same thing, and couldn't. The man has spit on a Congressman and taken his case up to the U.S. Supreme Court splitting hairs over "assault" versus "assault & battery." They know better than to mess with Masel, so they wouldn't touch him. He's talking about some kind of protest where people go and try to be cited for this (holding a sign outside the first floor of the capitol) en masse so there can be a mass lawsuit against the state's Department of Administration. It's probably not a coincidence that the DOA head is a political appointee of the governor.
Walker made a claim in a news conference on February 17th, stating: "The more than 8,000 emails we got today, the majority are telling us to stay firm, to stay strong, to stand with the taxpayers. While the protesters have every right to be heard, I'm going to make sure the taxpayers of the state are heard and their voices are not drowned out by those circling the Capitol."
Newspapers heard this claim and were suspicious - they then sued to have these emails released under the Freedom of Information Act. Walker was technically correct: the tally that day as of the time he took the podium was roughly 5900/1400 split in favor of the bill. The 17th just happened to be when the right-wing opposition machine finally kicked in and mobilized supporters to send emails supporting Walker. Through the end of February 16th, however, 12K+ emails were 2-to-1 against his proposal. As a result, the analysis says, emails were split roughly down the middle at best - meaning Walker lied about having majority support. It's also worth noting that Walker supporters sent a greater proportion of out-of-state emails than Walker opponents.
An interesting side story has come of this: the following email was unearthed in the FOIA request for the emails. It was sent by a public prosecutor in Indiana, who initially denied sending the email when it became public and was forced to resign.
This sounds an awful lot like what Walker told "David Koch" when he said he had "thought about" planting "troublemakers" in the crowd to discredit protesters. He's not the first Indiana official to lose his job over this; previously, an assistant in the Attorney General's office was forced to resign for suggesting that Walker "use live ammunition" on protesters through his Twitter account. In the meantime, Wisconsin officials are out of line with nobody but the citizenry to keep them in check
June 18: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (Cambridge MA) June 19: Benjamin Booker (Pawtucket RI) June 23: Rush (Boston) July 24-26: Newport Folk July 30: Trampled By Turtles (Providence) Aug 7: Deftones / Incubus / DFA1979 (Mansfield MA) Oct 29: The Who (Boston)
I'm glad all the labor groups are there. Governors in Ohio and Indiana are starting to follow Walker's lead. www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/02/23/unions.future/index.html How can this be allowed? I don't get it. I wish I lived in Wisconsin, Ohio, or Indiana, i'd be out there participating. If there is anyone from those states, that can inform of how anyone from out of state can help. I'd gladly like to know. The tax payer argument is bull crap. They are using the state financial argument so they can set a precedent for corporations to start cracking down labor unions. The Koch brothers are no stranger to controversy. They have funded major funds to deny climate change so they can run their petro-chemical plants without environmental limitations. They also have a pipeline that runs across Wisconsin and an asphalt company. They are currently trying to make a bid for the state's power plants. If the teacher unions fail, they will stamp out labor unions all together. This is one of the biggest labpr disputes in our history.
Do you own proprty in dc or do you rent? If you rent you dont pay taxes on your apartment which are city and school taxes. Now alot of people don't know that if you work in dc you pay state taxes because thats the law. But you have to live there as well. And most who live in dc are renters in dc.
What is it we are not learning from Greece, France, Great Britton most of Europe? More gouvernment means more debt. Bigger union retirement funding means bigger gouvernment. So hey lets ALL get more gouvernment in here because we are loosing jobs by the minuet lets keepem going and turn it into a welfare state even more than what we already are.
I disagree with your phrasing. This isn't some league of governors of equal rank who conspired to do this; they're taking the same marching orders from the same superiors. I think to call Walker the ringleader here is to give him too much credit.
How can this be allowed? I don't get it. I wish I lived in Wisconsin, Ohio, or Indiana, i'd be out there participating. If there is anyone from those states, that can inform of how anyone from out of state can help. I'd gladly like to know.
Send lawyers, guns and money
A few things one can do which I can think of off the top of my head.
1. I hate getting this question from out of state and feeling like a beggar. At least during the occupation of the capitol, I could refer donations to the appropriate pizza and coffee purveyors. If you're looking to donate money to someone, I would recommend the contributions page at the official website for the Republican recalls, www.recalltherepublican8.com/. Recall update at the end of the post, btw...
3. Boycott Walker contributors - and let them know about it. A lot of them probably don't operate in multiple states, but here's a few that I think might as I look at the complete list. MillerCoors (though we should all boycott crappy beers anyway; your cheap beer of choice should be PBR over Bud or Miller anyway) Johnsonville Foods (most notably, bratwurst and other meats) Sargento (cheese/dairy company) Kwik Trip & Open Pantry (gas station/convenience stores) M&I bank (based in Milwaukee; their employees gave most of any's to Walker)
The tax payer argument is bull crap. They are using the state financial argument so they can set a precedent for corporations to start cracking down labor unions. The Koch brothers are no stranger to controversy. They have funded major funds to deny climate change so they can run their petro-chemical plants without environmental limitations. They also have a pipeline that runs across Wisconsin and an asphalt company. They are currently trying to make a bid for the state's power plants. If the teacher unions fail, they will stamp out labor unions all together. This is one of the biggest labpr disputes in our history.
The Koch brothers are not "currently trying to make a bid," more like lying in wait until the law allows them to complete a previously made deal. Walker's bill proposes selling off our state utility buildings (water/heating/cooling) into private hands - while still using those same buildings to serve state buildings. These contracts don't even have a bidding process, which seems fiscally irresponsible to me. Everyone knows those plants are winding up in Koch hands. For what it's worth, these protests have become the biggest single-day labor protest in American history - twice.
Now, an update on the recall. This was breaking news approximately five minutes before my last post in this thread, so I missed its inclusion then. Sen. Randy Hopper appears to be the first signed-sealed-delivered official up for recall.
Organizers for the recall of Sen. Hopper have asked for remaining petitions in circulation to be returned to the office. This announcement is seen as an indication that the target number of signatures for recall has been obtained - including enough extra to sustain the requisite number of signatures after expected challenges.
Hopper, as I mentioned earlier, is embroiled in a scandal over moving outside his district to live with his 20something mistress. That information wasn't public knowledge until the recall began, when Hopper's own wife made the revelation to protesters outside his listed address. Said mistress was a legislative staffer working with him, but has since been given a state job - with a $12k pay increase above her predecessor's salary. When this scandal broke, Hopper jumped 2-3 spots to the front of the recall line.
I wanted to include this in the update, but it probably deserves a standalone post. As my last post said, at least one Republican state senator is most likely eligible for recall... with more likely to follow.
I think now is a good time to get wonky (although I'll say that just about anytime ;D ) Not twenty states have recall statutes on the books, and they're a lesser-used tactic in the democratic process in the ones that do. I think some explanation is in order and hope that it proves helpful to someone.
Recall laws are part of the legacy of the Progressive Era around the turn of the last century (1890s-1920s). This movement - amongst other things - sought to expose and eliminate corruption within the government, operate government more efficiently, and keep government closer to the people. The Progressive Era brought us constitutional amendments allowing women's suffrage and direct election of U.S. Senators in addition to reforms instituted at the state level. Among the statewide reforms instituted in this era were ballot initiatives, the referendum, party primary elections, and our subject: the recall election. Wisconsin's - and arguably the nation's - leading progressive political figure was Republican Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette, who championed these causes in his time as Wisconsin's governor. It is because of La Follette that the citizens of Wisconsin today have the recourse that is the recall election at our disposal. The recall is a rarely-used tactic with a high threshhold for use; it is intended to be an extreme citizen response against their elected officials - a desperate measure for desperate times.
We have sixteen recalls underway in Wisconsin right now. Eight against Republican state senators and eight against Democratic state senators; every state senator who is eligible for recall presently has petitions out against them. The first of these sixteen recalls to become official is expected to be that of Republican Sen. Randy Hopper. Hopper's recall is about to transition from the second to the third step.
But first things first... the first step. In order for recall petitions to be circulated, the following must happen: An official Declaration of Recall must be filed with the state's Government Accountability Board. This has to include reasoning for seeking the removal of named official from office and declare an intent to circulate petitions against that official. This is Day One of a sixty-day period in which recall organizers can gather signatures. This may only occur after an official has served the first year of a term for which they were elected.
The next step is gathering signatures. There is a sixty day deadline on signature collection, and officials may only be recalled once per term. The number of signatures needed to trigger a recall is equal to 25% of the number of overall votes cast for their position in the previous election. Signatures may only be collected in person from eligible Wisconsin voters. Voters make no declaration of how they would vote in a recall election were it to occur; their signatures merely state agreement that the official should stand for reelection sooner than the end of their current term. In the case of the Wisconsin recalls, the deadline for signature collection is May 2nd.
The third step is the signature evaluation period, which is scheduled for 31 days but may be extended by a judge. Signatures are reviewed, and subsequently either accepted or challenged. The validity of challenged signatures is determined, and they are either accepted or dismissed. After all signatures have been reviewed, the number of valid signatures determines the fate of the recall. If insufficient, the recall effort ends there. If there are the requisite signatures, the recall continues.
The fourth step sees the recall move into the electoral realm. With an official standing for reelection, other candidates are now eligible to be nominated for the ballot. If a party has more than one candidate, a recall primary election is called for on the Tuesday after four weeks have passed. It is possible that an incumbent candidate could be defeated by a party rival at this stage of a recall, and not make it through to the general election. (Note: a primary election is not necessary to advance to the general election in a recall.) Making it through the recall primary allows a candidate to move on to step five, the general election.
The general election takes place six weeks after enough signatures have been collected, or six weeks after any party primary that takes place. The candidate that wins the general election serves the remainder of the recalled official's term, even if it is the recalled official themself.
Interesting thing I've noticed which could become important later: a referendum can be attached to a recall ballot.
Here is something that should resemble how the first of these recalls, against Sen. Randy Hopper, would/will look like: Late Feb/early March: Declaration of Recall against Hopper filed March 28th: Supporters claim to have required signatures for recall and turn in petitions; 31-day review period begins April 28th: Signature review period ends - or is extended - and the fate of the recall is known. (If unsuccessful, this is the end.) May 31st?: Recall primary election (if necessary) June 14th?: Recall general election (if no primary) July 12th?: Recall general election (if primary held)
I'm sorry if I misled earlier, when I said we were already moving into Act Three of all this... this clearly isn't the case. Even in the fastest-case scenario, this will not be settled by the time we've returned from Bonnaroo this year. Hell, this won't even be completely settled in 2011 with the rules governing Walker's recall. This is merely the first round of recalls in this state.
Officials elected in 2010 (Walker and seventeen state Senators - 11 GOP/6 Dem... state Assembly too, but they're on two-year terms) are not eligible until having served one year of their current term. Recalling Walker himself has to wait until January 2012, with recall papers able to be circulated two months earlier. Seeing as a Walker recall will require ~550K signatures statewide, it's safe to assume that overlapping efforts will be underway for other officials.
Apparently, recalls against multiple state legislators over one issue are extremely rare. It seems it's only happened about three times nationally as far as anyone can tell. Not too surprising, since less than twenty states have recall laws on their books. Even in Wisconsin, state legislators have only been successfully removed via recall twice. Only two governors have been recalled in U.S. history... and we remember what madness ensued when California did it.
Wisconsin will prove itself to be a superior example of how to conduct recalls, of this I am certain.