January 2006


I like John Edwards.  I would vote for him again, because he knows what it’s like to be poor.

Dear John,

A mismanaged war, botched hurricane relief, illegal wiretaps, secret torture prisons, ethics violations. Just when I thought we had seen the worst from the Bush Administration, there is a new outrage that is down-right mean-spirited. 

Big tax evaders — mostly wealthy individuals and large corporations — cost the government $300 billion each year in unpaid taxes. But in George Bush’s America, these folks are getting off virtually scot-free.

The Internal Revenue Service is spending its limited enforcement resources on low-income taxpayers — most of whom did nothing wrong. The IRS froze more than 120,000 taxpayers’ refunds on suspicion of fraud without notifying the taxpayers or giving them a chance to respond. This practice must stop, and I need your help to stop it.

The targeted taxpayers had a median income of $12,000 to $14,000. Many of them claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit, and count on their tax refunds to pay for home heating costs, school books for their kids, or to open a bank account and begin to build savings. The IRS has been holding up the refunds for an average of eight months — but some people wait for years.

We’ve heard a lot over the years about racial profiling. Now it seems the Bush Administration has invented “poverty profiling.” It’s the cruel assumption that if you are poor, you must also be a tax cheat.

Please send a letter to IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. The IRS must release the tax refunds that low-wage families have worked for and earned. It is beyond the pale — even for the Bush Administration — to spend limited enforcement dollars on struggling mothers and fathers who scrape by to make ends meet while wealthy tax dodgers go free. Make your voice heard now.

Forty years ago, President Johnson declared a war on poverty. This President has declared a war on the people living in poverty.

Please take a moment to send this letter. And urge your friends and colleagues to let George Bush know that we won’t stand for this immoral practice. Thank you.

Your friend,

John

Tell your friends about this letter by clicking here.

…in the speech tonight about how well the economy is doing.  The funny part is that, unfortunately for Our Fearless Leader, people are just well-informed enough to know that the American auto industry is losing 10’s of thousands of jobs, Kraft just announced that they’re laying off 8,000, and most everyone I know even in Corporate America, a far cry up from the true have-nots, understands they could lose their job tomorrow.  The anxiety is rising up the income curve.

But Karl and George just don’t get it.  The numbers are right there!  All that extra money has to be going somewhere! 

And no one will notice, because it takes some thought and because Mr. Media Man sure as heck won’t discuss it, that upon reflection the whole political miscalculation Rove and Bush are making is because everyone they have ever known wasn’t worrying about money in any universe within light-years of what the majority of us have seen or dealt with personally over the course of our lives, money-worry-wise.  Everyone Bush ever talks to says the economy is GREAT, because, for them, it is.

The left sometimes oversteps it, IMHO, when they describe Bush personally as evil, even though I heartily agree that he is stupid and arrogant, a dangerous combination in my experience.  (Gets those afflicted in over their heads.)  Anyway, I don’t think he’s particular evil or even insincere; I think Bush is simply a product of his own temperament and upbringing.  His nature and nurture.  He sees the world through fundamentally different glasses, that’s all.  Most of us do, but we’re not President.

IOW, I don’t care about the POTUS’ personality so much as his/her policies.  And I think the re-election of George Bush has about a coin flip’s chance of being marked by history as the beginning of the end for the American Empire, even it takes 200 years.  I’m no fan of Dubya The Man.  But of Dubya the man?  I don’t know for sure, other than to say I’ll bet he was a lot of fun when he was drunk and packing a lot of dough.

Digressions aside, one of the primary functions of his policies over the past 5 years has been making rich people, the ones he knows and has always known, better off while at the same time leaving more have-nots in even worse shape than they were before the policy hit them.  I don’t understand how this can be disputed.  And he and Karl are misreading this one if they dwell on it too long in the speech or afterwards.  Average Joe has a very narrow view of “how the economy is doing.”  It’s mostly about Joe and the people Joe knows as far as Joe is concerned.  Not unlike the President.

I’m just sayin’.

Here’s what’s happening in Average Joe’s wallet.  At least they’re not telling us things just haven’t “trickled down” yet. 

the brave and cute Jill Carroll.  I just know I would seriously dig her.  For those of you who pay NO attention, she’s the Christian Science Monitor freelance reporter who got nabbed by the nutballs (but not TOO nutball…they haven’t cut her head off yet) in Iraq.

But this is probably Example A of media bullshit.  To her friends and family, and even anyone who she has ever touched in any positive way, this issue is important, Numero Uno I dare to guess.

To the rest of us, it’s just good TV.  Look in the mirror and deal with it.

We’re about to confirm a Supreme Court justice who I am quite sure even Republicans will sooner or later come to regret, because he/she makes decisions that impact hundreds of thousands of people directly, and Alito has 30 years.  But those stories have no immediate emotional impact, so, in the corporate media environment in which we all now exist, we get to see poor Jill.  There’s money in it. 

A concurrent but equally illuminating and very similar story you can’t miss these days is the (also poor) newly-minted ABC News co-anchor, Bob Woodruff.  Again, hearty and sincere sympathies with those who know him and like him or have been positively influenced from being touched in any way by Mr. Woodruff.

The point is, this happens EVERY DAY in Iraq, but it is to “little” people, usually poor and virtually always “unfamous” people, and because we’re just all so used to it now, the little people are relegated to minority status, news-reporting-wise.  Their plight is less important, is the message you are bombarded with daily.  The Man increases His Power.  Reporters warrant more coverage than soldiers.  There’s economic value there.  Deal with it, because the four people reading this blog once in a while know it.

Pat Tillman, who gave up a multi-million dollar career of fame and women to serve his country, was a notable example, too.  He died as a true American hero but after the news cycle died down and The Man could sneak it into a brief mention on a single day, Pat became an example of the seriously pathological willingness of our current Man to lie to us, because The Man now knows in great detail how we process information.

What did this Administration do with the Tillman story?  They lied about it, to exploit it politically.  Like they do with everything.  And it worked.  The GOP is about 10 years ahead of the Dems in terms of media management.  The Dems simple can’t believe everyone isn’t as smart and well-informed as they are; “of COURSE they check out the facts!”  This “nuance” stuff requires time, our most precious asset, and the complexity that the Federal, State, and Local governments have brought to Average Joe’s life (mostly through Dem rule of 40 years) renders the sport (and I don’t even want to DISCUSS it with you if you are too stupid to see that it is reported just like a sport) of politics “boring” and very, very far away.

This goes a long way towards explaining why a lot of very smart people I know don’t bother with their civic responsibilites, as well.

And I suggest to you this ignoring of complex threat is simple human nature, and why every World #1 in the entire history of mankind has blown it for themselves.  And why I think your children are in for a bad time.

It starts with most of the world hating you, if non-violently.  Here’s a little nugget about our friends’ opinions, which I happen to agree with, but should cause most Bush voters a bit of heartburn.

According to the poll, 50 percent of British, 67 percent of Russians, 70 percent of Germans and 90 percent of French said it would be a good thing if the European Union were as powerful as the United States.

And the entire poll, for those of you with 15 minutes a day to contemplate it.  Note the trends. 

 

Kidnapping for military and/or political advantage.

Didn’t see much of this on CNN, FOX, or any other mainstream media outlet, did you?

And people throw up their hands and wonder why the rest of the world thinks we’re hypocritical blowhards.  I live in a nation of morons.

But Jack Abramoff, who is connected to every big-shot GOP guy in the universe somehow, is NOT an equal-opportunity felon.  Kudos to the great writers and patriots at Mahablog, and btw, this is why I blog, too.

Just remember every time you hear some mainstream media talking head spew the “bipartisan” talking point.  It would be laughable, if so many people didn’t accept it.

Exxon posted the greatest annual PROFIT of all time, and some of the other slacker oil giants weren’t far behind.

You have to be some kind of an idiot to think the people who run your life via the political process care about gas prices.  Like abortion, wherein the rich will always have access to clean safe ones, rich people don’t worry about an extra $1/gallon.

But the punch-line is that Exxon is still fighting against coughing up the $5 billion they owe for the Exxon-Valdes mess

And now we have another Supreme Court justice who just can’t understand why little people would question the actions and/or motives of authority.

What a mess.  It will touch you when it has become too late.  You heard it here, first.

…know that Alito is going to suck for many reasons, if they’ve bothered to check.  My problem is that he’s never met a Man he didn’t like.  Gotta support the strip search of the 10 year old girl because “some” people use youngsters for non-government-sanctioned drugs, or support the right of cops to shoot a kid in the back for $10

(I don’t care about abortion for obvious reasons, but why isn’t the Democratic talking point, “God will work it out in the end; it is not for me to judge, which I think is what Jesus said.”  For the inevitable follow up questions, the answer is, “Pro-choice is inclusive of all; pro-life is exclusive; in a democracy of free people, the inclusive should prevail.”  Doesn’t that solve a couple of their problems in a couple of sound bites?)

Anyway, but how many have done anything about it?  When did we internalize the idea that government, our representatives here and abroad, are somehow out of our reach?  For God’s sake, you can tell them what you think from your house!

Next Page »