March 2006


People DO want to hang on to that "parent" concept of government, IMHO.  Just think about the people you know, and what they think.  At this point, we no longer discuss the government's right to be there in the first place; instead, we discuss which way the government should decide the issue.  We need a Dad.

Remember, we got to IMPEACHMENT with the last guy about all kinds of "rule of law" arguments about extramarital blow jobs. 

Censure?  Premature.  Another nice piece of work by Digby.

Sent via e-mail:

Thank you for the best and most intelligent response I've ever seen from a public official re: a message I have sent.  We disagree fundamentally only on the power and trust issues of this issue, and, yes, well, the legality too.  Still. 

Nobody knows what/who has been spied on.  That can be exploited. 

I think Senator Obama is terrific, but a little behind the curve. 

senator_obama@obama.senate.gov wrote:

Dear John:

Thank you for writing about Senator Russ Feingold's proposal to censure President Bush. I understand your strong feelings on this issue. While I share your frustration and anger, I do not think censure is justified at this time.

I agree with Senator Feingold that the Administration's attitude toward congressional oversight and the FISA law has been cavalier and arrogant. We are a nation of laws, and those laws should be applied to all of us, from humblest citizen to the president of the United States. No president should be allowed to knowingly and willing flout our laws, and I believe the President exceeded his authority with his domestic wiretapping program. The justifications offered – that the president possesses inherent presidential authority under Article II, or was granted that authority in the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force — seem to contradict prior precedent and our constitutional design.

But my and Senator Feingold’s view is not unanimous. Some constitutional scholars and lower court opinions support the president’s argument that he has inherent authority to go outside the bounds of the law in monitoring the activities of suspected terrorists. The question is whether the president understood the law and knowingly flaunted it, or whether he and his aides, in good faith, interpreted their authority more broadly than I and others believe the law allows. Ultimately, this debate must be resolved by the courts.

Also, a censure resolution does nothing to deal with the underlying problem of unchecked executive power. It would not force the president to modify his domestic surveillance program or force the Senate Intelligence Committee to do its job. In order to do that, Congress must reassert its constitutional role in overseeing the domestic surveillance program. And it should bring the warrantless wiretapping program back under the authority of the court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Therefore, my focus is on crafting an effective surveillance program that both combats terrorism and contains meaningful judicial review of wiretapping, which is the most effective way to restore balance between the battle against terrorism and the rule of law.

Again, thank you for writing. I will closely follow the hearing on Senator Feingold’s bill taking place in the Judiciary Committee this week to see if any further information surfaces that might impact my decision.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama
United States Senator

P.S. Our system does not allow direct response to this email. However, if you would like to contact me again, please use the form on the website: http://obama.senate.gov/contact/

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…this is probably a very good investment in your financial future.  Save it as a favorite.

I have donated to Ned Lamont's primary challenge in CT, against the GOP's favorite Democrat George Bush dick-sucker, and I like Joe L. (honest, my Congress vote in the fall will be for an official ex-Joe guy, IL 10th, Seals, whom I voted for in the primary after 20 minutes of 1 on 1 face-time with each candidate), but Joe is the perfect example of the clueless Dem. 

In the interest of full disclosure, I have electronically proposed to Jane, though believe she is married, and the above links also contain a bonus excerpt from the brilliant Digby.  (Don't pay attention to their handles, trust me.)

I'm telling you, it's a good investment.  They would get excited and be grateful for $20.

Why doesn't the now WELL ESTABLISHED FACT that your government lied you into supporting or being at least indifferent or disconnected from a horribly destructive WAR, costing by any reasonable and conservative 100,000 LIVES, you know, like yours, and yet half the electorate still shrugs and says, "It's out of my control and my sphere of care."

My God gave us the means to Handle It. 

So says our Secretary of State, while still defending the overall "strategy."

It's a strange case to make.  If your strategy is right, how can you make thousands of "tactical" mistakes?  Doesn't that imply that whatever your strategy was, your tactics for implementing the strategy didn't at all match the strategy itself?

And then, at how many "tactical" mistakes do we declare the "strategy" a failure?  5,000?  10,000?  1,000,000?

We are being governed by some silly people.

I’ll bet most of you don’t know that Babs donated some Katrina money to her ne’er-do-well son, Neil.

Folllow the links, and judge for yourself.

A self-titled modest proposal:

A Modest Tax Proposal from Average Joe

The guiding principles that must be the foundation of a new tax system:

  1. Everyone should be able to figure out everyone else’s taxes.  In other words, someone like me, who hates the American tax code to the core of my being, should be able to calculate what Bill Gates owes/paid.
  2. Any income category so defined by the Congress (I say only two are necessary:  Earned and Unearned Income) has a 0% tax rate for those under $X dollars of said category.
  3. The top rate gets first dibs on all future tax cuts.

A monument to Democratic machine political ineptitude is that they haven’t figured out that they can outflank the GOP on the right simply by performing one of those Capital-Steps PR events where, in this case, they just burn the Tax Code in effigy.  They should, while they’re at it, invite every Republican they can talk into being there.  They’ll get a few.

The U.S. Tax Code is a monument to every governmental principle our Founding Fathers tried to anticipate and circumvent; it is far longer than The Bible, and even harder to interpret precisely.  This is patently ridiculous, since ultimately we are simply exchanging cash for services.

So, here’s where we start on the new tax code.  Earned income is tax free for everyone up to $XX,000 (I say 36; $3K/month should provide for a decent set of choices on feeding, housing, and clothing your family).  The 16 year old burger-flipper and Bill Gates both get this $36K ($XXK; the concept is far more important than the numbers, which should be debated vigorously).

The next flat rate starts above $XXK and goes to $XXX,000 (I say $200K to start) and is say, 20% or, XX%, and is again applicable to everyone who is working for money.

Above $XXX,000, the rate starts (year 1) at a percentage required to equal the prior year’s tax revenue figure. 

This would sell because, if you’re poor, what’s not to like, and if you’re rich, you control American politics anyway so you suddenly have lots of incentive to make some wise and responsible budget decisions.  Even the Red State voters get this simple fact. 

If you have to keep the Social Security tax, give up on the cap, for God’s sake.  It’s the most regressive tax we have by a mile, since those with incomes unlikely to need SS are the ones who avoid lots of the taxes that fund it, year by year, as we go.  Insane.

Unearned income works the same way.  Allow Mr. 0% tax bracket to invest like Mr. Big does, and give him $X00 (say, $100/month) of his unearned income tax free.  This benefits everyone, since now Mr. Poor has incentive to stimulate the economy by investing.

Again, trying to be simple and fair here, the next one up starts at X+1% (21% in this example–don’t we want more incentive to earn income than not earn income, collectively?) up to $XX,000.  Above that, it gets taxed at a rate that combines with the top bracket of the earned incomer to be revenue neutral to the prior year, or whatever amount Congress and the POTUS can compromise on, budget wise.

It should work the same way for business.  Define small, medium and large businesses by number of employees (my preference) or gross revenue—again, completely and sensibly debatable—and give them their first X% of earned income, tax free.  Have two other brackets in which the tax remains flat in each earned and unearned income level, one for the medium sized company and the highest for the biggest companies, however (SIMPLY!) a big company is defined.  Once again, if there is budget room down the road, the biggest companies get the first break on the tax rate.

No other deductions.  It is the only fair way to do it.  Every special and powerful interest group must hate it equally.

The speech on Capitol Hill should be read, probably, by Bill Clinton, though he and Hillary are slaves to the Code anyway, so it would never happen, but if it did, it should start as the Code catches fire, and it should go like this: 

“Ladies and gentlemen, fellow citizens, we are here today to mark a historic event in American politics.?

“Our current tax code, the one burning before you, is the Mount Rushmore of American special interest politics.  You could spend you’re whole life trying to figure it out, and you would never finish your task.?

“There is not one person in this country that doesn’t on some level understand that this monstrosity is most beneficial to the most privileged in our society, since they are the only ones who can afford to pay someone else to take advantage of it.?

“Also, they are the ones who have written it.?

“The Democratic Party is going to fight for a tax code that is less than 20 pages long, that anyone with a high-school education can understand, provides confidence and hope for a better future to everyone, and that favors NO ONE.?

“We want to restore faith in our political system, and we believe this first step will go a long way towards doing so.  There is no Enron, no World Com, no Arthur Anderson, no corporate scandal rooted in the complexity of the tax code if we join together to build one that is sane.?

I would let Bill take it from there.

It will never happen.  It’s a big reason so few of us vote. 

…for best blog, “General Political Category” of all out there.

I don’t know where the gals get this talent, but man, this is a nice caption of how lots of people feel about the war in Iraq.

…going to do the trick, and you have the power, from your own comfortable seated ass, to at least give voice to the sane.

Mississippi, bastion of economic and political success, has found a new boogy-man:  Sexual devices.

Coming soon to a community near you.  Freak show politics at its finest.  You can link to the MS state reps right from my site here.  Tell them they’re insane.  Every little bit helps.

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