Thursday, May 25, 2006

Death Of A Tax?

Not bloody likely, but it is nice to hear about the possibility of such a happening every now and then. It looks as if the Treasury Department may be giving in on the long abused Spanish-American War Telephone Tax that we all pay. There is even speculation of its repeal...yeah, like that's ever gonna happen. This administration and the Beltway Boys at Capitol Hill are never going to relinquish their grip on the billions that this tax adds to their coffers and if anyone is foolish enough to think that the US Government is going to refund $13 billion to the people who have paid it over the decades they're delusional.

That $13 billion in refunds will have to be begged for when/if you fill out a tax form. Anyone want to bet that never shows up on any tax forms? And, for those who've been around for a few years the "refund" won't be anywhere near what we've actually paid in taxes over the decades, regardless of what Rick "Insane" Santorum says. Even if it were to make it to the point of refund how much you want to bet they tax it as income? Given that this will have to go before the Congress, (who've never met a tax they didn't like) for repeal the chances for this are slim and none, even in this election year. And, with the impending departure of Secretary Snow it is even more likely that this will get buried and forgotten amidst all the "news" and scandals du jour. Shoot, this story has already been buried and it's new News.

Still and all, it is nice to think that sometime, someday a tax might be repealed. Of course, I've always been a sucker for hopeful fiction.

Update: Looks like Snow is definitely going now. And the tax story is non-existent in most of the press and buried where it is mentioned.

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Americans are lousy gardeners. Just look at our political garden plot. Overgrown with weeds, pests of all sorts (many are even foreign to our political ecosystem), a mishmash of "plants" that make for an unwholesome and increasingly ugly landscape. Good gardeners know that healthy systems need pruning, weeding and, above all a good thinning out.

Every garden needs thinning out. When there are too many things growing in one place the outcome gets ugly. Nothing grows right, pests proliferate and the entire garden goes to hell. As a country we are long overdue for a thinning. The residents of our garden are growing out of control and the health and welfare of everything else in our fragile eco-political system is endangered. You see...for too long now, the people "tending" our garden have not been thinning the plot. They have simply let most plants go to seed or replaced them with a different variety of the same thing. When we thin out our gardens we don't replace what we have decided to dispose of. We throw it out or eat it, (that's a different thing entirely, tho and not necessarily recommended where politicians are concerned. Too much fat and most are too old) but in the end the garden is much healthier for the culling.

Come November many of the folks who've been piddling about the garden will get a chance to do something. In almost every case it will be a simple matter of replacing the plants in our landscape. Sadly, most will just leave the current plant in place rather than take a chance on anything new, even if it is just a different variety of the same plant.

Do us all a favour this time around. Get into the spirit of gardening this go around and rip the weeds out by the roots. Replace them with something...hell, anything else! If there's a 3rd party running then put one of those in the garden, (don't be fooled by the "Independent", tho. Those are normally just a disgruntled weed of the Red or Blue type). If some serious changes aren't made in our landscape soon then our entire plot will be overrun by weeds we have chosen to plant and lots of folks such as myself have severe allergies to pigweed, stinging nettles and ragweed. The patent nostrums of the snake oil salesmen are anathema to us as well and we'd just as soon not have them in our corner of the garden anymore. So, if you would...please do us all a favour and let's get an early start on our gardening this year, OK?

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Creating Criminals: Your Government At Work

"The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws."- Ayn Rand. "Atlas Shrugged"
And that is seemingly the case today, given the latest statistics out on the matter. Your government, both federal and state is busy, busy, busy imprisoning it's own citizens and the numbers of women languishing behind bars, especially in the west and south has risen to all time highs. Gotta love that "compassionate conservatism", huh? Many, if not most of these people are victims of the War on Drugs and its ludicrous sentencing guidelines. Others are, according to one of the people interviewed in the articles due to the lowering of the felony bar.
"In Oklahoma, we choose to make lower-level crimes felonies, therefore we stand out like a sore thumb."
Add to that the large numbers of unconvicted people who are being held at the behest of the police state government and we can easily see that there is something incredibly wrong in this country.
The report by the Justice Department agency found that 62 percent of people in jails have not been convicted, meaning many of them are awaiting trial.
Some states have as much as 1% of their population behind bars! "Land of the free", my ass! We now imprison more of our own people than the USSR did at the height of their power. And throwing our women into prisons at the rate we are is unconscionable. Since 1977 the rates of incarceration have, according to the Women's Prison Association increase by 757%!

There is no way that women have managed, as a group to become "badder". The problem lies in solely in the laps of politicians and the government. The rate of violent crime has been dropping steadily for 25 years or more so we can easily make the comparison that these women and men who are now incarcerated have been imprisoned by a lowering of the legal bar, not any increase in crime. The state, in a fit of control mongering has managed to make almost everything a crime, it seems. And, if the facts and figures are to be believed, (and I see no reason to doubt them) the so-called War on Drugs, (the War on Some Drugs or the War on People is much more correct) is almost solely to blame.

The government is creating criminals. Why? Electability of their politicians is a prime reason. Running on the "get tough on crime" platform works for these slimeballs people. They spend inordinate amounts of time and money instilling fear into their constituencies for the single purpose of using their "get tough" rhetoric to get re-elected and to further strengthen their police forces. Some people out there might be blind enough to think this false but, I would ask you how often the endorsement of the FOP or similar police organisation figures in elections. Look carefully at the candidates and you'll see the readily apparent pattern of give and take. This is a dangerous and horribly incestuous relationship. Creating crimes where none existed so the police can gain more power and money? C'mon people! What's it take to make you see the obvious? All it took Joseph Sobran was a ticket and the theft impoundment of his vehicle to realise that we would be much better off without the State and it's gun toting minions.

If this trend is allowed to continue we will see a continual rise in the numbers of people imprisoned at all levels, especially as the so-called War on Terror continues to function. Shoot, Adolph Alberto Gonzales is already talking about arresting reporters for...reporting. All in the name of national security, of course. Since this administration has already made the assertion that drugs and terrorism are inextricably linked, we could very well see victims of the War on Drugs become victims of the War on Terror, as well. Do you look forward to the day when you see someone you know face a military tribunal for simple possession?'s almost entirely too late to fix the things that are wrong in this country. If you really want this country to get on the right track then you had better start doing something and doing it right now.

Don't vote for incumbents, if you vote. That's a start. Refuse to support police organisations and let them know why. If you really care the time to act is now, not tomorrow. Drugs may harm people. But, the War on Drugs is destroying this country, families and the futures of millions of people. That is the true horror or the War on People. We have a War on Drugs, a War on Terror, a War on Iraq and numerous smaller Wars on... it's long past time that we ended the warfare state before it destroys us completely.

Thanks to Bill St. Clair for inspiration and linkage!

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