hearts and minds

February 25, 2011

Block the Koch Party Attack on the Working Class

Federal, state, and local government budgets, and the lives of working people, across America, are in deep trouble for three dominant reasons:
(1) Federal and state policies, including tax policies, during the last three-plus decades have redistributed a consistently and drastically increasing percentage of the income and the wealth of the nation to large corporations and the super-rich. The consistently increasing tax cuts lavished on corporations and the very wealthy over this period have been substantially financed from the Social Security Trust Fund.
(2) Deficit financing of the military-industrial complex, the escalating cost of empire, and the undeclared wars waged, and continuing occupations, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.
(3) The national economic crisis (which immediately expanded worldwide, and trickled-down to state, local, and family budgets) that was caused by the largest fraud and larceny ever perpetrated in world history.

This worldwide economic crisis, with its massive, tragic consequences, was intentionally perpetrated by decision makers in huge, transnational financial and insurance and investment and accounting corporations. Neither the government that is supposed to be of, by, and for the people, nor either major party, has taken the necessary steps to:
(a) prevent such an outrageous fraud from happening again,
(b) prosecute the looters, and
(c) recover the loot.
Instead, we have been expected to collectively dig the very crooks (and only the crooks) out from under the collapsed consequences of the disaster they initiated.
We must defeat efforts to scapegoat any portion of the people and force them/us to pay even more for this continuing economic crisis.
(more…)

September 6, 2010

The Spirit Level

Filed under: Class warfare,Economics,Taxes — Hearts & Minds @ 5:35 pm

Do not overlook the essential info available in “The Spirit Level”, by Dr. Richard Wilkinson and Dr. Kate Pickett, published in the United States this year. The message of this book (which is fully documented, peer-reviewed, footnoted, and with extensive bibliography) can be boiled down for your convenience as follows:
(more…)

October 26, 2008

Choice for a Change – a Change that is Necessary

For the first time in a very long time – several generations, at least – we will have more than one name on the general election ballot in Ozaukee and Washington counties (for state Senate district 20 as well as Assembly districts 58 and 60, and for state Senate district 8 as well as Assembly districts 23 and 24). When there is only one name on the ballot, and no viable challenge, decade after decade, the legislators doesn’t have to worry about how you and I are going to vote. And if they don’t have to worry about how we’re going to vote, the only thing left for them to worry about is how the corporate donors, lobbyists, and anonymous ad sponsors with a grasp on their party, expect them to act in office. That does not give us government of, by, and for the people. That imposes on us a government by and for corporations and lobbyists.

That sort of government, both in Madison and Washington, has burdened us with the greatest transfer of wealth in history, (more…)

August 6, 2008

Choice for A Change in Ozaukee and Washington counties

The Wisconsin state legislature will have many contested elections in November. Three out of four Assembly seats will have more than one name on the ballot and be worth voting in, and nine of the 16 state senate seats listed in the general election will have more than one name on the ballot. In particular, the counties of Ozaukee and Washington, long dominated by the Republican Party (and long conceded by the state Democratic Party) have a unique and historic campaign season and election ahead. Fully SIX of the state legislature seats currently occupied by The Ruling Party in Ozaukee and Washington counties are being challenged in the general election. We haven’t had this kind of choice for generations. This is more than merely newsworthy. It is historic. What is fueling this upset of the status quo?
(more…)

May 24, 2008

Support the Troops! Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation and the New G.I. Bill

“The GI Bill gives emphatic notice to the men and women in our armed forces that the American people do not intend to let them down.”
(Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on signing the original G.I Bill for returning veterans)

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is leading an effort to pass a new GI Bill of educational benefits for veterans. What is the bill, what will it cost, and where do Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators and Members of Congress stand?
(more…)

May 14, 2008

Stop-Loss needed for both Wetlands and for Wisconsin Farms

There is an unfortunate, unintended, inherent contradiction between two government agricultural policies, or their administration, in Wisconsin. This interaction acts to defeat the intention of both policies, and it fleeces the average taxpaying citizen in the process.
(more…)

April 17, 2008

3 Up, 3 Down – Ozaukee County Softball

Filed under: government budgets,History,Iraq,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 5:29 am

A discussion has been proceeding for the last month in the Ozaukee News-Graphic regarding the continuing occupation of Iraq. This column continues that important discussion, and asks that you contribute to it, as well.
(more…)

January 2, 2008

Pay for Elections – Low Cost and Up-Front, or High Cost and Under-the-Table?

Sid. D. Complex was skinning and butchering the deer carcass that had frozen while hanging in his shed, when I stopped by for a visit, and that perennial sheepshead champ, Jess B. Simple, was being careful not to needle him for his procrastination.

“So,” I opened, deftly avoiding controversy, “who d’ya wanna see win the elections this year?”
(more…)

August 30, 2007

Assembly Runs the Budget Ball the Wrong Way

The Wisconsin state Assembly budget proposal cuts needed services while simultaneously increasing the state deficit, compared with the Senate budget proposal. The Assembly increases taxes on individuals, at the same time it disdains an opportunity to save Wisconsin businesses and individuals over one billion dollars annually while mounting a significant reform to correct the health care crisis. (more…)

October 8, 2006

Vote NO, NO, NO in NOvember

Filed under: government budgets,Taxes,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 1:36 pm

The total cost of Congressional appropriations for the invasion and occupation of Iraq since 2003 has risen to a third of a trillion dollars. The portion of that 333 billion that Ozaukee County taxpayers have to pay is 117 million dollars. But those numbers don’t mean much to most of us. So I’m breaking it down here for mulling over a coffee or a beer or at the kitchen table.

117 million dollars comes to a dollar a second just from Ozaukee County taxpayers, just for the war in Iraq. A dollar every second for the last three and a half years. 117 million dollars averages close to three thousand dollars per household, so far. (more…)

September 8, 2006

Government of, by, and for the FAT CATS

F. James Sensenbrenner has been a professional politician since college. He’s been a state senator and our Representative from the 5th Congressional District since then. And he has accumulated a personal fortune of more than ten million dollars. He has very large holdings in drug and insurance companies, as well as in banks, military contractors, the oil industry, and media conglomerates. His largest holdings, not counting Kimberly-Clark, are in three giant pharmaceutical manufacturers.
(more…)

August 6, 2006

Wisconsin Conservation Congress Advisory Question

(This Resolution regarding wetlands protection on farms appeared on the printed ballot at the 2006 statewide Wisconsin Conservation Congress meeting and was approved 3345 to 674. The article hyperlinked in the preceding sentence provides more information.)
(more…)

Wetlands Protection on Wisconsin Farms

“When you’re up to your armpits in alligators, it’s easy to forget you came here to drain the swamp.” This familiar old aphorism is out of date. They’re not swamps anymore. They’re “wetlands”. And you ain’t s’posed to be draining ‘em, anyhow.
(more…)

Cheney visits Chappaquiddick

No doubt you recall my old friend, Sid D. Complex, who’s visited with us before in this column, on rare occasions over the last four years. Well, he and I decided to take a final winter opportunity to do some small game hunting. My mouth has been watering thinking about hasenpfeffer, and Sid, as you know, has his own preferences, which don’t usually coincide with mine. But we are both keen on joining the many other carnivores in the predatory pursuit of rabbits. C’mon along, if you like, but keep your safety on when you’re busting brush, and mind where your muzzle is pointed.
(more…)

Fixing the coop, or covering up the raids?

The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute introduced its latest citizen survey with a big bang. Only 5% of Wisconsinites now believe that the ethics of our state legislators is better than in the past, while 42% believe that our state legislators ethics have gotten worse. Only 6% of Wisconsinites believe that elected officials represent the actual interests of their constituents, while 87% believe that elected state officials represent their OWN interests and/or what WPRI termed “special interests”. The percentages represented by 5 and 6 percent have never been so low, and the percentages represented by 42 and 87 percent have never been so high. The report concludes, “Unfortunately, Wisconsin citizens are clearly saying that they think lobbyists have much more influence than they (citizens) do, and that is negatively affecting the ethics in state government.”
(more…)

Social Engineering for Wealth

Filed under: Class warfare,Economics,legalized bribery,tax source info,Taxes — Hearts & Minds @ 5:41 pm

From 1970 thru the turn of the century, the United States economy more than doubled, adjusted for inflation, while the population increased less than 40%. For each dollar generated per person in the 1970 economy, about $1.40 was produced in 2001. In spite of that, the average family today does 20 more weeks of paid labor than it did in 1975, and eighty percent of America did not get ahead during the last three decades. A person under 25 years of age at the turn of this century made about $2 less per day, on average, than someone the same age did way back in 1973. (All comparative figures in this column are adjusted for inflation.) Over the last 30 years, the average American salary has just kept pace with the official rate of inflation. So what’s going on? Where did that 40% per capita increase in the U.S. economy, that productivity go?
(more…)

With Respect to Fallibility

Admitting and correcting our mistakes keeps us in our own good graces, as well as of those we love and care for. It returns us to the proximity of perfection. Part of the burden of leadership is that the circle of people to whom we bear responsibility for mistakes is wider. Leadership requires us to love and care for those within that circle, and to admit and correct our mistakes. Or else we do not deserve that mantle.

The White House presumes that its current occupant and advisors are infallible. It refuses to admit, much less accept responsibility for or correct any mistakes whatsoever. The buck is passed, the fall guy is a private, and private citizens pay the piper.

(more…)

Nonsense’n’nobrainer: Questions of Our Congressman

Congressman Sensenbrenner’s latest Annual Questionnaire has come again, prepared and mailed at taxpayer expense. It began with the assertion that “The 109th Congress is involved with many issues vital to you, your family and the nation.”

(more…)

Changing the Rules During the Game

Warmer winters with less snow, and wilder storms around the equinox; is this a clue to the future? The fields have been too soaked to work, and I was visiting your friend and mine, Sid D. Complex, for a change, and letting off some steam, as usual.

“Sid how much vacant land do you want around your home?” I asked.

“Much as I can get” said Sid, “as long as I don’t have to mow or weed it.”

“You like to see what’s called ‘rural ambiance’ while you’re driving around, don’t you Sid?”
(more…)

Saving a Buck on Tolls and Taxes

How come are there freeways in Wisconsin, and tollways in Illinois? Anytime I go down to Chicago or beyond, as soon as I get south of the border I get dinged six bits. Coming back, I get held up again right before I cross back into the land of freeways. Any ideas Sid, what’s the reason for this?

(more…)

Talking Turkey with Sid. D. Complex (published August, 2003)

I was checking the sweet corn, and wondering if the raccoons would leave any for us when Sid D. Complex stopped by to scout deer. “Seen any bucks?” he queried.

“I saw a young one on crabapples yesterday, but I’ve been busy. Don’t think I’ll be hunting this fall,” I told him.

“Right…I’ve heard that one before. It depends on how you define the word ‘hunting’.” Sid’s sarcasm could be vicious.

I knew what he meant. Seems too many politicians can’t come up with the simple truth if it’s handed to them. Sid says, “They’re just like con artists…what you call invertebrate liars, ain’a? Not George Dubya though. I voted for him and glad I did. He’s been like a tiger on them terrorists. On the TV he’s four-square supporting our troops. I say it’s about time.”

(more…)

Saving the Farm – With Use Value Assessment

Mathias and Anna Maria, born in the late 1700’s, and their son and his wife homesteaded their Cedarburg farm in 1848, and a farm it’s been ever since. They were my great, great, great grandparents, and we live in the log cabin hand built by them and cared for and modified by their descendants, right down to my parents who were able to retain the farm in family ownership.
(more…)

Have We got a Tax Cut for You!!

Taxes are a compelling topic for most of us…First, who got the bright idea of cutting taxes, just when the budget is leaping deep into deficits, the economy is bouncing downhill, and hundreds of thousands of American troops are committed to worldwide preemptive war? Tax cuts during wartime? That’s a new one. This idea was obviously not concocted by a fiscal conservative, unless he wandered through the Looking Glass after winking and cooking the books at Enron or Harken.

(more…)

August 5, 2006

The Bogus Income Tax Cut

Filed under: Sensenbrenner,tax source info,Taxes — Hearts & Minds @ 11:30 pm

There he goes again!

Representative Sensenbrenner’s latest “News from Congress” describes the return this year to massive deficit financing of our national budget (following the historic first-in-my-lifetime balanced budget during the previous administration). He calls it “…an almost balanced budget. Considering what this country has been through recently, this would be a remarkable feat!” That’s what he said – “almost balanced … a remarkable feat”.
(more…)

Here’s looking at you, Congressman Jim

Representative Sensenbrenner’s annual questionnaire has again arrived in our mailboxes. There is not space for a proper critique, so I will make my limited case here by quoting just five “questions” he asks, and following each with a re-phrasing that allows for a wider response or focuses on the issue he hides.

(more…)

The Estate Tax Scam

Most people working for a paycheck assume that whenever money changes hands, it’s taxed. Each dollar of wages is taxed at least three times before we even get it – once for payroll tax, once for federal income tax, once for state income tax. Businesses pay tax after expenses are deducted. Workers pay tax before expenses. Most expenses a worker has are not deductible, and those that are deductible are computed at a lower rate than business expenses. For example, farmworkers are not allowed to deduct work related travel expenses to follow the crops, while corporate directors and executives can deduct lavish expenses for meetings in exotic settings. That’s downright mean policy.
(more…)

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.