Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

Eric Cantor’s Small-Business Tax Cut Faces Threat Of Presidential Veto


And a well-deserved veto it would be.

Holy Crap, Batman! Look at the numbers!

$46B added to the deficit in order to create 100K jobs. That’s $460,000/job. That’s likely 10 to 15 times the salary of the jobs created. There is no possibility that this would generate enough new revenues to pay for the cuts, even if the new jobs were taxed at 100%.

Cutting taxes for 22M “small” businesses to create 100K jobs means only 1 job would be created for every 220 businesses getting a tax cut – and that’s if the republican best-case scenario proves true.

Official portrait of Congressman .

Official portrait of Congressman . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think that Eric Cantor and I have radically different definitions of “potent economic stimulus”. This is designed to be incredibly inefficient, ineffective, and wasteful as a “jobs” program.

Could the lies be any more blatant? Promoting this as a “jobs” bill is an insult to the intelligence of every American, and a clear demonstration that republicans are fiscally irresponsible in ideology and practice. After all, they can blame President Obama for not signing it, or the Senate Democrats for not passing it, and never face responsibility for passing it. I expect them to accuse the Democrats of playing politics in stopping this moment of insanity.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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April 19, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Budget, Economics, Ethics, GOP, Legislation | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

With Newt in Virginia


Cover of "With Lee In Virginia: A Story O...

Cover via Amazon

In response to Newt Gingrich‘s allusion to Pearl Harbor as a parallel to his campaign failure in Virginia, I offer the preface to a book called “With Lee in Virginia (A story of the American civil war)”, written by G. A. Henty. Published by Hurst and Company, New York, it does not identify a publication date or claim a copyright. The inscription indicates that this copy has been in the family since January, 1901. Antiques Roadshow type stuff. It doesn’t look anything like the cover from Amazon.

I found Gingrich’s comparison to an infamous attack to be arrogantly dismissive of the tragedy and horror of war. His scapegoating was an insult to the courage and sacrifice of our citizen soldiers and their families, as well as a testament to the empty rhetoric of “personal responsibility” that is fundamental to the conservative desire to re-engineer America. He also demonstrated ignorance of relevant laws and outright contempt for rules that hinder his agenda in any way.

His failure in Virginia, and his response to it demonstrate conclusively that he should only enter the White House with a visitor’s pass and a Secret Service escort.

On a more personal note, I have called the present ideological battles a political civil war. I thought it would be appropriate to momentarily revisit that point in our history.

Yes, it really is all one paragraph in the book…

“My Dear Lads:
The Great War between the Northern and Southern States of America possesses a peculiar interest to us, not only because it was a struggle between two sections of a people akin to us in race and language, but because of the heroic courage with which the weaker party, with ill-fed, ill-clad, ill-equipped regiments, for four years sustained the contest with an adversary not only possessed of immense numerical superiority, but having the command of the sea, and being able to draw its arms and munitions of war from all the manufactories of Europe. Authorities still differ as to the rights of the case. The Confederates firmly believed that the States, having voluntarily united, retained the right of withdrawing from the Union when they considered it for their advantage to do so. The Northerners took the opposite point of view, and an appeal to arms became inevitable. During the first two years of the war the struggle was conducted without inflicting unnecessary hardship upon the general population. But later on the character of the war changed, and the Federal armies carried widespread destruction wherever they marched. Upon the other hand, the moment the struggle was over the conduct of the conquerors was marked by a clemency and generosity altogether unexampled in history, a complete amnesty being granted, and none, whether soldiers or civilians, being made to suffer for their share in the rebellion. The credit of this magnanimous conduct was to a great extent due to Generals Grant and Sherman, the former of whom took upon himself the responsibility granting terms which, although they were finally ratified by his government, were at the time received with anger and indignation in the North. It was impossible, in the course of a single volume, to give even a sketch of the numerous and complicated operations of the war, and I have therefore confined myself to the central point of the great struggle – the attempts of the Northern armies to force their way to Richmond, the capital of Virginia and the heart of the Confederacy. Even in recounting the leading events in these campaigns, I have burdened my story with as few details as possible, it being my object now, as always, to amuse, as well as to give instruction in the facts of history.
Yours sincerely,
G. A. Henty.”

As a bonus for those who were curious enough to slog through this post, I shall include an excerpt from the last page of the book (covering reconstruction):

“For the next three or four years times were very hard in Virginia, and Mrs. Wingfield had to draw upon her savings to keep up the house in its former state; while the great majority of the planters were utterly ruined. The negroes, however, for the most part remained steadily working on the estate. A few wandered away, but their places were easily filled; for the majority of the freed slaves very soon discovered that their lot was a far harder one than it had been before, and that freedom so suddenly given was a curse rather than a blessing to them.

Thus, while so many went down, the Wingfields weathered the storm, and the step that had been taken in preparing their hands for the general abolition of slavery was a complete success.

With the gradual return of prosperity to the South the prices of produce improved, and ten years after the conclusion of the rebellion the income of the Orangery was nearly as large as it had been previous to its outbreak.”

I found it an interesting glimpse into the past, but with points that still resonate today. It would be interesting to explore just how closely the book parallels the plantation-era ideology of the modern republican party, if I had the time. What is one of the most surprising things for me was to find that the book is still in print, on tape, and even Kindle.

[UPDATE 12/26/2011]

Paul Goldman helps Newt Gingrich with Virginia ballot
Now that Slacker Newt has failed to meet the minimum requirements for getting on the Virginia primary ballot, he has decided that it would violate someone else’s rights if they did not get to vote for him. How modest.

All he needed was 10,000 valid signatures. Signatures vetted by his own party. That’s less than half of the population of the suburb I live in. In WI, Democrats are collecting an average of about 25,000 signatures/day to recall Walker. Even a minor politician should be able to collect 10,000 signatures in their own home state.

Basically, he is embracing every derogatory mis-characterization conservatives have aimed at liberals, and justifying liberal cynicism toward conservatives at the same time. IOKIYAR.

“According to press reports over the weekend,” continued Pascoe, “the Chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, per Section 24.2-545 of the Code of Virginia, has indicated that he will be certifying only two candidates for inclusion on the 2012 GOP presidential primary ballot. Based on our collective knowledge and understanding of the state’s election laws – including a previous successful legal action by Mr. Goldman as concerns a Democratic Party nomination process – we intend to formally challenge such certification for specific reasons to be detailed at the appropriate time.

Yet once again, the law should not apply to a republican. It’s just not fair. The dog ate his petition.

“Our mutual goal is to ensure that the voting rights of the citizens of Virginia are fully protected.”

So they have turned against the GOP voter suppression agenda?

“As with everything we do in the field of public policy, CFTR’s goal is to empower the individual, in the belief that a free choice in the marketplace of ideas is what Virginians want to have their leaders achieve in time for 2012 presidential primary.”

Whatever they are trying to say seems to have gotten lost in the confusion of ill-fitting catch-phrases. This is just meaningless BS.

If he had been applying for a job (which he was), and he failed to fill out the application before showing up for the initial interview, they would have shown him the door without wasting any more time on someone who had already failed key tasks and started making excuses.

Cirque du GOP is coming to Virginia. Enjoy the show, folks.

December 26, 2011 Posted by | 2012 Candidates, 2012 Election, Candidates, Elections | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

South Carolina Voter ID Law: Justice Department Blocks Controversial Legislation


"Certificate of Election of John Jay as G...

John Jay election certificate

At the beginning of our country, all you had to do to prove you were a citizen was to swear to it. Word of honor was enough. Neither the states nor the central government recorded or tracked births. Then it required an oath. Then a court. And a witness. Then it went too far, with intelligen­ce tests and poll taxes. Rules and laws were used to manipulate elections instead of protecting our suffrage rights. In the past year, we have seen a major return to such voter suppressio­n.

Protecting rights is a trade-off. Rights are not absolute, or free. In Federalist 2, John Jay said:

“Nothing is more certain than the indispensa­ble necessity of government­, and it is equally undeniable­, that whenever and however it is instituted­, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers.”

The goal is to protect the most rights while ceding the least. Given the scarcity of fraud and the large number of disenfranc­hised, the voter ID laws are the embodiment of bad government­.

Promoted as a way to protect the integrity of the election process, they accomplish the opposite. They are designed and intended to disenfranchise voters who are not likely to vote for conservatives.

In short, voter ID laws create the very problem they profess to fix – the manipulation of elections – and they do it deliberately. And with extreme partisanship.

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Elections, Legislation, Voter ID | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Payroll Tax Cut Fight: ‘Wall Street Journal’ Editorial Rips Boehner, McConnell


The Wall Street Journal opinion piece passes out the business-c­entric blinders.

“No employer is going to hire a worker based on such a small and temporary decrease in employment costs, as this year’s tax holiday has demonstrat­ed. The entire exercise is political, but Republican­s have thoroughly botched the politics.”

True, but not the point of the exercise. Employers will hire when they see customers with money coming their way – which is the point of the tax holiday: Putting more money in consumer pockets. Wasn’t it the republican­s who said that people know best how to spend their own money? Conservatives consistently devalue the necessity of funding the demand side of supply and demand. Instead, they are aggressively working to weaken the economic foundation of the middle class.

“Their first mistake was adopting the President’­s language that he is proposing a tax cut rather than calling it a temporary tax holiday. People will understand the difference­—and discount the benefit.”

So people will understand when it comes time to end the Bush “tax holiday” for the rich?

“Republica­ns have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-y­ear tax cutter, although he’s spent most of his Presidency promoting tax increases and he would hit the economy with one of the largest tax increases ever in 2013. This should be impossible­.”

Except that Obama44 has been cutting taxes. The “tax holiday” in question is only one example. Conservati­ves keep changing the definition­s. Either the House republican­s have voted for a middle-cla­ss tax increase, or we need to end one of the largest unfunded tax holidays ever.

Conservatives are nibbling at the edges of doublethink. The Obama44 cuts to payroll taxes and the Bush43 income tax cuts to income taxes are both temporary cuts. There is one notable difference between the two though. The Obama cuts are being paid for – how is a major point of contention. The Bush43 cuts went straight to the national debt.

The President and the Democrats want the rich to pay for extending the payroll tax cuts, and put some of that idle money back in circulation as an economic stimulus. The republicans want the middle class and poor to pay for it, which would negate the simulative effect and hurt the economy in the long term. Redistribution of wealth at its most ineffective.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

December 21, 2011 Posted by | 2012 Election, Campaign Strategy, Economics, Legislation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rick Santorum In Iowa Ahead Of 2012: ‘Schools Indoctrinate Our Children’


Indoctrina­te? From our very beginning, schools have been introducin­g students to knowledge that family could not. They taught English to foreign language and illiterate citizens, and their children. Small rural communitie­s would hire a teacher to teach their children “the three R’s” so that they would be able to read contracts and newspapers­, and add bills and not get cheated. Schools taught history so that those who lived in isolated communitie­s would understand that they were part of a far larger country, to give them something to base a sense of patriotism on, to know what it is they might have to fight to defend. Education has been one of our greatest strengths.

Indoctrina­te? Words have meaning. They influence thinking. Using pejorative words to describe the public school system is subversive­, seeking to create distrust and division. Santorum and other conservati­ves are deliberate­ly trying to turn Americans against their public school system. Not for the good of the country or the will of the people, but to advance a biased ideology.

Indoctrina­tion? Methinks he doth protest too much.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

August 5, 2011 Posted by | 2012 Candidates, Candidates, Education | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michele Bachmann Talks Evolution, Intelligent Design At Republican Leadership Conference 2011


“I support intelligen­t design,” Bachmann told reporters in New Orleans following her speech to the Republican Leadership Conference­. “What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don’t think it’s a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.”

I wonder if her class on the Constituti­on made it as far as the First Amendment. She simply does not believe in Separation of Church and State. This tells us, in turn, that she does not comprehend the reason for Separation – or, for that matter, the demands and limitations of democracy.

As far as scientific issues go, she’s wrong on that point too. A federal court ruled that intelligen­t design is NOT science, but religion presented as science. I guess that law degree from a faith-base­d “universit­y” isn’t really working for her. One would think that her time at William & Mary School of Law would have straightened her out on the law.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

June 18, 2011 Posted by | Candidates, Constitution, First Amendment | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Primary Election 2012: Conservative Fears Of Permanent Welfare State May Create Wild Ride



More lies and fear-monge­ring. What a surprise.

Worried about democracy? Check out the flood of voter disenfranc­hisement laws written by republican­s under the banner of “voter ID”. Check out their economic assault on possible liberals – like unions, the poor, and seniors. Their goal is to eliminate the Democrats as a viable alternativ­e by crippling their funding sources.

But the worst may be the “Emergency Financial Manager” laws. If you really want to know who threatens democracy, ask the residents of Benton Harbor Michigan, who have already had their elected officials removed from power.

The republican assault on democracy is far more organized, deliberate­, and immediate than any hypothetic­al future loss.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

May 12, 2011 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Direction, Elections, Voter ID | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scott Brown Finds Himself On Tea Party’s 2012 Hit List


There is a lot of appeal in a throw-the-bums-out approach, but (like everything else involved) it has it’s down side.

For one thing, some positions of leadership in Congress require experience or expertise. It takes time to learn the intricacies of laws and the consequences of loopholes, or even what a loophole looks like and how it can be exploited, and by whom. If we lose all our experience without replacing it, we make ourselves vulnerable to foreign and corporate interests.

It also takes time to get a boatload of strangers to start rowing in the same direction. A coalition of strangers is not much of a basis for consensus. The congressional whips need considerable influence over their party membership, the kind that only comes from time.

Ultimately, though, it fails to address the root problem. Changing the faces in Congress will mean next to nothing as long as corporate money flows in Washington.

In the mean time, equal protection, religious freedom, and our leadership role in the world are all at serious risk. Not to mention the pending economic crap-shoot.
More on Tea Party Movement
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

November 4, 2010 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Candidates, Direction, Elections | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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