Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Beast Walks

Bridgethought of the Day: If "The Beast" is a sign of the Day of Resurrection, look no further. For insatiable optimists like myself (I can almost feel the universal cringe), think: Could this be the Resurrection of ... conscience?? I'm referring, of course, to "The Beast", aka "Buffalo Beast."
If you think there's something wrong with politics as usual, the Bush budget, the media, the way government is being run, and the way the news is being reported, you might be surprised at how easy it is to take your breath here - this site has plenty of O2, and is shockingly lacking in sulfur ... that popular gas given off by Mass Hypocrisy.

Here you can actually find out some statistics on the Bush Budget, such as these reported in the article by Mike Taibbi:

Not only does it make many of Bush's tax cuts permanent, but it envisions a
complete repeal of the Estate Tax, which mainly affects only those who are
in the top two-tenths of the top one percent of the richest people in this
country. The proposed savings from the cuts over the next decade are about
$442 billion, or just slightly less than the amount of the annual defense
budget (minus Iraq war expenses). But what's interesting about these cuts
are how Bush plans to pay for them.

Sanders's office came up with some interesting numbers here. If the
Estate Tax were to be repealed completely, the estimated savings to just one
family -- the Walton family, the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune -- would be about
$32.7 billion dollars over the next ten years.The proposed reductions to
Medicaid over the same time frame? $28 billion.

Or how about this: if the Estate Tax goes, the heirs to the Mars candy corporation -- some of the world's evilest scumbags, incidentally, routinely ripped by human rights organizations for trafficking in child labor to work cocoa farms in places like Cote D'Ivoire -- if the estate tax goes, those assholes will receive about $11.7 billion in
tax breaks. That's more than three times the amount Bush wants to cut from the
VA budget ($3.4 billion) over the same time period.
Some other notable estimate estate tax breaks, versus corresponding cuts:

Cox family (Cox cable TV) receives $9.7 billion tax break while education would get $1.5 billion in cuts

Nordstrom family (Nordstrom dept. stores) receives $826.5 million tax break while Community Service Block Grants would be eliminated, a $630 million cut.

Ernest Gallo family (shitty wines) receives a $468.4 million cut while LIHEAP (heating oil to poor) would get a $420 million cut.

And so on and so on. Sanders additionally pointed out that the family of former Exxon/Mobil CEO Lee Raymond, who received a $400 million retirement package, would receive about $164 million in tax breaks.

Compare that to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which Bush proposes be completely eliminated, at a savings of $108 million over ten years. The program sent one bag of groceries per month to 480,000 seniors, mothers and newborn children.

Somehow, to me, that's the worst one on the list. Here you have the former CEO of a company that scored record profits even as it gouged consumers, with gas prices rising more than 70 percent since January of 2001. There is a direct correlation between the avarice of oil company executives and the increased demand for federal aid for heating oil programs like LIHEAP, and yet the federal government wants to reward these same executives for raising prices on the backs of consumers.

Even if you're a traditional, Barry Goldwater conservative, the kinds of budgets that Bush has sent to the hill not only this year but this whole century are the worst-case scenario; they increase spending generally while cutting taxes and social programming. They commit taxpayers to giant subsidies of already Croseus-rich energy corporations, pharmaceutical companies and defense manufacturers while simultaneously cutting taxes on those who most directly benefit from those subsidies. Thus you're not cutting spending -- you're just cutting spending on people who actually need the money. ...

...This is something different from traditional conservatism and something different from big-government liberalism; this is a new kind of politics that transforms the state into a huge, ever-expanding instrument for converting private savings into corporate profit. ...

That's not only bad government, it's bad capitalism. It makes legalized bribery and political connections more important factors than performance and competition in the corporate marketplace."

The Resurrection of Conscience. Read the fine print.

And while you're at it, read the articles about Barak Obama - whom I tend to support as a candidate, but the celebrity thing is worth looking at - and the best advice the Bush administration could possibly receive in one letter. It's not so much saying to someone to tell the truth, it's how you say it.

Next: when to say it, and how to actually get the people you're saying it to, to listen.

Suggestion for both: The Day of Resurrection.


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