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My Fellow Villagers: (part the second) - Rubin

About My Fellow Villagers: (part the second)

Previous Entry My Fellow Villagers: (part the second) Nov. 3rd, 2008 @ 05:07 pm Next Entry
It should be known that The One, myself (your new number 2), and your new supreme federal government should not be questioned.
You may ask us what we had for dinner, how poorly the Republicans are treating us and the country, or any other suitably innocuous question.
Any wrong questions will be be punished.
For example, take a hypothetical average citizen - let's call him Joe. If The One were to show up in "Joe"'s neighborhood, perhaps while this "Joe" was playing football with his son in his front yard, and "Joe" were to ask The One an assertive question about The One's tax plan.
What are the possible repercussions for Citizen "Joe"?
Could The One use the power of government to punish "Joe"?
Perhaps, The One could call in some local operatives in the guise of perfectly legitimate union leaders to allow "Joe" the opportunity to seek new employment.

What if, instead, a professional journalist were to ask The One a biting question?
The One could first ostracize and then deny access to reporter by either canceling any opportunities for them to interview The One or by removing any unmutual journalists from The One's plane.

If neither of those tactics work, The One can point to the fact that questions clearly racist.

When it comes to The One, remember, "Questions are a burden to others... and Answers are a prison for oneself."

Your new number 2,
Joe Biden

P.S. On a related note, I'd like to announce first part of a new Sedition Act. The One likes to call it The Fairness Doctrine.
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From:jsciv
Date:November 3rd, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
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Why do so many people insist on taking my name in vain???
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From:pathia
Date:November 3rd, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
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The following things happened and continue to happen to me under the Bush presidency. McCain hasn't said a thing or proposed anything would what alleviate or prevent these from happening again.


1.) Every single year my name was purged from the voting list, I've been filing provisional for years. No matter what I do/document for them, I get purged the next year.
2.) Fired four times for my 'lifestyle' except, I never spoke of it at work, they found out by the background check.
3.) Assaulted and hospitalized twice, for the above 'lifestyle' One of the attempts involved it starting as a rape attempt
4.) Had the cops LAUGH at me because of the above incident and call me a bitchy queen and threaten me with arrest for prostitution.
5.) I am given the full works every time I fly, because my name is flagged for some reason, yet I don't even have an unpaid parking ticket on my record.
6.) Had to move over 3000miles away from my family to a state that actually would have people unbigoted enough to give me a fair shot.
7.) Denied, by as of last week, twenty five insurance companies. Some have offered plans, but the plan is so expensive it's a higher cost than just negotiating crisis/poverty prices with all my ER visits. Of course, I don't have preventive care, which would stop alot of those ER visits, but eh...whatever, I do what I can. I don't actually blame the free market, there simply IS NOT a way to insure me and make money. I'm a losing proposition. Two hundred, even one hundred years ago I likely would have been abandoned as baby, or at the very least died before 4-5ish. However since I have this thing called a 'work ethic' I refuse to work for small beans enough to get medicare/medicaid and since I can't adopt or have a partner (I suppose I could legally marry a woman, but that would be weird as far as the law goes), I don't meet poverty guidelines as a single person.
8.) Pondering a bankruptcy to clear out the above, though I am dubious on the idea at the moment as I will likely just have to file again and again until IT makes a union (Hell will freeze over before that happens)

In short, the last eight years, in particular the last five have been an utter disaster for me, a living nightmare. I had to take extreme actions due to inaction/uncaring of the government, when if I was any other sort of citizen, most likely the reaction to things would have been completely different.
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From:rubinpdf
Date:November 3rd, 2008 11:04 pm (UTC)
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So if you had undergone your change during the Clinton administration, none of that would have occurred? And of course that will all change if and when Obama is elected?

The only thing that will change under an Obama administration is that we will all be equally miserable. That is the left definition of equality (Another potential post for Wednesday will cover that subject).

Government does not have the power to make you happy - only you have that power.
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From:pathia
Date:November 3rd, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
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Clinton fought very hard to pass a ENDA that would cover me. The american people didn't want it though, you can't force a law like that, unless you use the courts.

I am not miserable. You've done this before, inserting emotions into my experiences. When did I ever say I was miserable? I am QUITE happy with myself, it's the rest of this country that causes me grief. All of my 'misery' is externally based.

I have no issues with my choices, I knew it wouldn't be an easy journey, but that doesn't suddenly stop me from getting angry at people for being bigots. I can't change someone's mind when they fire me and show me the door as soon as they find out. You can't do anything about that, there's nothing to 'fight'.

Obama has said he would sign the laws that would allow for prosecution of the incidents I experienced. Right now, if I filed for EEOC on those firings, they would be denied. It is well within the right of someone to be fired for being not-straight in the state of Virginia. Would it have happened if that law was in effect? Maybe, but then I would have actually had a chance at a lawsuit over the matter.

I am not so much angry that these things occurred, bad things always occur, we do not live in a utopia. The thing is, these things happen, people fire me, beat me, mock me, assault me with NO REPERCUSSIONS.

If this was fifty years ago, would you be telling a young black person to 'tough it up' and just deal with life after they were assaulted?
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From:rubinpdf
Date:November 4th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC)
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No one deserves to be assaulted. No one. It is also against the law, and should be prosecuted. If law enforcement officials do not enforce the laws, they deserve to prosecuted. I don't see, even if Obama creates new laws, how that would help, since the old laws are not enforced.

While I sympathize with your medical dilemmas, I do not believe that the taxpayer should be forced to pay for them.
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From:pathia
Date:November 4th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
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Then who should pay it? My medical bills amount to more than my entire life's earnings. More than my father's entire retirement savings, it approaches almost a full million if I add it all up since I was ~18ish. How am I to afford this? How could ANYONE afford that? Roughly 60% of my takehome pay goes to medical bills right now.

I'll just go roll over and die I guess. It's what they would have done centuries ago.

ANd, oh, you better believe the taxpayer pays for it anyway. Who do you think the hospital begs for bailout when people like me can't pay the bills? Except you have all the legal/bill/bankruptcy expenditures all tacked ontop of it as well. I think one person admitted to me that they had spend over three thousand dollars trying to get money from me.

The worst part is, my 'change' is why I am denied insurance. However, all of my medical problems spawn from things totally unrelated to that. My change costs at most about $250 a year for prescription drugs. However, since I'm 'weird' they deny me coverage for all things insurance is for, in particular random catastrophic illnesses and accidents.

Edited at 2008-11-04 01:47 am (UTC)
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From:rubinpdf
Date:November 4th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC)
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I believe there are private charities out there that help with many medical problems. St. Judes does incredible work with children suffering with cancer.

I don't know the entirety of your medical problems, but I certainly do not believe that an insurance company should reject you for coverage because of your special stasis - particularly if the expenses are unrelated. However, I can understand delaying coverage payments due to a preexisting condition. That is a standard practice.

Part of you problem may possible be caused by government. I know that insurance companies are not allowed to sell coverages that don't include certain covered items (such as pregnancy and prenatal care - even though as a single male, I do not require such coverage). Maybe there is something required by government to cover that makes you too great a liability to an insurance company.
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From:pathia
Date:November 4th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)
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I'm glad that you believe they shouldn't reject me for that reason. However, that is why they do. Here, I have a pile of these. This is why they deny me, they don't even have to hide it as a fact, because it's legal.

http://www.pathia.com/insurancerejection.jpg

That's all that came with it. No legalese, no government regulation, no apologies. Just that note. Over and over and over again. Pretty much looks the same, they all use the same text mostly.
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From:pathia
Date:November 4th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
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Putting this one separate, since they are separate issues.

They are not enforced, because they are not seem as worthwhile prosecutable crimes. When I was assaulted because I was queer, the cops as far as they were concerned legally for their purposes, is that it was a tossup in a bar.

They have more important things to do than deal with a drunk guy beating on someone for awhile, especially when in both cases I did manage to return the damage a bit. The cops saw that as a fair exchange and let it go.

Motive however, matters in a crime The cops just saw one guy beating me up, and especially once they had found out I was legally male, they really didn't care. However, if it was a racial/religious/sex crime, it would have been written down and accounted for, because the motive there is more grievous. In Virginia, the sexuality and gender identity of a person does not matter insofar as a motive.

The cops didn't care and neither does the law care that the motive was that I was queer. The law doesn't care that the guy jumped on me from behind and was screaming "DIE FAGGOT" over and over again. It doesn't care that he screamed about cutting off my genitals and stuffing them down my throat either.

Currently, it doesn't matter, none of that matters. McCain thinks this status quo is fine. I do not.
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From:rbandrews
Date:November 4th, 2008 02:49 am (UTC)
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I'm not sure where you live, but have you considered moving?

I live in Austin, and a few times now I've seen transgendered people walking around. It's not even within the top ten weirdest things I've seen in two months here. I'd be amazed if you were harassed.

Obviously it won't help with insurance, and I dunno if there would be jobs for you here (although there is a huge and open-minded tech industry), but the environment is a lot more accepting than Blacksburg.

SF, Boston, or Houston (the Montrose district especially) would also be good choices.
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From:pathia
Date:November 4th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
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I moved to the Seattle area last year. I haven't had any issues here employment wise, or assaults etc. Insurance is still a pain, but somewhat alleviated by my partner having insurance that covers some of my issues.

However, that doesn't undo all the medical bills from the last ten years. I'm just slowly pleading my poverty over and over, I'll just declare bankruptcy if it's not all eventually waived.
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From:rubinpdf
Date:November 4th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
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the cops as far as they were concerned... it was a tossup in a bar.

To me, hate crime laws reak of potential thought crime legislation. However, you make an good and interesting argument - and I think there is a worthwhile debate here. I'm sure there can be a method to ensure proper prosecution without the big brother aspects (I'm just not legally minded enough to come up with it).
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From:pathia
Date:November 4th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I won't deny it could be problematic. I think there would need to be a burden of proving intent. IE: Just because a gay person gets assaulted, doesn't mean it was a hate crime. It could a run of the mill mugging of someone who just happened to be gay.

However, whenever I hear someone saying that whether or not someone hates a particular group, it shouldn't be a factor in the trial. That seems really odd to me. I mean, isn't the trial all about WHO, WHAT, WHERE and _WHY_? It's like, intentionally removing the why part. The context is always incredibly important and relevant in a crime.
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From:rattrap
Date:November 3rd, 2008 10:51 pm (UTC)

Like This? (1 of 2)

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"Joe" were to ask The One an assertive question about The One's tax plan.
What are the possible repercussions for Citizen "Joe"?


Probably something much like this...


Published on Friday, October 6, 2006 by the Rocky Mountain News (Colorado)

Protester Prevailed, but the 'Chill' Lingers


by Bill Johnson

Here is a story that should cheer Steve Howards, the Denver-area man who's filing a federal lawsuit after his arrest last summer for criticizing Vice President Dick Cheney over the administration's handling of Iraq.

It should cheer the rest of us, too. Then, again . . .

As you may have read, Steve Howards was walking his 7-year-old boy to a piano camp at Beaver Creek on June 16 when he saw a crowd. Turned out, the vice president was shaking hands and posing for pictures.

Steve Howards walked past, not three feet away from Dick Cheney. Unable to hold his tongue, he said, "I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible." He and his boy then walked on, he said.

Ten minutes later, a Secret Service agent stopped Steve Howards and arrested him for "assaulting" Dick Cheney. He was hauled off to Eagle County Jail.

He was released later that day, however, and charges were eventually dropped.

Wow.

John Blair began laughing when I telephoned and started to tell him the story of Steve Howards.

Only last June, John Blair settled a lawsuit he brought against the Evansville, Ind., police, who'd arrested him in February 2002 for holding a protest sign outside of a political fundraiser headlined by Dick Cheney.

"Oh, I won big-time," said John Blair, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer in 1978. He refused to reveal the amount of the settlement, which remains confidential.

A self-professed rebel and gadfly, John Blair, 60, is a man who devotes most of his time now to environmental issues. He'd like to shut down the proliferating coal-fired power plants in and around Evansville, for example.

A group of college kids and other activists had called to ask if he'd join them in a protest that night in 2002. He said sure and drew up a sign reading "Dick Cheney, 19th-Century Energy Man."

He got there before the others, so he stood across the street and waited, more than 100 yards from the entrance to the fundraiser.

What he didn't know was that the Secret Service had set up a "protest zone," which was a block away. Evansville police officers immediately intercepted him.

He complied with their directive to move. As he walked away, he stopped to ask another question, something like, "Where?" He was immediately arrested.

"I'd thought we were having a conversation," John Blair said. "Obviously, we were not."

He did a night in jail for "disorderly conduct." As with Steve Howards' case, saner minds prevailed and the charge was dismissed.

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From:rattrap
Date:November 3rd, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC)

Re: Like This? (1 of 2)

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Part 2 of 2

He sued.

U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney bought none of the arguments proffered by the city, which then complained that it was only following a request by the Secret Service. The Secret Service disavowed knowing anything about it.

"They completely left the city hanging - wouldn't take a deposition. Nothing," John Blair recalled.

It is so nice, he said, having that money in the bank. But it has come at a cost.

"I refuse now to go to any protest. My motivation is gone. I get asked all the time. I refuse," he said. "I simply don't want to get arrested again."

Still, he's happy with the position he took. "The reason I settled when I did was that this decision will stand and stand forever," he said. "It is now a part of American law, an excellent representation of the rule of free speech and justice."

In Evansville, John Blair is now viewed, he said, as something of a folk hero, a man who stood up to the system, took it on and won.

"With my arrest and court victory, it has raised my level of respect here a great deal. People are even hearing and respecting my environmental position.

"A lot of people think what I did was an act of courage," John Blair said. "Exercising your rights should never be viewed as an act of courage.

"What happened to me was a very chilling thing. I consider myself a good citizen, but with everything I do now, I always have this thought that they will come and arrest me again.

"If getting arrested and taking on the government was a 'courageous' thing, why do I now feel this chill every time I step out of the house?"

Perhaps he ought to feel that way.

We Americans torture now. The president of the United States, with Congress' recent blessing, can deny anyone habeas corpus. Anyone and any group can be spied on without judicial oversight. And clearly, the people we elect to represent us can order the men and women we pay to protect us to take us to jail when we say or write on poster board things they do not like.

"I am a serious activist with a serious agenda," John Blair said. "But, no, I don't want to go to jail again."

Listen to that, really hear it.

Bill Johnson has gained most of his journalistic experience on the West Coast as a staff writer, reporter, editor and columnist. He has also been a faculty member of the University of Arizona's Editing Program for Minority Journalists within the Institute for Journalism Education. Johnson won the National Headliner Award's First Place for Columns in 1995 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for commentary in 1993.

2006 © The E.W. Scripps Co.



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From:rubinpdf
Date:November 3rd, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC)

Re: Like This? (1 of 2)

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Hmmm... sounds suspiciously like an incident that occurred with President Clinton in 1996.
Patricia Mendoza of Westchester, Illinois was unfortunate enough to be in Chicago this summer (1996) at the same time as our President, Bill Clinton. She was also unfortunate enough to express her criticism of our leader.

As you know, there was an incident not long ago in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, where an explosion, probably set off by a terrorist, killed 19 servicemen. Some feel that Bill Clinton caused or contributed to the cause of these murders. I personally disagree. It is not the President's job to micromanage security arrangements at military bases. However, there is certainly cause for disagreement over whether the U.S. should be using its military to prop up a dictatorship. I believe Clinton has only limited responsibility for continuing a policy handed down to him by President Bush, and that his continuing the policy of supporting Saudi Arabia is not the same as causing the deaths.

Regardless of what my views are, Mrs. Mendoza apparently does feel that Clinton is responsible. At an event known as the Taste of Chicago, she allegedly said to him "You suck. And those boys died."

Fifteen minutes after Clinton left, she was arrested for her comments. Her husband Glenn shouted out to her that she might need a lawyer. This intolerable use of speech caused him to be arrested as well.

As Dennis Byrne of the Chicago Sun-Times reported, this was not the only such incident. In 1993, William Kelly of Chicago was arrested for shouting to Clinton asking where was the middle class tax cut.
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From:rattrap
Date:November 4th, 2008 12:06 am (UTC)

Re: Like This? (1 of 2)

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I quoted the actual article. Can you do the same?
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From:rubinpdf
Date:November 4th, 2008 01:41 am (UTC)

Re: Like This? (1 of 2)

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I can give you at least three sources for the article I quoted (verbatim).

In addition I found this PDF from the Cato Institute (a Libertarian think tank) about how the IRS harassed the Mendoza family shortly after this incident:
The Mendoza family was both surprised and alarmed when they
received notice from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that their
home would be confiscated if $200 in back taxes were not paid,
especially in light of the fact that the family had never experienced
any previous tax problems. However, it was Patricia Mendoza who
was seen on television shouting insults at President Clinton about the
deaths of 19 soldiers in Saudi Arabia: ‘‘You stink, and those boys died’’
(Richmond Times-Dispatch 1997). Critics of the Clinton administration
are convinced, and perhaps for good reason, that the Mendoza’s
tax problems are not coincidental.
The Clinton administration has been questioned about its political
usage of the IRS. For example, James Adams (1997) reports that,
‘‘tax authorities have launched a series of audits into many large
organizations which have criticized the [Clinton] administration over
the past four years.’’ Groups targeted for audit include Citizens Against
Government Waste, the Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association,
the Freedom Alliance, and the Western Journalism Center.
Two conservative magazines, The National Review and the American
Spectator, are also under audit. On the other hand, left-leaning nonprofits
and periodicals have escaped such scrutiny (Roeser 1997).
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From:rbandrews
Date:November 4th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)

I really shouldn't bother, but...

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I have to say, I agree with what Senator Obama said in response to the "hard question".

So let's look at this from my point of view: Obama rolls up, talks to ordinary guy, small businessman who is concerned about his tax policy. Obama hears the question, answers it, explains the reasoning behind the answer (both of which I agree with).

President Bush would probably instead make sure that the ordinary guy was in a "free speech zone" ten miles away, unless he agreed with the tax policy.

How are the Democrats the worse party here, exactly?

So yeah, me and a projected three hundred forty six electoral votes' worth of Americans will be voting for Obama tomorrow, weak Patrick rhetoric notwithstanding.
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From:rubinpdf
Date:November 4th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)

Re: I really shouldn't bother, but...

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We'll talk potential Omaba legacy (if necessary) on Wednesday.
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From:rubinpdf
Date:November 4th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)

Re: I really shouldn't bother, but...

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It was not the statement Obama made. It was the attempt at destruction of the questioner after wards.
BTW - I can't believe you agree with the concept of "spreading the wealth." It is a socialist statement, bordering on Marxism.
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From:vond
Date:November 4th, 2008 02:29 am (UTC)

Re: I really shouldn't bother, but...

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A guy posts a comment with the GNU as his icon, and you can't believe he agrees with socialism to one degree or another?
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From:rbandrews
Date:November 4th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)

Re: I really shouldn't bother, but...

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I actually use that icon because he looks friendly and like he hasn't shaved in about a week, two states I find myself in most of the time.

Also because it's the icon Emacs uses on OS X.
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From:rbandrews
Date:November 4th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)

Re: I really shouldn't bother, but...

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(Rantish, but, well, you did call me a Marxist.)

"Spreading the wealth?!"

Obama's tax plan will give a huge tax credit for health care costs, so if you employ people, your taxes will be lower. It will raise the taxes back to what they were in 1999 for large-ish businesses (my employer would be one of these), a whopping three percent raise. This is not the communism your side has painted it as. It's probably a better deal for small businesses than we have now, which will promote entrepreneurship, sort of the diametric opposite of socialism. (all straight from your link)

But as long as we're on the subject of spreading the wealth... In 2005, your state got back $1.51 in federal funds for every dollar, while Texas got back $0.94. In 2004, 81% of the states that took more than they gave went for Bush, 71% of the ones that covered the difference voted for Kerry.

So as long as we're down here subsidizing you, can you at least not bitch and moan about redistribution?

And on the subject of tax raises in general, last year I paid about $2000 on a $65k salary. The year before I paid nothing at all. My roads are full of potholes and cracks, my tap water tastes like ass, and my girlfriend with her masters degree is working as a secretary because otherwise she gets no health care. Tell me what tax hike I have to eat to fix that stuff, I'll do it, gladly. I can afford it.

Edit: Removed some bits that were maybe too ranty. After reading the thread above, I got a little emotional.

Edited at 2008-11-04 02:42 am (UTC)
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From:rubinpdf
Date:November 4th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)

Re: I really shouldn't bother, but...

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but, well, you did call me a Marxist...

I meant the statement by Obama borderline was Marxist, not you. I am sorry if you believed otherwise.

Anyway, assuming an Obama win (which I'm not willing to concede until the votes are actually counted), I hope you're right. But with a recent statement from congressman Jim Moran:
...we have been guided by a republican administration who believes in this simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it...

makes me doubtful. He is saying People who earn their money should not be allowed to keep it. Government is entitled to it.

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From:rbandrews
Date:November 4th, 2008 10:46 pm (UTC)

Re: I really shouldn't bother, but...

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Shouldn't keep all of it, maybe. I can't believe you are really as dense as you sound, but taxes do have a purpose. Everyone benefits from good schools and clean water and roads. Everyone benefits from a space program too, and fire departments and hospitals. Everyone benefits from stock market regulation and a strong army and navy. None of these are things that could be done by private enterprise.

So there's got to be a tax to pay for them, because where else does the money come from? And given that there's a tax, should we tax people who have benefited the most from this, people who have millions to spare, or should we tax people under a bridge?

Trick question. We tax both. And the only fair way to do that that anyone has come up with is a proportional tax. People who make hardly anything still pay something, in sales tax if nothing else, people who make tons can dodge part of it by doing things generally good for society, like giving to charity, employing people, saving for their retirement, whatever.

It has nothing to do with wealth redistribution, it's all about building things that are good for everyone, that everyone benefits from, that nobody else can make.

And before you go off about how tax law shouldn't be used for public policy, your beloved President Bush did that as much as anyone.
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From:rubinpdf
Date:November 5th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)

Re: I really shouldn't bother, but...

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I've never claimed there should be no taxes.

As to the rest - I hope you and others are right, and that Obama will govern from the center.
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