My Newest Hero

Now let there be no question about this. Molly Ivins is my favorite hero. What does someone require to be accorded that dubious honor? The ability to reach out to real, factual events and human feelings, and draw them together into a coherent, eloquent, meaningful, and relevant whole. And now I have another hero as well. Maureen Farrell, thank you for being another one of those who, quite simply, says what needs saying, and saying it well.

Now I remember what I like about Nader.

Something to think about with Ralph Nader – When you heard all the trash about him in this recent election, go back and think – how much did you hear other people attribuite to him, and how much did you hear him say?

If you want an idea of what he offers, take a look at his comments on a new book whose subject is what he’s most passionate about – the peril posed by the unchecked growth of corporations.

SB: Though looking back at this from 2014, I still think he’s a train wreck who had a few good ideas.

Back to the 50’s

It’s hard to fit this one in a small blurb. Ipas, an international group for the promotion of women’s health and reproductive rights, got into a tussle with WUNC radio over the use of the word “rights” in their description when the station was citing their sponsorship. Howard Zinn, one of the foremost progressive U.S. historians (whose book The Dark Ages I highly reccommend) made the argument that the nature of U.S. society was such that in the 50’s we did not need the overwhelming police presence characteristic of most oppressive countries. We wound up oppressing ourselves, and for the most part very effectively. This is a classic example of that dynamic… and it will only become more common.

A Nebulous but Insightful Proposal for Tax Reform

There is an interesting essay, almost a small manifesto, posted at Tom Paine which makes a powerful and persuasive argument – that the time of a useful income tax is over. The longer a system is in place AND the more complicated it is, over time, people will find a way to play it, or to modify it beyond all recognition. And since our current economy pretty much specializes in separating money from the lower income brackets and piping it to the upper ones, it’s disturbing to see how the income tax and government spending fit in.

I was initially against the idea of doing away with the income tax, since the alternatives I saw were very, very shady, in that they would only accelerate what is going on now, the upward flow of wealth. The author cites The Rocky Mountain Institute and Redefining Progress as examples of new and different approaches to economic theory, but the only specific alternative proposed is to somehow tax on “waste.” Truthfully, the only way I can think of how to do that would require a radical re-structuring of the way trash is handled all over the country (which ain’t a bad idea anyway), but would be vulnerable to all sorts of chicanery, or an implementation of a series of luxury taxes (which could backfire horribly and merely be used to preserve status differences).

I’m going to think about this for a while, because this idea has merit. But in the meantime, those two organizations above do have some disturbing information to share… this, for example. Brrr.