Posts Tagged 'Taxes'

Napalm in the morning…

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

That was Robert Duvall’s famous line from Apocalypse Now.  We laughed nervously at Lt. Colonel Kilgore’s morbid craziness while we also stared at the wild, crazy eyes of Marlon Brando, playing Colonel Kurtz, a berserk officer living in a cave, who had gone over the deep end in the same movie.

I was somehow reminded of that movie as I watched and listened to John Boehner this morning as he tried to explain why he couldn’t successfully arm wrestle enough members of his own party into voting for his Plan B.  A plan devised by folks who apparently had skipped arithmetic in first grade.  A plan that offered to microscopically increase taxes on folks making over a million dollars while, maybe inadvertently, also raise taxes on a few million poor folks.  Such a deal.

Eric Cantor, majority leader and Boehner’s Sancho Panza, stood next to the Speaker and, when his turn in the barrel came, told us how the Republicans had fought hard to maintain fiscal sanity while the Democrats simply didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation.  Then he quickly stepped aside, exited stage left, and went home for the holidays.

Speaker Boehner, looking like he needed some emergency time in the tanning booth, then took questions from the press.  “Mr. Speaker, now that you weren’t able to corral enough of your own party to pass your own Plan B, and since all of your members are headed for the airport, what are you going to do next to keep us from going off the fiscal cliff?”

Rising majestically to his full political height, a smile appeared on his face not unlike that of a kid who has no way out other than to tell the truth, and said “God only knows.”  For the first time ever, I actually almost believed him.

The Speaker knows the solution but can’t bring himself to say it.  To say it means that he will have failed to satisfy the Colonel Kilgores and Colonel Kurtzes of the Republican party.  The crazies who have hijacked the party and are holding it hostage until he and we agree to their every demand.  Holding a gun to their own heads like Cleavon Little did in Blazing Saddles.  The crazies who, like the NRA’s gun-toting national icon Charlton Heston, will never let a tax hike be pried from their cold, dead hands.

The same crazies worship Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, who earlier had promised to provide constructive suggestions that would stem the mass killings of first graders.  In satisfaction of that pledge he offered these remarks at today’s NRA news conference…

America has left its school children utterly defenseless.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Put an armed police officer in every school.

Laws that declare school zones as “Gun Free” actually entice killers to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.

He criticized Congress for not having established a national data base of the mentally ill (he did not, however, offer to be first on its list.)

How does one deal with crazies?  First, you convince the vast majority of our citizens that the crazies are indeed crazy.  We’ve already done that, in spades.

Second, you refuse to deal with the crazies on their terms.  We’re doing that.

Third, you replace the crazies.  We’ve done some of that but another opportunity will come up in 2014.

Yes, the fiscal cliff is ten days away.  As the venerable George W. Bush once said “bring ’em on.”  If we do that, here’s what will happen.

Sane folks, including a bunch of Republicans, will realize that the sake of the country is more important than Grover Norquist, The Tea Party, and Wayne LaPierre.  They will band together with enough votes to pass legislation that will lead to fiscal sanity and put a severe dent in mass murders.

Until then, get used to the smell of napalm in the morning.

Robert Duvall

Tea parties on the Fourth

The world’s greatest newspaper, the Ventura Star, in it’s quest to provide a balanced point of view, has outdone itself by publishing just about anything.  Including letters from unhappy folks who seek a platform to misinform.

Carla Bonney claims to be part of  a “diverse, nonpartisan group of people, who share a common commitment to work as hard as we can to stop our government from running wild over our rights and freedoms.”

Carla is the organizer of one of many Tea Party protests scheduled for the Fourth.  She and others are opposed to the continuation of the tax and spend policies that have brought us to the brink of insolvency and moral ruination.  Evidence of her glowing patriotism and her supporters can be found at her website Patriot Revival.

Included in Carla’s list of objections are socialized medicine, deficits, and the administration running roughshod over the Constitution.  Good thing socialized medicine was in the list or I would have thought she was talking about her favorite past president.  Ooops.  Excuse me.  She’s non-partisan.

Tea parties are nice.  I wonder what kept Carla from having one during the previous administration.  Politics?  Perish the thought.  Where was she when we became unwanted guests fighting the wrong battles?  Where was Carla when accumulated surpluses were replaced with misbegotten deficits that benefited no one except the merchants of war?  Where was she when personal privacy was trampled?  Where was Carla when the rich got richer and the poor got poorer?

The Republican party is in deep doo-doo.  Maybe changing its name to the Tea Party is one way of recovering.  But, after eight years of unrivaled disaster, I think you’ll need something more than a new name to hide behind.

Yes, Carla.  You’re right.  We are spending money, lots of it.  Maybe too much.  But what’s your solution when the economy is in the shitter and the once safe middle class is out of work.  What’s your solution when your neighbor loses his home,  his kids depend on food stamps and no one’s hiring?  Do nothing?  We tried that for eight years and all we got was dead people, lots of them.

Yes, Carla, there is someone who is doing something.  But he won’t be marching with you in this Fourth’s Tea Party Parade.  No, he’ll be busy trying to fix the economic and global mess that your heroes left us.  And he may even be trying to deal with the disaster that’s befallen California as a result of your minority holding the majority hostage.

He’ll be shooting off fireworks on the White House lawn and thinking about those less fortunate than you and me.  Thinking that world domination isn’t such a hot thing while global warming, stem cell research, market regulation, health care, women’s rights, and jobs are.

 But you go ahead and march, Carla.  There’ll be plenty of room.

fourth of july

No representation without taxation

No, the title of this article is correct.

We had our monthly Ojai Valley Library Friends and Foundation meeting last night.  I’ve been the treasurer since the end of the ice age.  Lots of good folks on the OVLFF board.  We don’t always agree but we seem to get things done.

The Foundation has been blessed of late with more income than expense.  Funds provided by the community let us support the three branches in the Ojai Valley by providing equipment, building improvements, and programs that augment what the County spends.

The Wright Library is located in Ventura and is not in our sphere of influence.  Hard times have hit Wright as County tax revenues have fallen.  Cuts have been made.  Wright has been targeted for closure even though it is an active, busy place.  As with any change, those most affected by it have risen to Wright’s defense.  The Friends Foundation in Ventura that supports Wright has taken on a herculean task to keep the doors open.  The community is up in arms, money raised, ballot propositions written, sales tax increases contemplated, and commitments extracted from elected representatives.

Ray Bradbury even rolled in, headlined a fund raiser, and the NY Times wrote about the library’s plight.  Nevertheless, Wright may be wrong.  It may all be to no avail.

At last night’s OVLFF meeting, one of our board members who’s done much for the Ojai libraries, has a good heart and a strong community commitment, offered a suggestion.  “Since OVLFF has some bucks, maybe we could donate a few of them to Wright’s cause.”  A reasonable idea.

Now I’m no book-burner.  And I obviously have a soft spot for libraries.  But I think the idea of writing a check to keep the library open deserves closer examination.  Let’s put aside the issue of “what do we do next year after we save Wright this year.”   Instead, let’s focus on who’s responsible for keeping libraries open.

Is it a small group of committed individuals who dig into their pockets every year and subsidize staff, books, lights and heat?  While the rest of us sneak in, borrow books, use computers, ask the librarian questions, attend community meetings, provide supplemental schooling to our kids…and then bad mouth the tax collector.  Better keep those committed individuals healthy and happy…and pay heed to their values and politics, good or bad.

Or is it the community at large that’s responsible?  Doesn’t the entire community benefit from the library?  Even if half of them never set foot in it?  I have a confession.  I never borrowed a book from the Ojai Library until last year.  Shame on me.  Would I care if the library shut its doors?  Do I want to dumb down kids and adults only to have them be a bigger problem than they are now?  Perish the thought.

Would I have a fund raiser for Sheriff Bob’s police department if the money ran out?  Would Sweetie bake cookies for it?  No.  I’d camp out in Sacramento or the Ventura Government Center until they paid attention.  I’d oust my elected representative.  I’d vote.  I’d pay taxes.

Quiet, you say.  They’ll hear you.  They’ll raise our taxes.  The scoundrels that we put in office.  The ones who are supposed to make our community better.  The nerve.

And that’s why I don’t want to give money to the Wright Library.  And that’s why I don’t want to subsidize the basic services of schools through auctions, tea parties and private solicitations.  I want the Government to do its job.  I want there to be such an uproar in the community that we will actually force our elected representatives to raise our taxes.  To pay for things that benefit the entire community,  just like my folks did.

Sure, my dad complained about taxes.  And so do I.  It’s the American way.  But so is responsibility.





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