a quivering, helpless robot! HA-ha!
A local business leader: “We’re concerned about including a living wage into the policy, as we believe that could have a chilling effect on certain companies.” Really? Too bad.
Home to George and Laura Bush, Mark Cuban, Oil magnate T. Boone Pickens, Ross Perot, and Gov. Rick Perry, Texas cuts deals to lure businesses. But to help balance its budget last year, Texas cut public education spending by $5.4 billion — it already ranks 11th from the bottom in the U.S. in per-pupil financing- while billion -dollar firms like Dow Chemical and Texas Instruments continue to enjoy hefty discounts on their school tax bills through one of the state’s economic development programs. Funny how that works, isn’t it? I think it’s called “one hand washing the other.” Or maybe we can call it “one palm greasing the other.”
Mr. Perry, a longtime proponent of lowering taxes, said that companies could put the money to better use than the government and would spend it in ways that would create jobs and help Texans. “Facebook, eBay, Apple — all of those within the last two years have announced major expansions in Texas,” Mr. Perry said.
“They’re coming because it is given, it is covenant, in these boardrooms across America, that our tax structure, regulatory climate and legal environment are very positive to those businesses,” Gov. Perry said, acknowledging that the state’s job growth was not erasing persistent poverty, “we are going to have people that fall through the cracks” but that, “Texans “don’t want government assistance when they can do it themselves.” Apparently the Republican view is that the middle class can support multi-billion dollar wars and corporate giveaways, while those less fortunate (yet who are so financially savvy) can live on less than $11 per hour. Seems to me those are the very people who should be running our governments, since they are obviously financial wizards if they can maintain a household and raise children on $11 per hour!
But state government in Texas in many instances is relying on businesses and consultants for suggestions on what incentives to grant and which companies should receive them, as well as on other factors that directly affect public spending and budgets. Gov. Perry also said, “I would never agree to not be
competitive.” While it’s good business to be competitive, this nation is not supposed to be “all about business” but “all about” freedom. You know, that boring stuff about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness they made you study in school. YAWN! Who needs all that? Just start up a business, make the right friends, and you can become a billionaire like Michael Dell, $17.2 billion (Dell), Alice Walton, $16.1 billion (Wal-Mart), and Ross Perot, $4.4 billion (computer services, real estate), or even President of the United States (G.H.W. Bush, & son).
In Travis County, which includes the state capital, Austin, commissioners recently passed new rules for companies that receive tax abatements. One requires paying employees $11 an hour, an amount the county considers to be a living wage (maybe in Texas), but the rules have been contested by the business community.
“The more stipulations you put into an agreement, the more complicated it becomes and the less competitive we become,” Gary Farmer, a local business leader who runs an insurance company, told the county commissioners at a hearing. “We’re concerned about including a living wage into the policy, as we
believe that could have a chilling effect on certain companies.” Really?
The state has also embraced a popular program that establishes enterprise zones where companies can receive refunds on some taxes they pay in exchange for moving there. The exemption has added up to big money for retailers like Walmart. Not coincidentally, the company has opened stores in similar enterprise zones across the country. Nothing like that ‘home field advantage,’ eh?
Nationwide, a whole industry of consultants has grown up around state efforts to lure companies with incentives. Companies like Ernst & Young, Deloitte and Automatic Data Processing, a payroll company, have divisions dedicated to helping companies search for the best deals.
Wow. Maybe that’s what the middle class American taxpayer needs- a division dedicated to helping a citizen search for the best deal- on politicians WE can afford to buy!
(excerpts from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/03/us/winners-and-losers-in-texas.html?src=me&ref=general) my adds are italicized.
These days it is critical to maintain surveillance of your online reputation. It’s almost funny that for the past 50 or so years, reputation has suffered as a means test for judging whether you wanted to do business with someone, as the growth in population has created a sort of ‘anonymity blanket’ for the vast majority of citizens. There was a time when a person could travel the country, stopping here or there to be a dishwasher, short-order cook, cattle driver, farm hand, house painter, long enough to earn enough to get food, a place to sleep, until you were ready to move on. That freedom to ‘live on the road’ has completely disappeared, alongside the relative anonymity with which a person could live. Growing crime, increased government requirements to register this or that aspect of one’s life, even technologies making it easier to produce traceable identification have become the norm. In this ‘Information Age’ we are living through a new renaissance of personal reputation, and so there truly is a greater focus on who and what you are as a person, much like there was before, Indeed, with the advent of the threats to personal freedom resulting from the (so-called) Patriot Act, it is now virtually impossible to go anywhere or do anything unless one has continuous access to large amounts of cash. Even then, there are so many things one cannot do anymore without I.D. that is is painfully obvious our society has morphed into a ‘Brave New World’ of the sort Mr. Huxley warned us about. We truly are living under a microscope, and you can bet your bottom dollar that some government agent in some cubicle somewhere knows a lot more about you than you would be comfortable with. It is, therefore, imperative to take full control of what information on you gets into the public fora, and remember that whatever you do in public very possibly might end up coming back to haunt you. In some ways and for many more reasons than can be described herein, our reputation is now more important than ever. Unless, of course, you are filthy rich, in which case you can use publicists to manipulate the media to your advantage.
I think that our founders did not want fictional entities (i.e. ‘corporations’) to have rights or powers which supersede those of natural born or even naturalized U.S. citizens. Nor do I think that those who purport to lead our nation (Congress, Senate) have any right to expect to make not only their entire living at this privileged post, but to profit egregiously at the expense of the rights, privileges and immunities of the very constituency they purport to represent. It is unmitigated gall to believe and promote the former and to then go further and refuse to curb such a hunger which knows no satiety by voting against term limits; it just makes the blood boil. The lobbyists, the campaign contributions running into the millions of dollars, the lack of term limits, the hypocritical naked self-interest of our leadership, all of these issues must be honestly and openly addressed. It seems that the only method for doing this is for the public to be aroused to the point of mass demonstration in the streets, such that no force can move them until their demands are met. The public must insist upon a major overhaul of our electoral system, including the elimination of separate and unequal health care benefits for Congress and Senate members, as though they were somehow more deserving than the lowliest, poorest American. BALDERDASH! The voting for themselves raises as if they are somehow qualified for immunity from the vagaries of life’s misfortunes, unlike those whose interests they claim to have uppermost in their minds, the hardest-working people on Earth. Horse manure! All Congress and Senate members should hereinafter receive no more than twice the salary of the average American laborer. Their expenses should be put to a means test, and those with means should, by law, be required to pay for their own campaigns with no help from any quarter. Those without means should be required to submit a budget and to have that budget approved by public consent, before being certified to even run in any election. Our system is not about fairness of opportunity anymore, nor is it about justice for all, or any notion of freedom from tyranny that I am familiar with. Our economic system permits those with the greatest means to crush the dreams, nay, the very lives of those with lesser means. Witness the savings and loan scandals, and the ensuing bailout. The latest mortgage scandal, and the resultant bailout of the guilty players, and the inevitable fallout which today still poisons nearly every member of our society. If we are to remain a nation of free men, we must be vigilant, and our leaders must be forced to adhere to a standard long abandoned, one which was apparent in our Founder’s true intent when they drafted the famous documents which formed our system of checks and balances. I am speaking here of honor, and duty, things which are so far forgotten in our leaderships’ pursuit of wealth, power and advantage that it would seem we are fast becoming a nation of aristocrats and serfs. If we are to remain the home of the brave, we must face our adversary, which is unregulated Greed, which, coupled with Parsimony, would see every man, woman and child enslaved to a monetary system which rewards the shyster, the thief, and the liar. Our nation’s economic engine is one whose future is at best, uncertain. No, not for the billionaire profiteers whose stolen wealth now threatens to uproot all the social progress our parents and grandparents fought so hard for, were beaten, hosed, and sent to jail for, what they died for. Desegregation. Women’s Equality. Strong union organizations. Our nation has all the requisite means at its disposal to make the changes necessary to ensure that no American is left behind when in pursuit of their own American Dream. But without change from within, without an organized populace willing to forgo their daily responsibilities and leave their homes and families and march on their capitol, to demand what is rightfully theirs, without this commitment to be vigilant, to be the change we want to see, our hope for change will founder, the economic engine will stall, and our once mighty nation will be picked apart by foreign vultures like the dying creature who thirsts for what it needs in the desert of need, but finds no oasis. We are the most ingenious, hardworking and determined people when faced with a challenge, yet politically our will can be likened unto a placid pool of gel, moved only to vibrate, not agitate, and that only when major upheavals arise. Alas, we lay prostrate, a victim of our own successes and excesses, our naive faith that somehow all of our ills and woes shall be endured and somehow things will turn out well, because our system is the best in the world. But that just won’t do it, I’m afraid. One must wonder whether this experiment in democratic self-rule is doomed to ultimately fail. I know we can change for the better. I know America can once again be admired for it’s honesty, fairness, and for providing hope for all who dream and are willing to fight for those dreams. I want to believe.
I ran across the following post quite by happy accident, and so out of courtesy and manners and all such signs of civilized behavior only a link to the post is attached below. However, I promise that if you read my comment, you will understand me better, perhaps, than you do now. That, my friendly readers, is entirely the point of this blog. Among other things.
Why the general public doesn’t get this is obvious from what is wrong with our country. After all, 455 people run this nation, 9 of which we have no say on, power over, or alternative for; they be called SCOTUS (Supreme Court of The United States for those of you not into acronyms). POTUS (President of the United States) appoints them, so who we elect to the highest office has the highest potential for doing us good, or failing that, doing us no good (or even doing us harm, i.e. becoming a ‘war criminal’).However there is more to the story than this. John Adams, the second POTUS, gave us sage advice when he said:
“We electors have an important constitutional power placed in our hands: we have a check upon two branches of the legislature, as each branch has upon the other two; the power I mean of electing at stated periods, one branch, which branch has the power of electing another. It becomes necessary to every subject then, to be in some degree a statesman: and to examine and judge for himself of the tendencies of political principles and measures.”
This is CRITICAL. Understanding the POWER is the first step towards making our votes COUNT FOR SOMETHING. The next thing we must do is to EDUCATE ourselves. Founding Father Sam Adams also had something to say on this critically important matter:
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual—or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country. “
The major point of the post which I have linked to is this: We, the People, have the Power to vote. But Power used un-intelligently, as witnessed by the previous (Bush/Cheney) administration’s actions in large part, can lead to disastrous consequences, as we are now faced with in our military campaigns, the campaign of the Right against unions, women’s rights, etc., etc., etc.
We, the People, have to make more of an effort than merely voting. We must educate ourselves on the candidates ACTUAL record, not the vile, tedentious spouting of their media machines, not their mendacious promises, which all too often hold as much water as a sieve. Our civic duty to vote demands of us better than that, our moral responsibility requires that the process does not simply begin and end with the mere act of voting.
Sam Adams said it best: “Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.” who among us can state for a FACT the name of ONE PERSON who is “of unexceptionable (meaning “not open to any objection or criticism”) character”? Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont comes to mind, as does Dennis Kucinich. But the mere fact that considerable THOUGHT is required to name these public personalities is cause enough for a thorough examination of what has gone awry in our democratic republic. Taking the time to do so is not only your right, is it your sacred duty as an American.
Follow the link: http://uppitywomenrus.blogspot.com/2011/05/babies-bathwater-and-long-trip-down.html read the post, read my response comment if you like, and don’t be afraid to post your comments. I welcome them, from any point of view. After all, if we cannot learn from one another, what ARE we doing here anyway?
The Raging Scotsman
I recently was made aware of this putrid, partisanal prize via my wife, Stephanie. I immediately took her up on her suggestion to contact my Senator. Time is of the essence. Below is a copy/paste of precisely what I wrote to the good Senator. It felt good to do the right thing, and it felt even better to put my heart-scratch that- my brain into it. I had to include a lot in a little space, so I could not take the chance that the idea that the Republican Right seems to have appropriated the definition of “our posterity,” by attempting to include a woman’s right to choose whether to abort her fetus for any reason as a subject they have any right whatsoever to speak to.
1st of all, I worked the E.R.A. campaign (in the late 70’s-early 80’s), and went door-to-door in my slummy neighborhood to get signatures on the petition. From that and other experiences it seems to me that, although often the poorest among us seem a bit timid when it comes to asserting their rights, back then, women universally did not seem to have any problem whatsoever making it clear that if they were sexually violated, not only would there be consequences, but that they alone had the power to make the decision about whether to keep the product of that violent act, or whether to put it aside. They knew THEN that it was their choice. What gives this predominantly WHITE, WEALTHY MALES any traction whatsoever to speak to ANY woman’s decision on this particular subject matter? And why now? (because it serves their nefarious purposes). Further infuriating me, what gives ANYONE the right to tell a woman who has been raped, molested or worse how to deal with it? Had I my way about it, I would permit women to mete out such punishment as they see fit. This could run the gamut, from “hang ‘em by their b*lls” to “shoot them where it counts.” I really don’t have any right to speak to justice, now do I, since I am a mere MAN. But I tell you one thing I am quite sure of, as a MAN. No man in their right mind would EVER commit violence against a woman again once women were given the right to punish their attackers. At least not without giving it some deadly serious thought beforehand. Which is where things should be anyway. But people do violence to others, often because it was done to them, and so it is our system of ‘justice’ that is flawed.
Sleazy attempts to change the law to suit the proponents without consideration for the parties affected is just plain bad legislating. Period. I am really, truly, sick and tired of the abuse our sisters suffer at the hands of our gender. Yet there are so many who treat them with reverence, respect, and honor them, that those of us who love them (at the very least) must take a stand. Here is mine:
I am writing to ask you to DECLINE SUPPORT for this bill, and to vote AGAINST IT. It is partisan legislation of the worst kind, attempting to cut ‘a backroom deal’ by proposing a sweeping broadside against many parties, through the mechanism of penalizing a woman’s Constitutionally-protected right to choose whether to end a pregnancy. It is a deceitful and fallacious argument to posit that “our posterity” as a protected right in our Constitution has it’s interpretative nexus in the unborn. When a woman is impregnated in the context of a loving relationship, it is a choice. When a woman is forced into sex against her will, it is NOT her choice. According to the AMA, sexual assault continues to represent the most rapidly growing violent crime in America, claiming a victim every 45 seconds. This cannot be tolerated, and silencing the victims is what the Nazis’ did. We can, we must, be better than that.
The standard response you are likely to get with this question is, ‘Yes, that’s what I always thought,” or words to that effect. Yet an article I recently read at The BLT: Blog of legal Times seems to indicate that, in the federal court system at least, there is growing concern among jurists, defense attorneys, and even among some prosecutors that, as regards the standards for discovery, the bar needs to be raised a bit. Recent cases seem to indicate that there is a growing trend among federal prosecutors to, for lack of a PC term, let’s just say “forget” to include evidence that is crucial to the process they are, in effect, in a leadership position on. The prosecutors lead, the defense follows, and the court listens. But lately, what the courts have been hearing is defense claims that prosecutors are not being as forthcoming, straightforward, and honest as befits their powerful positions. This is a serious matter, and one of the more interesting finds is that te Justice Department is moving to re-order their house while at the same time objecting to any proposed changes in the Rules of Civil Procedure. As politically-motivated as this might seem, it may be the best path, at least initially. But jurists are likely to keep a keen eye peeled on the future performance of U.S. Attorneys to determine whether the efforts over at Justice are having any real and lasting effect.
a quivering, helpless robot! HA-ha!
Sorry not neccesary! You are kind to respond, and for that i remain grateful. : )
It is cool that you re-posted it; my partner caught on to it and when I heard her having so much fun with it, she invited me over to see what it was. I’m hooked! I play music, so this is my new fave toy. Thank you!