Letters to the Editor

Ballot power

October 19, 2011


To the editor:

You can observe the disintegration of a nation to a third class country when:

• it drops its poor in the dump and ceases to care for their interests;

• industry deserts that country and moves its plants to other places in the world;

• its healthy labor unions disappear;

• the poor and disenfranchised resort to crime and drugs to survive; àla “Les Miserables;”

• underground groups begin an internal war of attrition.

Absurd, you say? The decisions of all our leadership, industry and super-wealthy are leading the United States down that path — when a sector of our voters say that the poor are worthless drags on our society; when they say they would rather have persons die than pay for their health care; when we have millions of the middle class slowly sinking into poverty; when the Kochs et al. can come through with so much money common citizens of intelligence and political savvy of our world cannot give their gifts to our nation. When we all passively sit back and do nothing, all the above is a distinct possibility.

How do we respond? The ballot box and peaceful demonstration are the only powers we have. Both require fervent grassroots efforts.


ksrush 6 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Mike Gerhardt 6 years, 1 month ago

Actually sir, I tend to agree with your analysis of this letter. The writer fails to mention that these same labor unions are as responsible for outsourcing jobs as anyone. Why pay a guy $50 an hour to spin lugnuts on a car at a GM plant when you can pay someone else $20 to do the same job elsewhere?

Gandalf 6 years, 1 month ago

Odd, I thought repubs are always telling people to get off their butts and get a better paying job. Sounds more like you really favor minimum wage.

PS Lugnuts are put on by machine and the auto industry is heavily automated. Also I remeber reading that wages account for approximately 10% of auto costs.

Maybe all you right wingers should reread the bible. You know the part about binding the mouths of the kine that treads the grain?

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Actually, the figure was 10%, and included total union wages and benefits.

Getaroom 6 years, 1 month ago

Apparently you think the nation is in good shape? You also seem to think anyone with a job issue or having financial struggles is somehow a dead beat. Are you stuck in a hole somewhere and so bitter about your own life so much so that you cannot see the Empire is failing? Kirby was not pointing blame, he was pointing out the markers of a failing nation moving toward third world status, no matter how it began this decent. He is spot on with the list and the only people who do not need to worry about this slippery slope are the super wealthy. There are plenty of people to blame, like all of us for instance. ksrush, are you among super wealthy and if the answer is NO, you better find some compassion in your heart for others around you. But I am guessing the "rush" part of your screen name here is for Rush Limbaugh and that would account for your surly attitude regarding fellow Americans who are suffering through hard times and some of them are in that spot because of the greedy thieves on Wall Street.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 1 month ago

Retired at 60? Why? Lost your cojones for hard work? 60 is the new 50. Get with it.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 1 month ago

Anyone who quits working at age 60, unless the victim of a legitimate disability or working in a job that requires significant strenous physical exertion, is lazy.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 1 month ago

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cato_the_elder 6 years, 1 month ago

I didn't suggest removal of any of your posts.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 1 month ago

"Sensative?" Do you have a high school diploma?

verity 6 years, 1 month ago

Retiring does not mean that someone quits working.

And if he/she has worked and saved enough, why shouldn't they retire? I'm surprised that you, of all people, would be against that.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm not against retirement at all. I simply happen to believe that those who retire as early as 60 do not enjoy real work, including whatever work they had previously been doing.

parrothead8 6 years, 1 month ago

Anyone who makes blanket statements about a demographic group is lazier.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 1 month ago

Why? You fail to assert any connection in that regard.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 1 month ago

Actually, Bill Clinton and the 106th Congress had a lot to with this mess -- see the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. We Americans need to get past the Left/Right, Republicrat/Democan, Us/Them divide...this is whats hurting the country more than anything else. Both parties are bought and paid for by Wall Street and big business. Both parties have sold us out.

Phone_Man 6 years, 1 month ago

Don't forget both parties are also being bought and paid for by foreign interests as well.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 1 month ago

You apparently didn't read Crazy Larry's post immediately above. Bill Clinton signed into law the repeal of key portions of the Glass-Steagall Act that had previously drawn a line in the sand between investment banking and commercial banking.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

Blue and white collar jobs are have been exiting the USA by the millions to China and India plus are supported by a special USA congress approved tax = this sucks.

The Kochs are not in it alone. The Wal-Mart family money,The AMWAY familiy money and the Erik Prince family money are generous contributors to this destruction of USA democracy and USA wages. These thinkers not only want to destroy unions they want most everyone to work for less money which could include you.

How many want to work for less money? How many want to pay more to the high profit medical insurance industry while at the same time observing a reduction in wages?

BTW there is no hard evidence that USA goods produced abroad at slave wages is reducing our cost of living. However there is hard evidence that corp america is doing very well at increasing their wealth. Then we see:

  • obscene CEO Pay packages
  • very happy shareholders
  • obscene golden parachutes
  • busy and sweet campaign contributions

I contend our cost of living has not been reduced only our wages and employment opportunities have been reduced.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

Haven't seen that post in a while, merrill. Are you going to put it back in heavy rotation?

jayhawxrok 6 years, 1 month ago

Absolutely agree, out with the far right tin foil hat wearing liars.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

Stop it. Calling for focus at the ballot box and for protests is prudent. But the rest of this letter is tripe. Nobody's dropping the poor in the dump, industry here is still 2nd in the world having just recently being supplanted by China, there is little to nothing "healthy" about our unions any longer, crime and drugs among the poor is certainly nothing new, and it was only a couple morons in a crowd that cheered letting the uninsured die. The poor ARE drags on any society; that's not a shocking statement, just something that needs to be fixed.

You wanna know what's killing this country? Attitudes like this LTE and the constant marginalization of each other on these boards. Vilification of political beliefs and this ever growing need to demonize half the country while pretending your party is sensible but your opponents' are THE problem; that's what's sending us down the rabbit hole. And we wonder why our "leaders" are so polarizing.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 1 month ago

Obviously you didn't watch the Republican Debates last night, Jaywalker. Mr. Cain clearly stated that his program of 9 9 9 will raise taxes on the poor and middle class while it reduces taxes for the rich. Why do we have the rich vs poor all the time? Because the rich have forgotten the poor. I don't mean the lazy ones who thrive on welfare when they can work, they are a different problem. But we must take care of those who can't take care of themselves and not let them die.

This tax program he wants to use is a sham for the working class and he keeps calling it apples and oranges. If he has a 9% Federal sales tax and we have an 8% state sales tax in my book of math that equals 17%. Does it Not?

Because my parents earned less than $25,000 a year they paid no taxes on their income, but now will they pay $2250 in taxes. That is a raise of $2250 in taxes for them. plus 17% in sales taxes which means they will buy nothing at all. We had better think this through again. This is a tax for the rich, not the poor and middle class.

The only one speaking any sense last night was Ron Paul and his time on mic was so little that he was slighted, in my opinion. Bachmann is a waste of time.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

No, I didn't watch the debate last night. But I don't know how you make the leap from taxing the poor to letting them die.
I'm not a 9-9-9 expert, but from what I've seen it's certainly not a sham. Yes, the sales tax would essentially be 17%, but you have to understand that the 9% is actually a replacement tax; that is, it takes the place of embedded taxes on products and would not raise the costs of most goods and in some cases make them cheaper, particularly on higher cost items like cars.
Also, your parents would be making more than 25k under this plan since payroll taxes would be eliminated and the federal bite would be considerably less than they had taken out per check last year.
I like Paul on a lot of issues, too, but unfortunately he's been marginalized from the start. He took second in the first straw poll and the only person I heard mention his name was Jon Stewart when he made fun of how everyone was pretending the guy didn't exist. I'd like to see him get more play, but his campaign seems a dead end street.
And yes, Bachmann is and has been a waste of time, with Perry running a close second in that category.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 1 month ago

So...can anyone explain why the mainstream media ignores Ron Paul (who's obviously popular with the people) and pushes Bachmann (who's obviously crazier than a crap-house rat)? Anyone? Anyone? Ron Paul, IMHO, is the only republicrat candidate making sense...heck I could vote for the guy. But he's constantly marginalized by the MSM... Something is not right here. Ron Paul speaks out against the banks and the banking system an awful lot...he wants to stop the wars too. There's your first hints. The Banks and the Military/Judicial/Religious Industrial Congressional Complexes do not appreciate all this talk of change.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

Couldn't tell ya, Larry. But if you have the time I highly recommend finding The Daily Show where Stewart details the invisibility of Paul. It's freakin' hysterical! The man comes in second and every newscast lists the "obvious" three frontrunners - none of 'em even mention his name!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

Still trying to create some mythical middle ground you can inhabit, eh, jayhawk?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

"That's exactly what this President should be doing"

That's exactly what he's been doing for the last three years. But it takes two to tango, and the Republicans tore up their dance card upon his election. (and Obama met them more than halfway, anyway.)

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

My my, oh so analytical and thought provoking your snipes are, Mr. Wizard. All this time on the planet, but still too cowardly to return to our string and admit when you're wrong? You're a classy one, yes sir. Still waiting for you to back up your baseless claim, pal.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

Let me get this straight: you have now actually watched the video, seen firsthand what actually transpired, but in your dementia prefer to cite incorrect reports on the matter? "Yes, I've seen the actual footage, but that's not what happened!"

Yes sir, you are one class act.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

Sorry it annoys you, bozo. I find good and bad from both sides of the aisle. Not my fault you're as rational and open-minded as Hannity or Beck.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm more amused than annoyed at your endless attempts at self-aggrandizement.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes! We Americans need to get past the Left/Right, Republicrat/Democan, Us/Them divide...this is whats hurting the country more than anything else. Both parties are bought and paid for by Wall Street and big business. Both parties have sold us out.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

I saw the footage of that particular debate, obviously you haven't. But thanks for personifying my initial post.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

So you struggle with more than just reading then?

The attending crowd applauds when Paul comments that freedom means you're responsible for your own risks. No one shouted "Let them die!", one or two morons shouted "Yeah!" when Blitzer asks if we should just let them die.

Sorry, Gandalf, you're incredibly wrong. Again.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

No, what's amazing is that you'll continue the same childish behavior after being proven wrong. I reckon the reason it took you so long to respond was because you couldn't find video to back your bs up?
BTW, a 'spin job' is what is found in every title of every one of these videos; just as false as yourself but continuing to assert that which is proven false in the very video they provide.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 1 month ago

Wow, mustrun, think about entitlements. We paid into the SS system, can't we get out our money? It isn't a hand out from the government. It is our money and I want to use it when I want to.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

"The thing most of you libs do not realize, WS, is that there is not an infinite amount of money at our disposal."

So that means it should all go to the Koch Bros.?

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 1 month ago

Hello! Ever heard of the Troubled Assets Relief Program? Talk about a bailout! Gee Dub BushCo bailed out a lot of banks and big business back in 2008. Gawd forbid average citizens get the same treatment.

He told congress that Marshall Law would be declared unless Congress approve the bailout.

George W Bush bail out plan - Part 1 Sept 24, 2008 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zefH78...

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 1 month ago

If they just would have let the "too big to fail" banks go under and given average Americans that trillion dollars to spend on paying bills and taxes then the economy would've been in better shape.

Welcome to the Black Parade http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDWgsQ...

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

Nancy-boy. You and Groany should co-author this important work. I might buy a copy.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

Spirit of Christmas Present: My time with you is at an end, Ebenezer Scrooge. Will you profit from what I've shown you of the good in most men's hearts? Ebenezer: I don't know, how can I promise! Spirit of Christmas Present: If it's too hard a lesson for you to learn, then learn this lesson! [opens his robe, revealing two starving children] Ebenezer: [shocked] Spirit, are these yours? Spirit of Christmas Present: They are Man's. This boy is Ignorance, this girl is Want. Beware them both, but most of all, beware this boy! Ebenezer: But have they no refuge, no resource? Spirit of Christmas Present: [quoting Scrooge] Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? ====== At least the R's still like prisons, particularly the private kind they can let their buddies run.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

Ateist (sic) is as good as any; I prefer skeptic. The reference was more literary than religious. I was an English teach 'back in the day.' As Robert Reich notes in a recent column, taking us back the Gilded Age is not a good, nor progressive idea. Thanks for your concern, however.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

Ya got me, Bubba. Good call. It's just a hobby, not a bother. The real issue is communication, no? Spelling as we know it is a recent invention, 2-3 hundred years at the most and it never took off with most of the people. The spelling tradition won't last much longer in many circles. The internet and texting should kill it off soon. R U Ready?

Mixolydian 6 years, 1 month ago

I think most LTE and comment writers would do well to put down the thesaurus, back slowly away from the computer and get outside in the sunlight more.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

The USA did not need to move industry anywhere. It was the higher profits driving that decision not an improved quality of life for America.

BTW there is no hard evidence that USA goods produced abroad at slave wages is reducing our cost of living. However there is hard evidence that corp america is doing very well at increasing their wealth. Then we see:

  • obscene CEO Pay packages

  • very happy shareholders

  • obscene golden parachutes

  • busy and sweet campaign contributions

  • millions upon millions upon millions of lost jobs,lost retirement plans,lost medical insurance = monster negative impact on economic growth = monster increased demand for social services and unemployment insurance

  • How in the world did Americans save money considering all of the above increases taxes and other costs of living?

I contend our cost of living has not been reduced only our wages, employment opportunities and secured retirement plans have been lost.

camper 6 years, 1 month ago

So much is said about how the wealthy earned their fortune through hard work. This is true for the 1st generation who made an achievement. Therafter wealth is mostly passed on to the succeding generations and much of the income is earned passively as investment. I'm not envious, but I get tired of hearing all this stuff how the wealthy earned there way.

True that in America you can succeed thru initiative and hard work. But if you start from scratch the odds are stacked against you. In fact it's like joining a poker game with 10 chips. The wealthy guy who starts with 1,000 chips has the advantage.

In fact our economy is becoming like a poker game. You got one big dog who dominates the little guys who soon fold. Pretty soon, this big winner will run out of people to play poker with. Another analogy is the Henry Ford quote paraphrased as him wanting his workers to earn enough so that they can buy cars.

tbaker 6 years, 1 month ago

Speaking of ballot power, consider this:

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about our national debt and crazy spending:

"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election".

This is not as hard to do as people may think. The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple!

The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.

Now that we have the internet, email / 24/7 communications, imagine how fast public pressure could be built to add a new admendment to the constitution? Hows this sound?

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

  1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

  2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

  3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just like most Americans do.

  4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

  5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

  6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

  7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Some interesting ideas there.

But, I'm not sure that 3% of GDP goes far enough - that would allow for an annual deficit in the range of $100 million/yr - 10 years of that and we've increased our debt by $1 trillion.

Also, it's interesting that you quote Buffet - were you equally pleased with his comments on taxes?

tbaker 6 years, 1 month ago

No. I wasn't. I disagree with them, but that doesn't make him wrong on everything he says.

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