Tuesday, November 29, 2005

How to end the war on Iraq: Tax land instead of income!

My friend Alanna just sent me an interesting idea. "America needs to stop paying INCOME tax," she said. "We need to shift our source of taxes to a land-value taxation base instead. This will generate federal income while at the same time promoting a more economical use of our land." Wow! What a great idea.

Let's say that we instigated this policy. What would happen? Major landowners in the United States would immediately start thinking twice about having to pay taxes on their property if they knew that THEIR tax money was being carelessly thrown into that bottomless pit that the Bush bureaucracy erroneously calls the war on Iraq. Plus, if America's fat cats suddenly were forced to start paying the tab for lining the pockets of "Friends of George Bush" instead of just letting us poor working schmucks foot the bill, all the cream and pork and fat in the defense budget would get immediately cut.

I can hear Donald Trump now. "You want me to give you a bunch of MY money so that the Pentagon can build yet another one of those useless billion-dollar Stealth bombers that don't even work? No way! You're fired."

Or what about Warren Buffet? "You want me to pay for that outdated missile system that the DoD keeps trying to foist off on us as something brand new yet after all these years still can't even hit the broad side of a barn? Me? I don't think so." Would Buffet put any stock in that dumb idea? Nope.

Even Fox-TV mogul Rupert Murdoch, the scalawag who talked America into the Iraq quagmire in the first place, ain't gonna put his money where his mouth is. "Why should I pay my hard-earned money to pour billions into the Bush-Cheney-Halliburton Swiss bank account? I got a wife to support! Forget it."

As for Bob Hope, the man who used to own the most real estate in California before he died, I'm sure that he would come all the way back from the grave at the thought of it. "Giving INCOME tax money to the Pentagon to spend on $800 toilet seat covers is okay with me. But to give LAND taxes to them? You MUST be joking."

Or what about all those large corporations who pay no income taxes in America but own tons of land here. Let THEM pay for the war on Iraq. "You can't do that! I only stash my income in the Cayman islands -- NOT my land." Can you imagine them trying to hide all their land holdings on some Caribbean island not even as large as Manhattan? No, they would start economizing on war toys instead.

Let's switch our tax base away from our puny little incomes. On our pitiful salaries, there's no WAY we could ever pay off the trillions of dollars worth of debts GWB's cronies are cranking up. Maybe Congressional salaries might put a dent in these debts but our salaries definitely will not.

If we pay taxes based on how much land we own instead of on how much money we make, then EVERYONE in America will have to pay taxes and shoulder the burden of the Bush bureaucracy's war mania and credit card addictions -- not just the middle class.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Someone please tell Cindy: Bush may be at Camp David for Thanksgiving

I have it on reliable sources (someone who lives in the area and who resents the planes that only fly overhead when Bush is there) that Bush is at Camp David, not Crawford, for Thanksgiving. And apparently, he's afraid to let people know where he is. Quick! Someone tell Cindy Sheehan!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. I see a Turkey is still in the White House (or Camp David. Or Crawford). Nice to know that the so-called leader of the greatest power on earth is afraid to let people know where he is.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

After the fall: What will we do after Bush goes to jail?

What will happen to America after George Bush is in jail? And how can we keep our government from being hijacked again?

And what kind of nation do we want America to become? And how can we best use the resources and materials that we still have left to us after having had our treasury, economy and morality systematically looted over the past five years?

These are questions that Americans need to start asking -- and soon.

As a country, we are down but not out. Like the courageous victims of Hurricane Katrina, we still have hope that there will be a bright future ahead of us somehow.

Here are some hints on how America might start to recover from Hurricane George (besides, of course, throwing a fabulous Mardi Gras and inviting everyone in the world come to it):

In Victor Frankl's book, "Man's Search for Meaning," he stated, "No one has the right to do wrong." Not even Christian, Muslim or Jewish fundamentalists. He also said that his experiences in concentration camps taught him that human beings cannot live without hope -- and that we are as capable of performing acts of great goodness as we are of performing acts of great evil.

Frankl also stated that he could tell when camp inmates had given up on living because they stopped trying to survive and started living only for the pleasure of the moment. "When someone started smoking his cigarettes instead of trading them for food, we knew that within 48 hours that person would be dead."

Bob Dylan said, "Those of us who aren't busy living are busy dying." Buying stuff in the mall is NOT a reason for living. Helping others, being kind to children, stopping wars, building homes and schools and generally being a bleeding-heart liberal? These are reasons for living. Life is a competition. The winners are the ones who do the most good deeds. Period.

John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country."

The Dalai Lama said, "If you view the whole world as a body, destruction of your neighbors takes on a whole new reality." It's time to put an end to war. "Stability and unity cannot be created by force."

Cherokee chief Wilma Mankiller said, "It's hard to see the future with tears in your eyes."

But we MUST see our future. And we must see it honestly and clearly. We can't afford to mess up any more or fall for any more con-men or lose our way again. And we must use the best minds of our generation to re-invent our future -- if America is to survive. There is too much at stake to do otherwise.

PS: Happy Thanksgiving. Mine is gonna be a little weird this year. My son Joe is somewhere in the Chilean Andes filming a documentary. Daughter Lorraine is off doing things that involve TV commercials and won't be around. Daughter Ruby isn't speaking to me any more -- her exact last words to me were, "Glad to know that you are still a manipulating, backhanded b*tch" -- so I guess that eliminates spending Thanksgiving with the grandchild. (Hell, if families can't get along, how can we expect nations to get along? Which reminds me that I am no longer speaking to my sister Ann either -- after she refused to sign the papers that allowed me to bury my father until she had seen how much he had left her in his will. I swear! We had to fax her the will from the cemetery.)

Daughter Ashley and unofficial son Jordan have moved out and even the foster child is gone -- off to a fabulous new permanent home. And my friends all avoid me because I spend so much time on the computer trying to save the world. So this year it looks like it's gonna be just me and the turkey for Thanksgiving. But I LIKE spending time with myself. That's the ultimate test of one's success as a human being -- or even as a country. If you can stand to hang out with just yourself....

Do we Americans still feel that way about America? That we would want to spend time with ourselves? Probably not. Would YOU like to hang out with a known bully and torturer who steals lunch money from children? No.

But I digress. Back to Thanksgiving. Since life's winners are the ones who do the most good deeds, maybe I'll cook up a turkey (with my infamous brown rice/walnut/butter/sage/apple stuffing), go out and share my turkey with some homeless people and come out a winner after all.

PPS: Over the years, I have taken hundreds of photographs of my friends and family and I finally figured out what to do with them all. I'm stapling them all to the walls of my home. It looks really cool. Send me your photo and I'll staple THAT up too. And when people come over, they are fascinated by my impromptu gallery and spend a lot of time looking at it. Plus it's really colorful too. Housing as art.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Has GWB's spending spree cost YOU PERSONALLY more than your annual salary? Probably.

According to Congressional records, George W. Bush's out-of-control spending spree has cost YOU PERSONALLY at least $27,666 since he took over the White House in 2001 -- and probably much much more (my math skills aren't that good.) That's more than a lot of people (myself included) earn in a year! Imagine working for a whole year FOR FREE so that our George and his colleagues can keep their closets full of Armanis and their Lear jets running.

This is a chain letter. Pass it on.

And like all chain letters, there's always a dire threat attached at the end -- something like, "Send this to ten people or else." Well, the "or else" in this case is that if the Bush bureaucracy spending spree isn't stopped immediately, the amount of money that they will have cost you and me personally will go up and up and up and soon we will be working our entire lives for free.

How high could this debt go? Would we soon be owing a billion dollars each? "Jane, you are exaggerating." Not really. The national debt is now eight trillion dollars but some insiders say that it is closer to $44 trillion. Divide that by 300,000,000 Americans? That's something like $146,000,000 each already. And you KNOW that, while those Wild Boyz in the White House and Congress have our credit cards in their pockets, they are NOT going to stop spending and spending and spending.

We are dealing with LARGE numbers here. Sorry but I've run out of fingers and toes.

When it comes to spending our money, these guys make Paris Hilton look stingy. And this isn't even real money they are spending. It's credit card debt. And we all know how high the monthly interest on THAT is.

Ask yourself this. "Do I really want to go into debt for the rest of my life -- and have the collection agencies calling me and repo man at my door until the Grim Reaper comes for me -- in order to pay back a bunch of 'Friends of George Bush' Mastercard scams?" No!

Send this e-mail to ten friends today -- or else get ready to live in the poor house for the rest of your life.

PS: I wrote the following essay in 2003. Things are much, much worse now:

Having Bush instead of Gore in the White House has cost Americans approximately $39,233 each...so far:

Oh God, I hate math. But let's give it a try. Here's a thought-problem for you: Suppose Al Gore was in the White House now instead of George Bush? How much money would America have saved in the last three years? And how much money has Bush cost us so far?

Let's start with the Afghan war. How much did that cost? "$50 billion." The war on Iraq? "Hard to say. $100 billion?"

Jobs lost? "2.5 million jobs times approximately $30,000 per job equals what?" Gifts to friendly weapons manufacturers and oil execs? "Put down $10 billion although it's probably more."

The Israel/Palestine foreign policy debacle costing the lives of 700+ Jews and 3000+ Muslims? "$20 billion and counting."

If Al Gore had been in the White House in 2001, he would not have ignored the many pre-9-11 warnings. How much did 9-11 cost us? "No idea." Cost at the gas pump? "50 cents per gallon. 25 gallons per car. 100 million cars." I'm out of my league here.

Tax benefits to the rich? "$50 billion?"

I don't know what other costs Bush has accrued. Utilities deregulation pyramid schemes leading to the California disaster and the Great Blackout of 2003? FBI surveillance of our libraries? Anthrax vaccines? Pension plan gouging? Selling off our national parks? Vote tampering? Extra jails? What's all that add up to? I'm not Einstein. You do the math. $980,750,000,000? Close enough.

Now divide that by 250 million Americans. What did you get? I figure that not having Al Gore in the White House has cost every man, woman and child in America at least $39,233...so far.

That seemed like a lot of bucks to plug into a "what if" alternative universe situation so I ran my figures past noted economist Robert Zimmerman. Here's what he had to say: "Remember that there will be interest on current and projected deficits, over $1 trillion over the next 20 years. The costs of new terrorist attacks emanating from the new hatreds resulting from Bush's action -- incalculable. Continuing and future costs of the Bush military build-up -- trillions. Plus you have to add in reduced contributions to our economy from small business as a result of Bush's focus on giant corporations and also our reduced opportunities for legitimate foreign trade resulting from hatreds fueled by Bush military adventurism."

Your list, this list, and the entire list are absolutely mind-boggling.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Paradise Found -- in Jerusalem: The Dome of the Rock's big secret

Almost everyone has heard of the holy sites of the ancient walled city of Jerusalem -- the Temple Mount, the Aqsa mosque, the Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Wailing Wall. And almost everyone has heard of the Dome of the Rock, located just within the walls of the Old City. But let's see a show of hands here. How many of us are aware of the Dome of the Rock's incredibly well-kept secret?

Sure, the Dome of the Rock is an architectural, historical and archaeological wonder -- a beautiful golden dome visible from all over Jerusalem and surrounded by living history -- shrines, palaces and fortifications constructed by ancient Romans, Saracens and Crusaders.

Sure, the Dome of the Rock is controversial. Since the beginning of history, its location has been fought over. In 1004 BC, David conquered it for the Israelites. In 586 BC, Nebakanezer conquered it for Babylon. In 63 BC, Pompey conquered it for Rome. For millennia, this tiny patch of land has witnessed far too many bloody "religious" wars fought over it -- including, of course, the Crusades. And because the Dome of the Rock is built on the place where Solomon's temple was supposed to have stood, Zionists are always dreaming of tearing it down.

Sure, the Dome of the Rock is a popular pilgrimage and tourist destination. Devout Muslims and middle-aged Americans with digital cameras come from all over the world to admire it.

But all this history and beauty and struggle is mere window-dressing and means nothing compared with the Dome's one true defining secret. The Dome of the Rock holds within itself a powerful secret that promises bright hope for the future of the world. Inside the Dome of the Rock resides the very key to world peace.

Inside the Dome itself is an atmosphere of such peacefulness, harmony, cooperation and joy that it brings tears to one's eyes just to be there. One thinks that one has been magically transported back to the Garden of Eden -- back to the days before there were brutal ritualized state murders, euphemistically called "wars".

Inside the Dome of the Rock, the endless battles for world domination, the billions and billions of dollars senselessly squandered on weapons, the laws passed by Congress that "legalize" torture, the rape of the earth, the lies of dictators, the endless genocides, the use of the riches of the world to manufacture radioactive material with a million-year half-life, the stockpiling of money for its own sake...

Pause. Sigh.

...the sexual predation, the use of religion to justify sadism, the death marches, the World Wars, the Shock and Awe, the collateral damage, the sad exploitation of working people in slave-like factory plantations, the gutting of funds for healthcare and education, the outsourcing of American jobs, the use of rape to control women, the holocausts, the governments who prey on their people -- all seem like a nightmare that we once had in our sleep but are now waking up from.

The Dome of the Rock's secret? No men are allowed inside it. Inside the Dome of the Rock is all women.

Perhaps it's time to let the rest of the world follow the Dome's example and give control of the world to us women. Obviously, men have fouled up bigtime. They just can't seem to get it through their thick heads that killing and looting as a life-style choice is simply not good for us -- not if we want to have a future of any kind. You had your chance -- 60,000 years of golden opportunites, all wasted. Step aside, men. Your "Might makes Right" approach to life has failed. It's time to give us women a chance. We can't do any worse than you've done and we probably will do a lot better!

PS: How many times have we opened a newspaper and read stories about men being forcefully held down against their will and brutally raped? And how many times have we heard that this terrible nightmare has happened to women? What is the ratio? Maybe one man for every thousand women? For every million women? For every billion women? Think about it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The reluctant tourist: Is going to Iraq the only way I can find out what's happening there?

I want to rent an RV and tour Iraq. That appears to be the only way I'll ever find out what is really going on over there.

How do we know what really goes on in Washington DC? Do American tourists have to be the world's eyes and ears?

And what about Paris? What the freak is going on there? And what's happening to Brazil's rain forests and was there really a terrorist attack planned for Australia or was that only made up?

Let's send little old ladies from Des Moines Iowa out into the Niger Delta and Yucca Mountain and Lhasa, Tibet. Is it true that the capital of Tibet has been completely taken over by Chinese settlers? And what's happening here at home in the ghettos of New Orleans, Detroit and Chicago? And why do we still have ghettos? And why is 12% of America now below the poverty level? And why are there homeless people on every corner of my hometown?

Who is honest and who is not?

And what, if any, is the good news?

What ideas work and what ideas do not?

Let's send our tourist spies to report back on Finland's full-disclosure, honesty-in-government open-access laws. Let's check on Cuba's fabulous healthcare and education where practically everyone on the island has a university degree. Let's check on solar power in Mexico and Arizona.

And let's resume our White House tours.

"Everyone should spend a few days in jail, just to see what it's like," said a friend who works at the local hoosegow.

Israelis and Palestinians should have mandatory lunch dates together once a month. Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Hebraic scholars should be forced read each others' holy books and compare notes.

How does one get to Iraq? I want to go. I want to see if they are still pumping oil there. I want to see who gets the money from it. As my friend Les said, "They'll never leave Iraq. It's still about the oil."

I want to tour Wall Street. Is the world economy collapsing? The nightly news tells me nothing useful to ME. I want to know. What the freak is going on in my world?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Who's your Daddy: Does Israel pay for Palestine's kindergartens or not?

"The Palestinians can't be too angry with Israel," I told my friend George recently. "After all, the Israelis are paying for Palestine's sewer lines and kindergartens."

"Whatever gave you that idea?" answered George. "Italy helped pay for Bethlehem's sewer line and I think it was Sweden who helped Palestine fund its kindergartens."

What? Huh? That doesn't make sense. How can Israel claim that Palestine isn't a sovereign state when Israel isn't even footing the bills for Palestine's kindergartens? International politics is a mystery to me. That would be like some woman claiming that she is only partly pregnant.

Either you are pregnant or not. Either Palestine is part of Israel and therefore Israel helps pay for Palestine's kindergartens from out of the federal tax base just like in any other normal country -- or else Palestine is a sovereign state and pays for its own kindergartens.

And if Palestine does pee in the cup and the indicator doesn't turn blue and Palestine ISN'T pregnant, er, I mean, IS a sovereign state, then all those settlers, settlement blocks, bypass roads and checkpoints have no business being in Palestine.

And if Palestine IS pregnant, er, I mean, NOT a sovereign state, then Israel had better start coughing up some child support!

PS: What about sewage? Thanks to the taxpayers of Israel (and America), the West Bank settlers' sewage systems are excellent -- except for when it is harvest time on Palestinian farms which are located below the settlements. Then these state-of-the-art sewer systems suddenly begin to have unexplained "breakdowns" that flood the Palestinian village fields with large rivers of settler poop. Yuck!

PS(2): In the nineteenth century, there was a law in Palestine that stated, "If you snooze you lose." Basically, this law asserted that if anyone abandoned their land for over three years, it automatically reverted to the government. And since 1948, Israelis have used this law to claim tons of land for Israel in areas that used to be Palestinian villages -- approximately 418 of them -- that Palestinians have been forced to abandon since 1947.

Does this mean that when the Romans forced the Jews to abandon their lands in 70 AD, Jews became eligible for the "If you snooze you lose" law too -- and lost their claims to getting this land back because it's been over three years since the Romans kicked them out? Or, as usual, are laws being juggled and fudged here yet again in accordance with an even older law -- "Regardless of the merits of the case, whoever has the most guns and money wins."

PS(3): Israel was very cleaver to divest itself of financial responsibility for Palestine back in the 1990s. Now the international communities pay over one billion dollars for Palestinian roads, sewers, school and hospitals. That's money in the bank for Israel. And speaking of subsidies, American taxpayers give every single Israeli in Israel $1,000 each. I wish American taxpayers would give ME $1,000.