Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Friday, 04 May 2007

Yes, Mark, This one’s for you.  J  Please don’t take it personally, as I am only poking fun.  And after all, you DID call me a socialist.  More than once.  Kind of like being called a dyke, I don’t really take it as an insult…it just doesn’t really fit.  And if it is clearly meant as a jab (even a good natured one, which I take yours as) I feel almost obligated to jab back.  Plus, I enjoy our little chats too much to let it sit.

As you may have guessed, I threw out the previous Quote of the Day to give you a chance to get your rhetoric on a little bit…but then I remembered that you had never heard of Grover Norquist…so I went to find an article about him so I could make it easy to find out about him.

Then, I read the article.

Up until then, the only link I had between Anti-Tax activists and terrorism was that one creepy neighbor back in the Northern Minnesota countryside with the two VERY quiet little girls and the wife we nicknamed “Mrs. Frankenstein” because of her salt-and-pepper bouffant and ugly temper.

Nobody did anything when she got on the school bus and threatened the bus driver’s life because she felt her children were not being treated properly.

Then, one day, the FBI showed up and hauled lots and lots and lots of military weaponry from his property.  The good stuff, too.  Let’s just say, that the kind of deer you would need this sort of arsenal for would spit running chainsaws for their opening act.  He was an anti-government tax evader.  And he was SERIOUS.

As the years went by, I began to think of anti-government tax protestors as being more like Kent Hovind (AKA Dr.Dino).  You know, sort of a crazy old crank with a cheap rip-off tourist trap creation museum and an argument that, because he is a servant of God, he doesn’t have to pay any taxes.  You can read his prison blog here.

And, of course, there’s Grover Norquist.  Other than his attempts to use his national organization to affect local politician’s decisions regarding taxes(which have nothing to do with HIM), and his super-chummy associations with the power-elite of the Republican party, you wouldn’t think there was that much amiss about him.  But then I came across this little gem in the article linked to for Mark’s edification about a major leader in a cause he feels so strongly about:

During the second half of the 1980s, Norquist detoured from his tax work to engage in a series of safaris to far-off battlegrounds in support of anti-Soviet guerrilla armies, visiting war zones from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to southern Africa. Working alongside Col. Oliver North's freelance support network for the Nicaraguan contras and other Reagan Doctrine-allied insurgencies, Norquist promoted US support for groups like Mozambique's RENAMO and Jonas Savimbi's UNITA in Angola, both of which were backed by South Africa's apartheid regime (Norquist represented UNITA as a registered lobbyist in the early 1990s).

“In support of anti-Soviet guerrilla armies”  What guerilla armies were operating along the Afghan-Pakistan border?  Wasn’t it *gasp* the Taliban?  Grover Norquist supported terrorism?  Say it isn’t so!

Information on RENAMO (those of you with an aversion to Wikipedia, don’t worry, just follow the links to their citations.)

Information on UNITA (repeat of Wikipedia disclaimer above)

I especially liked this little line here:


As Savimbi gained ground despite the forces aligned against him, American conservatives pointed to his success, and that of Afghan mujahideen, both of which, with U.S. support, were successfully opposing Soviet-sponsored governments, as evidence that the U.S. was beginning to gain an upper hand in the Cold War conflict. Critics responded that the support given Savimbi and mujahideen, which came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine, was inflaming regional conflicts at great expense to these nations and even risking the potential of nuclear war between the superpowers. (The bolding is mine, for emphasis.)


So, in Grover Norquist’s mind, it appears that spending tax dollars arming and training terrorists warlords freedom fighters that we will have to go back and spend even more money defeating two decades later is a GOOD use for American tax dollars, while spending it ensuring a decent education and welfare for trailer park kids in some rural backwater so that we won’t have to spend a lot more imprisoning them two decades later is a BAD use of tax dollars.

By the way, what is one of the best places for American “patriot”  skinhead  neo-nazi terrorist organizations to recruit new members?  Prison.

Don’t even get me started on the discovery that Norquist’s organization Americans for Tax Reform allegedly served as a conduit for some of Abramoff’s dirty money to astroturf grassroots lobbying efforts.

Friday, 04 May 2007 15:49:14 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [11] |  | #
Friday, 04 May 2007 18:22:46 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)

I must say I apologize if the term socialist doesn't fit. However, when you post a definition and spout on about the benefits of the redistribution of wealth, that is the only word that comes to my mind. If you have a more fitting term for your views, I'll use that instead. Now on to this post here.

Very nice. Very nice indeed. Good jab. However, I have been against the USA getting involved in other country's politics for a very long time. I'm sure we, at least in the case you described, took the stance that the "enemy of my enemy is my friend." We've done if far too many times. And it has gotten us in to hot water, big time! Yes, we supported - hell, we very nearly created - the Taliban. And of course you know we put Saddam in power.

We need to mind our own business...

I'm not saying I'm against taxation. What I'm saying is that the FEDERAL government has ignored the constitution for far too long. It has very limited responsibilities. The states, as the constitution clear posits, have the burden of creating and maintaining social programs.

Just because I want the states to have more control doesn't mean I think they'll do a bad job of things. However, problems are much easier for the public to fix when control is at a more local level.

Yes - I enjoy these conversations, too. It seems I have found someone that can debate their views without resorting to name calling and flaming. It's more difficult than it should be...
Friday, 04 May 2007 19:20:23 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
A thought which I have no good knowledge base to back up thus I would welcome any relevant facts:
Aren't many government programs instituted at the state/local level? Federal taxes are often distributed in block grants aren't they? I could be wrong, but I believe the reason is to redistribute wealth in such a way as to ensure that all citizens have the same rights in practice while maintaining local control. So, for example, people who live in poor states have similar rights to welfare as people in wealthy states. There are also issues such as education. If we mandate certain standards so that all children will, suposedly, have a similar chance of success in life then the fed's need to provide funds for that. I think you are correct, Mark, that the founding fathers did not envision the system we have today but they also did not envision the needs we have today for increased productivity from our people. I also suspect that we can do more than we think we can. We are just loosing the time and the knowledge to be properly involved.

On another note, Teresa is one of the few reasonable people I know and I have to say it has been a pleasure to know her all these years. I am hoping she can undo the damage to my brain of ....many things.

Speaking of brain damage, anybody else seen Idiocracy? Not as good as it should be....but....
a small penguin
Friday, 04 May 2007 20:59:37 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)

Thanks for your reaction.

Really, I think "progressive" in the historical sense does the best job, although it has been synonymous with "liberal" (which I also use)which has been rhetorically linked to "Socialism" and "communism" and "collectivism" in most people's minds.

Since most of the ideas, goals, and philosophies of the progressives are older than socialism or communism, it is hardly appropriate to call them by those names. Not that I'm particularly hostile to socialism or communism in theory. It's hard for me to get too exceited about it, since so much of the formative years of people my age were spent trying to hammer us with an unGodly dred of said forms of government. I'm afraid the nerve for that has gone quite dead. I have an absolute intolerance for totalitarianism and enforced collectivism, however. But totalitarianism is not only a trait of Communist or socialist governments. It has also been a trait of Fascists like the nazis.

It would be really great if there could be an honest debate on taxes at the national level, but the more I find out about the anti-tax movement at large the more it looks to me to be a huge racket that borders on being anarchist.

You know, if you could write a post, somewhere between a page or three pages in length with an overview of why the tax changes you would like would work better than our current system, I would be happy to publish it with your name (or just as anonymous Mark if you wish) as a guest blogger. Let me know what you think about that in the comments, and I'll figure out a way for you to contact me. Three pages might not seem like much, but of course, you have the option of hyperlinks for supporting material. More than that, and people'e eyes tend to cross. :-)

Or if you have your own blog, you could post it there and put a link in the comments and I could link to it in a proper entry.
Friday, 04 May 2007 21:16:24 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
a small penguin,

What brain damage? You're just damn goofy is all. After all, goofy recognizes goofy when it sees it.

I have NOT seen Idiocracy. I havn't even heard of it. Yet strangely, I feel as though I don't need to in order to guess what it is about. Of course I want to see it now. Thanks.

I'm so glad that you have found my blog. Now, I just need to convince you to start one of your own. I think you can do it more-or-less anonymously. I wouldn't tell the secret of your identity. Not even if you got really famous and I was offered enough money to put my kids through grad. school. :-)

Wild mastadons couldn't drag it out of me.

BTW, good point about the bloc grants.
Friday, 04 May 2007 21:19:53 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Tame mastedons wouldn't have a chance either.

Not even if they were trained. Maybe if they used waterboarding, though (drowning nighmares *shudder*).

Yeah, tame mastadons trained in waterboarding (the torture kind, not the kind where you are wearing a wetsuit and kneeling on a board and riding a wave.)could probably get me to talk.

But if we get to THAT point, does it really matter?
Saturday, 05 May 2007 18:49:20 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Penguin is (at least partly) correct, a lot of the federal "programs" are really just grants to state/local governments with strings attached. The idea being, that the money can be most effectively managed at a more local level. At the same time, there's clear recognition of the fact that there are some regional/local biases and cultural behaviors that are unacceptable at a national level (such as dealing with race, among others).

The result of this redistribution of wealth is arguably good. I might argue against it, because I'm in a northern state, so we actually lose. But for all the people in the south and west of the US this system is beneficial, because there's a well documented flow of monies from the north (and northeast specifically) to much of the rest of the nation.

(a cynic might consider it a form of subversive "war reparations" for the Civil War, imposed once the southern states gained a substantial level of influence at the national level <g>)
Sunday, 06 May 2007 21:03:47 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
>tame mastadons trained in waterboarding

Did your imagination run away with you again?

I'm surprised you didn't use Kimono dragons and toe-sucking as your favorite torture. You and your anti-lizard stances.

Are you finally renouncing your Velociracist tendencies?

(And yes everyone. this was yet another completely non-sequitur post)
Monday, 07 May 2007 07:38:35 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Penguin, good point. However, as Illiante pointed out, the money comes with strings attached. The only "stupid" example I can come with off the top of my head is when the Feds withheld funding for road construction/maintenance unless the state(s) lowered their max speed limit to 55. Sorry, it's not up to the rest of the nation to determine safe speeds for local roads. Some states, Nevada for example, told the feds what they could do with that money and kept their speed limits.

I know it's not the best example, I'm sure if I dug a little harder I could find many more examples of these strings.

Teresa - I may take you up on your offer. It'd be a good project for me to explore all the different tax options. I do have a blog, but it's technical in nature and, as such, doesn't get many readers. It's really just a place for me to keep my notes and offer help to the occasional techie browsing for solutions to a problem.

I'll start taking notes and let you know when I'm ready to post something. Thanks!
Tuesday, 08 May 2007 21:56:18 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
I am with you. I recall well the Reagan years, searching for a good waitress job and not being able to find one because no resaurant that served alchohol would hire anyone under the age of 21 after Reagan strong-armed the State of MN into raising the drinking age with a threat of withholding road funds. In a utopia we would have the ultimate in local control; I control me and you control you. Bu, unfortunately others realize that they could profit by controlling us. I expect the feds to help keep that kind of nonsense under control. Sadly, the inmates foxes have invaded the henasylum and we the careless pig-weeds are not screaming loud enough yet. after that sentence, I obviously need a nap.
a small penguin
Tuesday, 08 May 2007 22:08:17 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
YES!!! We Careless Pigweeds of the world should unite and go our seperate ways after dissolving the one entity that was powerful enough to use against people who would run our lives for us, and over which we had any control at all. Then, we should live in an opportunistic dog-eat-dog world clinging to the fringes of what the rich and powerful allow us after they've grabbed all the good stuff...

...wait...let me try that again...

How about us taking control of our government and making it do it's damned job instead?
Saturday, 19 May 2007 10:00:31 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
The problem is we seem be in stark disagreement about what the job of government actually is. I'll bet you pounds to pence that I see government with a far more limited job description than you.

(Note: I am not British, I just kind of like the way "pounds to pence" sounded)
Comments are closed.
Admin Login
Sign In
Pick a theme: