All posts by Caoimhin Laochdha

About Caoimhin Laochdha

Central Vermont life-long civil liberties activist. I offset my carbon footprint by growing my own energy and riding my bicycle at least 8 months of the year. Every election cycle, since Gerald Ford's social promotion to the Oval Office, I've volunteered for at least one Democratic presidential campaign that ultimately finished in second (or lower) place.

Scott Milne’s Press Conference (w/approx 2,000 votes outstanding)

Scott Milne planned a press conference this morning. He then canceled it. Prior to canceling direct communication with the press and Vermonters, Mr. Milne was expected to acknowledge the fact that Governor Peter Shumlin won an incontestable plurality of the votes.

Given the fact that Governor Shumlin was the first choice of the Vermont voters, Mr. Milne was expected to concede the election he lost. He was also expected to confirm that he will not campaign for a legislative second-place elevation into the Governor's office. Instead Mr. Milne was going to acknowledge and accept the fact that the General Assembly will affirm Governor Shumlin's reelection in January 2015.

Then came a last minute change of heart. Later this morning, Mr. Milne's campaign stated that he “owed” it to Vermonters to see the final totals before his campaign makes any further statements.

Translation of the Milne campaign statement (as of the time of Mr. Milne's press conference about-face):

“As of early this morning, Governor Shumlin leads by over 2,000 votes.  With another 1,500 to 2,000 votes to be counted, I owe it to Vermonters to see the final count. I will therefore wait to see whether I receive 200% to 300% of the outstanding votes, I will wait to see whether Governor Shumlin receives anywhere between 2,000 to 3,000 negative votes.”  I owe it to Vermonters to wait for this potential outcome.

C’mon, What’s Extra Poverty Among Friends?

Howard Dean is making a (much needed) splash on the chained CPI artifice the President is using to cut Social Security.

From the Governor 

 

If this is true, I may have to become an independent.

If Business Week is correct it means the Prez proposed cutting SS to get a deal to increase Defense spending. No real Democrat will do it.

The “If this is true” statement refers to President Obama's call to cut Social Security and massively de-value the trillions of dollars that the Federal Government took from millions of workers and placed their wages into the so-called “Social Security Trust Fund.” This is a call-out from the person who most prominently represents the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

The Governor's tweets contain the appropriate “ifs,” but it is hard to look past the article to which he is referring. 

 Obama’s new budget, released today, makes this clear. Although the White House doesn’t advertise this fact in the six-page budget overview it put out this morning, the new budget eliminates nearly all of the cuts that sequestration imposes on the Pentagon. Instead of $500 billion in cuts, Obama proposes only $100 billion, and you have to look closely to spot it (“$200 billion in additional discretionary savings, with equal amounts from defense and nondefense programs”).

Along with the well-advertised cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits, this is something that should appeal to the GOP. “It’s another one of the peace offerings in Obama’s package to Republicans,” Robert Litan, the director of research for Bloomberg Government and a former official of the Office of Management and   Budget, told me.

Business Week Translation:  President Obama will not allow sequestration of billions of wasted Pentagon dollars while he sacrifices one of the most important programs that allows the United States to maintain a middle class.

Governor Dean's comments are fodder for all types of analysis and discusssion regarding the state of today's Democratic Party.  It calls into question the leadership style of a center-right Presidency and the impact of chipping away at safety net programs that are critical to an ever shrinking and downsliding middle class.

This is also fodder for the question of what is a “real Democrat” or “what does it mean, today, to be a “real Democrat” or “real elected Democrat.”

Please comment on any of the issues this raises.  The floor is open.  More to follow.

 

Labor’s endorsement of T.J. Donovan

In addition to several high profile endorsements, T.J. Donovan collected the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO endorsement earlier this month.

This union represents over 10,000 workers.  

The 2012 Democratic primary will likely see approximately 40,000 voters. Roughly 36,000 Vermont Democrats voted in the ’06 primary.  The 2006 primary was a typical year relative to turnout and had similar dynamics to this year’s expected turnout. A record high 74,000 voted in 2010 as a result of the Shumlin/Markowitz/Racine/Dunne/Bartlett primary. Don’t expect to see anything close to those numbers this year, however. 2010’s numbers were the result of several highly skilled organizations in combination with millions of dollars invested in grass roots organization, voter i.d., GOTV and media.  

This year’s voter turnout will be closer to 40,000 votes. Given the likely voter pool, a union that can motivate a few thousand of its rank and file members (or member households) is in a substantial position to tip the election. A bump of 4,000 – 5,000 labor related votes would likely be the difference between Attorney General Donovan or Attorney General Sorrell.

If the Vermont State Labor Council shows ballots-in-the-box muscle, it will also demonstrate immense influence within a contested Democratic primary. Tipping the scales for Donovan would have long-term political benefits for the Vermont Labor Council.  

The other endorsements show that T.J. is convincingly presenting his message to influential constituencies in the policy making arena.  This labor endorsement, however, demonstrates important constituency support AND, critically, ballot box influence too.

If it delivers to the Donovan campaign, the Vermont Labor Council/AFL-CIO endorsement is a huge opportunity for Labor to pocket a fist-full of political capital.

AG’s Office Hands Entergy Early Christmas Present

After reviewing uncontroverted evidence of criminal wrongdoing, Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell gifted Entergy with a nicely wrapped State of Vermont package (glowing?) with a fat green ribbon tied in every direction.

The deceit perpetrated against our elected representatives, Vermont ratepayers and public safety official is now safely bundled into a spent fuel pool. At the same time, the old adage — that there is an inverse relationship between the size of a Corporation’s wallet and the likelihood of accountability for its wrongdoing — has been enriched.  

Dear Dr. Fischer . . . (Sincerely Governor Douglas or Governor-Elect Shumlin?)

So we have a 15-minutes-of-(in)fame-Bellowing-Bigot-Barber.  Before our newest Face-of-the-State makes Countdown’s “Worst Persons in the World List,” it would be nice if someone who could speak on behalf of the State of Vermont would send a letter of apology to Darryl Fischer, M.D. This situation calls for that type of action and it would be appreciated by the overwhelming majority of all of us.

As I was mulling through my head who would make the best representative for the State of Vermont, our current Governor or our incoming Governor, it seemed to me that if both of them would take the time to send him a letter or call him, that would be the most appropriate way to handle it under the circumstances. Perhaps Governor Douglas could apologize on our behalf and Governor-elect Shumlin could invite the gentleman to give Vermont a second chance.

Dr. Fischer was good enough to expose a cancerous bit of rot on our civic body. He did us a favor and it is absurd for any bigot to suggest that he was acting in a racist or inflammatory manner.

The only person inflaming the situation and tarring the rest of us with his bigotry is Mr. Aldrich who falsely accuses “black people” of causing the trouble. His suggestion that Dr. Fischer is somehow, in any way, responsible for the situation or that the situation is some some sort of “joke,” is particularly offensive. Dr. Fischer handled this in as responsible a manner as any of could expect of him.

Under these circumstances, I would greatly appreciate if the two men who speak for all of us – our outgoing and incoming Governors – would stand up and speak for us now.  Today.

Dr. Fisher has done us all the favor of diagnosing an acute public health issue. A mental health issue. One that needs quick intervention. At this point, the treatment modality is political, however, not medical. Time for our political leaders to make a symbolic house-call on our behalf.

Brian Dubie Entergy Nuclear Support – Stronger than Ever

The issue is not whether Brian Dubie can have his questions answered.

The issue is “Under what conditions will you, Brian Dubie, support reopening Entergy Nuclear when the old place offially expires in 2012?”

What do you need to know, Brian Dubie, right now and before November 2010 that will allow you to determine whether an old, broken and expired nuclear power plant should return to producing nuclear power after 2012?

The burden is not on you, Brian Dubie, to come up with a reason to NOT support Entergy Nuclear; the burden is on Entergy Nuclear to demonstrate to you, Brian Dubie, the reasons WHY TO SUPPORT, the restarting an expired nuclear power facility in 2012.

So, Brian Dubie, under what conditions — Under what objective criteria — will you support relicensing and going forward with an expired nuclear power faciilitly in 2012apply your brilliantly informed critical thinking skills

Kudos to Bill McKibben

When tracing so many of our current serious problems, it is virtually impossible to even count the vast number of failed conservative policies that took hold in the Reagan administration.

Energy “policy,” or the lack of one, stands out among the worst failures of conservative Republican rule in the United States.

The Reagan administration, followed by Bush & Cheney/Bush and successive conservative Congresses of both parties are responsible for the complete lack of an economically sound or environmentally sustainable approach to creating or harnessing energy. The Republican and conservative approach to energy has been to massively subsidize fossil fuels, and destroy the United State’s competitive opportunities in emerging technology.  

Now, however, it appears that the Obama administration might be reconsidering one of Ronald Reagan’s more egregious acts of violence against the U.S. economy.

From Chris Good at the Atlantic:

Environmentalist Bill McKibben has been campaigning for the last few weeks to get solar panels put back on the roof of the White House, taking a road trip to DC with the original panels President Carter installed before Reagan took them down, which McKibben has lifted from their current home at Unity College in Maine for the purpose of this advocacy effort.

When the Reagan administration ripped the solar panels from the White House roof, it was proudly engaging in a symbolic act. It was an intentional tribute to ignorance that glorified economic squander and environmental degradation on an unimaginable scale.

If the Obama administration decides to undue this gross act of conservative Republican vandalism against America’s future, we can thank Bill McKibben for his leadership.

Be Careful When You ask for Something

Careful what you ask, because you might just get it.

Not too long ago, I lamented that:

Like many Democrats and liberals, I’ve complained about the lack of choices in our primaries and the ability of the left to put multiple, serious choices forward in contested primaries. Some years, I’ve had to scream about no one even wanting to run.  

Another GMD reader nails it with his spot-on comment at the Open Thread, —


   We Need A Primary

   [W]e need a full fledged primary to rally the troops and get us engaged in taking out the Governor.

   Deb, Susan, Doug and others would all be fantastic candidates. Everyone should dive in and may the best candidate win. I mean, when was the last time we had a three-way primary for Governor?

   It will make the nominee stronger.



Could not agree more.

We need good candidates running in our primaries, and we need primaries that serve voters by showcasing our best candidates. We will continue to have neither as as long as the primary occurs in the fall rather than before the summer months.

This year, we have several excellent Democratic candidates running for Governor. With several terrific choices, I find myself in the odd situation of NOT being able to vote for people I have supported in the past. I find myself in the odd situation of NOT being able to vote for candidates whom I respect deeply. I find myself in the odd situation of NOT being able to vote for candidates whom I genuinely expect to contribute to a better Vermont future well after August the 2010 primary even if they finish in second, third or forth place.

Just think about that, someone will come in third or forth place in the Democratic primary next month; and my reaction will be, I’m glad that person will be here tomorrow to contribute to a better Vermont. Truth is, we all know that whoever comes in 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th place, we’d all be much better off if they were already Governor today. You can certainly argue that latter point, OR you can be objective and credible; but you can’t do both. Finally, ask and ye shall receive!

I figured out the other day that I’ve known the gubernatorial candidates, collectively, for approximately 88 years. It’s a wide range. One candidate, I’ve known since Richard Nixon was President (Doug Racine – 36 years). On the other end of the scale, I’ve “only” known my next-county-over neighbor Susan Bartlett, and her husband Bill, for a measly decade (or as some would say, this entire century). The point is, between grade school in the 70s and the Great Conservative Recession of the 21st Century, I’ve known, respected, trusted, had beers, played pick-up ball, argued, celebrated or lamented over something with one of these quality people and dedicated public officials at some point. I will always appreciate how fortunate I am today, or have been at different times over the years – to have been a friend, a colleague, an employee, a collaborator on policy/legislation/administrative rules or political strategy, to have campaigned for or with many of these folks for different offices and during different election cycles. Most off all, they have – to a person – honored me with their willingness to listen to me even when they do not agree with me and even when my ideas did not add the most value to a particular situation. Talk about a tough vote.

This background detail is far more personal than my comfort level generally allows, but I wanted to also explain how difficult – truly difficult – this year’s decision is for me. I am supporting Deb Markowitz because she has my unqualified confidence. I am not, however, voting against anyone else in the Democratic primary. The fact is, the five most qualified people to be Governor of Vermont are the five currently running in the Democratic primary. I hope my candidate wins, and I will enthusiastically work to see that the winner of the Democratic primary is our next Governor.  

My Vote is for Deb Markowitz

When picking a candidate, I generally employ the “who is the most liberal person with the best chance of winning” test.  Like many of us, I have used some variation on that test since since the 1980s when I was an 18 year-old casting my first ballot in Burlington.

Deb Markowitz’s commitment to progressive policies and her ability to run for office successfully (and her proven ability to manage an elected office transparently and effectively) make her my choice for Governor. In a year when we are blessed with the opportunity to vote for several committed progressives, trusting a particular candidate to run a winning campaign and then govern effectively, carries even more weight.

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The long version, below . . .

Deb Markowitz has committed to a progressive agenda and is running a winning campaign. These are a few of the reasons I’m voting for her:

GOVERNING ABILITY & PRIORITIES

On core issues critical to helping solidify the middle class and protecting the deteriorating condition of people who work for a living, the Democratic primary field demonstrates commitment  to moving Vermont progressively forward. After eight years of conservative social drift and Republican fiscal squander of our economic opportunities, my confidence is in a Markowitz administration to effectively implement progressive policies needed for a stable, healthy, prosperous and growing middle class.

I appreciated the manner our candidates answered GMD’s open and specific questions. Deb’s response to the following statement about governmental responsibility and the role it plays in helping us shape our political and social culture was particularly reassuring: “Over the past two centuries, politicians ranging from Winston Churchill to John F. Kennedy have repeated or closely paraphrased the following:”

The true test of society is how well it treats its prisoners and old people.  

The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons and the test of a society’s quality and durability is measured by the respect and care given its elderly citizens.

Deb Markowitz responded, in part:

I have served on the board of the Central Vermont Community Action Agency for over ten years, and have seen first hand that Vermont’s social service agencies have been successful in reducing generational poverty.  

As Governor, I will support innovative programs like tangible assets, workforce development and head start that help Vermonters rise out of poverty.

As governor, I will lead the effort to plan ahead so that we are prepared to serve aging Vermonters.  According to the United States Census Bureau, [elderly Americans] will nearly double between 2010 and 2030 . . .  We need to be ready.  As Vermont’s population ages, the demand for accessible housing, quality medical services and first-rate long-term care will grow.

As Governor, I will support services that help seniors stay active, healthy and engaged.  

I will support efforts that keep seniors in their homes.  This is not just important for a good quality of life, but it is less costly than long-term care. . .

I believe that societies are judged, in part, by the way they treat their young – and their old, and by the way they respond to those individuals who violate the social compact. As governor, I will stand up to those who wish to dismantle our social safety net and I will lead efforts to rethink our criminal justice system.

Emphasis added. (psstIf you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and read GMD’s Q&As to our candidates).

As many of our most revered liberal sages have correctly argued: “the best social policy is a good job.” Deb has committed to follow-through with the economic & social policies we must have to reverse the neglect and squandered opportunities of the past eight years. Most critically to 21st Century Vermont, she has accepted the responsibility to invest in resources to educate, to train and to transition our priorities away from the crony corporatism of the last eight years. We cannot take advantage of new and better economic opportunities – from niche agriculture to high tech jobs and renewable energy – if government does not cooperate with us. This will always include protecting the health or our elderly family members and fostering the care and education of our young children. Her emphasis on transitioning economic opportunities and the support of working families to take advantage of them is central to Deb Markowitz’s agenda.

The fact is, we all recognize dozens of issues where the candidates show they “get it.” Conversely, we can all point to areas where we are not sure our candidates are close enough to our view of what is necessary to preserve civil society. I am convinced Deb Markowitz will be the progressive Governor that Vermont needs if it is going to improve the quality of life we have lost and opportunities we are squandering under misguided conservative leadership. I also believe she be the person who continues to listen to and incorporate the views of liberal policy advocates who have been proven right again and again while being shut out of governance when they were most needed.



WINNING ELECTIONS


In the critical ability to win department, Deb Markowitz stands head-and-shoulders above the other contestants in the Democratic primary.  

Vote Getter: Deb Markowitz is a proven vote getter in a year when winning is crucial (when is it not?). She starts with terrific and positive name recognition. That is key coming out of the primary gate. She came into statewide office beating an incumbent Republican in an election year that offered Democrats no special advantages. She proved she was tenacious campaigner against an incumbent Republican, a year with many of the same dynamics as this year’s election, and she has only become better since then while establishing herself throughout the entire State, and among diverse voting blocks, as a respected State office holder.

Also, her ability to run a large chunk of the State – Corporations, Archives, Professional Regulation, Elections — under less-than-ideal circumstances, and frequently with no general funds (i.e. special funds such as user or license fees with no general taxpayer funded support) has been stellar. She knows how to run, execute and win and has proven it for over a decade now.

Smart Campaigning:  The Markowitz campaign is field work & field worker intensive. This campaign understands that you win with the most votes, not the best commercials or consultants. She is an organized manager who has entrusted her campaign to field organizers who can shake voters out of the trees and get them to the polls.

Raising money: she has built a campaign that can do it and, most importantly, she has established a structural network that will keep it coming during the general election so that she can concentrate on campaigning rather than fund raising. This accomplishment will have enormous advantages against a Republican who will be well-financed and showered with GOP money merely by showing up. She will come out of the primary with the resources to run an effective campaign.

     *      *      *

This year, there is something else . . .

Liberal, effective and proven. Usually, that’s enough. Most years, this is where I stop thinking and start voting. But this year there is something else.

Over the past decade, another equally important criterion has entered my equation. Respect for the rule-of-law is a non-negotiable issue for me. This year particularly, we need someone who will lead by example, AND we need someone who will restore a culture of respect for the rule of law in the many places where conservative neglect has abandoned it.

RULE OF LAW AND TRANSPARENCY:

We have seen an epidemic in government of failure these past few years.  Much of it is directly attributable to secrecy or a lack of transparency. Secrecy is a flagrant act of disrespect by elected officials toward those of us who elect them. A non-transparent culture either leads to failure or is a coward’s tool to cover up an ongoing failure.

We have seen an epidemic of government officials who view their legal requirements and limits as “quaint.” They believe legal obligations are only for those on whom they decide to enforce that obligation. Frequently these officials exempt themselves from our shared legal responsibilities or offer short-cuts to privileged insiders. This despite the fact that our elected officials take an oath to uphold our Constitution and the laws that support it the first minute they begin their service.

Today, and from now on, I ask myself: “who will do the people’s business effectively AND who will do it while also respecting the rights of people who are ‘not in the room’ when policies are put into place?”  Who can I trust to respect the rule-of-law and ensure their administration does the same? Who can I trust make transparency a priority?

I have heard Deb’s heartfelt commitment to this essential aspect of running an effective and trusted administration. She has earned my trust because I have witnessed her commitment to open government first-hand.

Here is but one small example of many. Most GMDers are familiar with the Douglas/Dubie administration’s attempt to circumvent Vermont sensitive wildlife protection statutes by allowing all-terrain vehicles riding and trail-cutting in publicly owned and legally designated fragile “natural areas.” After learning that the Douglas/Dubie crowd had ordered and secretly written illegal administrative rules with no public notice, the administration excused its abandonment of State law with a spurious claim that its bogus regulatory scheme will only allow ATVs on established crossings near highways or to connect already existing trails in non-sensitive protected areas “at ANR’s discretion.” This, however, is not what the proposed rules said and represented only a fraction of what the proposed rules allowed.  

As was the case many times before this one example, the current administration’s tactic was to adopt a controversial, or incompetent or illegal policy in secret or to hide from public view aspects of failed governance. In the example of the the ATV regulations, the administration’s acts and policy were INTENTIONALLY kept secret from the legislature until after ANR submitted rules for final approval. Our conservative Republican administration instinctively believed that it was perfectly reasonable to hide a furtive project until the week AFTER the General Assembly adjourned for 2010. How convenient?

The cynically imposed ATV regulations are not the worst example of deceit and disrespect for our laws, or the abandonment of our core democratic values. Rather, I picked this particular shunning of open government because it is recent and ongoing as of July 2010.

The Secretary of State’s Office is responsible for staffing or overseeing over 20 statutorily distinct state agencies from an administrative rules perspective. This means it either directs, or is responsible for staffing, departments with their own rulemaking authority (i.e., legislatively created regulatory law-making power).

It is policy in the Secretary of State’s office to announce the intent to adopt new regulations even before the process officially starts and well before public notice is legally required. Deb Markowitz has encouraged this transparent culture and overseen this approach dozens of times during her tenure. It is policy to circulate drafts of proposed new laws, sometimes multiple drafts or just outlines, within regulated communities and affected individuals well before an agency or department even submits new draft rules for official public comment (for example, most State agencies that issue professional licenses — the Vermont Board of Veterinary Medicine or Architecture or the agency that regulates all pharmacies and pharmacists — must write the laws governing how Vermonters interact with these professions). In other words, affected citizens are invited into the process, are TOLD of the process, when the State Agency begins to consider new regulations, not AFTER the agency has finished them.

I could go on (and I have).

The major point is this: I’ve seen Deb Markowitz effectively manage a large chunk of state government in a completely non-partisan fashion. I also trust her to use some of the best political skills I have ever witnessed to reverse the illiberal drift of Vermont’s executive branch and protect the opportunities Vermont has to offer for all of us, not just the insiders who have fed at the trough for the past eight years. I trust her to win this November, and I trust her to follow-through starting next January.

———-

(Please Note: Several of us here at GMD are making individual endorsements and this represents my personal endorsement. GMD is not endorsing any of the candidates in the Democratic primary for Governor)

Fiscal Fail 101

Yup, thanks to BP, we all had to see it. In case any of you were still wondering, conservatives really do think this way:

The poor do spend out of proportion on cigarettes and on lottery tickets and in the cold calculations of the state, that is a good thing.  The cigarette companies hand over billions to state governments and the lottery, as we are constantly reminded, helps fund education.



Here we go . . .

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension

Another Driftglass original

Once more for fun . . .

The poor spend a lot of their money on cigarettes and lottery tickets, which floods our State treasuries and funds education, respectively.

Of course that fiscal analysis is complete bullshit. But, for the sake arrogance and the self-satisfaction gained from shitting on the less fortunate, let’s assume this conservative tripe holds water. So what does it really say when conservatives claim that the great unwashed’s cigarettes are good for balance sheets and their gambling is good for education?

Well, it works like this. First take the “poor’s” disproportionate education contribution, throw in the hefty cigarette taxes they fire into the General Fund (remember, this doesn’t actually happen, but let’s humor the Tigernistas). Next, top it all off with a regressive 17% FICA shell game (now that‘s painfully true). So here is what that inane, apologetic observation really tells us about those “poor” and what the Tigernistas are actually highlighting is:

The poor “pay a disproportionate amount on taxes.”

The poor “pay a disproportionate amount of the overall upkeep of our State.”  

The poor “do spend out of proportion” due to their heavy burden of subsidizing the wealthy.

& from further upstream in the comments to Julie’s post on CVPS’s Piss.On.The.Poor.Party, we are told that maybe it’s “hard” for the folks at CVPS who receive:

. . . $465,285.00 per year [giving them] different sets of lifestyle choices [than smoking menthols or buy scratch tickets].

Here is the problem, and this is what regressive conservative fiscal mismanagement and conservative economic malpractice committed against the U.S. economy has done for a generation now. Show me a working family making $46,525.50 a year, and I’ll show you a working family that pays out a greater proportion of their income, in taxes & infrastructure upkeep, than does an attorney making $465,285.00.

Workers who earn less than approx. $100K annually – in 2010 dollars – have subsidized the ultra wealthy since Reagan and a conservative Congress imposed the FICA flat-tax. This 17% is a flat-tax on wages that only working people/middle class families pay. The Millionaire/Billionaire set pay a negligible amount of this tax – if any – on their annual resources. Shit, even dead people don’t pay this tax – only working people do.

This is problematic on many levels. Regardless of its intent, the FICA Flat Tax has been economically disastrous to the U.S. economy and it has played a government enforced role in decimating the middle class. For the past 25 years, the result of this approach to taxing wages has been a massive transfer of wealth, from an entire generation of workers, to the wealthiest persons and corporations in the world.

The huge surpluses paid into the alleged FICA/Social Security “Trust” fund by the middle class has justified massive tax breaks for corporations and the ultra-wealthy. The trillion$ in FICA working class taxes have been transferred to and used to subsidize the wealthiest U.S. citizens. These middle class and working class government enforced welfare payments to the wealthy have also been used to hide the magnitude of the U.S. budget deficit, hide the need to cut programs benefiting the wealthy and/or the theft of the middle’s class’s social security taxes has protected the wealthy from paying their fair share of taxes to support the services and government in the same way that the middle class and working poor have been forced to do.

Conservatives have used the FICA Social Security “surplus” as a worker generated trough to lather trillion$ in bailouts and bonuses to bankers, to $hell out trillion$ more in defense contractor welfare and to grease Big Oil with $ub$idizes that will drag down the U.S. economy for decades to come.

The result of this has been a massive transfer of wealth from workers to bankers/defense contractors and industries that have systematically destroyed the U.S. economy.  

So whether it’s a lottery scam in Vermont or a FICA transfer out of D.C., the Poor have the privilege of paying more than the Privileged have the obligation to pay.

************************************************

Oh, and BTW Mr. Empathy Patrolman, the issue was never about attorneys “worrying about being sensitive.” No one is dialing 911-Empathy Squad.  The issue is whether an attorney, representing a State protected utility monopoly, who happens to be

(1) charged by his client with

(2) championing a billing policy at

(3) the expense of poor people  

(4) in front of a regulatory agency, could

(5) tell the difference between

— (A) being a relevant and effective advocate; as opposed to

— (B) being ineffective, irrelevant and an asshole.

Guess what? The jury came back on the question of effective advocacy with an unambiguous verdict. Even CVPS’s President and its Gen. Counsel – the clients – called the attorney’s advocacy “careless and insensitive conduct.”

Blah, blah, blah, . . . “the poor do spend out of proportion on cigarettes and on lottery tickets” — so, speaking of being an effective advocate vs. being an irrelevant asshole . . .