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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 01/ 7/2011

Doormat

By Tom Toles

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***

Friday rant: We the little people

While the Republicans are busy reading the Constitution out loud, they maybe should look up over their glasses to notice that the document has become the equivalent of a village charter that allows decision-making over a small range of trivial issues. I guess that's how they like it, but holding it up as the binding document of an independent nation has become as quaint as a teacup.

We fought a great and bloody war to prevent secession, but the wealthy have, as they always do, found a loophole. Chrystia Freeland's new story in the Atlantic describes how the new ultra-wealthy have pretty much started a new country that isn't the United States. "Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today’s super-rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves."

Maybe this is all for the best in this best of all possible worlds, but I don't remember being consulted about whether I liked the idea of America as a remnant construction whose job is to either serve or get out of the way of the new super-elite of the world. How much does a U.S. election cost them? Chump change. And guess who the chumps are. --Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | January 7, 2011; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  DC  
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Comments

This is to express my appreciation for the incisive wit and artistry you bestow on us day after day. Don't know how you do it, but please don't stop.

Posted by: spbaugh1947 | January 8, 2011 7:26 AM | Report abuse

My parents believe that any elected Democrat can do no wrong and have the peoples interest at heart, and while they probably wouldnt actually want to see dead Republicans -- please do not elect them any more!!! My mothers uncle lived next door to Hubert Humphrey so they are pretty dyed in the wool. I am sure there is a lot of people like them. Plus things have changed a lot in the last 30 years.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 7, 2011 8:30 PM | Report abuse

~~When are 'the people' of the US going to wake up to this!!!
Posted by: dalyplanet ~~

I don't know daly..sometimes we choose to believe in 'the powers that be' and dream...

Posted by: bertzel | January 7, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

When are 'the people' of the US going to wake up to this!!!

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 7, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

~~the drive their is World Control period~~me
If I may. Meant to say...their drive is World Control period

Posted by: bertzel | January 7, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

~~Some here give lip-grief to George Soros, but forget that the Hamiltons and Washingtons and Jeffersons of two hundred years ago were the Soroses of their day. ~~

They all had different 'beliefs/priorities' however, the UNITED STATES/this country's success was their main objective...Soros and others on the gold chain don't give a rat's....about this country...the drive their is World Control period

Posted by: bertzel | January 7, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Amen! And Thanks again - oh "Voice in the Wilderness".

Posted by: lufrank1 | January 7, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

~~Some here give lip-grief to George Soros, but forget that the Hamiltons and Washingtons and Jeffersons of two hundred years ago were the Soroses of their day.~~

jonroesler |

no not at all maybe H Ford or others but they loved the republic and Sorus just wants to take from it. He would happily crush the dollar but has not accumulated a big enough position yet.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 7, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@dalyplanet - You presented what you now acknowledge as the observed record of the LAST century as the implied projection for the NEXT century. That is deceptive, at the very least.~~Posted by: fbrewer1

I missed this the other day.I can argue some more but lets say YOU are correct.

The relatively painless solutions proposed to slow or stop AGW are so inadequate as to be nearly meaningless gestures. The main change is raising the price of energy and the result is some will profit handsomely but CO2 will continue to rise. If this issue is so serious as claimed by a few, why is there no serious proposals to actually limit CO2 output.

One of the proposed solutions involves pumping billions of tons of CO2 at high pressure into the earth, more volume every year than the volume of oil we use every year. This has not been done yet anywhere even experimentally, but will be implemented by 2030 for most US power plants. huh?? This cure seems worse than the disease. What happens when billions of tons of 1000 psi CO2 leaks out? A lot of things will die.

You AGW types need to start to propose conservation that will work, and it will hurt. Back to the thirties maybe.

My proof that it is really not a big problem is that outside a few people, no one is doing anything of substance. Words and raise taxes are the extant of carbon reduction plans executed so far.

One other thing, believing in God does not reduce your scientific credentials, DeCartes was an inspired mathmatition and philosopher that proved Gods existence with math. I believe AGW may be the new religion of atheists, it gives you something unseen to believe in.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 7, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Buffet himself made the statement that (paraphrasing), he pays taxes at a lower net rate than his secretary. Even knowing the man only by reputation, my guess is that he knows what he's talking about.

Some here give lip-grief to George Soros, but forget that the Hamiltons and Washingtons and Jeffersons of two hundred years ago were the Soroses of their day. They believed deeply in Federalism (some people's Socialism) as opposed to Monarchism, and managed to start a whole new country with that as the basic concept.

They saw anarchism (rightly) as a threat, too, which is why the "new" constitution was written... something to arrange a way for us all to pay our fair shares.

Posted by: jonroesler | January 7, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Yes BUT you all need to wrap your head around the FACT that ALL of us are supporting the wealthy in our political decisions. Republican or Democrat the EXTREME RICH are pulling the strings esp. when it comes to the President. I know this is hard to accept for some of you idealists but look hard at Obamas cabinet, some names are different but the players are the same as with Bush.
Posted by: dalyplanet

My Response...
Good observation Dalyplanet.
What the rich do not want to understand is that they live in the same world as us.
They will be the victims of their own greed, apathy and sociopathic behavior.
Marie Antoinette and the last Czar of Russia Alexander and his family were victims of that fateful error.
We are not a Democracy if we are ruled by the rich.
We need a government that is independent of the rich and the powerful that works for the best interests of all of its constituents.
It is the government’s responsibility to provide equity and justice for its people.
The government is also responsible for a functional and efficient economic system that maximizes the quality of the society and people's lives through sufficient funds for government as well as social needs.
Financing is an essential element of social organization and the exchange of goods and services.
A constipated economic system turns everything to waste, including the people.
The government can generate "new money" to provide for emergency funding. If it does not; it is irresponsible.
Dave

Posted by: OckamsRazor | January 7, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

~~~My Reply...
The "Universal Intelligence" is what ever it is~~~~

Yep..I agree...so many words used on this blog yet each post can always be summed up in one short sentence.

Posted by: bertzel | January 7, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

What is this universal intelligence? …such a vague description and what do you mean by caretakers of the earth? Are you suggesting we ‘creatures’ are to be ‘zoo keepers’ and stewards of the land? That is our ‘soul’ purpose?
I don’t know dave…your timeline also seems a bit ‘backward’ to me on several points.
Posted by: bertzel

My Reply...
The "Universal Intelligence" is what ever it is that makes it possible for physical entities to have a source of intelligence that makes for a functional and comprehensive reality.
Actually, time lines are not lines. They are change in a sequence of events that produces a continual physical phenomenon in space all at one time. While some parts of space are evolving other parts of space are doing entropy. Some parts of space are doing random change, some parts of reality are doing cause and effect and other parts of space are doing rational function. Physical reality is the product of both physical and rational activity.
I am suggesting that we are both intelligent and physical entities that depend on intelligent thinking and intelligent acting.
"We are but players on the stage of reality" that reality is brought to us by a magnificent creator of physical reality with rational intent.
We need to use "rational intent" not foolish abuse as we play our part in the history we are creating.
Because we are rational beings; we should be able to understand that this is where we live and we need to protect our own interests and use our resources prudently.
We should also understand that other animals are rational to some extent and are an important part of our earth experience.
Dave

Posted by: OckamsRazor | January 7, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

~~~~I believe that Mr. Toles is stating that the Constitution has been trivialized by the wealthy and the corporations, both fully supported, somewhat naively, by the Tea Party and right wing conservatives..

Posted by: pjohn2

Yes BUT you all need to wrap your head around the FACT that ALL of us are supporting the wealthy in our political decisions. Republican or Democrat the EXTREME RICH are pulling the strings esp. when it comes to the President. I know this is hard to accept for some of you idealists but look hard at Obamas cabinet, some names are different but the players are the same as with Bush.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 7, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it folks, it's the roaring 20s again...for the super rich. The only differnce now is, if they do stupid things and drive their companies to the edge of oblivion, or themselves to the gates of white-collar prison, they are quickly rescued. They have become so large that they are "too big to fail", and you and I bail them out and let them off. So they have absolutely no incentive to do anything different.

What's mostly annoying is how conservatives defend the masters of this game, their Republican party. The Dems are becoming nearly as bad, but have always played second fiddle to the ability of Republicans to hand over the reigns of our economy to those who accumulate the most wealth (and thus deplete it from the rest of society). Whenever we vote for these people, we vote against our own self interest. Just look at the comments in here defending the super rich.

Real wages in comparison to what they were 50 years ago, have not kept pace with inflation. How many families can have 5 or 6 kids (not that I'm encouraging this) and have one bread winner in the family working as a repairman, or teacher, or railroad worker, as they did 50 years ago, and still afford a house and food and basic neccesities for the family? Not many. Everyone has to work more and longer for less money these days when compared to then. Why? Because the money is going elsewhere, to the pockets of those who already have too much.

The continuing existance of this system has become sort of a quiet, understood norm. Sort of a "matrix" if you will, where everyone has become oblivious to it, yet it is all around us. The only time it became apparent, was when we were forced to bail out those corporations that, if we did NOT bail them out, would have sent us into ruins. But afterward, the matrix took over once again, and everyone went back to their ignorance, happy that they could still shop and surf the web and go to the drive-through for a burger. The white noise of the matrix lulled us back to where we need to be to keep it intact. Never mind those increasing numbers of unemployed and poor.

If you know anything about sustainability, you'll know that this can't continue; especially when the world's resources are being used up in mass quantities to keep the matrix intact, to keep the super rich, super rich, and to keep the rest of us blissfully ignorant. We are headed for a major collapse of our world's ability to keep this up, and if we don't do something about it soon, there will be no way to prevent it. Politics for the rich, politics for re-election, politics for the matrix, needs to stop. Our leaders need to develop some vision, be honest with themselves and us, and risk upsetting all the wrong people; if we hold any hope at all for a decent future.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | January 7, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I believe that Mr. Toles is stating that the Constitution has been trivialized by the wealthy and the corporations, both fully supported, somewhat naively, by the Tea Party and right wing conservatives..

Posted by: pjohn2 | January 7, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The Constitution reading apparently left out some of the juicy parts regarding slaves. I guess these paragraphs didn't meet the Republican's standards of original intent (either that or there wasn't enough evidence to show these were job-killing paragraphs).

On another note, I recently purchased a pedestal sink for my downstairs bathroom. It is a nice product from the American Standard Company head-quarted in New Jersey (still one of the states, I think). When I went to install it, I had to turn it over. Lo and behold, on the bottom was stamped MADE IN CHINA. OMG. American Standard is now Made In China? Is nothing sacred? I guess this speaks volumes regarding all of the good manufacturing jobs that have been flushed down the drain to China. I'm pretty sure we have the knowledge to make sinks here in the US. No?

Posted by: orinski | January 7, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

This isn't actually how this works.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr

Care to explain?

I really doesn't matter anyway because the super rich control the puppet strings and will never allow a true wealth tax going forward. And a true populist president will never get elected because big money will step in. Most of you all here agree that Bush was connected to wealth but the last three Dem candidates were probably even in deeper. Gore, Kerry, and Obama all have large contributions from the worlds richest people. Kerry got 23 million from George Soros, a guy that wants to revalue our dollar or see a new currency.

Obama ran as a populist but the examples are overwhelming that he is not. The health care bill is distasteful to some not because they want suffering or are cheap or otherwise, It is because it sets up 15% of our economy to be filtered through the hands of a few well connected wealthy people.

Being controlled by the extreme rich is not a Republican or Democrat thing anymore.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 7, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

~~`My Try to Teach and Preach...dave~~

Hmm…Teach and Preach?? Are you referring to this school of fish?
…great balls of fire dave?
Goodness gracious.
What is this universal intelligence? …such a vague description and what do you mean by caretakers of the earth? Are you suggesting we ‘creatures’ are to be ‘zoo keepers’ and stewards of the land? That is our ‘soul’ purpose?
I don’t know dave…your timeline also seems a bit ‘backward’ to me on several points.
But hey…I’m just one of the simple minded fish, I mean, students here…

Toles, not to start any new conspiracy theories, yet making an observation;
“boom, boom, boom, and boomers” + Suspicious Package…are you trying to tell us something :-)

Posted by: bertzel | January 7, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse


The wealthy don't create wealth. They extract it -- as economist Michael Hudson keeps reminding us.

The Founders, having suffered the oppressions of monarchy (private capital), saw private corporations as temporary institutions, with government-granted charters that expire. Today, thanks to the propaganda mills, we think that private corporations, with all the benefits that incorporation bestows, have more legitimacy than the government that bestows those benefits.

Having squandered the bully pulpit with his chronic attending to the Left-Right political theater, Mr. Toles is as least a semi-witting tool of the propaganda mills. The "kooks" warning about a "new world order" of soft enslavement have turned out to be more astute/honest in their assessments than the mainstream media pundits.

Notice who Obama just appointed to be his new chief of staff: A JP Morgan banking executive.

Case closed.

Posted by: HumanistPatriot | January 7, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

pararanger has a point, Taxing high income can be counterproductive, say a sports guy makes 2mil a year presently so 600,000 gets sucked out of circulation to government leaving 1.4mil to get into the general economy. Raise the tax to 50% and only 1mil is left for the citizens to circulate.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 6, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

This isn't actually how this works.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | January 7, 2011 9:47 AM | Report abuse

egc52556

I am aware of your numbers. I am PROPOSING a NEW tax on high net worth of 1% as a way to balance the accumulation of wealth into a tiny number of citizens hands. A real tax the truly rich plan.

Please read the first post again.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 7, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Representation in the Congress?

Easy. Just let them live in Columbia County, Maryland. Keep a small strip from the White House to the Capitol for DC.


Problem solved.

No way that Columbia can be a state.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | January 7, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

dalyplanet, your numbers are still off. Buffet doesn't pay taxes on his net worth, he would only pay taxes on his new income.

See http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/money/tax/article1996735.ece

In 2007 he paid 8,100,000 (17.7%) in taxes.

Posted by: egc52556 | January 7, 2011 6:46 AM | Report abuse

sherm1...it is not global warming. It is the end of times...and the rich are going to inherit the earth.
Posted by: bertzel

My Try to Teach and Preach...
In the beginning was thermal cooling when things began to take shape. At first there were strange balls of fire in the sky.
Then there were cool planets one of which was earth.
All of the right chemicals had come together to form functional reality through intelligent organization of form and function.
Through trial and error, various forms developed into flora and fauna. Intelligent beings became aware of their existence and adjusted that existence to meet their needs.
These creatures became aware of a universal source of intelligence that could help them cope with reality.
The better things got and the smarter the creatures became the more arrogant they became.
They no longer listened to the universal intelligence and wasted their lives on vain pursuits.
Instead of being the caretakers of the earth, they became a source of chaos and destruction.
The creatures contaminated the earth to the point were their brains no longer functioned efficiently.
They became simple minded idiots in a survival of the fittest world that was no longer benevolent.
Thus the meek inherited the earth.
There were no rich people just poverty stricken idiots who sold their souls for a pot of contaminated mush.
Dave
Universal Intelligence Specialist




Posted by: OckamsRazor | January 7, 2011 1:35 AM | Report abuse

My number for Buffet is off by a factor of ten(taking a lesson from some IPCC scientists ha ha) so 46 billion worth = 460,000,000 tax at 1%

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 6, 2011 11:35 PM | Report abuse

pararanger has a point, Taxing high income can be counterproductive, say a sports guy makes 2mil a year presently so 600,000 gets sucked out of circulation to government leaving 1.4mil to get into the general economy. Raise the tax to 50% and only 1mil is left for the citizens to circulate. High income spenders stimulate the economy.

Now if instead you taxed wealth or accumulated incomes there is a incentive to spend to some degree and so many truly rich don't pay income tax in the traditional sense as their income is not earned.

Tax net worth 1% or 1/2% over 20 mil or any threshold and you have some balance tax wise. Warren Buffet net worth is 460 billion so 1% is 4.6 billion every year or 2.3 billion depending on the rate. Seems fair to me. Or a 20 million net worth = 200,000 for the year. This is a Tax the Rich I am on board with. This type of money is not in circulation already to some degree so disappearing into government is a lateral move and not a loss to general circulation.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 6, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

~~Huhh I am sure the Bible says the MEEK are going to inherit the earth.~~daly

are you sure cuz the Bible tells you so.??

I think I remember singing that song too : ) guess it isn't true..

Posted by: bertzel | January 6, 2011 10:17 PM | Report abuse

~~Keep complaining, according to the Constitution the 10 X 10 Mile District can be moved anywhere in the United States, maybe like Iowa, and we don't even have to call it Washington, but it will always be called the District.
Posted by: jornolibist ~~

Yep, it's true. I recall reading it. : )

Posted by: bertzel | January 6, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

~~~and the rich are going to inherit the earth.

Posted by: bertzel

Huhh I am sure the Bible says the MEEK are going to inherit the earth.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 6, 2011 10:08 PM | Report abuse

~~~In regard to the rich in this country, I have a real problem dictating rules to the wealthy,~~~pararanger22~~

Therein lies the problem...

The military code of ethics...considering all the 'village people' comments and 'such', I'm pretty sure you know what I am implying here as well...

Posted by: bertzel | January 6, 2011 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Toles you forgot one thing. D.C. Residents need to make sure that their Federal Tax Returns are postmarked by the 18th of April.

How about that Representation?

Posted by: Falling4Ever | January 6, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Keep complaining, according to the Constitution the 10 X 10 Mile District can be moved anywhere in the United States, maybe like Iowa, and we don't even have to call it Washington, but it will always be called the District.

Posted by: jornolibist | January 6, 2011 9:35 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post should be banned from using the word "Washington" in its title for its blatant discrimination against the U.S. Constitution.

Posted by: paraelvotante | January 6, 2011 9:15 PM | Report abuse

bertzel wrote:

["Pararanger22, If I may; Again, I can not speak for Toles however, I think you missed the point being made here...The rich are in control. They are going to do as they please. Rule as they please...that piece of paper, The Constitution of the United States, no longer stands a chance. It is being bought by the rich and paid for by the sweat, blood, and foreclosures (had to throw that in there)of 'we the people'. You have to look at the big picture once in awhile ranger...makes a lot more sense then. And Obama has just appointed more 'Wall Streeters'...not good. Also as to your comment concerning the military...they also are suppose to abide to a certain code of ethics are they not??"]

--------------------

There are regulations, joint code of ethics that the military must adhere to and keep up with in term of modifications, true (not sure the point you're making though).

The oath of office is as follows: "I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

I understand your comments on Toles analysis of the rich but he clearly puts across that the Constitution is not the 'binding document' of our Nation. I have a serious problem with that comment and you should too.

In regard to the rich in this country, I have a real problem dictating rules to the wealthy, to include raising taxes on them. If you assume that the rich, proportionately, pay the same share of taxes as I do, they're paying more than I am, thus, paying their fair share for all the things the USG/State/County/Municipal provide for them.

I've met a lot of wealthy folks in my 48 years. I can't remember a single one that didn't handsomely generate funds for numerous charities and worthwhile causes. There are plenty of Ebenezer Scrooges out there still, I agree, but spending too much time worrying about them is not time well spent.

Posted by: pararanger22 | January 6, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse

sherm1...it is not global warming. It is the end of times...and the rich are going to inherit the earth.

Posted by: bertzel | January 6, 2011 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Pararanger22, If I may;
Again, I can not speak for Toles however, I think you missed the point being made here...The rich are in control. They are going to do as they please. Rule as they please...that piece of paper, The Constitution of the United States, no longer stands a chance. It is being bought by the rich and paid for by the sweat, blood, and foreclosures (had to throw that in there)of 'we the people'. You have to look at the big picture once in awhile ranger...makes a lot more sense then.
And Obama has just appointed more 'Wall Streeters'...not good.

Also as to your comment concerning the military...they also are suppose to abide to a certain code of ethics are they not??

Posted by: bertzel | January 6, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

The Atlantic article provides a pretty good foundation for understanding why global warming will never scare the super rich. When the seas rise, farm land turns to desert, and Davos becomes a super hot jungle, the global family of the super rich will meet and select the choice spots that global warming has either not affected or turned for the better, e.g. the Newfoundland Riviera.

Of course they will expect national governments to expend some resource to make these new nice places more habitable, airports, utilities, security etc.

Posted by: sherm1 | January 6, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Toles wrote:

["While the Republicans are busy reading the Constitution out loud, they maybe should look up over their glasses to notice that the document has become the equivalent of a village charter that allows decision-making over a small range of trivial issues. I guess that's how they like it, but holding it up as the binding document of an independent nation has become as quaint as a teacup."]

------------------

Both Democrats and the GOP bloggers on Toles' little blog should take a long look at Toles' rant today, especially:

"the document has become the equivalent of a village charter that allows decision-making over a small range of trivial issues."

Americans on both sides of the aisle should condemn this view.

Would a military officer or NCO who must take an oath to 'support and defend the Constitution of the United States' retort that 'gee, the Constitution is trivial - can I like swear an oath to the Village People or something dude?'

Toles is free to express his opinion. But his views are clearly extreme and not in keeping of the best of American traditions, regardless of party affiliation.

Posted by: pararanger22 | January 6, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

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