Fools and tools
Anyone who promotes tax breaks for billionaires, and is not a billionaire, has been played for a fool and used as a tool.
There is an immutable law in the physical world called conservation of energy. The total amount of energy in a closed system like our earth stays constant over time. Energy can only change form and location.
There is a similar law in the political world. The total amount of political power stays constant in a closed system like the United States. All the tax protesters who say they want to limit the power and size of government are only telling us that they want to change the form and location of political power.
Where do they want to send it? Follow the money.
In 1971, the Gross National Product (GNP) of the U.S. economy was $1.1 trillion. In 2010, the GNP was $14.7 trillion. Meanwhile, real median wage of the bottom 90 percent of workers declined from $33,001 in 1973 to $29,143 in 2005. In 2009, the United States hit record levels of poverty. One in seven of all Americans live in poverty, which is defined as $22,000 annual income for a household of four.
Where did the money go?
In 1971, the top marginal income tax rate in the U.S. was 70 percent. It has since declined by half. In 1971, the top 1 percent earned 10 percent of all income. In 2010, the top 1 percent earned 23.5 percent of all income.
The genius of the moneyed class is that it has used the multi-millionaire mainstream media, and bought and paid-for politicians, to make the middle class angry at the poor.
The corporate take-over of government at all levels that control money is in process of turning the United States government into an unelected, hereditary economic aristocracy. Think your elected representatives are unresponsive? Just try to get an appointment with one of the Koch brothers or the Walton heirs.
We have been here before. We are now at the same concentration of wealth that the United States hit in 1928. Does anyone remember how well that ended?
Prepare for disaster
In light of the recent catastrophic earthquakes in New Zealand, and now Japan, not to mention the 1,000-plus earthquakes we've experienced in Central Arkansas, the time is now for our state government to act to prepare our state in the event of major damaging events here. We are in no way prepared to deal with any type of catastrophic event of mass proportions and it's time for the Legislature to step up on this issue.
Since 2008, I've spoken with many state government officials and legislators regarding allocating funds to develop a "state disaster relief army" to be deployed with food, water, tents for tent cities, medical relief, blankets, etc. It could have doctors, dentists, nurses, firefighters and paramedics available to be deployed ASAP. It could also employ Arkansans of every age and provide them wages to feed their families. And Arkansans would be proud to be a part of this relief army; they are amazing when disasters occur pulling together to help others. Yet, I have been met with the same response: Arkansas has a disaster relief agency.
Yes we do. And they do an outstanding job but they just aren't big enough to handle a disaster on a large scale. Exactly what would we do if a 6.0-8.0 earthquake rocked our state or we had massive flooding? What resources does Arkansas have in place to deal with a catastrophic event of this magnitude? Think about it. Then do it for the people of Arkansas.
Note to the Ledge: A lot of good it will do Arkansans to be able to carry guns in churches if a major earthquake, flood, fire, or tornado devastates any part of our state. You may get your guns in churches, but you can't shoot an earthquake, tornado, fire or a flood. You certainly can't sleep on your gun. You can't eat it, drink it or wear it either.
Humankind is under pressure. Some people say that the end was always foretold. One fact is this: the population of earth cannot double anymore. War, disasters, or plagues could reduce population growth. A higher power could appear. There has to be an event or events coming because necessary resources (water, food) are limited.
Something has to happen. There is simply and emphatically no way to feed and water all the population of the earth if it doubles again.
On the fringe
Hats off to V. Liptak's letter ("On the fringe"). It squarely confronts a practice that so many "mainstream" journals of opinion have of demonizing certain ideas as if they are somehow "crazy" when they are actually very conformist.
Why are those striving for peace and justice not given front page coverage that is at least equal to the far right? There is a "silent majority" of true patriots outraged at U.S. wars of aggression, Wall Street's great train robbery, and the deepening misery of working people.
This reminds me of how the 19th-century Populist Movement is trivialized and simply air-brushed out of the history books. A perfect example is Ernest Dumas' column ("Paranoid politics"). True, members of this movement like Tom Watson of Georgia strayed off into branches of reactionary politics. But Mr. Dumas implies that the People's Party was something other than "centrist" — as if trying to keep a relatively independent farm afloat, while being at the tender mercy of unregulated railroad companies and banks somehow makes you into a bad person guilty of being "paranoid."
Congratulations also to Tony Poe for his letter on the destruction wrought by fracking where he lives in North Texas. Mr. Poe is a member of the real silent majority in our nation today. The evidence is crashing in from all over our state that there may well be a connection between the upsurge in earthquake activity in the last months and fracking, not the least from newspaper and TV items and standard reports submitted by state and federal earthquake monitors. As Gerard Matthews' article shows, public agencies are evidently not interested in addressing the issue.
North Little Rock