In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth is Revolutionary.
Saturday, July 13, 2024

The more things change, the more they will stay the same


With Labor Day the 2010 mid-term elections kick into high gear.

Actually, the campaigns have been running in overdrive for months now, fueled by voter anger, Democratic desperation, Republican optimism, Tea Party enthusiasm and the blog-fueled 24/7 news/discussion cycle.

Republicans believe they will take control of Congress in this election and set the stage to oust Barack Obama from the White House in 2012.  Democrats hope, amid fading prospects, to retain control but accept the fact that even if they don’t lose their majority, the margin will be so razor-thin that they won’t be able to steamroller legislation.

Voters, driven by blind anger, don’t really care who they elect as long as it isn’t an incumbent form either party. Polls, ironically, show voters don’t trust Republicans but are willing to vote for them anyway.

Tea Party leaders see the election as a chance to steer the GOP away from the extreme right and more towards libertarian. Their mantra is based on anti-government, anti-establishment, anti-incumbent and “taking government back” even if they are not sure what they will do with government is they do control it.

Anyway you play it, the end result is dissolution, not solution — a shotgun approach to fixing this nation’s ills.

Will it work? Good question. It reminds me of something my grandfather once said.

“You know,” he told me about 50 years ago. “People used to tell me to ‘cheer it, things could be worse,” so I cheered up and — sure enough — things got worse.”

Are we headed in a new direction?  Maybe so, maybe not. Maybe the ‘new direction” is a back road into the same old swamp.

Barack Obama promised change and a new way of doing things. Instead, we got the same old corruption (Nancy Pelosi, Charlie Rangel, Maxine Water, et. al).  Instead of reversing things, Obama piled on more of the same (no changes in the Patriot Act, continuation and expansion of warrantless wiretapping, etc.).

The Tea Party burst upon the scene as an anti-establishment movement based on the grassroots but its real roots belongs within the Republican establishment — created by a Republican consultant who pioneered the creation of phony “astroturf” grassroots movements and funded by conservative oil billionaires with a history of supporting GOP causes.

Can we believe that any of these prophets of change can — or will — deliver on their campaign promises? Even  if they are sincere, will the system allow them to accomplish anything?

That’s the Catch-22 of Campaign 2010. Even if voter anger delivers and throws out the bastards, the ones who take control will be the Republicans and they will elect John Boehner speaker of the House and Mitch McConnell majority leader of the Senate.

The establishment will be in charge.

And change will be sent to the back of the bus.

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35 thoughts on “The more things change, the more they will stay the same”

  1. Political hacks who the special interest lobbys own, will have their political careers cut short in both parties. That’s good, because special interest’s have given those folks lots of free money.

  2. There’s a Norman Rock-Orwell image that CHB posts always bring to mind… the scene is in an old style General Store, it’s wintertime and there is snow on the ground. Six or eight retired farmers and other “past the productive years” fellows are standing and sitting around the pot-bellied stove with their stained coffee cups in hand, fairly heatedly engaged in bitching about “thangs that ain’t right” in the world. After a couple of hours, a few check their watches and declare that it’s time to “git on home, Mother’s got some chores I’d best git done”. The comfort in this image is that you know it happens every day, like clockwork, and has been for generations. The only difference is that we now do it around the secure warmth of the internet.

    • Nice imagery logtroll. : ) I said the same thing about RR a few years back and urged those folks to post more often on CHB which I consider to be Doug’s “flagship” site.

      What would you have us do? All each of us have is a single vote at election time with absolutely no voice in government whatsoever. I’m very proactive in calling, emailing and even snail mailing my Congressional reps. I even show up for their public engagements. They never fail to disappoint me in doing what’s best for corporations and big government while failing to genuinely look out for their constituents.

      On the other hand each lobbyist has a number of votes equal to the size of the checks they write or the attache’ cases packed with c-notes or Euro’s they hand off to our duly elected crimpols in D.C. It’s called ‘vote’ leveraging.

      Damn I can see that pot-bellied coal stove sittin’ in the corner of the cracker barrel store down ol’ Virginny way right now with a bunch of good ol’ boys settin’ about sharin’ some chew and reworkin’ the very fabric of the world with their “spot-on”, problem solving ideas.

      As Martha Stewart might say…”it’s a good thing”. : )

      Carl Nemo **==

      • Cap’n Nemo,

        The General Store post was not meant to be disparaging, but instead a perpective setter. I also felt it was swinging back to Doug’s original post.

        Here is a bit of description about my personal relationship to CHB— I find it to be addictive, there is something that draws me to the pot-bellied stove for regular sessions with the neighbors to argue and banter. The varied interactive habits of “our” social club include attempts at cleverness, wisdom, outrage, rebuttal, humor, bitching, and plain argumentitiveness. As social animals this is all perfectly natural and possibly even fundamental to daily living. I have experienced a couple of spells of addiction to the site, which I eventually acknowledged to be mostly wasting time. As a result, I removed CHB from my “Favorites” menu in order to make it more of a conscious choice to come to the site (I type in the website each time, and I am a poor typist), thus regulating my addiction.

        So, the site exists as a very interesting social club, this I acknowledge. Such a club, and the general topics that are regularly flayed at its meetings, are as old as humanity. It does not appear that such clubs cause any change to happen, however.

        Activism, on the other hand, depends on some call to action being made and supported; some proposal offered, accepted, and implemented through organized collaboration. The few times I tried that on the CHB site (drafting proposed legislation with Guardhouse Lawyer to put corporations in their place was the primary one) was a death knell to the string. No one but the two of us posted.

        Government is participatory. Voting and meeting attendance is a low level of participation, let’s call it the duty of citizens. Changing government is a different animal, requiring unending personal sacrifice and huge amounts of patience (and perhaps unflagging self-delusion). Finally, the changes will be very small, if they come at all. That’s the way it is.

        It’s the curse of Man, to each be the center of the universe while trapped as a mere cell in an organism of six billion such dots.

        Expecting to change government into perfection is beyond self-delusion, but is still appropriate fodder for the General Store. My apologies for the serious post, I can’t wait to get back to my CHB specialties of sarcasm and wit.

        • Hi Logtroll,

          I didn’t think your post was disparaging. In fact I concurred with your thoughts and simply expanded it with the seeming futility of trying to get our representatives to make the summary and in these times swift changes necessary for our collective societal benefit.

          Instead they muck about for a half year or more creating multi-thousand page ‘healthcare bills’ among others that are loaded with regional pork along with arcane requirements to report transactions over $600 between suppliers of goods or services. The reporting of gold bullion transactions over the same amount etc. So it’s the skulduggery that’s constantly linked to the process of legislation that should have us all concerned and not the basic mechanisms of our government. Theses modern era bills amount to creeping statism. Lobbying needs to go or be curtailed to a level where there’s simply no serious profit motive for a Congressperson to rollover and betray their constituents.

          Anyway I thought your writing was spot-on in addition to the followup reply to which I’m responding.

          Welcome aboard… : )

          Carl Nemo **==

        • Good post, logtroll… in fact, one of your best.

          Interesting your perspective: “It does not appear that such clubs cause any change to happen… Activism, on the other hand, depends on some call to action being made and supported; some proposal offered, accepted, and implemented through organized collaboration. The few times I tried that on the CHB site (drafting proposed legislation with Guardhouse Lawyer to put corporations in their place was the primary one) was a death knell to the string. No one but the two of us posted.”

          As a first response, I think your politics got in the way of constructive exchange.

          After that, I feel your angst regarding CHB as a “social club”, as I have often lamented here the frailty of mere talk. But then, what are the actual limits of what this can accomplish? Is mere talk productive? Do words need follow-thru to create momentum?

          The value of psychotherapy is often measured in the personal calm that can be effected thru verbal catharsis, i.e., the telling of your tale can remove the energetic impetus to act out.

          Thus, I feel you are correct: spewing forth here obliterates the need to actually do something productive.

  3. What is it with Americans and taxes? We have one of the most complicated, inefficient, and unfair tax systems in the world! We sit here and bicker about who should pay more, or less, and look for every possible opportunity to cheat or use the system to pay even less.
    I read somewhere recently that the largest problem faced by the American tax code over the last 20 years have been the increases in the child deductions; what an unfair deduction that is! The people who use public schools the most get the deduction!
    Yet you never hear anyone mention the fairest system there is, a simple, everyone pays the same flat tax! It simply isn’t possible that everyone will pay more with it unless somewhere along the line many are getting unfair deductions. The simple truth is that some will pay more, some will pay the same, and some will pay less. But if it’s the same percentage for everyone, then it shouldn’t matter, it’s as fair as it can possible get.
    We need a flat tax, no deductions, no nothing, just take a predetermined percentage straight off the top of any and all earninigs!

    • Well Mo, many would argue that a simple consumption tax on new goods would be better. Income tax punishes work, whereas consumption tax punishes depletion of resources. Good for the planet and all. The best consumption tax going is the Fair Tax, which rebates enough (up front) to eliminate taxes on basic necessities (especially good for low income earners) , and then kicks in above the rebated amount. No deductions, as you’ve called for. I think the tax percentage is figured to be around 21% to maintain govt income neutrality.

      Many argue that business activity would be highly stimulated by this type of tax, especially since all those other federal taxes (income, FICA, medicare, etc) would be eliminated. There are a couple of good books out about it.

  4. I love taxes paid on taxes such as when you buy tires and the price has a federal tax in it and then you pay a state sales tax on top of it.

    Then comes estate taxes. The government has all the morals of grave robbers on that one.

    Of course the biggie that governments have found to be so delicious are fees. Nothing like raising fees or creating fees to increase revenue flow.

    In Massachusetts Gov. Patrick has declared if the sales tax rollback to 3% takes place it will be a “calamity.” Funny how it wasn’t a calamity the other way around when it was raised.

    Government on taxes reminds me of Audrey II in “Little Shop Of Horrors” saying “Feed me! Feed me!.”

  5. I simply responded to your allegation that you could find nothing about Obama linked to garage sales, so I grabbed this one. In fact there’s many links either direct or of a tenuous nature to this administration on such issues. Of course the President isn’t directly involved with the process. Surely some aid or subject matter expert came up with this idea and would suggest that the IRS kick their efforts up a notch concerning the underground economy etc.

    I always pay tradesmen and laborers who perform work on my spread in cash in order to “help” them out. They in turn give me a “discount”. So yes in a way I condone such activity. Besides in a nation of mega lawbreakers at the top why should the peasants play by the rules anymore?

    Here’s a link explaining the IRS’s view on such sale activities etc.

    You seem incredibly protective of this president’s turf. Hey, my wife and I voted for him, but I chucked him on inauguration day once I found out he was loading his advisory boat with contaminated cargo (advisers) from past administrations, many if not most could be linked to the very travails our nation is suffering both past and present. He’s one uv’em; ie., part of our problem and not the solution… : |


    “When plunder has become a way of life for a group of people living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it, and a moral code that glorifies it.” …– Frederic Bastiat


    Carl Nemo **==

    • “Of course the President isn’t directly involved with the process.”

      Then why did you say:

      “And Today Obama said he wants a tax on Garage sale’s(sic)”?

      You said:

      I always pay tradesmen and laborers who perform work on my spread in cash in order to “help” them out. They in turn give me a “discount”. So yes in a way I condone such activity. Besides in a nation of mega lawbreakers at the top why should the peasants play by the rules anymore?

      Does that mean it is OK for the rest of us to choose what laws we will ignore?

      By the way, paying tradesmen in cash that way is one thing, since they are not technically employees, but when you pay laborers in cash to avoid withholding taxes you are guilty of a crime. Plain and simple. The law requires employers to withhold taxes, pay their share of FICA, and remit the entire amount to the IRS on a regular basis. This is so even if it is simply casual day labor.

      And of course you make sure that you are not hiring illegal immigrants, as required by law, don’t you?

      • You surely are a contentious, uptight soul… / : |

        If it happens on Obama’s watch, then he is responsible as far as I’m concerned.

        Carl Nemo **==

      • “The law requires employers to withhold taxes, pay their share of FICA, and remit the entire amount to the IRS on a regular basis. This is so even if it is simply casual day labor.”

        Not true if they are contract labor, which makes them other than “employees.” In such a case – especially for casual day labor – a person who hires such labor is only required to file an IRS Form 1099M – IF – he pays the contract laborer $600 or more in a single year. Whether you write them a check or pay cash has no bearing.

        Yeah, we could solve the whole economy thing if only those garage sales crooks would pay up!

        What a waste of bandwidth.

        • I said “employers” are required to withhold taxes. There are very specific rules to determine an employer-employee relationship. Hiring someone to do casual labor on your “spread” almost always results in such a relationship. You can look up the rules here and you will see the difference between an employee and a contractor:

,,id=99921,00.html :

          “It is critical that you, the business owner, correctly determine whether the individuals providing services are employees or independent contractors. Generally, you must withhold income taxes, withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment tax on wages paid to an employee. You do not generally have to withhold or pay any taxes on payments to independent contractors.”

          If one is not an employee one is an independent contractor. That’s when the rules you refer to above kick in. The key word in there is “contract.”

          If you feel Mr Nemo and I are wasting bandwidth you are certainly free to ignore us. I note that you did not seem to raise similar objections when people here started going on off topic about telescopes and amateur astronomy. If Doug Thompson tells me not to discuss this I won’t discuss it. It is his site, not yours.

          • EVERYBODY understands that when you call the plumber, the electrician, the house painter, the pesticide applicator – pick one… you are not their employer. They’re tradesmen… self-employed and at least until the new law goes into effect soon, you don’t even file a 1099 for them, as it is their duty to file taxes and pay what’s owed.

            Of course, when the new law does become effective – next year I believe – there will be enough 1099s flying around to wallpaper all of DC. Another little gift from your Pres.

  6. One of my brothers passed this on to me…

    Food for Thought:

    Sales Tax
    School Tax
    Liquor Tax
    Luxury Tax
    Excise Taxes
    Property Tax
    Cigarette Tax
    Medicare Tax
    Inventory Tax
    Real Estate Tax
    Well Permit Tax
    911 Access Tax
    Fuel Permit Tax
    Inheritance Tax
    Road Usage Tax
    CDL license Tax
    Dog License Tax
    State Income Tax
    Food License Tax
    Vehicle Sales Tax
    Gross Receipts Tax
    Social Security Tax
    Service Charge Tax
    Impact Fee Tax
    Fishing License Tax
    Federal Income Tax
    Building Permit Tax
    IRS Interest Charges
    Hunting License Tax
    Marriage License Tax
    Corporate Income Tax
    Personal Property Tax
    Accounts Receivable Tax
    Recreational Vehicle Tax
    Workers Compensation Tax
    Watercraft Registration Tax
    Telephone Usage Charge Tax
    Telephone Federal Excise Tax
    Telephone State and Local Tax
    IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
    State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
    Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
    Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
    Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
    Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
    Utility Taxes Vehicle License Registration Tax
    Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
    Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
    And Today Obama said he wants a tax on Garage sale’s
    Do you seriously think the left will ever have enough?

    Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

    We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

    What the hell happened? Can you spell Socialism ?
    You can help, pay attention when you vote.

    Carl Nemo **==

    • You forgot the tax on bloodsucking insects in the South. It’s the sweetest tax of all:

      Tick Tax.

      I googled “Obama garage sales tax” and I can’t find anything such as you suggest as to Obama’s wanting a tax on garage sales. I’d appreciate a citation to your source for that.

      I will point out to you that throughout the area where I live there are semi-professional garage sales people who have permanent garage sales at their premises; they take in a significant income from such activities, buying and selling at a profit, and not collecting a penny in sales tax or reporting a penny in income.

      I report every f**king penny of my income, including cash income I get for doing some retired person assistance work and a couple of other similar things, and I resent the hell out of people who make me pay higher taxes because they don’t pay any.

      • … because they don’t pay any.

        Uhhh, look at the list again. Using garage sales as some mark of infidelity is a pretty puny retort to the entire scheme of taxes, eh?

        Sometimes you just can’t make the govt look better than it is.

      • Hi GHL,

        I did research the tax issue on garage sales, flea market proceeds etc. and there’s quite a bit listed on Google.

        It seems when governments devolve into both broke and broken entities they’ll shake down anyone for just a “few pennies more”. If someone is engaged in the business of selling other people’s “stuff” for profit then it could be looked upon as income, but if they are simply reselling something they purchased and it’s now depreciated to almost junk value then to me it’s double taxation. If you buy an item with money that’s already been taxed then get fair usage for a number of years and sell it off your property for nickels an dimes on the dollar then taxing someone on the proceeds is an example of government predation.

        The linked article that I provide seems to say the IRS is being tasked to target the underground, cash economy that generally speaking slips under their radar.

        Carl Nemo **==

        • I am not talking about the occasional yard sale person, I am talking about those who are out there every week selling boosted , shoddy, or counterfeit merchandise on the street without having a business license, reporting income, paying social security taxes, etc., etc. This is the “underground economy” that screws the ordinary taxpayer; if you condone their paying no taxes then you must be OK with paying more taxes, something which I find hard to believe.

          It would also be a good idea to take another look at the blog you cited as proof that ” . . . Today Obama said he wants a tax on Garage sale’s(sic)”. It just plain not true. Obama said no such thing. The article is semantically loaded with bias against government and ignores the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there flagrantly cheating on their taxes. The article is full of untruths, including the statement that someone “reported” an IRS agent for failure to declare income. The article to which the blogger refers does NOT say that. The blogger is LYING! She also said that the IRS agent was liable for $41,842 for selling items on eBay. NOT TRUE. She was found liable for taxes totalling a bit less than $15,000.

          Due diligence! We need more due diligence.

  7. Some years ago in a post I wrote, I made an analogy between the two political parties and a fast food restaurant: One party is the dine-in while the other is the drive-through. Either way, you’re getting the same crappy pablum. Everything else is window dressing.

    The cliche “if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain” is a load of rubbish. I’m reaching the point already espoused by Bogofree. The system has it that candidates are forced to pretend they even recognize that people exist outside a legislative chamber, be it state or federal.

    I warned my sister two years ago that if she voted for McCain the country would go to hell in a handbasket within a year. And I was right. Some might say that Doug Thompson is a harbinger of doom; that he’s too pessimistic, etc. He has made it clear that the system “we” have is accountable to only a few. It is heard much these days, but our “representatives” have a lower turnover rate than the old soviet politoburo.

    If the American republic is an experiment in progress, then it’s time certain interests stop pissing into the test tube.

  8. In 2008 I decided to no longer vote in national elections. I have voted in every election I have been eligible to vote in and that includes some local no contests with 5% turnout. I will continue to vote in local and state elections for state positions only and pass on any national offices. Even those state positions may soon join the ranks.

    To some it is throwing away my vote (spouse) but I have seen few who even deserve consideration. Sometimes not voting can be as loud a message as voting. Maybe all those turnouts of 50% or less was not apathy but just folks ahead of the curve?

  9. My favorite all time bumper sticker reads “Don’t vote it only encourages them”.

    As long as Americans seem to enjoy being “roped dopes” voting for one or the other candidate/s within a two party system that’s degenerated into an in our face duopoly, then there’s absolutely no hope for change.

    I’ll vote on local levy issues; ie., fire department, schools etc., but will not vote for any candidate again simply because once elected they’ll march to the party line while abandoning what’s best for their constituents from local to national level. Even our city, county, township and state level governments are just as corrupt as we witness at the federal level in these times.

    Time for some Labor Day ‘lemonade’ …the unsweetened kind.: |

    Carl Nemo **==

  10. Unfortunately when it comes time to actually vote a lot of us will still vote for the one we consider the least worst of the major candidates because we are afraid that there are enough of the lockstep voters to get the worst one elected. This is the point of the 24/7 fear/hate/resent campaigns as opposed to actually honestly debating the facts. sigh*

  11. Voters, driven by blind anger, don’t really care who they elect as long as it isn’t an incumbent form (from) either party.

    Pretty much sums it up. Which means it’s really up in the air as to which major party will be the majority. Too bad we can’t convince independents to vote independent and not waste their votes on Democrats and Republicans. If we could do that, then we might actually have real change instead of promises of change with more of the same.

    • So long as we continue to elect anyone from either the Democratic or Republican parties, we shall never, ever, never-ever see change.

      It is hopeless. The D and R brands are two sides of the same coin. Heads I win, tails you lose. You know I’m right.

      I know I’m right.

      Heck, 35 years ago when I told this to my grandfather, he said I was right, and he changed from being a Republican to a Democrat because of Nixon. Before the impeachment, Grandpa refused to vote for Nixon in that second term landslide. In Minnesota, he was an oddity as a Republican, but up there the R’s used to be D’s with better booze at the parties. As a party switcher, he was almost a rarity in that bastion of Democratic Farmer Labor enthusiasm for what is right. It is the Minnesota way.

      He found out.

      I found out earlier in my life than he, as I was young when it hit me. We will never have change with the two entrenched parties and their faux “battle royal,” rolled out every two years for our entertainment, and ultimately, our demise.

      Why is the rest of the country so very slow to catch on?

      Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama have all given the “Change” mantra. You can find them all on the Google and YouTube.

      And about that promised Change? How is that change thing working?

      To my eyes, not much has changed, and things are remaining exactly as the political oligarchs desire. Because the one thing the oligarchs run from as fast as their little legs can carry them is this.

      Change. Real change is presently a pipe dream. It would be too much for any politician to bear, and so we are ‘spared’ that horror of change they promise and never deliver.

      For our own good.

      Wink, wink–nudge, nudge.

      As always, nice article Doug.

      • Thanks Lilliibet for your succinct analysis concerning the order of day relative to politics “as usual” for this nation. I’ve read no finer comments from a rather irregular poster as yourself. I hope you post more often.

        I value your prior comments to this site too. : )

        Carl Nemo **==

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