Good morning fun-loving firepups, I thought I was going to have much more fun when my household received a 3-ounce mailer from FreedomWorks. I thought it would be all health care, and was anxious to share with you how far they dipped into looney rhetoric on death panels and socialism.
However, it turns out to be the Oregon branch of Freedomworks running a Taxpayer Defense Project on an Oregon-specific issue, the right’s attempt to roll back a legislative tax re-structuring, brought on by the recession’s effect on Oregon state revenues (and the sting of the Doonesbury cartoons lampooning the school shutdown in a previous budget shortfall, even though now some years ago, still really hurts around here). So the legislature passed a new taax bracket on the Oregon income tax, taking the stated rate (before deductions and exemptions and special tax breaks that inevitably reduce it) from a flat 9% on all income over about $60,000 to a 10% rate on income over $250,000 and 11% over $500,000, if I recall correctly, maybe it’s 11% and 12%. And now the Republican party and its allies are running a referendum petition, to have a statewide vote that could potentially negate the legislature’s new tax scheme.
So the Oregon branch of Freedomworks, using a return address of 5434 River Road NE, Suite 366 Keizer OR 97303 and a website of TaxpayerDefenseProject-dot-com (sorry, tech doesn’t like me enough to let me do linky-thingies and I need to get to work relatively soon so I’m not investigating their website myself now), has helpfully sent us a set of official referendum petitions and instructions for getting them filled out properly (since the Oregon authorities have been clamping down on the excesses of petition-gathering practices here, in an effort generally sponsored by organized Dems in response to right-wing bankrolling of crazy initiatives here).
So that’s what takes up 3 ounces, plus of course a semi-glossy 3-color foldout, it’s actually an unusual paper size of 8&1/2 x 15&1/2, so they’re spending more on paper while they save on color. The text cries about a "1 Billion Dollar Tax Increase!" and delineates "Job Killers #1 and #2".
There’s also a financial solicitation form, and a business reply envelope, whose front can probably be cut off and affixed on a 20-lb. box of rocks, so they will have to pay over fifty cents an ounce to receive it.
Yet in my limited time here, I want to stress … where is our organization?
We don’t need some self-important bunch in DC astro-turfing everything for us while they collect 6-figure salaries for their families, but there is nothing wrong with the American left that cannot be fixed with the help of an organization that 1 million or more of us belonged to, and funded with an average contribution of $20. to make a $20 million budget, an organization that I would see as sort of the truly radical branch of Moveon, plus the more moderate and centrist elements of Code Pink, and organized not as a non-profit — which FreedomWorks seems to be doing, or at least they used a non-profit org. postage stamp on their mailer — but organized as a political committee, and which exists TO FORCE THE DEMOCRATS TO FULFILL THEIR LIBERAL PROMISES, to get timeserving Republican-lovers like Baucus, Conrad, Wyden, Bayh, Landrieu and the rest OUT of the Senate and out of public life, and to put a scare into the remaining corporate Democrats that we can’t yet get rid of.
I have tons of plans to do this, and I may yet be posting my blueprints here at the Seminal. Yet I’ve refrained so far because I get the sense that blog-commenters are much more into snarky comments than they are into ACTUALLY GETTING ORGANIZED TO EFFECT REAL CHANGE.Just to follow Jane and the rest of the FDL leaders in blog-organizing whip movements, on a greater basis than we’re already doing, would be such a start.
If I found such an organization, I would like it to be idealistic about goals like an actual peace-loving foreign policy on America’s part, on discussing why we need a military force structure THAT COSTS MORE THAN ALL OTHER NATION’S MILITARIES COMBINED, but which, unfortunately, does not provide us with more actual security than all other nation’s combined. I will be pushing my anti-political nepotism Constitutional Amendment, and legislation and/or Const. Amendmnt. to tax all public relations and lobbying activities (with an exemption for the first $100,000 spent). Yet so far I haven’t actually detected much enthusiasm for such grand plans in the left blogosphere.
So what organization would you like to see? How do we get there from here? What actual goals do we need to focus on the keep from gatting distracted, and what public policy memes should we stress to gain supporters?
Do we really want to change this country and begin to address the challenges of tomorrow’s democracy … or are we really content just to blog and bitch while Freedomworks spends its money keeping its troops organized and powerful, at least in the minds of the mainstream media?