12 October 2009

More slave to government

I really don't understand this comment since when one lives in a democracy or a republic,


Is it paying taxes? The phrase is No taxation without representation, not just No taxation. The complaint was never officially over the amount of taxation (the taxes were quite low, though ubiquitous), but always on the political decision-making process by which taxes were decided in London, i.e. without representation for the colonists in British Parliament. In short, many in those colonies believed the lack of direct representation in the distant British Parliament was an illegal denial of their rights as Englishmen, and therefore laws taxing the colonists (the kind of law that affects the most individuals directly), and other laws applying only to the colonies, were unconstitutional.

Thyey don't call the state Taxachusetts for nothing

Also remember what Samuel Adams said, "Rebellion against a king may be pardoned, or lightly punished, but the man who dares to rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death." Meaning, you can rebel against that tyrant across the ocean, but not the tyrants who live next door. Or yourself if you vote and participate in the politcal process.

What is the alternative? Do you trust private industry to run the country? I know I certainly don't given how the lack of regulation and civic conscience has led to the current economic crisis.

In fact, if we get to it. Even though there is a democratic process, most of the politics are controlled by special interest groups. Take for example the Cato Institute which has been quite pivotal in changing the interpretation of the Second Amendment. It also has worked for eliminating disclosure requirements for those who contribute funds in support or opposition of ballot measures. One of the primary reasons the two groups cited was the high costs associated with disclosure requirements. At the time, these requirements were already weaker than those required for contributions to a candidate’s political campaign.

In their 1996 book No Mercy, University of Colorado Law School scholars Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado describe a shift in Cato's patron base over the years. "Early on," they wrote, "Cato's bills were largely paid by the Koch family of Wichita, Kansas. Today, most of its financial support from entrepreneurs, securities and commodities traders, and corporations such as oil and gas companies, Federal Express, and Philip Morris that abhor government regulation."[1]

Cato's sponsors

In 2006 Cato raised approximately $612,000 from the following 26 corporate supporters:

* Altria (the report identifies Altria Corporate Services as the contributor)
* American Petroleum Institute
* Amerisure Companies
* Amgen
* Chicago Mercantile Exchange
* Comcast Corporation
* Consumer Electronic Association
* Ebay Inc
* ExxonMobil
* FedEx Corporation
* Freedom Communications
* General Motors
* Honda North America
* Korea International Trade Association
* Microsoft
* National Association of Software and Service Companies
* Pepco Holdings Inc.
* R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
* TimeWarner
* Toyota Motor Corporation
* UST Inc
* Verisign
* Verizon Communications
* Visa USA Inc
* Volkswagen of America
* Wal-Mart Stores

Foundation Support:
* Castle Rock Foundation (Formerly Coors Foundation)
* Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
* Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation
* Earhart Foundation
* JM Foundation
* John M. Olin Foundation, Inc.
* Koch Family Foundations
* Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
* Scaife Foundations (Sarah Mellon Scaife, Carthage)

My point is that the Cato Institute is not publicly funded. per it's own literature: "In order to maintain its independence, the Cato Institute accepts no government funding." Independence from what--public scrutiny? Cato lists its major corporate, foundation and individual financial supporters. However, it does not list the amount or the purpose of corporate or foundation contributions..

The Cato Institute is hardly unique. You can learn more abot who funds what at Sourcewatch, which is a lovely tool for finding out who is behind what in US politics. If you are suspicious about government, you should find out who is bankrolling whom.

You are going to be a slave to government if you allow yourself to remain ignorant of the political process and not participate in it. Even more of a slave to not verify the sources of your information.