Home > Protest > Tax cheats face multiple protests in Humboldt County

Tax cheats face multiple protests in Humboldt County

It’s tax time, as everyone knows, but not everyone is paying their fair share.

Protests across the nation are targeting America’s biggest tax cheats — corporations that rake in the dough but pay less than the average citizens. The rallies are part of a campaign called “Make Them Pay.”

The biggest cheaters include GE, Bank of America, Google, BP, Amazon, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Boeing, ExxonMobil, FedEx, Goldman Sachs, Chase and Verizon, according to organizers at MoveOn and US Uncut.

In Humboldt County, focus is on Bank of America, principal owner of (among other entities) Eureka’s newspaper, the Times-Standard. There will be 3 chances for you to participate.

Friday, April 15 (hosted by Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County)

  • 12 NOON at Bank of America, Henderson Center, Eureka, CA
  • 5:00pm. at Bank of America, On the Plaza, Arcata, CA

Monday, April 18 (hosted by MoveOn)

  • 4:30pm at Bank of America, corner of 4th and F Streets, Eureka, CA

“During these difficult economic times, when all Americans are being asked to sacrifice, it is simply wrong that Bank of America is shirking their American duty to pay their taxes,” said Susana Munzell, coordinator for the Redwood Council of Moveon.org. “We are protesting on Tax Day because corporate tax dodgers have a responsibility to our community and our nation to pay their fair share. We pay our taxes. Bank of America should too.”

Movie fans might also remember BofA’s tasteless practice brought to light by Michael Moore’s documentary Capitalism: A Love Story where the financial wizards take out life insurance policies on employees in order to reap the profits when they die.

  1. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 6:10 am

    It’s probably not the most inclusive thing to feature the American flag being sliced in half in a project logo. It tends to alienate people across the aisle you’d otherwise attract to your cause.

  2. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 6:16 am

    HA! I was going to post this in Quick Notes, but low and behold, there was a thread just waiting for it. Krugman’s blog today “The Conscience of a Liberal” has 2 graphs. One which shows tax revenues as compared to GDP in the first world. Only Australia has lower taxes than we do. It also shows that the European countries suffering the most from financial problems are those with the lowest taxes. The second graph shows just how dramatically taxes for the rich have fallen since 1992.


  3. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 6:24 am

    low? More coffee

  4. Ponder z
    April 15, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Of all the dope growers in Humboldt how many are declaring true income form their farming business? If you did not you are a tax cheat. How many are getting discounted power from PGE? How many are getting other government entitlements? Even though you are making $80000 a year in cash. You can still get other free stuff too. That would make you a cheater. Living off others hard work. PGE, an evil corporation gets tax breaks because it give free power to the poor folk. It is subsidised with tax breaks. How evil of them.

  5. Curley
    April 15, 2011 at 7:01 am

    That’s the Bank of America logo being sliced, not the American flag per se, 6:10. It’s early Jane-good morning.

  6. April 15, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Are they really cheating, or just following the tax code to pay only what they actually owe? I’m guessing that the real cheats are in Washington. If we dislike the law, we should work to change it. You don’t think companies are going to pay more than the IRS says they owe?

  7. Slime
    April 15, 2011 at 7:14 am


  8. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Is it cheating when you use your political connections to get tax rates set to your economic advantage, Gen?

  9. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Last time I checked GE is BFF with Obushma. I agree withe Genevieve. Hey Jane, do you pay taxes and if so do you take all the deductions allowed? If so you are a cheater. If I get to the protest I gotta bring a “plain jane cheats” sign. I’m for a flat tax. To hell with all of this.

  10. Toohey
    April 15, 2011 at 7:48 am

    I get it, eat the rich. Then we can turn on each other for being enemies of the people. Meanwhile we quietly enjoy the perks of being top party officials. Good luck with that one the people are not worthy, they will sleep right through your revolution.

  11. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 7:49 am

    When I have the money and power to get my lobbyists sitting with congressmen, actually writing legislation with loopholes specially designed for ME, then you can call me a tax cheat. Until then GFY.

  12. Ben
    April 15, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Last time I looked, they were loosing money. So do you pay taxes when you loose money? This whole thing is just silly and feeding the Democracy Unlimited’s thing about corporations. Just another fringe cause.

  13. Richard Salzman
    April 15, 2011 at 7:55 am


  14. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Notice how all the right wing authoritarians come out to defend their masters’ corruption?

    It’s GFY, not GYF, Richard.

  15. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Charming Jane. Truth smarts a bit galpal? If GE isn’t lobbying I don’t know what you call it.

  16. Anonymoose
    April 15, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Last week CBS 60 Minutes did an article on the corporate tax rates around the world. Very interesting. The US has some of the highest corporate tax rates in the world (35%). This is why corporations move their HQ’s to Switzerland (12%), or Ireland (16%), where the corporate tax rates are lower. This is why General Electric pays only 3% taxes in the US, as they have divisions all over the world, and really “good” tax lawyers.

  17. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Who said GE wasn’t lobbying, 8:05?

    As Krugman’s graph, linked above shows, the US has 2nd to the lowest tax rates overall of all first world democracies. Effective tax rates aren’t the same as the bogus numbers they claim they are paying which, obviously for the majority of corporations is 0%. Only small businesses pay the claimed tax rates because they can’t afford lobbyists to write their special deals and can’t offer any legislator or IRS official a job that pays more than govt.

  18. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Following the tax laws isn’t cheating. Taking the allowed deductions isn’t cheating. All of the corporation’s stockholders are going to have to pay income taxes on any dividends created from profits. Sometimes corporations who are struggling don’t have to pay taxes as they don’t have an income shown. Same ol’ haters spewing here.

  19. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Buying legislators to write tax laws for your benefit is worse than cheating. It corrupts our entire system of government.

  20. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 8:29 am


  21. High Finance
    April 15, 2011 at 8:30 am

    How stupid. Think inflaming topics bring you any credibility ? “Tax Cheats” ?? Those companies are not cheating, they are following the law ?

    I also watched the 60 Minute episode which showed the US with the highest corporate tax rates in the world.

  22. Mitch
    April 15, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Kudos to the NCJ for publishing, along with other alt-weeklies, a clear and truthful cover story about taxes.


    Like Barry Evans’ recent item on global warming, this story’s author doesn’t try to pretend that there are two equally-valid sets of facts, “balancing” the truth with an equal amount of phoniness. It just lays out the facts.

  23. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Bleeding Our Government to Death
    Some tax facts hardly anyone knows
    By David Cay Johnston


  24. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Isn’t it absolutely HILARIOUS that all these RWA’s are using 60 Minutes as a source which, as we all know, is owned by GE?

  25. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 8:36 am

    That was a biased article. This crowd loves to critique the rich.

  26. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 8:37 am

    We both posted the same article from different sources, Mitch! :D

  27. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Yeah, wtf does David Cay Johnston know about taxes?

    David Cay Johnston (born Dec. 24, 1948) is an investigative journalist and author. Until April 2008, he was the tax reporter with The New York Times for thirteen years. He now works as an author, reporter, radio and television essayist, and lecturer.

  28. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Someone tell me that the SEIU hasn’t bought legislators. You’ll have to do it here since it can’t be done with a straight face.

  29. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Can you give a few examples of legislation that SEIU owned legislators have passed for their benefit, 8:39?

  30. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Why is it so hard to raise taxes on the rich?

    “To see how far the debate has shifted, you just need to look at what’s on the table in the current showdown: Progressives are asking to increase the top two tax brackets from 33 and 35 percent to 36 and 39.6 percent, while Paul Ryan’s “Pathway to Prosperity” proposes cutting taxes in the highest bracket to 25 percent. That is, Democrats are merely asking that taxes on the rich be returned to what they were at the beginning of the Bush administration, which is still just slightly more than half of what they were at the beginning of the Reagan administration, while Republicans are pushing for rates lower than they’ve been since immediately before the Great Depression.”


  31. Mitch
    April 15, 2011 at 8:51 am

    And within one minute of one another, Jane. Spooky.

  32. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 8:55 am

    hate the rich! hate the rich!

  33. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I do hope everyone has read the book that Tra posted recently, The Authoritarians. It explains why, no matter how much evidence is provided to these people, they are incapable of processing it and only increase their defense of those who are destroying the country they claim to love. The mental illness that they suffer from should elicit pity, but not to the point that they should be allowed to control the debate or succeed with their sociopathic agenda.

  34. April 15, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Don’t know how I missed this: In Humboldt County, focus is on Bank of America, principal owner of (among other entities) Eureka’s newspaper, the Times-Standard. Because it certainly explains a lot. It also explains why writing to the Editor(s) is a total waste of time.

    The best kind of a demonstration is one that actually works and is something everyone can participate in: STOP doing business and supporting those that DO business with the Times-Standard Newspaper.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Genevieve says:
    April 15, 2011 at 7:11 am
    Are they really cheating, or just following the tax code to pay only what they actually owe? I’m guessing that the real cheats are in Washington. If we dislike the law, we should work to change it. You don’t think companies are going to pay more than the IRS says they owe?

    Response: Actually, your accurate (If “they” suggests corps.) in that the fascist allowances, contracts and bailouts that some of these organizations (burp, corporate conglomerates) receive, especially through a “rigged” tax code that benefits increased wealth ABOVE A CERTAIN MINIMUM LEVEL WHICH IS ALREADY TOO HIGH FOR MOST WORKING CLASS FOLKS (adjustable tax rates that decrease as wealth increases on a dollar per dollar ration) is BECAUSE OF past and current elected officials who are conspiring and corrupting to keep unchanged one of the frauds among frauds upon human beings and their individual labors.

    Consumption taxes tackle the impact problems as well :-). Getting behind a properly drafted and implemented “FAIR TAX” is the change this country needs immediately, not President Obama speaking economics because it is clear he is getting slobber-knocked and out-intelligenced over business and matters of the economy. Now, who woulda thunk this prior to Obama-mania? Surely not many folks who DID NOT attend an Ivy League college, let alone some other hoydie, doydie over-expensive latte institution.

    Some thoughts on mega wealth:

    Why earn a great deal of wealth to not spend it and just sit on it for how long?

    That wealth is not going to disappear is it, but just lay in wait?

    So, that wealth is not used, but still in the money supply?

    Could there exist a better chance that internet hackers find a way into the mega wealthy personal and business accounts and drain that wealth from the wealthy grafters of society – the internet Robin Hood “LEVERAGE” affect. Venturing to guess others are already trying.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  36. April 15, 2011 at 9:18 am

    It is an undisputed fact that the rich, the corporations including Wall Street, Too-Big to Fail banks, etc. own “the” government – “the” elected representatives. When everyone voted for Barack Obama thinking he would represent “them,” it is plain for everyone to see how that worked out, because they were actually voting for those few mega rich that “own” him. This kind of belief is a strawman:“Those companies are not cheating, they are following the law ?” They are in fact out and out stealing. Here is a link to some facts: Offshore Banking and Tax Havens Have Become Heart of Global Economy.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Joe Blow is on it – Quit purchasing fascist’s products. Too bad that people lose their job working for a “Double Standard” Times Standard. The hard part is I know some good people who work for T-S, but fascism is fascism and there is no excuse to support fascism in any shape or form when you are a citizen held to the standard of upholding the U.S. Constitution and its “free market” principles. It stinks when good people are working for economically and socially tyrannic, truant types of businesses.

    What most people do when backed into a corner with high costs and few job opportunities – seek survival while flip-flopping on ideologies.

    It is a basic fear for social and individual instability that will change a person, real quick-like, to where they work for a business that is not a good business do by way of what is right. Anyone who is level-headed would admit T-S is a dive.


  38. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Jane, you are a prime example of someone who, when faced with evidence hitting you squarely in the face, won’t budge, even when you are proven to be wrong. When you were shown that charter schools were public, you still had to weasel out by saying that the thread had to do with other than that point. The point was several were comparing charters with public schools, and charters are public schools. You can’t quit with your insistence that you are right in every case and you believe your sources but not other people’s. It’s not about being right and wrong, or supplying evidence here, it is really about your politics and other people’s politics. You’ll come back like a bee whose nest got hit with a baseball, of course.

  39. robash141
    April 15, 2011 at 9:49 am

    It is pretty hilarious to see the right wingers suddenly leap to the defense of the tax code, on April 15 no less.

  40. prajna
    April 15, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Anonymous at 8:39 states: “Someone tell me that the SEIU hasn’t bought legislators. You’ll have to do it here since it can’t be done with a straight face.”
    The labor unions lobby on behalf of the American workers. Since the 80’s the workers in this country have seen their jobs slowly disappear; their wages and benefits cut. State and federal workers now face an onslaught of hate and vilification as if they are the enemies.

    Since the 80’s high income citizens and corporations have seen their tax rates decrease.

    US corporations have lawyers to use every loophole in the tax codes to reduce the amount of tax that they owe. US Uncut is protesting the fact that these corporations are not paying the taxes that they actually owe. The unpaid taxes amount to billions.

    Corporations are amassing huge cash reserves — these revenues are not being used to create jobs and stimulate growth.

    It is not a matter of hating the rich. It is a matter of everyone (remember the “citizens united” supreme court decision declared the corporations are citizens) paying taxes.

  41. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 10:05 am

    When you aren’t capable of understanding posts, 9:44, trying to have any sort of logical or honest discussion with you is futile. If you should ever grow the balls to create a pseudonym and stick to it so your inaccuracies or poorly explained arguments can be critiqued, go FYS. I’m no longer wasting my time chasing the illogic of the RWA anonymi.

  42. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Yes, Pranja. Did you notice that the RWAA (right wing authoritarian anonymous) wasn’t able to support his theory with a single example? He’s probably forgotten all about his claim and, of course, can’t be identified among the anonymous trolls.

  43. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 10:09 am

    “incapable of understanding”? you, yes. I forgot to mention that you would come back nasty as well as quickly. Those who disagree with you are the enemy and incapable of critical thinking, etc. Got it. It’s all about politics, Jane, not about understanding.

  44. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 10:13 am

    It’s also a matter of learning from history, Pranja. Every time tax rates for the rich are low, there are bubbles created which pop and cause economic slumps to depressions, depending on the severity of the pop. One might like to believe that even the super rich would rather avoid those bubbles and pops and people suffering, right? However, since they get richer by buying the distressed properties of the people who aren’t sitting on hoards of money to weather the storm created by the super rich and their bubbles, they come out of economic crises much richer while 98% of us have always less. Isn’t it great that people can tilt the table to their benefit and sit there while everything just continues to slide their way?

  45. prajna
    April 15, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Yes Jane I did notice. At 10:09 he again responded without facts. He even views himself as “the enemy”.

  46. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 10:19 am

    But he will claim he isn’t the same anonymous, Prajna. They never take even pseudonymous cyber responsibility.

  47. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 10:28 am

    I have no issue with the information here, only with those who complain when others don’t buy into their sources and yet they won’t believe another person’s sources if it disagrees with their politics.

  48. prajna
    April 15, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Anonymous at !0:28. The whole foundation for reasoned debate is the source of one’s information. Multiple sources provide a broad picture. A single source repeated multiple times becomes propaganda. The founding fathers believes that reasoned debate produced reasoned government. Most people in this country get their news and information from sources that are owned by multinational corporations that are using the media to “sell” the issues that they wish to raise (propaganda). Repeating them over and over does not make it so. Would I believe a noble prize winning economist or a television show on corporate media? Well I will let you be the judge to what information you believe is biased.

  49. High Finance
    April 15, 2011 at 10:41 am

    PJ is too cute by half at 8.41am.

    She asks (and with a straight face too!) for “a few examples of legislation that SEIU owned legislators have passed for its own behalf” ?

    The unions have bought the Democrat party. The obscene Card Check law it has been trying to pass is just one example.

    PJ, I don’t live online, I have to work for a living. I have to go evict another widow from her home and can’t be back for an hour. Meantime you’ll post another 23 posts with all kinds of lunatic left-wing nonsense.

    And please dear, explain to us how the hell you think “low” tax rates cause “bubbles” ? I need a good laugh today.

  50. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Exactly, prajna. My point is that Jane spouts off when others won’t read or won’t believe her links to numerous sources that support her opinion, but when faced with evidence that she disagrees with, she will not ever concede that there are other valid points. Most people here do. It is tiring and not worth arguing with her, and in addition, she gets nasty and insulting of people’s intelligence and thinking skills, but only when they disagree with her opinion, of course.

  51. Mitch
    April 15, 2011 at 10:51 am


    This is a brilliant idea I wish previous administrations had used — a taxpayer receipt. You enter your social security, medicare, and income tax payments for 2010, and it tells you how much you were charged, for example, for national defense.



  52. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Most people don’t want to destroy the unions, HiFi, which was the purpose of card check. It has nothing to do with the unions controlling the Democratic party. If unions controlled the Democratic Party, in 2009 they would have passed legislation for universal health care, a shorter work week, lower taxes on people who earn it with their labor and higher taxes on those who deposit checks for a living, and certainly a higher minimum wage. In the 4 months that the Republicans have had a majority in the House they have done nothing but cut taxes for their corporate owners and the rich, tried to destroy unions, tried to defund the most cost effective women’e health organization, tried to deny desperately poor people unemployment extensions, trying to undo health care reforem and are now trying to effectively lower the minimum wage in states in which it is higher than federal.

  53. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Low marginal rates cause bubbles because it increases the supply of investment money available to the rich and additionally gives them an even lower rate on the return on those investments. DUH!

  54. prajna
    April 15, 2011 at 11:04 am

    The point anonymous at 10:47 is that Jane presents multiple viewpoints to support her opinions. In this thread I have only seen “anonymous” state one source – “60 minutes”. A majority of the “anonymous” posts on this blog are pointedly attacking Jane.

  55. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 11:06 am

    An interesting point, I think DC Johnston’s, was that if you deduct the difference between what we spend on defense and all those “low corporate rate” countries pay for defense, we have the lowest tax rates (personal and corporate) of any first world country.

  56. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 11:13 am

    ” HiFi, which was the purpose of card check.”

    should have said, the purpose of the GOP’s opposing card check.

  57. prajna
    April 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

    HiFi at 10:41 states: “The unions have bought the Democrat party.” How ridiculous. Conversely, can I say the corporations have bought the Republican party.

    Do you really see anything wrong with a political party representing American workers? The American workers need representation now more than ever.

    The basis of the political system in this country is to represent everyone. We all need a voice.

  58. Plain Jane
    April 15, 2011 at 11:51 am

    The day one of these RWA ever admits they were wrong, and that trickle down was a miserable failure as economic policy (for 98% of us) and that tax policy should be based on what is best for the country as a whole, they can point the finger at others who refuse to give up their valid posts. People who can’t understand simple posts, misrepresent (deliberately or ignorantly) what is posted or from sources, don’t like to be told that they are wrong so they attack those who point out their logical fallacies and misunderstandings. It comes with the territory, especially if you’re a woman. These RWA’s hate uppity women so are always trying to put us in our place. Probably why most women who post on political blogs don’t reveal their gender.

  59. High Finance
    April 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    So many mistakes you made at 11am PJ, that I despair you will never learn.

    First, do you even know what “Card Check” is ? It would end the secret ballot in union elections, letting the union goons intimidate workers to voting for the union.

    Next, the Republicans have NOT cut taxes for corporations or anybody else. Your silly assertion that they are trying to “destroy” the unions is asinine.

    Then at 11.01am (how the hell do you post so fast, do you even breath ?) while marginal rates have decreased so to have the tax shelters and deductions that were available. And while Reagan cut the marginal rates in 1986, Bush I and Clinton raised them again in ’90 and ’92. The high tech bubble occured AFTER Clinton’s tax increase .

  60. Jeez O Pete
    April 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    High Finance says:
    April 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm
    “Next, the Republicans have NOT cut taxes for corporations or anybody else.”

    What planet have you been living on for the past thirty years? Have you read this week’s Journal cover story “Wealth Care”?

    “In fact, the wealthy are paying less taxes.

    The Internal Revenue Service issues an annual report on the 400 highest income-tax payers. In 1961, there were 398 taxpayers who made $1 million or more, so I compared their income tax burdens from that year to 2007.

    Despite skyrocketing incomes, the federal tax burden on the richest 400 has been slashed, thanks to a variety of loopholes, allowable deductions and other tools. The actual share of their income paid in taxes, according to the IRS, is 16.6 percent. Adding payroll taxes barely nudges that number. Compare that to the vast majority of Americans, whose share of their income going to federal taxes increased from 13.1 percent in 1961 to 22.5 percent in 2007.”

  61. Random Guy
    April 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    “The whole foundation for reasoned debate is the source of one’s information. Multiple sources provide a broad picture.”

    Got a nice broad view out the window right next to me. Looks like business as usual.

    “A single source repeated multiple times becomes propaganda.”

    Don’t eat the yellow snow. Don’t eat the yellow snow. Don’t eat the yellow snow. Don’t eat the yellow snow.

    “The founding fathers believes that reasoned debate produced reasoned government.”

    The founding fathers were also a bunch of slave owning native killers.

  62. Reinventing The Wheel
    April 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    These silly nitwits cannot refute research by the experts quoted above AND have no research of their own to quote!

    60 Minutes?


    Heraldo’s resident curmudgeons benefited from 90% top tax rates in effect for a quarter century, and continue to benefit from the remnants.

    Their hypocrisy and delusions are boundless.

    For them, it’s about provocation, not debate.

  63. Random Guy
    April 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    …I don’t disagree with what pajama’s saying, but really…the only argument one needs is the truth. This nation was formed by slavery and genocide. The founding fathers declared themselves emperors of somebody else’s land. They lied and killed to maintain their free ride on other people’s backs. Nothing has changed since…I believe we agree.

  64. Random Guy
    April 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    “For them, it’s about provocation, not debate.”

    Problem I see is everybody’s mind is made up…after a point, what’s the point? I hear my friends say stuff like “people are waking up to the fact that ______” but I see it as generational awareness, and that contempt and protest toward the pyramid scheme of power was much greater in the past. Depressing, but real. Some of the same people who relish revolutionary protests of the past now cry for complacent “positivity”…I call it brainwashing, and it’s working very well. And thanks to the internet, it’s working very quickly. The populace of america is on it’s way to being like that of japan…an indoctrinated sense of duty and honor in face of all the skyrocketing problems.


  65. prajna
    April 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Random Guy. Pretty funny.

    This comment forum is a debate about issues. No news there. In a debate, you use for the foundation of your argument “facts”. The reliability of the sources of your facts, lends credence to one’s argument. The more sources you have helps build a greater overall picture of the whole and supports one’s argument.

    Propaganda is not funny. If you replace “don’t eat the yellow snow” with “teachers earn too much”, “public employees are paid too much”, “the republicans are not trying to destroy the unions”, it becomes more insidious.

    The founding fathers with all their flaws (we should all be examined under microscopes after we are dead and the prejudices and beliefs of our times exposed) provided a framework for this country. Because they were products of the “enlightenment”, they believed that men would have a “reasoned” debate concerning the course of their own governing. They strongly believed that this debate was enhanced by the media of their time – print.

    As citizens, we vote for a party or individual that provides the agenda for our future. As citizens, we are asked to bring our voice to our future. As citizens we take part in a debate regarding the future of this country and the world. We have every right to question the source of the information we and our fellow citizens use to support their arguments. It is only by being well informed can we bring value to any discussion; otherwise, as you may have noted, we slip easily into ridicule to support our arguments.

  66. Random Guy
    April 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    “they believed that men would have a “reasoned” debate concerning the course of their own governing.”

    Not if it meant that they would lose their power in any way shape or form. That’s all one needs to know about that. Specific people, specific actions. It’s really easy to shape talk around an action.

    Hence rhetoric…you and I and high finance forced to debate what we have no control over. Shape perspective maybe. I totally understand what you’re saying…I’m completely on your side. More power to ya, keep talking! But watch out, your exact words will be repeated by those you’re debating for their argument instead…is all I’m communicating. Few things are as frustrating in “debate”.

    I’ve ‘debated’ politics for a long time, very thoroughly, and don’t see anything good coming of it that a single rock thrown through the whitehouse window wouldn’t accomplish a hundred times better.

  67. Random Guy
    April 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    …now imagine a hundred rocks thrown through the whitehouse windows by a hundred people at the same time.

  68. High Finance
    April 15, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    For crying out loud Jeez O’Pete !, if you had been paying attention you would have known we were talking about since the Reps took over the House three months ago.

  69. prajna
    April 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Random Guy my post at 1:45 was in response to your post at 12:52.
    I read your other posts. I understand your frustration. The basic framework of this county has allowed for the flaw’s in the framework to be corrected over time to give sovereignty to almost all. Over the past several decades we have seen gains that citizens have made eroded. The citizens shifting to apathy “what can I do?”; misplaced anger “its those unions”, “its the teachers”; or anger against the government. How many people do you know that don’t vote, or even participate in the process?

    US Uncut is founded on a British model that used flash mob features – everyone would gather in front of a corporate business that had not paid their taxes and effectively shut down that business. It worked in Britain. If enough people participate it can work here. Corporations in this country owe billions of dollars in unpaid taxes – they need to pay their share.

    Can you imagine several million votes lost today because of the threat of cuts to medicare? Can you imagine the votes lost because citizens realize the outstanding taxes owed to the government by corporations and one political is sponsoring legislation to not only cut medicare, but to provide further tax cuts for corporations?

    Citizens need to address these issues at the ballot box. We need to be vigilant in order to keep the freedoms so hard fought for and won.

  70. Random Guy
    April 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Voting is a big joke. I believe in local politics…humboldt specifically, but look what money gets em’ here too…and from what I’ve paid attention to in the city, the process is as much a lie as any other. That’s not pessimistic apathy on my part. It’s a very real look at where we are TODAY after all the talk and voting and etc.

    Bush won by how many votes? If you can believe that you can believe anything. Patriot Act is yesterday’s news. New Orleans is yesterdays news. Vietnam is ancient history. Kennedy assassination is movie material. The system is corrupt at the core. If you blame the lack of voting, consider then how obvious the corruption is among the winners, and who’s specifically responsible for it. Not we the people, and especially not because of those of us who don’t vote.

    And what’s come of decades of this knowledge? Complacence, blaming peers for no activity or the “wrong” activity. If nobody voted, everybody would know exactly who to blame…more than we already do.

  71. tra
    April 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Plain Jane,

    Classic RWA-type “authoritarian followers,” as discussed in Altemeyer’s book


    are indeed part of the problem here, as they tend to view business leaders and wealthy people as presumed to be authority figures, and are therefore very unlikely to apply critical thinking to the claims and promises made by CEO’s, corporate spokespeople, CoC flacks, and so on.

    But remember that there are also the “other authoritarians” AKA the Social Dominators, who Altemeyer refers to in his more recent article analyzing the Tea Party phenomenon:


    They, too, are part of the problem, because according to the Social Dominator world-view, wealthy people are the only real producers, therefore they really owe the rest of us nothing, in fact we owe them everything. For these folks, it’s not so much about deferring to authority, as it is to deferring to wealth, and the presumed greater productivity and value of those who have accumulated wealth.

    Together, the classic Right-Wing Authoritarians, combined with the Social Dominators, certainly do make for a toxic stew of twisted and often self-defeating world views. Which is all quite convenient for the relatively few at the top of the wealth pyramid who benefit from having followers who are so nicely positioned for ongoing political and economic exploitation.

  72. tra
    April 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Sorry, that second link, on the Tea Party and the “other authoritarians” AKA Social Dominators, should have been:


  73. tra
    April 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    By the way, if Donald Trump wasn’t such a buffoon, he’d have a good chance of winning the support of both types of authoritarians who have rallied under the banner of the Tea Party. Heck, he still might, despite his buffoonery.

    Trump is obviously actively courting the classic RWA-type authoritarian followers, by adopting and legitimizing (in their eyes) the “birtherism” that they find so indispensable in solving a crucial dilemma faced by right-wing authoritarian followers: The dilemma they face is that Barak Obama, who their preferred Authority Figures (like Limbaugh, Beck, gingrich, Palin, etc.) tell them is the epitome of all evil, is nonetheless the duly-elected President of the United States and therefore in a very real way the ultimate Authority Figure in the nation — normally someone they would feel strongly inclined to defer to.

    So by embracing birtherism, Trump is reinforcing their chosen solution: To simply decline to believe (despite all the evidence) that Obama was born in the U.S. — because that way he’s not a legitimate Authority Figure and therefore does not need to be deferred to, and so, freed from the cognitive dissonace caused by their dilemma, these RWA’s can feel free to attack him as an illegitimate “usurper” just as their “real” Authority Figures like Limbaugh, Beck, Gingrich, Palin continually urge them to do, with dire warnings about what will happen to the country if the usurper were to remain in power.

    So, it looks to me like, by embracing “birtherism” so enthusiastically, Trump is trying to lock in the support of the RWAs, and adding them to his more natural pool of supporters, the Social Dominators (who already worship Trump and other wealthy individuals as Authority Figures), and in so doing capture a majority of Tea Party support, which no doubt will be an important factor in the Republican Presidential primary.

    Of course Trump’s embrace of Tea Party nuttery in general, and “birtherism” in particular, seems likely to hurt him considerably if he were to make it to the general election.

    But, I suppose he’s unlikely to make it that far unless he shakes things up in the Republican primary, and apparently he thinks that catering to the authoritarian followers in the right-wing base by adopting birtherism is the best way to do it. And he might be right.

  74. April 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Trump wasn’t “born”. He simply hatched, ate all of his siblings, and crawled out from under his rock, accidentally pushing his hair forward in the process. What a cartoon! Kind of refutes the Darwinian claims of the wealthy that they are somehow superior, doesn’t he?

  75. tra
    April 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Trump may not win the presidency, but there is one competition he has a real chance of winning: Upper Class Twit of the Year:

  76. Landlord
    April 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Good one, tra. Why do they look familiar? I think you are right about Trump. Hey, is your avatar a martini olive? Cheers!

  77. tra
    April 15, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    According to the most recent PPP poll, Trump has opened up a nine-point lead over potential rivals for the Republican Presidential primary. And, guess what?

    Also likely playing into Trump’s rise — his rapid cornering of the birther market. Through expressing intense, persistent skepticism about Obama’s citizenship — with cable news apparently happy to come along for the ride — Trump’s been able to quickly grab hold of that sizable part of the GOP base still committed to theories long since dismissed as conspiracy.

    The PPP poll found a sizable birther base within the party, as 23% of respondents said they’d be “unwilling” to vote for any candidate who says Obama was born in the U.S. Additionally, only 38% said they would be willing to vote for such a candidate, while 39% were unsure.


  78. Landlord
    April 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Scary stuff.

  79. tra
    April 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    If I were a moderate trying to survive in the Republican Party, I’d be very scared indeed.

    And if I were a mainstream Republican strategist, interested in trying to get a Republican elected president, I’d be at least a bit worried being stuck with a nominee who will have spent the whole primary campaign cozying up to the birther base, and pandering to the rest of the Tea Party wingnuttery in order to secure the nomination, and will then have to face Obama in the general election. Still, I probably wouldn’t be too worried, since Democrats do have a remarkable way of snathching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

    So my avatar looks like an olive? Yeah, I guess I can see that. Sure, what the hell, why not!

  80. What Now
    April 15, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    The 2001 Bush Tax Cuts, Two unfunded wars,the G.O.P. Prescription Drug Plan and deregulated market by the good graces of Phil Gramm…..


  81. Landlord
    April 15, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    They all look like olives to me, and I don’t even drink martinis. Look at “What Now”, “tra” and my own avatar. Looking back at “A Nony Mous” and “Random Guy”, theirs do as well, if you are imaginative.

  82. High Finance
    April 16, 2011 at 7:05 am


    The lefties tax day protest yesterday had six protestors.

    The Tea Party’s protest had over one hundred

  83. Plain Jane
    April 16, 2011 at 7:21 am

    And McDonalds sold about a zillion more meals than The Avalon, so what?

  84. robash141
    April 16, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Yeah the lefities didn’t have the backing of the GOP machine behind them.

  85. a non
    April 16, 2011 at 9:32 am

    “The lefties tax day protest yesterday had six protestors.

    The Tea Party’s protest had over one hundred”

    Possible reasons are that the lefties have:

    2)enough sense to come in from the rain,
    3)the ability to write a coherent letter to protest more directly

  86. What Now
    April 16, 2011 at 9:58 am

    “Plain Jane says:
    April 16, 2011 at 7:21 am
    And McDonalds sold about a zillion more meals than The Avalon, so what?”

    “a non says:
    April 16, 2011 at 9:32 am
    “The lefties tax day protest yesterday had six protestors.

    The Tea Party’s protest had over one hundred”

    Possible reasons are that the lefties have:

    2)enough sense to come in from the rain,
    3)the ability to write a coherent letter to protest more directly”

    Awesome retorts,P.J.and a non!
    We’re doin’ the wave here at the work place in your honor.

  87. Anonymous
    April 16, 2011 at 10:04 am

    tax cheats? Hmmm. “taxing the rich”? well, from 1986 to 2004 (WITH the Bush tax cuts implemented in that time in 2001) the total share of the income tax burden paid by the top 1 percent of income earners grew by nearly half, from 25.8 percent to 36.9 percent.

    In fact, the top 50% of taxpayers pay a shade under 97% of the taxes. The bottom 50% pay a shade more than 3% of the income taxes, and over 40 million households pay no income tax at all. That’s why it’s so hard to give a “tax break” to people in the bottom half. It’s hard to do that when they don’t pay any taxes in the first place.

    Yet you want to tax “the rich.” As Margaret Thatcher once said, “The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”

    Everyone should pay a flat tax. We need to get rid of nonprofit status and tax them too. Cheaters like pot growers need to pay their share too.

  88. tra
    April 16, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Well I don’t know if the “six people” figure is accurate or not, but a turnout of only a half-dozen or so people at a protest is generally going to be considered a pretty poor turnout, whatever the other factors (rain, workday, etc.).

    If that number is correct, then either they didn’t get the word out very well (and perhaps not far enough in advance), or else their message just didn’t resonate all that well with those who heard it, or people agreed with the message but weren’t that thrilled with the sponsoring organization and didn’t want to be part of their protest.

    Hey, it happens. Tomorrow is a new day, and so is the day after that. These issues aren’t going away, and there are indeed a lot of folks concerned about these issues, even if they aren’t part of Democracy Unlimited.

  89. High Finance
    April 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Tra is right, six at a protest means the left’s message didn’t resonate.

    Over 100 at a protest, IN THE RAIN, means the Tea Party’s message did.

    PJ, Robash, a non, What Now; thanks for the laugh !

  90. tra
    April 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Well, HiFi, what I actually said was that either their message “didn’t resonate,” or else they simply didn’t do a good enough job of getting their message out, including maybe not getting that message out realy enough.

    But I do think there’s little point to trying to spin a protest with 6 participants as being as good or better than a protest with 100 people (assuming those numbers are correct).

  91. Reinventing The Wheel
    April 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    What “resonates” in America is largely dictated by popular culture, movies and media: the timeless illusion of “plenty” trickling-down to the “deserving”.

    With a little media coverage of Wisconsin, 200 protesters showed up at the county courthouse in support of public employee unions. Millions protested nation-wide. The “Tea Party” didn’t show up…their generation already benefited from well-paid, unionized teachers!

    As long as our “free-press” continues self-censoring uncomfortable truths, making famed economists and academics like Krugman and Chomsky disappear, while systematically eliminating debates like the ancient program “Firing Line”, American outrage will brew quietly amid the growing plethora of environmental, political and advocacy organizations….and on the blogs…

    (I waited 40 years to read ANYTHING CLOSE to the NCJ recent exposure of the development community’s dominance of local campaign contributions, plus, their recent story about our corrupt tax system! For uncomfortable truths to be believed they must be repeated!!).

  92. a non
    April 16, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Hi Fi says, “PJ, Robash, a non, What Now; thanks for the laugh !”

    Hope you took your Galoshes HiFi. They make the lock-step thing so much more fun.

    The Tea Party twits are protesting to preserve the rights of the ultrarich. Not the rights of small fish like you, HiFi. You are not as High in the Finance Game as you pretend to be. Yes, we can see through your pretense.

    Have to admit, I do enjoy stinging you. And will do it, every chance I get.

  93. a non
    April 16, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Anonymous says Everyone should pay a flat tax.

    Including the social security taxes? If incomes over $106,000 paid the SS tax on ALL their income, at the same rate as those under $106K, it might make a dent. If you make a million dollars, you pay SS tax on the whole million. Is that what you mean?

  94. Sinclair Lewis
    April 17, 2011 at 12:29 am

    The tea party is heavily evangelical, so they are comfortable with matters of faith, but not with facts or evidence or reason. Global warming, evolution, population control, even crusades, no facts needed, just believe in the party line. And, they will show up in the rain because they think god wants them to.

    Even with respect to taxes and equality of opportunity in the US, they apparently believe that the middle class, poor, unions, elderly, and unemployed are cheating, while wall street and defense contractors are not. An implicit part of the tea party evangelism is that the rich deserve their blessings, and the middle class, the poor, the unions, the elderly, and the sick deserve thiers. But its a magnitude beyond to then use the power of government to take even more from the undeserving so the government can bequest even more to the deserving wealthy and corporations.

    Ask yourself, who would Jesus tax? And who might the modern day moneychangers be, that Jesus drove from the temple? Are they the poor, the unemployed, the unions, the sick, the elderly? Right now it sure looks like the moneychangers are winning, and with blessings from people who purport to follow Jesus.

    I’d be ok with evangelicals, if they would keep to the religion and not get into politics. Evangelicals will get theirs in the kingdom of heaven, why can’t they just leave us alone in this life?

  95. High Finance
    April 17, 2011 at 7:35 am

    a non, how can so much misinformation be locked up in one little individual as you ?

    You folks do realize that if there is a “Flat Tax” you all will have a tax increase and the Bill Gates of the world will have tremendous tax cuts ?

  96. Plain Jane
    April 17, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Poor HiFi. Don’t you ever get embarrassed by your dismal reading skills?

    A non said “Anonymous says….” and then followed it with questions about removing the cap on Social Security taxes. Most people would understand he isn’t an advocate of flat tax, but not you.

  97. High Finance
    April 17, 2011 at 7:59 am

    PJ, do you ever sleep ? Are you on line 24/7 ? Do you ever think beyond your cliches’ ?

    Do you understand the first paragraph of my post was directed towards “a non” and the second paragraph was directed towards posters in general ? Which is why the second paragraph says “You folks” !!

    So I ask you, Don’t you ever get embarrassed by YOUR dismal reading skills ?

  98. Plain Jane
    April 17, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Where did you get the crazy idea that making one post at 7:44 a.m. is on line 24/7? Your obsession with counting my posts and then insulting because of the number is childish, but understandable since you are so incapable of responding to them logically.

    Very few people fall for the flat tax scam and most who do are firmly on the right. Most who advocate it know full well that it would raise taxes on the poor and lower them on the rich. Why you felt the need to inform “folks” of that while insulting A non for his misinformation which wasn’t misinformation at all is the issue.

  99. April 17, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Let’s not forget that the Tea-Partisans are a well-oiled machine; fueled with Koch brothers money, and open access to corporate support.
    Meanwhile they target working people, in the name of working people.
    Those supported by billionaires, attacking working people as socialists for demanding higher wages, and a better deal from our corporate controlled government. What a tangled web of dupes.

  100. Plain Jane
    April 17, 2011 at 9:07 am

    If you haven’t already, Moviedad, you need to read the book that Tra has linked several times, “The Authoritarians.” It explains the tea-party mentality, though it was written before they existed.


    And another essay he did which deals with the TP’s specifically, excerpts:

    1. Authoritarian submission. Authoritarian followers submit to the people they consider
    authorities much more than non-authoritarians do. In this context, Tea Partiers seem to believe
    without question whatever their chosen authorities say. Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, various
    religious groups, the House and Senate GOP leaders, Sen. Grassley from Iowa, Rep. Bachmann
    from Minnesota, and of course Sarah Palin can say whatever they want about the Democrats, and
    the Tea Partiers will accept it and repeat it…..

    2. Fear. Fear constantly pulses through authoritarian followers, and Tea Partiers are mightily
    frightened. They believe President Obama is a dictator. They also think the country will be
    destroyed by its mounting debt…..

    3. Self-righteousness. Self-righteousness runs very strongly in authoritarian followers, and
    combines with fear to unleash aggression in them. The Tea Partiers commonly describe themselves
    as “the good Americans,” “the true Americans,” “the people,” and “the American Patriots.” They
    could hardly wrap themselves in the flag more thoroughly or more often than they do. Theirs is the
    holy cause. They believe they are the only ones who can save the country.

    4. Hostility. Authoritarian aggression is one of the defining characteristics of authoritarian

    5. A lack of critical thinking. Authoritarian followers have more trouble thinking logically
    than most people do. In particular, they tend to agree with sayings and slogans, even contradictory
    ones, because they have heard them a lot. ….

    6. Our “biggest problem.” Authoritarian followers will readily believe that lots of things are
    our “biggest problem.” It can be drugs, the decline of religion, the breakdown of the family, you
    name it. Thus it was not hard to get Tea Partiers worked up about, of all things, a plan to improve
    health care to the levels found in other industrialized countries. Yet Tea Partiers believe the passage of the health care bill marks the end of liberty….

    7. Compartmentalized thinking. Authoritarian followers can have so many contradictory
    beliefs and “biggest problems” because their thinking is highly compartmentalized. Ideas exist
    independently of the other ideas in their head. Their thinking is so unintegrated because they have
    spent their lives copying what their authorities say, without examining whether the ideas fit together

    8. Double Standards. Highly compartmentalized thinking makes it easy for authoritarian
    followers to employ double standards in their judgments. One finds many examples of this among
    the Tea Partiers. The protest started off being about “pork” in the stimulus bill…

    9. Feeling empowered when in groups. Authoritarian followers seem to want to disappear as
    individuals. They‟re not comfortable taking stands on their own, or acting alone. Instead they seem
    fulfilled simply by being part of a large, powerful movement on the march. Thus the insult-hurling
    Tea Partiers probably would have been quiet, even deferential, had they met with their member of
    the House one-on-one last August. But experiments have shown that authoritarian followers are
    highly conforming. When they are in a group of like-minded persons they are much more likely to
    do things, especially aggressive things, that they would not do alone. They make a good mob,
    winding each other up by hearing each other yell….

    10. Dogmatism. We also know that authoritarian followers lead the league in being
    dogmatic. When their leaders set their opinions for them, those opinions are set in stone….

    11. Ethnocentrism. Authoritarian followers are notably ethnocentric, constantly judging
    others and events through “Us versus Them” lenses….

    12. Prejudice. Studies have found that authoritarian followers are among the most prejudiced
    people in society. …

    The Other Authoritarian Personality:
    Because the Tea Partiers display so many “classic” signs of authoritarian followers, I think
    it‟s safe to conclude that a lot of the members have such personalities.

    But another sizeable group
    swells the ranks who would seem to have little tendency to follow anyone: libertarians….



    It’s fascinating reading for anyone curious about the mentality of these working class people who consistently vote against their own, and society’s, best interests and revealing as to why the super rich like those who donate to Heritage, Cato etc. fund the media pundits who do their dirty work of brainwashing the RWA’s for their benefit.

  101. Walt
    April 17, 2011 at 9:27 am

    “The Internal Revenue Service tracks the tax returns with the 400 highest adjusted gross incomes each year. The average income on those returns in 2007, the latest year for IRS data, was nearly $345 million. Their average federal income tax rate was 17 percent, down from 26 percent in 1992.”

    Nobody pays the 35% that the tea party keeps going on about because of tax loopholes their lawyers find for them. On an income of $345 million, 17% is almost $59 million. That’s a lot, but it leaves them with a cool $286 million to live on, so it’s not exactly a hardship. If they were to pay the full 35%, that would be almost $121 million – a lot more, but still leaving over $224 million in the bank each year. The difference between these individuals paying 17% and 35% is over $62 million. There are 400 individuals in this tax bracket.

    If we taxed these 400 people at 35%, we would bring in an additional $24,840,000,000 each year (that’s $24 billion), and the only sacrifice would be that they would have to learn to live on only $224 million a year.

    I stole this from a blog somewhere, then checked it out. I can’t do linking, but that pinko rag Forbes ran it too (without the editorial comment).

    400 people AVERAGING $345 million a year. And paying 17 percent. Is this really OK with everybody?

  102. Mitch
    April 17, 2011 at 10:35 am

    The tragedy, Walt, is not just in the $25 billion lost to the life-changing tasks it could accomplish.

    The tragedy is also that, for most or all of the 400, there is a genuine fear of having to live on $224 million a year, of having had $121 million “stolen” each year by the tax authorities.

    This fear — that having one’s available funds reduced to $224 million annually from $335 million annually will somehow damage one’s life — is the best evidence of the way in which we are played every day by the technologies supporting consumerism.

    To most sane people, this is a laughable fear. Yet I know I’m subject to the same fear, just with a few zeros taken away. To have less than what I’m used to having is a terror.

    That’s why we need to rediscover what matters and what doesn’t. Feeding one’s child matters, as does feeding any hungry child. Getting a new big-screen TV does not matter. We can all agree on this, at least at some level, but I know I don’t fully act this way, and I don’t think many of us do.

    I honestly believe that inescapable tax rates hitting 90% or 99% once incomes are in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars annually could not just benefit society, but could benefit those earning hundreds of millions of dollars as well. Those rates could act as visible “you won, congratulations!” signposts, which might make it easier to worry less about the fact that the gazillionaire next door earned $100 million more than you did in fiscal year 2011.

  103. April 17, 2011 at 10:49 am

    So Jane it’s basically herding sheep on the right; to herding cats on the left.

  104. tra
    April 17, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Yup, that’s about right, Moviedad.

  105. Walt
    April 17, 2011 at 11:48 am

    That splains why the right has all its ducks in a row while the left has duck soup.

  106. Anonymous
    April 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Wow Walt, that sounds like a lot. $24 billion you say ?

    That represents about one week of Obama’s deficit. Woopee !

  107. tra
    April 17, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I feel that I should point out that Authoritarian Followers are not only a right-wing phenomenon. For example, in the Soviet Union, the (ostensibly) left-wing Communist Party in the USSR was heavily populated with Authoritarian Followers. I suspect that’s probably true, to some degree, of the hard-core followers of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and the Castro regime in Cuba.

    While Authoritarian Followers are generally staunch advocates of the “traditional order,” once a new order has been in place for some period of time, and the new leaders have established themselves as the “legitimate authority,” (enough might-makes-right for enough time generally does the trick, at least as far as AFs are concerned) then the Authoritarian Followers start to flock to that new Authority.

    Even in the U.S., Authoritarian Followers are not entirely limited to the Republican / Tea Party. There are plenty (too many for my taste) in the Democratic party, and many who are not affiliated with any party. But Altemeyer’s research makes it very clear that AF’s are present are at a much, much higher proportion within the Republican / Tea Party, forming much of its grassroots base and its core of totally dependable voters. So that’s where the ease of herding sheep comes in.

  108. Mitch
    April 17, 2011 at 1:29 pm


    Think for a moment about what you are saying. Call it “Obama’s deficit” if it makes you feel better; personally I think that’s not quite right. But 400 families being taxed at the historic rate instead of the discounted rate would make up for 2% of the deficit. That doesn’t sound minor to me. If there were 20,000 families (0.02% of all families) who were each getting the same dollar amount of tax break as the 400 top families (0.0004% of all families), that would COMPLETELY cover the deficit.

    Because there aren’t 20,000 families making the same as the top 400, it would probably require that the tax breaks be eliminated for the top 0.1% or maybe even the top 1%.

  109. High Finance
    April 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    You people have the Tea Partiers 100% wrong.

    They are challenging authority. Challenging the (formerly) overwhelming control the Democrats had in Wash DC but also a big UP YOURS to the Country Club Republicans in control of Republican party.

    To call them “authoritarian followers” is to demonstrate your complete and total lack of understanding of who & what they are.

    Altemeyer and PJ wouldn’t recognize a Tea Party member if one came up and bit them in the ass. But I expected better of Tra.

  110. tra
    April 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm


    What was that big “UP YOURS” that the Tea Party supposedly gave to the establishment Republicans? I must have missed that, distracted by the small matter of the Tea Partiers helping to hand control of the U.S. House of Representatives to establishment Republicans?

    Seems to me that the Republican leadership is delighted to have the Tea Partiers as a portion of their base that can be so easily manipulated and whipped up into a frenzy when necessary, yet reliably delivers their votes to the Republican leaders regardless of whether those leaders are really with them on the issues, or just pandering to them.

    Anyway, if you actually read the piece by Altemeyer…


    …you would discover that his actual argument is that the Tea Party movement does include a fair number of traditional “Right-Wing Authoritarians,” but that they exist in a somewhat uncomfortable alliance with the pseudolibertarian “Social Dominators,” sometimes called “the other authoritarians.”

    Altemeyer’s contention is that both types of authoritarian followers (and a few leaders) exist within the Tea Party movement (along with, of course, some people who don’t fit either description).

    The world-view of the “Social Dominators” group is perhaps best summed in this article from one of the Tea Party websites:

    Cap and Trade / Health Care: A Constitutional Issue
    Andy Stevens, July 16th, 2009

    In our Republic we have three types of people….
    Group one: These are the achievers, those who strive, work hard and are rewarded with the fruits of their toil.

    Group two: The non-achievers. This group seldom exerts the extra effort required to rise above their station and attain their perceived goals. They are dissatisfied with their lot in life and spend much of their lives in envy of the achievers.

    Group three: This segment consists of those who contribute absolutely nothing, yet demand equity based on the labor and achievement of society as a whole….

    …Any attempt to engage in the confiscation or the conscription of the fruit of one mans labor, by either man or government, in order to provide goods or service to another is an act of illegal plunder and as such should be protested and resisted by all…


    If that world-view sounds oddly familiar, but you can’t quite place where you’ve heard it before, take a stroll into your bathroom and have a gander at that shiny thing on the wall. Yup, that should do it.

  111. High Finance
    April 17, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    OMG Tra !

    What about the establishment Republicans who lost in the primary to Tea Party back candidates ???

  112. Mr. Nice
    April 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Shell oil started this tax shelter thing. Bermuda has literally thousands of companies incorporated, not five or whatever.

    Bermuda doesn’t allow foreign companies incorporated in Bermuda to do business in Bermuda. Bermuda does let local companies do business with international companies. This means local insurance companies and investment firms make all kinds of bread from Bank of America and so on.

    If we want to make domestic companies stop incorporating in Bermuda, the corporate tax rate and capital gains tax on share price increases for investors needs to be slashed. Overtaxing domestic corporations is what is making them incorporate in foreign countries, not some tax cheat moral consideration. Corporations don’t care a damn about your morals bullshit.

  113. tra
    April 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Yeah, a few moderate Republicans lost their primaries to Tea Partiers, and most of those Tea Partiers then lost to a Democrat in the general election. So it goes. That still resulted in a Republican Party that is more beholden to the Tea Partiers than ever, and more reliant on its Authoritarian Follower base (both traditional Right-Wing Authoritarians and the Social Dominators) than ever.

    By the way, I became aware of Altemeyer’s work on auhoritarian followers, and the application of this research in explaining the current direction of the Republican Party, because of John Dean’s book “Conservatives Without Conscience.”

    Dean, a lifelong Republican himself, was looking for an explanation for why and how the Republican party had become so hostile to moderates in their ranks over the past several decades, and in the process of doing research for his book, Dean discovered Altemeyer’s years of scholoarly research into the phenomenon of Authoritarian Followers.

    Dean then suggested that Altemeyer write a book aimed at non-academic readers (at a mass audience, in other words) that would summarize his research into the dynamics of authhoritarianism in modern culture and politics. The result was the very-readable (and very funny) book “The Authoritarians,” which despite it’s accessibility, remains firmly grounded the decades of scholarship on this topic.

  114. tra
    April 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Mr Nice said: If we want to make domestic companies stop incorporating in Bermuda, the corporate tax rate and capital gains tax on share price increases for investors needs to be slashed.

    When proposing a policy change, it’s helpful to ask yourself the question “So if we do that, then what’s likely to happen next?”

    If, for example, we follow your plan, but then Bermuda and other “offshore tax havens” lower their corporate tax rates even further, to avoid losing those companies back to the U.S. and other places, what do we do then? Lower ours even further, and engage in a “race to the bottom?”

    Corporations don’t care a damn about your morals bullshit.

    No! Say it ain’t so!

    By the way, capital gains are already taxed at a much lower rate than income. And the wealthy get much more of their income from capital gains than those with lower incomes do. So what you are proposing is to further lower tax rates on capital gains, with more of the burden placed on taxes on income. In other words, rewarding wealth and penalizing work. Sounds like a plan…just not a very good one.

  115. Mr. Nice
    April 17, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    If, for example, we follow your plan, but then Bermuda and other “offshore tax havens” lower their corporate tax rates even further, to avoid losing those companies back to the U.S. and other places, what do we do then? Lower ours even further, and engage in a “race to the bottom?”

    Dude, what do you mean “lower?” Why do you think foreign businesses incorporate in Bermuda? The corporate tax rate, capital gains tax rate, and taxes on profits and dividends in Bermuda are all 0.00%.

    The only tax they have is payroll tax of $7,920 per employee. If you ran a big corporation and it was between paying out the asshole for American government to raise money to bomb Afghan weddings and paying $7,920 per employee… well, I doubt you’d be talking about this same old whiny income tax morals bullshit.

    Fuck all American taxes until our government get the blood of innocent civilians cleaned off a bit. Fuck the whole tax system. Good for B.of.A. not contributing to this shit.

  116. tra
    April 17, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Mr. Nice,

    In your 6:24 comment you assert that we’ll be able to stop American companies from headquartering in the Bermuda by lowering our corporate taxes and capital gains taxes. But your 10:23 comment makes it clear that there’s no way we could match Bermuda’s incentives without doing away with virtually all taxes on corporations. So essentially you’re saying that there would be no “race to the bottom,” we’d go straight to the bottom in one lemming-like leap. Brilliant plan.

    And yeah, it’s real “good for B of A” for dodging taxes because corporate tax dodging has been such an effective way of preventing civilian casualties over the last decade, right?

    Meanwhile, most non-rich Americans make their daily bread through labor or one sort or another, and are taxed on their income, which is not so easy to avoid taxes on as it is for B of A and their ilk.

    So, just as with your calls to lower the corporate and capital gains tax rates, you’re just advocating pushing more of the tax burden onto moderate and lower-income workers, while those at the top pay less and less (or in your little Ayn Randian fantasy world, nothing).

    Sorry, dude, but you’re not making a bit of sense.

  117. Plain Jane
    April 17, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Another point about the Tea Party, Tra, is that they have been deliberately manipulated to believe that Obama is not a legitimate authority who deserves to be followed. Obama wasn’t born in the US, he’s a Muslim, he’s a socialist so it would be unpatriotic to do anything but oppose him, his agenda and anyone who doesn’t agree that he is destroying the country because he hates it and everything it stands for. Of course, that includes moderate Republicans who aren’t sufficiently hostile to Democrats or even who deny the most outrageous of their accusations. The small group of extremely wealthy right wingers who are funding this brainwashing know these people well and what buttons to push to keep them in lock step and voting against their own best interests. I haven’t finished the book yet so don’t know if he has any ideas about how to change that mindset, but I’m not very optimistic.

  118. tra
    April 18, 2011 at 12:00 am


    I think that you’ll find that Chapter 7, “What’s to be done” offers some practical suggestions for both short-term (“containment”) and longer-term (“transformational”) strategies.

    Not all the suggestions are new, but some are, and even the more familiar suggestions are infused with a greater understanding of the challenges of dealing with the Right Wing Authoritarians and the Social Dominators and therefore a better chance of overcoming those challenges.

    I’d glad you’re enjoying the book (or at least finding it valuable). One key solution to the problem of Authoritarianism is spreading the kind of knowledge and understanding contained in this book to more people, so that we are all better-armed to do rhetorical and policy battle against the RWA and SD forces, and, in the long run, to liberate some of the authoritarian followers from the ideological clutches of the leaders who are exploiting them.

  119. High Finance
    April 18, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Tra, you made my point. A handful of Tea Party backers beat establishment Republicans in the primary. Then SOME of those candidates lost in the general election.

    And yes the Republican party is more beholden to Tea Party people than before.

    Which my point is, to call Tea Party people “Authority followers” is laughable. They are the exact opposite.

    And BTW, while I back most of what they are for, in general I think they are naive and not fully informed of how Wash DC works. But I am very glad they are shaking things up !

  120. Plain Jane
    April 18, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Read the book, HiFi. It isn’t as simple as you think. Tea Partiers are following THEIR authorities (Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, et al), not yours. They eat up the lies from their authorities without even an attempt at critical thought which serves the interests of those who control their authorities (Heritage, CATO, Koch Bros, CNP, PNAC, etc) and they also control yours. Any GOP leader who dares to deny even the most outrageous of their lies is moved to the enemy list by these same “authorities” and voted out in favor of those who will at least claim they believe whether they really do or not. I can’t decide which are the most dangerous to our country – those who are so ignorant they believe the birther-Muslim-terrorist-socialist BS or those who don’t but claim to for political gain.

  121. High Finance
    April 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Oh for God’s sake PJ, do you ever THINK ?

  122. Plain Jane
    April 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    You are so funny, HiFi. You constantly demonstrate what a right wing authoritarian follower you are, parroting the right wing pundits who are paid to program your feeble brain, contradictory and nonsensical slogans that a bright middle school child could demolish. Tell us again how tax cuts increased revenue, how poor people crashed the economy and low taxes on high incomes trickles down to the working classes. When the pain from the cognitive dissonance has faded, maybe you can actually refute what I posted rather than just insult.

  123. tra
    April 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Hi Fi,

    Clearly you are misunderstanding the meaning of the terms “Authoritarians,” “Authoritarian Followers,” and “Social Dominators” as used in Altemeyer’s book “The Authoritarians” and the Altemeyer essay on the Tea Party that we are discussing. If you want to have an intelligent discussion using these terms, you’ll do much better if you at least read the Tea Party essay, and maybe at least the first chapter of the book. (On the other hand, if you want to just dismiss arguments without understanding them, that’s of course an option).

    Basically, it seems like you’re arguing that because the Tea Partiers have challenged some “establishment” Republicans, that means they aren’t authoritarian followers. What you’re missing is that classic authoritarian followers don’t necessarily follow just any leaders, they tend to follow the leaders who express “traditional values” and therefore are perceived as “legitimate” authorities (for example evangelical clergy, “family values” advocates, people who reject newfangled ideas like civil rights, tolerance, multiculturalism, environmentalism, etc). Other potential authority figures (President Obama, and to a lesser degree “establishment” Republicans in Congress) are viewed as illegitimate “usurpers” and therefore are rejected in favor of the “true” authority figures.

    Meanwhile, the “other authoritarians,” Social Dominators, put wealthy people and business leaders up on the “authority” pedestal, and follow those leaders as blindly as the classic authoritarians follow theirs.

    So if you can come up with a candidate who can attract both types of authoritarian followers, then you’ve got a good chance of winning the Republican Presidential primary this time around…and a piss-poor chance of winning the general election. (Why? Because while the Repubican / Tea Party is heavily populated by both types of authoritarians, most swing voters are not authoritarian followers).

    Anyway, the bottom line is that yes, the Republican / Tea Party base contains a large number of authoritarian followers, and Republican / Tea Party leaders are well aware of that.

    I am very glad they are shaking things up!

    In a way, I am too, because I don’t think things are going to “shake out” quite the way the Tea Partiers and their sponsors might have hoped. By exposing their selfish, ignorance-based views they are doing a terrific job of reminding mainstream voters of just how far off the rails the Republican / Tea Party has gone in the past few years. (For more on that last point, I again recommend the book “Conservatives Without Conscience” written by lifelong Republican John Dean.)

  124. Plain Jane
    April 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    The Tea Party politicians would have a hard time explaining why they ran on a platform of saving SS and Medicare from Obama’s agenda to destroy it with HCR but are now making SS and MC destruction a central plank of their economic plan to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest IF their supporters were capable of critical thought. So far it doesn’t seem like the TP’ers have even noticed. They were told by their authorities that Ryan’s plan would save the country – no thought required.

  125. Plain Jane
    April 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    No HiFi here either. In fact, there seems to be a shortage of RWA’s everywhere today. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  126. Mr. Nice
    April 18, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Tea Party is all about one authority: The U.S. Constitution. The answer to any fucking question is the constitution with the Tea Party. Wiretaps? Unconstitutional. Censorship? Unconstitutional. Income taxes? Unconstitutional. Fiat currency? Unconstitutional. Federal Reserve? Unconstitutional. War on Drugs, War on Poverty, and War on Terror are just pussy names for being unconstitutional.

    Poor people have never been free. When all this unconstitutional bullshit gets piled on your people day after day and year after year, folks start getting this idea that the government is trying to legitimize slavery. We got more folks in prison for unconstitutional crimes than any real crimes. Crack spot kingpins make all them toy trucks folks buy for Christmas thinking Santa Claus made them when the real story is a political prisoner made them.

    Even among us supposedly free, too many folks dying to steal foreign resources. Too much bullshit retirement funds for public officials who perpetuate the cycle. Too much borrowing and not enough making American shit. Ain’t none of that money coming down the pipe to make poor folks any bread. Ain’t no dollar-for-dollar child care tax incentive. Ain’t no family to have family values in. Whatever bullshit crumbs fall down through social programs are a result of some corrupt motherfuckers breaking bread at the top.

    Still the U.S. tryna send me letters five goddamn times a year asking for some more shit? Fucking raise the debt ceiling on top of that? Fuck them, my word to pay back a trillion dollars is worth as much as our government’s.

    Tunisia tossed out Ben Ali. Egypt damn near killed Mubarak. The U.S. is about to drop this bullshit foreign intervention, artificially inflated tax, debt-infested, unconstitutional bullshit and start making money like the U.S. supposed to.

  127. Plain Jane
    April 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Is that the rant of a social dominator?

  128. tra
    April 18, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Not necessarily. Mr. Nice’s comment seems more along the lines of standard libertarianism.

    On the other hand, if he strongly agrees with this three-point manifesto..

    Cap and Trade / Health Care: A Constitutional Issue Andy Stevens, July 16th, 2009

    In our Republic we have three types of people….
    Group one: These are the achievers, those who strive, work hard and are rewarded with the fruits of their toil.

    Group two: The non-achievers. This group seldom exerts the extra effort required to rise above their station and attain their perceived goals. They are dissatisfied with their lot in life and spend much of their lives in envy of the achievers.

    Group three: This segment consists of those who contribute absolutely nothing, yet demand equity based on the labor and achievement of society as a whole….

    …Any attempt to engage in the confiscation or the conscription of the fruit of one mans labor, by either man or government, in order to provide goods or service to another is an act of illegal plunder and as such should be protested and resisted by all…


    …then, yes, he might indeed qualify as an authoritarian follower of the Social Dominator variety.

  129. Mitch
    April 19, 2011 at 6:45 am


    I *really* wanted to believe you made that up. But there it is, right at the link.

    It must take nearly superhuman powers of denial to squeeze Donald Trump, a day laborer, and a single mother trying to raise a kid into that framework.

    But I suppose if you’re able to frame humanity in that way, it helps you be a total shit and not realize it. That could explain a lot.

  130. High Finance
    April 19, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Plain Jane, 12.29pm and 12.42pm yesterday, then by YOUR definition YOU are “following” your left wing authorities. Salzman, Krugman, Obama and the like are the people YOU parody and repeat their talking points.


  131. Anonymous
    April 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Mitch, I sure not a Tea Partier, but I have no problem putting a day laborer, a single mom trying to raise a kid, and Donald Trump in the achiever-rewarded category. I see it all around me all the time. It think those contributing to society has everything to do with giving back and doing what’s right for your community and society, and not much to do with social status. Just my two cents.

  132. Plain Jane
    April 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    You must be terrified you’ll recognize yourself if you actually read the book, HiFi. With every post you just make yourself look dumber. For the record, I have never met or talked to Salzman and have only read a few of his posts on this blog. I couldn’t even tell you his opinions on anything. I don’t follow Obama and, in fact, have been VERY critical of him since his election. I don’t even follow people on Twitter. Krugman, however, is a world renown authority on economics, at least for people who have a functioning brain. I don’t follow him, but I do read and respect his opinions on economics, especially since he has been proven over time to know what the fuck he is talking about, unlike all the phony economists and uneducated radio pundits on the right which you parrot constantly, unable to recognize how outrageously they lie to you – and then you use their ridiculous claims to counter factual claims which just makes you look like a fool – the epitome of a right wing authoritarian follower, incapable of critical thought, unwilling to do the slightest research to discover the truth, and probably unable to process it if you did.

    The fact that you refuse to read the book but are criticizing it is pretty funny – and more evidence of your RWA mentality.

  133. tra
    April 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    For heaven’s sake, HiFi, read the Altemeyer book and/or his essay about the Tea Party, both of which I’ve linked to above (or at least maybe the Wikipedia entries on the topic?), before you persist further in your misunderstanding of what it means to be an “Authoritarian Follower.”

    Following a leader doessn’t necessarily make someone an Authoritarian Follower, it just makes them a follower (and yes, we have too many of them, which isn’t at all ideal, though it’s a less dangerous problem). It’s blindly following Authoritarian Leaders that makes someone an Authoritarian Follower.

    Really, these concepts are not that hard to understand if you don’t try so hard to avoid understanding them. Then we can agree or not, but at least we’re all using the same definitions as we discuss it.

    Hey, it’s worth a shot.

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