Tuesday, September 27, 2005

September 26, 2005

Now I've Done It

Last week I proposed The 1% Solution, and it struck a nerve. My email was clogged with folks who said they thought it was a terrific idea and wanted to know how to get started . So I got started... if only just. I registered 1percentsolution.org. The site is bare bones right now but it's up.

Now what? I'm only one guy. and a lazy one at that. We're going to need a hellulva lot more than that to make a splash with this. Because it's all up hill right from the start. On our right we face bought-and-paid for Republicans not about to to bite the One Percenters who feed them.

On our left we is an opposition party that's been beaten senseless by right-wing thugs over the past five years. About a third of them have even begun wearing the other gang's colors to avoid further beatings. Then there's the Hillary third of the party that now speaks only in tongues, making it nearly impossible to figure which side they're really on.

That leaves about a third of Democrats that we can probably count on. But even so, it will require enormous pressure from those Democrats, backed up by nothing short of a tsunami of support from the grassroots (that's you, in case you were wondering,) to drag that other two thirds of Democrats onto this bandwagon.

The good news is that a growing number of moderate Republicans, (even a few GOP full-mooners,) are grousing about Bush's mushrooming deficits. The 1% Solution may not be entirely palatable to them. But if it comes down to a choice between that or deficits, many of them will swallow hard, hide behind the "in times of emergency taxes are a necessary evil," rationale, and vote for it. With Democrats on board and a few dozen Republicans, we'd have a veto-proof bill to put in front of Borrow and Spend George. If he signs it, we win. If he vetoes it, we win – twice.

This plan could actually work. So, who out there wants to lend a hand? I will keep the page up only as long as I believe the necessary momentum is building and helping hands keep helping. (The last thing wanted to do when I retired was start something that put me back to work. So I'm not about to try to pull this wagon alone.)

So, here's what's needed... and soon:

* A savvy Washington DC coordinator to get the 1% Pledge to each member of Congress and get 1% lapel buttons to each of those who sign it.
* Someone/company to produce lapel buttons, bumper stickers, printed pledges, pledge certificates, etc.
* Researcher(s) willing and able to compile a list of the Top 100 One Percenters, and then detail the extent of their most conspicuous assets. Also to provide to them copies of The 1% Solution petition to sign (or to refuse to sign it.)

Most importantly, we need a member, or members of the House and Senate willing to step forward and sponsor 1% Solution bills. (Helloooo up there. Can you hear us yet?)

Okay, so there's the deal. If people step forward and pitch in, this campaign continues. If not, I pull the plug on it. Your call. Let's see if you're just all talk or really ready to act. I'm giving this one month to either fly or die.

Another Reason For the 1% Repeal
As I noted in an earlier column, whenever something awful happens in the nation or world, be it war or bad weather, it's always wealthy supporters of this administration and their friends who benefit. The hurricanes are the latest proof this theory.

"More than 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts signed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency alone were awarded without bidding or with limited competition, government records show, provoking concerns among auditors and government officials about the potential for favoritism or abuse.... Already, questions have been raised about the political connections of two major contractors - the Shaw Group and Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton - that have been represented by the lobbyist Joe M. Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former leader of FEMA. Bills have come in for deals that apparently were clinched with a handshake, with no documentation to back them up.... (Full Story)

Among those profiting from the misery in the Gulf, (that we know about) include;

* The Shaw Group and Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton - that have been represented by the lobbyist Joe M. Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former leader of FEMA.
* $568 million in contracts for debris removal has been awarded to a company with ties to Mississippi's Republican governor, and former GOP head, Haley Barbour. (Imagine what the Republicans would be screaming now if former DNC head, Terry McAuliffe had pulled a stunt like that.)
* CH2M Hill and the Fluor Corporation, two global engineering companies have been awarded a total of $250 million in hurricane contracts. Both companies were previously cited by regulators for safety violations at a weapons plant cleanup.
* The Bechtel Corporation, awarded a contract that could be worth $100 million, is under scrutiny for its oversight of the "Big Dig" construction project in Boston.
* Kellogg, Brown & Root, which has bagged $60 million in hurricane clean up contracts so far, has been rebuked by federal auditors for "unsubstantiated" billings for Iraq reconstruction and criticized for charging taxpayers $100-per-bag laundry service there.

So, besides the obvious problems with all the above, we can probably agree that at the very least these folks should not get more tax cuts. You have to know that at the head of each of those companies sit some of our One Percenters who deserve to have their Bush tax gift repealed. After all, they screw with us – or more precisely, screw us -- regularly. The least we can do is return the favor. You got a problem with that?

So, are you ready to throw your hat into the 1% Solution ring? If so, get ready to put some skin in too. I always appreciate nice emails telling me what "a great job" I'm doing. But I don't need slaps on the back for this to work. I need help. And I need it fast.

Contact: Stephen Pizzo
Phone: 707-829-7038
Email: Stephen(at)Pizzo.com

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