Sunday, June 30, 2013

Revolution of INsanity in America

After the financial disaster that was the Bush administration, characterized by deregulation, fraud, and crony capitalism; and as a result of the election of America's first black president, behold the immaculate conception of the Tea Party and the New Republican party.

Well funded by the Oil Patch Boys, agribusiness, a gaming mogul or two, and many of the New Derivative Thinkers (traditional Republican supporters), the movement employees the same political tactics and strategies as the American Counterculture of the 60's. Unlike the Counterculture, the Tea Party fosters "causes" that logically make strange bedfellows.

Looking back, what separates the Counterculture from the Tea Party is the fact that one was clearly a grassroots movement, and the Tea Party merely operates under that guise. Comprised of very questionable candidates who are sometimes criticized by other members of the Republican party, they continue to advocate for and foster policies that do not work together logically for a better America. Apparently the Tea Party is incapable of comprehending causal relationships (cause and effect), understanding consequences, or acknowledging the Big Picture.

One example of this is their passionate cause to make it impossible for any American woman to have an abortion. In 1966, in an attempt to stimulate the economy, Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu outlawed abortion in Romania. The result was a documentable increase in the crime rate. And, upon the passage of Roe v. Wade, America saw a documentable decrease in the crime rate. The apparent conclusion is that unwanted, unloved children have a greater tendency to become criminals than children that are planned for and properly cared for and loved.

It follows that if our religious convictions are so strong as to prohibit any and all abortions, then we should open, not just our hearts, but also our wallets, and provide a whole array of social services that include counseling, education, and living subsidies to help these kindred spirits stay on the straight and narrow. But this is not the Tea Party Way.

The Tea Party solution, based on a misconstrued interpretation of the Second Amendment, is a passionate cry to allow all these new citizens to arm themselves to the hilt and go at it with the "law abiding" citizens. And while all this is going on, the financial aristocracy is getting more powerful and continuing to take away constitutionally guaranteed rights, and reduce the standard of living, of the average American. Despite what the Tea Party says, this is not the America the Founding Fathers envisioned when they founded our country.

My father was one of the few people that I have known in my lifetime, that held himself to higher standards than he did other people. And the notion of standards illustrates one of the most glaring defects in Tea Party assertions that they are driven by principle and scruples. One could list examples of hypocrisy and bad character and conduct forever, but the U.S. Farm Bill is the most glaring recent example. Bachmann and other members of Congress receive huge Federal farm subsidies yet scorn and chastise working families who receive food assistance. Members of the Tea Party are quick to forgive themselves for moral and legal indiscretions, but hold the working poor and average Americans to much higher standards.

In a democratic society you cannot tell other people what to do, and then argue that they don't have the right to dictate what you should do. To do so is just plain crazy and not democratic. For individual rights to be actualized, you must have a society intact that allows for the realization and expression of those rights. All citizens should have the ability to vote. People should have access to free markets with regulations and protections in place to ensure that they are free. The financial aristocracy, in conjunction with the Tea Party, is moving America further and further away from what our Founding Fathers created.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

New World Order

Recently, in the media, there has been much discussion and even joking, about the economic realities of today vs. the economic realities of times gone bye, specifically the 70's. Changes in economy, including the presence of a global economy, and the technological revolution, which has created a Culture of Media, impact job creation and the standard of living in this country. And the global economy is a direct benefactor of the Culture of Media.

Technology, specifically, is responsible for slow job creation. Slow job creation erodes disposable income and, declining disposable income hinders future job creation as well as the payment of taxes and increases government deficits. God help us all if they design robots to replace fast food workers and retail clerks, the two occupations with the largest employment in America. But, then again, we may be approaching a point where fewer and fewer Americans can afford Big Macs and Nike's.

Most importantly, there has been a erosion of values partially due to the MBA mentality of maximum immediate profits, without regard for patriotism, social costs, or anything else. This principle has been smartly marketed as patriotic and propagated through The Culture of Media with the help of the super rich, whose objectives this maxim serves; and with the support of Tea Party Republicans, whose motives can only be surmised. And it is decidedly un-American not to embrace this principle.

The omnipresent media characterized by Facebook and smartphones, creates a distance between our actions and the effect of our actions on what we value. It is not that Americans are becoming morally reprehensible. Older Americans are detached and are unable to comprehend the changing realities. Swayed by right-wing media and the Tea Party, they believe that the truths, actions, and policies of 50 years ago, will solve the problems of America. And they won't. Younger Americans, immersed in the Culture of Media, believe but are beginning to become disillusioned. They, like their older counterparts, suffer detachment and desensitization, from lack of understanding and bad information, and immersion in the Culture of Media.

Decades ago, the notion of delayed gratification was an America value. Americans got jobs, worked hard, and saved for the future. The idea of apprenticeship was built into the American job market. A journeyman, through hard work and merit, could advance. However, due to changing values and technologies, this is not the norm today.

Corporations, by definition, do not care about understanding, and only seek to maximize profits. Ironically, due to the stagnation in wage growth since the crash of 2008, more working Americans require government subsidies and food stamps, just to survive. So the job creators are having the government subsidize the wages they pay their workers and then they evoke communist innuendo and cry foul when the government attempts to tax their record profits and piles of cash on the sidelines.

Those Americans that understand these new truths, compromise or change their values; and, lacking full understanding, ally themselves with the financial aristocracy. And they do not see their folly. They only recognize that a minimum wage job, that will not enable them to pay their bills, will probably lead nowhere. And they are probably right. And the erosion of spirit and human values further erodes morality, in the same manner the erosion of disposable income in an economy further depresses that economy.

If we want to get America going in the right direction again, we must restore American values and morals again. The religious dogma of the Tea Party and the far right justifies self-interest and greed, that is, as long as the church gets its cut of the pillaging, I mean business dealings. Mean-spirited greed is bad. Selfishness is NOT a virtue. I believe that most true Christians, and most Americans, accept this notion and value this. But, because of the changing realities, many are detached and unable to express it. Perhaps, a few of the people that saw Wall Street, really didn't understand the movie.

There is a price for the freedom and opportunity that America has afforded its people since its inception. Included in the price is the principle of cooperation and compromise. Business is neither good nor bad. And, people should be rewarded for work and merit. But when corporations rig markets, break laws, evade taxation, pollute and damage communities, and exploit workers, we need government and laws and regulations. Government is not always good and should not involve itself in the reproductive rights of women as it is doing in some states. But, people should be rewarded for their work and their merit and all citizens are entitled to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

What If?

What if Mitt Romney had won the last election? In anticipation of winning the election, and well prior to the final results, Romney formulated a plan to turn the White House into a venture capital-like "holding firm". The syndicate would have been comprised of three teams: "Office of Care and Feeding" which would have included speech writing, "The Office of Packaging and Selling" which would have encompassed information and public relations, and  "The Policy Office" which would have included the National Security Council and would have attempted to dissipate any remaining regulatory, consumer protection, and social agencies.

In the Post Business and Democracy, I contrasted the goals and objectives of a corporation and a democracy. Certainly, if this this country is run like a corporation, democracy and America- as we know it- will cease to be. It is almost laughable to imagine our country broken up and sold off in pieces. The fact that there are people wearing loud America flag lapel pins that actually believe that it is their right to do this, and that it is good for our country, makes it very painful.

This clip which the National Rifle Association probably won't endorse, may put a smile on your face.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt3aLev041E