Sunday, June 26, 2011

Is There a Solution?

Recently someone asked me if I thought Ronald Reagan was a good president? And I answered them somewhat sarcastically that, after he fulfilled his promises to the wealthy and the deficit soared out of control, he did a splendid job. He did eliminate long and short-term capital gains taxes- created one rate to hinder tax shelters- and did away with investment credits. Ironically, the loopholes he plugged did, to a limited degree, create jobs and opportunity.

Today we have an entirely different situation. The tax laws that are designed to give corporations and the super rich incentives to invest in America and create jobs, have been co-opted by a generation of self-interested derivative thinkers to the point where it has become anti-tax stupification.

Today US corporations that were born here, and sustained by our country are rewarded by the tax system for investing abroad and, at the same time, closing American facilities and firing American workers. Corporate leaders get capital gains on stock acquired by them in compensation plans, again using tax laws that are designed to create jobs and stimulate the economy, without creating any jobs, except for an au pair or maid.

The real tragedy is that some who recently assumed positions of power, as well as many who aspire to positions of power, have little understanding about what's going on; and liken what's happening now to what was happening during the Reagan era.

If right wing Republicans were seriously interested in job creation, rather than having savings of the rich "trickle down" into contributions for their campaigns and attack ads designed to eliminate Democrats and moderate Republicans from the American political scene, they would require every corporation to disclosed what percentage of their stock float is actually being invested as "capital" in building factories and research facilities, buying equipment and training workers in the US.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Now We Are Engaged in a Great Civil War,"

The title for this post is from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. I do think the New Conservatives, at least some of them, believe that middle class/ working Americans are responsible, themselves, for "being behind the power curve", in a precarious position, and in danger of destitution. The problem is that they are out of touch with reality. As stated throughout this blog, the dynamics of America and the world have changed drastically on virtually every level. And it is either stupidity or evil to hold and advocate beliefs and policy that are supported by fallacious premises. And to have such people in a position of power to impose such policy without understanding or merit is insane and the end of "the last, best hope of earth." Again, this quote is from Lincoln referring to America.

Leona Helmsley once said, "We don't pay taxes. Only little people pay taxes..." For the rest of the New Conservatives, the ones' that are conscious of what they are doing: using their wealth to destroy democracy and the middle class, it is almost criminal.

When the bread gets low- food stamps are cutoff- and the gladiators are locked-out- no football- people may come to their senses. And because we live in a democracy, it will be only a matter of time before the passage of a very progressive Federal income tax.

Finally- Tea Party Conservatives love to divert attention from meaningful issues by spending inordinate amounts of time discussing ludicrous, often trivial issues. Perhaps the new House majority should pass a bill replacing the eagle with the vulture as our national bird. True Americans that love, serve and believe in this country are merely meat for the New Conservatives and the financial aristocracy. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Power Without Merit

All things considered, there are some endeavors that the federal government is capable of administering more efficiently and more cost-effectively than the private sector. Public works, the military and health care are three major examples. The argument that this is not so stems from "private sector" involvement in a non-competitive market in conjunction with the government.

Bush experimented with a private military that included Blackwater, and the costs were astronomical when compared to the effectiveness, which was minimal. And there were some damaging repercussions that are not usually associated with a voluntary army.

Since the inception of Medicare and Medicaid, private sector entities have exploited the systems for profit. And behavior of private sector insurers illustrates that costs will continue to go up and coverage will continue to go down for the vast majority of Americans. If you take the leash off the pit bull, it is insane to believe that it will attack less. 

The arguments of the New Conservatives are rooted in realities that were at least partially true in American history. The notion of "Go West" to a new territory and stake your claim was a viable option. And throughout much of our history, America was the land of opportunity.

With the country settled, and so much manufacturing lost, we have become a country of information and technology and sales. And much of the technology is designed to reduce, not create jobs. I thank whatever gods maybe that be that Obama had the foresight and intelligence to save the American automobile industry which, incidentally, has repaid the loans and is now leaner and healthier than ever.

With the advent of the Tea Party, it has become apparent that one of the fundamental principles of the Founding Fathers has been thrown out the window by the New Conservatives. Implicit in the formation of America was the notion of merit.

Driven by the Kock brothers, whose BC thought process and wealth come from the same place, the Mesozoic Era, Tea Party candidates pooh-pooh teachers and education, democracy and equality, standards, laws and regulations; and more fundamentally opportunity and fairness. Remember the colonists offered George Washington the crown and he rejected it as fundamentally un-American. And Newt Gingrich recently had a lapse of conscience- probably due to all that education and teaching- when he described the Ryan Plan as right-wing "social engineering".

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dumb and Dumber, or Just Plain Nefarious

At the risk of getting additional comments that cannot be posted, I am going to state that most Americans fall into one of these 2 categories. Obama illustrated to Americans and the world, how easy it is for this country to get something done when we are not hindered by the sociopathic right wing element in this country.

The American mind is powered by consciousness, which makes decisions based strongly on the need for self-preservation. From an early age Americans of my generation were taught by their parents, in the classroom, and by our society at large, that we were special. And I believe this notion.

As Americans we are susceptible to fears: Fear that our way of life is in danger, Fear that perhaps we are wrong. These fears make us uncomfortable so we bury them. And we cling to old ideologies and behaviors that served us well in the past, when things were different, even when, all around us, it is apparent that they are false. And we fail to believe that the old notions are detrimental to our very self-preservation and the preservation of our country. Driven by the right wing media, whose sole purpose for being is to fortify and enrich the top 2% in our country, we cling to our ideologies.

Americans are special. But if we are to remain so we must be cognizant of what's happening today. The unpatriotic, amoral selfishness which the right wing parades as rights of individual, has absolutely nothing to do with what the Founding Fathers intended, quite the contrary. We must become aware that our collective consciousness is being manipulated to the detriment of our country.

Since the inception of our country, the greatest strengths of America have been our economic strength and economic sovereignty, and the freedoms and way of life we Americans have been blessed with. These strengths have enabled our leaders to be successful in foreign affairs. I believe we still serve as a power of example for much of the rest of the world. If we continue to be influenced by right wing extremism, the American way will perish, and soon thereafter, America- the country- will end in a blaze of golden parachutes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Osama bin Laden Dead - "And I'll get on my knees and pray, We don't get fooled again."

The conservative wing of the US Supreme Court is at it again. A recent ruling illustrates clearly that their decisions are political and not based on any philosophical interpretation of the Constitution. The decisions of the conservative wing vacillate between states' rights and federal rights depending upon which interpretation suits the fulfillment of their agenda. The case I am referring to is the recent ruling on AT&T v. Concepcion which preempted state laws designed to protect American consumers.

Bin Laden is dead. And his execution was carried out by a tactical strike that was so efficient that it truly boggles my mind. The political risk to Obama aside, the mission was cost-effective on every conceivable level. First, considering the human factor, there were no American causalities and no civilian causalities. Second, though we presently don't know the extent of it, it is highly probable that a large amount of good intel was obtained.

The only drawback to the tactical strike vs. bombing- which some of the President's advisors advocated- besides illustrating Obama's competency as commander-in-chief, is that defense contractors lost some profits. It should be noted that the Navy Seals make about what the average teacher makes in America. I realize that I am "begging the question" when I say that this action did not seriously increase the deficit.

However, I do believe that it was not in the best interests of the New Conservatives to kill bin Laden. His "lurking" threat allowed them to carryout their agenda in the name of anti-terrorism. And a fearful population is a pliable population as Stephen Colbert pointed out in his counter rally last year.

Finally, it is awesome what the Obama administration accomplished, so competently and cost-effectively, when it is contrasted with the billions the Bush administration spent attempting to do the job, ostensibly. Just imagine if we had done that at Tora Bora; And used all that money to subsidize manufacturing, for research and development, and to repair and build infrastructure; endeavors that would have stimulated the economy and strengthened America long-term. American lives would have been saved. We wouldn't have the debt and we certainly wouldn't be in the situation we are today.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

For What It's Worth

One of the greatest dangers that now faces America is what's happening domestically. It seems that Wall Street and "New Conservative Policy", and not Islamic jihad, may be responsible for creating a domestic environment that could ultimately prove to be the greatest threat to our "national" security.

One of the factors the "New Conservative" Republicans have not given enough attention to in their quest to turn America into a Plutocracy, is the threat of domestic unrest. Though it is impossible to climb into their minds, and lord knows I have tried figuratively; it is somewhat reasonable to assume that Blackwater was a kind of experiment- funded by taxpayers- in creating a private army. The experiment, ultimately, did not go so well.

In a recent interview, Alan Greenspan stated that restoring taxes to the Clinton Presidency levels "would fill in the cracks". Filling in the cracks is a good thing. Are Republicans so stupid that they still share a "collective faith" in a free market and an economy, with no rules, based on borrowing, consumption and endless, exponential  growth? Or are they so megalomaniacal, un-American and unchristian that they just don't care?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blazing Saddles

I hope that I am off track here, but I feel that possibly, one of the reasons for the success of the Tea Party candidates in the last elections; and a major factor in the collective Republican obstinacy, is the fact that Barrack Obama was elected President.

If memory serves me correctly, McCain was born in Panama. And this was not an issue in the election. With Donald Trump jumping on the "birther" bandwagon, it appears that Republicans are using bigotry and fear to maintain and fortify their base.

Unlike Gingrich (Adultery), Palin (Bristolgate & Troopergate), Huckabee (Ethicsgate) and most of the Republican potential nominees, Obama has an almost  impeccable record as a man, as a citizen, and as a scholar. He has a sound family, loves and plays sports, was a law professor, and attended the same Christian church for 20 years. He has stellar academic credentials and he is a self-made man. He is a poster person for Horacio Alger and epitomizes the American Dream.

Remember, the "New Conservative" Republicans of George Bush and Co. all but destroyed this country and Obama was elected by a landslide. The new "dogs", which are essentially the same old dogs, are using any methods they can, including the "birther" red herring, to accomplish their mission. Their style is different, this time around, but their game is the same.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bye Bye American Pie

Writing on behalf of the five conservatives on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas tossed out the verdict awarding Thompson, a man wrongfully convicted of murder, 14 million dollars. Thompson spent 18 years in prison- 14 of them on death row- and lived through 7 planned executions. The Supreme Court majority decision to overturn the verdict further illustrates the politicization of the Supreme Court. Both Thomas and Scalia recently attended "closed door" Tea Party and Citizens United meetings at no personal expense.

There can be no doubt in the mind of any thinking person left in America that the, the right-wing, autocratic element seeks to destroy America and democracy.

To further illustrate this, if there is any need to, I have a suggestion for the citizens in Florida. Unemployment is around 11%, which means in real terms it's somewhere around 20%. Let's give Scott, Rubio and West an incentive to GET TO WORK and do what they promised. Let's suspend their pay, benefits and expense accounts, as well as, appropriate all income derived from any extracurricular activities, until unemployment is at 4%, as it was when Bill Clinton was President. If and when unemployment gets to that mark, they can receive their compensation retroactively. If it's good for the goose, it should be good for the gander.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Business of Bread and Circuses

Business is neither good nor evil. Business has no soul or conscience. The only consideration of business is to make a profit.

The free market is a concept. In concept the free market should be unaffected by normative judgment. However, whenever people are involved, and there are always people involved in business and the markets, the free market will be influenced by their perceptions, beliefs, and objectives; as well as the power they wield in influencing the market. Put as simply as I know how to, markets are influenced by the people that participate in them and the people that control them.

The more economic democracy we have, the "freer" the markets are. Please understand that I believe that free markets are good and that people should be rewarded for work and merit. I do not believe that the vast majority of the American population should be denied "the pursuit of happiness" because ostensibly free markets are rigged and being controlled and manipulated by politicians and lobbyists  for the benefit of the wealthy and global corporations. And I certainly don't believe that markets that are manipulated by theft, deception and fraud, should masquerade as free markets.

I cannot think of one free market that is operating in the world today; though I can enumerate many "kinda" free markets. The most obvious one is the oil market.

Friedmanites argue that the free markets are alive and well and support their position with flawed data. One disciple of Friedman and Kuznets recently stated that consumption in America is at an all time high, and in the same breath denounced TARP as being a failure. He continued by stating that intervention by the public sector is "forcing out private sector participation."

Have we forgotten September 2008? It comes back to human beings, and perceptions, beliefs and objectives. Without government involvement there is no indication and certainly no reason to believe that the private sector will act according to b school paradigms. And a sick, impoverished population is not able to purchase much in the way of goods and services.

Today, many Americans are acting like the little boy who is whistling in the dark; all the while waving the American flag and consuming McDonalds and watching NASCAR and the WWF.

I will leave you with a couple of quotes. The first one may explain the "rabid dog" demeanor of many Republicans which is characterized by the lower incisors protruding up, onto the upper lip. "It belongs to human nature to hate those you have injured." Tacitus

The second quote requires no explanation. "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator. " George W. Bush

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Republican "Private" Sector Vampires


Republicans and their constituents don't want to pay taxes and don't want government to do anything for the benefit of the middle class and working people. However, they are very adroit at extrapolating government funds on all levels. In an odd sort of way they are like addicts that know they are wrong but blame their suppliers for their transgressions.  In current politics, that would be the Federal Government.

The adjustable rate mortgage debacle has been discussed extensively in the April 2010 posts in this blog. Fortunes were made by the top percents and the Federal Government is paying their profits, through a whole array of programs and federal guarantees. As you may know, the government is the rest of us. The most important factor, which many overlook when making comparisons of one administration to another, is that when you severely damage a country's economy, tax revenues go down significantly, even if all other components remain constant. Hence, the deficit went up as a result of the extrapolation by the top percentages.

In Florida, newly elected governor, Rick Scott, an "outsider", is trying to exorcise teachers of their collective bargaining rights. Teachers in Florida are already 47th in terms of pay and benefits. You see paying teachers a living wage will leave less public monies for the top 2% to extrapolate. And we really don't want an educated population anyway.

As previously mentioned in this blog, Scott made his money the old fashioned way. He stole it from the Federal Government and your children's futures. His company, Columbia, HCK, pleaded guilty to Medicare and Medicaid fraud and paid a 1.7 billion dollar settlement, the largest fraud settlement in US history at the time.

The "best and the brightest" are at it again. Now pay attention to this fact. In the United States, student loan debt currently exceeds credit card debt. Republican private sector wizards are working on a scheme whereby students do not have to repay their loans. They take a hefty fee for helping the students and grads stiff the Federal Government, which again is you and me. The punch line is, because the loans were given by private sector entities, and were merely guaranteed by the government; and then traded and sometimes packaged as derivatives, the loans are not valid. The private sector caused the problem and is now profiting again from the situation that it created and already profited from. There is one thing the Tea Party is right about. America is running out of blood. It's time to get out the wooden stakes.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Job-Killing Republican Party

The agenda of the Republican Party is designed to kill jobs for Americans, destroy the middle class, and turn America into a country that is remarkably similar to the countries the Puritans and Pilgrims and others left to form America. I'll say it again. The Republican agenda and vision for our country is to turn America into a country that is like, only to a greater degree, the one our founding fathers left to found America.

Put simply, the Pilgrims and Puritans left England, and others left their respective countries and settled in America, for three basic reasons. They sought religious freedom. They sought just and equal laws and social equality. And they sought economic opportunity.

The Republican Party, at least the most vocal elements, are advocating Fundamentalist Christianity as the only acceptable religion for true Americans. Recent statements by Alabama's governor attest to this prevailing sentiment among most Republicans.

Just and equal laws and social equality for all Americans is all but gone. Recent revelations about 2 members of the supreme court being seduced by the far right element illustrate that we no longer have "freedom and justice for all." And Republican media is calling democracy an undesirable thing and likening it to "mob rule".

Finally, Republican economic policies are not designed to create jobs or do anything positive for America, the country; but simple further the concentration of  wealth in the hands of the few so they become the arbiters of what religion is acceptable for America, and what constitutes freedom and justice for the citizens.

One motivating factor in the settlement and creation of America was the system of  primogeniture, a system where the right of inheritance belonged exclusively to the eldest son. America was settled by many second and third sons. The implementation of Republican economic theory has and will continue to make it virtually impossible for anyone that is not already wealthy to do anything but live as a wage slave. And no matter how much more their taxes are cut and regulations governing their behavior are aborted, jobs will still be exported to countries where workers are virtually slaves.

This grand republic of the New Republicans will be ruled, not by philosopher kings, but rather by financial aristocrats. There will be a small class of professionals serving these demigods, primarily physicians and lawyers. And the vast majority of Americans, who will have lost their right to vote at some point, will be working three jobs just to put food on the table. That is, the lucky ones.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Right to Work

The "Right to Work" is a misnomer. In Right to Work states, the joke is, "You have the right to work and they have the right not to pay you."

All right-wing assaults on workers and the unemployed will bring about further deterioration of our economy and create a country of wage slaves. By granting more tax breaks for the wealthy and reducing regulation, without clearly defined legal stipulations, a class of wage slaves will be created in America.

The vast majority of Americans are workers and people that live week to week. By spending their entire income to meet their basic needs, they maintain our fragile economy. Redistributing more wealth from the bottom tiers to the top tiers, will have catastrophic effects on our country.

Arthur Laffer's economic theories (I think there is a pun somewhere), produced horrible repercussions when implemented into policy under Reagan and, as a result, Papa Bush had to raise taxes despite the fact that we all read his lips. Baby Bush practiced the same voodoo economics (a phrase that was coined by his father) and lead our beloved country into the worst economic recession since the depression of the 30's. And it may be decades before we recover.

"Third time's a charm?" Who in their right mind can believe honestly that it will work this time. Are Americans that stupid? Maybe if Beck puts on his ruby slippers, and taps his toes together three times, and says, "There's no place like America under Calvin Coolidge(1923-1929)", all this will go away.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Progressives vs. Regressives

The world is not static. If you're not going forward, you're going backwards. Progressives favor progress, positive change, and improvements. Regressives want to undo progress, move backwards and return to the past.

In American politics, progressives and moderates want to maintain the rights and standard of living of the average America and the middle class. By doing this they seek to maintain and improve the strength of America.

Regressives, conservatives, and Tea Partiers want to roll back America to the way it was a century ago. Whether their motives be ignorance and stupidity, or arrogance and greed, this is just plain crazy.

The realities of the world: the global nature of economics, communication and technology simply make this policy and vision for America a surefire way to turn America into a Third World cesspool. You see, the rest of the world is not going to regress with us.

It is very important to remember that the policies of the New Conservatives got us into the situation that we are in and it is insane to think those same policies can get us out. Remember, both Reagan and Bush ignored fiscal responsibility, personal freedoms, and indulged in international adventurism. The spending of the Obama Administration was necessary to "stop the bleeding" and bolster American over the long run.

I don't work in an academic environment, so my information comes from reading and viewing a broad spectrum of media, as well as meeting and talking to people. With our manufacturing base, all but gone, a significant portion of American business is targeting wealth that was created generations ago when America had strong manufacturing, unions and pensions; wealth that will never be replaced. Since manufacturing is gone, and America cannot continue to act like a snake eating its own tail for much longer, it is imperative that we develop a "new manufacturing", by encouraging ideas, technology, innovative services, and engineering breakthroughs; things that can be exported; and, at the same time, discourage endeavors that extrapolate wealth from the past and the future; wealth that doesn't exist. This approach coupled with a rebuilding of our infrastructures and the institution of alternative energy sources may save our country.

Finally, there is a saying from Sun Tzu, "Know Your Enemy". I have been trying to understand the New Conservatives for over a decade. Initially, years ago, I thought the ideology was based on Social Darwinism; you know, "pull yourself up by your bootstraps." But upon continued observation over the years, I believe even Ayn Rand wouldn't approve of the fraud and theft and exploitation that occurred during the Bush years. And where does Christianity fit into all of this? Can anyone help me understand?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rights, Responsibilities, and Red Herrings

One day, early in my adulthood, my father took me outside into the woods behind our home in rural Connecticut. He brought with him an antique over-under Remington rifle. He fired a shot at a red oak about 30 yards away, handed me the rifle, and told me to shoot at the mark. After I fired, he took the rifle back from me, and we walked back to the house.

I am sharing this story to convey to you that I am not opposed to mentally competent citizens owning firearms for the purpose of hunting, sport, or even self-protection. I am opposed to a misconstrued interpretation of the Second Amendment for the purpose of 'arming' the masses, with weaponry that goes beyond hunting, sport and self-protection, for the purpose of creating a red herring of chaos and fear.

The Second Amendment grants the right of a well regulated militia. Implicit in this statement is the notion that the right to bear arms requires responsibility. The right of ordinary citizens to bear arms is for the purpose of forming a well regulated militia should it become necessary to do so. And the purpose of the militia is to provide emergency law enforcement, to protect a community, its territory, and laws. The Second Amendment does not give ordinary citizens and crackpots the right to bear arms for the purpose of committing acts of terror and sedition.

Currently, gun laws are regulated, often not so well, by individual states within the framework of existing federal firearms laws. Since no one, including Palin, Huckabee, and McConnell, wants to violate the Constitution, and put weaponry in the hands of crackpots and anti-government individuals, let's set up a militia, similar to the ROTC, in each state. In order for an individual to exercise his right to bear arms, he or she must serve in a WELL REGULATED militia. In these times of economic woe, I'm sure all states will welcome the voluntary services of these American patriots.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"These Are the Times that Try Men's Souls."

What is going on in our country right now is unique in the history of our country. Our democracy is being attacked by an thug, ersatz "grassroots" movement that is being orchestrated and funded by the super rich and global corporations. For the first time in our history we have a "news" station, professing to be fair and balanced that, in actuality, is a propaganda machine for this movement. I'm sure that the Third Reich would be in awe of their tactics.

In our history, from the many protests and acts of civil disobedience to the American Civil War, never has there been a movement whose motives and objectives have been so obscured and hidden. I have to admit that the assault on our democracy on two fronts is ingenious.

As I stated in the last post, I believe people are becoming aware of what's going on, on some level, and a backlash is beginning.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Terror Within

Upon arriving home from work, the headline on my MSN homepage informed me that Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, a moderate, and members of her staff, along with a federal judge, were shot during a "Congress on Your Corner" meeting in Tucson, Arizona. My first reaction was to pen a vituperous rant blaming the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party. Fox News stated that an examination of the gunman's Twitter and Facebook sites reveled ramblings that expressed discontent with ratification and interpretation of the Constitution as well as the fact that US currency is no longer backed by gold or silver. Sounds like Beck and Palin. I threw the draft in the wastebasket.

Today's tragedy is an example of the price we pay for our democracy. Hopefully this action will end, once and for all, Palin's political aspirations, dissuade the most intelligent minions of Beck,  and accelerate the Revolution of Sanity in America. My prayers and condolences go out to the families and friends of these casualties of our noble struggle.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Is America Morally Bankrupt? Degrees of Separation

In our country, over the last decade or so, the zeitgeist appears to have been a unique combination of robotic selfishness driven by complex  fears coupled with a denial of any knowledge or data that would dissuade that behavior. Blinders, energy drinks, and treadmills.

Realistically, we all have to make a living and provide for our families. I have a friend who writes computer code for major banks and some municipalities. He is a decent man, works hard and though we have not discussed it, I'm reasonably sure he never considers the workers he is displacing.

Today, American corporations are doing well and expanding overseas. They are hiring overseas. The markets are doing well. Yet many, many Americans are unemployed or underemployed. One consequence of sustained high unemployment will be an increase in poverty from the bottom up, in this country of ours. Note: I am not one to advocate tariffs.

Florida should serve as a lesson for the rest of our country. An economy based solely on population growth is doomed to fail.

As the degrees of separation diminish, things change. Americans act "morally" when their own physical or psychological preservation, or the preservation of those close to them, requires it.  Comedy Central's Rally to Restore Sanity, Oprah's recent statement that Americans are too smart to elect Sarah Palin President, and the inception of the No Labels movement- which incidentally was started by  young members of both parties, illustrate that the Revolution of Sanity in America may be underway.

Finally, I have been bemused for sometime by the fact that the most un-American politicians wear the loudest American Flag lapel pins. Don't they manufacture oil derrick or dollar sign pins?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Darkest Before the Dawn

People are imperfect creatures and life and politics are full of paradoxes.  In our society, many Americans are on a diet and many Americans are food insecure. According to 2009 statistics, approximately 60 million Americans are obese, and, at the same time 49 million Americans don't get enough to eat. Reactionaries want tax cuts for those with plenty and to cut benefits for those with not enough to eat.

Reactionaries believe our government should intervene in the lives of individuals and outlaw abortions and also stop the termination of terminally ill individuals who have no chance of recovery. The Bush administration failed in its attempt to use drug law to accomplish this this in Oregon in 2001, in the case Gonzales v. Oregon.

At the the same time they hold these "Christian views", Reactionaries are strong advocates for the death penalty. Bush was known in enlightened circles as the "hanging" governor.

In the recent midterm elections, we saw a Republican surge. Most Americans, still stultified by the effects of the Bush years, sought change again and elected some GOP and Tea Party candidates. In actuality we got a slightly different breed of dog with the same strain of rabies. We elected people who are hell-bent on enriching the wealthy and global corporations at the expense of the middle class.

Rand Paul, in his mystical, pseudo philosophical way is arguing that the average American owes his very existence to the rich and should make sacrifices and do everything to accommodate the rich and powerful. He stated that they buy things from us and give us jobs. Huh? I wonder if this is the same argument that some plantation owners used to placate slaves during the Antebellum South?

In Florida, Rick Scott is assembling a team of lobbyists and longtime insiders, many from former governor Jeb Bush, to help him govern. Same dog, same rabies.

What is truly insane is not the deception and politics, but the fact that the Conservative movement has metastasized into a movement whose agenda will destroy America. To put ambition, wealth and power above America and its people is both un-American and unchristian.

I think Democrats were worn-out from fighting with Republicans and the Reactionary media, by the midterm elections. Instead of accentuating their accomplishments and successes since 2008, they reverted to attacking their opponents.This did not prove to be a successful tactic when trying to win the votes of traumatized moderates and Conservative Democrats.

Finally, Sarah Palin told students that Pennsylvania's plan to limit the number of sweets allowed in classrooms is an example of the "nanny state run amok." Implicit in her statement is that it is their (the students') right, almost patriotic duty, to consume sweets and risk obesity and possibly become unhealthy citizens. If she truly cared about the future of America, instead of bringing cookies to class, she might suggest students read a book by one of her fellow conservative Republicans, Bill Bennett: The Book of Virtues.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

States' Rights

This post should be read with Taylor Swift's inspirational song Change playing softly in the background. I humbly submit this proposal as a peace offering to John Boehner, John Cornyn, and Mitch McConnel. Since they have no plan, here is one for them. Though I could be wrong, I believe they will adopt and embrace it since it encompasses their political philosophy in its purest form. Heck, they may even make me an honorary Tea Party member.

Let's abolish federal taxes altogether and let our federal government send a bill to each state based on the population of that state. It will be up to each state to take responsibility for collecting the taxes and, through this plan, all citizens will pay equally for the costs of maintaining our country. We already do a census as mandated by an act of Congress signed by many of our founding fathers, so this plan will save lots of money.

And, since we don't want any more bridges to nowhere, the federal government will also bill the individual state for federal projects that the individual state is not able to complete on its own. This should put an end to special interests and pork!

The possible downsides to this plan are that the leaders in a lot of red states would have to grow up in a hurry and deal with the economic realities of running America. And, the cookie jar would be a lot less accessible to them. And, a lot of strip bars on K Street would probably close.

We could have one big census before enacting this to prevent states from "deporting" citizens to neighboring states and, using the Bill of Rights, the federal government could enact and enforce huge economic sanctions and penalties against states that practice this and don't pay their fair share. It wouldn't be long before we had a balanced budget again.

Wake up America. See you on the Marrakesh, I mean Tea Party Express with Sarah.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Is America Being Purchased?

Just when I got over the fact that Sarah Palin was the vice presidential nominee in the last presidential election, along comes Christine O'Donnell. Damn you Tim Leary, when will this end?

Like Palin, only to a greater degree, if that is possible, O'Donnell lacks depth, substance, insight, integrity, et al. Like Palin, what she does possess is a folksy charm tethered with a certain amount of grit, that is disarming and causes some people to embrace her. But you just have to ask yourself, "How can any sane person view her as competent to be a Senator?"

Though many will cry conspiracy theory, this caliber of candidate is cropping up all over the country via the Tea Party. These candidates have accomplished little academically, little professionally, and often have trouble with the truth. O'Donnell had to dip into her campaign contributions to pay her rent. And with recent revelations about the United States Chamber of Commerce using foreign contributions, as well as huge sums of money from people including Rupert Murdoch, to run attack ads against opponents of these candidates; it may not be so far fetched to theorize that global corporations and the super rich are trying to buy control of America.

I never thought that I would ever agree with Donald Trump on anything. But in a recent television interview,  he acknowledged that, in the last decade, America has been hoodwinked by China in business and international trade. Trump failed to mention that China bought a lot of bad paper- specifically mortgage backed securities- from the powers-that-be over time. This supports my point. The American people are the real losers in all of this. Sorry, Donald.

Global Corporations and the wealthy cry for less regulation and lower taxes. Through their "Stepford" candidates, they argue that with the fragile state of the US economy, it will have a crippling effect to do otherwise. The reasoning behind this is the tinkle, I mean trickle-down approach to economic policy. And this is just complete balderdash.

During the Bush administration, consumer spending, including sales and related services, accounted for roughly 70% of all economic activity. Insane? It wasn't so long ago that many people spent money they didn't have and, with hindsight, were/are not able to pay back.The crux of the problem is that under Bush, the economy became dependent disproportionately on consumption, and, at the same time, a significant number of Americans were loosing their real disposable income.

The further concentration of American wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer, including foreign interests, while passing the expenses of America on to the vast majority that have less and less is beyond insanity, and a recipe for the death of democracy. Additionally it will facilitate the creation of poly-economies. You see the wealthy need only so many toilets. The responsibilities and obligations of this country should be shifted from those in the middle to those at the top. Our democracy, like any structure, needs to maintain it's foundation or it will crumble.

We need to create and keep high wage jobs in this country. We need laws and regulation. As Montesquieu said of democracy, "In the state of nature all men are born equal but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them loose it, and they recover it only by protection of the law." To paraphrase Warren Buffet, "The wealthy are obliged to take responsibility." And we must get stronger in international trade and the way we do business in the world. As Trump pointed out, America- the country- is getting "body slammed" in the world arena.