In the years since the Reagan regime started and subsequent administrations continued a corporate job offshoring free for all, America and it's future has been sacrificed on the altar of corporate profits. This is an situation that is at the core of most of our country's problems today. If you truly care about the future of the U.S.A., you need to visit my Listen Here! page to get your dose of reality
Did you ever notice that GOP politicians seem to repeatedly try to undermine or even repeal every Democratic initiative? It appears that they have long memories because their attacks on laws that were enacted for the good of society as a whole not only go after Social Security but even, in the case of some of their electeds, after child labor laws. That would make their party symbol appropriate because they seem to never forget about and endlessly resent any law that was written to help John and Jane Q. if that law was crafted and passed by Democratic electeds.
FDR, JFK and LBJ era Democratic electeds have passed countless bills into laws that have become solid and essential parts of the American way of life. Believe me, Republican electeds resent each and every one of them! So many laws, so much GOP resentment! How does the GOP keep track of them all? Let me give you my theory.
Hidden is a secret vault in an inner sanctum is a GOP Grudge Checklist. Every time a Democratic bill is passed into law, a Republican scribe enters that law into the pages of their Grudge Checklist. That checklist goes back into the vault and becomes a GOP time capsule that will emerge some time in the future at a point in time when we, the people take those laws for granted, become complacent and indifferent. At that time, each law becomes an IOU to their wealthy backers that the GOP fulfills with repeated repeal or privatization attempts. If their one percenter backers can't make a buck from privatizing a social program, they want the program eliminated so there is more money in the budget to give them tax breaks and subsidies a.k.a. corporate welfare.
As I said earlier, the Republican Party symbol of an elephant is appropriate because their electeds have long memories that mark every Democratic social initiative for repeal or profiteering in the future. Conversely, the Democratic symbol of the donkey is appropriate because they have short memories and forget how hard is was for the true Democrats of the past, like FDR and LBJ to get their programs passed and are willing to throw all of it away for short term political gain. If you are uncomfortable with that situation, get out, get involved and let your electeds know that you will not stand for politics as usual.
After watching the President's state of the union address, two things immediately came to mind:
1- If he is going to use executive orders to circumvent GOP electeds in Congress and the Senate who are trying to sabotage his initiatives, why didn't he do it sooner? If his Presidency were a football game, we would say that it is now well past halftime. The President's attempts at trying to take a “bipartisan” approach with the Republicans have diluted most of his initiatives, helped their obstructionist tactics succeed and allowed their lies to become the ongoing dialog among many low information voters.
2- The theme that pervaded his state of the union was that of fixing income inequality. The cold hard truth is that the main driving force behind income inequality has been high paying manufacturing jobs that “patriotic”, “job creating” U.S. corporations have shipped overseas to places like China. The loss of those jobs created a buyer's market for employers by generating desperate workers willing to work for lower wages and less benefits. From actual experience, we know that “free” trade agreements have been the driving force behind job offshoring, less jobs in the U.S.A. And by extension, income inequality. President Obama has expressed strong support for fast-tracking the mother of all “free” trade agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership commonly known as TPP. He was strangely silent about it during his state of the union.
The interesting thing about fast-tracking the TPP is that it would make an end run around public congressional debate. That's sort of combines the worst aspects of item one and item two above. He's making an end run around Congress but doing so to foist a “free” trade agreement us that will cause more income inequality.
Experience has proven that in the case of President Obama's State Of The Union addresses, what he doesn't say is far more significant than what he does say. Judge his latest speech accordingly!
Many of the people who I hear harping about the government stepping on their Constitutional rights are selective in their outrage. They have an endless reserve of anger about government incursions on the particular part of the Constitution that affects them or their particular special interest, but couldn't give a damn about any other part. Why? Because we have become a nation of self-interested, self-serving people who could care less about anything that falls out of our limited areas of interest.
It seems like every time I mention the issue of net neutrality on Twitter, everyone grows strangely silent. Whether you realize it or not, net neutrality is today's embodiment of both free speech and freedom of the press. Even that choice fact doesn't seem to be enough to motivate some of the folks who usually get all bent out of shape about the slightest bit of corporate censorship on the mainstream media into fighting for a free, uncensored, unencumbered and unmetered internet. I expect that from people who narrowly focus on gun control or their style of so called religious “freedom” that frees them to enslave others, but not from a number of free speech advocates and not from many of the people who purport to to be “liberals.”
The latest net neutrality court decision knocks down the FCC 's pro-net neutrality rules enacted in 2010 and basically gives cable and telephone corps. the power to speed up, slow down or out and out block any website or portion of the internet that they desire! That decision was based on a technicality in the FCC rules that was put in during the Bush administration that defined the internet as being a data service as opposed to it being a telecommunications service. It says that the FCC only had the authority to regulate telecommunications services and by protecting net neutrality, overstepped its authority. That translates to corporations winning out over the rest of us on a technicality!
The fix that will restore the pro-net neutrality rules is simple. The FCC must redefine the internet as being a telecommunications service subject to all applicable FCC and state public service commission rules and regulations. They want to do that but need our encouragement and support to counteract corporate special interests by showing them that we want it accomplished!
If you don't want the internet to become a mirror of the mainstream broadcast media with a few mega corps. literally owning it and deciding who the winners and losers will be, now is the time for action! The choice is yours, you can sit on the sidelines and keep watching some idiotic “reality” show or you can get involved by signing petitions, contacting the FCC and supporting the many pro free speech organizations who are fighting for an open internet!
Disclaimer: As a casual observer of government, I am going to make an observation! Having never been a government insider, my observation should be taken as opinion, not fact. The sad truth is, if I were an insider, you probably wouldn't be able to trust my perspective anyway. So it looks like we're all in this together, on the outside looking in and trying to make sense of it all.
When certain corporations use campaign funding and other forms of political largesse to attempt to influence the outcome of a particular Congressional, Senatorial or on the state level, statehouse vote, they might call it “business as usual” I call it CORRUPTION! The worst kind of this variety of corruption is where an elected official is out and out owned by his or her corporate sponsor, thus influencing every one of his or her votes. I think that I nailed it when I first coined and said on the air years ago the now widely circulated phrase, “If I wrote the laws, most of our Congressmen and Senators would have to wear car racing style jackets with the logos of the corporations who own them!
These days, there are few good elected officials in government, only bad and worse. Our “two” party system has devolved into a system that consists of two levels of corruption:
1- A Republican Party that represents the worse level with many of its elected politicians actively doing the bidding of their corporate backers at the expense of John and Jane Q. Public.
2- A Democratic Party that represents the bad level by closely following the Edmund Burke quote, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph over good is for good men to do nothing.” I feel that the reason that Democratic politicians are so quick to “compromise” with the GOP, even to the extent of offering up tried and true programs like Social Security and Medicare on the sacrificial altar of austerity cuts is because many of them do so at the behest of their corporate backers.
As you can clearly see from the description of bad and worse above, corporations use GOP electeds as stalking horses to champion their causes and Democratic electeds to put up a fight for show but not get in their way.
So there you have it, both parties are controlled by corporations that liberally use campaign contributions to insure conservative results. That situation negates the effectiveness and purpose of our votes. The question for you to ask yourself is “What am I going to do about it?” My suggestion is that we get a new untainted party going quickly because the two incumbent parties have no reason to change the status quo when it benefits them!
Pope Francis' insightful comments about capitalism got me to ponder the state of capitalism as practiced here in the USA. While chest thumping right-wing corporate shills like to portray capitalism as a system where anyone with just hard work can become a self-made millionaire or even billionaire, nothing is further from the truth. The reality is that in many cases, favorable legislation bought by campaign contributions gives “self-made” billionaires and the corps. that they own the leg up that they need to “succeed.” It sure is helpful to have a bought friend in Congress or the Senate or the Statehouse.
Let's take a look at an imaginary catalog of goodies to see some of the things that a well placed campaign contribution has bought many “generous” millionaires and billionaires. Is a pesky regulation standing in the way of your profits Mr. Billionaire? No problem, your owned elected can sponsor legislation that will exempt you or water down that regulation. Are unions bothering you when they have the nerve to ask for a living wage? Your owned elected can take care of that post haste with union busting legislation. Want to offshore jobs Mr. Billionaire Job Creator? No problem, your owned elected will fight for lower trade tariffs and support “free” trade agreements. Need money? No problem, your elected could get you a subsidy. Isn't capitalism wonderful? Yes, for the rich.
The best way that I can describe how today's capitalism manifests itself in the USA is by saying--The many shall. suffer so the few shall prosper. The average citizen is suffering a slow death of a thousand cuts. How are we suffering? Let me count the ways:
1- When corporate owned electeds give out special tax breaks and subsidies to their well to do sponsors, it adds to the deficit. Guess who has to pay for that?
2- Endless wars are “encouraged” by defense contractors who constantly remind their owned electeds where their bread is buttered. Guess who has to pay for that in both money and lives?
3- When owned electeds rant that government regulations are hurting our “job creators”, it means that they are going to try to eliminate a regulation that hurts one of their wealthy sponsors, even if it helps you.
4- Money from corporations and the super rich shout to the people that we elected to represent our interests, while our votes only whisper. Self-serving politicians know that they need our votes only once in an election term, but need their wealthy owners 365 days a year.
5- Thanks to years of deregulation, most U.S. radio and television stations are owned by a handful of mega-corps who have turned them into corporate propaganda ministries. So much for free speech or a free press.
6- When government functions are privatized, a new layer of corporate middlemen add to the costs of performing that function. Imagine how healthcare costs would go down if we nationalized healthcare and used the savings to protect EVERYONE, not just those who can afford it.
7- All of the concessions that are “given” to the previously mentioned princes of capitalism by our electeds have to be paid for. Our electeds know that and are prepared to sacrifice our present and future to do it. That's why we hear them demanding cuts to Social Security, Medicare, education, unemployment, you name it. They are hurting us to help their wealthy owners.
The brand of capitalism that we have today has nothing to do with earned rewards that come from taking a risk, it's about corps. and the rich pocketing profits and getting their losses paid for by government bailouts. Heads they win, tails we lose. Although it is said that power corrupts, under today's capitalism money is power and corrupts absolutely! Keep that in mind as we begin 2014 and make a resolution to work together with me and your fellow Americans to weed out the corruption of government and of our system by those members of the private sector who would game the system and undermine the American way of life!
Can someone answer these questions?
When a politician takes the oath of office and when he or she signs an agreement with ALEC, are they now involved in "A Conflict of Interest?" They, in my understanding are defending and upholding the Constitution of the United States of America, not corporate American interests.
When politicians vote to cut benefits for veterans and Food Stamps for low income people and then vote not to raise taxes on the 1%, CONFLICT OF INTEREST?
When politicians close the government and furlough federal employees and civil employees and yet keep their gym membership, expense accounts and salaries, is that CONFLICT OF INTEREST and Not in the Best Interest of the People of the United States?
When Did Special Interest Groups become the politicians' constituents and NOT even live in their respective areas? Most in my opinion are lobbyists who work for corporations that HAVE agendas they want pushed forward.
Just indulge me for one more question that has me totally confused. When did the corporations and groups like ALEC get elected to Dictate the Laws of Our Land?
These are just my opinions and concerns. Do they ring a bell for anybody else to question what is really gong on and not just sit idle? Just remember one thing, 2014 is right around the corner and we can exercise our right to vote. Oh and one more thing, remember how they also stick in pork barrels when they write laws. Who do they really benefit?
Ciao for now.
Pork barrel Webster's Dictionary definition:
Government projects that benefit people in a particular part of the country and that are done in order to help the political careers of elected officials
As Black Friday, the unofficial corporate created holiday of greed systematically encroaches on more and more of Thanksgiving, the official holiday of family, thankfulness and gratitude, I thought that I would compare the two.
I really don't have to explain Thanksgiving to you except to remind you that most of all, you're probably thankful for the wonderful feast that brings family together and for the joyous sense of gratitude that fills your heart. The Thanksgiving experience is one to be cherished because each Thanksgiving feast makes memories that last for years to come. Sadly, many American big box store and department store workers will have to forgo the joys of the holiday because they have been enslaved by a pseudo holiday called Black Friday.
The phrase Black Friday was originally used pejoratively years ago to describe a situation in Philadelphia that occurred on the day after thanksgiving when so many people were out shopping that it caused traffic snarls and violence. The term “Black Friday” was recently rehabilitated by corporate marketing people who turned it into an unofficial shopping holiday. Their take of the term is that the Friday after Thanksgiving is the day of the year that massive sales take them from the red into the black. My take on the term is that it has become a day of salivating consumers, some of whom camped out for days, trampling each other to get a “bargain.” In other words, a corporate dream day. I'm waiting for some corporate owned congressman to propose Black Friday as a National holiday.
At this point, you might ask me why I'm comparing Thanksgiving to Black Friday? Well that's because greedy big box stores, department stores and other retailers keep starting it earlier and earlier. Many stores started their Black Friday sales as early as 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving night. If that trend continues, Thanksgiving, the National holiday of family, gratitude and prayerful reflection will be overshadowed by Black Friday, the corporate holiday of greed, envy and exploitation of workers. Black Friday just might become The Corporate Monster That Ate Thanksgiving!
Boycott Black Friday!
Every time I turn on a network or local newscast that has a story about the Affordable Care Act, I feel like I am walking into an old, dingy strip club. The pounding drone of endless corporate advertising sounds like the sleazy, cheesy music that provides the pulsating rhythm for strippers to ply their wares. The newscasters who jump from sensational story to sensational story remind me of leering strip club hosts. Their viewers remind me of the typical strip show customer staring at the stage, mouth open, totally entranced.
The Affordable Care Act started out respectably enough fully clothed with the best of intentions to fix a broken healthcare system and extend its lifesaving protection to people who have been left to fend for themselves in a country that seemingly didn't care. During the Affordable Care Act's proud younger days, her manager was talking about her becoming single payer healthcare or having a public option. That didn't sit well with the people sitting in the first row who looked like GOP politicians and kept yelling take it off, take it off every time corporate types, possibly insurance people who were siting behind them whispered in their ears. Even though her manager promised to keep her act dignified, he prompted her from backstage to take off a few layers of requirements.
The hoi polloi sitting in the cheap seats took their cues from the club host who kept saying things like remember, if you don't like this act, her manager promised that he would let you see last week's act. The guys in the cheap seats started booing and joined the big shots in the first row in chanting “take it off, take it off.” The manager prompted her to take off more to appease the hoi polloi who were instigated by the host and the guys in the first row. She kept being badgered. Finally, she nervously and reluctantly complied.
This cycle kept repeating itself until The Affordable Care Act was stripped bare and became deathly ill. The corporate types in the second row whispered to the politicians in the first row, “good, now we can get our favorite act back.” The moral of the story? Draw your own conclusions!!
Let's face it, possibly because our country, unlike most industrialized countries, really didn't have a mechanism of providing healthcare for all, we have a plethora of disease-specific charities. Those charities represent a spectrum of individual diseases literally ranging from A to Z. Now one would like to think that all of those charities would want to help those who suffer from the diseases they address get the benefit of healthcare. If more people had access to healthcare, more people could have potentially life threatening illnesses diagnosed earlier leading to better, possibly lifesaving outcomes.
The Affordable Care Act has the potential to extend the security of healthcare to tens of millions more people who are currently uninsured. For one reason or another, through no fault of their own, when it comes to getting the medical benefits that a civilized nation is supposed to offer, they have been on the outside looking in. Now they have a chance to get insured, get diagnosed & get well!
If I ran a disease-specific charity, I would do everything that I could to get people who suffer from the disease that my charity addresses and allegedly wants cured insured, up to and including using some of the TV ads that my charity buys to promote ACA instead of just continually asking for donations. I've been waiting to hear one of the major disease-specific charities take a position supporting the Affordable Care Act but thus far, the silence is deafening. If you know of any disease-specific charities that are supporting the Affordable Care Act, please let me know because in this case, I would like to be proven wrong.