Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Darwin's new theory or relativity: If you're not a corporation, you suck!

Or why people in lower tax brackets vote for tax cuts for those in the highest tax brackets.

Recommended reading: Unequal Protection by Thom Hartmann

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

Grover Cleveland stated in 1888,The Government itself is under bond to the American people that in the exercise of its functions and powers it will deal with the body of our citizens in a manner scrupulously honest and fair and absolutely just. It has agreed that American citizenship shall be the only credential necessary to justify the claim of equality before the law, and that no condition in life shall give rise to discrimination in the treatment of the people by their Government.  

President Cleveland goes on to point out that looking more closely at the apparent wealth and glitz of our cities we see poverty by farmers forced into the labor force by the changing nature of agriculture. He makes the point that they have little influence on the political process which is controlled mostly by concentrated wealth. 

Further (and this is the main point), "We discover that the fortunes realized by our manufacturers are no longer solely the reward of sturdy industry and enlightened foresight, but that they result from the discriminating favor of the Government and are largely built upon undue exactions from the masses of our people. The gulf between employers and the employed is constantly widening, and classes are rapidly forming, one comprising the very rich and powerful, while in another are found the toiling poor."  I'll add that they are not at all the reward of enlightened foresight but of clever and malignant manipulation of our government and financial institutions which have allowed and even encouraged firms like Wal-Mart to exploit near slave labor from undeveloped societies. 

What Grover Cleveland feared in 1888 has reached fruition with globalization and the distorted misnomer "free market."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Can a government owned by corporations be anything but evil? Answer, NO!

Corporations are inherently bad if not evil. The primary purpose for incorporating is to limit the liability of a business. What's to like in this arrangement. If Joe and Pete individually run up debt in their business venture, they are personally responsible. If Joe and Pete incorporate and run up debt in their business, they are not responsible. The corporation can be sued but if Joe and Pete have taken all the money the creditors are helpless. On the other hand if you don't pay Pete and Joe's corporation for services rendered, they can sue you or maybe even put you in jail. There are other more ominous kinds of responsibility avoidance, such as the potential homicides of the workers on the BP oil rig, and the demonstrated political corruption made possible with the concentration of money typical, today, of so many corporations.

By law, the sole obligation of public corporations is to maximize profits for shareholders. Even when corporations give money to charity, or choose an ethical way of doing business, they are required to justify the decision by saying that it’ll ultimately pay off financially, perhaps in the form of increased sales or of realizable goodwill. Unlike human beings, corporations have only one motive: the yetzer hara, literally, the “evil” inclination, the part of each of us that is entirely selfish, that wants only to get as much stuff as possible. Again, this isn’t because of who runs corporations, or because of the decency of those of us who work for them — this is the law.

The framers of the constitution, not all but probably most, were suspicious of the financial influence large concentrations of money in corporations because of the East Indian Tea Company and it's financial grip on the government of England. The preferential tax treatment given them by English government, who were shareholders, brought about the Revolutionary War. Jefferson wrote:  The U.S. Constitution does not mention the word corporation, yet as former Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter said, the history of constitutional law is “the history of the impact of the modern corporation upon the American scene.” Thomas Jefferson warned about the threat of corporations saying, “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." It was the intention of the framers of the Constitution to found an anti-corporate nation.  

As far back as 1888, Grover Cleveland recognized the evils of concentrated corporate power
As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people's masters.

The swinging door of the Bush White House between corporate and government leaders and the ensuing oil wars demonstrated what happens when Corporations take over government decision making. The Citizens United Decision gave corporations the total rights of an individuals without adding any responsibility and is proving the wisdom of the founding fathers and the accuracy of Grover Cleveland's observation. The British Petroleum oil spill has illustrated the evil the situation portends.

The Corporations, with this new right as a citizen and the mind-blowing concentration have already taken the House of Representatives and control of several states and has made serious inroads into the democratic party. Unless turned around, total government control by corporations is inevitable. A government controlled by evil can only be evil. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Does the tax payer/consumer really always make the best decision?

Americans vote down taxes that would pay for school buses and then spend more to drive their children to school, creating traffic congestion at schools, driving up fuel consumption and polluting the air.

They vote down taxes and increase the classroom size and denigrate teacher quality with lower salaries but it doesn't matter anyway because their children spend too much of their time in class on their expensive cellphones which cost more than the tax cut.

They would rather buy a boat that they can seldom use or a tank-like vehicle that gets 5 MPG and costs over $100 per fill up than pay an extra dollar to repair the highway they drive on or the crumbling bridge they have to cross.  Sadly, they don't actually make their own decisions, ad people make up their minds for them. When is the last time you saw an ad promoting repairs to our crumbling infrastructure?

Of course we have the right to spend our spendable income where we want but if we are to live in an organized society in groups, there are some things that must be purchased collectively. One of the arguing points between American political parties is just where this line is drawn. Frankly, the conservative mantra that the consumer will make the best decision is not necessarily true. The competition for selling a boat or a bridge does not take place on a lever field.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Monopoly is not just a parlor game anymore.

Monopoly is a fun game unless our government is playing it.  Sometimes, with skilled players,  the game took so long that I was glad when I went broke so I could go to bed. The winner had all the money and the losers...well, the losers just lost. But it was fun because it was just a game.

Not in the new real world game. Now when the winners have all the money, the losers starve, lose their homes, the opportunity for education, health care, pension and their country. With globalization, the winners can take their game to their neighbors parlor and do the same for them. The last time monopoly players  won all the money was in 1928 and we know what happened then. Fortunately, the government made some adjustments and we got back in the game with some new rules. Wealth concentration is worse now and add to that problem the fact, that thanks to the Citizens United decision, the BIG players now get to make up the rules.  They no longer have to go straight to jail and not pass go when they draw that card. Instead, they get to hand us the card and we go straight to jail.

The solution to our deficit is simple. End the Bush tax cuts and bring our troops home and presto, it disappears. We'll see what the corporate owned government does.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Solar panels is a good investment!

I just signed up for a 4.7 Kw solar panel system. After rebates and tax credit, it will cost me $19,000. Right now, the money is invested in corporate bonds which is paying 1.9 % interest. My current monthly bill averages $156. My system will reduce my bill to an average of $5 per month. A savings of $151 a month. That computes to a 9.5% return on the investment. Edison will be raising their rates annually, as will all other power companies. They have to. This will make my investment return higher. Electric rates will be going up drastically very soon. I've checked these numbers with SCE.  I have no idea of the numbers but the panels will make your home more valuable.

I looked around for a company to buy from and the only one that I found that installs panels made in the USA is Spartan Electric Systems in Glendora. Their panels are made by a foreign company but their factory is in the USA as opposed to so called American firms who makes them in China. I am not a salesman for Spartan, I am a believer in solar energy and American jobs. My experience with Spartan has been excellent. No hard sell and no BS. The owner is David Schoepf, a veteran who lives in the area.

Their number is 626-869 7747

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Planned Parenthood - what it is and what it isn't.

First of all, the labels assigned to the two groups, pro-life and pro-choice are inaccurate and misleading. For example, I would be labeled pro-choice but I don't approve of abortions in most cases. I just don't think the government should be involved. It should be between the mother, father and, if they are religious, their spiritual leader. I am LDS and my position on abortion is precisely the same as the that of the Church:

The Church allows for possible exceptions for its members when:
• Pregnancy results from rape or incest, or
• A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or
• A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.
This policy would be considered pro-choice by leaders of the anti-abortionists. 
On the other hand, the pro-life movement, at least the extreme part, advocate and have committed or abetted homicide. 
1. It's not a abortion mill. Actually it spends just 2% of it's budget on abortions and prevents over 800,000 abortions a year. I could find no reliable statistics on how many abortions they perform.  One pro-life group claims 134,000 in 1994 but they consider the day after pill an abortion and thus murder. 

2. It wasn't partisan until extremists made it so. It has been willingly funded by Clinton, Bush and Obama.

3. It provides many medical services that are critical and life saving.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Our government has been hijacked by terrorists!

This is not about government spending or about government taxing. It's about government destruction, eliminating government control over corporations, the provision through government of health care, caring for the elderly and the indigent. The Teaparty ( let's face it, they now control the Republican party) does not want a compromise. Thanks to the Citizens United Decision, corporate powers like the Koch brothers have managed to infiltrate our government with a fifth column of elected representatives whose primary goal is to cripple government, some of whom were recently elected and some of whom are already predisposed to that goal. People like Michelle Bachmann, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. They are nothing better than terrorists. The Teaparty particularly, people like Scott Walker and Rand Paul have armed themselves with the bomb of absolute intransigence and are looking for the opportunity of detonating it. President Obama the epitome of naivete, is playing chicken with a group of people with a death wish (as it relates to their country).

Is there any doubt that this group of lunatics is overstating or misinterpreting their claimed mandate? The upheaval in the last election was a result of a plethora of discontentment, resolutions of which are totally inconsistent. The underlying unifying sentiment was the deficit, racism and unemployment. The new power has not done one thing to address unemployment nor the deficit (They have done a great deal, however, to exacerbate racisim). As a matter of fact, they have assured a continuing deficit by their bullying Obama into extending the Bush tax cuts and by job destroying spending cuts.

They are now holding out for elimination of family planning which would not make a dent in the deficit and would actually lead to an increase in abortion. Their plan is to eliminate all the New Deal Regulations (regulations which created the middle class) one compromise at a time with short time government funding agreements. The media is blaming the president and the rational democrats of intransigence and incompetence in not being able to reach an agreement. That is like blaming the cops for failing to negotiate with hostage takers when the criminals are threatening to kill half the children of a family unless the cops don't arranged for the killing of the others.

Most of us will not see an immediate effect by the government shut down beyond inconvenience, so their immediate sense will be, "no big deal." Long term effect, such as forever, will be devastating. Think of a nation with no army and without the USA to protect them. Most of us don't have a full appreciation or even realization of what the government does for us because they don't go the store to buy it. There is no over-the-counnter quid pro quo. You don't hand someone your credit card and say, "I want a $100 worth of clean air,sewage disposal, police protection, national defense or consumer safety. All we see is our tax bill and we are told by corporate owned politicians like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell that taxes aren't necessary.  The 800,000 some federal employee who will be layed off tomorrow will cut back on their spending and this will have a negative impact on our economy and job creation. This is only one example.

Extreme conservatives ignoring the consequences, welcome government shutdown.Many conservatives in Congress have been encouraging a shutdown of the government. According to the Washington Post, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) proclaimed at a Tea Party rally that, "If liberals in the Senate would rather play political games and force a government shutdown, instead of accepting a modest down payment on fiscal discipline and reform, I say, ‘Shut it down!'" Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) argues that his constituents want it, saying, "I just had two families from the district who just popped into my office after doing a tour... They are saying to me, ‘Don't be afraid to shut this down, in pursuit of the right thing.'" Meanwhile, other conservatives have demonstrated that they either do not fully understand the real-world impact of a government shutdown or are misrepresenting what it means.  For example, 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) stated, "There is no such thing as an actual government shutdown. We know that Social Security checks will continue to go out, the military will continue to go forward...There are a very large number of government employees that stay on the job. It is a government slowdown."

The sad thing is that Corporate controlled politicians don't give a damn and too many Americans haven't the intelligence to understand.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We're not broke. We just have a few hoarding the money. Robert Reich

It’s tax time. It’s also a time when right-wing Republicans are setting the agenda for massive spending cuts that will hurt most Americans.

Here's the truth: The only way America can reduce the long-term budget deficit, maintain vital services, protect Social Security and Medicare, invest more in education and infrastructure, and not raise taxes on the working middle class is by raising taxes on the super rich.

Even if we got rid of corporate welfare subsidies for big oil, big agriculture, and big Pharma – even if we cut back on our bloated defense budget – it wouldn’t be nearly enough.

The vast majority of Americans can’t afford to pay more. Despite an economy that’s twice as large as it was thirty years ago, the bottom 90 percent are still stuck in the mud. If they’re employed they’re earning on average only about $280 more a year than thirty years ago, adjusted for inflation. That’s less than a 1 percent gain over more than a third of a century. (Families are doing somewhat better but that’s only because so many families now have to rely on two incomes.)

This is as obvious as duhhh! What's even more obvious is how the corporate media, yes, including MSNBC, which is nothing more than a thinly veiled toady for the right, has assiduously been obscuring the fact that the NeoRepublican Party is attacking the middle class and handing over America to the international corporations. What's not so obvious is why so many Americans who will be the victims are blithefully bending over and grabbing their ankles. What's not so obvious is how so many lower income Americans can be convinced that health care should be a megaprofit business. What's not so obvious is how so many Americans can be convinced that Wall Street will treat them better than the Social Security Administration. What's the least obvious is how many lower income Americans, or even higher income Americans, can think that the Supreme Court's Citizen United Decision is good for Democracy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

True compassion is not flipping a coin at a beggar; it should be public policy

The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV

It's become a TV ritual: Every year on April 4, as Americans commemorate Martin Luther King's death, we get perfunctory network news reports about "the slain civil rights leader."
The remarkable thing about these reviews of King's life is that several years — his last years — are totally missing, as if flushed down a memory hole.
What TV viewers see is a closed loop of familiar file footage: King battling desegregation in Birmingham (1963); reciting his dream of racial harmony at the rally in Washington (1963); marching for voting rights in Selma, Alabama (1965); and finally, lying dead on the motel balcony in Memphis (1968).
An alert viewer might notice that the chronology jumps from 1965 to 1968. Yet King didn't take a sabbatical near the end of his life. In fact, he was speaking and organizing as diligently as ever.
Almost all of those speeches were filmed or taped. But they're not shown today on TV.
It's because national news media have never come to terms with what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for during his final years.
In the early 1960s, when King focused his challenge on legalized racial discrimination in the South, most major media were his allies. Network TV and national publications graphically showed the police dogs and bullwhips and cattle prods used against Southern blacks who sought the right to vote or to eat at a public lunch counter.
But after passage of civil rights acts in 1964 and 1965, King began challenging the nation's fundamental priorities. He maintained that civil rights laws were empty without "human rights" — including economic rights. For people too poor to eat at a restaurant or afford a decent home, King said, anti-discrimination laws were hollow.
Noting that a majority of Americans below the poverty line were white, King developed a class perspective. He decried the huge income gaps between rich and poor, and called for "radical changes in the structure of our society" to redistribute wealth and power.
"True compassion," King declared, "is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."
By 1967, King had also become the country's most prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and a staunch critic of overall U.S. foreign policy, which he deemed militaristic. In his "Beyond Vietnam" speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 — a year to the day before he was murdered — King called the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." (Full text/audio here.
From Vietnam to South Africa to Latin America, King said, the U.S. was "on the wrong side of a world revolution." King questioned "our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America," and asked why the U.S. was suppressing revolutions "of the shirtless and barefoot people" in the Third World, instead of supporting them.
In foreign policy, King also offered an economic critique, complaining about "capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries."
You haven't heard the "Beyond Vietnam" speech on network news retrospectives, but national media heard it loud and clear back in 1967 — and loudly denounced it. Time magazine called it "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi." The Washington Postpatronized that "King has diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people."
In his last months, King was organizing the most militant project of his life: the Poor People's Campaign. He crisscrossed the country to assemble "a multiracial army of the poor" that would descend on Washington — engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Capitol, if need be — until Congress enacted a poor people's bill of rights. Reader's Digest warned of an "insurrection."
King's economic bill of rights called for massive government jobs programs to rebuild America's cities. He saw a crying need to confront a Congress that had demonstrated its "hostility to the poor" — appropriating "military funds with alacrity and generosity," but providing "poverty funds with miserliness."
How familiar that sounds today, nearly 40 years after King's efforts on behalf of the poor people's mobilization were cut short by an assassin's bullet.
In 2007, in this nation of immense wealth, the White House and most in Congress continue to accept the perpetuation of poverty. They fund foreign wars with "alacrity and generosity," while being miserly in dispensing funds for education and healthcare and environmental cleanup.
And those priorities are largely unquestioned by mainstream media. No surprise that they tell us so little about the last years of Martin Luther King's life.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The next sound you hear will be the Teaparty being thrown overboard!

According to a new CNN poll - the Tea Party's favorability rating has sunk to an all-time low - just 32%. And 47% of respondents view Tea Partiers negatively. The poll is on the heels of nearly three months of Tea Party rule in the House of Representatives that's seen nothing accomplished on jobs or getting our economy moving again. And this week - there are reports that Tea Party Republicans are threatening to shut the government down unless they get everything they want in budget negotiations.

This is what happens when a group of irresponsible, uninformed, amateurs are hired to be elected to jobs, that really require some skill and maturity, by people whose goal is to either destroy government or control it...or both. 

Watch this expose on the real tea party from Thom Hartmann.