Archive for the ‘ USA A 3rd World Country How? Why? ’ Category
Or: “You can take the trash out of the trailer park but you can’t take the trailer park out of the trash.”
Mainstream Democrats are befuddled by lots of things these days, but none more so that the seeming paradox of people who vote for policies which not only do not help them but harm them financially.
These same people vote for Republicans year after year. Democrats have no chance of making inroads with this group and Paul Ryan and others can, without giving it a thought, propose cuts to Medicare and Social Security, cut food stamps, stomp on the unemployed and put in policies to demolish the safety net. In short Ryan and others in the Republican party are trying to undo everything FDR accomplished in creating a middle class and a more egalitarian society. They do so with the support of those who have benefited the most and have the most to lose.
Medicare and Social Security programs in particular are the life blood of their constituents and are supported by these same constituents who nonetheless pull the lever than tugs the blade that slices their throat.
Currently Republicans have cut 8.7 billion dollars out of food stamps, refuse to renew unemployment benefits (even thought true unemployment in the USA is near 20% and more like 50% in certain minority areas), threaten to end Medicare (as we know it) and want to stop the COLA increases in Social Security (which are too small not too big) and replace it with the so-called chained CP (an atrocity that Obama, the Great Capitulator supports as well). All that is fancy talk for reducing benefits to the poor while increasing benefits to the rich and powerful. For example: where is the one billion dollar grant that has been give to “Ukraine” going to end up? Either in the hands of the Ukrainian billionaires (oligarchs as they are unabashedly called) or it will be spent for weapons from the United States. Bank it. Yet none of this bothers the hard-core Republican right. One billion to Ukraine to empower the rich people (and bankrupt the rest of the country with a loan form the IMF which will result in the end of pensions and them imposition of austerity) is just fine to the far right. Yet the trailer park voters barely register this moral profanity or their moral thermometers. Democrats are not without blame here. Obama created a culture where this heartless behavior is the norm and he and the so-called centrist or corporate Democrats share the blame and deserve scorn.
But why is this not the death of the Republican Party? Obama, sly fox that he is, positions himself as being the great compromiser when in reality he is the great sell out. But the leadership of the Republican Party unabashed attacks the poor and blames them for their state and supports policies to further remove wealth from the middle and lower classes and give that wealth to the already wealthy. In short they want to create the feudal societies of the past that they so love.
But why is this not the death of the Republican Party? This answer is this simple. Most of the hard-core constituents of the Right Wing are staunch one issue voters. They have made up their mind on some ridiculous hot button issue which has captured their minds and seemingly prevented all thought from occurring. Therefore the overriding economic messages of their “leaders” have no impact on their vote.
Their poor constituents are not necessarily in the order of zeal, gun-nuts, racists, people who think the South will rise again, anti-abortionists, Christians who think the country is too secular, people who fear immigration is responsible for their loss of jobs, value voters, and others who are detached from reality and believe things that are not true. People who view evolution as a religion not a science and see religion as revealed truth not to be questioned are easily led astray on other issues because facts have been replaced by faith or opinion. The identities merge.
Polls show around 37 percent of Republican voters describe themselves as White Evangelical Christians. This group tends to be wildly anti-abortion. Currently, having made abortion illegal or impossible to get, throughout “Red State Nation”, they are expanding the term “abortion” to include birth control. That is the essence of “Hobby Lobby’s” claim that is being heard before the Supreme Court at this time. I can’t imagine any other civilized country entertaining the notion that corporations have religions and religious rights. But there it is.
Even though the number of gun coconuts is relatively small, only anywhere from 8 to 13 percent of the voters are of the opinion that gun laws are to restrictive. Since gun laws are not restrictive at all, this group is probably similar in number to the gun voters who feel that their “freedom” is threatened by gun regulation. While not all the 8-13% fall into the psycho category who have arsenals of military weapons in their basement and think Obama is coming after them, most of that group are never going to vote for a Democrat based on their love of weapons and fear of any even reasonable hand gun or military weapon regulation. Almost half the people favor better gun laws. However, they are not split on party lines. So already with just guns and Evangelical Christians the Republicans have totaled 50 percent of the voters. Of course there is some overlap. And this is fifty percent of the poor voters. You won’t find snake handlers on the Wall Street, the snakes are in the offices at the desks. Those poor people are the ones whose programs are being cut and they don’t care. The people who are stock piling weapons in their basement are passionate. And they believe the Republicans are on their side and the Democrats are on the side of the Blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, Indians, or whomever they perceive to be an enemy. This is a paranoid state. Rationality does not enter into it. Mexicans are not coming with Obama to take the guns from some guy who lives in a trailer park in the hills of LA or some small town in Texas. Sorry. That is a paranoid delusion.
End-timers like Sarah Palin believe the world is ending and the big J is coming back. Well, like the sound of one hand clapping, it is not liable to happen. Nonetheless are they going to vote for secular Democrats who want a better life for their children when no such time will ever exist? Think about it.
Clearly white voters still vote strictly along racial lines. Obama, arguably a master campaigner and organizer, still managed to win the white vote in only 4 states. Hard to believe but true.
People who vote based on emotional issue like race, guns and religion do not care or do not understand the economic knife that they are voting for to cut their own throats. Since that is the case the only course for the Democrats is to educate them. This is how the Viet Nam war was stopped, through teach-ins about what was really going on. Obama wants to be like Reagan, or what his perception of other people’s perception of Reagan is. He cares more about Fox news viewers that Democracy Now viewers. He thinks that Wall Street and the poor can coexist with democracy. They cannot. That is why the great FDR said to Wall Street “I welcome your hatred”.
Until Democrats take a stand and explain it well with fireside chats, they will keep losing the low information voters to emotional issues far removed from economic realities.
Obama had a chance to be the second FDR, instead he wanted to be the second Ronald Reagan. I find this appalling, and fodder for another article.
The Honorable Senator Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Building
Washington, D. C. 20510
Making the Post Office Work for the People
The constitution requires the US government to deliver mail. Of course the existence of the United States Post Office is a source of never-ending torture for the extreme right-wing that is now controlling all the media and most of the government. They hate the USPS for four reasons: First, it shows that the government works better than the private system. (Try sending a letter for 45 cents through Federal Express.) Second, it is the largest unionized work force in the USA. Third, it takes “business” away from Federal Express and United Parcel Service and thus donations away from the political parties. Finally the egalitarian nature of work and pay shows that federal bureaucrats paid less that 1/100th of CEOs and their ilk in upper management of UPS and Federal Express can do the same job or even a better one for a fraction of the cost.
Nonetheless, despite their hatred, since the constitution requires the US government to deliver mail, it is doubtful they will be able to fully privatize (and thus destroy) the USPS. However, they are trying and if the last 65 years have shown anything they never quit. The greed that “motivates” Wall Street and the Oligarchy of the United States is a powerful force. They have been undoing the New Deal piece by piece since that fateful day when Truman took office in the twilight of WWII. If the insiders had not derailed Henry Wallace’s Vice-Presidency and replaced him with noted “anti-communist” Harry Truman we would be looking at a different, far better world.
Piece by piece, by creating and empowering the cold-war, passing the Taft-Harley act, creating the CIA, deep-sixing Truman’s tepid try for National Health Care and on and on, the hard-core right has succeeded in not just stopping the continued evolution but completely eviscerating the reforms that created a strong middle class and eventually replacing the New Deal with the Reagan’s Raw Deal and that has turned the United States into a 3rd world country. The single and only goal of the Republicans is to establish a permanent Plutocracy in the USA. All their “policies”, propaganda, “ideas”, economic “theories”, and wall to wall advertising disguised as news and entertainment with only one over reaching goal: that is to eliminate the middle class FDR created and to return to a feudal state where the government coddles the rich and ignores the poor.
The Post Office should be not just a service for the people of the United States, but a source of income, pride and good government jobs. The USPS should be a model for the use of clean energy, the redistribution of wealth, ecological responsibility, and government for the common good.
The Republicans are screaming that the Post Office does not make money and therefore should be eliminated, shut down, or at the minimum reduced in size. Clearly they would love to sell its assets to UPS or Federal Express for a dime on the dollar. Make to mistake about this that is their intention. Since their overall goal is to transfer money and power from the poor and middle class to the wealthy, this is just one more area for them to attack to promote their agenda. However, in the constitution the Post Office is mentioned under the provision which gives Congress the power to raise money, i.e. tax. That means by a simple logical deduction the founders were not concerned that the USPS be a profit-making entity. Their concern was that all citizens should be able to communicate with one another, free speech, on important issues easily and with little or no cost. Newspapers and magazines (or pamphlets) were often the only way to engage in political discourse in that era. Thus having access to mail was a way to provide opportunities for free speech. It was their intent that these forms of communication be available to all, regardless of location, economic conditions, or wealth. Further it was their intent that this means of communication should be private (in the sense of no one could read them except the person to whom the letters were addressed). Government, foreign and corporate spies read your mail under penalty of law.
Because of the Republicans determination to turn the commons of the USA into tools for corporate entities both national and international who then would use them to make more and more money, the USPS inadvertently played a large role in the Second Republican Great Depression. From 2001 until 2007 or 2008 virtually every time I checked my mail there was a letter from some criminal mortgage company offering me the deal of the century. I looked at the postage stamped on the letters. Usually it was for almost nothing. One or two cents. Three cents. Stunned by the cheap mail for corporate entities that were basically advertising, I researched this and found that the advertising was subsidized at the bequest of the Right Wing Appointees at the USPS. The head of the USPS arrogantly said that corporations who paid little to nothing for the mail were supporting the entire USPS because of their “volume”. First this is nonsense. Obviously one person mailing a few letters at full prices is paying the same amount as a corporation mailing dozens of crappy advertisements. Clearly the work it takes to deliver 20 letters that are ads for mortgages is at least 20 times the amount required for delivering 1 first class letter. But in the non-factual world Fox and the Republicans have created anything can be said and believed, if repeated enough. That was just Supply Side NewSpeak to justify transferring wealth from the poor to the rich.
Citibank mails me my monthly statement and other mail for anywhere from a low of 13 cents to 25 or 30 cents. They sometimes hide the amount of postage they pay. It is not even printed on the envelope. Why does Citibank get a discount? Why can they hide the amount of postage paid behind some cryptic message? Citibank can put a stamp on their letters just like I do. If anything they should pay more that a person-or use Federal Express or the UPS. The USPS mail is not for the benefit of multi-national corporations but for the benefit of the people.
So the USPS should immediately stop the discounts given to corporate entities. That would raise a ton of money over night.
Also the USPS has parking lots, buildings and services all of which can be used to support the care of Mother Earth rather than to encourage her destruction. Global warming is real, and despite Obama’s lip service to climate change, he per usual has done essentially nothing to promote a better life for all.
Every parking lot and building of the USPS can be used as a source for solar energy. This energy would be sold to the local power company. This would do two things, one lower the cost of operating expenses for the USPS and create an income stream for the people of the United States. It would also lower the cost of energy for the people in any given area.
Parking lots covered with solar panels promote clean energy two ways. First they produce it and second in the warm weather they keep cars cool so the AC which uses lots of energy will need to be used less and, to boot, the cars will be more comfortable. Building solar panels on parking lots and buildings would create local jobs and help stimulate local economies.
Recycling of mailing materials is currently discouraged by the USPS. The boxes they give away are difficult to recycle and of odd dimensions. The paper bags or envelopes are designed to be used once. Opening them destroys them. Even if you try to recycle one of their “fixed price” boxes they refuse to send it unless you use the “right” postage. You can’t send a CD by media mail in one of their small packages even if you cover it over with tape. They don’t allow it. This prevents rather than encourages recycling. This odd rule and giving the packages away makes me wonder who benefits from the free piles of new white cardboard boxes that fill up most Post Offices? Surprise, the Koch brothers own one of the largest paper producers in the USA and they make pearly white, clean, bleached cardboard just like the kind used in the boxes.
Clearly recycling the packages used to ship goods would benefit the USPS, the environment and citizens. Simplifying the charges would also benefit both citizens and the workers at the USPS.
Recycling at the USPS should be this easy. The boxes sold/supplied should be unbleached recycled cardboard. The charge for shipping a USPS box should be the same nationwide so no wasting time calculating postage by distance. Federal Express and UPS might charge by the distance but there is no reason why the USPS should. The goal is to provide a simple service, not to make a profit. The USPS should offer boxes that reflect the services needed. There are lots of CDs shipped by mail. Lots of software is shipped by mail. A reusable box that fits 1, 2 or 3 CD’s shipped by Media Mail seems to be a needed item. Such a box could have a plastic opening accessible from the inside where the shipper could place the address of the person who is getting the CD. The same is true for books.
The address form that would slide into the plastic pouch would have the addresses of the sender and receiver, a code number for the order, a number for the box and the correct postage.
This would allow for unlimited recycling of that box. The charge to ship CDs nation wide should be as simple as $1 for 1 CD, $2 for two or three and $3 for 3 or more, etc..
Other boxes could be done the same way. There would be a window accessible only from the inside that contained the names and addresses, the postage, and a number for the transaction. The paper invoice could be printed from the USPS web site or eBay, really any where. As the box was scanned the USPS would know which box was used and where it was being shipped. No stamping would be necessary.
The boxes themselves, instead of having to destroy them just to open them, could have the fold down corners that Apple or other companies use and be closed with one piece of tape. This would enable a piece of tape to re-tape the box and allow for multiple uses. It would be an easy matter to see how much each box is used and to experiment to keep the boxes circulating longer. Good for the environment and good for the customers. Below are a few pictures of boxes that could be used multiple times.
There is also no need for so many different levels of service. The USPS is not trying to make a profit. They/we are providing a service to ourselves. The mail should be delivered expeditiously. This would eliminate the currently needlessly confusing pages of different rates. If a hurry up service is found to be necessary than just identify the packages and letters by coloring them red. Increase the postage appropriately and it is done.
This details are easy to work out so that there are very few choices. Less choice makes things simpler for everyone. There are only three rates needed. One for media and another for everything else. A third-rate for those in a hurry might be needed. The postage for letters should be charged by the size of envelope. Very simple.
Corporations can pay the same rates as people plus 20 percent. That will act as a value added tax and raise revenues. Corporations don’t need to use the USPS and have no right to use it. They are not people despite what the Romney’s and Scalia’s of the world say. That is just nonsense and Obama should unilaterally end that ridiculous notion.
Finally, the most significant change in the history of the Post Office is the emergence of email. Currently email is not private like mail. Email is read by every government and corporation that is willing to pay for the information in it. Mention Porsche in an email, and the next Google search you do will feature ad Porsche somewhere on the page. Who needs this? Who wants this? It is fundamentally un-American.
The USPS needs to start offering an email service that is safe, clean and private. The emails themselves can only be opened/read/scanned/accessed by the person they are sent to period. Government prosecutors with a court Subpoena could then read the email just like it was mail. This is what America needs from its government. Corporations like Apple, Google, Visa, AT&T and Amazon have made a mockery of the bill of rights. AT&T states that it owns the private conversations of its customers. How ridiculous. The government should make it clear that AT&T has no right to monitor conversations and harvest information from them. Nor do they have the right to sell that information to anyone even the spy agencies of the government. Because it is not their information to begin with, never will be and never should be.
To counter the horror of corporations endlessly collecting data on people the USA government needs to enforce privacy laws and to protect the bill of rights. The USPS can provide email that is guaranteed to be clean, safe, and free. In addition the USPS should establish its own internet highway. This would prevent private companies from monitoring searches.
The government invented the internet, that is a fact. Now corporations claim they own the internet and own anything that travels on “their” pipes. This means they are claiming they “own” your emails, their content, your phone calls over the internet and their content. Of course the corporate shill, Obama, is fostering this non-sense by paying via the National Security State corporations for “access” to emails and phone calls. First, if the USA Justice Department has a reason to access phone calls or email, they need to get a subpoena. After they get the subpoena they do not need to pay anyone to get the information. Did J. Edgar Hoover ever pay AT&T to tap a phone? Second paying corporations for this information does two things: it transfers money from the poor to the rich (which is the goal of the Republican party, corporate America, and the Media-Military-Congressional Corporate complex) and it obscures the need for a subpoena to access private information which is protected by the constitution by creating the pretense that information actually is a material possession owned by an entity. By paying corporations for the information the entire issue of right or wrong is pushed aside. You are just buying something rather than conducting an investigation. This is just one of many stains on the Obama justice department and his flawed presidency.
Text messages should also be handled by the USPS. After all a text is just a short piece of mail. There is no reason they should not be treated like mail, private, secure and the property of the receiver not some company. If folks want their texts public they can Tweet them.
The constitution provides for mail to be sent the US government. The people through the Post Office have the right to demand the government provide this service. Those that hate the government can express their opinions. But opinions and facts are two different things. We have a right to private mail, private conversations and private texts. It is time to bring the USPS into the Aquarian age with a set of new directives that create a state of the art service. A service that creates as much energy as it uses, pays a good wage and is safe and secure from all prying eyes. Below are pictures of boxes that can be recycled multiple times. By putting a plastic window in the middle for the addresses and postage, recycling would be made easy.
It is easy to understand how Republicans and the Oligarchy that controls the USA have confounded the electorate with hair-brained economic ideas when even someone as bright as Thom Hartmann does not understand the basic concepts of supply and demand.
On his show last week he blithely stated that Steve Jobs invented demand for the iPhone by creating a new product. Since smart phones prior to the iPhone were difficult to use at best (Palm for example), sales sky rocketed for an easy to use product. Therefore we are to understand Steve Jobs “created demand’ where there was none?
Thom claimed this supported the Supply Side economics theory and Ronald Reagan’s “idea”. It was cutting taxes for the wealthy so they could innovate and create new products that caused economic growth. Thus Jobs and Apple created Supply which was then in Demand and va-va-voom the economy grew, or at least the Chinese economy grew. However, Thom was wrong on both points that are fundamental to the ridiculous ideas that underpin Supply Side Economics, Greenspanism, Milton Friedmanism, Libertarianism, Ayn Randism or whatever you want to call the crazy theories that support the economic “ideas” that have driven the country to third world status.
First the idea that Steve Jobs was motivated by tax cuts, or the tax rate Apple paid, or the tax rate he paid is just silly. Jobs, like most people, was internally motivated to do what he loved. After Apple went public he stated he had more money than he could ever spend in his life from just Apple’s IPO. So money was not his motivation. He was doing what he wanted. That is what people do when they are healthy and free. They do what they love, and what he loved was creating products that were simple and easy to use that unlocked creativity latent in people.
Cell phones were in general use throughout the world prior to the invention of the iPhone. However, every phone company wrote their own software. Their software was terrible. Why? Because consumers had no choice, they had to use Verizon’s software on Verizon’s phones. Anyone who used those phones had the same experience: horrible software that was tied to difficult and frustrating to use hardware. The phones that could reach the internet were slow and designed to take you to a “home page” that tried to separate you from your money. The user experience was the last thing Verizon thought about. But consumers had no choice. If you wanted a phone to carry around in your pocket that was it, you used the software the companies provided. And it was awful. I remember reading this report from Nokia about their phones. Their CEO and management were “shocked” to find cell phone users limited themselves to only 17% of the “features” available. I was not shocked. Using the “features” took hours of time and was frustrating at best. I bought an expensive “feature” phone with a 3.2 megapixel camera. When I downloaded the pictures to Verizon’s web site, they were postage stamp size, not 3.2 mp but more like 200 pixels. I asked Verizon how to get the 3.2 mp pictures off the camera and they did not even know. That was the state of cell phones pre-iPhone. There was a tremendous, breathtaking Demand for phones that could take pictures, check email, surf the internet and work as a phone easily.
Steve Job’s ability to negotiate with AT&T so that Apple could write the software and control the user experience was essential to the success of the iPhone. In one moment a company that wrote great software was offering an alternative to horrible phones for a small increase in price (to those who could afford it). Steve Jobs tapped in to a pure gold vein in the mother lode of a gold mine. There was huge pent up demand for the product. It would be like if BMW or Porsche came out with an electric car than ran on solar power, never needed charging, had zero fuel cost for its life, and was only 20% more than existing cars. There is a huge demand for that product. Inventing that product would not be a case of Supply inventing Demand. The Demand is there.
Just so with the iPhone, the pent up Demand was huge. So the Demand was there but the Supply was lacking. All Jobs did was recognize the Demand and chart a path towards that golden vein. If AT&T and the other phone companies had not allowed Apple to use the iPhone on their networks, Apple would had to buy a network in the USA to get its product to market. The gold was still there but they would have to approach it from a different angle.
So the Demand is there for many new products. However, the new products are not keeping up with Demand. The innovator often taps into the zeitgeist of the Demand and thereby creates a product which sells in huge numbers. It does not mean that the Supply and Demand roles have been reversed and that Supply Side economics has a “grain of truth”. Demand drives the economy plain and simple. Innovation is tapping into Demand that exists but like a hidden silver mine is latent and untapped. The wealth innovation provides comes from the Demand that is already there but is unseen and untapped.
Why Obama’s Generation X Assumptions About Reality Undid His Presidency-A BabyBoomer’s Lament
My best friend was never fooled by Barrack Obama. She always saw a man who was letting liberals think he was a liberal. He never was a liberal. And she knew it. She was a Gen-Xer and knew how the people of her generation were fooled and schooled by propaganda. She was not fooled by Obama or the relentless propaganda of the Right Wing. But most of her generation were and the liberals from mine as well.
For the Baby Boomers, most of us were blinded by Hope, our own. Our own hope for an RFK, a second FDR, or an LBJ without the Albatross of the Viet Nam war, clouded our judgement. We heard “Hope”, believed it was 1966 all over again and ignored the subtle and not so subtle warning signals.
Obama has proved to have liberal sensitivities only on issues of Civil Rights. While this is good and better than the Romney or McCain alternatives, it is in a word, pathetic. Obama is only liberal on issues that have directly impacted him or his family. This means his ability to empathize is limited. That explains his love affair with drone warfare and Reaganomics. No one who is empathetic can send drones to kill someone and call dead kids “collateral damage”. That’s Cheney-Bush stuff. Long term it is a failed policy, anyone who can reason can see that a whole generation will grow up hating the USA as drones circle their country and kill random people. Defenders say the deaths are not random, but terrorists who are somehow threatening the USA? Do you really expect people living in a foreign country to buy that? It does not take a lot of thought to see that droning people to death will not win hearts and minds. Yet, reports are that Obama reviews the kill list daily and delights in choosing targets himself. This is very weird. And certainly not indicative of a man with a liberal bent. It is indicative a man who has bought the entire Neo-Conservative rap. Obama is like a Black Truman not a second FDR.
The warning signs were there when he spoke off the cuff during the campaign. Mysteriously the supposed intellectual from Harvard stated that Republicans had all the new ideas-meaning Reaganomics, perpetual war, empire building and fervent anti-socialism. No one asked him what he was talking about. But clearly he embraces the supply side economics of that party, their believe that government is needed by the rich and powerful to protect their interests and not by the poor who should just look after themselves, the belief that the United States has an obligation to the international financial community and multi-national corporations to keep the established order safe for commerce, the fatuous belief that “out sourcing” saves money and the Reagan doctrine that the “government is the problem not the solution”. He got these ideas from watching television and reading newspapers. They were part of the zeitgeist of the Generation X. A brainwashing that was so thorough that by the time most of them were 30 they believed Social Security was a problem not a miraculous social contract. As the greedy wealthy licked their wounds from the beating they took from FDR they first undid the continued implementation of the New Deal by derailing the great Henry Wallace’s ascendancy to the presidency. As FDR’s health waned they removed Wallace from the Vice Presidential nomination despite his enormous popularity and inserted neo-con Harry Truman, a small man with small ideas. The New Deal in America never took another step forward and the wealthy rallied their forces determined to spend decades undoing all of FDR’s programs. While the social democracies of Europe flowered in the post WWII environment thanks to leadership from the liberals of America, the US sunk into the malaise of the 50’s with the CIA obtaining enormous power and fervent anti-communism became the new rallying cry. No more calls for economic equality or justice were heard. IKE led America into a blind alley. Then the fruits of FDR’s policies flowered into the sixties. A whole generation which dared to question the established order.
But rich and powerful of this country were driven crazy by the culture of the sixties or rather the counter-culture. And ruthlessly they made sure that the generation that followed the Boomers would be a generation of the Zombies which ironically they so love in the theaters and on TV. They destroyed the schools, out priced college education, founded and funded economic courses which taught that Keynesian economics which had propelled the country to prosperity from the Great Depression to the Seventies was a bad idea, a theory at best, and that new ideas of Trickle Down, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and fervent anti-communism and anti-socialism were the beliefs that held the country together. The Lies that Bind. Obama complained about 60’s music being played when he spoke. Taste? Or a disregard of the counter culture and revolutionary spirit that the music represented? Now we know.
Obama even embraced the New Right’s second amendment mantra: “The second amendment guarantees an individual right to any and all guns.” No, Mr. Obama, it does not and you know it. However, this is a wide spread belief among the right wing, a mantra, the 11th commandment. It is a simple easily understood devisive rallying cry and fear tactic that meshes nicely with the Right’s political agenda and needs. Never mind it has no basis in fact. Right wing companies like Walmart make billions off of gun sales and want to make sure nothing stands in the way of a potential sale. No rules, no regulations, the second amendment is a holy doctrine because it stops the regulation of sales from Walmart’s point of view. Tell people it is about freedom and they buy into it. But when have the multi-national companies ever cared about freedom for the common man, freedom for them to make a profit. That is their concern. Just repeat that: “The second amendment guarantees an individual right to any and all guns.” 100,000 times and lots of people will believe it. Obama shamefully stated that he too believed that the constitution was intended to support an individual’s right to arm himself or herself even though he had to have been familiar with reality.
Chief Justice Warren Burger, when asked for his opinion on the Second Amendment, said it was “…one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I’ve ever seen in my life time. The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies–the militias–[preamble] would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the Second Amendment [referring to the preamble] refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires.”
Justice Ginsburg agrees. She continues, “The Second Amendment has a preamble about the need for a militia…Historically, the new government had no money to pay for an army, so they relied on the state militias. And the states required men to have certain weapons and they specified in the law what weapons these people had to keep in their home so that when they were called to do service as militiamen, they would have them. That was the entire purpose of the Second Amendment.”
But, Justice Ginsburg explains, “When we no longer need people to keep muskets in their home, then the Second Amendment has no function, its function is to enable the young nation to have people who will fight for it to have weapons that those soldiers will own. So I view the Second Amendment as rooted in the time totally allied to the need to support a militia. So…the Second Amendment is outdated in the sense that its function has become obsolete.”
Strangely as the New Right tries to turn America into their version of the old west they conveniently forget that in the old west the sheriff routinely checked in the guns of all visitors to the town. They got their guns back when they left. Gun control?
But nowhere has the brainwashing of Gen-X been so complete as on the issue of out sourcing. People have bought hook, line and sinker the idea that “the government can’t do anything right”. Rand Paul, the second generation champion of faux Libertarianism crows: “We know government is inept, but ObamaCare is bringing it to a whole other level of incompetence.” It is now assumed that the government is inept by an entire generation told this over and over. The same government that ended the first Republican Great Depression, brought 30 years of continued prosperity and upward mobility to the Baby Boomers, Korean War generation and Tweeners like Obama. The same government that put a man on the moon. The same government that built the Hoover dam. Inept. Hardly.
But if that is your core belief than out sourcing is the unchallenged solution.
So the way to solve a problem is to hire an outside contractor? Now think about this for a moment. If you own a house, a building or a car and you can repair the thing that is wrong with your car, house or building yourself, will you get it done better or cheaper by hiring a contractor? Maybe quicker, rarely better, never cheaper and at least half the time you will be in for a major hassle and lots of times a trip to small claims or another court if its a big job. Contractors are rip off artists. Everyone who has ever remodeled a bath or kitchen or garage knows this. You can’t trust them. The city you live in assumes they are crooks and makes them apply for a permit for everything they do and checks the work afterword. So do you if you are smart. Now if you can do the repair or remodel yourself without outsourcing to a contractor you save tons of money and aggravation. In fact in real estate, the main way to make money on a small apartment building or office building is to do the work yourself. Outsourcing costs money, it does not save money.
The same is true through all levels of government. Medicare can run health care for 3% overhead but private insurance takes as much as half the dollar for salaries and bonuses. Privatization breeds millionaires and profits. It does not lower costs. Companies learn rapidly they can make huge profits on government contracts and in turn donate huge sums to politicians who give them even bigger contracts. That is the effect of out sourcing. You create a culture of companies that are really good at selling their service to decision makers, bribing them and ripping off the general public. Their skill is to get the contract, that is all.
That is why the discussion about why the ObamaCare web site is bad should really be about why Obama thought out sourcing would save money? Gen-X brainwashing. Reagan sold the idea that the Government was the problem, and a lot of people bought it. So much so that the tragedy of New Orleans in the aftermath of the hurricane was considered no big deal, the government was at fault so privatize FEMA. One solution to every problem.
Sadly Obama stumbles along giving the Right Wing everything they want. If he had hired a team of 20 good programmers for 100,000 a year or whatever the appropriate federal salary is, he would have had an excellent team for the rest of our life time for the 200 million dollars already spent. But they would have been federal employees with good jobs, not rich owners who would be donating major bucks back to the candidates. Those kind of simple things are what have made Obama a right wing democrat who just does not understand how the real world works. Because of this the 1% have gotten fabulously wealthy because of him and the 99% are treading water.
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