Tag Archives: politics

Pome of the Day

Mamma Romney will give you some…maybe if you play nice
she’ll give you a slice
maybe

INDIA UPDATE

MAMA’S PIZZA

Come to Mama’s Pizza shop

Pizza very nice

Drool at all the things on top

But never ask the price

You can come and stand outside

And smell the mozzarella

If it’s raining don’t forget

To bring your own umbrella

Watch as Mama’s friends go in

Don’t get in the way

If they kick you in the shins

Be careful what you say

Watch out! Here comes Sonny Boy

Did you bring a sheet?

Lie down, let him walk on you

He mustn’t wet his feet

Mama cuts the pizza up

Mama feeds her friends

Will you get some crumbs as well?

Well, it all depends

Were you nice to Sonny Boy?

Did you kiss his tushie?

Were you gentle, full of joy?

He hates it when you’re pushy.

Mama’s pizza, hot and fresh

Pizza very nice

If you bend down far enough

You could get a slice.

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Incomplete Democracy = No Democracy

Just Kidding!

Today the editorial brain trust at the Union Leader decided to weigh in on the Voter ID law and its “practice run” during the primary.  For those who didn’t vote in the New Hampshire primary or don’t live in New Hampshire, its worth pointing out that although the law won’t go into effect until the general election in November, the legislature decided to mandate a practice run at the polls.  Yes, of course you’re thinking, “what a wonderful idea let’s practice all laws out first!”  then if you are stopped, arrested or ticketed the cop can tell you, “Oh geez, just kidding, now watch out in November!”

Dispensing with all the other problems with that issue, one wonders how many people might get the idea that the law really already is in effect and thus abide accordingly.  I mean, I guess it would be up to the goodwill of those empowered with enforcement to give up the gag before the damage is done right?  One wonders when exactly that might occur? After said individual absent an ID walks out of the polls? Its their fault they can’t hear the “Oh shucks, just kidding!” all the way from the parking lot?

Well, basically the Union Leader chooses to overlook that problem, while of course having to make the odd construction that Democrats were protesting the Voter ID law by refusing to give up their ID’s, that oh wait! really isn’t a law yet.  Bet that’s a first.  But its all good right? No one lost their voting privileges that day right?

Nope not at all, unless you talked to people who went to the polls, who were confronted with the patently illegal signage that wards had no business posting that led people to believe that the law was in fact in effect.  Nope not all unless you talk to the people who knowing their rights, refused to produce an ID and were not given the Voter Challenge Affidavit until after they had surrendered their ID.  Funny thing, guess the workers at the polls need some more training, including those poll watchers.

But, it seems clear by testimony from those who experienced the denial of their voting privileges unless they provided satisfactory proof of ID, they had reason to believe they weren’t voting.  So, let’s take your average citizen who works full time, probably has a family to care for and has about a one hour window that they carved out for a week or more to be able to perform their democratic duty.   Is it reasonable to assume this individual would in good faith turn around and say, “Oh, let me call my boss and see if I can more time off to get my ID I left at home/work/in the car.”  or, “Let me see if the person who gave me a ride here will be available to shuttle me around to the DMV, fill out a form, stand in line for an hour and then go back?”

Or, the person who says, “You know what, I knew voting was stupid, I’m going home.”

Or the person who, in the case of one person in Manchester who has a strong Spanish accent, of being further humiliated by having to answer to the question, “Where are you from?” So much for that old folksy New Hampshire.  Let’s just dispel that right now.  Manchester is a city, just like Nashua and Portsmouth.  There aren’t docile dairy cows roaming between white clapboard farmhouses or farmers with red and black checkered hunting caps leaning on fences saying “Ahyup!”.  Unlike the charmed sentiment of the editor, New Hampshire has had its influx of newcomers, of which many who don’t fit the New Hampshire ideal citizen, aren’t exactly given the welcome mat and a pint of New Hampshire maple syrup.  But of course these folks mostly settle in the larger communities and their participation in the polls just might change some things up old Concord way.

Never mind that the other segment of voters that the those at the Union Leader editorial board and Keepers of All That is White and Right in New Hampshire also probably only fret about property taxes in the sense that they know they are paying too much and there’s a small segment of large landowners not paying their fair share.  They’d probably vote Democratic, just a hunch, but since that conversation has only occurred on a meaningful basis within the Democratic party, one might safely conclude that.

Much better to keep those folks home and why wait until November when the Voter ID law becomes an actual law, how about have a practice run, heck what could it hurt if this election some folks don’t turn up or go home without getting to exercise their right to perform the most important civic duty in the nation.

In the accompanying report on how the practice run went, it is explained that those who did in fact challenge the law will be chased down by mail, then if there’s a letter sent back they’ll send agents out we assume to track these people down and the Secretary of State’s office will pour over each and every affidavit to verify whether the voter exists or not.  Looks like the Secretary of State’s office will be hiring folks pretty soon.  Amazing how that works; legislation that grows government comes from an administration that claims to do just the opposite.  Guess the work will be done by special little Fairies for Freedom, to find those practically non-existent fraudulent voters.

But what about the people who walked away from the polls unable to vote? What does that do to our election?  Uh-oh, thinking too much.  In the Union Leader/Republican world those little people don’t matter and the results.  We just gotta live with it, because dammit, there are brown people, poor people, aged, students and disabled folks who we know vote overwhelmingly Democrat and who cares if they stay home?

Of course the richest misunderstanding of the law is encapsulated by the editorial writer’s comment, “Well, the constitution gives qualified voters the right to vote.” Yup, that’s right and there’s nothing in the constitution about presenting an ID.  More than likely the framers never envisioned a system would develop in which certain individuals would work and live in this country and not be eligible to vote — oh wait! We tried that too didn’t we? How did that work out?

One has to wonder, with all the fervor that never seems to end about “qualifying” voters, what exactly is the motive?  Could it be that not only a threat exists from the millions of truly “qualified” citizens actually exercising their right to vote enmasse, what would happen if those who fall between the cracks of citizenship, living, working and contributing to businesses and the economy, like the many that work in Manchester, Nashua and elsewhere in the state starting suddenly voting? Yes, its a scary thought indeed.

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Boston IWW Commerates Sacco and Vanzetti

On Saturday, August 29th at Boston Common members of the Boston Industrial Workers of the World gathered to remember the tragedy of justice carried out by the State of Massachusetts against two men wrongly accused of committing of robbing a payroll clerk at gunpoint.

Marred by ethnic prejudice, perjured testimony, suspected collusion of the defense counsel with the prosecution, admittance of irrelevant testimony concerning the political activities of both men, conflicts of interest with the judge and other judicial errors, Nicola Sacco and Bartemelo Vanzetti were sentenced to death electrocuted at the Charleston State Prison on August 23, 1927 as innocent men.

The case garnered international attention as the public worldwide noted that the prosecution, for lack of real evidence, made use of the prejudice, racism and red-baiting in American society at the time to convict the two men.  To this day the case still conjures up study and debate.  No one who studies history can deny that the events leading up to the deaths of these two men, had more to do with their anti-war, anti-capitalist and pro-worker activities than with the crime they were accused of committing.

Most importantly, the case draws a hard lesson about the extreme tension between workers and the unfettered growth of industrial capitalism in America and Europe.  Activists who fought for worker justice, who spoke out against World War 1 were actively pursued as what we’d today call “terrorists”, rounded up, beaten, abused and oppressed in an effort to stem the tide of resistance to the newly developing and growing capitalist state.

One would do well to recall that the abuse and corruption of the American judicial system continues to disempower, abuse and control those entities of society that serve the capitalist interest best when exploited.

Click here for further details on the case.

Nicola Sacco’s statement to court after being sentenced to death (9th April, 1927)

I am no orator. It is not very familiar with me the English language, and as I know, as my friend has told me, my comrade Vanzetti will speak more long, so I thought to give him the chance. I never knew, never heard, even read in history anything so cruel as this Court. After seven years prosecuting they still consider us guilty. And these gentle people here are arrayed with us in this court today.

I know the sentence will be between two classes, the oppressed class and the rich class, and there will be always collision between one and the other. We fraternize the people with the books, with the literature. You persecute the people, tyrannize them and kill them. We try the education of people always. You try to put a path between us and some other nationality that hates each other. That is why I am here today on this bench, for having been of the oppressed class. Well, you are the oppressor.

You know it, Judge Thayer – you know all my life, you know why I have been here, and after seven years that you have been persecuting me and my poor wife, and you still today sentence us to death. I would like to tell all my life, but what is the use? You know all about what I say before, that is, my comrade, will be talking, because he is more familiar with the language, and I will give him a chance.

You forget all this population that has been with us for seven years, to sympathize and give us all their energy and all their kindness. You do not care for them. Among that peoples and the comrades and the working class there is a big legion of intellectual people which have been with us for seven years, to not commit the iniquitous sentence, but still the Court goes ahead. And I want to thank you all, you peoples, my comrades who have been with me for seven years, with the Sacco Vanzetti case, and I will give my friend a chance.

Statement of Bartolomeo Vanzetti after sentencing:

“If it had not been for this thing, I might have lived out my life talking at street corners to scorning men. I might have died, unmarked, unknown, a failure. Now we are not a failure. This is our career and our triumph. Never in our full life can we hope to do such work for tolerance, justice, for man’s understanding of man, as now we do by accident. Our words – our lives – our pains – nothing! The taking of our lives – lives of a good shoemaker and a poor fish peddler – all! That last moment belong to us – that agony is our triumph.”

Below, 2007 documentary, lots of original film footage, detailed.

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The American Stinker Lays Another Pooper

Hard at work for the corporate agenda.

Stephen McCann a classic plutocrat and contributor to the site American Stinker and the site linked to the magazine, American Spectator, sits on the Stinker pot and performs the rectal birth of a tract so full of lies even the lowest of parasites might have to bring out the lie detector.  Compensated at a rate of a mere 4.5m a year, Mr. McCann gets passive into that very narrow canal of American mogul-lovin’.  Sitting firmly within the top 1%, possibly the top .01% of wealth holders globally, the Australian McCann we’re sure gets a big BFF ranking from the plutocrat class here in the states.

So onto his scribbles from the war room water closet and why we should really give a damn what he says anyway. First off, its worth pointing out that although McCann sits in his house on the near bottom of the globe where our winter is his summer, he seems awfully disturbed by certain sectors of the American population known commonly as the “left”.

Yeah you all you pro-choice, tree hugging, union thug, anti-racist, anti-war leftists, this fine gentleman is fed up with your anti-austerity politics you hear? He’s had it with your desires for justice and equality and wants you to grow up and practice some good old austerity.  Concerned as he is with the deficit in the United States  … er… his portfolio.   He’s sick and tired of “The Childishness of the American Left” and he’s going to tell you why.

The American left is the most self-indulgent, arrogant, and spoiled group of people on the face of the earth.  They live in a nation facing national bankruptcy and societal upheaval — a country presently subsisting on the residue of past economic achievements.  Yet the only things that matter to them are their lifestyles and imposing their self-determined superiority on rest of the American people.

Social upheaval?  Could it be the social upheaval of a population sick and tired of the 1% wealthiest “imposing their self-determined superiority on the rest of the American people”?  Seems to many of us here in the US that once an economic system existed wherein at least there was some hope that a rising tide would raise all boats.  That with the work of the left through government regulation and correction,  social inequities would soon begin to disappear and anyone, a person of color, a woman, a disabled person, could as the old saying goes, capture the American Dream by working on a finally leveled playing field.

But as we all know now, the job of straightening out 300 years of socialized inequality takes some sacrifice from everyone and we’ve had our share of resistance.  Us lefties always do after a while tend to get all misty-eyed and go on about hard to quantify issues such as racial justice, gender equality and LGBT rights, worker’s rights and a clean and healthy planet.   We on the left have known for quite some time that the existing system favors a certain group of people and we have tirelessly pointed this fact out.  Basically many of us figured out after about 5th grade that the Land of the Free we learned about ain’t exactly free for a large portion of the population.

Unlike the minority who upon their birth are cloistered among nannies, private schools, Ivy League colleges and a nice inheritance, the majority of people in this country live quite modest lives.  We on the left selfishly have worked tirelessly for little money (because where do you think money comes from?), to champion causes not particularly popular with the ownership class.

We have repeatedly marched down streets, sat in halls, picketed and boycotted businesses to protest the sending of our young people to die for the myriad wars that benefit only the 1%, protested and worked toward changing injustices from gay rights to women’s rights, from working against racism, to saving the planet from industrial destruction, all in the name of that selfish idea; justice.

Do we have a superiority complex? Possibly, if one equates having a sense of fervent duty to the social contract of humanity; yes possibly if one takes seriously the precept of the prophet of our Christian based culture; “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You” All this while swarmed by a capitalist campaign of mass consumption, exploitation and greed.  We on the left have worked tirelessly to draw attention to how global capitalism exploitation kills humans and the planet.

But let’s take our lesson from Mr. McCann and hear about his concerns about the debt and the GDP; essentially his global balance sheet shall we?  First McCann draws our attention to an NPR interview:

The true indebtedness of the United States now exceeds $222 trillion.  Appearing on National Public Radio in August of 2011 Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff of Boston University said:

If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, and subtract all the taxes we expect to collect, the difference is $211 Trillion.  This is the fiscal gap.  That is our true indebtedness.

Since that interview, the indebtedness has increased by another $11 trillion.

Well it seems the kind professor was making an effort to point out that with falling revenues from tax cuts, funding wars will drain the treasury.  Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans became all the fashion when Ronald Reagan proved just how easy it is to fleece the American people as long as you lie to them enough.  So easy that H.W. Bush and Bush the Younger have pushed the envelope further not only cutting taxes for their buddies but also borrowing to finance some major military adventures.  So again the professor points out that when the boss cuts your pay, going to Disneyland may not be such a good idea.

But let’s take the boss analogy a step further.  When your boss learns that you’ll  work just as hard on $7.25/hour as you would on $15/hour, especially if he promises you get a ticket to Disneyland, do you think he’ll go back to $15?.  Nope, you’ve just got suckered.  Boss got just as much work out of you for less and what’s more he didn’t bother to tell you he borrowed from your pension fund to pay for those tickets to Disney, what a deal!

Not rocket science, nor a big secret.

Then further down, McCann rails about the GDP versus expenditures.  The fact is, just looking at the GDP fails to consider so many other factors that have caused the largest economic slump since the Depression.  As is detailed on a page here a bit back, McCann doesn’t bother to tell his dear readers that while the GDP has failed miserably, corporate earnings  have multiplied upward for the last three generations, while earnings growth for those who work for a wage has stagnated since about 1979.  Also McCann fails to mention that those who possess high wealth have enjoyed as much as a 200% or more increase in their portfolio value at the same time.

So in summary, tax cuts sent the money into the hands of the plutocrats, cuts in services such as housing, poverty programs, cuts in agency funding, cuts in education funding also sent more money to the plutocrats which for some reason never came back home.  All the while corporations learned that lay-offs reward richly (and thus rewarded their CEO’s thusly), temp labor is a pip and people will work for dogs on mere promises. Add to that the people’s gullibility for tall tales about scary hordes that must be brought down by fancy artillery and young Americans’ lives and you’ve got one heck of a mess.

Now Mr. McCann, being only human can’t help but look a gift horse in the mouth.  As if fleecing the American and global population hasn’t made him rich enough, he’s now concerned about the possible collision of the health of his portfolio with the health of our nation.

Yet these estimates do not include the full impact of ObamaCare, which could add another $17+ trillion.

Now taking away the fact that McCann seems to think that Americans don’t need affordable healthcare like Australians enjoy, let’s just focus on his concern about our fiscal health shall we?  Wait what’s this? All over the internet sites figures keep quoting the CBO and its research that purport that in fact, the ACA will reduce the deficit by $210 billion, not increase it.  So in other words, McCann is either very poorly informed or just telling lies because he doesn’t think we should have public healthcare like his homeland does.  We’d suggest that McCann follow the old rule; those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  Oh, Australia doesn’t fund healthcare for rich guys, oh well.

On the other side of the ledger: the annual Gross Domestic Product (the value of all economic activity in the U.S.) is $15.6 trillion.  The indebtedness to GDP ratio is a staggering 14.2 to 1 and guaranteed to further accelerate if Barack Obama is re-elected.

See Disneyland borrowed on your pension fund. We explained that already.  Mr. McCann hopes to impress and bamboozle his readers with statistics and figures that really say the same damn thing no matter how you turn them around; the rich guys spent all our money and borrowed to the hilt for whatever our paychecks couldn’t cover.  Pretty simple; you spend more than you making, you going to end up bankrupt.

The United States is not facing bankruptcy, it is bankrupt.  The primary factor that has kept the nation afloat over the past four years is that the dollar, albeit temporarily, remains the world’s reserve currency, thus allowing the Federal Reserve to print enormous sums of money to cover the Obama budget deficits and flood the global market with near worthless cash.  Today it requires $100.00 to purchase the same goods $10.00 purchased in 1950.

Firstly, the Federal Reserve does not print money! Contrary to popular belief, the Fed is not some super-secret club full of special presses stamping out benjis to add to the “money supply” as they please.  So we can dispense with this quickly and move on, please see the following comic made up by the Fed in an attempt to dispel ignorance.

Comparing the value of the dollar today to its value in 1950 is much like picking up

Oh do we need to go back what was good in 1950 compared to today? Like the fact that nearly 50% of American workers were union members? That save for the social inequities that still existed, many people enjoyed a prosperity most young Americans cannot even imagine today.  Taxation was progressive and effective with the top tiers paying as much as 90% of their income, so revenues were high, wages were healthy and what’dya get? A healthy economy!  Infrastructure expenditures were up, employment rose and the standard of living in the US rose for a large majority of Americans above nearly the entire world.

Increased indebtedness due to wars funded on borrowing, money policy that shifted wealth from the commoners to the elites and the resulting bust in GDP growth among the population that depressed revenues and consumption seems an indication of selfishness, but of the leftie kind.

As a further comparison, the total annual GDP of all the countries on earth is $70 trillion.  The American indebtedness alone exceeds that amount by a factor of 3 — which contributes mightily to a world drowning in debt and facing an inevitable debt crisis and financial collapse, which will trigger a massive global depression.

Thanks again in large part of levering of the American economy by the elites on the backs of the working people who have seen their share of the pie steadily decrease even though their production has rivaled other first world countries for decades.

Currently, just 58.4% of the civilian population is employed, as compared to 64.3% twelve years ago.  Factoring in the growth of the population during that period, this drop represents over 22 million Americans unable to find work.  Since January 2009, 74% of all new jobs created in the U.S. were in the lowest-paying sectors of the economy, thereby stifling any chance of upward mobility and growth in median income which has fallen by 9% since January 2009, and average household wealth that has declined by nearly 40% over this same period.  This failure is a byproduct of a tsunami of government regulations, mandates, and taxes which has nearly destroyed the innovation and business and job-creation that made the American economy so vibrant over the latter part of the 20th century.  That innovation has now moved overseas, along with over 7.5 million high-paying goods-producing jobs since 2000.

Another patent lie, since the 1980’s government sectors on all levels have suffered massive cuts and laws that regulated finance, commerce and trade have been modified to favor corporate growth over national growth.  Couple that also with the outsourcing of the white color and blue collar sectors then mix in outflows of investment dollars to those offshore operations and you have decreased consumption within the US market as workers’ buying power decreases,  increased outflows of revenue from the what production remains (as it flows upward and not into worker’s pockets)  into the coffers of tax-free havens, off-shore trusts, third world sweat-shop factories and overall global manipulation of labor, finance and government regulation. Whew and McCann calls us selfish for bitching about it?

The reaction of the self-described progressives to this dire scenario?  Sweep the facts under the rug or ignore them completely, as it appears that the most important things in their lives are the legalization of gay marriage, free contraceptives and abortifacients, worshiping at the altar of extreme and discredited environmentalism, mocking and undermining all organized religion (except Islam), and telling the American people what they can eat, where they can live, what may be taught in their schools, how they must operate their businesses, and what health care they can access.

Au contraire Mr. McCann, while the left has beat the drum of reigning in the cowboy plutocrats, ending the wars, regulating off-shoring, stopping the trade treaties that favor global corporatism and bringing back a truly progressive taxation strategy, the right wing has gone on an endless campaign of distraction by fighting gay marriage and rolling back women’s rights to bodily sovereignty.  We didn’t choose to put these issues front and center, the Republicans did and we have been forced 24-7 to fight these battles on basic human rights, while the economy suffers global moguls continue to rake in the money.

Yes, Mr. McCann we bleat on and on about the importance of an educated and healthy population.  We voice and express concerns about how exploitative capitalism, on which your portfolio and business model relies, has caused irreparable harm the planet we call home.  But we know, worrying about an endangered planet and humanity causes your portfolio to wilt like you probably do when you’ve run out of Viagra in the middle of the deep blue on your shiny yacht after your escort has finished dictating for you.

To the true believers on the left, re-electing Barack Obama is not a matter of what is or is not good for the country; rather, for the majority on the left, the primary motivation is geared solely toward defeating their sworn enemy: conservatives and Republicans, whom many falsely believe are a right-wing horde determined to create a theocracy and impose old-fashioned morality.  But what they fear most from the right is a determination to reinstitute unfettered individual freedom and concomitant economic growth, which would relegate the American left to the back bench of American society.

Yeah we got it.  Apparently McCann seems to have a misunderstanding of American history? We’re not going to the back of the bus as much as the GOP, Tea Partiers and others wish.  In fact, its pretty clear the country is changing and electing a black president only constituted the beginning.

Thus, to them, what the policies of Barack Obama and his radical minions are doing to the long-term fate of nation is immaterial as long as Obama regurgitates his support for the various causes that are near and dear to the coalition that makes up the left.  There are two common threads to the belief system of American progressives: 1) an omnipotent central government controlled by them, and 2) an assumption that there is a bottomless pit of money to be siphoned from an equally bottomless pit of wealth.  But this is not the same nation that experienced unprecedented prosperity from 1946 to 2007.  It is not the same nation in which these narcissists on the left grew up, never knowing national adversity or trauma.

1. Yes, we do in fact represent every single portion of humanity not represented by the guests on your yacht Mr. McCann, yes we do in fact believe that the government’s role is to put selfish pricks like you where you belong — in the palm of our sweaty, hard working hands.

2. We do indeed see a bottomless pit of money — our money that we worked damn hard for that you stole from us through your wrangling and perverting our government to allow you to extract every penny from our efforts and give as little back to us as possible.

And we also know that the national prosperity has been in decline for us ever since your patron saint, Ronnie Reagan took office here and began to strip every single protection from greedy, self centered, hypocritical plutocrats like yourself.   We’ve suffered enough trauma under the reign of the greedy and we’ve had it.

The manner in which these progressives, and their titular leader Barack Obama, are conducting themselves in the current campaign season is indicative of their arrogant and immature mindset.  To the vast majority on the left, this campaign is merely a game played out on the playground of American politics, wherein they childishly engage in name-calling and temper tantrums reminiscent of spoiled brats determined to get their way, regardless of the consequences.

Well, to the vast majority of Americans this playground is ours and its our damn business how we play it out and we’d like it if global moguls like yourself keep your filthy paws out of our political and electoral business.  We are indeed determined to get our way but it seems last we knew, the bamboozled foot soldiers of the plutocracy were the ones throwing the biggest temper tantrums about having a Kenyan born Islamic black man chosen as the president of their whites-only fiefdom.  But like most spoiled brats, you people just refuse to take your marbles and go home to cry to mama, nope, instead you have to put millions into SuperPACS and keep trying to play petty games with our political system to feed your own selfish desires.

It is time to grow up and understand that the America that could absorb all the excessive spending, promises, and left-wing fun and games is no more.  This nation cannot survive on its present course, and if that course is not dramatically reversed, those on the left will suffer as much as if not more than the bulk of the American people they are trying to rule.  History has shown repeatedly that when an overwhelming political and social catastrophe strikes a nation, the people turn against the ruling class, often with a vengeance.  In the United States, that ruling class is presently dominated by the American left.

You’re absolutely right Mr. McCann, the country can no longer continue on this course.  Scientists say if we don’t make radical life style and consumption changes we may not have a planet worth living on in another twenty or thirty years.  History has indeed shown repeatedly that when aristocrats and their inbred offspring are allowed to run things, they tend to make a big damn mess of the house and leave the adults to come and clean it up.  The clean up time has begun and we’re ready to evict you and your lying friends.  Thanks for playing Mr. McCann, there’s a spot in the back of the bus for you.

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The New Hampshire Immigrant Problem: The Free State Project

Bienvenue à New Hampshire, où nous avons des impôts et des frais. Si cela ne vous plaît pas, retournez chez vous, préférablement pas sur nos routes publiques.

Copied from Counterpunch, apparently there’s more if you subscribe, but Progressive Action NH alas, has no budget for subscriptions right now.

April 27, 2009

The Far Right’s Plot to Capture New Hampshire

by PAM MARTENS

One of the most audacious and cynical corporate-backed social experiments in living memory, the Free State Project in New Hampshire, has now shifted into damage control mode.  Free State operatives learned this past week of my article that appears in the current subscription edition of CounterPunch, taking the first in-depth look at their plan to entice 20,000 out-of-state ultra libertarians and anarchists to move to New Hampshire and implant an extremist brand of free market capitalism: a brand the corporate backers hope will lead to a gutting of business regulations, environmental laws, and return the state to the right wing of the Republican fold.  (Currently, all three branches in New Hampshire, known for its pivotal first primary status, are controlled by Democrats.)

An effort at damage control is playing out in the Free Staters’ internet pummeling of this author and a reporter at the Keene Sentinel newspaper in southern New Hampshire, Phillip  Bantz, who made reference to the revelations in the CounterPunch piece along with an eyebrow raising quote from a Free Stater on legalizing cannibalism, a demand of some fringe Free Staters.

The attacks have not gone as planned.  Over 128 reader responses are now registered in the Keene Sentinel, founded in 1799, which typically receives less than 20 responses to an article.  Area residents, known for tolerance, are displaying pent-up fatigue and anger with the agenda of the Free Staters.

Some of the Free State participants call themselves anarcho capitalists, promoting an embrace of free markets and individual freedoms unencumbered by authority of the state.  Free State members must formally agree to the premise that “government exists at most to protect people’s rights, and should neither provide for people nor punish them for activities that interfere with no one else.” [1]   This premise is widely interpreted by Free Staters to mean all tax supported social welfare programs must go, along with zoning and planning and building inspectors.  Public education would be replaced with home schooling or private schools.

What has been able to fly completely under the radar for the last seven years, is the role of shadowy think tanks and their corporate money backers in the Free State Project strategy.

On the morning of Friday, February 27, 2004, at the Washington D.C. corporate headquarters of the free market think thank, the American Enterprise Institute, this far-fetched plan was carefully rolled out to the national media.  The key speaker at the event was Jason Sorens, founder of the Free State Project. Dr. Sorens is currently an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

The following are excerpts of remarks made by Dr. Sorens at that event, according to a transcript available at the American Enterprise Institute:

“The Free State Project started as an effort to identify the best state in the country for people who favor smaller government and stronger individual liberties to move to…

We started signing up people in September 2001, and our growth was slow in our first few months.  However, growth picked up dramatically in late 2002 and 2003, and by August 2003, we had 5,000 signed members…

New Hampshire doesn’t have large metropolitan areas, which tend to be left-leaning…

The Free State Project is related to market-preserving federalism in two different ways.  First, New Hampshire is poised to benefit if the United States returns to a true model of market-preserving federalism.  One example is Social Security.  New Hampshire could do much better if it were taking care of its own Social Security program because its residents pay much more in Social Security taxes than they receive back in benefits…

The Free State Project can also contribute to market-preserving federalism and its beneficial workings in another way.  Once New Hampshire moves dramatically in a free market direction, we are going to continue to attract individuals and businesses from other states.  And other states are going to have to reform their own laws in order to avoid losing their tax base to our state.

So the Free State Project, in more ways than one, I think, is the thin end of the wedge in increasing liberty throughout the United States.” [2]

(Notice what just happened here: unfettered capitalism has been conflated with “stronger individual liberties.”   Are we not currently living the economic nightmare that proves the opposite is true? )
One of the most astute questions at this conference came from a man identified in the transcript as William Kelly of Cox Newspapers:

KELLY: My question is for Jason.  I was wondering, when you sign people up, do you do any kind of background check on them or anything, to make sure that you’re not importing rapists and thieves to New Hampshire?…

SORENS:  No background checks.  I think libertarians wouldn’t like that, too privacy invading and too resource consuming as well.  So to some extent this is built on trust.  Everyone I’ve met has been normal and well adjusted.”

Jenna Wolf of the Union Leader out of Manchester honed in on another obvious area:

“Have you talked to residents?  What are their feelings about this?”

Dr. Sorens assured Ms. Wolf:

“…we have solicited the opinions of people who live in New Hampshire in our forum…And the responses I have gotten have been overwhelmingly positive, conditional.  So long as you are good neighbors and really support the political ideals that you talk about, then they are supportive.”

In just four months, both the lack of background checks as well as resident reaction would blow up in Dr. Sorens’ face.

Just nine days before Dr. Sorens gently rolled out his case to a strategically selected group of free market think tanks and reporters viewed as market friendly at the headquarters of the American Enterprise Institute, Tim Condon, at the time the Director of Member Services at the Free State Project, had mapped out an offshoot strategy.  The plan was to create a Free Town Project as well – “a low-population town in that same state where Porcupines can congregate….”  (Free Staters refer to themselves as Porcupines – upset them at your own risk.)  The tiny town of Grafton, New Hampshire was chosen. [3]

Tim Condon is a Tampa, Florida lawyer and one of the original organizers of the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) in 1991, a group that says it works “to advance the principles of individual rights, limited government and free enterprise within the Republican Party” according to its web site. Unbeknownst to most rank and file Free Staters, Mr. Condon was receiving funds from the RLC.  According to the First Quarter 2005 minutes of the RLC of Florida, “On Jan. 4, the National Board of Directors of the Republican Liberty Caucus agreed to pick up some of the expenses of Florida RLCer Tim Condon of Tampa who – in conjunction with his efforts on behalf of the free state project…has been working to develop the New Hampshire RLC, one of the fastest growing RLC chapters in the nation.” [4]

According to Mr. Condon’s own account of how the Grafton plan came about, an “exploratory trip was launched in early February, 2004.  This time Porcupines Tim Condon and Zack Bass flew to New Hampshire from Florida, and had help from resident Free Staters in exploring.  Also present was Robert Hull, who drove up from New Jersey to join us.”
Zack Bass, according to a June 20, 2004 article in The Boston Globe was actually Larry Pendarvis of Brandon, Florida: “A computer analyst who also goes by the alias Zack Bass, Pendarvis was convicted in Polk County, Fla., in 1997 of more than 100 counts of downloading child pornography, a conviction later overturned on appeal. His other enterprises include a website that peddles mail-order brides from the Philippines with the slogan, ‘Date Locally, Marry Globally.’ ” [5]

According to the Free State Project, it was Mr. Pendarvis who was responsible for setting up a web site targeting local residents [6] and one establishing the goals of the Free Town Project as follows:

The Free Town Project intends to liberate either a New Hampshire Town, or a Western County, by moving in enough Libertarians to control the local Government and remove oppressive Regulations (such as Planning & Zoning, and Building Code requirements) and stop enforcement of Laws prohibiting Victimless Acts among Consenting Adults, such as Dueling, Gambling, Incest, Price-Gouging, Cannibalism, and Drug Handling. [7]

Hostilities flared against the Free Staters in Grafton by residents, followed by a large town meeting and unflattering press.  Dr. Sorens has persistently blamed all of this on Pendarvis and dismissed it by noting that Pendarvis was expelled from the Free State Project.  Dr. Sorens fails to note that it was he who declined to do background checks and it was his own Director of Member Services at the time, Tim Condon, who has acknowledged in his own article that he was part of the conception and planning of the project and made the exploratory trip to Grafton with Pendarvis (aka Zack Bass) in February 2004.

Dr. Sorens has additional explaining to do.  The Mercatus Center lists him as an Affiliated Scholar.  It, and its sister organization, Institute for Humane Studies, have funded Dr. Sorens research since at least 2002 according to public records. [8]

Mercatus is the Latin term for markets.  Thanks to an in-depth report published in September 2006 by the public interest nonprofit, Public Citizen, and OMB Watch, we know a great deal about the agenda of the Mercatus Center.  [9]

Richard Fink, executive vice-president of Koch Industries, Inc., founded Mercatus (then called the Center for Market Processes) at his alma mater, Rutgers University, in the early 1980s.  Later, he moved the organization to George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, where it resides today.  Mercatus blossomed at George Mason in 1997 after receiving a $3 million grant from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, which was founded by Charles G. Koch, chairman and chief executive officer of Koch Industries.  Koch Industries, an oil and gas giant, is the second largest privately held company in the United States…

The Charles G. Koch Foundation is one of the largest corporate donors to George Mason University, donating over $15 million since 1998 to the George Mason University Foundation, which accepts and manages tax deductible donations on behalf of GMU and its affiliates.  The Charles G. Koch foundation frequently earmarks these donations for the Mercatus Center, and in the past two years alone has donated over $2 million to Mercatus…

[As part of its anti-regulatory agenda] Mercatus staffers were pushing rollbacks that would directly benefit their corporate patrons.  BP Amoco, Exxon Mobil, and the Kochs, for example, would benefit from 14 of the suggestions…filed in 2001 to weaken the Clean air Act.  These petrochemical companies would also benefit from four of the Mercatus Center’s 2002 submissions calling for the weakening of the Clean Water Act…

By far the biggest corporate contributor to the Mercatus Center, and the group with the clearest personal ties to it, is the Koch group of foundations and, through them, Koch Industries.  A privately-held $25 billion petroleum, chemical, and agricultural company based in Wichita, Kansas, Koch Industries has good reason to angle for a rollback of environmental standards.  In 2001, the company’s petroleum division pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act for releasing benzene, a known carcinogen, into the air at a Texas refinery.  Koch agreed to pay $10 million in criminal fines and further agreed to spend $10 million for environmental projects in the Corpus Christi area.  In addition, Koch must complete a five-year term of probation and adhere to a strict new environmental compliance program.

In a separate incident, Koch agreed to pay a $4.5 million penalty to settle other Clean Air Act violations at its Minnesota refinery.  The EPA also forced the company to spend an estimated $80 million to install new pollution-control equipment at two refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas, and one near St. Paul, Minnesota.

Koch also has had a problem playing by the rules of the Clean Water Act.  The EPA found that during a seven-year period in the 1990s, a Koch pipeline subsidiary allowed 300 leaks to remain unstopped, spilling three million gallons of oil into waterways across six states.  In January 2000, the EPA leveled $30 million in civil fines against Koch, then the largest U.S. civil penalty, and required Koch to spend an additional $5 million on environmental projects. [10]

A former director of the Mercatus Center’s regulatory program was Wendy Lee Gramm.  As former chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from 1988 to January 1993, Ms. Gramm’s deregulatory stance toward credit derivatives is widely regarded as a key element in today’s financial market meltdown.  According to Public Citizen, “In 1992, as the first step in its business plan to profit on the speculation of energy, Enron petitioned the CFTC to make regulatory changes that would limit the scope of the commission’s authority over certain kinds of futures contracts.  Immediately before leaving the CFTC, Gramm muscled through approval of an unusual draft regulation that would do just that – it narrowed the definition of futures contracts and excluded Enron’s energy future contracts and swaps from regulatory oversight.  Although her actions were criticized by government officials who feared the change would have severe negative consequences (as, in fact, it did), Gramm was rewarded five weeks after she left the CFTC with a lucrative appointment to Enron’s Board of Directors.  Between 1993 and 2001, when the company declared bankruptcy, Enron paid Gramm between $915,000 and $1.85 million in salary, attendance fees, stock option sales, and dividends.”

How much exactly has Dr. Sorens received from the Mercatus Center, the Institute for Humane Studies, and George Mason University Foundation?  Requests for specific dollar amounts to Dr. Sorens, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and each of the nonprofits was met with silence.  Dr. Sorens did take the time to send a seven-page letter to the Editors of CounterPunch demanding a retraction of this author’s first article.

A notice on the web site of the department of Political Science at the State University of New York at Buffalo, a public funded institution where Dr. Sorens now teaches and conducts research, notes that “Jason Sorens and his co-author William P. Ruger, an Assistant Professor at the Texas State University, San Marcos published a study on Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom with the Mercatus Center of George Mason University.  The study presents an evidence based ranking of the 50 states in terms of both their provisions for and protection of personal and economic freedoms. Professor Sorens also continues to oversee a grant from Donors Trust.  The grant supports a series of research workshops on ‘Markets and States.’ ” [11]

Exactly 13 days after the study on Freedom in the 50 States was released, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law at the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions in Ohio, another free markets nonprofit, used the document in testimony on a House Bill in Ohio threatening to “initiate legal action” if the bill was signed into law. The testimony noted, from the report, that “Ohio recently ranked 38th in an index of economic freedom amongst the 50 states.” The bill would have eased mortgage loan modifications to prevent foreclosures. [12]

DonorsTrust, now funding Dr. Sorens “Markets and States” workshops, explains itself this way: “DonorsTrust was established as the sole donor-advised plan dedicated to promoting a free society and serving donors who share that purpose.  To date, DonorsTrust has received $230 million from these donors who are both dedicated to liberty and to the cause of perpetuating a free and prosperous society through philanthropic means…Know that any contributions to our DonorsTrust account that have to be reported to the IRS will not become public information.  Unlike with private foundations, gifts from your account will remain as anonymous as you request.” [13]

These promises of more freedoms from uninvited liberators who are secretly backed by special interests sound eerily familiar.  Hopefully, this particular plan has been outed in just the nick of time.

PAM MARTENS worked on Wall Street for 21 years; she has no security position, long or short, in any company mentioned in this article.  She writes on public interest issues from New Hampshire.  She can be reached at pamk741@aol.com

Notes.

[1] Free State Project web site
www.freestateproject.org

[2] Transcript of Jason Sorens speaking at the American Enterprise Institute

[3] Tim Condon maps out the plan for the Free Town Project in Grafton

[4] First Quarter, 2005 RLC of Florida Minutes (See page two.)

[5] “Grafton’s Messy Liberation,” Boston Globe, June 20, 2004

[6] Blood Bath & Beyond, Grafton Locals Targeted

[7] Web site of the Free Town Project

[8] Jason Sorens affiations with The Mercatus Center
http://www.mercatus.org/SearchResult.aspx?SType=Basic

[9] “The Cost is Too High,” Public Citizen, OMB Report: Pgs 43 – 55,
“Meet the Mercatus Center”

[10] Ibid, pg 52

[11] Jason Sorens’ funded work at the State University of New York at Buffalo

[12] 1851 Center for Constitutional Law Cites Sorens Research

[13] DonorsTrust

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What If

WHAT IF

What if we had a world
Where everybody helped each other
And tried to build each other up
In stead of tearing each other down
And blowing each other into pieces.
Would not suffering be banished?
With helpful hands and gentle hearts
Could we not bring humanity to a pinnacle?
Why must we continue to fail at
The only Commandment that ever mattered,
That being to love each other
So as to be willing to give up ones life
For a friend,
To turn the other cheek
And to love our enemies.
This was a Commandment,
Not an aspirational guideline
And apparently
the most difficult one of all to follow.
As a species, if we eventually
fail to follow it,
We deserve to reap the dire seeds
Of our own destruction and demise.
A meeker species will eventually
Inherit the earth
And i will thankfully be gone.
Already in my lifetime,
I have seen enough.
What if,
Peace.
Mike Murburg 08/29/12
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Why Occupy Monsanto Anyway?!

A very good explanation of what GMO’s are and why we should all be concerned, straight from the heart of Monsanto headquarters, St. Louis.   Don Fitz and his Green Time TV has two activists from St. Louis who have worked hard on educating people on the GMO issue.

St. Louis Occupy has worked hard developing Occupy Monstanto, which event in September will have many workshops to draw attention to the evils of GMO seeds.  Monsanto has waged a near-terrorist campaign against farmers throughout the Midwest.  Recently the farmers lost a suit filed against Monsanto in Missouri federal court on behalf of nearly 300,000 farmers, but they intend to press on.  Of course, in the “socialist” country of Canada, where corporations don’t yet reign supreme, one farmer did in fact win against Monsanto.

As mentioned in the video above, Monsanto has worked to incorporate the popular pesticide, Roundup, into the DNA structure of plants.  While the corporate rigged FDA has given a wink and nod to Monsanto on its Frankenstein GMO work, Roundup has its own set of problems.

Logo for crop-ready GMO Roundup soybeans.

Available at any home store, great on Dandelions and your genetic makeup!

As a large portion of the Midwest depends upon farming for their living, Monsanto’s push to own the agricultural business in the entire Midwest or even possibly globally presents a serious national autonomy and security risk.  Throughout the Midwest, small-scale farming operations dwindle under the pressure of large-scale corporate operators.  Indebtedness  incurred through efforts to keep up with ever increasing yield pressures also hampers development of green and sustainable farming methods.  While starving farmers apparently gives pop stars an opportunity to boost sales with fund-raiser events, they never challenge how capitalist practices have distorted the importance of a safe food supply and sustainable agricultural practices for national health and security.

Not Science Fiction – A Story of Corporate Charity

The perfect picture of the charity of Monsanto lies in the story of the East St. Louis plant that it built.  In order to evade taxes from East St. Louis, the plant received the go-ahead from the state of Illinois to incorporate its land into a township called Sauget.  Yes that’s right, its own town.  Simply so it won’t have to pay East St. Louis one dime of property or any other tax.  But that doesn’t stop East St. Louis from regularly spilling effluent into the streams that run into East St. Louis.

Sauget does not employ the impoverished residents of St. Louis as a matter of practice, instead its workers commute from outside of town.  East St. Louis in one of the most impoverished cities in America.  But executives, press and others usually think of this building when they think of Monsanto, the headquarters in the city of St. Louis.

Other good links about Monsanto:

Monsanto Watch

One good thing to see is when major companies battle which other — blood and money shed on both sides.

Shut Down Monsanto!

Now that you know what kind of scum they are, see their slick promo site

Overview of the Monsanto sponsored Herbarium at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens

As if all the above isn’t creepy enough for you, here’s an overview of a meeting of the WAF — a pro-corporate NGO which as the executive for the organization states in a pro business St. Louis mag, We’ve invited governors from agriculture-producing states the world over to come discuss the impacts of agriculture policy decisions at the local level,” says Kathy Moldthan, WAF executive vice president and chief operating officer. The governors will be accompanied by business delegations from their states, “who will network with other businesspeople from around the world and explore investment opportunities,” Moldthan adds.”

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Right Under Their Noses

On Monday morning scores of New Hampshire residents traveled to the St. Anselm’s campus to hear the newly minted Romney/Ryan duo speak.  They were in for a little surprise when they found out that actually, their tickets were not meant to get them into the door; they only served to identify them as the people they wanted out.

Like the rest of the Republican platform, Romney and Ryan’s substance lies somewhere within a computer file, within the confines of a paid staffers.  Apparently those staffers figured that having their employers stand before truly curious and inquisitive voters might prove a bit taxing.  And we know how Republicans hate anything that’s taxing; on the wallet or the brain.

The right-wing Union Leader apparently had some good connections for camera shots because the one they plastered all over the Tuesday edition and online made the event look like a Billy Graham revival event.  Responsible journalists would have mentioned that New Hampshire voters were turned away and replaced by Massachusetts bus-ins.  But those of us from New Hampshire know full well that to expect news from the Union Leader is a bit like expecting Ryan to just come out and admit he’s a selfish, brainless prick just like his running mate.

But what the staffers didn’t realize and the story the Union Leader missed was the truly grassroots support they had outside from the newly minted organization Americans for Inequality.  Formed apparently out of the mold of Rockefeller, Carnegie and the Koch Brothers combined, three of their acolytes were on hand to espouse Romney and Ryan’s economics.

Brave enough to just say it.

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Freedumb and Libertea

Excellent summary of the current state of New Hampshire’s higher education under the unwatchful eyes of the conservative legislature who never saw a penny they didn’t want to keep for themselves — at the expense of growth to the state:

Freedumb and Libertea by Susanthe

One surprising bit of information from the report is that NH’s high school dropout rate has continued to decrease, reaching a low of nearly 1%. I was skeptical of Governor Lynch’s plan to keep kids in school when they didn’t want to be there, but clearly, the plan is working. A high school diploma is essential these days, and so is some form of higher education or training, if one wants to be able to live indoors.

As I’ve written before (endlessly) NH ranks in last place for state funding of higher education. That was true before the last biennium when the Freebaglicans cut the already embarrassingly low level of funding in half. Tuition at our two and four year colleges is amongst the highest in the nation. NH may be in 50th place for state funding of higher education, but we are number one in student debt. Yay! We’re number one!

The report shows that 5% fewer NH students are staying in state for their education than did a decade ago.  click here for the rest…

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Social Democracy vs. Democratic Socialism vs. National Socialism (Observations at a distance of the French and American experience)

French exuberance over Hollande victory, via democraticunderground.com

Though I have been living in France again for these few weeks during the summer, I feel that I have experienced and seen enough to make some comments that may be more insightful than pedestrian when it comes to a comparison of our two countries and the systems that support us)

First of all, during my stay, I have paid little by way of taxes here and have no financial investment in this system.  In all candor, this must be how the 1% must feel in the US living there paying less than the middle classes do, yet enjoying the same privileges and advantages afforded to them in our republic.

That being said, the food is great and bountiful here.  I did not have to think about GMOs or preservatives here. There is good cheese and great quality very, very cheap regional wines for sale and the beef grass fed.  The bread is fresh and fortifying and places to buy it fresh plentiful.  I pay no taxes to use my car, or support the schools or museums.  I am a parasite  who takes full advantage of the roads, educated citizenry, even of the workers who plant the roadside flowers that make this place so beautiful.  I financially support none of it through taxes.  I use a high speed rail system and local trains and trams paying less to ride them than the cost to run them.  It is all someone else’s taxes who go to pay for the quality and benefit of my existence.  If I were to live here for more than a few weeks a year, I would feel bad about taking advantage of all this without giving something back, for, though I may be a parasite, and generally loathe taxes and bureaucracies,  I am one with a conscience here and back at home.

So why is it that the upper 1% in the states seem to have no such conscience?  What is it about their self-absorbed lives that doesn’t allow their sense of altruism to tick, even in the least collective degree?  I believe that it is one of Entitlement.  The “E” word.  Yes, it takes one to point out one.  How else could the wealthy in the US laser focus on a word and turn it into an epithet aimed at everyone else who is on the cusp of surviving and who might be a recipient of what is left of state noblesse-oblige, now defamed as a “welfare state”.  Sure, there are abuses.  Any system has them.  But with proper pruning, policing and punishment,  the “three Ps” the abuses are guaranteed to be small and few and far between.  But again, it takes hubris for one who has no real investment or financial connection with a society to enjoy all of its benefits to ask for the crucifixion of those who are less fortunate for doing the same just to stay alive.   Is it not hypocrisy for any of the 1% to shop at Walmart, for example, where cheap prices are afforded greatly by hiring part time workers and having those same employees there apply for food stamps as part of their hiring?  Are we not again socializing our most efficient means of production in this way?  If the system continues to grow and makes Sam Walton’s family and shareholders richer, it must be good right?  Isn’t this pure capitalism?

No, this is National Socialism.  Just as the rich won’t have it philosophically, they still need it to maintain the the illusion of a purely capitalist corporate model.  It is not. We as a society are keeping Sam’s workers’ and dependent families fed.  This is the socialized cost of lower prices at the register.  It is also how private insurers of state workers compensation systems have increased their profits by offsetting disability payments to injured workers by deducting from the indemnity paid to injured workers the amounts they receive from the Social Security Disability system, thereby privatizing gains and socializing losses.  It is the basis of “tort Reform”.  It is a reallocation of wealth by the protection of laws to the benefit of the wealthy.   Most recently we saw most blatantly it with TARP and the bank bailouts.

So, now what is the problem with keeping the Walton’s family workers healthy other than socializing gains and losses?  Absolutely nothing other than  the fact that one has to call it a form of socialism.   Privatizing gain and socializing losses is a form of “National Socialism” a/k/a “Corporatism” or for the less squeamish fascism.  If one is a fascist, if corporations fail, and failure can be avoided by socializing losses by putting it on the backs of taxpayers, then that is not a bad thing because the oligarchs win out.  Anything when the corporations win is good for the oligarchs and plutocrats in a fascist state.  If losses are “socialized”, even if it is cost effective and pays for itself, to them it is bad.  Anything else, other than the institution of communism (admittedly an abject failure) would be better.  So we call our successful social programs in our democracy, something else.   The term “Social Security” is watered down medically into a name like ” “Medicare”.

In this country we even socialize the human cost of our wars, by providing our injured veterans with a lifetime of federally funded workers compensation benefits known variously as “Veterans’ Benefits” and “Veterans’ Medical Benefits”.   For those destitute veterans, we as Americans also provide for the destitute vet, “Veterans Retirement”.  We do all this including the payment of vested retirement benefits to Service personnel, the Congress and our federal employees.  We need to begin seeing our system, it’s successes and it’s excesses for what they are and calling them by their proper names whether it be “fascist”, “socialist” or “socially democratic” or “progressive”  terms or memes that would function to limit the excesses and maximize the combined benefits of both capital and labor while maintaining the natural tension between the two through the use of good reason and common sense.

So why are we so opposed to socializing our democracy?  Besides actually using the word “social”, a term anathema to most of America’s trained ears, the fear of the unknown or the new are perhaps the other reasons.  Additionally, as a nation of international xenophobes, rarely do travel globally to places where we can see first hand how social democracies work elsewhere and how they by necessity, relate to one another in the world at large.  Perhaps if we did observe more and blindly condemn less would we see that there are other ways of doing things as both a local and national community.  But perhaps this is too much because it would require a community of historically rugged individualists to realize that the frontiers are now closed and the recognition of what it means to be an American community.  This is going to take cooperation and a recognition of commonly beneficial goals and values that will sustain us and help us grow as a society and as a civilization as we meet the demands that will try our communality over time.

My observation of the French both up close now and from a distance is that this is a book that the French have been writing for themselves as a society of common sanguination for over a thousand years now. The vision here is clear and the population generally well cared for, hard working and happy.  We on the other side of the Atlantic have yet to complete the preface to our own tome or even to agree on the words that best describe who we are and what we want to become.

Mike Murburg

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