Get Out & Vote!

October 29, 2010 at 5:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

Election Day is next Tuesday. I have voted in every election since I was first eligible in 1976. I have never been an ideologue for any political party, so I’ve voted for candidates from a variety of viewpoints. There have been some times of satisfaction with the politicians & many more times of disgust with the politicians. But never have I been so thoroughly disillusioned as I am now with our system from the top in Washington to the bottom in our local communities.

I know there are concerned, competent, & compassionate people wanting to lead our cities, states, & nation. But they usually lose-out to the crooked & self-aggrandizing.

I am sure most the people working in our government bureaucracies are dedicated & hard-working. But I think they are sabotaged by the lazy & uncaring.

I believe a large portion of the business community still plays by the rules & wants to positively contribute to a better world. But they are outmaneuvered by a huge & growing culture of shysters & slave-owners.

Leading-up to this election, we have seen an even stronger emphasis than usual on a message of blindly boosting one of the two wings of America’s big-business party (known as Democrats & Republicans). While I respect the rationale for voting once-again for Democrats who are just Republican-lite, I just cannot do it anymore. I cannot vote again for Democrats who have not earned my vote by standing-up & speaking-out for ordinary citizens. Our system will never change as long as we keep only electing candidates presented by the two wings of the big-business party.

In any race where a left-leaning third party candidate is fielded, then I will back that candidate over Democrat or Republican. Obviously, that means the Libertarian & Constitutional Parties are not under consideration. If a race has only Dem or Rep options, then I will vote Democrat only if that incumbent candidate has FOUGHT for people of my socio-economic class or the non-incumbent Democrat has publicly strongly pledged to do so.

If the choice in a race is between a Republican & a DINO, then I will leave that race blank on my ballot. I cannot imagine voting for any Republican & Democrats are no longer my default choice.

Here in Ohio, I intend to vote for the Socialist candidate, Daniel LeBotz, for U.S. Senate.

For Governor, my vote is going for Anita Rios of the Green Party.

And so, my fellow Americans, I urge you to ask not only what you can do for your country but what your country can do for you. VOTE. But not for the lesser of the two very evils that are generally presented to us by the Republicrat Party. Shake things up by making our leaders EARN your vote!

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American Shmoos

September 8, 2010 at 3:56 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Today, Jerome Doolittle, over at the Bad Attitudes site posted the above cartoon under the heading, “God save us one and all…because we plainly can’t do it by ourselves.”

I wrote the following into the comments section:
“But the Republicans have learned something: That American voters are just as gullible, ignorant, forgetful, & pliable as Republicans expected.

Silly me, I thought most Americans would remember for at least a few years how incredibly lousy Republican governance can be. But the right-wing’s ownership of all major media & continued control of all branches of government makes them able to induce an amnesiac-trance-like state in the citizenry.”
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Barry Goldwater’s 1964 landslide loss to President Lyndon Johnson was devastating for the Republican party. But more than that, it was an overwhelming repudiation of ultra-conservative politics. Most Americans had lived through the Great Depression & racist oppression. They still remembered what Social Darwinism & laissez faire economics had gotten them. Living Americans had memories of times in which:

Most Americans did not own their homes or much of anything else. They made very little money at their factory, farm, or service jobs where their workweeks stretched for 60 or 70 hours. There was no vacation, no health insurance, no sick days, no safety laws, & no retirement.

Schooling, especially beyond elementary grades, was rare as young people often had to help support their families by working in backbreaking, dangerous jobs. What we think of as the carefree childhood years of play & freedom were usually reserved for offspring of the upper class.

Women & minorities were very limited in their choices for work, education, & general lifestyle.

Very few workers could look forward to ever retiring. Very few got pensions & most never made wages enough to save for their old age. They literally worked until they dropped-dead.

Anyone who fell upon hard times, such as widows, the ill, the injured, or those who lost their jobs were just s.o.l. unless they could find charity.

Wealthy people could afford to hire servants very cheaply because, after all, what other options did an uneducated, beaten-down workforce have?

This list could go on & on but I think you get the picture. And a fairly grim picture it was for all but a fortunate few. The truth is that life, for ordinary people, was all too often a tougher slog than we moderns can fathom.

My point is that those conditions improved drastically, particularly after the Socialist-lite reforms of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. As I said, a lot of Americans in 1964 had lived through tough times, knew how bad they were & what/who had caused them & could not be suckered-in by reactionary calls to return to the “good old days.” But after that blistering election defeat, the hardcore right decided to get a lot smarter & meaner. Some of the bolder wingnuts had already had John Kennedy’s brains blown-out but liberalism kept on coming. So they kept murdering or sabotaging popular lefty leaders while segueing into more subtle but more effective ploys. Over the following 45 years these budding fascists:

Bought-up all mainstream media & used it to propagandize for their cause. They flooded the airwaves & press with a conservative worldview that entirely froze-out all discussion of progressive solutions. And all the while they ridiculously asserted that the media had a bias in favor of liberalism.

Mongered lessening fear of racial, sexual, class, & religious differences back into full-blown phobias. They used this to capture the Republican party & the fundamentalist “Christian” churches. This hatred of the “other” is nearing its culmination as we face the very real prospect of worldwide “Christian” religious war against Islam along with permanent second-class citizenship for groups such as homosexuals & the poor.

Nursed America back from “Vietnam Syndrome,” which had caused the nation to become disgusted with war. By using movies (like Rambo) & other media to recast the wrong-headed war as having been lost by gutless liberals & commie sympathizers and then rebuilding troop morale & citizen patriotism by kicking the asses of pipsqueak countries (Grenada, Panama) the modern Machiavelli rekindled American’s love of war. Also, by fawning over the the military & anyone else who wears a uniform while doing a dangerous job, they have won the undying devotion of all those “heroes.” Sadly, those heroes don’t notice that after they risk their lives, rightwing leaders have no problem throwing them aside like a used paper towel. The scum who run our country now tell us we are in endless war.

Dumbed-down the educational system & poisoned the food, air, & water to rob the people of health & critical thinking capabilities. If the rapidly smartening American masses were rejecting conservatism, then the solution was to make them fuzzy-brained enough to start thinking conservatism makes sense.

Invented the overblown War on Drugs & later the War on Terror as means to persecute & imprison millions of mostly minority citizens. Mostly they were a justification for circumventing the Constitution to monitor activities of law-abiding Americans & squelch dissent.

Made sure money became more and more a vital part of the electoral equation. After all, how many of those corporate personhoods & millionaire/billionaires are going to support politicians who want the rich to do more to help the rest of us? And how can small donors compete with the mega-donors? This has reaped a bought system in which it is impossible for the non-rich to get fair treatment.

This list could also go on & on. But let us suffice to say that after 45 years of this steady re-education most Americans are totally brainwashed. They think trickle-down economics worked, they think labor unions are a bad thing for their standard of living, they think the U.S. is #1 in all the important measures of life, they think the poor are what bankrupted the treasury, they think Muslims are scary & dangerous & hate us because of our freedom, & they are ready to fight at the mere mention of Socialism/Communism. They are deluded enough to think it is possible that they, themselves, may become one of the super-rich in the very near future & so they want all those fantastic rich-people tax-breaks preserved.

We have witnessed the results of a huge & complex sociological experiment. Question: Is it possible to take a population & feed it a steady diet of misinformation, disinformation, erasure, & lies until the population no longer is capable of discerning, much less defending, its own best interest? Answer: It sure looks that way.

And the thought occurred to me: By Gad, this evil experiment is turning Americans into Shmoos!

For those of you too young to remember the famous Lil Abner newspaper comic strip of the 1930’s-1970’s, Shmoos were white, blob-like creatures who can lay eggs or give milk & butter. They are absolutely elated to have themselves sliced-up, thrown into a skillet to be eaten by a hungry human, and they can change to taste like anything from chicken to steak to catfish. They can be sawed into pieces to use as lumber & their eyes can be used as clothes’ buttons. In short, they have no sense of self-preservation & live only to please their masters. And they require nothing but air to live upon.

The new breed of Shmoo-Americans are ideal for the approaching Capitalist paradise. Schmoo-workers will not drain Capitalist resources for healthcare, Social Security, or daycare for their Shmoo-kids. Shmoos will allow themselves to be entirely consumed in the cause of benefiting the wealthy, whether it is by fashioning themselves into a nifty speedboat or being burned as fuel. And no matter what, the Shmoo-Americans will keep voting for the very ones who turned them into Shmoos in the first place.

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Hate the Unemployed

June 29, 2010 at 2:54 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

It’s become obvious in the past few months that the latest group Americans are being manipulated into hating is the unemployed. They are fast being set-up to join the ranks of dangers to “The American Way of Life” that have included (but have been far from limited to) the British, Amer-Indians, Japanese, Communists, Muslims, trade unionists, welfare queens, Cubans, uppity negroes, Filipinos, various immigrant groups, women suffragettes, gays, hippies, intellectuals, French, draft dodgers, Russians, atheists, liberals, and conspiracy theorists.

Former workers are being slandered as too lazy to take a job, drug users, a burden that increases the nation’s budget deficit, and actually the cause of more unemployment because (get this!) their refusal to jump at the rock-bottom-jobs keeps wages too high. But the millionaires’ club known as the U.S. Senate came up with one of their typically well-thought-out solutions: They cut-off all extended unemployment.

This means that, while the U.S. is still gripped in the most catastrophic downturn since the Great Depression (catastrophic that is, for the bottom 95% of Americans) our “leaders” have decided, on the basis of no concrete evidence, that the economy is recovered and the unemployed need no extra help. So now the unemployed will be FORCED to stop living in the luxury of living off about 40% of their former wages & take one one of those plentiful jobs.

BTW- one of the most egregious slanders is this constantly-repeated lie that the unemployed are getting 99 weeks of payments. The media has even taken to talking about the “99ers.” HOGWASH !!! Only a small number of unemployed got that much time; it all depended upon factors such as when one lost one’s job & in what state it happened. I am convinced this is another subtle way to rile the still-employed into jealousy.

The same corporate-owned professional politicians who masterfully steered the ship of state onto the rocks, then managed to save the wealthy without enacting any meaningful change of course, are now throwing those of us without jobs overboard to lighten the ship’s load.

Mouthpieces of the kooky right-wing watch us sink without so much as tossing us a life-preserver. Instead, goofballs such as president of the Libertarian (that means insane free-market zealot) Buckeye Institute, Matt Mayer spout drivel about it being an example of “tough love.” Gee whiz, Matt, to me it looks more like an example of “kicking people when they’re down.”

And the response from those who still, for the time being, have jobs is barely a whimper. In fact, my own experience is that many of the employed are falling for the hate campaign hook, line, & sinker. What is it within the American character that makes it so apt to parrot the most outrageously heartless & brainless propaganda? That willingness to believe the worst in people, that Puritan fear that somewhere, somehow someone is getting a free-ride, that deep-seated conviction that those who encounter misfortune deserve it. I suppose that is one of the reasons why, in the early days of Hitler’s regime he thought the U.S. was very likely to join forces with him.

But enough of that. Now on to happier news.

I’m pleased to see America’s neighbor to the north, the one with the big maple leaf on their flag, is doing just dandy. Not being run by a cadre of evil, greedy, short-sighted plutocrats has allowed Canada to side-step the banking crisis, replace 75% of jobs lost in the recent recession, and keep their housing market on the upswing. While Canada got hammered just like the rest of the world’s nations, their economy is now growing at over 6% per year and their budget is expected to be back in surplus by 2015. Their Finance Minister, the wonderful JIm Flaherty, refused to lead his nation off the cliff in spite of pressure from world leaders to relax banking regulations to make Canada’s financial system more hip & groovy.

But it wasn’t always thus. Back in the early 1990’s the Canadian economy was a shambles but its leaders took steps to build a better future and have succeeded. Prime Minister at that time, Paul Martin, reminisces that it had to be done so as to “…preserve our health care and our education system…” Get that? Canada’s economy has become “the envy of the world” while managing to take care of its people! Sadly, we in the U.S.A. can no longer even imagine what it would be like to have caring & courageous leaders such as those up north.

Nor can we imagine what it would be like to have a leader like Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica, whose entire net worth consists of a 1987 VW Beetle. He refuses to move into the presidential palace & still lives on his wife’s small farm. He donates most of his salary to causes such as housing for the poor.

We in the U.S.A. know that people like the Canadians & Jose Mujica are socialists. And socialists are bad! We know that because we have been inundated with that message for about 100 years. This was driven home to me when I came across a book I hadn’t read in my extensive collection, “Great Reading from Life” Life was once the most popular general interest magazine in America, once having a circulation of 13.5 million readers each week. This book from 1959 contains excerpts from the magazine by such luminaries as John Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon, Aldous Huxley, & Sir Edmund Hillary and among its 70 articles are 9 that are directly anti-Communist/Socialist. There are also numerous writings that simply monger fear of Communism/Socialism in passing. Is it any wonder that most Americans have a knee-jerk reaction to fear Socialism, while most of the rest of the developed world practices it with mostly good results?

I confess that Myrtle & I have been talking for some time about immigrating to a more civilized nation. This urge has become stronger in the past 6 weeks in light of the monstrous stupidity of the BP oil disaster & the heartless evil of vilifying the unemployed. On top of all the other monumental cruel dumbness of post-Reagan America, life here has become pretty much unbearable for those who believe in kindness & rationality. If you feel that way too, here is a link to the Canadian government’s immigration website.

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Bring Back the “Red Menace”

November 1, 2009 at 5:12 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

We Americans are brought-up to believe that genuine, vigorous competition is the life-blood of our great system. Vying against one-another for victory, with the winner taking all the spoils and the loser conceding any claim is what makes social Darwinism tick. And so it is drilled into our red, white, and blue brains from cradle to grave until it becomes second-nature to believe that non-winners deserve to have nothing. Gaining or losing it all motivates us to try our best. Striving against a rival makes us strong!

Who would deny that in the 1970’s, our domestic auto makers had become bloated, complacent, and inefficient. They were insensitive to and exploitative of their customers; building increasingly lower-quality and higher-priced products designed for “planned obsolescence.” They were improved by stiff competition from foreign car companies that gave customers an alternative. Likewise, the United States Postal Service was improved when other carriers appeared. I could fill pages with examples of industries and organizations that were increasingly out-of-touch with their market, all of which were raised-up by vying against tough, strong, viable opponents.

That lack of competition is exactly why a monopoly does not function well. There is no rival to keep said monopoly under control so sooner or later hubris, greed, and decadence set-in (note that this is why government regulation is used to control these tendencies in monopolies). In modern American, Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Obama-nomics, monopoly is a diseased thing that must be cured through competition. If the schools, the airlines, or the electric company can’t face the challenge, then that’s too bad because it’s sink or swim for everyone (except for banks and Wall Street tycoons).

And now I come to my point. And here I am relieved to know that no one actually reads this blog, so I will not be hounded by threats and cat-calls for the assertion I’m about to make:  The worst thing that happened to the average American citizen in the past 100 years was the collapse of the Communistic Soviet Union. Why? Simply because we now have no competitor to which we can turn when we are abused by the monopoly known as American Capitalism. And so that monopoly becomes increasingly abusive of its captive customers.

Apparently, I am the only one to notice that there was only one span of time when conditions consistently improved for American workers and citizens:  the years from 1920 until the mid-1980’s while the Soviet Union existed and, in the minds of America’s leaders, there was real danger of a (cue-up the scary music) Communistic revolution in America.

Before that window of time, laissez faire Capitalism was firmly in the saddle and there was very little progress in the treatment of the vast majority of the population. Things didn’t really begin to improve until the Great Depression of the 1930’s caused a large percentage of Americans to start considering the alternative economics of Communism/Socialism/Populism (all close cousins). This scared the bejesus out of our political and business rulers who then reluctantly agreed to allow a little of the wealth to be spread around. And for the next 50 years, more and more wealth got spread in America so that the people were kept happy and non-Communist.* Overall, things kept getting better all the time for Americans across the board:  the old, the young, all races, both genders. The poverty level crept down a little at a time and literacy rates kept going up.

Then in the late 1980’s, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics fell-apart under the weight of its leaders’ corruption and greed. The threat by the Communist menace was over. Sure there were still a few other Communist nations around, but none of them posed a real threat to Capitalism. American Capitalism boasted of being the only superpower remaining on earth. And, immediately, (actually it had started a few years earlier when the Soviet collapse could be seen on the horizon) American Capitalism no longer had to try to keep our hearts and minds. The tide turned against the average American. And it’s been downhill for us ever since.

So today we Americans are seemingly stuck with a bloated, uncaring, inefficient, corrupt, wasteful, unfair, and unresponsive system that is typical of any monopoly. But we are not stuck! Having no competition allows Capitalism to dismiss the needs of the citizens.  There is only one solution:  We must pick-up the threat of Communist revolution off the ash heap of history and, at the very least, pretend to be considering it as a replacement for Capitalism. That will scare the elite into once again being willing to share some of our nation’s prosperity.

* And contrary to neo-conservative ideology, in spite of having to share prosperity with the bottom 95% of the nation, there was still plenty of money for the upper 5% to stay very, very, very, rich.

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