Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reply to Solveig ...

Solveig, that's just the point ... we're at a moment in time when big biz has had its way with so much of our life, shrinking the moral role of government, while screaming constantly that we need less government, that big gov is the enemy (talk about double speak) and big biz our friend, our savior, etc..

There is no substitute for good government, and I'm weary of the anti-government rhetoric crafted by the big biz interests. Our Federal government is far from perfect, but if you want to know imperfection, try a big biz board room, visit General Motors, or listen to how the health insurance industry will build a campaign to keep things the same.

I would rather put my money into government which has a far better chance of regulating it for the common good of all.

We do this with defense.

We'd never think of privatizing defense, although Blackwater might like that.

For 40 years, and going back even further to the union busting tactics of Boeing after World War 2, and their nefarious racist efforts to keep African Americans out of the unions, and the efforts of big steel and the coal mines - we've been living with certain well-financed myths that vilify government. Why?

So that big biz can keep a strangle hold on our lives. See the Fricks, the Carneigies, the Vandebilts ... and the Enrons and Madoffs and health insurance executives and Wall Street traders, and on and on it goes. This is the way it's been from the earliest days of industrialization, as Americans moved from the farms to the cities.

Yes, pit them against one another, but we must at least recognize that big biz in America has hoodwinked us - as they did when they tied health insurance to employment to prevent the government from getting involved. Big biz has squeezed government out, and government, for much of the last 40 years, was more than willing to surrender its constitution and moral responsibilities, because too many folks in Congress are in the "employee" of big biz. Where's Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?

It's time for real balance, and I can't think of a better place to begin that a government mandated and administered single-payer health insurance agency. The billions spent on administering thousands of plans more complicated then sending men to the moon would go for health care. The $14 million dollar annual plus salaries paid to insurance CEOs would go to health care, hospitals, nurses and research.

I don't see thousands of Europeans and Canadians flocking to our shores for medical help. No system is perfect, but ours is so seriously flawed right now as to make us the laughing stock of the world.

We can do better, and I believe we will.

Every American needs access to good medical care, and no one ever need delay medical work because they have to pay next month's rent or pay for pills they're already using.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The "American" Way

I am slowly learning, after 65 years, just how frightened American big biz is of government.


Woven into big biz's DNA is an overwhelming conviction that it's way is the right way, that its wealth and power proves moral right, that American workers are their unruly children, and if the workers only knew how nice big biz really was, they'd knuckle under and buckle down, being grateful for the crumbs that fall from the table.

The history of labor and management in this country is abysmal.

It is throughout the world, but in much of the world, big gov has come to the aid of the worker, enabling them to unionize and bargain for more than crumbs, insuring workers' rights and lowering health care costs while boosting health care results by tying health care into the gov's side of things with a single-payer system.

Nowhere else in the civilized world is medical insurance linked to employment, but big biz agreed to this in the post-WW2 years to forestall the gov from doing it.

We will NEVER resolve the issue of health care as long as we leave it in the hands of big biz. Health care belongs in the hands of the government - this will immediately lower the huge administrative costs presently "enjoyed" by the health insurance industry - 30% of every dollar is sucked up into the pockets of the companies - the average CEO salary is 14 million, not to mention the endless perks engineered into their contracts.

And now the commercials begin - funded by the mega billions of the health insurance industry highlighting the evils of Canada's health care and touting the wonders of America's healthy industry - because it's NOT health care in America, it's an industry making billions for its managers while:

DENYING insurance to 50 million Americans.
INADEQUATELY insuring millions more.
SADDLING many with impossible deductibles.
RATIONING HEALTH CARE to all the top echelons of our society.

The simple reality: you and I are a cash cow for the industry, at the expense of our health.

Is this the American way?

It is if you're big biz.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bubble Up Economics

Money, like hot air, rises.

Eventually ending up at the top.

Some have suggested that, once at the top, it trickles down.


Once at the top, there it stays, as we have witnessed in the last 40 years, with the growing hyper-concentration of wealth in upper ranks of American families.

The wealthiest 1 percent of families owns roughly 34.3%  of the nation's net worth, the top 10% of families owns over 71%, and the bottom 40% of the population owns way less than 1% (Click HERE for more info).

Trickle-down economic theories are one of the biggest lies ever perpetrated on the American public. The fact is: once it bubbles to the top, as all money does, it stays there. Period.

Unless the federal government does what good government should do - tax the wealth at the top and put it to work by infusing it into the lower reaches of our society - pumping it into the renovation of our schools with good salaries for our teachers; improving our roads and light-rail systems for our cities; supporting our cities; funding the arts; promoting research on global warming; cleaning up the environment; wind turbines; alternative fuels, and with single-payer health insurance, the money would go directly to the providers of health-care rather than the billions currently siphoned off by the insurance companies and their high-salaried CEOs.

Money always bubbles up.

Unless appropriate taxation helps return billions to the lower reaches of a society, the poor will only grow poorer and the wealthy, of course, will only grow wealthier.

The United States stands alone with its infantile fixation on trickle-down economic theories and its fear of taxation.

We have to pay attention to how the rest of world handles its wealth,  by sustaining a positive flow of cash from the top to the bottom, and letting it bubble up through all the layers of a society, and when it returns to the top, appropriate taxation starts the cycle all over again.

In a such a society, there are still wealthy families, and there are poor, as well, but the gap is smaller, as it should be.

The terrible and growing gap in our society between the wealthy and the poor is an affront to God, the deepest kind of violation of justice. If Christians are biblical (and what's the alternative?), they have to face these alarming trends, and as followers of Christ, work to keep wealth flowing throughout a society rather than allow it to rise to the top and stagnating there, even as more flows upward, finally starving the economy for 90% of the population.

As Paul the Apostle wrote:

I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,
      “The one who had much did not have too much,
      and the one who had little did not have too little.”

Monday, July 6, 2009

Iquitarod - Sarah's Pattern of Quitting

Geoffrey Dunn writes in the Huffington Post:

Sarah Palin quit five colleges in her otherwise unremarkable collegiate career, before finally graduating from the sixth. She quit her job in television. She and Todd quit their snow machine dealership in Big Lake. She quit her job as Mayor of Wasilla to run for lieutenant governor. She quit as chair of the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. Now she has quit the governorship of the state she supposedly loves. Sarah Palin is a quitter. When the going gets tough, Sarah Palin quits.

To read more, click HERE.

A part of me says, "So what?" and "Who cares?"

And if Sarah Palin were Sarah Palin, private citizen, it wouldn't make a hill of beans.

But she's Sarah Palin, politico, aspiring after high national office, including the presidency, and apparently, for a hard-core bunch of right-wing groupies, she's the shine light of the future Republican Party.

Her life and her record: manifestly erratic.

And this is someone who aspires to lead the nation, if not the free world?

Hmmm, I don't think so.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Drill Baby Drill

So long Sarah.

Not likely to disappear entirely - there's still a nut-base out there willing to buy her empty-headed world-view - "I can see the Russians from here" and a religious right-wing that would support Attilia the Hun if he opposed abortion and hated gays.

Oh no, as I sit here, Pat Buchanan is comparing Palin to Nixon - like Nixon, she'll find a couple of good speech writers, nail down some good lines and emerge, then, as the front-runner for 2012. Uh huh. You go Pat.

Palin claims she didn't want to be a lame duck governor. How about just lame duck.

I feel for her. I really do. Her ego has outstripped her ability by light years. She was primed and pumped by good handlers who crafted her lines and gave her an in with the far right. But in the short run, it became tragically apparent to most everyone, even Republican insiders, that here was a person unfit for the office.

It'll be fun to watch. And if not fun, maybe just sad.

Sadder, still, to watch the Republicans continue their much-deserved downward spiral, not that I mind. But our nation is served best when both political parties are healthy, and their respective good health is very much like the biblical observation, steel sharpens steel.

As of this moment, the Republicans are anything but sharp. In fact, downright dull, verging mostly on the edge of buffoonery. Their social agenda against abortion and homosexuality has proved bankrupt. Their extreme economic theories have brought this nation to the brink of depression. All in all, they're a tired and beaten group fumbling around in the dustbins of the past to find themselves, while ignoring the future and dismissing the new normal in which we all now live politically and economically.

What will Sarah do?

Maybe take a break. Grab her rifle, climb into a plane and shoot a few wolves from the air. The loonies in the lower 48 will love her for it.

So long Sarah. It's not been so nice knowing you.