Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Big Gov Needed

We need big gov, and whatever sins that may mean, in order to restrain big biz and its greater sins.

As far as I can tell, big biz, unrestrained, always moves in the same direction - toward total monopoly.

As we see with the lastest Comcast move to drive Netflix into a corner.

Sure, why not?

All's fair in love and war, right?

But where's the balance?

Can we rightly expect someone in Comcast to say, "Oh no, we can't do that to Netflix and all of their customers"?

No, I don't expect that of Comcast. What I expect is Comcast to do everything it can to promote itself, provide a product and make money.

That's what I expect of Comcast and big biz.

There is only one reliable source of balance in all of this, and that's big gov - big enough to say "No!" and big enough to set some boundaries, lest the drive to monopolize progresses to its inevitable conclusion of total market dominance.

And, please, don't buy the propaganda that big biz loves democracy. They don't. What they love is the freedom to pursue their goals of dominance without restraint. Talk to employees and you'll hear the same story: there is no democracy within the companies - there's a lot of cruelty and control, and folks can lose their jobs in a heartbeat if they raise the wrong question, not to mention questions of moral responsibility.

Without a doubt, there are lots of good people at the top, but I think the bigger the biz grows, the more the tail wags the dog, and even good people are swept up and swept away in vast systems driven by power and profits. There is little morality left by the time the elevator reaches the 50th floor.

Nor do I look for an abundance of morality in big gov, but history makes it amply clear that government, by the people, for the people and of the people, can alone stand up against the Wall Street juggernaut. 

It's a question of balance.

As big biz has grown larger in the last 40 years, and government has been dismantled along the way, the seeds were sown for the economic disaster now in place, here in the United States and across Europe. In spite of its better instincts, Europe bought, lock, stock and barrel, the US model of market-driven capitalism, allowing the tentacles of international corporations, quite literally nations unto themselves, to strangle the world. And in turn, kill the goose that lays the golden egg.  And when the goose was dead and their were no more eggs to be had, they paid a visit to the very governments they manipulated and to the peoples they harmed and asked for a handout.


All of this might have turned out very differently had government maintained its regulatory vigilance, but thanks to conservative efforts, government was weakened to the point of ineffectiveness.

Whatever the sins of big gov may be, the sins of big biz have to be collared by someone or something big enough to reign them in.

I don't know of another entity, other than government big enough, to handle the job of regulatory restraint.

Monday, November 22, 2010

In Yemen, a barefaced advocate for women's rights - latimes.com

Today's LA Times features the following:

In Yemen, a barefaced advocate for women's rights - latimes.com

The story of a courageous women leading the way for women's freedom.

It took the United States a long time to establish and ensure women's rights, though conservative Christians would have it all reversed, if given even half a chance.

The continuing pressure on abortion rights has little to do with the fetus, but everything to do with taking away the rights of women to make family decisions. This anti-women prejudice is deeply embedded in Christianity, and only the light of reason has challenged it, and by the light of the reason, even the Bible reveals new insights into the remarkable place of women in God's story.

We must be ever-vigilant for human rights.

We cannot, for a moment, allow a compromise on freedom, at any point.

To this brave women in Yemen, hat's off, so to speak.

And may her courageous message be embraced around the world.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Friend's Take on Obama

Dear Reader,

My friend, The Rev. Dr. Bob Dahl, Holland, Michigan, is a liberal, and sometimes a fighting liberal.

His disappointment in Obama is well articulated, and I thought it worth sharing with you.



I'm listening to Barack Obama on 60 Minutes and I'm less depressed and more angry than ever.


I heard Dennis Kucinich, Democratic Representative from Ohio, on C-Span yesterday talk about how much he was inspired by the President's inaugural address and then he found himself waiting in vain for the charge ( read charge not change) from the White House.   It never came.

And that's the issue.  It never came.  The charge never came.  Critically important action to save the Republic economically came but the CHARGE never came.

What we got was really good stuff to keep us from falling off the face of the earth economically.  We got emergency action that was critically important across the world-wide economic spectrum.  Barack saved capitalism, as a New York Times columnist wrote, and he got the blame for spending too much.  Talk about irony.

We got health care for thirty-million more Americans.

We got student aid for strapped college students.

We got money coming back into the US coffers from big banks and Detroit auto companies.

We are getting a good return for our dollar.

This is all stuff to SHOUT about, to herald, for which to have pep rallies all over America.


What I am watching on TV is a chastened president who is licking his wounds and talking about all the things he did wrong in his first two years in office and how much he has to learn.

We don't need a president who is inexperienced and has to learn on the job.  According to another journalist, Hillary Clinton warned us about that in the campaign when she asked us to vote for her over Obama.

What we need is "Give 'em hell" Harry Truman and not Casper Milquetoast.

What I want from Barack Obama, on one hand is not to copy Bill Clinton but on the other hand, is to tell "it like it is," that is, to tell the American public that they have been conned big time by the huge money people who have once again played on fear and exploited anxiety, that he is committed to nothing less than the truth, as far as he perceives and understands it, and that he will call it as he sees it as long as he is the President of the United States of America.

He will stop apologizing for things he has done, although he hasn't apologized for his policy in Afghanistan which is so utterly wrong. (I could only hope that he would come to his senses and stop the debacle in Afghanistan.)

He will start telling the American public without apology that he inherited, within the first few months of his administration, the most horrific effects of the previous Administration's eight year debacle on all fronts -- economic, educational, social, defense, etc. -- policies which, if not halted, would have plunged the world into economic chaos which could have resulted in such world-wide violence and anarchy the world could not possibly have conceived.

He will continue telling the American public that they need to hunker down, hang in there, keep voting for politicians that would vote for policies that would continue unemployment benefits, stop foreclosures by banks, and would continue to provide a safety net until the economy got going sufficiently to offer the jobless a job.

He will shout that corporate America started making a lot of money, a lot of profits, but refused to start hiring until after the outcome of the Nov. vote attempting to secure a coup by Republicans against Dems. -- all this while ironically the Dems bailed out corporate America.

He will stop just talking about the middle-class and he will draw our attention to the plight of the poor and how, even if we are not particularly altruistic and concerned about that plight, it ultimately calls for enlightened self-interest and highlights the long term negative affects for us all if we do not stop the downward plunge of people into poverty.

He will tell the military to stop the hypocrisy and eliminate the absurd "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that punishes gays, promotes homophobia and weakens the national defense by eliminating willing, capable people from defending their country.

He will continue to decry the rape of the environment, call for immediate action and propose specific ways to get us out of dependency on oil and coal, move us toward renewable resources for our future and challenge us each to live environmentally friendly and responsible lives.

Finally, he will forever swear off politics and prepare for his retirement after one term and be pleased that he lived with integrity and was the best possible president he could be.

He will tell the nation that he is eternally grateful to have served in the highest office in the land and he will thumb his nose at the stupid ass Republican politicians who have been bought by the super rich through lobbyists and who will proceed to plunge the nation and maybe the human race into oblivion.

Then he will think of all kinds of things to do besides the obligatory writing of his memoirs.