Archive for the ‘DOMESTIC SOCIAL POLICY’ Category


Shouldn’t we all be Republican!  Yes, I know, such a statement is probably surprising coming from the Abyss.  Well, the Abyss is now a Republican, and I’ll tell you why.  This nation can no longer afford to suck the poor and middle class dry in order to spew ever more wealth into the bank accounts of the greedy rich.  Whenever there is a hint of a popular push back against reactionary interests, the lackeys of these interests raise the specter of “class war.”  Yesterday, lacky/entertainer  Bill O’Reilly groaned about outside agitators (i.e. agents provocateurs) going to Wisconsin to stir up trouble between the public employees and the Republican run State government.  Big whoop, I say!   Where was Bill when outside handlers orchestrated the participation of a bused-in, terrorist mobs at town hall meetings?.  And why it didn’t concern him that the insurrectionists shouted down anyone who expressed a view different their own?

Let’s face it, there really is a class warfare going on, but don’t be deceived; the notion that the poor are provoking it is wrong.  It is a ploy thaqt has been effectively used by the real culprits.  If there is any confusion about who they are, check out “Are the Rich Getting Richer?” (Nov. 11, 2009) on this blog.   The poor have gotten  zip financially since way back in 1973 while the wealthy have made out like exactly what they are – bandits.

It’s time for the poor and the middle class to stand up to the moneyed interests, their Republican henchmen, and their horde of Propagandists.  It’s time the poor and the middle class to take back their futures and their country.  That’s why I became a Republican –   I want to present an alternative point of view to the garbage and misinformation slung out by the suicide fringe that has taken over the Republican Party.  If we were all Republicans?…why we could even nominate candidates and promote the policies of our choosing.  There is another thing I’ve done recently that is a lot of fun.  I’ve signed on to a number of ultra-right blogs.  They never fail to amuse, self-promotional (a la – dark times are ahead – send money), and so over the top that it is difficult to understand how anyone could place iny credence in them.  However. once in a while I send a response “interpreting” their messages in such a way that’s opposite to what’s intended.  Just today, I read something about the impending financial doom coming to America and how one could invest in the “pundit’s” investment firm to prepare for it.  I thanked him, told him he had really opened my eyes, and went on to promise that I would surely contact Obama and Congressional leaders to tax the rich in order to stave off the coming catastrophe.  For starters try Newsmax; the rest will find you.

At any rate,  you don’t have to vote Republican – but please become one.  It’s fun!

From the Abyss,

Jim

We are obsessed the “market.”  Market indicators, the Dow, the S & P 500, and NASDAX (and in this international era, the Hang Seng, Nikkei, DAX, and FTSE), are looked upon as a measure of economic health.  These measures tell little about the economic well-being of the lives of individuals and families.  In fact, there is a complete disconnect – market rises usually coincide with worsing conditions of common people.  Shrinking levels of unemplyment cause drops in market prices because they are omens of increasing demands by labor and higher wages – and that puts a squeeze on the all-imp0rtant profit.  Obviously, we have come to look at the nation as a nation not of people but of investment and business.  Tellingly, Presidents Bush and Obama alike have chosen Wall Streeters as their economic advisors while passing by such people-oriented economists as Paul Krugman or Joseph Stiglitz (both nobelauriats). 

It’s time to develop a new measure of the economy indicating how individuals are doing – buying power – employment – full time employment – leisure time – life expectancy.  It is only then that we will once again (or at last?) place a premium on the quality of life of the many rather than profit for a few.  Any ideas?

From the Abyss,

Jim

Why is it that senators and representatives vote on legislation when they have a conflict of interest?  It is not an alien concept – Judges recuse themselves from cases when conflicted – lawyers don’t take cases when conflicted – therapists and brokers are concerned with the issue – and on and on and on.  But our Congressmen cavalierly accept millions of dollars every year from interest groups who are trying to buy legislation.  Is it a surprise, then,  that there is little public confidence in Congress?  The Roper Poll conducted between October 1-5 (2009) finds that only 33% of those polled approve of the way Congress is doing its job – 64% disapproved.  The Gallop Poll of October 1 – 4 finds the public even more disatisfied – 21% approve, 72% disapprove.  The outbusts and threats that occurred during this summer’s town hall meetings supports the notion that confidence in our political institutions is lacking (at least, among a sizable minority). 

This is a serious problem.  Democratic government (in particular) can only operate with the confidence and acquiescence of those governed.  This does not mean that everyone must agree with what government is doing – an effective democracy depends on informed debate and honest dissent.  But citizens must respect the principles by which the policies are derived – e.g. majority rule and representative democracy…  Make no mistake, the more violent and threatening behavior exhibited this summer may have been directed at individuals, but it demonstrates a growing lack of confidence in our institutions.  Shamefully for all of us, many elected officlals encouraged this behavior either openly, by their silence, or through tongue-in-cheek disapproval.  Democracy is not a lazy man’s game, it’s not for the sqeamish, and not a spectator sport, but it does have rules, and mob rule is not one of them.  

However, there is good reason for the citizenry’s declining confidence; there is growing doubt that government puts their welfare before that of special interests.  Consider the insurance industry’s effort to influence health care reform.  Since the 1990 election cycle (1989-90), the industry has pumped one-third of a billion dollars in the campaign coffers of those running for Congress (and this only one interest group with a stake in health care).  As almost every Congressman, no matter which party, receives some of it, it is difficult to explain how this huge outlay of money is directly transformed into favorable votes.  And yet, these contributions must have some affect.  Why would there be such contributions be made if it were otherwise?  And the amount of money involved suggests that the return is large.  Thus, the motives behind the those voting for or against any legislation must be questioned.  What is most influential, the needs and desires of the citizenry or that of an interest group of one kind or another. 

There is something legislators can easily do to rehabilitate their standing in the eyes of the public; they can exclude themselves from votes on legislation if they’ve received contributions from organizations (corporate or otherwise) having an interest in that legislation.  This seems a simple remedy, but it would have a profound effect on the way the political process works.  Congressmen, legislative aids, party or campaign officials, and interest groups would oppose it vehemently.  They would argue:  “Special interests insist on giving us money – don’t they have a right to be heard?”  Of course they do – their members can vote like the rest of us, can’t they?  Besides, this is not about special interests; it’s about you, Congressman!  “Absurd, special interests wouldn’t make contributions – there’d be no incentive.  How would we run our campaigns?  They’re long and expensive, you know.”  Yes, they’re too long and too expensive.  Make them shorter and cheaper, maybe then you could spend time legislating rather than raising money on a continuous basis.  “But everyone takes the money.  There’d be no one to vote if we restricted voting, the legislative process would grind to a halt.”  Yes, that’s true – as long as you continue taking money.  “Why…why, there’d be a complete change the legislative process!”  Right, that’s the point.

So the ball is in your court, you guardians of the public trust.  But remember, democracies have many ways to remedy runaway, improper behavior – if you can’t police yourselves, maybe the citizenry will have to do it for you.  

From the Abyss,

Jim

 
Whether we like it or not, everyone who has health insurance has one of Sarah Palin’s “death panels”.  Insurance companies have many ways of rationing services – they have drug formularies and preferred provider networks, they increase co-pays, and they deny 20% of all insurance claims.  All that, so they can make a profit – and so their executives can receive, on average, ten-million dollar bonuses each year.  Let’s put health first in health care, not profit!
 
Sarah-Palin-DeathPanel 

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