Daveparts still's Journal
Read it Now! It probably Won’t Last Long.
By David Glenn Cox
We all know in the long history of our great nation that truly the most vile and wicked President to ever hold the keys to the Oval Office was Richard Nixon. Nixon was such a liar that he had to get strangers to call his dogs for him. Harry Truman once said of Nixon, “Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he'd lie just to keep his hand in.”
After a deep-water oil rig blew out almost three miles beneath the ocean surface and leaked three million barrels of oil off the California coast, that low-life Nixon visited the area.
"It is sad that it was necessary that Santa Barbara should be the example that had to bring it to the attention of the American people. What is involved is the use of our resources of the sea and of the land in a more effective way and with more concern for preserving the beauty and the natural resources that are so important to any kind of society that we want for the future. The Santa Barbara incident has frankly touched the conscience of the American people."
That’s the best that lousy Nixon could do, saying “Sorry, we won’t let it happen again.” Then Nixon signed a moratorium outlawing deep-water oil drilling below 500 feet. For forty-one years that damn Nixon moratorium stood, until an enlightened president came along who suddenly understood the importance of deep water drilling, even if he hadn’t understand it on the campaign trail. That’s called growing into the job!
In March of 1969, Richard Nixon did something unprecedented by American Presidents, he ordered secret bombings of a neutral state. The US Air Force began to bomb Cambodia in what was called "Operation Breakfast." There should be no comparison drawn to last month's US cruise missile strike in Yemen. Nixon was a lying son of a bitch and Obama is a great leader, and the twenty-six women and children killed would tell you that, if they hadn’t been blown to pieces.
Each cruise missile cost the taxpayers $600,000, or about the price of twelve schoolteachers' salaries. Our $600,000 killed 53 terrorists including women and children for a kill cost ratio of $11,538 each. Nixon was a lying bastard and the world and Congress condemned this kind of illegal activity by a President. That is why we can look back now with a sigh of relief, because that son of a bitch is gone and now replaced by a true leader who isn’t afraid to ramp up Predator drone attacks in Pakistan.
Even when criticized by know-nothings at the UN and in the Pakistani government, our great leader perseveres undaunted with 134 attacks this year alone!
“The (UN) report also says the covert nature of the CIA program in Pakistan is in breach of the rules governing accountability. The US government refuses to release any information about the CIA program, but its widely believed the drone aircraft mostly used in Pakistan are operated remotely by CIA staff from the agency's Langley headquarters in Virginia.”
Yeah, but the US says it is entitled to carry out such strikes under laws of self-defense and the laws of war.
"Because the CIA program remains shrouded in official secrecy, the international community does not know when and where the CIA is authorized to kill, the criteria for individuals who may be killed, how it ensures killings are legal, and what follow-up there is when civilians are illegally killed."
Pussies, don’t they know this man won the Nobel Peace Prize? When Nixon did it, it was because he was a lying bastard, and when Bush did it he was a psychotic mental case. Obama is our leader and he’s fighting terrorism and al-Queada and that’s what millions of us voted for. Hope and Change and more killing and bombing. You know, changing the way we do business in Washington.
In July of 1969 that low-life Nixon announced the Nixon Doctrine whereby the United States would provide arms and aid—but not military forces—to its Asian allies. Thank God we got rid of that bullshit, huh! Not send troops. Don’t be ridiculous, we have a leader now who is not afraid to send troops and if need be to send more and even more because that’s what being a true Democratic leader is all about these days.
Then Nixon announces a plan to establish the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Thanks a lot, Dick. Guess who is underfoot now while BP is trying to clean up their little leak. Thank God we have the Coast Guard to keep those meddling reporters away!
That Nixon, just when you think he couldn’t get any worse, he up and surprises you. Nixon wanted to reform healthcare in America and being the slimy dog Republican that he was he was trying to force people into private healthcare groups, or HMOs. Just look at the crap this joker was trying to peddle to the American public.
“Upon adoption of appropriate Federal and State legislation, the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan would offer to every American the same broad and balanced health protection through one of three major programs:
--Employee Health Insurance, covering most Americans and offered at their place of employment, with the cost to be shared by the employer and employee on a basis which would prevent excessive burdens on either;
--Assisted Health Insurance, covering low-income persons, and persons who would be ineligible for the other two programs, with Federal and State government paying those costs beyond the means of the individual who is insured; and,
--An improved Medicare Plan, covering those 65 and over and offered through a Medicare system that is modified to include additional, needed benefits.
One of these three plans would be available to every American, but for everyone participation in the program would be voluntary.
The benefits offered by the three plans would be identical for all Americans, regardless of age or income. Benefits would be provided for:
--physicians' care in and out of the hospital;
--prescription and life-saving drugs;
--laboratory tests and X-rays;
--ambulance services; and,
--other ancillary health care.
There would be no exclusions of coverage based on the nature of the illness. For example, a person with heart disease would qualify for benefits, as would a person with kidney disease. (Preexisting conditions)
In addition, CHIP would cover treatment for mental illness, alcoholism and drug addiction, whether that treatment was provided in hospitals and physicians' offices or in community-based settings.
Certain nursing home services and other convalescent services would also be covered. For example, home health services would be covered so that long and costly stays in nursing homes could be averted where possible.
The health needs of children would come in for special attention, since many conditions, if detected in childhood, can be prevented from causing lifelong disability and learning handicaps. Included in these services for children would be:
--preventive care up to age six;
--hearing examinations; and,
--regular dental care up to age 13.
Under the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan, a doctor's decisions could be based on the health care needs of his patients, not on health insurance coverage. This difference is essential for quality care.
Every American participating in the program would be insured for catastrophic illnesses that can eat away savings and plunge individuals and families into hopeless debt for years. No family would ever have annual out-of-pocket expenses for covered health services in excess of $1,500, and low-income families would face substantially smaller expenses.
As part of this program, every American who participates in the program would receive a Health-card when the plan goes into effect in his State. This card, similar to a credit card, would be honored by hospitals, nursing homes, emergency rooms, doctors, and clinics across the country. This card could also be used to identify information on blood type and sensitivity to particular drugs-information which might be important in an emergency.
Bills for the services paid for with the Health-card would be sent to the insurance carrier who would reimburse the provider of the care for covered services, then bill the patient for his share, if any.
The entire program would become effective in 1976, assuming that the plan is promptly enacted by the Congress."
Thank God that pos never made it through Congress. We’ve got Real Healthcare reform now!
Would expand coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured.
Health Insurance Exchanges:
The uninsured and self-employed would be able to purchase insurance through state-based exchanges with subsidies available to individuals and families with income between the 133 percent and 400 percent of poverty level.
Separate exchanges would be created for small businesses to purchase coverage -- effective 2014.
Funding available to states to establish exchanges within one year of enactment and until January 1, 2015.
Individuals and families who make between 100 percent - 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and want to purchase their own health insurance on an exchange are eligible for subsidies. They cannot be eligible for Medicare, Medicaid and cannot be covered by an employer. Eligible buyers receive premium credits and there is a cap for how much they have to contribute to their premiums on a sliding scale.
Federal Poverty Level for family of four is $22,050
Paying for the Plan:
Medicare Payroll tax on investment income -- Starting in 2012, the Medicare Payroll Tax will be expanded to include unearned income. That will be a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for families making more than $250,000 per year ($200,000 for individuals).
Excise Tax -- Beginning in 2018, insurance companies will pay a 40 percent excise tax on so-called "Cadillac" high-end insurance plans worth over $27,500 for families ($10,200 for individuals). Dental and vision plans are exempt and will not be counted in the total cost of a family's plan.
Tanning Tax -- 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning services.
Closes the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole" by 2020. Seniors who hit the donut hole by 2010 will receive a $250 rebate.
Beginning in 2011, seniors in the gap will receive a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs. The bill also includes $500 billion in Medicare cuts over the next decade."
That’s what I’m talking about. Thank God we got rid of that low-life Nixon and got real reform! Real progressive politics. Real Progressive, man! Real Progressive!
The Winds of Chance and the Hurricanes of Disaster
By David Glenn Cox (author)
A recent poll found that 57 percent of Americans favored capitalism compared with 19 percent that viewed capitalism negatively. That’s down from 70 percent and up from 9 percent.
My honest opinion is, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
We have a Democratic President, a Democratically controlled House and Senate and we have zero progressive politics. We have the most moderate Republican President since Nixon who calls himself a Democrat, and if he fails that failure, when visited, will be upon all Democrats. All of us who call ourselves Democrats will be forced to wear the horse collar. This is why liberals and progressives like myself are apoplectic with the President’s centrist policies. The argument of "but Ben Nelson...," and "but Blanch Lincoln...," won’t count for a hill of beans. Failure is failure so why not at least try true Democratic policies?
I’m past sick and tired; I’m angry now. I’m tired of reading day after friggin' day about families losing their homes. I’m angry because it doesn’t have to be like this. The foreclosed homes in many cases end up in the hands of the FDIC, which gives the banks credit to be reimbursed for their loss. So if the government ends up with the property anyway, why are the banks throwing people out into the street? To get their money quicker. Then the banks can buy the house back at a discount when the FDIC auctions it off.
The American people, the homeowners, the mothers and fathers are completely ignored by a system designed to give aid and comfort the banks. FDR’s Homeowners Loan Corporation was just the opposite. They bought the loans from the bank and refinanced them at a lower rate for a longer term and cut the banks out of the equation. That’s progressive politics, what we have now is the Bush program retooled and repackaged but ready to serve the banks with zero down payment and a money back guarantee!
Depending on who you ask, we are in a depression. We are, in my opinion. Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winning economist, says that we are on the cusp of a depression.
What does the administration say? We are working on it. Gosh, it would be so much worse if we didn’t do what we did. So don’t worry, be happy! We’ve offered tax cuts to business to employ more workers. Record numbers of unemployed, record numbers of home foreclosures, record numbers of commercial foreclosures, record numbers of bank failures, alarm bells should be going off because we the people are in deep, deep trouble. Still we get this: “States can’t count on the federal government for more budget bailouts, the heads of President Barack Obama’s debt commission told governors. States expecting Congress to authorize more assistance are 'going to be left with a very large hole to fill,' said Erskine Bowles, co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.”
Hoover or Obama?
“While it will be necessary in public interest to further increase expenditures during the current fiscal year in aid to unemployment by speeding up construction work and aid to the affected, I can not emphasize too strongly the absolute necessity to defer any other plans for increase of Government expenditures.”
Hoover or Obama?
“Our people are responding to these impulses in remarkable degree. The best contribution of government lies in encouragement of this voluntary cooperation in the community. The Government, National, State, and local, can join with the community in such efforts.”
They’re both Herbert Hoover, but you couldn’t be sure, could you?
The President’s deficit committee is saying control of the deficit is more important than the wellbeing of children, the elderly and the states. That’s pure Hooverism. Hoover didn’t cause the Great Depression, but he sure became the hood ornament for the depression with his wrong-headed solutions. His concern was with deficit spending while families were going hungry and people were freezing to death in the streets. Living in a nice warm house with a comfy bed and three squares makes it easier to decide that deficit control is more important than public assistance.
So where do the states turn as fall arrives and the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder? Who do the thousands of teachers and police and firemen turn to? Where do the students turn? How do we save ourselves by cutting our throats?
The same deficit committee plans cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and raising the retirement age to 70. Why not raise it to 170? When FDR founded Social Security part of its purpose was to take people out of the work force. Poor people work until they die and if you can take ten or twenty million out of the economy you make room for younger workers and build a decent society in the process. You shrink the number of workers and wages rise. That’s progressive politics!
FDR’s New Deal sent WPA money to the states and the states decided what projects would be undertaken. Now if you happened to have had a big-mouthed Republican congressman who complained about WPA money, I wouldn’t wait on the check. The administration argued, "Why should we be in hurry to send checks to states that didn't want the money in the first place?"
No one on capital hill ever said, “What a nice man” about FDR. He was a ball buster and an arm twister.
There is something catastrophically wrong with the current Democratic administration. They’ve sided with banks over homeowners, with corporations over unions and sided with health insurance companies over patients and providers and the term that comes to mind is Trojan Horse. I see an administration that runs for office with Democratic platitudes and once elected picks up where the last administration left off.
Think I’m crazy? Well, dig this!
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, citing the threat of a double-dip recession, is asking President Barack Obama to curb new regulations and sell some government-owned resources to raise revenue.
"The Chamber, the biggest lobbying group for U.S. business, plans to release a letter to Obama tomorrow that will also urge him to 'make clear' he will extend (the Bush) tax cuts that are set to expire and lower taxes on corporations, said Stan Anderson, a managing director at the Chamber’s Campaign for Free Enterprise. The letter will be discussed at a 'jobs summit' the group will hold in Washington."
Oh, but that’s just the Chamber of Commerce.
Bloomberg- “Wealthier Americans stand to gain from an election-year fight over extending trillions of dollars in tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush.
“The cost of continuing the tax cuts for the most prosperous Americans would be about $55 billion for one year. By contrast, Democrats and Republicans have battled for months over extending aid to the long-term unemployed, with a $34 billion price tag.
“'Anybody who wants to obstruct right now is in paradise,' Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said in an interview yesterday."
Wyden also said that a short-term extension (of tax cuts) arising out of brinkmanship was possible, though it would be a hard sell to Democrats who "don’t want to ratify another round of Bush tax cuts" that they have long opposed.
Hide and watch, the Bush tax cuts will live again.
I believe that capitalism is an engine but an engine without a governor will tear itself to pieces. Not sometimes, but every time.
I believe that government's role in our lives is to protect and maintain our financial wellbeing. Throwing the weakest and the poorest to the wolves in financial hard times to protect the deficit is an abomination. It is indecent and unforgivable and smacks of fascism.
So it seems the question of belief in capitalism is really a question of belief in America’s two party system. Capitalism worked fine in the 40s, 50s and 60s until Republicans deregulated it and Democrats decided that “Me Too” was a good campaign platform. We are in deep, deep trouble and a Democratic administration that thinks the way out is through centrist policies and accommodation with the other side is either delusional or a fraud.
“We of the Republic pledged ourselves to drive from the temple of our ancient faith those who had profaned it; to end by action, tireless and unafraid, the stagnation and despair of that day. We did those first things first.
"Our covenant with ourselves did not stop there. Instinctively we recognized a deeper need—the need to find through government the instrument of our united purpose to solve for the individual the ever-rising problems of a complex civilization. Repeated attempts at their solution without the aid of government had left us baffled and bewildered. For, without that aid, we had been unable to create those moral controls over the services of science which are necessary to make science a useful servant instead of a ruthless master of mankind. To do this we knew that we must find practical controls over blind economic forces and blindly selfish men.
"We of the Republic sensed the truth that democratic government has innate capacity to protect its people against disasters once considered inevitable, to solve problems once considered unsolvable. We would not admit that we could not find a way to master economic epidemics just as, after centuries of fatalistic suffering, we had found a way to master epidemics of disease. We refused to leave the problems of our common welfare to be solved by the winds of chance and the hurricanes of disaster.
"In this we Americans were discovering no wholly new truth; we were writing a new chapter in our book of self-government." (Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
What These Things Cost
By David Glenn Cox (author)
Whenever we attempt to evaluate things, there is price and then there is cost. The price of an item or adventure is simply the dollar amount. The cost is something greater and deeper than money alone. Students today go into hock up to their eyeballs to obtain a college degree. They are, in effect, wagering their futures and paying the price, while the cost is paid by society as a whole if they don’t succeed.
Schoolteachers, engineers, doctors, researchers and scientists don’t just fall from the sky. These people are investing in their own futures, unsure of their own success or potential yet they are willing to accept the challenge. Each generation makes that commitment and knowledge is multiplied.
In 1903 two brothers from Ohio flew the first heavier-than-air powered aircraft and sixty-six years later men landed on the moon. That is an impressive time line, from traveling 120 feet down a beach to 238,837 miles to the lunar surface. Think of all the jobs and employment that opened up in those sixty-six years, from Orville and Wilbur Wright to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and millions of others. It was the fearless investment in the future that made it all possible.
During the Great Depression the WPA built runways and landing fields. They set up navigational aids and made the airline industry possible. The airline industry fueled the need for larger and more powerful aircraft, which in turn created a need for more mechanics and pilots and air traffic controllers. From DC-3s to 747s in thirty-five years, from hundreds employed to tens of thousands employed. There was no guarantee the government money spent would return dividends, only the hopes that it would help in the future. It wasn’t money procured by special interest pressure groups. The railroads felt safe and secure, fly off in a rickety airplane versus a nice comfortable Pullman sleeping car? Don’t make me laugh!
President Kennedy made a speech in 1961 after only one American had flown in a sub-orbital space flight. The program he was proposing was incredibly expensive, $24 billion over ten years to put a man on the moon.
“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too... Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, 'Because it is there.' Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the Moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.” John Kennedy
Certainly it was an appendage of the Cold War but it was also an appendage of the technology war and the science war. At its zenith the lunar program employed four hundred thousand Americans with twenty thousand contracts and research grants to businesses and universities. In the back room behind the cameras NASA had their experts and trouble shooters, the best and the brightest and most of them still in their twenties. Mathematicians, flight systems specialists, life scientists, computer experts, all making the impossible look easy.
It all culminated in July of 1969 with the first landing on the moon. Even Jules Verne hadn’t predicted that a world audience would watch it on television live. For that one day for 24 hours the people back on planet Earth sat back and said, “Wow, men on the moon.” Neil and Buzz figured their landing data on a computer that weighed less than twenty pounds. They filmed their actions inside the spacecraft on a miniature video camera. Then they downloaded it to a microwave signal and sent it back to NASA from a spacecraft moving 15,000 miles per hour.
On the surface they used a miniature television camera and they attached things inside the capsule with a new device called Velcro. Their electricity on board was generated by a fuel cell and later missions even carried along an electric car. The car was equipped with its own microwave relay that beamed the signals to the lunar module and back to Earth making the lunar module a cell phone tower.
That $24 billion investment was the crucible where our modern world was created. There were no guarantees of product spin offs; no one at the time had even the slightest inkling of the computer revolution that was about to change everything. It was a blind investment into the future and a blind investment in a goal that many thought was impossible to achieve in the ten-year time line.
The payback was incalculable. The computer industry, the communications industry, the technology is everywhere and touches every life and has created millions of jobs for Americans. It created whole new industries out of thin air, so when people try to tell me that big government programs and government investment don’t work, I roll my eyes and laugh. Remember that next time you’re standing in the airport talking on your cell phone or loading your video camera or closing the Velcro strips on your lap top computer bag. The price to create these things was $24 billion but the cost was almost free.
We gained all of this; we went to the moon and we have learned a hundred times more about the universe in the last fifty years than in the previous one thousand years. We have a telescope in space placed there by a big government program that can see almost to the edge of the universe and plans are on the drawing board for a new telescope ten to twenty times more powerful if we have the courage and wisdom to build it and launch it.
We achieved the highest technological pinnacle of human achievement and friend and foe alike marveled at our abilities. We did all of this without a gun or a bomb, without fighters or bombers, without threats or soldiers, without invading anyone’s territory or deploying troops.
We did these things like a farmer does, by planting seeds and trusting for a bountiful future. We have many problems today just as we had many problems in 1961. Many of our problems today are related to our energy needs. Our energy needs spill over into our environmental concerns; toxic spills and coal fires spill over into global warming. Imagine a one trillion-dollar investment over ten years for safe, clean, renewable energy. Imagine the new products undreamed of today. Imagine the jobs created and imagine the falling deficit when we no longer need to buy foreign oil.
Imagine the smaller defense budget when we no longer need to defend the obsolete oil fields around the globe. Imagine a thousand wind turbines where the deep-water oil drilling rigs stand today in the Gulf. Imagine cargo ships loaded with these products as exports bound for the rest of the world. Imagine a goal of energy self-sufficiency in ten years. Then imagine where we will be in the world if we don’t do these things.
The cost of the Vietnam War: $173 billion with the loss of 58,000 American lives and 350,000 casualties.
The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: $1.05 trillion allocated with no end in sight.
Killed in Iraq, 4,287; wounded, 30,182
Killed in Afghanistan, 1,920; wounded, 5,735
HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON JULY 1969, A.D. WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND
This is what these things cost.
My Kind of Loyalty
By David Glenn Cox (author)
“The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them." (Mark Twain)
There is no purpose for government outside of the protection and maintenance of the people. The concept of government grew out of hunter-gatherer tribes dividing tasks so as to make the best use of resources. A brave hunter is a wonder to have, but a wise hunter who brings back game meat without injury is a leader.
Commerce between tribes was dependent on the strong and the brave who could protect the tribe from robbery or larceny. Commerce between tribes' sole purpose is to expand the bounty of the tribe and never at its expense. What point is there to commerce between tribes if it brings poverty and unemployment?
A military's goal is to protect its borders and the safety of the people, end of story.
All other efforts of government are a criminalization and a bastardization of governing. There is no trick or cleverness in being a good leader of government. “Does this aid the wellbeing of the people?” is constitution enough.
We have reached a point in this country where literally everything has become illegal. If your seat belt isn’t on or you go too fast or smoke a cigarette, you are breaking the law. Argue with a store clerk or question a policeman and you could find yourself behind bars. Your car can now testify against you in court and the police can taser you or shoot you dead and then face few, if any, consequences. A corporation may spend millions of dollars to influence public opinion but private citizens who protest in or near a public building are considered a threat to public safety.
I’ve posed the argument before that a benevolent monarchy is better than a malevolent democracy. A bad king knows well what happens to tyrants. A king’s party is typically made up of only one class and that class is usually small, cowardly and easily frightened by the first mob that comes along with pitchforks and torches and will abandon the king.
Totalitarian governments use laws to control the people; a benevolent democracy uses law to protect the freedom of the people. In ancient Athens a law was set aside if it was found to not serve justice. It was a crime to steal bread even if hungry, but it was also a crime not to give a hungry man bread if he asked for it. In the former Soviet Union if prosecutors could not prove wrongdoing they would argue the defendant was mentally ill and a threat to the state.
In a totalitarian state the government never seeks to explain itself. When the Chernobyl nuclear plant melted down the government media focused on the heroic efforts of the construction workers. Who was responsible for the accident became an unimportant detail. When BP’s oil platform blew out BP and the government lied about how much oil was gushing out into the gulf. BP and the government knew that the pressure that blew up the well was around 10,000 PSI. So the 5,000 barrels a day story was a ridiculous fabrication with no other purpose but to cover up the severity of the disaster.
A government and a corporation working side by side to defend each other, that and that all by itself is all you need to know. It is the death knell of representative government.
“All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” (Benito Mussolini)
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
We are so divided in this country and our goal should be unity. Our goal should not be to demonize but to educate. I was asked what I thought of President Obama and I explained that I wasn’t thrilled with him. Immediately they answered me with the usual right wing rhetoric that he’s a socialist and soft on terrorism.
“How is busting unions at GM socialism? How is giving the insurance industry thirty million new customers socialism?” I asked. “A socialist would have pursued socialized medicine and the Congress and the administration never for one minute discussed that possibility. They decided in favor of the corporate solution.”
"Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power." (Benito Mussolini)
We have more that unites us than divides us. The unemployed include the right and the left. Working people of all perspectives are losing their homes and their retirements and their futures. Teabaggers know that something is wrong but they misunderstand what it is, largely because they watch too much TV and read too little. But we have the same problem on the left, Democrats who don’t know what being a Democrat means. So a Democrat comes along and says, "Let's bust a few unions and allow corporations to outsource jobs." Then these people answer criticism by saying, “Please, enough of this. Hearsay will not bring back jobs. Degrading Obama will only make it harder for him to get things done.”
They mean well but they don’t understand the criminalization and bastardization of government that is going on. A government that takes no interest in the wellbeing of its citizens is no longer a lawful government. A government that allows unemployment benefits to lapse while they go on vacation is a government of brutal insensitivity. To go off and celebrate independence while leaving millions of Americans in fear of a loss of everything is unconscionable.
Then, to talk of budgets while they give away fleets of jet fighters to third world dictatorships is a vile absurdity. Financial reform that turns consumer protection over to the banking industry is beyond criminal. Yet this Congress of both parties has called the unemployed lazy, just as they called the millions losing their homes stupid. Do you get it yet? The representatives of both parties are all calling you, the electorate, lazy and stupid. They blame you for the economic crisis and their answer is more of the same. More outsourcing, more H1-B visas, and if you don’t like it then tough! The corporations do like it and that is who they answer to.
Even now the deficit reduction committee is walking in the door talking about cutting Social Security and Medicare and the amen corner of Republicans, Democrats and hired media is laying the ground work for them. They intend on dropping this bomb after the November elections and they will find bipartisan support. After destroying our economy, after destroying the middle class, after destroying our industrial base they think the answer for thirty years of tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations and a decade of pointless war is to cut Social Security and Medicare.
If we let them get away with it then we are lazy and stupid! Would you let a stranger take from you? Would you let a workman steal from you? Would you let your servant steal from you? You can point your finger and still be misunderstood, but when you raise your fist your message is clear enough.
“My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.” (Mark Twain)
False Hope, No Change
By David Glenn Cox (author)
Let’s suppose for a moment the President took a different tack in fighting the unemployment problem in America. Suppose he went to the underworld of organized crime and put together a committee of experts from America’s crime families.
Big Vinny from New York- “You could hire people to rob banks and then the bankers would have to hire more bank guards. Then you could do the same thing at the airports.”
Mickey the Chiseler from Philadelphia- “Vinny, what are you, stupid or something? Rob banks with guns? Forget about it, nobody robs banks with guns no more. They works from the inside now. You go shooting guns in a bank you might hurt some friends of mine."
Joey Scars from Kansas City- “Suppose we make loans to help Americans make it through the tough times, and we charge them, I dunno, 300 percent interest?"
Big Vinny from New York-“Now wait a minute there, Joe. I own bank stocks and Visa stock and you ain’t gonna do nothing to hurt my rackets or the undertaker is gonna have new customers."
I suppose after a couple of meetings they would throw up their hands and turn in their expense vouchers. Being career criminals they would have more profitable activities to pursue, besides sitting on a committee for chump change, and would turn in their final report.
Dear Mr. President,
The committee members would like to take this opportunity to thank you for this chance to serve your administration. Too often those of us in the waste disposal business or the vending machine industry are treated as second-class citizens because of the nature of our operations.
After several meetings, however, we have come to the sad conclusion that America’s underworld has little to offer in solving America’s unemployment crisis. This is due in part to corporate America having usurped all of our traditional rackets. What loan shark can compete today with a TitleMax or a Payday Lender?
Why hijack a shipment of liquor when you can use a hostile takeover and obtain the whole company? Why rob a bank when you can own one and run it out of business and then buy another? This is a time of growth and change in the underworld; it is a time when America’s crime families are trying to go legit but are being passed by corporate America going the other way.
We’d rather not sign our names on the grounds that we might incriminate ourselves.
So the President had another idea, hire the best and the brightest from corporate America’s CEOs to see if they could help to double America’s exports and create new jobs. The president has founded an Export Council and staffed it with his dream team of corporate America’s best job creators.
“Obama also praised the June 30 World Trade Organization ruling that Airbus SAS benefited from illegal subsidies, at the expense of Boeing, which called the decision a 'sweeping legal victory.'
“'That practice was unfair and hurt American workers,' the President said. 'This ruling will keep the playing field level and boost American jobs.'”
Then Obama named Boeing CEO Jim McNerney to be chairman of the President’s Export Council. Boeing is America’s number two defense contractor so they know how to move product. At Boeing they call their strategy “Offloading.” Rather than build an airplane they buy components from vendors overseas and put them together. At Boeing, 65 to 70 percent of an aircraft is built with parts outsourced from vendors. Last year Boeing cited delays in its Dreamliner project as testing "the wisdom of heavy reliance on outsourced labor.”
Also serving on the committee is Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally. Ford is the most profitable automobile manufacturer in the country and has maintained its profits by reducing its American work force by fifty percent over the last ten years. In 2008 Ford spent $3 billion investing in Mexico and created 4,500 new jobs for Mexican workers.
While Ford has closed four plants in the United States, it has re-opened its Cuautitlan plant to build 2011 Fiestas and added 2,000 more jobs in Mexico. Great pick, Mr. Obama, he’s a guy that knows how to create jobs even if his geography is a little faulty.
Archer Daniels Midland CEO Patricia Woertz has joined the export council, too. Now they have knowledge of how to create jobs! In 2005 they were named in a lawsuit in Federal District Court for using child labor and child trafficking at their plant in the Ivory Coast. The children were forced to work twelve to fourteen hours a day with no pay, little food and sleep, and frequent beatings.
ADM is a heavyweight when it comes to Washington campaign donations. Whether it is charges of price fixing or EPA fines for air pollution, ADM is at the forefront.
Also serving are:
Ivan Seidenburg, CEO of Verizon Communications
Walt Disney CEO, Robert Iger
Ursula Burns of Xerox
MetLife Chairman, Robert Henrikson
Dow Chemical CEO, Andrew Liveris
Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Chairman and CEO, Jeffrey Kindler
United Parcel Service CEO, Scott Davis
Dow Corning CEO, Stephanie Burns
Ernst & Young LLP Chairman and CEO, James Turley
G&C Equipment Corp. President, Glen Hale (suppliers of construction equipment to the federal government)
Magno International LP President, Raul Pedraza (Freight forwarding and customs brokerage. Do you need a container ship to bring your product in from China?)
This is President Obama’s dream team to build exports and create jobs. The U.S. signed free trade agreements with Colombia in 2006 and Panama in 2007 as U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told Congress the administration was still working to resolve concerns from Democratic lawmakers and labor unions that the trade agreements fail to align labor, tax and environmental policies.
“Labor has not delayed our move,” Kirk told the Senate Finance Committee on March 3. “But labor does have a seat at the table with this administration.”
Yes, it has one seat and one seat only, United Association General President, William Hite. One seat representing labor and nineteen seats representing corporate America. It becomes a cynical joke because their goal is not to increase employment but to increase profits and to do that you outsource or limit the number of employees hired. Personally I think the mob would do a better job because once again Obama’s Hope and Change is false hope and no change.
Und Sie Kamerad?
By David Glenn Cox (author)
There is only one thought that is important to remember: Anything that we are willing to do to some third-world peasant to obtain information, we are just as willing to do to you. The cascading effect is all too clear throughout history, be it hunting for witches or hunting for Al Qaeda. The Taser weapon was first introduced to the United States as an alternative to deadly force. It was argued that policemen would not have to shoot and kill potentially violent suspects, but could safely disable them.
Now, instead, we have the infamous “Don’t taze me bro,” or incidents with pregnant women and even a twelve-year-old child being tasered. Last summer in Florida police tasered a homeowner who objected to a policeman pushing his wife so as to gain entrance to his back yard. The officers had been called because of a noise complaint, though the home video clearly showed no excessive noise at their two-year-old's back yard christening party.
It has a cascading effect that degenerates a society; all police states started as temporary measures, and once the security apparatus is in place, it must then work to earn its keep. What was instituted as an alternative to deadly force is now being used for the offenses of disturbing the peace, skateboarding violations, and arguing with police officers while on your own property.
Please, please understand this point, it is a non-partisan apparatus. This isn’t about liberals or conservatives, Republicans or Democrats. This is a mindset. These security organizations take on a life of their own. The SS and the Gestapo were begun as a police and security detail; Hitler had no care or concern as to their operation, provided they followed his orders. Then it grew into the infamous organization that its very name represents to the world that it was. And in the end it hung loyal Nazis from lampposts on mere suspicions of not being loyal enough.
"I never would have agreed to the formulation of the Central Intelligence Agency back in forty-seven, if I had known it would become the American Gestapo." (Harry S. Truman)
A young eager postal inspector who made his name as a crime buster looking for pornography and information on birth control in the mails of New York and rose to become the head of the Federal Bureau of investigation. J. Edgar Hoover became the master of a vast library of files on Americans who have never been arrested or even accused of a crime. Hoover’s influence became legendary, as newly elected Presidents came to visit him rather than the other way around. The FBI kept records on anyone “The Agency” considered to be a threat.
“The changing nature of the threats facing America requires a new government structure to protect against invisible enemies that can strike with a wide variety of weapons. Today no one single government agency has homeland security as its primary mission.” (George W. Bush)
“Invisible enemies?” With such a mandate, what is really off limits? How do you quantify invisible enemies? And you, comrade? Even more frightening is, “Today no one single government agency has homeland security as its primary mission.” This is a consolidation of power. The FBI has its own structure and agenda. The CIA has its own culture, and as Dick Cheney discovered, it is not always amenable to pressure in a dependable sort of way.
As I stated earlier, this is non-partisan. These agencies work for whoever holds their chain provided that they don’t go against their internal interests. During the Bay of Pigs invasion, President Kennedy said that the CIA had deliberately tried to mislead him into a full-scale invasion of Cuba. During the Cuban missile crisis, the CIA favored the bombing of Cuba. But the CIA is an intelligence agency that has no official policy role to play in the government.
President Obama promised an era of new transparency; he was going to close down Guantanamo. Soon after he took office, he himself began to speak about his own plans for indefinite detention of men who had never been charged with a crime, not because they are guilty of a crime against us, but because we are guilty of crimes against them. The President has worked dutifully and in a steadfast manner to shut down the Guantanamo prison. This would be altogether honorable and praiseworthy if he were not opening an even larger and more permanent facility, farther away from the media and far from the peering gaze of the public, at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan.
Sixty million US taxpayer dollars have been spent on this 21st century, state-of-the-art gulag. It is what it is, a detention facility and not house of corrections it is a concentration camp. “If you look at it, it’s a barn; if you smell it, it’s a stable.” (Groucho Marx) So, if you think that Obama is dithering or has any intention of leaving Afghanistan, the hardening concrete says otherwise. A twenty-two million dollar terminal expansion, nine million dollar cargo yard, a new aircraft parking ramp and runway extension, I’d like to just look at it, but I can’t help but smell it.
Journalists were taken on a tour and allowed in to see the new facilities, to see the cleanliness of the facility and kindliness of the jailers. No longer would prisoners be required to relieve themselves in slop buckets. Now they would have flush toilets, making indefinite detention without charge so much more bearable. It is an inspection of stone and concrete without the inspection of the ideas which they encapsulate, nay, they imprison.
Left off the tour was any contact with the prisoners themselves. Nor did they visit the meeting rooms where suspects would meet with their lawyers, because there are none. It was a propaganda tour, not unlike the tours the Red Cross were taken on to see the Luftwaffe prison camps, with good food and clean blankets that disappeared as soon as the Red Cross inspectors did. Or the films once shown in German cinemas of Jews happily lounging in clean resettlement camps. The point is not the quality of the facilities, but the injustice of the confinement in the first place.
It is a sugarcoated frosting is to make more palatable and easier to swallow a very, very ugly idea. To smear over with bright latex colors the jailing and confinement of people without trial, with that smell of new paint and promised kindly efficiency.
"People were beaten, dragged, tortured in it. There were high places where guards stood with guns. It was a hard, difficult place.”
"Everybody who worked in Bagram - from the American side - will tell you that the things I'm describing did happen. People from the military intelligence
A taxi driver named Dilawar was beaten to death here, in Bagram, by US interrogators in 2002. If his story had not been told to the world in the documentary film “Taxi to the Dark Side,” his fate would have remained unknown and so officially never would have happened.
"Detention, if not done properly, can actually harm the effort. We are a learning organization ... we believe transparency is certainly going to help the effort, and increase the credibility of the whole process." (General Mark Martins, Commandant Bagram Detention Facility.)
The world in which our children will live is either to be built upon the spires that we build or the ashes that we leave behind; it is inescapable. Today we cage and detain, without any legal rights or representation, third world peasants. They are beaten and chained without charge and confined indefinitely, albeit in shiny new blue buildings. Do we, can we, honestly believe that those held unjustly are satiated by a flush toilet or fresh coat of paint?
There is only one thought that is important to remember: Anything we are willing to do to some third-world peasant to obtain information, we are just as willing to do to you. The cascading effect is clear all throughout history, be it hunting for witches or hunting for Al Qaeda. The concrete of ideas sets up and the extreme becomes the accepted. So what then makes your children so special, immune, or inviolate? What makes your husband or wife or daughter or son so special when they might very well be “Invisible enemies?”
What will exempt them? Who will protect them? Und Sie Kamerad? Stützen Sie die unsichtbaren Feinde? (And you, Comrade? Do you support the Invisible enemies?)
The Grand Game
By David Glenn Cox (author)
There is a valid reason that Afghanistan is called the graveyard of empires. The terrain is inhospitable, the climate is inhospitable and the populace to a large degree is inhospitable. They don’t want our help, they don’t want anyone’s help, and if they want to live in the fourteenth century, I say let 'em.
Our government, since the end of World War Two, has played political chess with the globe, each side striving to control as many squares as possible. The purpose is to block or hedge the other fellow out, to block their path to oil or other minerals and to control their access to world markets.
Since the end of the cold war and the rise of the neocons this plan has been accelerated. If we use Google Earth and start at the western edge of the Black Sea there is tiny Georgia with US efforts to stir up trouble, backing yet another tinhorn dictator. To the South is Turkey, a loyal NATO ally, which Israel is trying to defame because otherwise she might have to explain herself. So she deflects that blame and puts a wedge inside American foreign policy. Moving west is Iraq with the second largest oil reserves and the largest untapped oil reserves in the world. It is obvious why that square needed to be absorbed into the empire.
On to the west is friendly Saudi Arabia, beheadings nightly, no cover charge. The Saudi ruling class is a very pragmatic bunch because this is a very religious place. The people worship Allah devoutly while the ruling elite worship money and Capitalism. Officially the country is a monarchy with a consultative council. The council exists so that the monarch can claim some form of representative government. It is a showcase for the occasional female legislator or modern idea, but like the French parliament under the monarchy it is largely ceremonial.
There is also tiny Kuwait but with Saddam gone they’re are as useful as snow shovel in Florida. Then you’ve got the three little gems of Dubai, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, three friendly little countries that are cashing in on all the money floating around the region. As we move further west we cue the “Jaws” music because we have reached Iran, that evil country and basically the only country in the region not involved in warfare against its neighbors except when attacked with US blessings by Iraq. On Iran’s eastern border we find the jewel in the crown, Afghanistan, and to her east, Pakistan. The US has essentially drawn a two thousand mile-long line from Tbilisi to Islamabad.
The purpose is to cut Russia and China off from the oil wealth of the Middle East. Russia has her own oil and mineral wealth, but when you control the pipelines and control the governments that control the pipelines you effectively control the oil. The Russians have been working on new infrastructure towards Europe so it's becoming a codified division of spoils. Europe will get Russian oil and the US will monopolize Middle East oil. The Chinese aren’t slow to pick up on this grand game and have been busy buying up oil patches in Africa and Latin America with the problem being that they are too far behind to catch up.
These strategies were all carefully thought out but there is a problem. The neocons who thought this strategy up, while being very astute politically, were very dull-witted mathematically. These were the people who said Iraqis would throw flowers and candy to US troops, and that the war was over except for a few dead-enders. Then there was the whopper that the Iraq war would pay for itself.
As we know it has not panned out that way, and now every few months since 2001 we dump twenty or thirty or a hundred billion dollars in to keep the grand game going. So far the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with all the little side adventures in Pakistan and Yemen, have cost the US taxpayer $1,013,535,967,212. But it’s only money, leaving aside that this country is desperately in need of money at home to help its own people and to build its own schools and infrastructure. Then there is the more important issue of using American mothers' sons and daughters as pawns to play the grand game.
Five thousand dead Americans in Iraq and tens of thousands more wounded both physically and mentally. This June has been the most deadly month so far in Afghanistan and we have lost nearly two thousand more in that land. A land that doesn’t want them, a land that doesn’t need them, and all for the sole purpose of playing a grand economic game with the added by-product of harassing Iran.
Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, Iran decided tomorrow to throw herself at the feet of the US and the US agreed to drop all sanctions. Would Iran be allowed to jail and execute political prisoners? Would she be allowed to harass religious minorities? Would she be allowed to practice extremist religious policies?
Sure she would, lots of US allies do it all the time. So let's be grown ups here for a second. The US campaign against Iran is about harassing a government that won’t fall down and kiss our feet.
The US does business with China and Nigeria and Vietnam but has sanctions against Cuba because they jail political prisoners. We threaten sanctions against Venezuela because they suspended the license of an opposition TV station that supported a coup against the lawful government. In most countries that’s called treason and the penalty is normally worse than a suspended license.
So here we have this grand game and fat, bald, old men in the Pentagon or in Washington pushing pieces on the board and the pieces die. These so-called leaders rationalize that the end justifies the means, but it is always to their ends and from our means.
Recently President Obama fired the top general in Afghanistan. It reminded me of Truman and MacArthur, but not because Obama fired McChrystal. McChrystal was no MacArthur; MacArthur was insufferable and had no plan for ending the war in Korea other than shooting his mouth off. Truman was unsure whether to fire Mac Arthur. He sent six months' correspondence to General George Marshall and asked his advice. Marshall answered, “You should have fired that son of a bitch six months ago!” Such is the case with McChrystal and such is the case with Afghanistan.
The only way to win in Afghanistan is to send in a D-Day style invasion and to occupy every hill and hamlet. Then reduce it to a Pol Pot style Cambodia and rebuild it from scratch, but that will never, ever happen.
I wrote the other day about a US contract to supply illiterate Afghan pilots with second-hand Russian helicopters purchased for seven million dollars each above the price of a new helicopter. From 500 computers missing to entire buildings which we have paid millions of dollars to have constructed that are unsafe and uninhabitable, for every hundred dollars poured into Afghanistan for assistance, nickels and dimes fall out the other side.
We are paying warlords millions of dollars to guard stretches of highway to protect it from the warlords themselves. We built a diesel powered electric generating station in Kabul that requires fuel convoys to supply it with expensive diesel fuel from Pakistan rather than repairing Afghanistan’s only hydroelectric dam. Why? It was argued that the dam was too hard to defend from insurgents. It's becoming insanity personified.
The US goes around paying for goats and broken windows, vendors' merchandise and even whole shopping centers. But these are just the little guys and small timers. Meanwhile the Afghan leadership is taking away boxes and suitcases packed full of US currency.
“Brigadier General Mohammed Asif Jabarkhel sits with folded arms in his office, just a few steps away from the security checkpoint at Kabul International Airport. 'Of course I know what's going on here,' the 59-year-old head of the airport's customs police grumbles from beneath his thick moustache as a fan whirs in the background. 'But, in this country, who's allowed to speak the truth?'”
Der Spiegel – July 6, 2010
An estimated $3 billion has walked away never to be seen again. The money goes to Dubai and the ruling elite have bought villas in a country without a tax collector. Since 2001 we have spent $300 billion and we have nothing, repeat nothing, to show for it. Spending money in Afghanistan is pouring dollars into a bottomless pit and wasting the military pointlessly.
It is a chapter in the grand game that should be remembered but won’t be. Generals only write about their successful campaigns. They study on what was done correctly rather than what was done wrong and that seems all backwards. The neocons have been proven wrong in all aspects of their beliefs yet we continue on with this neocon war, senselessly, mindlessly, morbidly and it should stop, today, this day, this hour, this minute.
“He who wishes to fight must first count the cost. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be dampened. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue... In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns”
-Sun Tzu, the Art of War
A Rose by Any Other Name
By David Glenn Cox (author)
Harry Truman once said, "It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours." It seems as though today there is so much happy talk on all sides trying to dodge the central issue of "Are we in a depression?"
I don’t claim to be the smartest man in the room but I’ve believed that we’ve been in a depression for two years. I have no academic laurels to base that on, but then again you don’t need to be a doctor to diagnose a gunshot wound.
The definition of a recession is: “Period of general economic decline, defined usually as a contraction in the GDP for six months (two consecutive quarters) or longer. Marked by high unemployment, stagnant wages, and fall in retail sales, a recession generally does not last longer than one year and is much milder than a depression." (Business Dictionary)
“With the industrial world already in outright recession and the emerging world navigating toward a hard landing (growth well below potential), I expect global growth to be flat (around -0.5%) in 2009.
"This will be the worst global recession in decades as the fallout of the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression took a toll first on the U.S. and then--via a variety of channels--on the rest of the global economy.” Nourial Roubini, "Forbes Magazine"
I see this same description in all the financial trades, “Worst global recession in decades as the fallout of the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression.” Well, if it’s the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression then what do you call this that we are in now? You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say the worst storm since Katrina and then when asked reply, “You mean it’s a hurricane?”
Oh no, no, no, not a hurricane, it’s just a tropical storm with sustained winds over 74 miles per hour, but not a hurricane.
“A depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe downturn than a recession, which is seen by economists as part of a normal business cycle.
"Considered a rare and extreme form of recession, a depression is characterized by its length, and by abnormally large increases in unemployment, falls in the availability of credit— quite often due to some kind of banking/financial crisis, shrinking output and investment, numerous bankruptcies— including sovereign debt defaults, significantly reduced amounts of trade and commerce— especially international, as well as highly volatile relative currency value fluctuations— most often due to devaluation’s. Price deflation, financial crises and bank failures are also common elements of a depression." (Wikipedia)
Since 2007 the US GDP has averaged less than a one percent rise per year, over almost three years. Home sales have fallen to their lowest numbers since records have been kept while new cars sales don’t equal the number of cars removed from the roads. It sure looks worse than your garden-variety recession to me because those .89 percent average GDP numbers were bought even if not paid for. The cash for clunkers program cost the government $3 billion and then once the program ended new cars sales fell again.
The homebuyers tax credit cost $21 billion and did manage the raise new homes sales to the third worst year on record. Then there is the eight hundred-pound gorilla in the room, the defense budget. It almost seems laughable now that the defense budget in 2000 was only $311 billion and this year is more than three times that much, nearing one trillion dollars. For an economy it is a stimulus though a badly placed one. The US Army was buying super accurate artillery rounds for the everyday low price of $20,000 each and that means jobs for your community. But it is the worst kind of stimulus because once the money is spent all you have to show for it are dead bodies and miscellaneous body parts. Did I mention that we are giving Pakistan a fleet of new F-18 fighter jets?
Then there is the Federal Reserve stimulus where they supply banks with money at .25 percent interest and then bill the Treasury at 4.3 percent interest. This is why the banks and brokerage houses are churning out profits, borrow at .25 and lend out on a Visa card at 19 percent. When you look at all the mitigating factors this economy isn’t even treading water.
Then there is the most twisted statistic of all, unemployment. If you leave the military you can draw unemployment but you aren’t counted as unemployed. If you want to work full time but you can only find part time work you aren’t unemployed. If you use up all of your unemployment benefits you cease to be unemployed and become a discouraged worker. If you graduate from college or trade school and can’t find a job take heart because you’re not unemployed. You have to have had a job before you can be counted as not having one. See? Isn’t that simple? The actual unemployment rate is estimated to be between 17.5 percent and 22 percent, depending on your area.
So far this year the FDIC lists 86 bank failures in the first six months of the year. In 2007 just 3 banks failed; in 2008 there were just 25 bank failures. In 2009 the number jumped to 149 bank failures. So if we were to decide the issue of depression on bank failures alone the answer becomes an obvious yes.
Home foreclosures are still at record levels. 2009 was predicted to be the high water mark for home foreclosures; instead between May 2009 and May 2010 home foreclosures actually increased by 44 percent. The number by itself is shocking but when you consider it is a 44 percent increase from a record high number it is astounding. It depresses the sale price for all homes on the market and over 30 percent of those are forced sales.
They taught us in science that when things cool the contract, except water. Water expands and money is like that, too. Plus, everything runs downhill except for money. So when home prices fall by 30 percent, property tax revenue falls as well. With seventeen million unemployed plus the millions more who are way past unemployed we pay no taxes and we purchase no goods in the stores. We don’t buy cars or gas or tires or any of those things which are taxed. We are pushed out of the economy and suddenly government can no longer pay its bills. So the question of why tax rebates to buy new cars and houses doesn’t seem to be working becomes painfully obvious.
Does it really need to be explained to the power elite? You water the flowers at the roots and not at the blooms.
We must wait on the verdict of history as to what they’ll call this depression because adjectives fail me. Nothing seems to grasp the magnitude of, say, the Great Depression. The Great Depression really put a handle on the crisis of the 1930s. So what will we call this one since this one is worse than the Great Depression? In the 1930s the economy collapsed because of unregulated banking and stock speculation. The factories were closed but the factories were still there and it was only a question of relighting the boilers.
This time around we have exported our job base overseas and the World Bank warned in 2007 that in the event of an economic downturn the US would have trouble recovering because we no longer produce anything. Add to that in the 1930s our debt was internal while today our debt is foreign-held and is a staggering total. We have mortgaged our future to people who don’t really like us all that much. They tolerate us because we supply jobs and technology transfer, but soon, very soon, we will become more of a burden than we are worth.
We have become the vassals and they have become our lords and that’s a hell of a price to pay for cheap goods from Wal-Mart.
“Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Being Woody Guthrie
By David Glenn Cox (Author)
Today we have so many celebrities who take on social causes; it is almost a given that they will each have some charity or cause that they support. That is good, I suppose, but still there is a clear distinction between being socially conscious and being Woody Guthrie.
Woody has been dead almost half a century, and his deeds and exploits have fallen from public memory. Woody wasn’t socially conscious, he was its conscience. In the dark days of depression-era homelessness and migrant camps, Woody sang, “So long, it’s been good to know ya, this dusty old dust is getting my home.” He sang, “It’s a hot dusty road that a million feet have trod. Rich man took my house and he drove me from my door. And I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.”
He left his wife and family, like millions of other men during the depression, seeking work. When he was given his own radio show in Los Angeles, he sent for his wife and children. Guthrie played the same songs that he had played in the migrant camps, and dedicated songs to those who didn’t have enough to eat that night. Sponsors wanted only hillbilly music, but what they got was pure Woody. Management demanded Guthrie supply them in advance with a list of the songs he intended to sing, and then he didn’t play any of them.
Coming to California on foot, Woody knew that being called an Okie wasn’t a term of endearment; he was an outsider and always would be an outsider. He wasn’t just a little man who wrote songs for the oppressed. He was the oppressed, and he wrote songs for the little people who were oppressed everywhere. He walked out on good jobs because he wouldn’t be muzzled or censored. If you wanted Woody you got Woody, all of him, not just the polite parts.
In the days of strict segregation, Woody played with Lead Belly, Sonny Terry , Brownie McGhee and Josh White. Those things just weren’t done by white performers in polite society, but Woody didn’t give a damn about polite society. Once while working on a troop ship, Woody was playing for the troops when he heard voices from the front hold, and he asked, “Why aren’t we playing down
“Well, those are colored troops, and there might be trouble,” it was explained.
Woody asked, “Why? Don’t they like music?”
Woody played and there was no trouble, but at a war bond rally in Baltimore they weren’t so lucky. Woody, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry played for the crowd. Woody was seated for supper at the head table while Sonny and Brownie were offered a plate in the kitchen. Enraged, Woody flipped the table over saying, “If we’re going to fight fascism, let's start right here!” That was Woody, and that was Woody’s last war bond rally.
In 1938 Irving Berlin wrote “God Bless America,” and Kate Smith had a hit record with it. But to Woody, the song had it all wrong. It was plastic and superficial, a blind patriotic ballad without any soul searching or reckoning of the things that needed correction in this country. So Woody sat down to write a song about what being an American meant to him.
THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND
Chorus: This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me
As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me
I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me
The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me
As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!
In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.
If this song had been written by anyone besides Woody Guthrie, it would just be a catchy tune. But it was written by a man who was beaten and had his guitar busted over his head for advocating labor rights. A man who slept on the hard ground when he didn’t have so much as a coin in his pocket. A man who watched his friend murdered by railroad detectives for hopping a freight train. A man that flipped over the banquet tables of big shots when he saw injustice. And through all of this, this man with barely a fourth grade education still loved this country.
Unlike Irving Berlin, he wasn’t satisfied with America; being wealthy didn’t make it all right. Woody once said, “I never met a poor man that wouldn’t share what he had, and I never met a rich man who wasn’t afraid somebody was gonna take something from him.” And that hasn’t changed. Too many of us walk through this life afraid to throw the tables over.
This is your land, Woody meant that. He wouldn’t be satisfied that we pay more than any country in the world for health care, and almost forty percent of us don’t have access to it.
This is your land, Woody meant that. He fought for unions so that families could stay together and earn a decent living. Because this is your land, you are not a guest or a visitor nor are you a long-lost relative, you are the owner here. And if you're not being treated as such, flip over the table and find out why.
This is your land, Woody meant that. He advocated for peace and spoke against war at every opportunity and with every fiber in his being. He would not have quietly accepted two wars against third world peasants with hi-tech, uranium-tipped tank shells and guided missiles.
You don’t need to wonder what Woody would think about today’s troubles. His legacy is so clear and his mind was so open you don’t need to wonder what Woody would think about gay marriage or outsourcing. John Steinbeck said, “Woody is just Woody. Thousands of people don’t know he has any other name. He is just a voice and a guitar. He sings the songs of a people and I suspect that he is, in a way, that people. Harsh voiced and nasal, his guitar hanging like a tire iron on a rusty rim, there is nothing sweet about Woody, and there is nothing sweet about the songs he sings. But there is something more important for those who still listen. There is the will of a people to endure and fight oppression. I think we call this the American spirit.”
Woody never goes out of style and will never go out of style; he is for you and for your family. He is for the worker and the unemployed, the disliked and mistrusted. He is a man of God but he isn’t religious. He is tenacious, unbending, resolved, untiring and committed to a better life for the American people, not because we need help or can’t do for ourselves, but because this is our land and not an investment property for special interests groups.
"I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young, or too fat or too slim, too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling. I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you. I could hire out to the other side, the big money side, and get several dollars every week just to quit singing my own kind of songs and to sing the kind that knock you down still farther and the ones that poke fun at you even more and the ones that make you think you've not any sense at all. But I decided a long time ago that I'd starve to death before I'd sing any such songs as that. The radio waves and your movies and your jukeboxes and your songbooks are already loaded down and running over with such no good songs as that anyhow." --Woody Guthrie
By David Glenn Cox (author)
I woke up this morning after having nightmares all night. I slept later than usual because it was cooler than normal. The heat keeps me from sleeping well and I guess keeps the nightmares away, too. In this dream I was in a hotel and I’d been there for three days and I only had twenty dollars in my wallet. I wasn’t sure how much the room cost but I knew I didn’t have it. I thought about who I could call but my parents are dead and my wife had left me so I was on my own.
I thought about trying to skip out but no matter what door of the hotel I went through it was the wrong one. I ended up in the bar and the gift shop and the laundry trying to find my way back to my room. I wanted to put my things in my old brown suitcase and hit the road in my 1972 Chevrolet Kingswood Estate station wagon. I woke from that nightmare only to find myself in this one.
I live in a garage and I wash myself in a Tupperware tub and I’m proud to have that. I pulled it out of a dumpster and it was brand new. But before I go any further, this isn’t about me. This is about the millions of you out there who, like me, go from nightmare to nightmare. Job layoffs, unemployment, home foreclosures, food stamps. The other day I sent my letter back for an extension of my food stamps and I had to put it in a local mail drop and I worried all night about whether it would get picked up.
I read the news and sometimes it gets so depressing that even I can’t stand it. I seek out the irony of financial magazines that call it “the sharpest recession since the 1930’s,” and then when the subject is Financial Reform they call it “dangerously stern measures to be taken in the greatest economic downturn since the great depression.” I see a lot of that, minimizing the plight of the people and maximizing the plight of corporate America. In part they are whistling past the graveyard, pretending that all is well. Behind closed doors they are scared to death because the phony recovery that wasn’t a recovery but was called a recovery is over.
If you ask most working people about it they will answer, “What recovery?” The Wall Street players and bankers deluded themselves into believing that there was a recovery when all it really was was spring. Sales of industrial chemicals were rising. Yes, farmers order a lot fertilizer in the spring. Logging and mining were up and working more hours. Well, most loggers and miners agree that you can get a lot more done without a blizzard blowing in your face.
Yes, but even manufacturing is up! Manufacturing fell for forty-eight consecutive months and then rose two tenths of one percent on a monthly average. There are only two roads; either manufacturing goes down to zero or it improves. But to claim some recovery on a small number is absurd. It’s like saying yesterday I was broke but today I found a dollar, I’m saved!
This is why I have been writing about FDR for the last few days. The greatest sign of true leadership is the ability to tell the truth even when the truth is darkest. It takes trust in the people that they can accept the truth because until we face the truth we will never find the door out of this nightmare. During the London Blitz Churchill made it a habit to visit bombed out areas and the people cheered his arrival. Nazi leaders never visited bombed apartment buildings because the propaganda said that there weren’t any.
As the war went badly for Britain, Churchill’s first speech as Prime minister was “I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: 'I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.' We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.” He told the truth and people took heart. It is easy to trust leaders who tell the truth; when the truth is bad it's hard to trust leaders who shave the truth or won’t admit the truth.
The Congress and the administration march along proposing noble legislation that somehow at the eleventh hour gets gutted or becomes distorted so that health care reform became the mandatory purchase of a product that most agreed was the problem in the first place. The GM Chrysler deal put retirees into a government program and caused thousands of managers to lose their retirements entirely. He saved GM all right, he saved them a couple of billion dollars while at this very moment GM is hiring workers in China and Mexico.
It is forecast that North American auto production will rise from 12 percent to 19 percent in Mexico in the next decade and take three guesses where those jobs are coming from. That’s not being honest or telling us the truth, or as Roosevelt put it: “One other objective closely related to the problem of selling American products is to provide a tariff policy based upon economic common sense rather than upon politics—hot air—pull.” The idea of no tariff, free-trade deals with nations whose workers earn less in a day than Americans earn in an hour is insane. It is a Kamikaze trade platform.
Yet our leaders will not tell us the truth. The new financial reform legislation has been called draconian by the right and meaningless by the left. It is a complicated bill and to truly understand it you probably have to work in the financial services industry, but I do know this much: the tax that was to pay for a fund to prevent future bailouts was scrapped in favor of using TARP money. So rather than banks and brokerage houses earning billions of dollars in profits being taxed, Congress will let you, the taxpayer, finance it. It is like holding a turkey shoot to fight animal cruelty, and it’s not telling the truth.
The bill contains provisions for an office of consumer protection. Remember all those bad mortgage loans sold to people who couldn’t afford them? Remember Bernie Madoff and a host of others who bilked the public? Bear Stearns and Countrywide? Americans will now be protected from such bandits and salesmen of shoddy financial products by an office housed in the Federal Reserve headquarters. I get this image in my head of Bill Lumbergh, “M' yeah, I'm gonna need you to go ahead and move your desks down to the basement. That'd be great.”
No metaphor is extreme enough; it is putting Al Capone in charge of the FBI or putting David Duke in charge of race relations. The Federal Reserve is a private corporation that works hand in glove with the banks. So how can you trust a political leadership that says, “This is fine! Yes, this will do nicely!”?
I read an article today that, considering the source, was very good. It was titled: “How to Make an American Job Before It's Too Late” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-01/h...
In the article the author Andy Grove explains that starting a business is relatively easy but once you begin to grow it becomes difficult to build and staff and supply new factories. It’s hard work and it takes a lot of smarts but today you need only to pick up a phone and say, “Hello, China? We need to set up a new computer chip factory.” It’s easy and it’s cheap and 1 percent prosper while 99 percent suffer. As Groves points out, you lose not just the computer chip jobs but you lose out on the support and supplier jobs as well. Eventually you lose the ability to be able to set up such factories
“Today, manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is about 166,000 -- lower than it was before the first personal computer, the MITS Altair 2800, was assembled in 1975. Meanwhile, a very effective computer-manufacturing industry has emerged in Asia, employing about 1.5 million workers -- factory employees, engineers and managers.”
As Roosevelt pointed out again and again, the goal of regulating banks and the financial markets was not to punish them but to guarantee their fidelity. The elderly could sleep at night knowing their retirement savings weren’t being invested in Enron. Our leaders, starting with Reagan, told us deregulation would be better for all, but it’s a lie and our leaders won’t walk back. They stamp these bills “DONE!” with a big rubber stamp and then move on to the next.
So as our economy wanes and stumbles, talk about helping the disfranchised, the unemployed and the homeless is mute. They fixed that last month with a bill that offers tax cuts to businesses that hire workers. That’s it, that’s all they could think of to help the millions of suffering. Or perhaps they can reinstate unemployment benefits for almost a million of you, but not before the Fourth of July recess.
There are answers and there is hope but it starts by telling the truth. There can be no jobless recovery or any recovery at all without jobs! That isn’t a Conservative or a Liberal belief; that’s just common sense.
“No nation can long continue half bankrupt. Main Street, Broadway, the mills, the mines will close if half of the buyers are broke.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt
"A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other." Abraham Lincoln
We Are America
By David Glenn Cox (author)
FDR is popular these days and he should be, but there is one thing about FDR that I think is too often overlooked and that is his directness. He didn’t speak in bland, circular rhetoric; he spoke with a straight line directness that today Fox News and the media would call partisan nastiness.
“Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.
"More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.”
This from his first inaugural address, officially in office only ten minutes.
“Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.
"True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.”
This speech made my grandfather cry and he was not a man to cry easily. He had been arrested for punching a Ku Klux Klansman; he had been arrested twice in one day on a picket line for fighting with bullyboys, and he’d had his head split open by a policeman’s Billy club. His tears were of a man that saw his rescue at hand. For three years all he'd heard from Washington was about how much better the economy was doing. Sure, prosperity was just around the corner and there would be a chicken in every pot and a new car in every garage.
Mr. Hoover had a plan to make two billion dollars available to industry to restart the economy. The rhetoric coming out of Washington didn’t match the old man’s life experience. One of my father’s earliest memories was being in a food riot. Mr. Hoover had made sacks of cracked wheat available to the poor. In the melee my grandfather ran with the wheat under one arm and my father under the other.
So when he heard, “Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This Nation asks for action, and action now,” he was moved to tears because there was somebody up there in Washington who got it! Roosevelt made good on his promise by accomplishing more in 100 days than most administrations achieve in 1,000 days.
Day one, Roosevelt issues a proclamation declaring a four-day bank holiday. FDR had just grabbed up the banking community up by the scrotum and asked, "How do you like me so far?" It prevented further bank runs but it also sent a shot across the bow that there was a new sheriff in town and the banks and Wall Street would play by the new rules or they wouldn’t be allowed to play at all.
“It is the habit of the unthinking to turn in times like this to the illusions of economic magic. People suggest that a huge expenditure of public funds by the Federal Government and by State and local governments will completely solve the unemployment problem. But it is clear that even if we could raise many billions of dollars and find definitely useful public works to spend these billions on, even all that money would not give employment to the 7,000,000 or 10,000,000 people who are out of work.
"Let us admit frankly that it would be only a stopgap. A real economic cure must go to the killing of bacteria in the system rather than to the treatment of external symptoms.”
I wrote in another post that the bacteria has become a cancer today in our economy which makes what FDR did even more amazing. He didn’t invite the bankers up to the White House for a summit or a beer after dinner; he went straight after them.
“I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.
"But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.”
FDR is saying to the House and Senate, “Gee, fellas, I hope we can all get along and do what is necessary because if you don’t I’m coming back with legislation to take you out of the loop entirely and I’ll do this myself.” This on day one. Triangulation my ass.
In second part, he has just compared Wall Street and banking interests to a foreign invasion in a time of war. “I don’t know, Sean Hannity, did he just call Wall Street and bankers a foreign foe?”
“Yeah, Shep, it sure did sound like it to me!”
“Those newspapers of the nation which most loudly cried dictatorship against me would have been the first to justify the beginnings of dictatorship by somebody else.” FDR.
March 4th FDR sworn in.
March 5th declares bank holiday
March 9th Emergency Banking Act
March 12th first Fireside Chat
March 31st establishes the Reforestation Relief Act and the CCC giving employment to a quarter million youth aged 18 to 26.
April 19th takes the country off the gold standard
May 12th Federal Emergency Relief Act authorizing immediate grants to states
For relief projects
May 12th Agricultural Adjustment Act to help farmers to raise prices
May 18th establishes the Tennessee Valley Authority
May 27th Federal Securities Act to regulate and monitor stocks and bonds
June 6th National Employment System Act to act as a national clearinghouse for the unemployed
June 13th Home Owners Refinance Act, using Hoover’s two billion dollars
Loans for industry money. The Federal government bought and held over one million home mortgages in one year. The program eventually returned a surplus to the treasury before going out of business.
June 16th National Industrial Recovery Act
June 16th Public Works Administration predecessor of the WPA
Not bad for a 100 days, plus there was even more: the Farm Credit Act and the Banking act of 1933 which the banks were none too happy about. But that was nothing compared to the executive order establishing the National Labor Board to enforce collective bargaining laws. In November the Civil Works Administration was created to give work to four million men over the winter of 1933-34.
But what is missing? What did Mr. Roosevelt, in all his his wisdom, forget? Tax cuts! No tax cuts for industry or for investors holding onto their stocks. What was he thinking? Everyone today knows that tax cuts cure every ill.
“His is a relationship to his little local bank or local loan company. It is a sad fact that even though the local lender in many cases does not want to evict the farmer or homeowner by foreclosure proceedings, he is forced to do so in order to keep his bank or company solvent. Here should be an objective of government itself, to provide at least as much assistance to the little fellow as it is now giving to the large banks and corporations. That is another example of building from the bottom up.
"One other objective closely related to the problem of selling American products is to provide a tariff policy based upon economic common sense rather than upon politics—hot air—pull.” FDR
“The whole purpose of Republican oratory these days seems to be to switch labels. The object is to persuade the American people that the Democratic Party was responsible for the 1929 crash and the depression, and that the Republican Party was responsible for all social progress under the New Deal.
"Now, imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery - but I am afraid that in this case it is the most obvious common or garden variety of fraud.” FDR
“Shep, did he just say the Republicans were a fraud?”
“Yeah, he did.”
“I don’t understand why a President would have to resort to such gutter politics, Shawn.”
“We have all seen many marvelous stunts in the circus but no performing elephant could turn a hand-spring without falling flat on his back.” FDR
“Now, there is an old and somewhat lugubrious adage, which says: 'Never speak of rope in the house of a man who has been hanged.' In the same way, if I were a Republican leader speaking to a mixed audience, the last word in the whole dictionary that I think I would use is that word 'depression.'"
He went straight at them and pulled no punches and cut no deals nor took prisoners. But as he was speaking about the end of World War Two he said something that to me at least was so poignant and insightful of his understanding.
“These peace-building tasks were faced once before, nearly a generation ago. They were botched by a Republican administration. That must not happen this time. We will not let it happen this time.
"Fortunately, we do not begin from scratch. Much has been done. Much more is under way. The fruits of victory this time will not be apples sold on street corners.”
“This is not the time in which men can be forgotten as they were in the Republican catastrophe that we inherited. The returning soldiers, the workers by their machines, the farmers in the field, the miners, the men and women in offices and shops, do not intend to be forgotten.
"No, they know that they are not surplus. Because they know that they are America."
Under the Hammer
By David Glenn Cox (Author)
Through serendipity I received a four-page, color brochure in the mail the other day. Online Auction Due To Plant Closure, 2 Day Auction of Over 700 Lots of Textile & Plant Support Equipment. I thought it odd that I should receive this in the mail, but maybe someone thought I might be in the market to open my own textile mill, or perhaps, like the outsourcing companies, they have to post the jobs locally first.
Anyone out there looking to open a textile mill? I didn’t think so, but this is a worldwide auction so someplace in the world I bet there will be interest. In a strange twist of Orwellism the auction is brought to you by (and I kid you not) "Go Industry," asset sales and services worldwide. You just don’t know whether to laugh or cry, they don’t even attempt to hide it anymore. The army should change its name to Kill People and Wreck Stuff Inc., a division of Pentaco, the death and dying folks!
Being born in the North and moving South as a teenager I was always fascinated by the way a field of cotton can fool the eye. It can be 90 degrees outside but as you drive by, just for an instant your eyes see a snowy field. As the cotton is harvested it is taken by cotton wagons to the gin for processing, the open-topped, wire baskets half the size of a tractor-trailer lumbering behind a straining tractor. Occasionally a gust of wind or an overloaded wagon would drop a dry drift along the roadside, and just like its snowy, frozen counterpart it starts out white and pristine, then it becomes dirty from traffic, then it finally melts into the dirt.
Every county in cotton country had a cotton gin and some had two or more and from there the cotton would make its way to the textile mill, just like the one that’s being auctioned off. Every community of any acclaim had some sort of mill or plant manufacturing products from the locally-produced cotton. When America was a rural, agrarian society a hundred and fifty years ago they shipped the raw cotton to England and England built her empire upon it.
Not far from here is the Threadmill Complex, a picturesque, three-story brick structure adorned with Greek columns and gingerbread trim that for three quarters of a century provided the nation with numberless varieties of thread and twine. Her trimmings spoke to us of her prosperity; her prosperity brought income to the community.
Today she is a combination shopping mall and office complex but she speaks to us still. Like the cannon in front of the National Guard armory which has become a rusting curiosity, fallen from its high station as a symbol of community strength, it has become but a toy for children to play on.
Like any factory job, work in the thread mill was hard and monotonous and the cotton dust made the hot air almost impossible to breathe. The pay was low and when workers began to try and organize in the 1930’s, deaths were not uncommon. The mill's owners and workers were stuck with each other as the mill was the only job available besides farming. The mill owners couldn’t move away because they were already located in the lowest-paying region of the country. The farmers feared the mill closing would make selling their crops more difficult and the local government usually worked at the behest of the mill owners.
For generations a twilight war was fought between workers and owners as was illustrated in the film "Norma Rae." Before its demise the sewing mill in Montgomery, Alabama, was an armed camp with steel louvers over all its windows. There were armed guards at the barbed wire-topped fence gates and guards in the parking lots defending their own fenced perimeters from anyone dispensing information about union organizing. But it was more paranoia than protection, the Civil Rights Movement had left the owners fearful of what might happen next. The locals were, for the most part, thoroughly indoctrinated in anti-union rhetoric and were docile and dutifully humble.
But how, the owners wondered, can we bring an end to this? The armed guards and barbed wire fences, and the solution came with opening sewing mills overseas. With 15 cent an hour wages and a few armed goons you could more than offset the cost of transportation. So, one by one the sewing mills shut down to become shopping malls, office parks, weed farms, and empty monuments to greed.
The business leaders pressured congress to lower those ugly tariffs that were limiting growth. "We must have free trade to aid our friends and bring them up to our standards," they cried. But it was a lie, just a way to make a bigger buck and lower their costs, to exploit the poor and pollute without government regulation or interference. That NFL jersey, or NBA, or MLB that you pay $175.00 for costs them $5 to $10 to manufacture, while to produce it in this country might cost double that. And with no sewing mills it’s a little silly to have textile mills, now isn’t it? So let's call Go Industry and see if we can convert the mill to condos!
As I travel the South I see the empty factory hulks and strain to read their faded paint to determine what it once was that they produced. The small towns fade away, some like the ones around the Threadmill are close enough to a city to become bedroom communities. They prosper never knowing how it was they came into being in the first place or what that big building was. Threadmill? That’s a funny name for a shopping mall.
I have become all too familiar with the auctions. Hercules Engines was auctioned off in the 1990’s. Clinton engines are gone; Onan closed their plant in Huntsville, AL, choosing to contract out their production. Wisconsin Engines, the finest made air-cooled engine in the world, hangs on by a thread and likewise her sister company, Continental. I worked around the Wisconsin and Continental people for 25 years. One man I know started as a teenager sweeping floors and ended up as their top OEM salesman.
The Wisconsin plant in Milwaukee was right across the street from Briggs & Stratton and down the road from Kohler manufacturing. Part of my job was dealing with the warranty department and that's where I met Elmer. Elmer’s job was to evaluate my warranty claims and at first I didn’t like Elmer very much, but as time went on I came to respect him. He pulled no punches, he cut no deals. If you had a legitimate warranty it would get paid, but you'd better have your story straight and your ducks in a row. He was a laconic man, not prone to idle conversation, and eventually I got to know Elmer off the job. He was very friendly and knowledgeable and highly thought of by his co-workers.
I atteneded a conference where we were told to buy enough inventory to last for a while because there was a strike coming. Of course they’d told us that before, trying to goose sales, but this time they meant it. After several months the company announced they were moving the plant to Tennessee. Then they were bought out by Teledyne, then sold, then bought, then sold. Most of the regulars had made the move to Tennessee, some just long enough to retire and some made Tennessee their home. Elmer had been transferred to the manufacturing end, and then I heard he was laid off. In conversation with the factory rep I asked, "How’s Elmer getting along?" The phone line grew quiet, then after a pause, "Didn’t you hear? Elmer killed himself."
It was the only place he had ever worked, and in his fifties it was hard, if not impossible, for him to start over again as anything but a Wal-Mart greeter. You can auction off the equipment to the highest bidder and then you can convert the building to some purpose du jour. But what of the people? The building only housed the equipment, and the equipment only processed the materials, but the engines and the equipment and the tires and the cars were built and run by people. The people who stayed late or came in early or worked the weekend because they cared about the company and about doing a good job.
So, as I read the brochure about all the dryer machines and balers and line blenders, I think about the people that stood at those machines for year upon year trying to feed their children. And I think about Elmer; how many Elmers worked in this plant only to be swept out the door like the dirt on the floor as their reward for caring. Even more I think about a government that wants to jam a rectal thermometer the size of an oak tree up my ass while they tell me it’s good for me! While they export jobs and opportunity in the name of the holy campaign contribution.
Angry? Damn right I’m angry! Angry enough to think it’s not our industrial base we should be tearing down but our government, that would so carelessly put us under the hammer!
What FDR Gave Us
By David Glenn Cox (Author)
Both of my parents lived through the Great Depression. My father was born in 1920, and my mother was born in 1926. My father was raised in a small industrial town, my mother in inner city Chicago. Those of you familiar with Chicago’s waterfront might be surprised to learn that children once played in the empty shell of what now is the Museum of Science and Industry. It was dilapidated, hollow, crime was rampant in the area, vegetable gardens were guarded with shotguns, and in a strange dichotomy whole families would sleep on the beaches of Lake Michigan on summer nights to escape the Summer heat.
My father grew up in Springfield, Ohio, which at the time was a mill town. Springfield once had eight iron mills, but during the last Great Depression most all of them faded away. My father was the youngest of seven boys and because of the hard times he was sent away to live with his grandfather on the farm in Ross County. My father never really got over his feeling of abandonment, too young to understand the financial reasons for the separation.
As a teen he ran away from the farm and rode the rails, living his own "Bound for Glory" Woody Guthrie tale. He told me about finding a lost boy of about fourteen who was crying and wanting to go home. So he and another boy promised him they would take him home. In their mind's eye they saw a grateful, crying mother and a thankful, relived father insisting they take a reward as the mother fed them home cooking. What they got was an unpleasant, "Thanks," and the door slammed in their faces. Such is the fate sometimes of the well intentioned; the boy was more abandoned than lost and as my father and his friend discussed it they understood why it was that no one was looking for them.
Years later when I was a child, long before seat belt use became common, I would lean forward on the back of the car seat and talk to my father as he drove. We had a game we regularly played, "See it!" He’d say, "That’s a WPA Bridge." I bet we counted a thousand of them; most are gone today but a few survive in rural areas. They were concrete bridges for the most part. Built to high standards and in many cases over-engineered for their time. As my dad would tell it, before those, the bridges across America were rickety wooden bridges built with local expertise for horse traffic, or in many cases they just didn’t exist at all.
Now, as our own current day economy continues to slide towards the brink, I have heard academic free market economists make the claim that FDR and the New Deal actually made the Great Depression worse. This is picked up and parroted by right wing partisans who, using 20/20 hindsight, pick apart the failings of the New Deal without counting up all those things that the New Deal gave us.
It is easy enough to give credence to what the academics say because that’s their business, knowledge and facts and figures and all. Could they be wrong? I mean, a few bridges versus all those statistics. Of course, using that same historical lens, what did Moses do really? Just a delivery boy with a bad sense of direction, but it was what Moses delivered to the people and where he led them and what he led them from that is remembered as important.
Let’s look at Roosevelt’s predecessor, Herbert Hoover. Hoover was strongly against any direct aid to the poor, fearing that the poor would become demoralized. The Republican Congress, likewise, was against any national scheme to aid the poor. The United States was the only industrial power with no system of social security. No system of national unemployment. No minimum wage law, no national labor laws of any kind. No aid for the elderly or the disabled. Looking back at that America it is like looking into a gow of almost medieval proportions.
When Roosevelt had been struck down by polio, he searched the world seeking a cure and ended up in Warm Springs, Georgia. Warm Springs is about an hour from Atlanta but it was light years from Roosevelt’s home in Hyde Park. He was shocked by the living conditions of the people. The lack of electricity and education for the majority of the people, many barely eking out a living by scratching in the dirt as share croppers. But the people welcomed him; their warmth and compassion for his situation touched him. He was like the Buddha leaving the imperial city to find a world of suffering. The townsfolk called him Mr. Frank until the election; then they called him Mr. President.
Before the New Deal, the elderly were the poorest demographic in the country. When you got too old to work, you lived on your savings, and if you didn’t have savings you starved or lived on charity or with your children. America was mainly rural then with most people living on farms, so those elderly worked until the day they died. Healthcare existed only for the rich and hospitals were a cash affair except for the "charity ward". If you were sick or injured you went home and you either got better or you died. There was no public health service. Hypothermia was the second leading cause of death for the elderly and pneumonia was the first. In Detroit in 1932 two people an hour died of starvation; in Toledo unemployment was at 70%.
The Americans of that generation, like our own, sought change and hope, and in 1932 the Republicans were completely repudiated. Roosevelt reversed the federal government's position completely with what was called the alphabet soup of government programs. Of course the most obvious is Social Security for the elderly, but there were many other programs that have faded into history and been forgotten.
In New Orleans, just to use one city as an example, the programs included paving streets, building the airport, and archeology projects for the region as white-collar workers established federal archives for Orleans Parish. Workers were trained in book binding, recovering 25,000 school and library books. The WPA built libraries and refurbished other public buildings. They made mattresses that were distributed to the poor and to hospitals. The canals were dredged and cleared; levees were built. People were trained as cooks, heavy equipment operators, surveyors, and even musicians. You see, the Bourbon Street that you know today might have disappeared except that the WPA put musicians to work as teachers, teaching music to others.
Some projects were frivolous, like harmonica bands, but you have to look at the situation with the understanding of the times, harmonica bands versus doing nothing. These projects were carried out all across America; no matter where you go today you will see something that was originally built by the WPA. No matter where you work or what you do for a living, the New Deal has had a positive impact upon your life. If you get hurt at work your employer is responsible for your medical bills; that was not the case before the New Deal.
My grandfather worked in the steel mills and told of people burned who were just carried home to die. Tonight when the sun goes down and you turn on the lights, think of the smiling photograph of FDR because before FDR most Americans in the South didn’t have electricity. In the 1930’s only 10% of rural Americans had electricity in their homes. Private power companies maintained that it wasn’t cost effective to string power lines outside the cities, another fine example of letting the marketplace work.
There were summer camps for children to give them an escape from poverty. Youth leagues, dance classes, even free showers. Yes, the WPA advertised free, safe, clean showers to the people of New Orleans. Parks, playgrounds and even a dark room where returning soldiers could develop their photos gratis, courtesy of a grateful nation.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, in 1934, began providing power service for the people of Tupelo, Mississippi. Building 26 major dams and hundreds of smaller ones, the TVA changed the face of the rural South. Did you know that in the 1930’s, 30% of the inhabitants in the Tennessee Valley were afflicted with malaria? Wages and living standards were the lowest in the nation, even by Great Depression standards. The modern cities of Atlanta, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Birmingham, Huntsville, Hopkinsville, Paducah, Memphis and Nashville were all built on TVA power.
During the 1940’s the United States armed forces needed aluminum and the shortage was so great that Harry Truman once said, "I want aluminum. I don't care if I get it from Alcoa or Al Capone." The production of aluminum requires large amounts of electricity that the TVA supplied. There were other effects wrought by the TVA, flood control, barge traffic, locks that opened up new vistas to a previously poor and suffering region. It is not by accident that America’s nuclear laboratory was located in Oakridge, Tennessee. The refining of uranium into fissionable materials also requires huge amounts of electricity; without the TVA we might not have gotten the atom bomb first.
The New Deal changed the face of America; it is the seed that modern America was built upon. And it was built without a road map; no administration had ever faced such a situation bordering on a total economic collapse. It should come as no surprise that Roosevelt won four terms in office; he was an American Moses. He led the American people out of the wilderness, and they would have elected him for four more terms if they could.
My own father, who was sent away because his family couldn’t feed him, was able to go home. He finished high school and during WWII he became a Navy pilot. Then after the war he did something that he never dreamed possible. He enrolled at Ohio State University and became a mechanical engineer, thanks to the GI Bill. He went on to become vice president of a mid-sized corporation and then became a professor at a university in Tennessee which didn’t exist before the New Deal.
He never forgot being fifteen and riding the rails and living in hobo jungles with absolutely no opportunities whatsoever. Or to what he became, all thanks to the New Deal and FDR. That’s why it was so important for him to tell his son, "See it!" He’d say, "that’s a WPA Bridge." Moses wandered for forty years seeking the Promised Land; Roosevelt found it in a little more than twelve. As to the academics, well there are some things that just can’t be quantified or measured by statistics. The things that are made up more of feelings and intentions and in just caring about the people's suffering, like the difference between the WPA in New Orleans in 1935 and hurricane Katrina in 2005.
By David Glenn Cox (author)
Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. These days make you wonder why Barack Obama or anyone in their right mind would want to be President. According to news reports we're all lining up, getting ready to scrap over in the Middle East again.
Leon Panetta, head of the CIA, said on Sunday that Iran had enough low grade uranium to make two, count 'em, two nuclear bombs. Well now, the CIA, there's a credible news source for you. As with most of the foreign policy fiascoes this one has its roots in the Bush administration.
The Congress has funded and the CIA has planned and fought a secret war in Iran. They've funded opposition groups while Washington think tanks put out a white paper a week about the dangers of Iran. Like Iraq the policy makers won't tell the true story about rivals that don't like each other, so instead they tell a fantasy about Iranian ambitions to nuke Israel off the face of the Earth.
First, Panetta's hobgoblin smacks of Donald Rumsfeld's “We know where the weapons are.” Low grade uranium isn't going to make atomic bombs any more than the crude floating in the Gulf could go straight into your Honda tank. It is no secret that Iran is processing uranium; until the latest round of sanctions they told international inspectors, “Come watch.”
USA Today had a Cal Thomas editorial where he said Americans were tied at the hip with Israel and that their war was our war. I don't know, my Irish momma used to say, “If the other kids wanted to jump off a cliff, would you jump, too?” So while it is pretty ridiculous and self serving to claim that Israel's war is our war, the real narrative is that we are joined at the hip with Saudi Arabia, but try selling that program to the American people.
Israel and Iran have no territorial disputes and they have no trade disputes; they have disputes only over the Palestinian issue. The US media trumpets every Iranian anti-Israel comment and ignores every anti-Iran comment coming out of Israel. Israel has attacked both her neighbors and ships at sea while Iran has attacked no one.
The adversaries here are Saudi Arabia and Iran. If you are Saudi Arabia there is only one country in arm's reach that can give you any trouble. The Saudis are Sunnis and the Iranians are Shiites. The Iranian ambassador disappeared on his way back from a diplomatic mission and the Iranian's addressed pointed questions to the Saudi government. The Saudis are America's allies so every move by the Saudis is viewed with suspicion by Tehran.
The Iranians are surrounded by nuclear powers and by hostile powers on all sides. Any desire to develop a nuclear weapon is only to prevent being blackmailed. Since the end of WW2 no one has used a nuclear weapon and their primary purpose these days is intimidation.
No hostile Arab government in its right mind dreams of overrunning Tel Aviv as long as Israel has its nuclear arsenal. So Israel is sensitive to Iranian nuclear ambitions because it fears the loss of its nuclear hegemony. For the US it's reached a now-or-never point. We have successfully surrounded the gulf oil states and made them our own. Iran is the lone holdout and if Iran develops a bomb then Iran can say to the United States, one false move and Riyadh gets it. Then Iran can tell the Chinese, get your troops off our border or they won't be there tomorrow.
But who wants to fight a war to protect the Saudis and allow Israel to keep her monopoly on Middle Eastern nukes? It's eleven o'clock Eastern time on a Sunday and nothing has happened yet, but what worries me is the timing.
If you're Barack Obama you are six months out from bi-year elections, and if you strike and all goes well then good times can be expected at the ballot box. It's the long pass down field right before half-time. If it goes wrong then six months is enough time to bury it in the news cycle, not that the Obama administration actually cares what the public thinks. But a big story like this could take the oil disaster off the front page; it could take the Kagan hearings off the front page and it could take the lousy economic numbers off the front page.
Now, if you're Israel your diplomatic relations are already at ebb tide so you don't have much to lose. If it goes well then the Israeli army can reclaim their mantle as the toughest bantam weight on the planet. If it goes badly, like the flotilla raid, they can do what they always do and blame the US and Barack Obama, and that's a full time job in the Israeli press. They make Fox News look like Code Pink.
The news in the Gulf of Mexico is becoming more ominous because if BP has cracked the rock formation with pressures up to 10,000 PSI then capping the well will cause the structure to erode and new fissures will open up. The drilling rigs are equipped to handle 1,000 PSI. That could explain why they had to pump drilling mud in three times before the well blew up. It means that the only way to stop the blowout is to let it empty itself until the pressure drops.
In the meantime, if a hurricane takes that toxic water inland it threatens to make the coastal towns an environmental wasteland and make hurricane Katrina look like a thunderstorm. Imagine a coastal town inundated with thousands of barrels of raw crude. In the streets and in the water supply, in the storm sewers and in the houses and that makes it a damn good time for a distraction.
The economic numbers are slipping; the Dow is almost half-way back to 2007 lows. Unemployment is rising as the Republicans defeated a bill to supply a million Americans with continued unemployment benefits. The census which was lauded as adding jobs is beginning to wind down and lay workers off. The President is talking about cutting deficits with the G-8 leaders while Americans are wondering how they are going to eat and that makes it a wonderful time for a distraction.
What makes this the worst idea since deep water drilling is that Iran is not stupid. She will take it on the chin and wait to pick her spot. She does not need to sink a super tanker in the Straits of Hormuz, only to threaten to sink one. Oil tanker insurance doesn't cover going into war zones and the US military might stand on the top of the Empire State Building like Superman and promise that it's going to be all right but to the folks at the shipping companies, that don't mean doodly squat.
Iran has also had years to prepare for this; it's hardly a surprise. A missile launched at 700 mph across twenty miles of the Straits of Hormuz would have a flight time of 28 seconds. So you'd better be as good as you think you are, Batman. Because here is where it gets sticky. The Saudis and the Israelis and the US have to win while Iran has only to not lose.
I truly hope that this is all Barnum's hoodoo, posturing and saber rattling and that nothing will come of it because the American people are tired of war and tired of promises and tired of government that has a thousand other agendas besides helping its own citizens.
What's the Story, Morning Glory?
By David Glenn Cox (author)
We are what we allow ourselves become. The violent deserve no mercy, right? Mercy is for pussies, isn't it? There have been times when I have come across people in both legal and mental health crises. My cousin Wilma was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and as long as she stayed on her meds she was a wonderful person.
Once off her meds she saw those pills as a plot to poison her. One night she became hysterical and began breaking things. The neighbors called the police and Wilma's husband met them on the front porch. He calmly explained the situation to the officers while Wilma was screaming that her husband was trying to kill her. The officers explained that he needed to get her calmed down; he answered that that was the plan and he would take her to her doctor first thing in the morning.
The patrolmen left but warned, “If we have to come back out here she's going to jail for the night.” This was in the early 1970s and the “J” word calmed Wilma down considerably. Today, of course, Wilma would have been tasered and handcuffed and roughly handled, all in the name of public safety.
When I was around twenty I was walking out of a store and I saw a guy about my age with long hair and kind of hippie looking. He was in some sort of trouble so I asked what was wrong. “I can't find my motorcycle, man. I left it right here and now it's gone!”
“Are you sure it was right here? Could it have been on the other side?”
“No, man, I'm sure, and I need to get home!”
“Do you want to call the cops?”
“No cops, but I gotta get home!”
“Where do you live? If it's not far I'll give you a ride.”
I'll never forget his answer. He said, “Pluto.”
Okay, my eyes rolled back and my tongue went into my cheek. “I'm not going that far, man,” I answered.
This guy wasn't stoned or high; don't ask me how, but I know. This guy was not sane. He was was lucid but insane. It was about that time the police showed up and began to question the man so I backed away and before I could get to my car he was in handcuffs,
screaming about his motorcycle.
Years later I became friends with a man who had been a policeman for ten years. He once had to shoot a man in the line of duty. The man had taken his mother hostage and was threatening to kill her with a shotgun. They talked the man into coming out of the house and once on the porch they tried to convince him to put the gun down. My friend said the guy thought about it for a second and started to put the gun down, but then he changed his mind and lifted the gun back up to his shoulder. My friend shot and killed him.
The event bothered him for years and he hated that he had to do it because this man wasn't a criminal, he was a mental patient. The local newspaper wrote up a story about how brave and courageous he was when all he wanted to do was cry. The other policemen nicknamed him “Dirty Harry” after the Clint Eastwood films and that only made him angry.
A year later he found out that his partner was having an affair with another policeman's wife. The couple had planted a pound of marijuana in the unsuspecting cop's car and called in a tip to the secret witness program. So my friend went to the prosecutor's office and told them what he knew. But the prosecutor didn't care because it was an open and shut case of a dirty cop with drugs in his private vehicle. Then my friend went to a judge and told the judge all that he knew, and the judge told him that this was an election year and there would be hell to pay if he let a crooked cop walk. The cop got seven years in prison and served five and the newspaper wrote it up as crime-busting detectives unafraid to go after one of their own.
Another friend of mine was going through a divorce because his wife was an alcoholic. He had tried to get her to stop drinking but she just became more abusive. One night she broke all the windows out of his truck and police were called but he declined to press charges. When he filed for divorce he requested full custody of the three children. After a neighbor videotaped his wife drinking six beers on the back porch on a Sunday morning and rolling joints in between the judge agreed. His wife went in rehab and earned weekend visitation rights. Shortly after that the daughter told her teacher that Daddy was touching her.
Daddy was arrested and held in the county jail under $500,000 bond and within six weeks was convicted of child molestation. Six months later the little girl recanted her story. She said that her momma had told her if she didn't do what she was told that something worse might happen to her daddy. She told the story to the police and to the county prosecutor and they both said the same thing: “Look, we have a conviction here and we're not going to spend time and money getting him unconvicted.”
His parents mortgaged their house and spent most of their savings and his conviction was finally overturned on appeal and it only cost $175,000. The little girl told her story and her sister backed her up that their mother had threatened them if they didn't do what she said.
So, I was reading this story today about the man and woman in California arrested for trying to sell their baby at Wal-Mart for $25. A tragic tale of woe to be certain, but reading the comments I was shocked and I thought that I had logged on to Red State.com by accident.
This man was arrested and placed in a holding cell where the other inmates beat him viciously and cracked two of his ribs. The commentary right here on good old DU was OK with that. “Yeah, he got what he deserved!”
How can you make such a judgment? From a newspaper blurb that quotes “jail officials” as its only source. Are we ready to condone public violence on a suspected criminal on the word of “jail officials” alone? What does that makes us? How can we pretend that Dick Cheney disgusts us or how can we complain about water boarding or indefinite detention if we so quickly fall in line with mob rule and vigilante justice.
One of this country's greatest sins is the poor treatment of its mentally ill. If you have money and health care you'll be treated with some modicum of respect and placed in a hospital. If, however, you are mentally ill and don't have health care you will be treated as a violent criminal. You will be tasered, beaten, handcuffed and abused and it won't matter about your symptoms; it will be done to you as a precaution against your possible symptoms.
Finally, a word about incarceration. If you are arrested, you will be convicted. Twenty-five witnesses that place you somewhere besides the scene of the crime don't matter a bit when compared to the one policeman who thinks that he saw you there. Your only hope for freedom is how much money you've got, and if you don't have it then you're going to get hard time.
Then the newspaper will write a story about how vile you are and what a good thing it is that the likes of you are off the streets to keep them safe for decent folks.
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