Saturday, September 13, 2008

Republicans As Weak As Can Be Imagined On Terrorism


Rightwing criticism of liberals and Democrats always includes "weak on defense" and the perception that, despite the fact Republican leadership this decade has caved in to terrorism to a far greater extent than the 911 terrorists ever could have imagined, Dems are "weak on terrorism."  Thanks to leadership featuring a childish fight-or-flight worldview,  the Bush administration quickly squandered world-wide pro American sentiment (even the French were saying, "today I am an American") following the attacks, mainly by using it as an excuse to start an unrelated war in Iraq.  But Republicans didn't stop there; soon America was a country that, like Saddam's Iraq (not to mention Stalin, Mao, and the Nazis), lied to its citizenry, planted pro-Republican news reporters, planted news reports in foreign countries, openly embraced torture and pre-emptive war, ignored long-held alliances, installed ideological personnel into government agencies rather than experts-in-the-field, used ideological hiring practices, ignored the Constitution, suspended habeas corpus--the long-held American ideal of innocent-until-proven-guilty--and began spying on our own citizenry--generally arrogantly laughing in the face of democratic ideals of accountability and government transparency.   These were nearly all rationalized mainly by citing a "post-911" world, one where America, thanks to Republican leadership, caves in to terrorists in just about every conceivable way, handing over to the 911 terrorists bang for their buck beyond their wildest dreams, implementing anti-American characteristics of the worst governments in modern history, including third-world dictatorships.  In short, thanks to the weaknesses, especially the character weaknesses of political opportunism and authoritarianism inherent in Republican ideology, the terrorists have been able to turn America against its most cherished ideals, the things that made it the shining city on a hill and a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.

And of course Bin Laden is still on the loose.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Globalism

There is a lot of talk about economic recession, and economists talk about "business cycles" or boom-and-bust cycles which naturally occur as the market self-corrects itself, talk about markets "bottoming out," etc.


The current situation in America is different however, because of globalism.  Instead of a more-or-less isolated capitalist system in America, the capitalist system has become increasingly more of a global system.  (This is why inspiring nationalism and patriotism these days by any right wing entity is obviously only manipulative, as major corporate players have long since become trans-national.)


Globalism isn't a "business cycle" nor a recession for Americans--it's a genie that's not going back in the bottle.   American workers are now forced to compete with the rest of the third world for jobs, which, left to market forces alone, can only continue to erode the living standards of most Americans, a segment who used be an isolated beneficiary of a more isolated capitalist American economy.


I think this makes American economic problems all the more difficult to solve, even for less market-oriented liberal or left-leaning entities in government.  Capitalism's race-to-the-bottom features, such as corporations moving to states or areas that offer them the best deal in terms of tax breaks, or the best benefits in terms of lower compensation for workers for example (outsourcing), will be a tough nut to crack as American government cannot legislate for competing countries who may wish to offer corporations a better deal of, for example, sweat shops or child labor.


America's economic situation increasingly resembles that of the third world in terms of the investor classes continually and astronomically increasing their wealth, while people who must work to earn a living, comprising nothing more than a pool of mere market commodities are, barring any serious interference with the strictures of capitalism, destined to continue to see their living standards fall.



Unionization

I've often wondered just how worker unionization contradicts free-market economics.  Yet free-marketers, especially political conservatives from pundits to think tanks like the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute rail against and denigrate the idea of unions at every opportunity.  


As far as I can see, workers freely associating to bargain collectively does not constitute an intervention by the government, nor is it sponsored by government taxation.  


But conservatives have used government legislation to make unionization activities illegal or difficult to carry out.  


This is telling as to conservatives' true motivations.  For them, free-market, non-governmental mechanisms are ideal, except when they benefit working people.


One angle taken by conservatives points out that a unionized enterprise may not do as well as a non-unionized competitor, but this point still does not make unionization any less a component of free-market economics. (Perhaps conservatives think workers should therefore rationally choose to work more for less for the good of the company, allowing parasitic investors to extract more from their product?) It does however illuminate yet another way in which free-market capitalism constitutes a race to the bottom for most people, as businesses will naturally seek out non-unionized labor across the globe, something that has harmed the American worker as the market globalizes.  

What Are the "Two Americas"?


John Edwards is often derided about his "Two Americas" conceptualization--it sounds dualistic and unrealistic, as there's really a whole range comprising the distribution of wealth in America.  But it's really not too difficult to define exactly what the distinction could otherwise be.


It's basically a capitalist arrangement: there's the working class that produces the wealth, and there's the ownership class who reaps the rewards. (Edwards has defined it in similar terms--but is there a clearer distinction?)


Obviously, one America is the working class, who really have no choice but to work to earn a living (most want to limit risk-taking because they want to care for their family or be responsible for themselves in some other way, so "free enterprise doesn't directly serve the interests of responsible people in the economy).


Since capitalism requires unemployment to keep the price of wealth down (forcing labor competition--thus driving down wages, thus driving up profits for parasitic shareholders, comprising a race-to-the-bottom feedback loop), I usually include the unemployed among the working class element of production, since usually the unemployed are thereby forced to make some of the greatest sacrifice.


The other America then, by this definition, is the investor class: merely owning stock contributes zero to the production of (or decrease in) wealth for any particular business.  For example, I can purchase shares (such a transaction is an equal value-for-value trade, apart from speculation) of a company without ever even knowing the name of the particular business or anything about it at all; yet I can still take profit from it via merely owning share while contributing zero to any production of wealth.  Yet stocks are invariably the primary means of wealth for the wealthiest.  This is the other America.


There used to be a whole range in between these "two Americas"--the great middle class--but guys like FDR are long gone.


The good news over the long run is this arrangement is, for obvious reasons, unsustainable.  So maybe we're due for some modern versions of FDR.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pray the Vote

I received the following forwarded email from someone who assumed that, since I'm a Christian, I'm automatically supporting Republican candidates, or that I'm automatically susceptible to anything spun as the Christian point of view.  A lot of Christians are beginning to catch on to the fact conservative candidates and Republican operators merely use Christians to promote their largely (with the glaring exception of their pro-life stance) anti-Biblical agenda.  


This conning of Christians has been going on for far too long, and we are witnessing the rapid destruction of pretty much everything neoconservatives in government have touched--honest conservative Christians must engage a process of re-evaluation of the ideology they've supported and it's comprehensively disastrous results.  


One point certainly needs to be made clear: Republicans controlled both houses of congress, the executive, and the judicial branches of government for the first six years of this decade; Roe v. Wade was never overturned, reversed, or even addressed in any serious way.  The tax burden was, however, shifted increasingly away from ultra-rich investor classes and increasingly onto the backs of working people and their families, including via record deficits that don't even include accounting for a war financed 100% on a credit card thus far, combined with simultaneous tax cuts, breaks, and subsidies for the wealthiest (among many, many other policies designed to further burden and disempower middle class workers).  Now Republican campaigns are unashamedly trying to characterize Barack Obama and Democrats as advocating these kinds of tax and economic policies, while the worst one can honestly say is Democrats have thus far failed to reverse them.


This is of course only one of hundreds of examples of rightwing character in action.   The central purpose of Republican ideology (and the focus of Republicans' day-to-day activity in office) is to transfer wealth from the working people who create and produce it to the ultrarich; their secondary focus is to hide this fact.  Hiding this fact by distraction--once again preying on the emotions of Christians across America--is the purpose of this mass-email campaign distributing this Sarah Palin video.  


Christians should not fall for it once again of course (as they did for Bush and the culture of deceit embodying his administration, for example), but should pray instead for honesty and objectivity in America, honesty in our elected officials, and for those elected officials to value transparency and democracy in government--both of which desperately need to be restored if America is to turn around from it's path of Republican ideologically-led destruction and their modus operandi of deception. 


Here's a copy of the mass-email, apparently distributed by an organization calling itself "Pray the Vote."  


Pray The Vote

 

September 5, 2008

And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before me for the land that I should not       destroy it' but I found no one. - Ezekiel 22:30

The Next Line of Attack on Sarah Palin - Her Religious Experience and Background - a Moral Equivalence to Reverand Wright?

PLEASE watch this video of Sarah Palin describing in       her own words what her faith and her faith experience mean to her. 

Click here: Sarah Palin Speaks To Wasilla Assembly of God

 

This video is launching a FIRESTORM. Already the church's website has been overwhelmed and shut down due to the volume of traffic. (If the link to the above video is disabled, I doubt if it will be scrubbed from the left of center "Mahalo" website link below!)

 

This is going to become the Left's "Jeremiah Wright" equivalent. The mainstream media has just embarked on a "feeding frenzy" of attempting to paint a sinister motive as to why the church's site was shut down. The removal of pastors' sermons, etc. is "PROOF" of an attempt by the church to cover       up its "extreme" views.  See http://www.mahalo.com/Palin_Church_Video

 

It won't be long Until the ACLU and Americans for the Separation of Church and State will kick into high gear over Sarah Palin's faith. Along with the Religious Left, they will attempt to once again make her look like a nutcase and unfit for high office.

 

Believers MUST get prayerfully ahead of this story! When they couldn't successfully bring her down as "white trailor trash"  they will now try to do as painting her as a religious zealot and nutcase. Think of this as their frenzy about George Bush's faith times ten!

 

Just as she did for the young people in her church,please pray Ephesians 1:17-23 over Sarah Palin. She willdesperately need our prayers to stand strong in the face of the Hellstorm that is about to be unleashed upon her.

 

This morning in my prayer time, I felt the Lord leading me to pray that people all across America would wonder what it is that propells Sarah Palin and it would awaken a thirst and desire for righteousness across our land.

 

Please pray for God's mighty, mighty hedge of protection to surround Sarah Palin and pass this along to those you know who are prayerfully concerned about our nation.

 

THANK YOU!!!

 

Pray The Vote

info@pray-the-vote.org