Archive for the ‘Corporatist’ Category

Soft Capitalism (Capitalism 2.0)

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

How about this for a New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures. Some things we just didn’t do for money. The United States always defined capitalism, but it didn’t used to define us. But now it’s becoming all that we are.

Did you know, for example, that there was a time when being called a “war profiteer” was a bad thing? But now our war zones are dominated by private contractors and mercenaries who work for corporations. There are more private contractors in Iraq than American troops, and we pay them generous salaries to do jobs the troops used to do for themselves ­– like laundry. War is not supposed to turn a profit, but our wars have become boondoggles for weapons manufacturers and connected civilian contractors.

Prisons used to be a non-profit business, too. And for good reason –­ who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition you’re going to have trouble with the tenants. But now prisons are big business. A company called the Corrections Corporation of America is on the New York Stock Exchange, which is convenient since that’s where all the real crime is happening anyway. The CCA and similar corporations actually lobby Congress for stiffer sentencing laws so they can lock more people up and make more money. That’s why America has the world;s largest prison population ­– because actually rehabilitating people would have a negative impact on the bottom line.

Television news is another area that used to be roped off from the profit motive. When Walter Cronkite died last week, it was odd to see news anchor after news anchor talking about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite’s day. I thought, “Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it.”

But maybe they aren’t. Because unlike in Cronkite’s day, today’s news has to make a profit like all the other divisions in a media conglomerate. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see the CBS Evening News broadcast live from the Staples Center for two nights this month, just in case Michael Jackson came back to life and sold Iran nuclear weapons. In Uncle Walter’s time, the news division was a loss leader. Making money was the job of The Beverly Hillbillies. And now that we have reporters moving to Alaska to hang out with the Palin family, the news is The Beverly Hillbillies.

And finally, there’s health care. It wasn’t that long ago that when a kid broke his leg playing stickball, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun put a thermometer in his mouth, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle and you were done. The bill was $1.50, plus you got to keep the thermometer.

But like everything else that’s good and noble in life, some Wall Street wizard decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they’re run by some bean counters in a corporate plaza in Charlotte. In the U.S. today, three giant for-profit conglomerates own close to 600 hospitals and other health care facilities. They’re not hospitals anymore; they’re Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. America’s largest hospital chain, HCA, was founded by the family of Bill Frist, who perfectly represents the Republican attitude toward health care: it’s not a right, it’s a racket. The more people who get sick and need medicine, the higher their profit margins. Which is why they’re always pushing the Jell-O.

Because medicine is now for-profit we have things like “recision,” where insurance companies hire people to figure out ways to deny you coverage when you get sick, even though you’ve been paying into your plan for years.

When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what’s in it for Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

If conservatives get to call universal health care “socialized medicine,” I get to call private health care “soulless vampires making money off human pain.” The problem with President Obama’s health care plan isn’t socialism, it’s capitalism.

And if medicine is for profit, and war, and the news, and the penal system, my question is: what’s wrong with firemen? Why don’t they charge? They must be commies. Oh my God! That explains the red trucks!

Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/new-rule-not-everything-i_b_244050.html

History repeats itself…

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

I am intrigued by history. And as anyone who is intrigued by history knows, we can learn a lot from the generations before us. We can see distinct correlations between times long ago and today. Since I am currently reading as much history on all the Presidents of the United States I can get my hands on… I am finding other Presidents have faced similar challenges Barack Obama must face in the coming years. Tonight, I re-read FDR’s inaugural speech and thought it worth sharing. It seems much of it is as relevant today as it was back then. Let’s learn from history, shall we?

Here, let me share it with you…

[begin]

I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. 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.
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CEO’s are overcompensated

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

I think Hasbro and Mattel should build more factories in the U.S. and pay a proper living wage to their employees. They can cut their CEO’s salary — sheesh! That guy makes over 5.2 billion dollars after all his “extras”. Even without his extras (bonuses, stocks etc.), he makes $800,000. I hardly think he does that much work. I am not a socialist but I do believe the cut throat capitalism we are practising right now is not work, obviously. Look, Brian Goldern, if you would give up some of your excessive pay, open some American factories and pay some American workers…but not necessarily close all the Chinese factories…then this would create jobs and boost the economy. When workers have jobs, they buy crap, your crap even. So, stop being greedy and do what it is right. Are Chinese people buying toys with their paychecks? I don’t think so. The majority of the toys on our shelves (9 out of 10) are made in China. So, the Chinese are underpaid. Certainly…this saves you a few duckets than you gladly pocket. However, what do they do with the rest of their paycheck? Pay their bills IN CHINA, shop IN CHINA, buy food IN CHINA, pay retailers IN CHINA. So, it is helping their economy and ours is suffering. Now, we are heading quickly into a depression. And we are not buying, not even the cheap lead-coated crap from China. So, you lose too. How about some real corporate social responsibility. When a society is thriving, it helps you too. Get it?

I reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy think for the next 4 years we should have mandatory soft capitalism. If you gauge our eyes out with prices which will line your pockets, you pay exorbitant taxes. The more you charge, the more you pay, exponentially. If you are responsible and charge what you need to cover your costs and get some profit, then you are rewarded with tax breaks. See how simple this would be? No one needs to be making $800,000 a year, let alone $5.2 million. Gah!

When will one of these companies start making the right decisions, decisions that benefit everyone? We will never get out of a depression unless we fix the problems that caused it: deregulation, corporate greed with no restraints, no employee protection, price gauging, and job loss. We need to keep jobs in our country and in other countries, we could do this if we were more savvy than greedy.

Sarah Palin is Anti-American

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

I am fed up with the nonsense about Barack Obama’s character.

The incessant question, “Who is Barack Obama?” The over use of his middle name and inferences to terrorists and the “unknown”, pathetic attempts to manipulate xenophobia and racial fears in the less educated. These are dangerous and irresponsible tactics which are failing to help John McCain, while putting Obama in harm’s way. The accusations brought against Obama by the McCain camp seem to be some strange new form of political projection. Not only are these outrageous accusations ridiculous and offensive, they are more accurately applicable to Senator McCain and Governor Palin.

Is their official campaign strategy to accuse Obama of anything they could LEGITIMATELY be accused of themselves?

“Obama is inexperienced” has Palin written all over it.

“Obama pals around with terrorists” Oh…look, Palin again. See above (Anti-American Alaskan secessionists)

“Obama wants to raise taxes” despite the repeated attempts to explain that 95% of American households and small businesses WILL NOT SEE A TAX RAISE but rather TAX CUTS under Obama’s economic plan!!!

John Sidney McCain is still using this as a talking point because he has NOTHING except lies and racial fear to use in a sad attempt to scare people into voting for him. Nobody really supports McCain. Most of his supporters support the Anti-Women, Anti-intellectual, Anti-reality Palin or are simply anti-Obama voters. An anti-vote may go in his pocket but it is not a vote of confidence in McCain’s ability to run the country or popularity.

The irony is that McCain’s own economic plan would not give relief to the majority of people and even the parts that resemble relief (tax cuts, etc.) for the majority of people are not well-defined or well explained. Funny, the only part that is laid out in a clear and concise manner is his tax-relief plans for the uber-rich, professional stock traders and corporate fat-cats shuffling money off-shore to avoid paying taxes. Furthermore, the minute cuts he proposes for the Joe population all have loopholes which will end up costing “Joe” even more (i.e. education with no funding, promised support for special needs children, veterans, elderly, etc. which are all contradicted by his “spending freeze”, $2500 for each family for health care rebates but then taxing employer provided health care, in essence discouraging employers from providing health care in the first place and despite the average family cost of $1200 for health care a year.)

BOTTOM LINE ON TAXES: McCain’s tax cuts will help the obnoxiously wealthy and I am not referring to Joe Sixpack, Joe the Plumber, Joe Blow, Sloppy Joes or Joe vs. the Volcano or any Joe that has a small business. Obama’s tax cuts will POSITIVELY effect the economy by putting money in American’s pockets… if we have money, we’ll spend it… and 95 (NINETY FIVE) 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 (do you get it yet?) 95% of people in our country will benefit. What part of this is so difficult? Just because McCain says something, doesn’t make it true. It actually, statistically, probably makes it untrue. Read for yourself his plan, read it thoroughly. Read them both.

Under Mr. Obama’s plan, the middle of the middle class, or those earning $37,595 to $66,354, would see taxes cut by $1,042 a year. Under Mr. McCain’s plan, taxes for people in that category would also fall, but by $319; the largest chunk of the benefits would go to those making $2.8 million a year or more.
Larry Rohter, Will the Real Tax-and-Spender Please ‘Fess Up, NY Times, Jun. 13, 2008.

McCain’s strategy has always been see what is working for Barack, steal it… change it only slightly, repeat Barack’s stance on it verbatim and claim it as his own under the mighty (and flimsy) shield of Maverick-ism. This is ridiculous. It is clear to see McCain does not have the best interest of any Joe at heart. And don’t even get me started on his policies for Jane.

BOTTOM LINE ON PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES AND DANGEROUS PALS: This, too, seems to be more a Palin thing than a Obama thing. He was 8 when this Ayers fellow engaged in horrific acts. I don’t think they were “palling” around. But who exactly is Palin’ around with anti-governmental Alaskan secessionists who believe that violence is acceptable to win the “war” they are waging against the U.S.? Shouldn’t you be more concerned with this woman and her shady ties or at least as equally concerned?

Who is Barack Obama? There is so much information out about him. Information-filled biographies; his website where he states clearly his stance on every issue and it has been consistent ALL ALONG. Stop being ridiculous. If you have doubts about who Obama is, um… then you either you are a closet racist or you are simply lazy. The information is a google search away or at your local book store. The same cannot be said about Mrs. Palin who avoids interviews, questions, etc and dodges answering anything directly even when she is cornered (i.e. the VP debate). She is a trained monkey keeping secrets while giving lip service to campaign words like “maverick” “change” “transparency”.

You cannot reasonably question whether you know Barack enough but believe you truly know Sarah Palin. We have had ten times the exposure into Barack’s life as we have into Palin’s. SO when you ask “Who is Barack Obama?” are you really asking because you can’t find out what you want to know? Or are you asking because it is your polite mavericky way of saying, ‘but he’s blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacccccccccccccck’.

For all of you questioning who is Barack Obama but not who are Sarah Palin and John McCain (because I am quite certain you didn’t know much about him before this and maybe the last Presidential campaign and I would even venture to say you still don’t), I encourage you to look up the following:

Troopergate.

The Keating 5 Scandal.

John McCain’s original 2008 Presidential Platform concerns. Note: His now adamant concern with the energy crisis is an extremely recent stance for McCain. It was just a few short months ago that he was making fun of Obama for his focus on energy reform.

All of the candidate’s voting records on a UNBIASED source. Pay particular attention to McCain’s voting record with regards to veterans, oil companies, deregulation, financial institutions and tax cuts.

And please use some common sense, think. Money must go into the pot before going out of the pot. If John McCain allows the multi-billion dollar corporations to skate past the post… well, there will be less money in it to spend, even for his conflicting promises to support veterans (not supported in his record) and special needs children. It is a sneaky way of spending folks and he has it down to an art.

So, ask if you must but then also ask, “Who is John McCain?” and “Who is Sarah Palin?” and why did he pick her anyways?

Sarah Palin takes gloves off

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Reap what you sow, McCain.

It would seem McCain doesn’t want to discuss the economy anymore. He would rather “turn the page” on this issue (he clearly doesn’t understand how important it is right now) and start his ridiculous lying campaign against Obama again. This is stupid. McCain WILL NOT and CAN NOT help us economically, he is corrupt. He was almost convicted once of an economic crime at what he described as the lowest point of his life. He is not trustworthy.

Read all about it for yourself.

THE KEATING SCANDAL

The ABC’s of the Keating Scandal

McLiar at it again…

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Since he cannot win on his real stances and his real record…John McCain continues to lie. He is full of it! And if anyone believes him, they are simply too lazy to do a little research. John McCain is a liar. L*I*A*R!!! He knows he cannot tell the truth or people would not vote for him. He is not for the people. He will not save the American people in taxes. He is clueless and this is why he resorts to out-and-out lies to win votes. I’m sick of it!

Race to the White “Trash” House

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

The new catch phrase being used by the McCain campaign is “Joe six-pack“. Sarah Palin is standing up for Joe Sixpack. This new catch phrase makes sense in one of two ways. She is either trying to appeal to the non-thinking, anti-intellectuals or she is going for the frat boys and girls of America. Either way this must be a ploy to get some of the less than intelligent voters to stand up for her despite or even because of her stupidity.

Let’s analyze this term…”Joe Six-Pack”. Could that be a euphemism for frat boy? Frat boy…hrm, why does that seem so familiar? Frat boy. OH! YES! George W. Bush is a glorified frat boy, albeit in the morning after period of an eight year binge, he can’t be bothered to lead this country at all, even in the wrong direction (perhaps he is too focused on his $805 billion parting gift). Joe Six-Pack…frat boy…George W. Bush. It makes sense now. Given the McCain campaign’s penchant for wordplay campaigning (aka the Straight Talk Express — shiver — is anyone else having Orwellian flashbacks to 1984?)…we can assume this new phrase means he supports the failed Bush and Rovian politics (again) but renamed them to confuse average Joe Sixpacks. I understand now.

Sarah Palin is ridiculous. She is frighteningly unprepared for the Vice Presidency or even for the Senate. This becomes glaringly more and more obvious as time (and McCain) allows her to speak in public. From foreign to domestic affairs, she lacks even the basic understanding. They should be embarrassed. McCain did himself NO favor by choosing her. Now the McCorporation ticket is headed straight to the White “Trash” House, fully equipped with someone even less intelligent than George W. (and we thought this wasn’t possible, silly us!), moose-hunting and “dontchaknows”! Yeee haw! If they become elected, we can start a bill to change the name of our country to the United Stupid of America, Land of the French Fries…the world’s beacon for Idiocracy.

Are we even remotely interested in how this country is led anymore? Or is it simply a matter of ensuring we do not think for ourselves while banishing our civil rights and liberties? Or is the support for Palin and McCorporation simply a case of latent racism? Please tell me Americans are not this stupid!

Ask Bill Gates to speak to the Country

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

We should ask Bill Gates to talk to people in our Country, instead of our President. What kind of ridiculous way was that to address the country last night? He is trying to invoke panic, to ensure this $700 billion scam is pushed through this week. Why the rush? I don’t buy it. It took years to get into this mess, making a decision in one week doesn’t make sense.

I think people should chill out. Bill Gates didn’t make it to being the richest person in the US by being a fear-mongering idiot.

Watch video here:
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Eight years past…

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

It is now eight years past the time to panic folks. Coming from someone who did not vote for the current crime family running amok in the White House, we should have panicked when he was sworn into office. We should have panicked when he started this illegitimate, ghastly over-priced, ugly war. We should have panicked when we caught him in any number of his lies. We should have panicked when Dick Cheney shot his friend in the face. We should have panicked when the voting was rigged. We should have panicked when an entire city was allowed to drown alone. We should have panicked many times, I did. But now is NOT the time to panic.

It is well over 18 months past the time to panic about finances and the economy. We have been in recession folks. The past year has been riddled with the mortgage crisis, the price-gouging at the pumps, at the grocery stores. We cannot allow our fear to drive us into dealing with the idiocracy. Bush is trying to scare us into hastily signing a $700 billion plan that is neither sensible nor guaranteed. We have been lied to one time too many times by this Administration. We cannot afford to allow them to make a $700 billion get-away. They are basically trying to rob the country’s wallet before they leave office.

We must not freak out at Bush’s ridiculous warnings. Where has he been the past 18 months? Busy soaking up the oil revenues, while we pay exorbitant prices at the pumps and lose our homes, our pensions, our jobs. It is their deregulation policies which got these financial institutions (and us) into this mess. Let them sort it out themselves. If you are itching to do something, to give $700 billion dollars towards a solution… urge your congress men and women to pass an emergency $700 billion public bailout, along with some corporate regulations. Pay the money towards the mortgages for everyday citizens. This will help the crisis. This will help the fundamentals of our economy. If a homeowner can keep his home, then he will take care of it and improve it and increase his home value and thus we go forward rather than backwards.

Bailing out irresponsible corporations with no guidelines, no oversight, no rules, no judicial review, makes NO SENSE, unless you are a greedy corporation or you are going to be leaving the White House soon and want to ensure you can purchase your next job to the tune of $700 billion dollars.

This corporate bailout is NOT the answer.

Corporate Socialism

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

I agree with some of the Republicans! Write that down, I am certain you will not hear it often.

The bottom line for this $700 billion bailout is, IF it happens, it needs to have some measure of protection for taxpayers. Congress reiterated this over and over this morning. I was proud of them for speaking up. And found myself nodding in agreement when many of the Republicans spoke.

I know we are all frightened about the financial issues we are facing but making fear-based decisions is simply irresponsible. We need to ensure we make a sensible decision in a timely manner. So, if you are jumping out of your seat, itching for Congress to hurryup and approve this $700billion… take a breath. Think. There is no proof or guarantee that this measure is going to work. It is led by two of the idiots who got us into this financial mess. WHY SHOULDN’T WE AT THE VERY LEAST ASK FOR SOME FAILSTOP MEASURES?

We should NOT bail out these irresponsible corporations. Bottom line. We should NOT give them the $700 billion. Breathe deeply, relax. Think. Please!

Why not attack the problem from the other side? Why not give out $700 billion to the US people losing their homes? Pay their bills to the banking industries. Wouldn’t that make more sense? TO help the people with their own money rather than these corporations.

If this is such a good idea, why does it not have any provisions? At the very least, before we bail out these corporations with no guarantee that it will even help, we should get the following provisions:

1) Remove the sole discretionary clause, giving all authority to Paulson:

“Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”

Paulson is one of the people who is arguably responsibly for allowing this situation to get so out of control. Why are we continuing to allow him to even meddle in our Country’s purse? Slap his hand and say, “NO!” Let someone responsible lead this disgusting bail out. We should, at the very least, be watching our federal bank book. We are the ones making the deposits.

One man should not be in control of that much money. That would be giving the Secretary of the Treasury more power than even the President, at least financially. This is NOT a good idea.

2) Remove the clause that prevents judicial review.

If there is no scam in this, if there is no tomfoolery, why include a provision refusing judicial review? If we are mopping up a mess made by the greed and irresponsibility of financial institutions with a mop made of our hard-earned money, WE HAD BETTER HOLD THE JANITORS ACCOUNTABLE! PERIOD. In every single manner.

3) We need to include a measure to limit how much executives are paid:

They ran their corporations into the ground. Why should they get paid for this? How much do we pay people in public welfare? Why not give the CEO’s, who were irresponsible with the corporations, the same monthly amount we give to those on public welfare? I mean the logic behind the amounts are based on the minimum amount of money needed to survive in our country. Why should these CEO’s be paid more than that? If we are trying to “save” the economy, why don’t we spend the money wisely? Instead of overpaying CEO’s who got themselves (and us) into this mess in the first place with their irresponsible, greedy business practices and channel our money into tangible investments (alternative energy, health care, etc.). We definitely need a provision not allowing ridiculous compensation packages to these CEO’s.

4) Ensure what these people will be doing with our money is a matter of public record, available for all of us to monitor completely. COMPLETE TRANSPARENCY.

They should not be allowed to continue doing business as usual. Look where it got them and us.

5) We need to add provisions to help people in danger of losing their homes.

These failing financial institutions and the mortgage crisis are inextricably linked. We must address the initial problems, not just throw money at it. If you cut off your arm, you certainly would not just throw bandages at it. You would stop the blood loss, sew it up, then let it heal.

This bailout is nothing more than financial welfare, with the standards of living skewed for unsuccessful CEO’s.

The current Administration did such a poor job economically with their deregulation policies, their corporate tax breaks and their direct assistance to these greedy corporations, while ignoring the needs of the consumers and citizens and all of these irresponsible, corporate interest policies ultimately lead us into this crisis. So, if we are going to bail the financial institutions out, the least we could is protect the everyday people as well.

6) We need to add provisions about regulating the financial institutions.

7) Add in a provision for taxpayers to gain financially, if and when the corporations start making money.

If they want us to finance the corporations, they should compensate us. Stocks, shares etc., period.

8) Add in a provision to ensure there are no “sweetheart deals”.

Ensure that no one who was paid to make this decision is in charge of the money. No leaving the US government and going to work for Wall Street. We want there to be no ties. Corporate lobbyists have lined the pocket of too many of our politicians. They have owned the Administration for at least 8 years and look where it has gotten us.

I vote no. And if the “yes” votes win, then they had better stood up for the American people by adding in, at the very least, the previous 8 provisions.