Archive for the ‘soft capitalism’ Category

What has Obama done in office?

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

I have posted a couple times addressing this question. What has Obama done so far? You can read those here and here. But… I stumbled upon a fantastic site that answers that question simply—over and over and over again– What the F*** has Obama done so far dot com. Obama has done so much for our country. He cannot fix all the years of damage the last administration did but he has done a lot towards repairing so many national wounds. From healthcare reform to rights of all people to corporate responsibility—Obama has been working hard for all of us…these are just a few examples the website cites…

For Women…

For Children…

For minorities…

 

For gay rights…

 

For students…

For Human Rights (and for restoration of political legitimacy)…

For science and research…

For the disabled…

 

For the veterans and their families…

For the elderly…

For the unemployed…

For the fiscally conservative (and the next generation)…

For the geeks, even…

 

And as I said above, these are just a few of the examples of What Obama has done so far… in one term in office. I would say he has done an outstanding job so far.

Thank you President Barack Obama.

You can read more on the website: What the f*** has Obama done so far?

Be the change…

Monday, June 14th, 2010

It is time we Americans help be the change we voted for with Obama. He said he could not do it alone. It is time we help him. It is time we help ourselves and each other. Your time is precious. My time is precious. We can still give an hour or two a week. You can find local volunteering opportunities here.  Or maybe it is time to really give our time and to get back something far greater than we can imagine by committing to a year or two of full time service in programs like AmeriCorps or PeaceCorps. Long-term service commitments have financial compensation as well, not much but enough, particularly for students. (They even offer scholarships!) But mostly, it will offer you a new lifeview. It will change your life forever.

Or start researching what is needed in your community and figure out how you can help fill that need. Nothing is impossible with motivation and imagination.

I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.
    Albert Schweitzer

It's your world, your chance to make it better. Join AmeriCorps. Click here to learn more.

You'll actually look forward to your morning commute. Life is calling. How far will you go? Learn more about the Peace Corps

United We Serve - Let's Read.  Let's Move.

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

Washington State pains halved

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

I absolutely love Washington State but this past week we have been in the news at least twice and the stories have been hideous. In defense of Western Washington…one of these stories happened in Eastern Washington. A little insight into why this matters is found in the ideological differences between the two halves of Washington State. Western Washington is notoriously more progressive and liberal. We are the tree-hugging, coffee-drinking, human rights activists who almost always vote blue. Whereas Eastern Washington is almost completely opposite. They disagree so much, in fact, that they have even asked to become an entirely separate state. They are loggers and farmers and conservative Republicans. And apparently they are suffering but so are we.

Eastern Washington

The first story was about a Yakima man, recently laid off, who decided to take his 9-year-old daughter with him on a store robbery. You can read the story here but basically he robbed a mini-mart (AM-PM) and while doing so he explained to the clerk how he had been laid off and needed the money to take care of his daughter. She was present for the entire robbery. That girl must have been traumatised to see her father robbing a store right in front of her. Children feel their parent’s stress and they also have their own. They take things personal and he said it was for her—in essence blaming her. This was a tragedy in so many different ways.

Western Washington

The second story was just today. A man in Orting shot and killed his five children before killing himself. Not much is known about this story yet but the mother was not home at the time. She has been located now but can you even imagine her pain? It is so very sad. There is no justification for such an act.

Washington State is suffering. In the past three months we have lost many jobs. Our state unemployment rate is higher than it has been since 1985 and higher than the nation’s unemployment rate. Our governor, Christine Gregoire, kept us in the green as long as she could. We did not begin to see the effects of the recession like other parts of the country until recently. Now it is hitting and hitting hard. Successful corporations such as Microsoft, Boeing and Starbucks are laying off thousands of people and the forecast doesn’t look good for the rest of this year. When people cannot pay their mortgage or put food on the table—they become desperate.

Now, I am not excusing these two men’s behavior. I am simply saying we must stick together in this economic recession. We must help, if we can. Give to food banks. Offer help to friends and neighbors in need. Tell someone who is unemployed about job openings, training programs, educational opportunites. Charge just a little less for your services, for your apartments. Practice soft capitalism. Ask for what you need, not what you need to get rich. Reduce your waste. Give a little back.

It is the small things that matter. It is the small things that add up in both directions.