LC’s Commentary

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Getting rich no matter the consequences

I discovered an article by Keller dated January 5, 1916. In the article, she makes a case against America getting into World War I.  Helen Keller is well-known in most quarters for her accomplishments despite being blind. This article is a must read for all who are eager to send our young into harm’s way under false pretense.  Helen Keller realized the real reasons most nations go to war. Her analysis of who derives what from the act of war is particularly eye-opening.    Ms. Keller writes about the US excuse for sustaining a large standing army. Ms. Keller, in her writings suggests that the real motive for the US having a large army was to protect the capital of American speculators in foreign countries.

As in Ms. Keller’s lifetime, labor continues to be exploited and capital piled up.  Those who own all of this capital (wealth) are constantly looking for ways and places to invest and obtain even more wealth. Nations having resources (i.e. oil natural gas) and other minerals are prime targets for American speculators.  Let us not forget America’s love for cheap labor. Ms. Keller suggested that according to US capitalists thinking, a dollar not used to make a slave of some human being is not fulfilling its purpose in the capitalistic scheme.

Today, we have American interest all over the world. It is fondly referred to as the global economy. Fair Trade agreement is another phrase tossed around. Take a close look at the real impact of this so-called global economy. One can see who has gained and who has lost, since its implementation. China’s economy is robust and growing rapidly. Much of this growth can be directly linked to jobs once held by American workers being done by Chinese workers in China. Decent paying factory jobs, once the backbone of America’s labor force, is largely a thing of the past. Of course one industry that continues to strive in the US is the defense industry. Americans have been convinced that some nation, largely unnamed since the end of the cold war, is out to destroy this nation. Therefore a large and powerful military is necessary.  In the meantime, virtually the entire US defense apparatus (though not outwardly admitted) is to protect America’s business interest abroad.  One has to wonder how much it cost to build, supply and man the US armada of Aircraft Carriers, Submarines and other naval vessels that patrol the seaways and protect America’s shipping interest. One has to wonder how much it cost to keep US troops in South Korea.  After all, they have been there since the early fifties. What does it cost to keep troops in the Middle East?

Very little has changed in this thing called war. Motivations to go to war are the same as they have been for many centuries. The ability to make war is where the biggest difference lies America’s business interest abroad must be protected at all cost.  If anything, despite no obvious threat to the US, many people, especially those of the Conservative persuasion are easily convinced that an attack against this nation is just around the corner. Just think-today the US has these things called Drones. These aircrafts remotely control pilot-less aircraft, armed with missiles can strike targets with deadly accuracy virtually anywhere in the world.

As I researched this article, I came across an article published in the Columbus Sun on February 17, 1865.  The article titled “The Class that suffers” and reads as follows. Upon poor women and children, upon solders who are toiling and bleeding for liberty, upon salaried men who have not the time, or who desire to speculate, this whole weight of this fearful struggle falls.  Men of wealth, who are hoarding thousands, put up the piteous cry of exorbitant-rates-more bitterly than ever just after increasing the prices one thousand fold, while upon ragged blood-drenched soldiers, upon weary despairing, heart-sick women, and those whose only dependence is a pitiful yearly sum must be made to bitterly suffer…… What matters life or death, so avarice can be gratified? What is honor unattended by wealth? What is liberty unless money can be hoarded by millions? What, if the country be ruined, its women ravished, its homes desolated, its alters violated and freedom forever perished-what matters all so the almighty dollar may be massed in piles? What care men of the present day whether their county sinks so property maybe secured, and the price at which liberty can be bought rest as light as possible upon their patriotic shoulders….. That is right. Pile up wealth-no matter whether bread be drawn from the mouth of the soldier’s orphan or the one limbed hero who hungry walk your streets-take every dollar you can, pay out little as possible, deprive your noble warriors of every comfort and luxury, increase in every way the necessaries of life, make everybody but yourself and non-producers bear the taxes of the war; but be very careful to parade everything you give to the public-talk boldly on the street corners of your love for country, be a grand home general-and when the war is over point to your princely palace and its magnificent surroundings and exclaim with pompous swell “These are the results of my patriotism.”

Take note people, especially those of you who call Conservative Talk Radio and Fox News Network blowhards Great Americas. It is indeed painful to hear an accolade of the magnitude heaped on the likes of Hannity, Boortz and Limbaugh. The above paragraph describes them to a T.

When the subject of wealth distribution comes up, those of the conservative persuasion quickly interject the words-class warfare. They suggest that those wishing to get a larger share of American wealth are stricken with something called wealth envy. This daily tirade and propaganda serves to harden the hearts of those who have the majority of this nation’s wealth. Leo XIII Pope (1810-1903) suggests there is no natural divide between those who have and those who have not.  He penned the following:  a small number of the very rich have been able to lay upon the teeming masses a yoke a little better than that of slavery….The great mistake made in regard to the matter now under consideration, is the notion that class is naturally hostile to class, and the wealthy and the workmen are intended to live in mutual conflict. So irrational and so false is this view, that the direct contrary is the truth.

November 30, 2011 Posted by | Conservative Talk Radio, Economic Empowerment, Failed economic poicy, Glenn Beck, Greed, Hannity & Boortz, Limbaugh, Media, Politics, wealth redistribution | Leave a comment

Taking advantage of the vulnerable

Take a few minutes and think about why (CTR) Conservative Talk Radio and (FNN) Fox news Network works. It shouldn’t take very long to figure it out.  I must confess-I spent countless hours trying to figure out why both outlets are so successful. Eventually, a light went off in my head.  I had been looking for answers in the wrong places. Just think for a moment-if you listen to CTR or view FNN for any length of time you will eventually arrive at the same conclusion I did. Talking heads on CTR and FNN figured out a long time ago that they did not have to be very smart to appeal to a large segment of those of the conservative persuasion.. They just had to be or appear to be a little better informed than most of their listeners. It reminds me of an adage we had in Alaska. It is said that if you and your friend, while hiking, encounter a bear, how fast should you run to save your life? Answer-just fast enough to outrun the other person.  This is exactly what takes place with CTR and FNN. The talking heads know they do not have to be very intelligent, just a few notches of supposedly intellect above their listeners, especially the loyal ones. Both outlets know that the majority of their listeners believe almost everything they hear on either outlet. Armed with the fact that most of their faithful followers do not bother to do any research to validate what they hear on either outlet, talking heads feel free to take liberties with this thing called truth.   Notice how all of them seem to have ready answers to extremely complicated questions?

Right Wing Talk Radio and Fox News Network talking heads realized a long time ago that there was a segment of society waiting to be fed misinformation, and garbage. Both outlets continue to be astounded at the number of people so easily led down the wrong path. They never in their wildest dreams imagined that there were so many suckers in the US. Someone said “There is one born every day.” Listening to CTR and FNN has convinced me that more than one is born every day.  It is said that you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. I think there are exceptions when it comes to CTR and FNN listeners. There are people listening today, who have been listening since CTR and FNN inceptions-listening and believing the same garbage for many years.  Some, indeed most of these folk have never taken the time to really examine and dissect the constant barrage of misinformation, lies and propaganda spewed out on CTR and FNN.

It would be heartless not to have some empathy and perhaps a little pity for people whose lives and livelihoods had been ruined by CTR and FNN propaganda.  It would be very easy for those of us who are routinely referred to as Liberals and socialists on CTR and FNN to rejoice when we see those of the Conservative persuasion lamenting about losing their jobs, homes and way of life. These same folks applauded when CTR and FNN jocks explained to them how US workers benefited when American companies moved their operations overseas.  They applauded when CTR and FNN jocks talked about the merits of allowing cheap labor to infiltrate the US labor market. Most to these folks felt their jobs were immune to takeover by foreign workers. Guess what? They were wrong and are now paying the cost. Despite mountains of information and data casting doubt and pointing out false assumptions in much of CTR and FNN logic, their loyal listeners continued to be guided-indeed make decisions based on what they were fed and continue to be fed on CTR and FNN. It is a pity and a shame that Conservative Talk Radio and Fox New Network have used their media outlets to prey on the vulnerable.

November 30, 2011 Posted by | Conservative Talk Radio, Glenn Beck, Hannity & Boortz, Limbaugh, Media, Politics | 1 Comment

Union busting at its worst

Some folks believe the new emphasis on Union Busting is a new phenomenon. Quite the contrary. One of the more notable incidents bringing light to the subject was a Douglas Fraser’s Resignation Letter to the Labor-Management Group dated July 19, 1978. Douglas Fraser became president of the United Autoworkers Union (UAW) in 1977. In 1978 he resigned from a committee of eight corporate executives and eight labor officials chaired by former Secretary of labor John T. Dunlop. This committee represented an attempt to forge cooperation between labor and management.

Fraser’s involvement and interaction with this committee gave him the impression that U.S corporations, by their actions had no real interest in working with labor, instead choosing to wage a one-sided class war against working people, the unemployed, the poor and minorities. Fraser also felt corporations were waging a war against young folks, old folks and the middle class of the United States.

Fraser stated in his resignation letter that he believed that leaders of the business community, including industry, commerce and finance, with few exceptions have broken and discarded the fragile, unwritten compact previously existing during past growth and progress.  Despite profound differences, labor and management has always managed to come to general agreements that benefitted labor and management.  Today those who control the wealth of this nation feel they no longer have to negotiate working conditions with most US workers. These same, US Corporations, operating from a position of extreme, financial, and political power, and backed by the Federal State and Local Governments, feel they can make any demands they wish on US workers.

As Fraser mentioned in his resignation, the United States Capitalistic system has always worked best for the haves in our society, rather than the have-not. Despite this well-known and indisputable fact Capitalism remains because the very foundation of this concept remained grounded on one simple concept.  Fraser surmised that in the past, when things got bad enough for a segment of society, the business elite “gave” a little bit-enabling government or interest groups to better conditions somewhat for that segment. Not so today.

The Haves of this nation are not willing to give a little more for the benefit of this nation.  It is a well-known fact that this nation is slowly but surely losing its middle class. At the same time the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  What has brought on this out of control greed and a need for even more of this nation’s wealth? Why are business leaders willing to destroy America’s middle class for the benefit of a few at the very top of the wealth ladder?

What can be done to reverse the continued flow of America’s wealth to the people at the top of the money chain?  Corporations have a strangle-hold on the US government.  They use their enormous wealth and political persuasion to demand and get almost anything they ask of the federal government.  Many Americans, to this point, have felt there is little the common man can do to change the situation.  Two recent actions by average Americans suggests that the common man banding together can impact how our government governs. The Tea Party was the first action to get a lot of attention and persuaded many politicians to change their behavior. Later, the Wall Street Occupiers caused quite a stir.

The current meltdown of the world’s economic system, largely brought on by unscrupulous and greedy American Capitalists caused many people to say “Something must change.” “Although the powerbrokers have most of the wealth of this nation, something must change.” “Although Congress has been bought and sold, something must change.”   Today’s actions by people all around this nation and abroad, makes it plain that people are dissatisfied and fed up with the way so called capitalism is managed in the United States.  People are taking to the streets as they did in the seventies to protest the Viet Nam war.  US politicians and money handlers should not take lightly what is taking place. Those people participating in sit-ins all over this nation and abroad are not willing to sit back and do little else.

People it is time to do more than spout simple rhetoric. It is time to turn off the radio and TV and take to the streets. It is time to stop supporting businesses that support Conservative Talk Radio and Fox News Channel. These outlets programming regularly call for the destruction of labor unions.  Those of you who are not in favor of labor unions and clamor for their demise, just wait, your wages and benefits are next.  Non-supporters of organized labor-do not think for one minute that the robber-barons of this nation are only after the dollars they pay union workers. They are determined to control most of the wealth of this nation and workers and are willing to use whatever means necessary to achieve this goal.

Thus far, those of the conservative persuasion, along with Conservative Talk Radio and Fox News Network have successfully used labor Unions as wedge issues-quite successfully.  Who will be next?  Do not think for one minute, Union workers are the only ones they feel are overpaid.  Remember the hue and cry each time a vote to raise the minimum wage came up? Remember when conservatives said raising the minimum wage would bankrupt small businesses. Divide and conquer still works.

By what hook and crook has the Republican Party, with and free propagandized assistance from Conservative Talk Radio (CTR) and Fox News Network (FNN) managed to convince millions that there is nothing wrong with a few Americans having the majority of the wealth of this nation.  Despite untiring efforts by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and other super-rich Americans, Republican lawmakers continue to beat back any attempt to get a few more bucks from the richest of this nation.

Father Ambrose Bishop of Milan made the following quote: How far, oh rich do you extend your senseless avarice? Do you intend to be the sole inhabitants of the earth? Why do you drive out the fellow sharers of nature, and claim it all for yourselves? The earth was made for all, rich and poor, in common. Why do you rich claim it as your exclusive right?

A careful observation of how wealth is distributed in the United States and abroad brings to mind something John Adams,(1735-1826) 2nd President of the United State coined. In every society where property exists there will ever be a struggle between rich and poor. Mixed in one assembly, equal laws can never be expected; they will either be made by the members to plunder the few who are rich or by the influence to fleece the many who are poor. It is quite clear who is doing who in America.

November 30, 2011 Posted by | Conservative Talk Radio, Economic Empowerment, Glenn Beck, Greed, Hannity & Boortz, Limbaugh, Trickle up economics, wealth redistribution | Leave a comment

Cheap labor no matter the cost

Americans are thoroughly frustrated and at times confused as they try to place the blame for the current economic quandary squarely where it belongs.  One thing is certain, it matters very little which party is in power when the glue which binds America’s capitalistic system fails.  What is the glue that holds it together? Someone compared our system to a three-legged stool-Capital, labor and consumer. If either fails or is shorten, the entire system suffers. According to current news outlets, there is plenty of capital available. However, job losses (those actually gainfully employed) shorten the labor leg. Shrinkage of those gainfully employed, with disposal income, shortens the consumer leg of the stool. When the consumer leg and labor legs fail, the capital leg is unable to support the stool and will collapse under its own weight.

Just listen as economists and politicians look for signs that the economy is rebounding. Two industries usually take center stage-construction and automotive.  When either product (new homes and new automobiles) sales are flat because of low demands, the US economy suffers. Why are the demands for these products so low? The answer is very simple.  Today, as in the Great Depression, entirely too many Americans have lost their purchasing power. This is one of the inherent dangers of allowing a few people to have most of this nation’s wealth.  Instead of buying power distributed among millions, it is in the hands of a few who have to reason to spend most of it.  It is a well-known fact that most middle and lower income Americans will spend if they have the money. Why do you think middle and low income Americans save very little of their earning? Simple-they love to spend money. When you take away this purchasing ability by putting the wealth of this nation in a few hands, you effectively kill the very thing that keeps the US economy energetic and growing. Pay people less and they will buy less. Create a tax system that spares the rich and disproportionally negatively impact the people whose income is modest at best, puts additional burden on those least able to pay.

US Job losses due to US companies moving operations overseas have had a devastating effect on the US economy. Jobs traditionally held by US workers (especially manufacturing) are now firmly in the hands of foreign nations.  China is a prime example.  Unemployment creates surplus workers. Surplus workers give employers incentives to lower wages and benefits.  Workers unemployed for long periods of time put undue stress on unemployment compensation programs. Social service programs designed to help the needy are hard-pressed to help all who desire or need help.  Much of this hardship is avoidable if US companies would keep manufacturing jobs in the US.  Loss of these jobs and related infrastructures also means the eventual loss of skills and a highly trained workforce vital to the needs of this nation. This nation was built on people making things. If US consumers purchase and use an item, why not make it in the US?

One sure way to stop the flow of manufacturing jobs 0verseas is to stop using US military might to protect shipments from overseas markets. It is ironic that our military men and women are protecting shipments of products from overseas markets.  These products are owned by the very companies that laid off their friends, relatives, closed plants and rebuilt them overseas. The same goes for the US taxpayers who foot the bill for our military. After all, they are the ones who pay for this military might.  Some call it, protecting US interest abroad. Stop pretending; just say “protecting US companies business interest abroad?”

November 30, 2011 Posted by | Conservative Talk Radio, Economic Empowerment, Failed economic poicy, Glenn Beck, Hannity & Boortz, Limbaugh, Soup kitchens, Taxpayer bailouts, Trickle up economics, wealth redistribution | Leave a comment