Privatized Suffering

This excerpt comes from the John Steppling blog. Disheartening as it is, this is truth.

Privatized Suffering
by John Steppling

“The white liberals today are defending Obama and Hillary because they don’t recognize their own dead zone and because they really don’t care about the poor anymore than the ruling 1% do. They don’t care about the targeted abuse of the poor, especially black and brown, and they are able to provide expensive education for their own children, so they don’t care about the absence of education for marginal classes. And that same expensive education is the one that trains people for shopping, for compliance to authority, and to think just like they think. The reproduction of a dead *now* is by design. Liberals are not in conflict with Reagan values, they only tell themselves they are. This is intellectual three card Monte.”

Keep reading here…

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I Know Who Will Win the Election

There has been quite a bit of speculation about who is going to win the election next month. Since I already know who the winners and losers will be, I thought I’d do the responsible thing and share this information with you.

The Winners:  Goldman Sachs, CitiBank, Chase, Bank of America and the defense contractors manufacturing drones and bombs. They will continue to get trillions of dollars in no-bid, cost-plus defense contracts and bailouts.

The wealthiest 1% of the population, whose incomes will continue to rise disproportionately while everyone else’s income drops and the cost of living continues to rise.

The big corporate donors to the major parties who will continue to be invited to write legislation favoring themselves.

The big pharmaceutical companies who will be able to continue to market deadly drugs with no more than a slap on the wrist, that is, a fine equal to only a tiny fraction of their profits, when their drugs have to be recalled due to too many deaths from side effects.

The people in the present and past administrations who violated their oaths of office to uphold and defend the Constitution by legalizing cruel and unusual punishment (torture), eliminating due process, waging wars of aggression, and even killing their own citizens–a crime so horrendous that when we think some foreign dictator might be doing it we feel justified in invading their country and overthrowing their regime. These criminals will continue to be immune from prosecution.

The Losers:  The elderly and chronically ill who are bracing for the expected cuts (tweaks) to Social Security and Medicare that both candidates agree upon.

Education and transportation infrastructure, which will continue to be shortchanged in order to finance foreign wars.

The middle class, who are in many cases working two jobs, no longer receiving middle class pay, and having to simultaneously support their aging parents who can’t afford nursing homes and their grown children who can’t earn enough to move out and can barely make the payments on their student loans. These are the most productive and competent workers in the world, yet many cannot know from one day to the next if their job will be outsourced and if they’ll be able to find another.

The planet, which will continue to be raped and pillaged so a few can have their cake now and eat it too.

The voters, because no matter how they vote or who they vote for, nothing will change and their best interests will not be served.

As you may have deduced by now, I don’t believe that a choice between two people funded by the same corporations, is really a choice. I’m tired of having an uncounted vote for people we can’t hold accountable. I am no longer going to settle for a vote–I want a real voice in government, the sine qua non of any democracy. I have voted for the same party all my life only to find out that both parties reward loyalty with contempt. If this government wants to have the consent of the governed, it is going to have to start from scratch and learn that you can’t buy consent–you have to earn it.

We are the people. We can make a real change, and choose how to govern ourselves.  But first, the system as we know it has to end.

Progressives Must Change

This was published on Huffington Post.  If you like it, repost or buzz it up.  Thank you.

It can be seen here.

Progressives Must Change

Ah, elections. Of course the mainstream media presumes that the House takeover is evidence of a sea change. I disagree. Things really haven’t changed as much as everyone would like to think. The Democratic majority wasn’t accomplishing much; a Republican House isn’t going to cause anything much different. If progressives don’t want President Boehner and Vice-President Palin in 2012, we are going to have to do something very different. Preaching to the choir isn’t helping — we get it. What really needs altering is that Progressives have got to reach the other side’s voters.

The voters on the other side are angry and want someone to blame. They have lost their jobs. They have had their unemployment benefits cut and their homes foreclosed upon. They have seen costs skyrocket. The right fans the flames by focusing the blame on liberals, immigrants, and gays. Yet Progressives either ignore these voters, or keep trying to reach them in the wrong way by telling people how stupid they are for believing these lies, and shoving reason-based evidence in their face to prove it.

This does not work.

The voters who elected Tea Party and Republican candidates listen to the drumbeat of FOX News and the mainstream media because no one else is giving them answers that make sense. Trying to reach them from a reason- and evidence-based place while simultaneously telling them how stupid they are is not going to work. The right has capitalized on their fear and lack of knowledge. If we want these voters, we have got to help them understand just how much worse the right will be (and has been) for them.

Such education may take going to go door to door, informing people without arguing, asking them questions like, “What does small government mean to you and why do you think it will help?” I suspect the answer would be that these people do not want to pay as many taxes because they are already broke and can’t make ends meet, not that they want their unemployment benefits cut or their home to foreclose because the banking industry has no regulations. If we get them to understand the progressive side is theirs too, rather than telling them how stupid they are and why they should listen to us, the results might be different in 2012.

Right now, these voters aren’t getting answers from us and the media will not help. We have to reach them some other way because they distrust knowledge and reason. This education has to come from an emotional place, from compassion rather than pity or self-righteousness. We have to get them to trust the progressive movement, and see that the Republicans vote against their economic interests every time. If we can show them that Republican decisions that allow corporations to put the dollar above them are what cause their problems, and that unfettered capitalism will only make their lives worse, perhaps we can turn things around.

If not, the president elected in 2012 will be someone worse than George W. Bush. I guarantee it.

Please Pass Conyers’ Bill

Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary committee, John Conyers, is planning to introduce a bill called HR 676.  This simple plan would create a version of Medicare where every US citizen is eligible for healthcare.  The plan, if passed, would effectively put private insurers out of business.  Considering I believe private insurance companies are largely responsible for the healthcare mess in this country, I think such a system would be a boon.

Naysayers claim such a system would put all those insurance employees out of business.  Not necessarily.  Their experience can be transferred to the new US system.  The bill creates such a provision.  Specifically, “The Program shall provide that clerical, administrative, and billing personnel in insurance companies, doctors offices, hospitals, nursing facilities, and other facilities whose jobs are eliminated due to reduced administration (1) should have first priority in retraining and job placement in the new system; and (2) shall be eligible to receive 2 years of unemployment benefits.”

The bill has been introduced before.  It went to die in committee.  We have a new group in Congress today and a new president.  Let’s hope this bill will receive the consideration it deserves.

To see the bill in its entirety, click here.

Are YOU Ready to Be President?

Do you think you can be president of the United States of America?  Should you be president of the United States of America?  Do you have the qualifications necessary to run this country?  Regardless whether you want to be the president, would you like to have a president you see as a person with whom you could share a beer or hang out with?

It seems to me that the desire to hang out or have a beer with the president comes from a desire to view this person as human, as “like us.”  But think about it, how much “like us” should the president really be?  Are any of the people you hang out with ready to be president or should they be?  Are the people in your child’s soccer league ready to run the country?  What about the people in your PTA?  Are the people you have a beer with at the park ready to run the country?  Hell, are the people in your city council, or even your mayor ready to run the entire United States of America?

Just because we could sit and have a conversation with a person does not mean either of us is ready to run one of the most powerful nations on earth.  Think about it.  Faced with the prospect of leading at least two wars, global starvation, natural disasters, increasing environmental concerns, a worldwide mortgage crisis, an economy on the brink of collapse, millions of uninsured and unemployed Americans, and a multitude of other issues, are you or your neighbors ready to run this country?  Could you do it?  Could you fix these problems?

Don’t just ask yourself if the person running for president could drink a beer with you or hang out at your church.  Ask yourself if this person can manage the complex and myriad problems facing this massive nation. Over three hundred million people are citizens of the United States. Three hundred million!  Could you lead three hundred million people?  Perhaps in considering whether someone should be president we should worry less about whether that person is “like us” and start asking if they can do the job, because I highly doubt that most of us could run this country.  I doubt our neighbors could.  I doubt our friends could.  Perhaps after years of experience and training we could do it, but not right now, not today after drinking that beer. Being “like us” does not qualify someone to run this country.  It might make someone more likable.  It might provide us with some link to the enormity of their responsibility to feel that person could be “like us.”  Being “like us” may make us feel in another lifetime at another time we actually could do that job.  Unfortunately it is not enough to determine whether someone could be president of the United States.

Presidents should be super heroes.  Yes, they are human.  Yes, they shit.  But I want someone in charge of the fate of a very large number of people to have superhuman strength and abilities.  Just because this person could have a beer with me is simply not good enough.