“Don’t Forget Medicaid”

See the whole thing from Congressman Chris Murphy of Connecticut:

“As we wait for the white smoke to emerge from the ‘grand bargain’ negotiations at the White House, most Americans are already aware of the Republicans’ plan to dismantle and privatize Medicare and Social Security. But what many people may not realize is just how dangerous it would be to slash funding for a program that 60 million Americans rely on for their basic health care needs: Medicaid.

“While it seems that just about every major industry or interest group has teams of lobbyists in Washington looking out for them, some of our most vulnerable citizens simply don’t have a voice in a town where unfortunately, money still talks the loudest.

“Why? Medicaid covers only the impoverished and disabled, so it lacks a traditional advocacy base. This may be news to Republicans — but most poor people I know are spending all their time trying to find a job and put food on the table.”

GOP Big Lies

“The Obama economic fix isn’t working.”

Right.  That’s why we’re not in the freefall the Republicans got us into and left us in / we threw their asses out over, which we were in until this plan kicked in.  Coincidence?  The economy is a somewhat complex machine (like a corporation, it’s not a person).  At the very least, it didn’t make things worse.  It didn’t create jobs?  You want corrupt (Republican) no-show “created jobs,” or somewhat ethical, legal government contracts that are focused, as they usually are, on accomplishing tasks, not creating jobs per se.  They clearly SAVED JOBS.  Did the President overstate or oversimplify?  Yeah, he does that; I wish he wouldn’t.  But same difference.

“Healthcare reform is about a government takeover.”

That’s why all anybody in Washington, Democrat or Repug, is talking about is money, money, money, no takeover.  *I* want a takeover, just like civilized nations have, like the UK and NOT Canada.  But on this I’m to the Left of the centrist Demos who mathematically should be in charge at this time by virtue of (unstolen) election.

How would I do a takeover?  Wellll…  Since corporations are creatures of the State [Hey, "Statist"! Real conservatives would strike out on their own without the legal figleaf of incorporation, like their pioneer ancestors on the Frontier! Oh, that's right, they stole that too....] created for some Public Good, I assert there’s no such thing really as “corporate property,” they’re just holding it in stewardship for the Chartering Sovereign, ie, the State in most cases in the U.S.  When the Public Good for which they were Chartered has been accomplished, or set on basically autopilot … OR they’ve turned the law on its head for their own enrichment and the project needs to be terminated or taken in hand … the State yanks their Charter, dissolves them or gives them to better stewards, or takes it over itself.  I figure between the bloodsucking, opportunistic, profiteering health insurance companies and HMOs … overcharging providers … mercenary, “ask your doctor” Big Pharma … vicious or spineless politicians … and even under-reimbursed good Medicare/Medicaid providers …  “politically” active / bribing Corporations all (or most) … (Have I forgotten anybody?) … I think I’m on good grounds here, don’t you?  Anyway, it’s cheaper than having to buy back our own Corporations from the people we Chartered only to have them leech from  us “for the Public Good.”  As a greater Mind than I said once, “They already have their reward.”

Otherwise, I can’t find out how the Brits actually engineered it after WW2 — eminent domain, purchase, dissolution?  But what’s wrong with socialized medicine, alongside

  • socialized police and fire protection,
  • socialized water and sewer,
  • socialized trash and garbage collection,
  • socialized primary and secondary education,
  • socialized electricity,
  • socialized roads and highways and bridges,
  • socialized national defense!,
  • socialized money (Oh, actually that’s privatized: See what a great job they’re doing with it?),
  • socialized Corporate Welfare/Wealthfare,
  • socialized farm subsidies,
  • socialized homesteading (Stolen: see above),
  • socialized airports,
  • socialized trade promotion,
  • socialized ports,
  • socialized Corporate industrial waste cleanup,
  • socialized diplomacy (sometimes),
  • socialized union-busting,
  • socialized religion and charity subsidies,
  • socialized technology subsidies (to get us caught-up with Europe and Japan!),
  • socialized tax loophole subsidies (Oh yes, there’s wealth redistribution … upward, not downward!),
  • socialized road signs,
  • substantially-socialized higher education (State universities, ROTC, CIA, etc.),
  • socialized parks and recreation centers,
  • socialized stadiums (and subsidized pro sports teams / Wealthfare),
  • socialized imperialism and war,
  • socialized Protestant evangelism (of American Indians and Alaska Natives, well into the 1900s) and catechesis (of public school children, also well into the 1900s),
  • etc etc etc.

So what’s so offensive about health care?

Gen-X asks, “Y” own home?

In this recent NY Times story, it’s not just the guys really, though there are Guy Issues too.

Ironically, of course, sagging home prices for owners are great for buyers…!

Update from Buffalo Commons

from NY Times Magazine in 2006, an intriguing ‘surface-level,’ face-to-face, “up close and personal” *  encounter with the emptying Plains.

The article isn’t a very enticing ad for a region theoretically trying to attract ‘new homesteaders’ or semi-homesteaders not already from or IN such a place, if you get what I mean.  But does it have to be hopeless?

Indians said a century or more ago that it really was (all due respect to the writer) more desert than farmland….  The Dust Bowl just added insult to injury.  There are a couple large Reservations near the communities featured, Fort Berthold and Fort Peck Reservations, that maybe could be asked about helping ‘re-vision’ the larger region’s future ISTM.

More conventionally, the Dakotas are already home to “National Grasslands” that maybe could be a future attracting visitors … and wildlife … maybe even hunters … and/or bison or other ranching.

Going out on a limb, let me say as one American who’s never been to ND that winter there sounds intolerable to most Yanks!  At least Alaska has windbreaks (trees, mountains…), mild Pacific currents and breezes, etc.  HOWEVER: Remember that scene in the recent HBO remake of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee where the Mountie welcomes Sitting Bull across the Border in Queen Victoria’s name with the polite warning, “The winters get pretty cold up here — This isn’t Dakota!”?  I’m sure some scriptwriter had tongue planted firmly in cheek at that point.  But my world atlas’s climate maps suggest a kernel of truth after all: ND as a little bit warmer than most of Canada, and drier than most of Settler Canada … you know, that ribbon of population that stays pretty much within 200 miles of the Border, from Nova Scotia to Vancouver?  I mention drier since they say Manitoba’s provincial bird is the mosquito!  So, a “modest proposal”?: Instead of being America’s Icebox, how about … well … The Fridge, to the Rest of Canada’s Icebox!?  If North Dakota became the 11th Province (ND residents might prefer the sociopolitical approach of this post!  And spooky: exactly two years ago…!), right away it’d have nearly the same population as New Brunswick, well larger than Newfoundland-and-Labrador, and Prince Edward Island, respectively — two provinces also losing residents.  And long term, I’d imagine lots of Manitoba and Saskatchewan folk moving south now that they could do so without changing countries … followed by Alberta Oil Sands layoffs once the world starts recovering from its hydrocarbon addiction.  (Many Sands workers are the expatriates from Atlantic Canada, where it IS less cold in winter than Alberta, though wetter … and increasingly desolate of Settlers’ descendants.)

And provincehood isn’t even necessary ISTM.  MB and SK are sometimes referred to as “North America’s socialist heartland,” traditionally strongholds of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP), actually social democratic rather than strictly socialist.  Point being, a healthy sense of the Common Good — not unlike many ND’ans’ ancestral Scandinavia — and they just might open their bleeding hearts to ND’s economic needs, especially if ND were to join one or both provinces.  Either way, sounds like a Win-Win proposition, eh?

Otherwise, I guess some version of the “Buffalo Commons” idea will pretty much replace ND.  And/Or some version of the outstanding Great Sioux Nation claim.  Waving grasses, thundering herds, fenced-in towns if any at all, elevated highways/railroads if any, Tribal Villages / ranches / farms…. 

Your call.

(*–…what with the Olympics coming up and all…)

Fiduciary Responsibility

Global catastrophe is NOT “fiduciary responsibility”!

If Business kills-off its stockholders and customers, isn’t that bad for business???

ISTM the REAL bottom line is to HAVE a bottom line!!!  But right now it seems most American business is in a race to the bottom, period: ‘He who dies with the most toys wins.’  :(

SEIU next for ACORNuts?

OK, this time it’s personal.  The Service Employees International Union is one of my labor unions, and they came to my aid when I was being targeted by management on the job apparently because I wasn’t enthusiastic enough about … well, that’d go off-topic. ;)

As tonight’s Rachel jag continues(!), she’s revealed that, thinking prematurely that they’ve run ACORN into the ground ["Unless a seed falls to the ground...!"], the Right Wing Conspiracy — Big Business, Big Lobbyists, astroturf, AM radio, the Republican Party — may target SEIU (video) next for teaming up with ACORN to try to make poor people’s and workers’ lives a little less awful.  How does this hurt them?  Business has to pay slightly higher wages, sharing their massive profits (often already subsidized by one or more levels of government one way or another) with THOSE WHO ACTUALLY DO THE WORK THAT CEOs AND OWNERS GET THE CREDIT FOR.

And these guys attack US for “class warfare”?!! or “revenge”?!!

And if her guest’s idea that soon they’ll attack the National Council of Churches too, sounds exaggerated…  Conservative Evangelical leaders have long considered this Mainline Protestant ecumenical organization Communist.  (The Catholic bishops’ conference, too, though that group has swung Hard Right as they smell a Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade, and in reaction against same-sex marriage.)  Furthermore, they’ve been dancing on the grave of the Mainline for about a generation now, even though it’s not really going away (even though many of the Mainline think it is too), and recent research suggests that the relatively slight gains of Evangelicals vs. Mainline proportionately, are only because Evangelical women/couples are adopting artificial contraception more slowly than Mainline women/couples.  The Evangelical ‘bulge’ (no pun intended) is already slowing, but will continue growing for about another generation before ISTM the numbers start returning to their classical proportions.  (This is research sociologist Andrew Greeley has been involved in, but where I read it I can’t recall now.  [Many Years, Father!])

Two other things: What they’re now calling living wage has sometimes been called family wage.  So much for “family values”!

And another Greeley truism is that Democratic bigwigs, candidates, campaigns, either take their Catholic voters for granted, or don’t care about/are embarrassed about them … risking losing them to the Reagans and Bushes of this world.  Are workers and unions in the same fix?  Just like Official Dems, natural allies of/advocates for “bitter” small town and rural residents, don’t give them reason to switch their generation-long Republican voting habits?  Folks, I don’t see WASP “Limo Libs” reproducing fast enough anymore to warrant such a cavalier attitude towards our Party’s traditional coalition, the “Patchwork Quilt Majority”!!!  And many People of Color who get richer go Republican….

Cash for Clunkers!

You read it here first 7 months ago;)

As for those who think it’ll benefit foreign manufacturers more than domestic, well, that’s OK too, since we all live on the same planet, breathe the same air, yada yada yada!  Though, sure, we’d prefer to benefit our own assemblyline workers and chartered / originated corporations — so let’s keep this up long enough for them to build (more) cars that qualify!

Fox News Biden libel on economy

I have a journalism background (as opposed to what Fox News Channel serves up), and this fake edit just might be actionable, making VP Biden seem to claim last week that “the fundamentals of the economy are sound,” when the footage is actually from the campaign where he was quoting McCain and vigorously disagreeing with that assessment (as most of us then and now.  You’d think nobody would even use that particular expression after this past Election Day!).

Of course, nobody sues for libel or slander anymore, and so public discourse goes down the toilet where Reagan, the Repugs, and the Fundies sent it starting in the ’70s.

Recession Advice: Stay Home

As seen on KABC-TV Los Angeles previously, and on ABC News tonight probably courtesy of the NY Times Wednesday, now is not the best time to relocate if you don’t absolutely have to, unless you have money to burn, or if price is no object of course….

When I was a reporter in the suburbs and exurbs of one of this country’s major cities in the ’80s, “homeless hotels” and mega taxicab fares to jobs closer-in to that city were being picked up by some local Public Housing Authorities, but I don’t hear or read that in this week’s stories.  Were Bush/Cheney really worse for the needy — of whatever supposed “class” — than Reagan/Bush?!  Persons more in-touch with recent homelessness and hunger stats than I, might know.  Maybe it’s just the combined onslaught of the whole last 28 years (DLC/Clinton included).  I guess our REAL long national nightmare isn’t quite over yet….

Freedom from debt collectors!

  1. Did you know there’s a Statute of Limitations on many debts?!!  It varies by type of debt and by State, but basically if you avoid payments long enough [hopefully through no fault of your own, but sincere financial difficulty, sez I, but hey, the law is the law!], you’re Free and Clear!!!!!  Not that the predatory bastidges deserve the consideration….
  2. And after you browse this Federal court ruling, you may never give a debt collector the time of day again, may never agree to one of those mostly-bogus partial-as-payment-in-full arrangements, may never even stipulate that you have ever owed anything to anyone again!!!!!  Point being, be extremely careful, and if possible, get legal advice.
  3. Aren’t debt speculators the ones who caused the current Depression?!!!!
  4. From today’s research by me, it’s clear there’s alot of shady, barely-legal, deceptive, manipulative, maybe even illegal stuff going on by debt collectors.  Now THERE’S something (also) worth a probe!

SO HELP YOURSELF TO A “BAILOUT”!!!!!

Remember Next November

… in 2010 … who the Republicans voted to bail-out, and who they told ‘Drop Dead.’  They were OK with letting crooked bankers rob us blind, but when it came to union auto workers and the rest of America, they thumbed their noses, except Senators Specter, Snowe (an Orthodox Christian!), and Collins.

Yes, the GOP is as amenable to “bipartisanship” in opposition as they were in so-called leadership.  Why should WE?!!  They march in goose-step, hoping with Rush Limbaugh that America goes down like the Titanic … apparently even McCain, Mr. Conciliatory, is celebrating the Depression.  (‘Why do “conservatives” hate America?’)  Not hurting THEM too much, is it!  I’ll take a “Limousine Liberal” over a hypocritical, self-declared “Compassionate Conservative” any day!!!

In the interest of Full Disclosure, apparently I’m going to get a few more dollars in Food Stamps, and that one-time $250 lump-sum in my SSI/Disability (which will probably claw-back the Food Stamps!  Talk about taking from Peter to pay … well … Peter!).  Again, frankly, most individual beneficiaries of Bailout 2.0 are gonna sock it away in the bank and not “Go shopping” like us pobres who have NEEDS, so really, it would’ve done more good going more to us.  But then, apparently not even Specter, Snowe, and Collins, as Repugs, could stomach that.  And Specter comes from Philly….  With friends like him….  But hey, where else are we gonna get the money to pay your “Eat the poor,” upward-transfer taxes, eh?!!!  Wages?  Lotto?  Dean Graziosi?!

The phrase “one-world government” is ungrammatical.

Unless it’s preferring to limit government to a single world, say Earth, so it doesn’t also cover, I dunno, Mars, the Moon, Europa, Venus….

Why do they use the hyphen, making “one world” a single adjective instead of part of a phrase, as in, “I support (or oppose) one world government” or even just “a world government”?

My first encounter with the expression was I think on the back of a Keith Green album (along with anti-Catholicism) when I was spinning Christian Contemporary music on my college radio station in the early ’80s (I also spun Adult Contemp, Classic Rock, Classical, and read and wrote news), and it sounded as conspiracy-theorist then as it does now … even with some religious tilt I don’t quite comprehend, even after spending most of the ’90s among Protestants.

Inquiring minds wanna know!

Detroit Bailout: A Modest Proposal

How about if Washington bails-out Ford, GM, and Chrysler (How many times do we get to bail-out Chrysler?!!) the way it bailed-out the TV-makers?  Ban all existing motor vehicles from the road as of February, and allow only new Fords, GMs, and Chryslers from then on!  Congress can even give out coupons to help folks “make the transition.”

:|

(OTOH, it’d be great for Global Warming, improving our oil-independence, and we could dump the used cars on China and India so they don’t have to manufacture new ones for a while, helping their greenhouse emisions and our economics simultaneously – get back some of our money and “paper” from them!  Hmmm…!)

PS: Isn’t it weird that Repugs, including W., are OK with bailing-out banks and bankers and speculators, but not Union-dominated / Blue-State Ford, GM, and Chrysler?  Hmmm….

“Income Transfers”?

Realistically, I guess the only question is whether we want to transfer income from those who can spare it to those who need it.  Or from those who can’t spare it to those who don’t need it!  The latter is what we’ve been doing for most of the recorded history of taxation, effectively: trickle-down, supply-side, Reaganomics, voodoo economics, invisible hand, Thatchernomics.*  The former, U.S. critics call socialism,** class warfare, eat-the-rich, taking, pinko … others, social justice, solidarity, morality, love, “my brother’s keeper,” common sense, homeland security, prudente prudente, remedying the class warfare.

Speaking of which, there was a recent Doonesbury comic about McCain campaign lobbyists and the Bailouts….

(*–In the ’80s in Ireland they had a joke: In Ireland a thatcher is someone who keeps a roof over your head; in Britain it’s someone who takes it away!)

(**–Like it’s a bad thing!!)

GOP borrow-and-spend, engineered fiscal crises

The Republicans like to run against Democrats by calling us “tax-and-spend liberals.”  They also pretend to fiscal restraint and conservatism, competence and responsibility, supposedly in contrast to us.  What’s become clearer to more and more Americans in the last 28 years is just how untrue this all is.

Anybody who gets into power in government has political or financial ‘debts’ to pay, support to buy, punishment to mete out, interests of their own to pursue, maybe even once in a while sincere attempts to do the right thing.  We Democrats are supposedly averse to cutting programs – for the rich as well as for the poor – because we’re softies, or usually feel sensitive to cross-aisle criticism with an eye on re-election.  In fact Democrats in Congress are frequently brutalized into cutting programs for the poor, rarely for the rich.  But when we want to do more, we’re generally honest about the cost, and try to “pay as you go.”  It’s cheaper that way: no years of interest piling up.  But it’s politically costly unless it’s a ‘home run,’ and national Democrats haven’t hit many of those since the ’60s and ’70s.

Republicans, OTOH, have figured out a neat way to spend what they want.  They borrow the money, cynically put the government, ie, you and me, into debt to finance their grand schemes usually for the rich and business, stockholders I mean – certainly not workers who do the work!  This may be called BORROW-AND-SPEND.  It ingeniously separates the issue of the proposal from the issue of paying for it, by years.  And their beneficiaries are very grateful, and show it.  Doubt me?  Reagan was a master at it; the fact that Clinton left office with a huge surplus was little short of a miracle.  But just as fast, W. and Co. have put us back into a deep hole with no bottom in sight.

But surely the chickens come home to roost eventually, you say?  So much the better from the Republican perspective.  Fiscal crisis makes it politically easier for them to get away with cutting help for the poor, needy, and workers; they’re definitely not softies.  Also, by the time crisis comes, all that accumulated debt is just a huge dollar sign, and they can make us forget what it was for.  “Certainly we have to pay our debts,” they say, and everybody agrees.  “But if we overtax the rich and businesses, they’ll leave us in the lurch.”*  And so our already-regressive tax system goes into a higher gear, hitting the poor and workers even more, while their rich, powerful friends remain grateful, and keep on showing it.  To add insult to injury, the GOP now gets an undeserved reputation for fiscal restraint and responsibility.  IT’S PURE POLITICS, SMOKE AND MIRRORS, BAIT-AND-SWITCH.  More recently, they “create facts on the ground,” getting us into wars that benefit mostly nobody but their contractor buddies; now it’s, “We can’t leave that country in a mess, can we?”

There’s a place for borrowing by government: needs such as capital construction or repair or purchase, or emergencies.  But Republicans borrow excessively, at least at the federal level.  In effect they SPEND-AND-TAX: They tax future generations!  That means interest on top of the initial (unworthy) cost.

This habit of theirs actually undermines two foundational principles of English/American democratic government: The people may not be taxed without the consent of their legislative representatives, aka, “Taxation without representation is tyranny**;” and, No legislature may bind a future legislatureDebt-abuse taxes future generations unnecessarily without their advance consent.  And it binds future legislatures to tax, to pay for this unnecessary debt.  Historically these principles are on a level with the Magna Carta, and ought to be considered more weightily than they have been in recent decades, especially by the GOP as it claims a “conservative” and “small government / anti-government” mantle … unless these too are just blowing smoke.

(*–What an undermining of our sovereignty!!  That’s treason!)

(**–Although there are certainly worse forms of tyranny!)

Palin update!

A monetary-reform approach to the crisis

From monetary reformer Stephen Zarlenga, Mrs. Kucinich’s old boss.  [Wow, what a makeover!  I liked her better before....]

(Hey, I just realized something: We have debit cards, and debt cards!!!  Imagine if we called them that: I guess that’s why we don’t!!!)

Crisis and Bailouts: A moral question

How did our and the world’s economy become so dependent on gambling on bad debt generated by deceptive, predatory lending?

Can we declare the Reagan Revolution over and restore some sanity to our economic and financial relations with one another??

OTS calls Wall Street’s fears “misplaced”

That’s the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision – which I didn’t know was still around after the ’80s S&L crisis cleanup – near the bottom of this AP piece.

Sweet Bailouts!

Funny how they don’t hesitate to give 800 billion of our and our grandchildren’s money to big business, the rich, and “investors,” while they nickel-and-dime us poor people to death!  Just four questions:

  1. How can the taxpayers be bilked without a Congressional Appropriation?
  2. Is there an election coming up?!! ;)
  3. How much of this money will come back into Republican campaign coffers?!!!  (I’m put in mind of the Canadian Liberals’ Sponsorship Scandal, and the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber deal that created a slush fund for W. and Harper!)
  4. For that matter, do campaign contributions determine which corporations we bail out and which we leave to “market forces”?!!!

Just let any one of you try and get help from the government when you’re in real need, disabled, unemployed, tied-down at home with kids, even trying to get off drugs, etc etc.!  Sure, there are programs, but talk about humiliation!

BTW, can we really have a President at this time who admits he’s economically clueless?!!!  Thanks for the honesty, McCain, but C-ya!!!

Oil Prices

Any excuse to raise ‘em!  A butterfly sneezes in the Indian Ocean, and oil goes up here.  GOUGING!!!!!  SPECULATING!!!!!

UPDATE: Ah, so they say gas at the pump has been falling for the last two months?  Must be an election coming up….

State-by-state recessions now?!

A sure sign of denial.  Must be an election year!

Walmart coercing votes for McCain?

So says this article.  I think it would be illegal.  Other businesses might be doing it too.

Peak Oil breaks into MSM

He said it, I didn’t.  (Not since October anyway.)  The analyst in the video accompanying this page 1 WSJ article (link will probably break) wondered if the Oil Market is already factoring-in Peak Oil as part of its skyrocketing prices (being passed along to us in everything from the gas pump to the fresh food section, ie, widespread inflation with no end in sight!).  Farther down, the Journal itself says P.O. theory is spreading among industry executives, who I imagine don’t tend to put much trust in miracles like the PO-denial crowd does.  WSJ also points out that in November the International Energy Agency (not to be confused with the Intl Atomic Energy Agency) – in a story I don’t remember hearing about! – forecast that by 2015 – 7 years from *now* – the world could fall 12 million barrels a day short of demand.  “By” means BEFORE!!!

What could be worse?  Well, according to the Journal, the IEA tends to be optimistic, driven by politics vs. science (kind of like the Global Warming committee, the Intl Panel on Climate Change!), which means if they predict bad news, it’s gonna be WORSE!!!  (They missed China, and the current spikes.)

Even worse?  They say even the oil-owned U.S. government’s own forecaster is also pessimistic if you read between the lines!  (Though I note the Journal wants us to believe there’s “political turmoil in Venezuela,” probably anticipating a U.S. invasion.  They also strove mightily to end on a positive note, as I said, trusting in miracles.  As an Orthodox Christian, I believe in miracles.  I just don’t think you can plan on or expect them, like Western Chrstians do!)

Worse yet?  ABC World News Tonight picked up the story.  Look out world!

One thing PO theorists don’t seem to factor-in is noted in the ABC AP version of the story, quoting a source:

Up to now, we have seen that the international oil companies were responsible for bringing a big chunk of the oil to the markets. Now, in many cases, since existing reserves are declining, a big part of oil will need to come from national oil companies. And they have their own conditions, their own context.

They don’t say why this should be, but I believe it’s because governments that own oil companies aren’t about to go off the “Olduvai Cliff” – or let their high-paying customers do so – if they can help it.  Governments will invest taxes both in energy companies they own and in those they charter or regulate (ie, subsidize those that own them!) in an attempt to keep up and increase production beyond what is “profitable,” the immediate driver of the PO cliff.  The thing is, we’ll all pay for it one way or another, and the politics of it will be increasingly rough.  As for poorer countries without energy resources, they’ll slide downward sooner and/or faster, with even worse consequences, without international help – which will cost everyone else even more.

What are we ready for?  What can we get ready for?

A new reason for economic growth?  Is that even possible without oil (and natural gas)???  As they say, we don’t know of a natural source of energy more potent than oil/gas.  Coal is up there, but even more controversial.  That’s it for hydrocarbons!  Nuclear, with all its dangers inherent (accidents, waste, etc.) and external (terrorism)?  Plus how long does it take to propose and bring a new reactor online – 20 years??? – and more controversial yet!

“Business” in America’s roots

The Kings of Great Britain should’ve expected trouble when they colonized the Atlantic coast with “proprietors” and “corporations”!  Was this any improvement over feudalism, granting colonies to worthy nobles in fief to help preserve the nature of British society like ‘at home’?  These corporations – like all originally – were a way for the Crown to pool wealth it didn’t have or wish to expend on the project, but still wished the project to go forward.  But as even Tom Jefferson knew, corporations suck-in power like a Black Hole – and so now we have them basically ruling the planet over and above the sovereign powers that created them and theoretically keep them alive by mere sovereign prerogative.

Of course, promoting an economic model for colonization, rather than a more ‘wholistic,’ cultural, multifaceted, inclusive, realistic one – I’m sure other models were possible besides feudalism (even a ‘modernized’ version) if that offends you – meant it was only a matter of time before enough ignoble wealthy perpetrated a “hostile takeover” – read coup d’etat - of the colonies.  Today we’re still “plantations” – Plantation America – if seemingly better taken-care-of than their ones elsewhere in the world – better-deluded, better-bribed, better-pacified, whatever.  Ironically, the late Marc Chaitlin claimed even the branches of the federal government, and the (small-R) republican “states,” were themselves fake “corporations,” especially in his collection of essays, The Constitution Papers – corporations designed to oppress us and exploit the land.

Just like the original ones, only far, far worse, and unchecked.  Talk about “absolutism.”

Proof: Obama’s right: They’re “bitter”

According to the Wall Street Journal of all sources!  This link will probably break soon unless you give them money (figures…), but they did a feature this weekend in and around the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the runup to the PA Democratic Primary on Tuesday – not exactly small-town, but alot smaller than Philly, Pittsburgh, etc.  Front page headline, above the fold, full-color photo: “Trapped in the Middle: The incomes of most Americans have stalled; Tackling voter angst in Pennsylvania.”  (“Angst” is just philosophical-German for “bitter” worry!)  And this is just the middle-middle-class; as we know, most Americans’ wages haven’t just “stalled,” they’ve been falling in constant dollars for decades!

Sociologists Andrew Greeley and Michael Hout uncovered this (slightly-) indirectly two years ago in their book The Truth about Conservative ChristiansAs it happens, Obama has a rural/farm plan along with his general economic plan.

Tsars, Serfs, and the West

One of the worst charges laid at the feet of the Tsars (Emperors) of Russia by Western and Western-influenced critics is considered to be possibly the largest, harshest, and latest-ending system of serfdom the world has ever seen.  What these Westerners don’t tell us is that making Ukraine and vicinity “the breadbasket of Europe” came at a price to most of the Russian people.  As this Wikipedia article points out, Eastern Europe was Western Europe’s first source of cash crops, a practice which of course the West later exported over much of the Earth because it worked so well … for the West!

Serfdom declined in Western Europe because of peasant rebellions, the Plague, Enclosure of the Commons (a great Crime Against Humanity), industrialization, the growth of wage labor even in agriculture (you win some, you lose some!), urbanization, etc.  So they effectively transferred it to Eastern Europe!  They off-shored it!  Eastern landowners, nobles, and monarchs shamefully turned to the profits available in exporting cash crops to the West, and so had to hold on to their own peasantry, in some cases well into the 19th century.

The Banana Republic Phenomenon gives us an idea what they would’ve faced if they’d balked at such abjection.  So do, more recently, it is alleged by many, the current Oil Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  But the West blames the Tsars, Orthodoxy, Eastern “backwardness,” “need / desire for strong leaders,” and all that other claptrap, when it needs to paint the system from which it benefited so much – which probably saved its life, since without food you die – as bad.  This is not different from the Western Powers blaming “Balkanization” on the Balkans, after the West has spent over 200 years trying to dissolve that region into smaller and smaller statelets.  (The newest, Kosovo, is “slightly larger than Delaware,” for crying out loud!)  Or blaming Indian Tribes for behavior akin to Banana Republics after setting them up on the worst land on the continent, eviscerating their cultures, imposing non-traditional (small-R) republican governments on them, then reinvading them for mineral resources when these are discovered, just like the Third World!!!!!

What’s the definition of a legal mind?: the ability to think about something intimately related to something else, without thinking about the thing to which it’s related!  IOW, Compartmental Thinking, that great gift of Western Christianity to the world, which has allowed the West to basically rape the planet and commit the worst crimes, absolve itself of blame, and in fact turn the blame onto its victims!!!!!

Poorest not eligible for Stimulus money

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not count as qualifying income for the stimulus payment.”

What’s wrong with this picture?  Economists say $600 or $1200 will most likely stimulate the economy (as much as it will at all, which is not much) in the hands of the poorest.  For those with higher incomes, it’s no big deal, “pin money” as it used to be called.

Of course, this isn’t a real Economic Stimulus Package.  It’s an Incumbent / Republican Election Package.  And alot of the poorest don’t vote.  Wonder why?  :|

Impeach ‘em all for bribery!

Soda kills

Just in case you missed the new research about diet soda (yes, diet) recently, there’s this.  And diet was supposed to be better than regular!

Think about it: liquid sugar by the gallon, all those bubbles to mess with your gastrointestinal tract and environs, bigger and bigger cups – some now look like mini kegs! – and we expected to get away with it?!!!

Think of soda like candy – it is, after all, liquid candy: a little bit, once in a while.  Otherwise, just “obey your thirst.”

Or … there’s always beer, wine, liquor!

Feed everyone

The Orthodox Herald in December pointed to recent statements by the Popes of Rome – John Paul and Benedict* – that we have a moral obligation to provide food and water – “nutrition and hydration” the doctors call it – to patients in a “vegetative state.”  (I guess if babies in the womb are no longer babies in the womb, food and water is merely “medical treatment”….)

But IOTM that what we have is a moral obligation to provide food and water to EVERYONE unable to provide it for themselves!  Whether they’re paralyzed, sick, poor, unemployed, frail, Disabled, children, drought-stricken, plague-stricken, unlucky or unskilled in agriculture, fulltime parents, mentally ill, retarded, insufficiently intelligent, underpaid, whatever.  We have so much wealth…!  And as St. Basil the Great said, Whatever of it we don’t need belongs to the needy.

How about a little human solidarity, love, sharing, generosity, philanthropy (yes, even in your voting and lobbying and taxpaying … unless you can come up with a better way), “consubstantiality,” God-like-ness (Think about “the liberality** of God“!), self-discipline, etc.?

(*–The O.H.’s readership includes Eastern Catholics ["Uniates"] in communion with Rome, traditionally possessing Orthodoxy theology, liturgy, spirituality, etc. … just not part of The Orthodox Church.)

(**–That’s liberality, not liberalism!)

Fight back, Drive 55.

Auto repair scams

Why should generic auto repair and maintenance advice be anything other than straightforward?  For instance, is a transmission flush (not just drain-and-fill) a necessary thing, a helpful thing but not necessary, risky, or plainly always very bad?

I will confess I am a total girl when it comes to cars.  (No offense, ladies … especially you Diesel Dykes!)  Speaking of which, why should auto repair and service be so dodgy to begin with?  If ever a field of business cried out for strict government regulation….

Anyway, ISTM a car is far less contingent than a human body.  “Ya canna defy the laws of physics, Captain!”  A car is a mechanical device, nothing more.  If it tells you, “Forty days more and Nineveh – or your transmission – will be destroyed,” repenting of your sins in prayer, sackcloth-and-ashes, fasting, and almsgiving will not change its mind!  (Unless, of course, God Himself decides to become involved in an unusual manner…!)  Onboard computers aside, “the anklebone’s connected to the shinbone, the shinbone’s connected to the kneebone, the kneebone’s connected to the thighbone, etc.”  Yet automotive arguments and disputations almost reach the theological level!  (Western theology, that is, which is just rarefied philosophy.)

I will add this to the Web ‘cloud': The first time I was ever ‘informed’ by a servicing dealer (I bought the car slightly used from a dealer of other makes) about a ‘need’ to flush the transmission, something I’d never heard of before, and wasn’t in the Service Guide, though “changing” the tranny fluid had by then been “not required but recommended at 60,000 and 120,000 mile interval” by Ford Inc.,* and since I was still under warranty, “recommended” was required – this was in ’99 – I called Ford in Detroit (Customer Assistance Center: [800] 392-3673 at that time, although I think I actually talked to a girl in a call centre in Toronto, eh?), and she told me something interesting: “We only hear about it from dealers!”  Interesting, because quite by accident I recently had it alleged by a transmission specialist – the owner of the business – who seemed not to gain anything from saying so except my good feelings, that the concept of the transmission flush “was invented by the dealers,” “is a fraud,” a way to get customers to pay $200 for a $50 job, and not something he could in those terms convince customers to do, so he returned the $10,000 flush machine to his franchiser.

Why would I think this guy is trustworthy?  Maybe he thinks he’ll get my business in the future: What, $50 at a time, every 30k or 60k, on a little 100k+ Ford?  Hardly seems worth it.  The flush machine would pay for itself in a few months at most in that market, especially with his earnest-seeming gentle prodding.  But here’s something else: I’d been referred to him by one of the quickie oil-change places that all of a sudden seem to develop specializations in other fields as well … maybe … for service my new best friend said it turns out I don’t need.  (Was one of his workers getting kickbacks? or one of the quicky guys? Or did he himself undergo a religious conversion recently?!!)  IOW, he saw I was a total girl, and could’ve had me (so to speak) and made me think he was doing me a favor, coming and going.  And he didn’t.

I don’t know for sure about what I seem to have learned here, so I won’t mention names, but you’ve definitely heard of both franchises I’m referring to, the allegedly bad oil-change outfit and the allegedly better tranny place.

Frankly, I think auto shop should be mandatory for all high school students – male and female.  It could’ve saved me several hundred dollars at least, in the last 9 years, money I could really use now.

(*–Now every 30,000, according to their website genuineservice.com.)

Almsgiving IS charity

Though our “puritans” of today probably won’t take it from the Pope of Rome!  Not only is it good for the needy and objectively a good idea, but a good spiritual discipine, encouraging detachment from things, and actual “participation in the Divine Life” (as the Good Book says, I think in an Epistle of St. Peter) – which may be why the Lord said, “It is more blest to give than to receive.”  Which is why Rationalized Capitalism and Trickle-down/Voodoo Economics is the exact opposite of Christianity … not to mention very bad for you, eternally speaking!

Almsgiving is the soul of charity!

“Democracy as a nation-breaker”

This analysis suggests Kenya and many other countries need one or two things ahead of strict two- or six-party “democracy.”  Something to think about.

Why Canada’s Different, and Getting More Different

This quote I found here is related to that book a little while back on this topic:

While America was founded on the idea of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Canada’s constitution is dedicated to “peace, order, and good government,” a decidedly less individualistic, more community-minded stance, which explains Canada’s predisposition for “balancing individual autonomy with a sense of collective responsibility,” according to Adams.

The rampant individualism found in the US comes at the expense of security and stability. “[I]n an instant, illness, crime, or an injudicious investment portfolio can turn the proverbial American Dream into an outright nightmare,” Adams writes in “Who Are the Real Masters of Docility?,” an essay found on theglobalist.com.  As a result, “an ever greater proportion of America is clinging to old institutions — family, church, state … even gangs — as anchors in an increasingly chaotic world.”  Americans are seeking stability in traditional authorities: “a strong police force, a strong military, a strong nation, the President and Commander-in-Chief.”  Ironically, then, in this land of the free, people are afraid to explore new perspectives, new ways of living.

And from the article to which the above is a sidebar:

Sure, {Canada}’s a capitalist country and there’s competition, but it’s less ferocious, less cutthroatTrue, if rankings of Gross Domestic Product are any measure, the US is richer than Canada.  But Canada has a higher quality of life.

This isn’t in the first place Canada-worship on my part, but Classical Conservatism, aka progressive conservatism, aka Red Toryism, aka reason not ideology, pragmatism not experimentation (‘American pragmatism’? Hah!), the Common Good of everybody – all of us – not just MEMEME.

And Time magazine complains about Russia under Putin?!  Worry about real nascent(?) Fascism here!

FREE CANADA!, or, What else American Red Tory means

Many Canadians feel economically dominated by the United States, the 800-pound gorilla to the South.  Though what should be done about that should probably be guided by Canadians who have that country’s best interests at heart.  For instance, letting them tear-up NAFTA and US-Canada Free Trade as well as other agreements prejudicial to Canada – or reopening them for fairer negotiations – and impose domestic corporate ownership quotas.

Some Canadians also feel culturally dominated by us.  Certainly they get all the American TV shows, books, movies, and music – though somehow they don’t seem to affect them like they do us, ie, making us kill each other and others different from us!  Also, Canadian influence on U.S. TV, movies, music, etc., is strong, or at least, the influence of Canadian-born persons (Pamela Anderson, Michael J. Fox, Lorne Michaels, Neil Young, Peter Jennings, etc.).  Interesting question for further examination.

But worst of all is U.S. influence on Canadian politics.  Not merely keeping an eye on the 49th Parallel since we are the local 800-lb. gorilla, but putting up with us exporting American republicanism, Republicanism, Classical Liberalism / irrational libertarianism, political Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, other ideologies, horse-race campaign news coverage and attitudes, greed and Rationalized Capitalism, giving orders to Canadian Forces behind the back of their own government, dictating policy to Ottawa, our government influencing their elections, Bay Street a carbon copy of Wall Street, the question of Fort Drum,* etc etc etc.  Now, ‘children must play,’ but must America muck around with such a loyal ally and generous neighboUr, when instead we should be learning from them?!!!  MAKE AMERICA IN CANADA’S IMAGE!!!

PS: Why don’t Canucks, with more guns per capita than us, kill each other like we do?  Why don’t our TV and movies have such a bad influence on them if any at all?  Why do they have health care, multiple parties, Responsible Government (read accountable executive),** hand-marked paper ballots, profounder education, more peaceful diversity, nicer cities, less-“concentrated” Indians, recognized Mixed-Blood Indigenous, true friends in all parts of the world, etc etc etc.  They’re not perfect.  But the answers must lie in their culture, their heritage, their history, even their legal tradition.  (Conversely, our late friend Marc Chaitlin firmly believed our violence today was rooted in our violent Revolution and replacement of legitimate government with “the Slavemaster Republic.”)  How do they differ from us?  Monarchy, peaceful evolution vs. violent revolution (They’re ‘the American Evolution’!), Classical Conservatism, gradual independence, British tutelage (vs. enmity) in statecraft and soldiery and diplomacy, “Peace, Order, and Good Government” more important than mere “Pursuit of Happiness” (sounds like a motto for Hedonism!), a sense and tradition of the Common Good as an active not passive thing, national solidarity even in peacetime, self-restraint, a check on politicians even in the appointive offices of Governor General and Lieutenant-Governors, greater High-Church influence (Roman Catholic and Anglican), an Empire-cum-Commonwealth of Nations, etc etc etc.

(*–Rudmin alludes to the “unprecedented” Congressional appropriation behind the initial construction of Ft. Drum, unprecedented because it was unconstitutional!  Being for three years, it violated Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which limits military appropriations to two years!  Somebody in Washington really wanted Ft. Drum, bad enough to risk public exposure and a court case, neither of which apparently came.)

(**–Think about how our elite structure their own corporations.  There isn’t a Board of Directors in the land that would give a CEO the carte blanche any U.S. President has for 4 or 8 whole years, unless he was already majority owner or the inventor of the product or something, of course.)

MLK Day

  1. “Martin Luther King Sales”?!!!  I guess it was only a matter of time.
  2. “Day-on, not day-off”?  I’ve been familiar with this since the ’80s.  I understand the sentiment, but I think it makes non-Black adults (ie, not in school) question whether it’s a “real holiday” (as they say) if it’s not a day off except for government.  Fewer and fewer of them are “real holidays” anymore, with stores open, malls, even businesses / workplaces, factories, customer service….  It seems only Christmas, New Year’s (mostly), 4th of July, and Thanksgiving are “sacred” anymore, know what I mean?  And Europeans get all August off…!  Even Canadians get a couple unnamed, theme-free “bank holidays,” while we’re merging holidays – Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday into “Presidents’ Day.”  Frankly, I think February is too long as it is; we should un-combine them, and in fact, get every Monday in February off!  How about every Monday in August, too?  Christmas Eve … Black Friday … Thanksgiving Eve … Easter Monday … Friday before Memorial Day … Halloween (Trick-or-treat all day, kiddies!) … Election Day … Friday before Labor Day….

Bush “stimulus package” buying votes for GOP?

Inquiring minds want to know.

And I thought he was just “stimulating his package”!!!

Maybe this is even a well-timed recession, to produce this “lovely parting gift” for the voters?!!!  Flash a check in front of some people, and they forget the last 7-plus years….

More on Writers’ strike and late night

NBC and ABC threatened to fire employees of Carson Daly, Leno, O’Brien, and Kimmel?  Let’s fire THEM!  Boycott NBC, ABC, their late-night advertisers, and these networks’ affiliated companies, if you can!  It’s hard, I know, they’re everywhere!  But don’t boycott MSNBC, it’s our only alternative to Faux News Channel and their MSM clones, for politics and government coverage, such as it is.

It’s OK, Craig Ferguson has the most entertaining/longest monologues in late-night!  Well worth the price of admission … and then some!  ;)

BTW, so much for Conan’s allegedly-wispy facial hair….

Huckabee crossed a picket line; Late night shows

…even if he doesn’t want to admit it.  When he went in a back door to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to avoid “crossing a picket line,” he either didn’t know or didn’t care that you don’t have to physically walk through a barricade of striking workers to “cross a picket line.”  All you have to do is help a struck workplace perform struck work.  IIUC, Leno, who is himself a Writers’ Guild member and theoretically still on strike, believes as long as he ad-libs and doesn’t “write,” he’s not scabbing himself.  But IIUC, the Guild – who are supposed to be his authority in such matters – disagrees, and was indeed picketing the taping of his show.  (If the Guild kicks Jay out, he’d be barred from writing for his own show!)  If Huckabee really supports the writers, he should’ve foregone the temptation to make political hay by going on Jay’s first new show since the strike began, on the eve of the Iowa straw poll.  But he either doesn’t understand, or doesn’t really care.

Catholic theologian David Tracy and sociologist Andrew Greeley have a theory that might explain Rev. Huck’s behavior.  They say Protestants have a congenital difficulty comprehending analogy – the idea that something is like something else – rooted in their Biblicism and centuries-long opposition to Latin-Rite Catholic material “sacramentalism.”  Thus, Huck wouldn’t have understood that the taboo against “crossing a picket line” isn’t necessarily literal.  It has nothing to do with a face-to-face challenge to the picketers on-duty at that moment, and everything to do with the total aim of the job action by all the employees.

Then again, maybe it’s just because he’s a Republican … which may be the same thing.  Greeley tells the one about the two old Irish-American ladies in Chicago: One says, “I hear Alderman O’Leary has become a Republican.”  The other replies, “Ridiculous!  Wasn’t I after seeing him in church just last Sunday?!”  ;)

Of course, Leno calls himself a Catholic of some kind….  Conan O’Brien and Carson Daly, too.  (Daly even majored in Theology at Loyola Marymount … calling into question the Jesuit education available there!!)  So I guess we should boycott them and their advertisers!?  (I must confess that, last night, eating at a turnpike service area, their two TVs were blaring Fox News and O’Brien/Daly. Tough choice. I went with the latter, for which may God have Mercy on me! In Orthodoxy, we seek forgiveness even in a dilemma, rather than seek to justify ourselves before God – before Whom no creature can justify himself. But I saw it as the lesser of two evils!)

Catholic Dave Letterman* did the right thing, reaching an “interim agreement” with the Guild on behalf of himself and Craig Ferguson (aka Worldwide Pants Inc.), before returning to production.

(*–As Dave told fellow Catholic Ray Romano a year or two ago, “I have a season ticket, but I don’t make it to all the games.”)

Germany warns on Wifi; What about cumulative effects?

This recent British newspaper piece* is somewhat opinionated, but includes facts about German concerns about health risks.  This Wikipedia link currently provides allegedly-scientific counterpoint.  ["Jane you ignorant slut!"]

One thing possibly hinted at in the German report is the cumulative effect of ALL the electromagnetic radiation we now live amid (“electrosmog”?).  We’re usually told about their “safety” one at a time, but what about altogether?!!  One smokestack or factory-farm, car or burnt forest or clearcut, doesn’t cause Global Warming, but millions do, after all!

(*–Don’t worry about the .ece suffix on this link, it seems to just be a normal webpage.)

Loss Of Signal (LOS)

What if they put in an appropriate permanent orbit around Mars a radio relay satellite, for when probes get behind the planet?  At least we might find out what happens to them when they ‘disappear’….

(If they don’t already know, that is!  Bwahahahaha!)

Digital TV: Worth it?

It doesn’t work in bad weather or over as great distances as analog.  Considering that very bad weather is one time you really need your local TV stations, this really wasn’t well-thought-out.  We might want to reconsider the thinning-out of local (and real) news on the radio!!!

Weather Hype

Commercial media (and others who serve them) over-hype actual and even potential forecasts of bad weather because often that lets them activate higher-cost advertising – kind of like the sensationalistic screamer headlines in tabloids, designed to attract more ‘eyeballs’ – often called things like “Operation Snowflake” and “Stormcenter.”  Commercial media have “Snowflake [etc.] sponsors” lined-up in advance each year or bad-weather season.  I’m not sure if they just dump the cheaper ads, or keep both.  But the broadcaster has complete control over when it decides to “declare the Stormcenter open,” and the money rolls in automatically.

I suppose if there were super-excessive abuse by the broadcaster, sponsors might rebel, but I haven’t noticed any change after a number of high-profile examples in recent years, have you?  It may be like playing the one-armed bandit: ‘one of these times’ they’ve gotta hit the jackpot!

Now, maybe not all weather gaffes are greedy.  Also, there’s a natural tendency in U.S. journalism, especially broadcast (TV and radio), to focus on threats and bad news and fear, as Michael Moore pointed out in Bowling for Columbine.  As the saying goes, it does focus a viewer’s attention to know that he is to be hanged in a fortnight – or maybe stuck in a snowdrift then.  Plus, who wouldn’t like to be able to predict news, especially news that affects everyone; when anywhere close to accurate, that’s the ultimate in public service, right?  But compare the 1980s to today, and it’s clear to me the weather hype is exponentially greater.

So one must wonder….

(Meanwhile we could actually use more attention on Global Warming – that’s REAL bad news!)

Another take on Canada’s ‘conservative progressiveness’

from a Boston Globe writer who seems to just about ‘get it’!

I would just add a comment on this paragraph:

The differences between the two countries are captured in their founding documents. As Canadian textbooks often note, Canadian politicians deliberately avoided the eloquence found in the Declaration of Independence, which ringingly celebrates ”life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Instead, Canada’s much more prosaic bedrock document, the British North America Act of 1867, promises ”peace, order, and good government.”

I wouldn’t call “peace, order, and good government” prosaic, or even excessively deliberately anti-demagogic vis a vis the Declaration of Independence.  Isn’t “POGG” the proper basis for “LLPH”???  Isn’t LLPH “a house built on sand” without POGG?  Couldn’t we use some POGG in America today, after all these years of so much of the opposite?!!!  As the writer says at the end, Canada’s progressive Classical Conservatism is “a conservative worldview – albeit a type of sober-minded conservatism that has few parallels in an ever more radically right-wing America” (emphasis mine).  And of course, most Americans have had to keep struggling for LLPH even since 1776: most Catholics, women, Blacks, non-landowners, the poor, workers, the disabled and elderly, the sick, Classical Conservatives, radicals, cities, immigrants, pacifists, progressives, gay people, Indigenous people/s….

U.S. liberals’ progressive conservatism(!)

To hear “conservative” politicians and “pundits,” we try to get government to help the needy, sick, and disabled, as a way of buying their votes, that is, bribing them.  Same with labor and workplace rules for workers and unions … public education for kids(?) and the teachers’ unions … a little more social justice, for city people’s, women’s, people of color’s, immigrants’, and gay people’s votes … reduced censorship and looser broadcast content guidelines for, well, pornographers’ and bohemians’ and atheists’ votes, I guess … Evolution and equality and compassion in said public schools, for, I dunno, Unitarians’, “social engineers’,” and wimps’ votes? … environmentalism for the treehuggers’, EarthFirsters’, and eco-terrorists’ votes … “well-regulated” firearms control for the “jack-booted thug” vote I guess? … and peace, for the huge Muslim vote in this country!

They talk as if we’ve all devoured the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, the Quran, Gustavo Gutierrez and Chairman Mao and Madalyn Murray O’Hair, all ‘baddies’ like that.  We’re all free-loving, swinging, acid-dropping, rock-and-roll-listening(!), non-breeding stereotypes from the ’60s – just like they sound!

With my own life’s study and observation, I think the large number of native-born Americans – I don’t have alot of in-depth exposure to Americans born elsewhere at this time – being American (small-R) republicans, *are* somewhat ‘ideological,’ very much attached to the words of this country’s individual liberties, to the vote (preferably free and clean and counted correctly – How hard is that?!), to the Constitution of 1787 as amended and generally as interpreted, and to our accustomed, historical/evolved form of Rationalized Capitalism.  I also think the large number of them, being what might be called center-left in social ethics(!), or such awful terms like ‘caring’ or ‘sensitive’ or ‘polite,’ also believe this status quo isn’t perfect yet, has generally been getting better through the labor of alot of people in our society over the years, and can always be tweaked and improved: “Our best days are yet to come.”  We care about the Common Good, generally for those worse-off than ourselves in this country and abroad, even those different from ourselves.  On a personal basis we are the most philanthropic in the world (though as I’ve said, that may be in part because morally we have to be, since per population or economy, our government is not; in any case, it’s not enough to meet the need and the Common Good).  We generally support fairness especially to those worse-off, even some extra help if they really need it and we can give it.  Our biggest problem is such a disconnect with our government that we always feel overtaxed, but when we’re correctly informed, we’re often even ready to adjust our stances in politics, economics, ecology, society, etc., not because we “flipflop,” but because we discover we didn’t know as much as we thought we did about this or that situation.  It’s a big country, after all, and an even bigger world!

Therefore, when our critics and (supposed) ‘betters’ accuse us of mere cynical angling for power for power’s sake, such charges are patently false.  We don’t wage “class war,” though some of us seek to *end* the one being waged against us!  And we certainly didn’t make up Global Warming because we thought it’d put us back in power, but we espouse doing what we can about it because we just don’t want the planet to FRY as much over the next couple thousand years!!!  I don’t want to engage in potentially false gainsaying, but in the era of Karl Rove, it seems our critics doth protest too much!

In fact, IOTM that the large number of native-born Americans display qualities of progressive conservatism or Red Toryism, of a kind not entirely unlike what I’m constantly discussing in this blog!  Obviously relatively few have studied the British, Canadian, and Australian constitutions and legal and political systems, or other comparative government, or consider themselves Monarchists at this time, or explicit critics so much of Classical Liberalism or Modernity, or, obviously, Orthodox Christians.  But this is only to be expected in an environment of over two centuries of school and media brainwashing.  But the large number of native-born Americans show signs of convinceability, if the truth, the facts, the history and the causes of things, can be gotten out to them, and they can be reminded to think carefully before they vote or lobby, and to remember that what unites us is far greater than whatever may be perceived as dividing us.  Their real ‘conservatism’ manifests itself as it is able, in a country where we exiled or suppressed our true Classical Conservatism, and where heartless, brainless, even unFaithful and traitorous actions masquerade under the name of “conservatism” today.  Actually, as I recently read someone else suggest, we are the ones, in the absence of any other relatively-viable alternative at this time, seeking to ‘conserve’ what good there may be from the republic as described above, while our critics and ‘betters’ defy the agreed Constitution, undermine its interpretation, neuter Congress and the States, and risk “World War 3″ several times over, in the last few years alone.

Which is why I blog.

OTOH, our critics are the ones who show signs of blind faith in innovative, false, artificial, unrealistic, inhumane, lethal, unChristian, Classically Liberal and Modernist ideologies … of hypocrisy, cynical manipulation, divisiveness, and incivility … of sinister agenda on behalf of a minority of vested interests … of moral and ethical corruption … of military, foreign policy, fiscal, and intelligence-management malfeasance, misfeasance, and/or nonfeasance … of lost Sovereignty over our own and other countries’ created corporations … of “voodoo economics” which basically are the single biggest cause of most of our people’s real material problems for the whole last generation, such as increased hunger and homelessness, falling wages and health-care coverage and assistance to the needy, rampant profiteering and offshoring instead of the promised reinvestment of corporate and wealthy tax giveaways, etc.

THIS JUST IN: GW: Canuck theocons to derail Bali?

Diabetes slams non-whites

Excellent Toronto Star series exposes non-white’s hugely greater risk, possible reasons why, and what you might be able to do about it.

We’re driving ourselves to death

Introducing Britain’s healthcare system

In ‘honour’ of Mike Moore‘s SiCKO coming out on DVD just in time for the holidays (give it to someone who needs it!):

“[S]ocialised medicine is not just a hallmark of a decent society, but economically rational as well. If one leaves behind capitalist-romantic theories about private-sector efficiency and looks at real-world privatised medicine, which may be observed in America, it is an obvious disaster. It is vastly more expensive and delivers mediocre results outside of luxury care. Britain spends about 1/3 the money per person and we have public health statistics roughly equivalent to America. Except for the fact that the bottom 1/4 of our population is vastly healthier.”

Who said this?:

Sorry, it was no less “conservative” a source than the fascist* British National Party!

One phrase I don’t see in the Wikipedia article on Britain’s National Health Service (linked just above) is “two-tier system,” even though those with money are perfectly free to pay to see docs ‘on the side,’ or “jump the queue” as they put it.  This I know is a concern in Canada, maybe elsewhere too.  Maybe it’s not seen as a problem in Britain, or not done alot, or not needed alot; I don’t know.

Speaking of France’s health-care system….  A few more details about it that Mike couldn’t work-into the movie … though I’m not sure I trust insurance companies, eh?  And Mike didn’t pick-up that even before W.-soundalike Sarkozy came to power in France, they were moving away from Mike’s iconic nanny-laundry setup, tragically.

Now Mike is pushing Norway (scroll down for video)Not bad, but lots of co-pays, plus it’s still married to the employer-employee system (PDF), which is a pain in the rear.  (Though a couple years ago I heard a theocon radio “host” claim that in Norway, the mothers look hotter than the daughters … and I’m getting to be an age where I might appreciate that!!!)

Maybe the Brits are still The Bomb after all…!

(*–Naturally, they deny the “fascism” charge.  Judge for yourself here and here.  Not that it matters, since they have a snowball’s chance of attracting anything besides sensationalistic “news” coverage….)


Looking at the tail-end of the Nightwatchman video on Mike’s site linked above, the scenes from Cuba, reminded me that it’s not a matter of national wealth, just national will.  Cuba is virtually cut-off from the outside world, remember?  And whatever the shortcomings of the Castro government, they’re kicking our ass when it comes to health care for those who need it in their country and overseas!Between Cuban doctors and Venezuelan Citgo oil, who’s really helping the needy around here???

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