30 August 2011

Global Obstruction Pathology (GOP)

An emotional defect which causes the afflicted not only to resist the normal human tendency to work with others toward solutions to common problems but also to interfere with their attempts. It is not limited to particular activities or interests but extends to all areas of concern. We see manifestation of this pathology in the Republican Party, a political association organized around resistance to progressive public policy and pursuit of regressive polices.

22 August 2011

America Needs a Labor Party

I was banned from Democratic Underground because I asked why I should support gay marriage. Just that question branded me as a homophobe. That's OK. Democratic Underground doesn't set the standard for political action in the US. We need a class war and the liberals at Democratic Underground don't have what it takes.

A few months ago, Richard Trumka seemed to be moving Labor away from the Democrats and now we're seeing more signs of the division. The Democrats chose North Carolina for their convention next year and some unions don't like it. They won't abandon the Democrats over their choice of convention sites but they'll move a little farther away.

I'm encouraged.

America needs a labor party. A party with the economic interests of working Americans as its sole and undivided focus. No abortion. No gay marriage. No green anything. Just wages and working conditions. That party never will be the Republicans. They've pretty much declared themselves to be stooges for the plutocracy, order takers for the likes of the Koch brothers. The Democrats have had their chance and they squandered it. They paid too much attention to the special interests on the fringe of American society.

So where is Labor now? Maybe they're at or soon to reach a point where they realize they have only themselves to care for their interests. It's not a bad place to be. Every successful journey must begin with knowing where you are and where you want to be.

17 August 2011

One Step Toward More Jobs

America needs jobs. It would be best to have new the jobs come organically from boom times. But with private investors withholding their capital and with the government held back by the extremists of the political right, we have no prospect of the massive infusion of money we need to make the economy grow.

What can we do?

Well, one idea which wouldn't take a lot of new money would be splitting-up the jobs we have now. We could do that by eliminating income tax deductions for compensation paid for time over 32 hours a week. That would make current employees more expensive and new employees less expensive. Some employers would respond with reduction of hours allowed current employees and new hiring to make-up the time.

Of course, some current employees may be adverse to losing time but others may welcome the possibility of more free time if they don't need as much income as they have.

It's not a perfect solution but, given the difficulties we face, it's one step we can take.

09 August 2011

A Congress of Aristocrats

Like many Progressives, I'm often puzzled by the failure of Congress to do what seems clearly in the best interest of the American People. What seems to benefit the greatest number of Americans seems never to be given more than cursory attention in Congress, if any at all. How can anyone in Congress, for instance, place more importance on any other issue than the employment crisis? It's resolution is critical to every American not just those who are unemployed. Even those who have jobs know they can lose them easily in an economy teetering on the brink of collapse. Why did Congress focus its attention on debt and the deficit when so many Americans are so close to economic devastation?

Then the answer was revealed. In Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% Joseph E. Stiglitz writes:

Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office.

How can we expect our representatives in Congress to care about the interests of the American People when their good fortune and large fortunes shape their perspective? For the most part, they're so affluent they never will have to worry about making the next payment on a used car or finding the money to buy groceries or pay the doctor. That's a big problem.

05 August 2011

Socialize the Internet

According to recent reports, the United States Postal Service is on its way to losing $3 billion in the third quarter of 2011. The loss is being attributed primarily to declining First Class Mail revenue.

Observers say the internet is making First Class mail obsolete. Email and online payments have replaced letters and mailed checks and that diminishes First Class Mail revenue. That makes sense but knowing it doesn't really solve the problem. Until everyone in America has access to reliable high speed internet service, we will need the Post Office. Someone will have to deliver the letters and payments those without broadband will have to send.

It would be nice if we could find a way to make sure every American has access to broadband. Unfortunately, with right wing zealots and ideological extremists in control of so much of the political process, we're unlikely ever to have universal access to reliable high speed internet services. Right wing legislators are little more than stooges for the plutocracy. The plutocracy owns America's internet service providers and they're never going to allow the ISP's revenue to be threatened by the one thing that can solve our communication problem, publicly owned broadband.

Every year we read of a law being rammed through a state legislature somewhere to prohibit a town or county from starting its own broadband service. Most recently it happened in North Carolina. As soon as the ISPs claimed their revenue would be threatened by public internet, the stooges in the NC legislature leapt to the feet, saluted and said they would pass a law to prohibit the protection of the public interest in favor of protecting the profits of the plutocracy. And they did. House Bill 129 prohibits public internet in favor of private profiteering.

So what's the solution? One good way to fill the public's broadband need and to solve the Post Office's revenue problem would be to socialize internet service under the control of the Post Office. No private firm would be allowed to offer broadband. It would become a public utility. That would replace declining First Class Mail revenue with nomial broadband access fees. An added benefit would be ensuring fair prices for every American rather than letting the cyber-pirate ISPs rob them. It would be a win-win.