Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Reminder of the Types of Governments

What type of government are we heading toward? Niccolo Machiavelli wrote that there are three kinds of governments: Principality, Aristocracy, and Democracy. He said those who organize a government must turn to one of these based on what seems most appropriate to them and their mission. Others have the opinion that there are six types of government, three of which are bad and three are good in themselves. Although they are so easily corrupted that they too can become pernicious. Those types that are good are Principality, Aristocracy, and Democracy, but the bad ones are derived from the good ones. Each of the bad types are similar to the good types and because of this one type can easily slip from one into the other. A Principality can easily become a Tyranny, an Aristocracy can become an Oligarchy with ease, and a Democracy can turn into Anarchy with no difficulty. If the founders of a republic establishes one of these three types of governments, it will be established for only a short time because no remedy has ever been found to be capable of preventing one type from sliding into its contrary type because of the similarities that exist between the two—in this case between the virtue and the vice. The best one so far was established by Lycurgus, who established his laws for Sparta, which lasted for eight hundred years.  In the 1830s, Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville turned the U.S. and came to the conclusion our sense of Democracy was a big and great idea, it would not last for people are people and they would find a way to destroy this concept. Trump and the Republicans are provin ghim correct. The U.S. are very new in comparison to other countries and we are in the process of slipping toward an anarchy or worse. Lycurgus had a little of all three of the good types of government to watch over each other. I have written about this topic before, but in these times, with a corrupt president and Republican party in place, I think we visit this again. 

Healthcare For All

We need healthcare for everyone and Medicare single payer is the best way to go. This would relieve businesses of the burden of healthcare ad make our goods more competitive overseas where labor is cheap. Think of car and truck manufacturing not having to pay for healthcare for their workers. This would cut the cost of their vehicles, which would give them more profits or make for more sales. Either way, it is a win. Then there are all the manufactured products, like televisions, washing machines and dryers, stoves or steel, plus all of the technology products we sell here and abroad. The local government employees would not have to ask the states, counties, and cities for healthcare for the law enforcement, firefighters, and maintenance workers, again saving money for the government, which could go toward healthcare taxes. There is argument that we need a healthcare safety net for all, but disagreement on the best way to achieve it.Some Democrats, including Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, advocate for a single-payer system or Medicare for all, but there are people who believe that insurers are too entrenched and too powerful in this country for this ever to happen. Really, if this is the defeatist mindset of our people then we will never win against the corporate control of our collective healthcare. This all can be overcome if we work together. Just look at what has been won, like the 8 hour work day, child labor laws, Social Security, union rights, job safety, overtime, unemployment insurance, and the 4 hour work week. We were told that none of these things were possible. We were told just three years ago that there never would be a $15 an hour minimum wage. We are now being told that there will never be a universal basic income (UBI), and yet Hawaii is considering implementing UBI, countries like Scotland, Finland and Switzerland are considering the same, and there are millionaires, such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Elon Musk of Tesla Motors, who advocate for the people and UBI. There’s a group that has been working on UBI since 2002, their information can be found at http://www.usbig.net Even the rich understand that wages and inequality must be dealt with in order for their businesses to continue to prosper. There is a group of billionaires called the Patriotic Billionaires, who are working on this. The notion that it can’t be done, should not be given credence. People should study what the UBI is and read Peter Barnes’ book, “With Liberty and Dividends For All.” This book explains how we can save our middle class when jobs don’t pay enough and advocates citizens be paid for the use of our Commons.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Longevity of Towns

Are towns with companies where most people work better off than towns with no companies? I have seen the towns with no large companies that lasted longer because they have to diversify and not depend on one or two places for people of the town to work. I came from Dresden, a little town in Ohio. It had a company at each end of the town. One was a woolen mill. The other was a paper mill. Dresden sat between two larger towns, about 15 miles apart. Slowly the two mills shut down, but then a new company came about as a result of a local man David “Popeye” Longaberger, who started the Longaberger basket company. It became a billion dollar company and most of the town’s people worked for this company or at other businesses owned by Longaberger. When Longaberger died, the company he started in a garage started to go downhill, especially after his daughter shifted manufacturing to China, destroying the uniqueness and brand of the baskets they made. Luckily, there were the two towns bordering this little one for people to find other work, but the town is slowly dying. The days of company towns where generation after generation worked are just about gone. The only way for some towns to survive is if they diversify what’s there while there is still a town and workers. Towns must have forward-looking leaders who will try new things, such as stop allowing companies to commit wage abuse and tax avoidance on their towns and people. Some things will work and some won’t, but once the town dies it is very hard to revive it. Once a town loses its law enforcement, fire department and most of its infrastructure, no one will take a chance on investing in a house or business in that town. When looking for a place to work, retire or raise your family, you should take a look at the longevity of the town. How many unions are present in the town or county? This will give you an idea of the tax base that supports the town and county.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Fox and Hounds After Us

Joel Fox is editor of the website Fox and Hounds, and is president of the Small Business Action Committee. Fox is trying to tell workers who work for minimum wage that their hard fought win for the $15 an hour minimum wage will be hit by a 15 percent tax for single-payer healthcare if Senate Bill 562 passes in California. There will be a kind of payroll tax, like the FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) that pays for Social Security and Medicare, but there is already a payroll tax and if you take the current cost of healthcare it could be a rub. This is just a scare tactic to keep single-payer healthcare from getting passed. The Fox and Hounds’ Small Business Action Committee is also trying to beat back the free college education bill, Assembly Bill 1356, which would be paid for by raising the corporation top income tax rate 1-percentage point. This is just the start of the rich vs the poor, but the poor must wake up and understand what is happening to them. We now have a Right-to-Work bill that the anti-union people are trying to get passed here in California, which would devastate unions. This must not get passed. Watch for the new people who are running for office on a school voucher or privatizing schools platform. These are the people who would support things like the Right-to-Work bill, the no single-payer healthcare, against free college, and cap and trade, and Assembly Bill 5, the paternity and maternity time off bill, which most civilized countries have in place. Workers must see through the lies like higher minimum wage will hurt workers trying to break into the labor market. Always read between the lines and the small print. The fight goes on and will never stop and neither should we.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

GOP's Trojan Horse

The GOP anti-union people will take over California by coming through the back door. This will be done by very wealthy donors supporting high profile school choice candidates. Looking ahead to 2018, some of the most active school choice donors are already contributing to pro-charter school candidates for state school chief and even for state governor. Some of these money people are Timothy Draper, who spent $23 million; Netflix founder Reed Hastings spent $5.8 million; Donald and Doris Fisher, founders of the GAP store, spent $6 million; Jim Carr Walton and Alice Walton contributed millions to California organizations that advocate for school choice; and Michael Bloomberg, businessman and former mayor of New York, spent $2 million. Most of this money has gone to California Charter Schools Association committees. Do not expect the California Democratic party to protect you or even be on your side. The core of the Democratic elite are corporate whores. In a contested battle, the party just rammed Eric Bauman, a pharmaceutical lobbyist as the chair of the California Democratic party. This guy helped block lower prices for medication. I’m sure he our best interest at heart. Also, former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, is an advocate for charter school and he has money pouring in for his governor run in 2018. Most of this charter school effort is just a guise to break the Teachers’ Union and take over California from the Democrats. The unions of California must not just leave the fight to the Teachers’ Union because this effort could and can kill off all unions in California. The next effort will be to make California a right to work state. If all these pro-charter school candidates get elected into legislation and governorship, they will destroy our unions, such as the building trades, fire, Cal Fire, medical unions and all public unions. So, we must not fall for this charter school voucher crap. They just want to privatize schools, which some people will make lots of money off the backs of our children. This could be the GOP’s Trojan Horse.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Grantism vs Trumpism

In 1869 to 1877, we had Grantism. In 2017, we have Trumpism. The corporatization of Grantism were Black Friday in 1869, the gold speculation ring of corruption in the departments of the Navy, Justice, war, Treasury, Interior, states and U.S. Postal Service. Does this sound like Trumpism? Also, nepotism was rampant with more than 40 family members getting government appointments. Does this sound like Trumpism? Many of Grant’s cabinet members were in continual transition and were of low standard. Trump’s cabinet members are mostly billionaires or very rich and are all white, mostly men. Grants private secretary, Orville E. Babcock, was negotiating treaties by bypassing the State Department. Sound like Trump’s son-in-law selling Visas for $500,000 a piece to wealthy Chinese people, and other questionable conflict of interests. The Babcock was accused in the Whiskey Ring Scandal of 1875, was a tax revenues conspiracy involving government agents, politicians, whiskey distillers, and distributors. Sounds like some of Trump’s people Trump has just finished his first 100 days, and he has both the House and Senate in Republican control, he has the Justice Department, the U.S. Supreme Court, he has vilified the press, bypassed the CIA, cut the State Department budget, and he is in the process of destroying the only healthcare most people have, he’s destroying the EPA, our food safety, clean water, our schools, climate change research, and giving law enforcement a free ride on some of their behavior. Already, in his first 100 days, Trump makes President Grant look like a saint. Trump is already looking for a second term, running advertisements and holding campaign rallies in states that heavily supported him during the last election. He only goes where he feels safe.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Time to Read & Fight

One of the best playbook to destroy a democracy was written in a new biography of Adolf Hitler by Richard J. Evans. This is the playbook that is close to what our new president is using. With only some name recognition and no political experience, Donald Trump, like Hitler, found the underbelly of disenfranchised people and the electoral college and got himself elected to office with speeches full of allegations and vile stereotypes; and they were precisely designed to gain maximum attention from the media and the reaction from the crowds who gathered to hear his rhetoric. Also, in Trump’s speeches, he flaunted vulgarities and exploited tribal hatreds, and he lied and lied his way to success. But his similarities with Hitler does not end there. Just like Hitler ensured he stayed in power, Trump ensured the Armed Forces were on his side by giving them massive increases in funding, he’s reduced the checks and balances, and provided a huge armaments program, which is supposed to make America great again with an aggressive attitude toward international affairs. It is fortunate that Hitler never got his hands on nuclear weapons, though he was close. Our new president has nuclear weapons and he needs babysitting what with his temperament, immaturity, and impulsivity he is capable of anything. At this time, our only hope is he just implodes or the our elected officials remove him from office before it’s too late. It is time for us to turn off our televisions and start reading and fighting back.