The Trade-Off

The Trade-Off

Socialism

Republicans equate it to communism and Democrats fear using the word. So, let’s examine it and make some things clear. Under communism, the government has absolute control.  In this system no individual is permitted more privilege or property than any other.  All is controlled by the state and doled out equally to be used as determined by the ruling government.  That is the enforced law.  

Under socialism, programs are designed to prevent citizens from falling behind due to expenses they cannot reasonably afford.  Failure to do this causes poverty.

What happens when a large section of the society confronts poverty?  It causes huge problems for the economy and crime increases.  Addressing the poverty problem becomes a difficult and expensive problem for the government, as we learned (or should have learned) from the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

Socialism does NOT eliminate individual initiative.  Instead, it increases the ability to survive.  If one thinks socialistic programs are expensive, consider the governmental cost of eliminating extensive poverty.   In fact, America already relies on socialistic programs.

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all forms of socialism.  Without them, many middle-class citizens would confront bankruptcy and/or poverty.  If you doubt it, ASK them.  Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren categorize it as “democratic socialism.”  It has been largely successful in Canada and many European countries for years.  Arguments that it serves only the elite or makes people wait in long lines are largely debunked when the program is applied in a systematic way.  

Capitalism is only effective when everyone can participate.  In our present society, many middle-class citizens have a difficult time acquiring the necessary assets to initiate or maintain businesses, in part because banks and lending institutions are reluctant to take unnecessary risks. This means the corporate elite control corporations, including wages, benefits, prices, and exercise considerable influence over governmental policies which affect the largely powerless working class.

So here is the trade-off:  we either institute socialistic programs or confront having a two-class society–the rich and the poor–ending democracy as we know it.

Effective US Economy

Effective US Economy

The President would have us believe that his tax cuts are the panacea for a great economy.  One could hardly argue that tax cuts for the middle class are beneficial.  The problem with the administration’s cuts is that they are modest for the middle class (and ephemeral) while they are huge for the already wealthy (and permanent).  Tax cuts for corporations, many of whom already successfully avoid much of the taxation, will probably only make corporate executives richer unless the government demands mandatory assistance for workers through education, training programs and benefits.

The administration claims that these tax cuts plus elimination of many government regulations will result in wage increases for the middle class.  There will be some wage increases, though most of them will go to management employees.  Wage increases for across the board middle class employees will be limited and (my guess is) will eventually fade.

Furthermore, when wages increase, prices also increase, particularly in the absence of wage and price controls.  This results in inflation, causing the Federal Reserve Board to raise interest rates.  Interest rates can be a boon for investors, but they profoundly will affect the cost of homes for potential home buyers, reducing both the housing and realty markets.

The primary business of business is to make profits for management and shareholders, and the easiest way to do that is to limit wages and/or cut full time employees. Regulations, on the other hand, can in some cases, be reduced or simplified, but eliminating them poses a serious threat since most were intended to protect the American public.

The stock market may reflect what is occurring generally in the economy, but it has only a modest effect on the middle-class public since it is largely premised on the buying activities of wealthy entrepreneurs– and many middleclass Americans don’t own elaborate stocks. The recent ups and downs in the market clearly indicate that the administration has little direct control over market activities.

The best resolution for the American economy is wage and price controls which could help allow middle class workers permanent tax cuts, guaranteed wage increases and benefits, and help control prices on manufactured goods. Both John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon supported the idea of wage and price controls, but business lobbyists have effectively eliminated these from congressional consideration.

Then there is the deficit.  The huge tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations will undoubtedly expand the deficit, so Republicans will go after what they conveniently characterize as “entitlement” programs: social programs designed to help stabilize middle class civilization such Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  In a country that cries for socialized medicine, cutting or eliminating these programs would be disastrous.  Those who oppose welfare programs should note that these are relatively minor expenses.

When we think about an effective economy, let us carefully consider all the implications.

-William

Building the Wall

Building the Wall

In the 1960s, California lettuce growers needed workers for their fields. To hire Americans, the managers had to pay the government mandated minimum wage, which they opposed. Many Republicans opposed it also, though it was the law. Lettuce growers decided to import Mexican workers, who could not be subject to the minimum wage. To be certain, many of these Mexicans were desperate for work and income. However, traveling back and forth across the border was difficult, inconvenient and expensive. So many of them found the means to stay in the United States, though they were illegal aliens. Union leader Cesar Chavez argued that many of the laborers were being abused by the lettuce managers. Regardless, it was the start of massive illegal migration into the US. Companies were not penalized, and workers were paid low wages. Many migrant workers eventually infiltrated throughout the country, including the large cities. Even Amish communities hired them. Along with the migrant workers came the drug dealers and undesirable elements. Not all were Mexican, many came from Central and South America.

Now we are saddled with the problem. Will the wall resolve the problem? I doubt it. Immigrants and drug dealers have been circumventing the borders for years by scaling, tunneling and flying over them.

Yes, we need to determine who is entering our country and filtrate the undesirables. But America is still a haven for the oppressed and the home of opportunity. Probably most of us would not be here otherwise. So now we need to fairly and reasonably resolve the problem.

Mafia Involvement Kennedy Assassination

Mafia Involvement Kennedy Assassination

Is It Possible?

1. Upon returning from the Soviet Union, Lee Harvey Oswald and Marina live with Oswald’s uncle who is an associate of New Orleans mafia chieftain Carlos Marcello.

2. Marcello has been instrumental to the operation of mafia casinos in Cuba during the Batista regime.

3. The CIA considers approaching the mafia about assassinating Castro, but there is some evidence the mob is more interested in working out a deal with Castro to reinstate the casinos in Cuba, and Robert Kennedy becomes concerned about the difficulty of continuing to prosecute mafia figures should an assassination be successful.

4 Oswald is believed to have attempted shooting an American military general who opposed Castro.

5. Oswald is seen on a sidewalk in New Orleans carrying a sign that reads “Fair play to”Cuba.”

6. Oswald travels to Mexico to meet with officials there about getting a passport into Cuba, but fails.

7. Carlos Marcello is deported from the United States by Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

8. With assistance from mafia associates, Marcello manages to return to the U.S. He is livid about the Kennedys and makes statements to associates about retaliatiation.

9. As a mogul in the motion picture industry during Prohibition, Joseph Kennedy Sr. enlists the assistance of the Capone operation to smuggle illegal whiskey across the Canadian border for corporate meetings.

10. Prior to the Kennedy Presidency, both Robert and John Kennedy conduct congressional investigations into the mafia.

11. When John Kennedy runs for the Presidency, his father requests that mafia heads instruct unions in West Virginia to vote for his son .

12. Frank Sinatra becomes closely associated with John Kennedy through his friendship with Peter Lawford. During the campaign, Sinatra supports Kennedy, connects him with
mafia girlfriends, and records a campaign song for him. After Kennedy becomes President, Attorney General Robert Kennedy advises his brother to disassociate his friendship with Sinatra.
No longer welcome at the White House,
an infuriated Sinatra reportedly complains to his mafia friends, who are equally angry. Later, Sinatra supports Richard Nixon.

13. As attorney General, Robert Kennedy continues his investigation of the mafia, particularly the Teamsters’ Union and James Hoffa, and again goes after Marcello.

14. The New Orleans mafia has close connections to the Dallas mob, including Jack Ruby. Though considered a minor player, Ruby keeps in contact with New Orleans mob figures. As a young man,
Ruby, though Jewish, is a “runner” for the Chicago Capone gang.

15. After moving to Dallas, Oswald is reportedly seen by employees sitting in Ruby’s establishment with some other men. The Warren Commission apparently refuses to interview the employees.

16. There is some reason to believe Ruby may have been acquainted with Oswald and upon discovering he probably assassinated the President, kills him. It is unlikely he did it as a mob “hit.”

17. Oswald was highly impressionable and needed to feel important. He was surrounded by mafia influence and was well aware of their resentment for the
Kennedys It is not unreasonable to assume they might have encouraged him to kill the President, knowing he would be dismissed by the authorities merely as a psychotic.

Though it is only a theory and we may never know with any certainty, the situation nevertheless seems suspicious.

 

Honoring Our Flag

Honoring Our Flag

It isn’t difficult to understand the frustration of black Americans who see their compatriots killed by white officers in seemingly unreasonable and highly questionable arrests. As a white American who has had some considerable associations with police, I know that police reaction can vary radically, regardless of race, and I too, often am outraged at these seemingly unjust situations and outcomes. But refusing to stand for the flag or acknowledge the national anthem is an affront to every American, regardless of race, who gave his or her life for that flag.

Yes, athletes have a Constitutional right to express their concerns. But that is why we have a press. That is why we have political action groups. That is why we have political representatives. These actions against the flag don’t reflect political positions, they refute the very people who died to protect freedom for EVERYONE, not just protesters.

Included in the “EVERYONE” are the fans in the stands who pay exorbitant prices to watch games, buy food at stadiums or pay high costs for internet and cable tv connections–and have themselves or have relatives who have served that flag, often with their lives.
Why? So that those protesting football players can make millions upon millions of dollars playing a GAME THEY LOVE, in the only country in the world that grants that kind of privilege.

Ira Hayes was a Pima Indian. As an Indian, he had been subject to many indignities. But Ira Hayes risked his life–RAISING THAT AMERICAN FLAG ON IWO JIMA FOR THE COUNTRY HE REPRESENTED.

If every time a black American shoots an innocent white cashier during a convenience store robbery and escapes, should all Americans then refuse to honor the flag?

It is that simple.

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Afghanistan

Afghanistan

During the heart of the Vietnam war, we heard similar phrases: “peace with honor,” “additional forces,” “successful conclusion.” This was empty, meaningless rhetoric to the nearly 60,000 Americans who died “ending communist aggression.” When America left Vietnam, it was communist.

We will probably repeat the mistake in Afghanistan, because we are getting proficient at repeating mistakes.

Afghanistan is a largely Arabic Islamic country. If you know anything about Islamic history, you are aware that western culture is held in very low esteem. In fact, Muslims have been battling for thousands of years with themselves, among themselves, against themselves and others because there is no absolute agreement even regarding their own theology or culture.

Contemporary Islamic radicals are worse. Many are illiterate, unemployed nomads who are otherwise societal rejects. Their only true skill is killing, for any cause, and any reason, rational or otherwise. As with the Viet Cong, every time we kill one of them, there is another one to replace him. And they move around at will, often infiltrating regional militias and local communities.

We fought in Vietnam for over ten years. Nothing was resolved. We’ve been fighting in Afghanistan for over 16 years. Nothing has been resolved. Now we are told we must continue fighting until a satisfactory conclusion has been attained. What does THAT mean? In the meantime, the US dead and wounded mount, a convenient and welcome target for the radical terrorist–and Americans pay both the human and economic price.

If the threat of terrorism is our primary concern, we have contemporary technology that can substitute for many ground forces. Use it. Send in the drones to pinpoint and destroy terrorist encampments and equipment. Yes, some innocent people may be killed. But then, many are being killed right now. So, let’s get our ground forces out of there. Trump’s initial instinct probably was correct.