A REVISITED PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE!

Apr. 22, 2014  By Jack Jodell.

Once upon a time, when we were all much younger, our schoolteachers would have us recite the Pledge of Allegiance each day in the classroom. If you recall, we used to say: us flag

 “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”   

Though it may be hard for some of today’s Tea Party reactionaries to accept, this pledge was actually penned by a SOCIALIST Christian Scientist minister francis bellamynamed Francis Bellamy back in 1892, in the days of the Robber Barons and the Gilded Age, just prior to the progressive era coming into being. Rev. Bellamy strongly supported the rights of working people and the equal distribution of wealth, both of which he correctly believed were inherent in the teachings of Jesus  Christ. For it is the Tea Party rctremists who nowadays strongly advocate a return to the 1890s with their opposition to the federal government having any say at all over the affairs of business.

The visionary Rev. Bellamy painted an idealized portrait of America with this  pledge, yet much of his vision did not ring true until decades later, after the great egalitarian reforms of the progressive age and the New Deal had been enacted. For a time, from the mid- 1930s until perhaps the late 1970s, much of what his pledge depicts was a lot closer to reality than it is today. For back in those days, labor unions were strong and were actually creating a middle class; civil liberties were expanding rather than retracting; and neither the Supreme Court nor the federal  government were as filled with bought-out, compromised corporatist stooges as they are now.

hateful reaganWith the ascendancy of the “me generation” during the Reagan tears of the 1980s, the rise of corporate power and monied influence in politics, amd the wholesale abandonment of many New Deal economic and social safety nets, the lofty ideals expressed in the pledge of allegiance now seem to be tinged with naivety. I believe a new, revised pledge of allegiance is therefore now in order today. My belief is that today’s Pledge of Allegiance, if it is to be truly accurate in its depiction of the country today, should read something more like: 

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the Corporate States of America, and to the military / industrial complex for which it stands, one nation, using God (claiming and boasting that He is on our side), divisible for a profit, with liberty for the wealthy, justice for those who can afford it, and economic stagnation and slavery for all the rest.”

THAT, dear readers, seems to be more akin to the state of today’s America than the original pledge was. According to the Tea Party extremists and the Libertarians, true liberty will only result when all government regulations protecting common men and women from the excesses of hugely profitable businessmen and their corporations are abolished; true justice will prevail only if wealthy Wall Street mortgage bankers are allowed to ruin the economy and keep their huge bonuses without doing any jail time at all; and the rich can get ever richer – totally unimpeded – while everybody else is forced to accept ever-declining wages.

It is also something very few of us can pay allegiance to any longer!                      

Posted in commentary, corporate greed, corporatist, economics, labor unions, Politics, Progressives | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WHY BEING A REACTIONARY TEA PARTY REPUBLICAN IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH!

Apr. 10, 2014  By Jack Jodell.

It is a well-known fact that the once proud and once liberal Republican Party  has become reactionary, obstructionist, and thus completely irrelevant. It has devolved from being the party advocating small government  into one advocating no, or as little as possible, government at all. Anyone with half a brain knows hoe totally preposterous this position is, but, as we all know, there are still literally millions of deluded people out there who still call themselves Republicans. We must pity these poor lost souls, because they have clearly lost their minds. Ever since ultra-conservatives won control of this wretched party in 1980 and elected Ronald Reagan President, they have succeeded in pushing the American political spectrum ever rightward. With the deadly rise of corporatism, and the emergence of Fox “News” (the FICTION “NEWS” NETWORK) to deliberately mislead the public 24/7, Americans have been subjected to an increasing level of political and economic outright lying. With the advent of the god-awful, government-hating Tea Party in 2010, the Republican Party became infested with the purely imbecilic, twisted ideology which plagues it, the United States, and the entire world to this very day. Until this detrimental reactionary grip is broken, and its infestation with hateful and ignorant Tea Party types is shattered,  the Republicans will continue to lose national elections, especially presidential ones, and will eventually cease to hold elective power or meaningful influence of any kind. I have seen the devastation this modern Tea Party-infested reactionary Republican Party has wrought over the past few years, and I have deduced that it is bad for the health of every single citizen (except perhaps the very wealthy) on a number of levels.

They are bad for our MENTAL HEALTH in that they deliberately try to scare you by misleading you to voting for their candidates or against those of their opponents. They will tell blatant LIES to get you to support them. Over the years, they have told many whoppers, from President Obama being a Socialist, to President Obama being a Nazi, to the Affordable Health Care Act being composed of death panels which would kill the elderly, to “Obamacare” being a government takeover of the American health care system, to Iraq colluding with al Qaeda to bring about the deadly 9/11 attacks, to Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction - etc., etc., etc. – if it sounds incredible or beyond belief, it is undoubtedly a Republican-inspired LIE.

 They are bad for our CIVIC HEALTH in that they are actively engaged in Voter Suppression tactics. They have tried to disenfranchise millions of votersm to eliminate or severely curtail potential opposition voters from voting by reducing voting hours, extreme gerrymandering, and even removing or disqualifying legitimate voters’ names from voting registers! They are relentless in this endeavor, and appear to be using any and all possible means necessary to ensure that only their candidates win!

They are bad for your SOCIAL HEALTH because of the way they have repeatedly tried to divide the public on key issues. They have pitted Christians against gays, Jews, and Muslims; whites against blacks and other minorities; middle and working class Americans against the poor; lesser-educated folks against educators and intellectuals; myth and superstition against science. Theirs has been a politics of exclusion rather than inclusion, and that is definitely NOT in the best interests of the country at large!

They are bad for your SPIRITUAL HEALTH because they preach a false gospel of hatred of immigrants and the poor. They value greed over benevolence, and use religion as a wedge issue to win elections. They claim to be God-fearing Christians, but are really Pharisees, in that they all but ignore the repeated preaching of Christ to take care of the sick, the lame, and the poor, as was eloquently expressed in the Gospel of Matthew. They refuse to increase the minimum wage to keep up with inflation, and many even oppose a minimum wage of any kind. They despise the poor and hold up hypocrites like Ayn Rand as desirable role models – the same Ayn Rand who derided government aid programs designed to help poor people, but was none too hesitant to avail herself of them for well over a quarter of her own life when she was in need! Ronald Reagan used to spout off poppycock about nonexistent “welfare queens” helping themselves to undeserved benefit payments. Even Paul Ryan, a foe of Social Security, was more than happy to use survivor’s benefits to put himself through college after the death of his father – now he wants to cut nearly 70% of aid programs which benefit the poor out of the federal budget and wishes to force the country onto an austerity program while offering new tax breaks for the very wealthy. What kind of patent nonsense is THIS?                  

Reactionary Republicans are also bad for your ECONOMIC HEALTH. They want to award huge tax breaks to the fabulously wealthy while forcing everyone else to adopt their foolhardy and unjust austerity budget. They give subsidies to huge corporations and push for further deregulation of greedy Wall Street mortgage bankers while voting against programs to create new middle class jobs. They press for further deregulation of toxic industries, even as many of these are polluting our air and water, creating illness, birth defects, and death in the process .  That is definitely NOT good for ANYBODY’S health! All the while they claim to be concerned with our admittedly too high federal deficit and huge national debt. They steadfastly refuse to raise the taxes of the very wealthiest fraction of 1% by even a measly 10%, and instead keep pressing for even greater tax reductions for these piggishly rich individuals and the businesses they own. Meanwhile, they also resist raising the minimum wage to a realistic livable wage, and spend many millions of dollars on lobbyists to bribe and influence legislators to vote the way they want, and to hell with everybody else! They can’t stand labor unions and would gladly see good-paying American jobs go overseas to cheap foreign slave labor markets rather than negotiate with a union here. THIS, friends, is NOT economic democracy in action – it is actually a new kind of economic feudalism.

But the most damning thing about all these Republican excesses is that they are also not good for our PHYSICAL HEALTH! Their obsession with rolling back regulations on businesses means that they openly support major polluters and those who put personal profit well in front of public safety. They mock and ridicule scientists and environmentalists who send dire warnings about man-made climate change.  They push for more nuclear power and the expansion of offshore petroleum drilling, all but ignoring past disasters which are killing wildlife as well as humans. Their ignorance can no longer be tolerated, for it is actively destroying this entire planet!

These are but a few of the many reasons why voting for, or being, a reactionary Tea Party Republican is bad for everyone’s health. They must be removed from power in this fall’s midterm elections. Should this prove impossible, it would be a DEADLY mistake by the voters!                                                                    

Posted in labor unions, Tea Party, corporate greed, taxes, commentary, Politics, Fox "News", special interests, economics, the 1%, regulation, lobbyists, extremists, corporatist, Tea Party-infested reactionary Republican Party | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“TRICKLE DOWN” DOESN’T!

Apr. 2, 2014  By Jack Jodell.

Paul Rosenberg recently published an excellent article in AlterNet called “The Sociopathic 1%” which showed how ridiculously flawed current reactionary Republican economic ideas really are. It exposes what this blogger has known all along: that Reagan-era “trickle down”, supply side economics is a complete fraud; that virtually NOTHING has ever trickled down to lower income folks or to the middle class as a result of whopping tax cuts given primarily to the wealthiest 1% over the past 3+ decades under both Ronald Reagan and that god-awful George W. Bush (easily the WORST two Presidents of the modern era). Middle and lower class incomes have all but stagnated, and purchasing power has actually fallen for most since 1981.

The Great Recession of 2008, directly caused by the disastrous banking deregulation policies advocated by then-Republican Senator Phil Gramm of Texas. and passed by a thoroughly misguided Democratic President named Bill Clinton and weak-kneed congressional Democrats and Republicans in the late 1990s, has turned what was once an employees’ market regarding wages and job stability into an employers’ market of much lower wages, outsourcing, and job insecurity. Both Reagan and “W” all but destroyed the once-vibrant labor movement in America, robbing American workers of the only leverage they had to bring about better wages. American jobs were sent, by the millions, to  cheaper foreign overseas slave-labor markets, meaning that American workers became forced to compete with much cheaper Chinese, Mexican, or Indonesian laborers. Absolute BONEHEADS like economist Milton Friedman and author / philosopher / sociopath Ayn Rand began preaching utter nonsense about how selfishness is a virtue and altruism is a vice; that government intervention in the economy should rarely or never occur; that huge tax cuts were owed the very rich; and that, if only the rich had even more money and assets, everyone would benefit as a result. These crazy ideas were put into practice by every single President and Congress, regardless of political party, from 1981 – 2009, and traces of this folly remain even today in 2014! Yes, Alan Greenspan was accorded folk-hero status for the roaring economy of the 1990s, even though, as a disciple of both Friedman and Rand, the policies which he helped to shape very nearly caused another Great Depression. The huge gains in productivity which came as the direct result of rapid advances in technology during the 1990s were NOT shared all across the economic table, as they had been in similar periods of great economic growth in the past. Instead, they were hoarded by the wealthiest 1% of the wealthiest 1%, and that is where we unfortunately stand today.

A college diploma once stood as a welcoming entrance into a good-paying job. Due to outsourcing and unrestrained corporate greed, that is no longer the case. For many years, college and university tuitions have risen at a pace well ahead of the inflation rate. Today’s college grad leaves school hopelessly in debt, with the promise of a good-paying job no longer a viable option. They are left struggling to pay off this debt with no suitable funding available to them to pay off that staggering debt. In the past, this grad could turn to the trades to secure a well-paid job, but, as America has shifted from a manufacturing economy to a consumption-geared service economy, these manufacturing jobs have even disappeared due to outsourcing. As a result, many youngsters are turning away from higher education altogether, and that will prove to be an absolute disaster for this country in the not-too-distant future.

The reactionary Republican solution to this growing, very real problem is to slash federal spending on social programs and to press for even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy. Paul Ryan, another disciple and proponent of preposterous Friedman – Rand ideology, has pressed for the adoption of an austerity budget as the solution to our economic problems. All of these ideas are virtually bankrupt, as they fail to put money in the hands of people who need it most and who would spend it immediately on goods and services they need. As they spend, demand would be created for new and replacement goods and services, and thus new jobs would spring forth to meet this demand. Of course, none of these misguided reactionaries see any value in this much-needed “demand side” economics. They prefer instead to keep on rewarding the suppliers and to ignore the workers altogether. How can they continue to be such utter fools? Your guess is as good as mine… 

All the while middle and lower worker incomes have stagnated and fallen, corporate CEO and boards of directors’ incomes have been skyrocketing to ever-new record breaking heights. While it was worker productivity which soared dramatically 20 years ago, almost all of the monetary gains went to CEOs or uppermost management rather than to the workers who created this abundant windfall. Whereas during the postwar golden economic age which lasted from roughly 1947 – 1973, when labor unions were strong and incomes of the lower MAJORITY 99% grew at an average pace of 4.1% ANNUALLY, CEO salaries averaged roughly 20 times greater than their employees. Today, in contrast, CEO salaries average a whopping 250 – 300 times greater than their employees, and they continue to climb even as their employees’ wages stay the same. This is not only indefensible and economically unjust - it is downright childishly PIGGISH! It is also proof that trickle down economics does NOT work, and is in fact, a gigantic LIE!

We have repeatedly been told that capitalism is by far the best economic system ever devised, and that it is the only one which allows for the most upward mobility for the most people. We have likewise been told that socialism or Marxism is bad because it traps people into poverty and is inherently undemocratic in nature. Well, this blogger sees very little upward mobility emanating anymore from capitalism. What he DOES see, though, is a dangerous new form of economic feudalism being generated by today’s exploitative capitalists, with no apparent relief in sight for the foreseeable future, and he despises the injustices he sees before him! Working people have NO economic leverage anymore. They are much like economic slaves. The wealthiest 1% have bought out the entire Republican Party and are making steady inroads on buying out the Democratic Party as well.  They bankroll vast numbers of corrupt lobbyists to write and influence legislation favorable to them and no one else. They are corrupting and destroying many of our most cherished democratic institutions in the process. They must be stopped before they can finish the odorous task they have begun, and only a highly dedicated and persistent force of PROGRESSIVES can stop them!

That’s right, folks: it is now up to us Leftists to stop this economic insanity dead in its tracks! The sad fact, my friends, is that “Trickle Down” DOESN’T! All of these reactionary Republican ideas have been tried previously in this country, and ALL of them have failed miserably time and again. That is why we simply MUST begin to elect true Progressives to ALL posts of government and rid ourselves PERMANENTLY of these crazy Republican reactionaries and their insane economic ideas and practices once and for all! For there is no such thing as “free trade” or “free market” economics – these are MYTHS that the wealthy and their reactionary Republican lackeys use to confuse voters into electing them. For they don’t want true economic freedom to prevail, and they never have and never will. THEY want ALL economic power kept for themselves to ensure that THEY, rather than WE, have all the economic freedom they can have to ensure their continued dominance over us will remain intact and unthreatened!

Posted in "free market" economics, AlterNet, Bush tax cuts for the rich, commentary, corporate greed, Democratic Party, economics, labor unions, Politics, Progressives, reactionary Republicans, regulation, taxes, the 1%, THE MAJORITY 99%, wealth disparity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

DOWN WITH THE TPP!

March 30, 2014  By Jack Jodell.

My computer has intermittently been going down – that is why I have been so inactive lately. Before it nosedives again, I thought I would comment briefly on an ominous and developing trade agreement known as “TPP” – the Trans Pacific Partnership. This trade pact, like nearly all of its “free trade” predecessors, is BAD for American workers and consumers! Its multinational corporate sponsors are attempting to undercut the existing U.S. government and our labor force by stealth. If this trade agreement is enacted by Congress, it will have sweeping, unprecedented powers which will effectively negate ALL existing U.S. laws affecting corporate, environmental, and consumer safety regulation. Its multinational corporate sponsors have been conducting highly secretive strategy sessions and meetings, many outside of our borders. The purpose of these Koch Brothers-style secret sessions has been to develop disastrous tenets to the agreement which would, if enacted here, surrender our government’s right to oversee and regulate the agreement’s implementation and practices. It is not surprising that so many Progressive have expressed a strong displeasure with this proposed agreement. Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Ron Wyden have all voiced their strong disapproval of the cloak of secrecy which has surrounded these negotiations, Rep. Alan Grayson and former Rep. Dennis Kucinich have even expressed opposition, and with good reason – one of this agreement’s most flawed aspects is that it would permit its members to actually SUE any government which it believed was standing in its way! And, were that government to lose the lawsuit, it would be forced to accede to this very dubious agreement’s members’ demands! Not only politicians are opposed to this lunacy: sharp Hollywood figures like Oliver Stone, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Jennifer Hudson, Cher, Woody Harrelson, Gwyneth Paltrow,  Jennifer Anniston, Ellen DeGeneres, and William Shatner have all encouraged the U.S. to NOT join this group! Opponents have justifiably based their objections on a wide variety of concerns, among which have been environmental, intellectual property, human rights, lack of transparency, workers’ rights, medical safety, animal rights, and a great deal of others.

The agreement’s current membership includes Brunei, Chile, Singapore, and New Zealand, with the United States, Malaysia, Australia, Vietnam, Peru, Mexico, Canada, and Japan each in negotiations for membership, and South Korea and Taiwan expressing their interest in joining. It is easy for this blogger to see the impending disaster which will occur should the United States actually join this greedy confederation. That is why I am STRONGLY urging ALL interested parties to avoid this monstrosity like the Plague – it will merely make the very wealthiest elite even wealthier, at everybody else’s expense, It will exploit workers both here and all across Asia. It will undoubtedly jeopardize the health of MILLIONS across the globe. It is high time we stop handing shovels to the 1% for them to bury the rest of us with – I say, DOWN WITH THE TPP!                   

Posted in "free market" economics, capitalism, commentary, corporate greed, corporatist, economics, Politics, Progressives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

TME FOR A RAISE – NOW!

Mar. 18, 2014  By Jack Jodell.

early naderRalph Nader is a great American hero. He first gained prominence in the mid 1960s, when his book Unsafe at Any Speed came out. In it, he exposed the deadly flaws which were existent in the relatively recent production of General Motors’ Chevrolet Corvair. He became a thorn in the side of American automakers with his continued oversight and criticism of  their oft-shoddy safety features. He became a champion of the American consumer, and soon turned his focus to environmentalism. This gained him the ire of many industrialists and anti-environmentalists, who began to portray him as some sort of costly kook and largely marginalized him as being an environmental extremist, While always being controversial, nader rhe really engendered criticism when he entered the world of politics, running as a member of the Green Party rather than seeking the nomination of either the Democratic or Republican mainstream parties. Those on the right despised him for his prior pro-environment and pro-consumer stances (which they perceived as being anti-business), and those of us on the left pilloried him in 2000 for having cost Al Gore the presidency, which enabled the tandem of George W. Bush and DICK Bush-CheneyCheney to win that hotly contested election. That pair, of course, was the absolute worst combination to ever occupy the White House, as they ended up, through their combined recklessness, irresponsibility, and outright paranoia, involving this country in two very long and very costly imperialistic wars, severely eroded our personal freedoms, and even sanctioned torture as a desirable intelligence-gathering tool. We began to view Mr. Nader as being - at best, a foolish, vain, and attention-seeking fool - or, at worst – a calculating (if naïve) self-serving, unwitting agent of the far right. Regardless of your own personal bias for or against this man, it is hard to realistically criticize or complain about his latest campaign, for it smacks of common sense and downright fairness.

nader lTime For A Raise.org is an organization founded by Ralph Nader  and the Center for the Study of Responsive Law. It is an advocacy group pushing for an immediate increase of the minimum wage to $10.67 per hour, which would  equal, in  terms of today’s buying power, the type of pay minimum wage workers would have received back in 1968, the very LAST time this wage was above the poverty level! It is a FAR more livable wage, just above (rather than much below), the existing poverty level, and greatly and justly in excess of the absurdly puny rate of only $7.25 per hour, which is the current minimum wage rate. 

Critics of this proposal quickly point out, with nonsensical complaints, about how an increase like this will destroy restaurants and other small businesses,; how the nation can’t possibly support an increase like this now at this time; that it will tremendously raise prices across the board on virtually everything; and that it will definitely increase our already much too high budget deficit. These are all patent LIES being deliberately circulated by greedy and/or ignorant, stupid fools. These allegations are completely false and misleading. They are being spread about by the ever-anti worker Chamber of Commerce, greedy corporate CEOs who don’t care one bit about their workers’ health or living conditions (and always try to expand their profits by using their labor force as a cost-cutting device).  They also mouth these lies through ever-willing and ignorant conservative congressional morons and toadies who are all too willing to peddle this trash on behalf of their corporate masters to an often unwitting and equally ignorant public. But, after suffering a huge Great Recession in recent years as well as massive unemployment and reductions in both wages and benefits, that public is starting to grow wiser and no longer supports one-sided economic policies like “free” market capitalism or preposterous notions like “trickle down” economics. After 35 years of skyrocketing corporate salaries, ridiculous and insulting Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and the deliberate exporting of good-paying American jobs to slave wage labor economies in foreign countries, Americans by and large now know the score and are therefore supporting an increase of the minimum wage by a wide margin of 70% overall.

Please go to the Time for A Raise website at www.timeforaraise.org and watch their brief but very logical and effective campaign video. Be sure to sign their petition and tell your friends and relatives about this fabulous site too. Then study all the ways this site has to TAKE ACTION that only requires a very small amount of time and effort on your part, but will yield a huge benefit! 

Get out and shout that IT’S TIME FOR A RAISE -NOW!            

Posted in Progressives, Bush tax cuts for the rich, "free market" economics, Politics, wealth disparity, economics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

DOWN, BUT NOT OUT!

Mar. 15, 2014  By Jack Jodell.

Sorry, folks, but my computer has been down since late last month. That’s why I have seemingly vanished. But I WILL return by about next Wednesday, so kindly stop back then for resumed progressive-minded hard hitting pro-worker views.  Meanwhile, please go to www.timeforaraise.org for a preview of where I’ll be coming from next time around. Thank you for your patience and continued patronage! :-)

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RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE NOW!

Feb. 21, 2014  By Jack Jodell.

This will be my briefest post ever, but it will also be o0ne of the most important I have ever done.  I am calling for an immediate increase in the minimum wage to %12.00 per hour, with future increases to be pegged to changes in the Consumer Price Index. For years, Libertarians and wacko r.paulbachmann firedreactionaries like Rand Paul and Michele Bachmann have opposed even the very existence of a minimum wage, but anyone in their right mind knows that both of them are nuts who don’t know or care anything about the poor, or working class Americans. They support the preposterous notions of trickle-down economics and “free market” trade policies. And even Bonerconservatives like House Speaker John Boehner are running around spouting utter nonsense  about how raising the minimum wage will cost jobs. The truth of the matter, of course, is that putting more spendable cash in the hands of the working poor will create more demand and thus new jobs. It is not too surprising to see these thick-skinned Republicans unable to clearly see what is best for lower income Americans: all of them are independently wealthy and don’t give a damn about those below them on the income scale. Not only that, but they hate the federal government and want to use it only for lowering taxes on the richest 1% and deregulating Wall Street.

We progressives know that the wealthiest 1% have far too much already and are widening our already record wealth disparity by exploiting workers and trying to disenfranchise them. That is why, for economic justice to occur, we strongly support an immediate increase in the minimum wage!            

Posted in "free market" economics, conservative Republicans, economics, libertarians, reactionary Republicans, the 1%, wealth disparity | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments