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A Game As Old As Wealth

Over at sister-site Government Cheese, a discussion of capitalism, propaganda and how a few wealthy people keep things under control

Capitalism literally means that the people with wealth make the investment decisions for society & get the return on investment, and the broad public don’t.

All the rest is just propaganda. Capitalism has nothing to do with “markets” or “freedom” or any of the rest.

It’s really so simple. It’s how a few people maintain control of society for their own benefit and it’s been this way for thousands of year, under different labels. It’s what a monarchy is. The King and his buddies control the wealth. “WE should have this and you should not and here’s why.”

It’s why the United States was such a breakthrough. WE THE PEOPLE will decide what’s best for us, not you. Government of, by and for THE PEOPLE. Not the elites, the wealthy, the aristocrats, the priesthood, the monarchy, the warlord, whatever label put on the ruling wealthy. A country run for the benefit of the people in the country. Whatever label we put on that – democracy, socialism, whatever.

That’s all. All the rest is just propaganda.

Read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in the context of the monarchies of Europe just salivating waiting for “the Union” – the experiment in democracy – fail so they can get the world back where they want it.

Understanding What a Corporation Actually Is Can Help Restore Democracy

“Some corporations do bad things.” “Corporations bribe politicians.” “Good corporations don’t harm people.” “Corporations are greedy.”

Almost everything we read and hear about corporations destructively misstates what corporations are and why we have them. Understanding what a corporation really is has enormous implications for our democracy.

Corporations Don’t “Do” Things

Here’s the thing: A corporation is a contract. It is a legal agreement enabled by our (“We the People”) government. That’s it.

Corporations are not sentient entities. Contracts don’t “think” or “want” or “need” or say” or “care” or “do” anything. Neither does a will, nor a lease, nor a confidentiality agreement. Corporations also can’t be “greedy” or “criminal” or “good” or “altruistic.” But people can.

When we say these things about corporations we are reinforcing misunderstanding of what a corporation is. This helps the executives running corporations get away with all kind of bad acts.
Continue reading “Understanding What a Corporation Actually Is Can Help Restore Democracy”

“Big Government” is Good

When you hear “conservatives” talk about how bad “government” is, remember that in a democracy “the government” is us. When they run down “government” substitute the words “democracy is decision-making by We the People.”

Big “decision-making by We the People” is obviously good.

Decision-making by We the People is better than by business.

When Decision-making by We the People intervenes in the economy it is bad for profits at the expense of the people and the planet.

Government (decision-making by We the People) is good because its job is protecting us and making our lives better. Government spending is by definition spending that we want because it makes our lives better.

The Radical Left

How far have fallen down the rabbit-hole of collapse? How many of the things we take for granted as ‘givens” in our society have gone away?

Imagine if the idea of libraries or public parks or, God forbid, Social Security or the Post Office were proposed today. Imagine if ANY of the “public goods” we take for granted were proposed today. Even police departments or courts.

Picture the national discourse around such “radical left” proposals.

It would be unimaginable today that our country would allow such radical leftist ideas to come to be. The government paying to have places where people can go borrow books … for FREE? Parks that don’t charge a fee?

We all know this is how it would be.

We CAN Have Nice Things

People worry a lot about “inflation.” This is when the price of goods and services money buys increases, either because the quantity of available goods and services declines or the money circulating in the economy increases faster than the goods and services increase.

People used to think by limiting the money in circulation, prices would stay where they are. So they would “base” the money on something scarce. They thought inflation came from a “debased currency” – meaning the “base” wasn’t scarce enough anymore.

The gold standard was an example of “basing” the economy on scarcity. Governments had to round up (or borrow) gold and trade the gold for the things a government wants to do (forge weaponry, hire mercenaries…) To keep track of this kings and such had to use budgeting methods that made sure they didn’t run “deficits” that drained them of their gold until they couldn’t pay off their “debts.”
Continue reading “We CAN Have Nice Things”

Lies vs Democracy

Well-funded lies are very effective.

The tobacco companies proved that with well-funded propaganda lies (a.k.a. “marketing”) you can get people to kill themselves while giving you their money.

The firearms industry proved that with well-funded propaganda lies you can convince people to allow kindergarteners to be killed while giving you their money.

Trump proved that well-funded propaganda lies (and media participation) he could convince people to kill democracy while giving him their money.

Now the oil&coal companies are proving that well-funded propaganda lies can get people to kill the planet while giving them their money.

Democracy doesn’t have an advertising agency to counter this stuff. This is why we need a Department of Democracy.

Spending Is The Purpose of Government in a Democracy

How often do we hear that “government spending is bad,” or “the government spends too much money”?

The purpose of government in a democracy is to do things for We the People to make our lives better. We the People make the decisions, and allocate resources toward making our lives better. Government spending is the point of democracy. Government in a democracy spends to make our lives better.

Here’s an experiment. When you hear the word “government” substitute the words “decision-making by We the People.”

When you hear, “Government regulation gets in the way of business” try this, “We the People are supposed to decide to regulate business activities to protect US”.

When you hear “the private sector should decide how to spend money,” try this, “In a democracy We the People decide to have roads and rail and solar power, etc.” When you hear that “taxes are theft,” try this, “We the People decide to tax the rich and their corporations so they don’t get so big that we can’t control them.”

This is not how it is today in this country. For decades we’ve been told that government – decision-making by We the People – is bad, that government spending – We the People doing things to make our lives better – is bad, that regulating – We the People protecting each other – is bad. And this has made our democracy weak.

So now many people believe anything government (democracy) does is bad and government spending is bad. That is anti-democracy, and we are living with the consequences of decades of that anti-democracy propaganda.

A Democracy Would Not Tolerate Homelessness

Richard (RJ) Eskow, writing at Absolute Zero, in A Society That Makes People Homeless Has Lost Its Humanity,

Shelter is a basic survival need, along with food, clothing and health care. But it’s even more than that. It’s also a psychic and spiritual need. As the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard wrote: “A home shelters daydreaming, a home protects the dreamer, a home allows us to dream in peace.”

We cannot experience our full humanity without a home, which is one of many reasons why housing is both a basic human need and a basic human right. It’s another reason why the US housing crisis is unforgivable.

In a decent society, nobody would have to spend a single night without a home. And people don’t ‘become’ homeless. We make them homeless, through the deliberate choices we make as a society. With half a million people already unhoused and millions more at risk, it’s time to ask: What kind of people are we? Who are we, that we allow this to happen?

Do “we” do this, or is it because We the People are not making the choices?

We Need a Department of Democracy

This post expands on 2019’s proposal for a government agency, a “Department of Democracy,” to protect and promote democracy.

Democracy doesn’t have an advertising agency, and our discourse is swamped by well-funded anti-democracy efforts — done by self-interested parties like the tobacco and fossil-fuel companies. For obvious reasons such interests want to get government and its rules that protect the public from harms (a.k.a. regulations) “off their backs.”

Our elections have become a game in which secretly-funded disinformation, spread by secretly-funded propaganda outlets, in rigged districts, with voter suppression and apathy deciding who rules. Those minority-selected elected officials perpetuate these barriers in a “doom loop” that is ending democracy.

If what’s left of self-rule survives we need a government agency to take on the role of protecting and promoting democracy. Perhaps we could call it a Department of Democracy.

Continue reading “We Need a Department of Democracy”

Stop The Voter Fraud Charade

Republicans know that no one bussed illegal voters anywhere, no one filled out other people’s ballots, no one “stuffed” ballot boxes, no ballots were printed in China on paper made from “bamboo.”

Republicans know, and everyone knows, that none of this happened. Republicans know that what happened is more people were allowed to vote and when that happens Republicans always lose.

Everyone knows what this is about.

Republicans are saying that -ANY- vote by a minority or Democrat shouldn’t count, they should be allowed to vote, shouldn’t be citizens. That is what they are very clearly saying now. That is what all their new state laws are about. It’s about only letting Republicans vote so they will win.

Republicans are a minority and they have rigged the rules for years now. Republicans win state legislative and Congressional seats through gerrymandering. Republicans are not elected president by majorities. Republicans on the Supreme Court are put there by Republicans presidents who did not win majorities, and confirmed by Republican senators who represent a minority of voters.

A filibuster allows senators who represent only 24% of the public to block everything.

Everyone knows this, especially Republicans.

So stop the charade, stop talking about “fraud,” stop pretending Republicans are doing anything other than rigging things, stop trying to refute their cover-story lies and stop letting them get away with this.

That’s all.