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.
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”
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.
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.
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?
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”
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.
The Democrats have a sinister plan. They are going to trick people into voting for them by doing things to make their lives better.
They plan to use the people’s government to bribe the voters. They are strategically scheming to allocate government resources to deliver things like safety from the Covid-19 virus, health care, education, even modernized infrastructure. They plan to address problem like the climate crisis, racial injustice, even inequality, They will pass laws preventing companies from polluting, committing fraud and other things that companies have been allowed to do for so long! This hijacking of the government by Democrats for their own purposes could mean voters reward them by allowing them to do even more for them.
However the good Republicans also have a plan. To prevent the seizure of the government away from the corporations, they are passing laws to stop the voters from being able to reward the Democrats for their bribery schemes. They are gallantly making sure that it is very, very difficult for the bribed voters to get to polling places – of course prohibiting the ease of voting by mail – and if they get to voting places they will face all kinds of rules designed to keep the from the voting booths themselves.
In case voters actually do make it to the voting booths to cast votes, the districts are carefully drawn in ways that Democrat votes are concentrated into a very few districts, while the majority of districts remain under Republican control, no matter how the statewide vote turns out.
So be aware of this sinister plan by Democrats to bribe voters by making their lives better. Do not let them get away with it.
“Protectionism” literally means we, as a nation, protect our national interests. It is one more word that has been twisted to make people think it’s a bad thing, like “entitlement” (the things we are entitled to as citizens in a democracy) or “welfare” (people in a democracy making each others’ lives better.)
“Trade” is about competitive advantages. It used to mean one region can grow bananas and another can grow corn, and by trading they each end up with both bananas and corn in their kitchens. (Good.) Today, though, it means authoritarian governments have the “competitive advantage” of allowing slavery and pollution so their factories can make things for less. So (the executives of) big corporations move production there, then squeeze the remaining workforce here with threats to move their jobs as well if they won’t lower their standard of living. (Bad.) All the gains of that “trade” are passed to a few already-wealthy owners and managers of that means of production. They use some of the gains to influence our laws to allow them to do this.
A democracy obviously would consider its people’s standard of living an interest worth “protecting” and would never allow businesses to influence lawmaking.
Trade can be done a different way but that requires democratic governance. Economists (used to) tell us that society gained from trade because making the economy more “efficient” by moving production to lower-cost regions frees up resources, providing increased investment and general prosperity; better infrastructure, higher pay and more free time for everyone in the society. And the production moved to the lower pay area means jobs and investment there, so they also move up that same ladder to increased investment and prosperity. That assumption depended on viewing society as liberal democracies capable of making and enforcing rules that would pass these gains on to everyone.
The failure of our country to maintain itself as a democracy has resulted in the allowance of trade with savers and polluters, resulting in the extreme inequality we see. Thereby enabling further squeezing of workers and environment here. It also incentivises authoritarian governments to allow slavery and pollution.
The solution to this, and so many other problems, is, of course, to remove the influence of money from our political system.
People don’t want to say that Republicans attempted a “coup” but they certainly attempted to overturn the clear results of a democratic election. They tried to end our democracy, right in front of our eyes.
The election was almost “close enough to overturn.”
The Democrat received (the counting is not finished) over 6 million more votes but it was “close.” This is because our 18th-century electoral college system, designed to keep the “slave states” happy, does not belong in the 21st century.
If Republicans had blocked a few more people who couldn’t get birth certificates, etc. from voting…
If Republicans had been able to close a few more polling places…
If they had taken away a few more ballot drop-boxes…
If Republican had scared just a few more people…
If Republicans had told just a few more lies…
If the USPS had delayed a few more ballots…
If just a bit fewer Democrats had voted…
…they very well might have gotten away with it.
Take what happened very, very seriously. Because they tried. Right in front of our eyes.
And if we don’t take steps to do something about this, next time they will do … just that bit more.