I keep hearing a lot of explanations, excuses and scare tactics really, for why we can’t have a higher minimum wage, shorter work weeks, good healthcare, real maternity and paternity leave – more life benefits for working people, particularly in the service sector. They usually boil down to this; financially bloated investors will see their ROI reduced too much (not true) and so they’ll pull up stakes and move over seas – presumably to china, a communist country… anyway. Even the capitalist left has it’s favorite excuses – automation! They’ll be replaced by robots! (Also not true.)
All of these arguments amount to an admission that capitalism can’t deliver a nice society. Citizens need a stable and decently high income, with a disposable margin in order to pursue happiness. This situation itself, according to the science on the subject (broad economics), facilitates a great and functioning economy, by spurring a wealth of economic activity, and increasing aggregate demand for services and goods. All these arguments that explain why we can’t have that because of investors ROI, are arguing that capitalism *can’t* deliver the goods. Maybe we should take them at their word, and start inventing an alternative.
Thankfully Stephen Colbert and John Stewart have become our political court jesters. Gleefully telling truths that journalists, politicians and leaders from every sector in public life are afraid too. By shouting the unspeakable they force us to face the truth like adults. It’s time to stop trying to “start a debate” and start fixing our problems.
An interesting discussion about Democracy with Michael Mandelbaum about his book Democracy’s Good Name on Charlie Rose – June 24, 2008.
He defines Democracy as needing 3 things:
1. Freedom – self determination, of movement, private property
2. Liberty – rule of law, representation, civil rights, minority rights
3. Social Safety Net – retirement, health care, police protection
He champions the concept that fair capitalism is the first step to building the necessary institutions for a democracy to take hold. Markets that are open and well regulated help build the skills necessary to make a democracy work.
With a little luck and a lot of support Oregon may get a great new Senator. These are the kind of people who we need to find and support for office. Born without an arm or fibula’s in either leg wasn’t tough enough but at 14 his high school was closed because the school budget didn’t pass. By the time he was 21 he had graduated from Harvard Law. He knows what it means to have to fight the vested interests and to have people underestimate him. As long as candidates like this are willing to go into government we might just have a chance.
The best part is he uses his hook as… wait for it… his hook! (ugh)
On February 12, 2008 the 110th Congress showed the world just the type of people they are – Cowards. Cowards who hope that by allowing eavesdropping it will prove to people that they’re tough. Only cowards have to prove they’re tough. Cowards who are willing to give immunity to the telecommunications industry for their past illegal eavesdropping programs. Cowards who live in such a deep state of fear that they have voted to deny freedom and the protection of law to every man, woman and child living in the United States. They have forgotten that living in a free society comes with risks. They have forgotten the the people of the United States are far braver than they themselves are.
With their passage of the FISA bill they have failed in their duty. I call on them to reconsider this tragic failure. A failure that will join a sad list of similar congressional failures enacted by past fearful congresses. They are to be despised for pitied for living in fear.
Perhaps they should take another look at the oath they swore to the people of the United Staes.
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
With Hillary sinking in the polls and Barack rising they were going to have to do something. The first plan, using the “D” word, didn’t work. What to do? Enter Bill Clinton on Charlie Rose last week. Where in his smoothest slick willie tones warns america that to vote for Barack Obama is to “roll the dice“. Be afraid! Be very afraid!
After all Hillary relied on her experience when she voted to authorize the Iraq War. She used that same experience to give George Bush the green light to invade Iran. She trusted her experience to support torture but must now reject her experience because she doesn’t support it anymore.
Bill Clinton also asked, “When is the last time we elected a president based on one year of service in the Senate before he started running?” the answer? 1860. The candidate? Abraham Lincoln. Oh wait, he never won any National or Executive office.
Gimmee those dice!
Daddy needs a new administration…
Dominating geopolitics is about controlling who gets the oil. Jack Miles has a great article in the Asia Times about how the Bush Administration’s gamble in Iraq is just about done. Looks like the pres’ lost this game of Texas Hold’em.