Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Liars and Their Lies

Poor Jim Jordan, singled up with no Doug Collins, Trey Gowdy, Darrell Issa, Louis Gohmert, Mo Brooks, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, …, along side him, on 12 and 13 Jan, 2021, tried valiantly, well, at least loudly and indignantly, to pull the Republican wagon out of the ditch; the ditch that they all had taken a hand in lying the party into. Proving once again that there are none so as indignant as the scoundrel(s), Jordan indignantly rose to accuse his constituents of telling him the lies that he had been telling to them for years and was repeating at the moment and time, and to blame the Dems for letting him get by with the telling. It was all their, the both of theirs fault. All good leaders run and hide behind those they pretend to lead and all scoundrels blame those who caught them in the act.

Like Trump, before Trump, Congressman Jordan of Ohio accused Dems of doing the very things that he was defending the Republicans for having done, were in the process on doing, or were planning on doing. Always falsely, and ever loudly, making accusations meant to denigrate Democrats was Jordan’s special floor move. Now Jordan, and Trump, and the lot of this lot, want us to believe that the lies originated with their constituents, when plainly those are their fingerprints all over those lies. The lies have come home to the liars.

Henceforth: The likes of Jordan must be shouted down, ridiculed under their desks, exposed by any means for being the low-lifes they are; every time, at all times, at all turns. The sorry-assed media must no longer be allowed their mealy-mouthed false equivalencies. The armed militia groups are to be backed into the nearest ocean, or lake, and drowned by the weight of their own weaponry. Ammon Bundy, Majorie Taylor Greene, Mo Brooks, Tommy Tuberville, Lauren Boebert, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Rebekah Mercer, Steve Bannon, and some others, are to be arrested on sight and handed over to the soon to be newly sanitized FBI.

Forthwith, Fox News, Facebook, and YouTube are to be sued into penury as an example to others.

Historians are going to be very busy for a long time.

Populism

Populism has a nice ring; ‘will of the people’ and all that good stuff. So, why doesn’t it ever work? Not even in backward nations? Populism is disastrous in a nation as complex as the United States in times as complicated as these. There’s a reason that it never turns out well. Populism feeds off people’s need to believe, their resistance to thinking and learning, and, is invariably nurtured by ignorance. Knowing this, some politicians, when seeking votes, pander to the voter’s ignorance. When this pandering amount to the bulk of their campaign, a politician becomes known as a populists.

When the founders pondered on all this, their solution was a representative form of government; one where the people chose representatives to deal with the complexities beyond the ken of the common man. Back then, most Americans were functionally illiterate. The founding fathers’ chosen means of addressing this issue was brilliant. All things being relative, in today’s highly complex world; the ken of the common man ’tis relatively about the same as it was back then.

Tort

When Fox News and Newsmax recently accused voting machine manufacturer Dominion Voting Systems of rigging the 2020 election results, Dominion quickly and vigorously struck back at the two with a threat of civil lawsuit; a suit claiming that they, Dominion, had been harmed by the actions of Fox News and Newsmax. Consequent Dominion’s filing, Fox and Newsmax began to quickly and forthwith profusely apologize for and correct their ‘misstatements’.

For years and years, and years, tobacco companies were, with political immunity and lots of good lawyers, allowed to sicken and kill Americans by the tens of thousands with their products every year. In the mid 1990s, more than 40 states commenced litigation against the tobacco industry, seeking monetary, equitable, and injunctive relief, and, as they say, the rest is history.

Unfit

For eight years Mitch McConnell did everything in his power to block any initiative by President Obama; no matter the cost to the nation. It simply wouldn’t do to have the Democrats governing, to have a Democrat in the White House; especially not a popular black President. He never was much on democracy. McConnell couldn’t thwart the will of the people in the 2008 presidential election, but, from the start, it was ‘whatever it takes’ to ensure that Obama was a one-term president. Things didn’t get any better; Throughout the eight years. whenever Obama reached out his hand, McConnell spat in it.

In Obama’s last year in office, the year before Trump took-over, McConnell, single-handedly, unconstitutionally, denied him an appointment to the Supreme Court after Justice Scalia died in February of 2016. But one of many appointments denied during those last four years, this was the most egregious. One he bragged about for years.

In 2016, when the Obama Administration briefed McConnell on Russian interference in the election, McConnell threatened to accuse Obama of trying to tilt the election in Hillary Clinton’s favor if the Administration went public with the confirmed information. This after he had approved the expenditure of thousands of hours of the Senate’s time and millions of taxpayer dollars on an investigation into the Benghazi Incident, one that McConnell knew was a sham, an investigation meant to harm Clinton’s chances if she ran in 2016. Mitch could never find a good reason to do the right thing.

The Wealth of a Nation

One of Sandwichman’s good questions prompted my revisiting an earlier writing of mine on wealth (circa 2000?). Extensively revised to the extent that it is hardly recognizable; here is, a, second, best effort.

Herein, the terms wealth and capital are thought of as being interchangeable.

For thousands of years, humans lived off the bounty of nature. Some societies still do, but, today, and for centuries now, most societies have lived off that bounty much abetted by their own endeavors, and the endeavors of others.

A society’s wealth includes all of its resources. Those resources include the individual and collective knowledge, skills, creativity, talents, and energy, of the society’s members; i.e., all aspects of its innovative and productive capacity. Those resources also include the society’s repositories of knowledge, such as: universities, libraries, museums, laboratories, government agencies, cultural centers, commercial entities, and the management of all. These resources also include a society’s infrastructure such as: housing, education facilities, transportation facilities, utilities, production facilities, medical facilities, entertainment facilities, government facilities, commercial facilities, and the management of all. The natural resources: the land, atmosphere, and environment within a society’s domain are, and most importantly so, among a society’s resources. The well-being of a society’s people is, in and of itself, a societal resource.

Huge!

The wins in Georgia are huge. Now, if Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina can just come up with their own Stacy Abrams, we could see a snowball effect that would change American politics forever. Well, at least, for a long time.

Some might think that this outcome along with its portents can solve the electoral college problem. It doesn’t. Doesn’t solve the problem of someone as unfit as Mitch McConnell tyrannizing the nation. The few Republican Senators of any account need to rise up and demand that he step down from all leadership roles. Because? Because he is an unfit human.

As anyone who has been known to have written more that few programs knows, the bugs will out. The next two years would be an opportune time to begin the debugging.

The Fallacy of Unions

Because it had always been that way, none could think differently. From time immortal, labor was that what did much of the work of production. There is now a generation, maybe two, on this earth, most of whom will never know labor; will seldom see it performed. The energy for their world will not come from the sweat of the back’s of coal miners. So, if it wasn’t (production = material + labor) what was the real equation for production? The input was work, not labor. Today, machines, can and do, do the work. These machines doing the work are becoming more and more intelligent.

Without the help of governmental restrictions on immigration, the unions would never have been able to organize the coal miners; they had no leverage as long as there was a constant flow of poor and desperate immigrants. Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park is nearby. The Park was once site for the manufacture of gunpowder and dynamite. Originally, the company had been located in what is now known as Glen Canyon Park in San Francisco (owners had one of the original licenses to manufacture dynamite). In 1869, an explosion destroyed every building on the site (including the fence around the plant), killed 2 and injured 9. So, they moved the plant to what is now the Sunset District of SF (area was sand dunes then). Blew up again. This time they moved across the Bay to Berkeley. When the plant in Berkeley blew up, it killed everyone on site. Wound up at, the then remote, unpopulated, Pt. Pinole on San Pablo Bay. The point? They never had any trouble hiring immigrants, mostly Croats, it seems, to work in the plants.

Consequences

Professors Piketty, Saez, and Zucman!

Have a minute? A minute to talk about rentiers, retirement, growth, and sharing?

Thanks.

Seems some sixty-percent of Americans think that things are going pretty well. For them, things are going pretty well. But, for the lower forty, things aren’t going well at all. Surely, this sixty – forty ratio is not a healthy economy? What’s worse; it’s getting worse.

Fifty, maybe even as few as thirty, years ago, one could lease a commercial space for, what at the time, seemed a princely sum and start a business. Today, upon comparison, that princely sum seems a mere pittance. Today, more than half of what one could possibly gross in a small start up goes to the landlord, the rentier. Between the rent, insurance, utilities, …, and the bottom line; one winds up paying their employees less than they deserve. Hardly anything left. Plunge taken, the budding entrepreneurs, and their employees, winds up working for the rentiers, the insurance company, the utility company, …; wind up working for next to nothing, or even worse.

Rather Than

Rather than the Constitution granting us our rights, it should protect our inalienable rights.

One might ask how is it that the constitution grants citizens the right to own a gun, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, privacy in their own home, …, all, notably, rights the colonists might not have had under a monarchy, but does not grant: every citizen the right to vote, personhood to all, women the freedom of choice? Much of the 18th century model constitution addressed the issues of that time, in the context of that time. The framers thought in terms of monarchies, class and race distinctions, male dominance, …; of the 18th century. A constitution more suited to the 21st century would move beyond class, gender, and race.

The 18th century constitution sought to protect us from the abuses of a monarchy. Today, we are being abused by those who take advantage of the flaws of the 18th century constitution. We are being tyrannized by a minority lead by mean, small-minded, white men using the strictures and inadequacies of the 18th century model. We now have a supreme court majority bent on bringing religion into government and ensuring that persons of wealth retain power. This court, in concert with the wealthy, would gleefully impose 18th century values on us, all in the name of our 18th century constitution.

Market Capitalism

Then and Now

Once the birthright of lords and kings, the association of wealth with power, is, of late, more often than not, the prerogative of the very wealthy; theirs as a right derived under the aegis of capitalism, and, one defended, it seems — under the aegis of the Constitution.

For a long time now, capitalism has provided both the rationale and method for continuing the status quo; it granted the wealthy the right to employ the power of their wealth to control a nation’s wealth, and more. Of late, the US Supreme Court has ruled that this right to power extends to politics and beyond.

Surely, the wealth of a nation is a consequence of production by its many, or, even if stolen from another land, that other land’s many; not the efforts of a handful of men. Just as assuredly, the wealth of a nation, the world, belongs to all its citizens; not to a handful of them. And, again, just as assuredly, the right to decide what to do with a nation’s wealth, belongs to all its citizens. So, surely, too, the political power of the Nation belongs to its citizens.

Today, in these, our United States of America, to an extent unseen at least since the Gilded Age, the struggle is about who gets to decide everything. That’s everything as in: What is legal and what is not. How the laws are enforced, …. The distribution of wealth, of healthcare, …. Whether or not to go to war, …. Even what to think. Today, we are seeing the extremely wealthy spend $millions and $millions on think tanks and lobbyists, political campaigns, getting justices appointed to the US Supreme Court, …, in order to ensure that they, not we the people, continue to get to decide what to do with the Nation’s wealth, …, to decide everything. These are they, the very same, who took our wealth, invested it in Asia, then told us, we the people, to go fish.