Category: Progressive Politics

Corporate Fraud and Greed – End it Now!

Rolling Stone has a very interesting article on the excesses of fraud and waste in the Iraq war.

What is happening to the United States is that corporations are looting the federal government. Grover Norquist eat your heart out, your fondest desire might actually be coming true but the consequences will be very bad for everyone. For corporations should never be in the business of providing government services. We’re seeing that push here in Rhode Island, our Republican governor who is also a Bush supporter wants to privatize just 1,000 state jobs. That’s the camel poking its nose into the tent.

How did corporations get so bold? It’s simple, under a fictional legal theory, little more than a comment inserted by a clerk who was paid by the Southern Pacific Railroad, corporations are under the mistaken notion that they have the same rights and privileges as a real person. They should have no such thing, for if they did not they wouldn’t be able to throw money to congress via PAC’s and other vehicles for corporate malfeasance like no bid contracts.

I interviewed with one firm mentioned in the article, Custer-Battles. First, I knew about the shell companies and had alarm bells ringing like crazy in my head. They had advertised the job as full time but when I had gotten to the car after the interview Battles calls and asks if I’d do contracting. I told him to kiss my ass. Turns out my alarm bells over Custer-Battles were correct but get this, even though they had a judgment against them, it was overturned by a Bush friendly jurist at the appellate level. How’s that for disgusting, I know they’re dirty, everyone knows but the courts that are supposed to protect us instead protect corporations that are defrauding the government and therefore the taxpayer for billions.

Consider the $544 Billion dollars spent in Iraq so far. Had we not gone there that $544 Billion might have helped victims of Katrina and maybe, just maybe, we could have a single payer health system in the United States.

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until it happens. We MUST change the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to specifically EXCLUDE corporations from the rights derived by that amendment.

How to do that is the conundrum. We cannot depend on our representatives since every single one of them has been bought and paid for many times over.

We’ve all seen how that works. We now have bankruptcy law that benefits the creditors rather than the debtors. We also have corporations like Verizon et al trying their damnedest to kill net neutrality, or the RIAA who won’t adapt to the times, instead they prefer to litigate their way through. Those are just three examples but I’m sure you can think of more, like maybe the oil and gas companies who reap obscene profits while we pay dearly at the pump. Just keep thinking about all the little ways corporations try to screw you and you should be getting very upset. Good, that’s precisely the kind of thing that moves our society forward.

We must lift ourselves into the fray and create a true opposition party that is funded by the people, and not by corporate interests. We have to start locally because constitutional amendments require ratification by the states, so start there and move onward. Howard Dean hit on this briefly when he had several million people chipping in $25 here and there to elect him as the Democratic President. It has to be grassroots and it will take time, I can only hope that it takes as short a time as possible to stop this craziness once and for all.

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Milton Friedman’s 1991 Interview in support of Legalization

Legalize It

Renowned economist Milton Friedman gives a logical argument as to why drugs should be legalized. I would loved to have had Friedman as a college economics professor. He really takes the interview in his own direction, leaving the interviewer a bit flustered at times. He’s well prepared with facts which I find admirable.

Anyhow this video was recorded in 1991. Enjoy!

Interesting stuff – All Politics are in fact local

An interesting read by all rights. That’s what I’d call this piece in The Atlantic titled “They Won’t Know What Hit Them”.

Kudos to Tim Gill for recognizing what FDR, JFK, Clinton and even the Republicans did in the past, that all politics begins at the local level. That’s where you have to make your moves.

By way of introduction Tim Gill is the man behind Quark. Quark produced what I’d class as desktop publishing software (DTP) but it was more than that. Quark was a graphics program – we used it when I was at Emblem & Badge, and we even use it where I work now. I never knew that Gill was gay. That surprised me, but not so much as the fact that he’s actively financing gay friendly candidates. Now if only the leadership of the HRC would take note. Or how about The Advocate, instead of putting gay-friendly people on the cover why not start talking about what really matters.

Celebrity doesn’t impact our lives, but the political does. Remember that.

Has rationality broken out in D.C.?

This is an interesting little synopsis of the current Democratic efforts in currently in congress. A few of them are really encouraging.

For example, John Conyers bill HR676 would extend health care coverage to EVERY American citizen. Put it this way, I’d be so much more likely to start a business and hire people if I knew they had health care coverage. I’d even be likely to be a reasonable wage too. In my book, the only thing stopping me is asinine taxes in Rhode Island and the lack of affordable health care.

As far as verifiable elections – Rhode Island has such a system but even there people come up with bogus arguments just to throw a wrench into the system. Our ballots are paper and all that one has to do is draw a line to complete an arrow pointing to ones choice. But some people are not the sharpest crayon in the box, and so draw lines everywhere. Of course you can’t count that ballot. And we did have a little issue this past election because for cities like Providence, it was a four page ballot. Otherwise it’s a good system with multiple points of verification. This should be the standard for the country – it’s inexpensive (With the exception of printing the ballots) and effective.

With regard to the Healthy Families Act (S 932 and HR 1902) I’d like to see some language added to it. I’d like to see sick, vacation, personal, comp etc. all dumped into one paid time off (PTO) account. Then you could take time without having to worry about whether you have enough sick time, etc. If you lumped all my time together I’ve got almost 400 hours of PTO in my bank, that’s 11.4 weeks, but because about 100 of that is sick time, it gets reduced to 8.5 weeks if we used PTO.

The Employee Free Choice Act (S 842 and HR 1696) would put the brakes on Wal-Mart and the like. I think it is time for unions to return to the U.S. with a vengeance. Contrary to popular belief, we ALL benefit from union acitvity.

Numbers five and six on the list are sort of one in the same or could be combined. We should not have bases in the Arab or Persian world. And we shouldn’t be hiring private contractors to torture our prisoners of war.

I’m fully in favor of Reverse the Raid on Student Aid Act (S 2573 and HR 5150) since I have about $20K in student loans that I’m still paying on. So it’d save me about $6K which thrills me to no end. Plus the fact I’m thinking about going for either another B.S. or a graduate degree which will add to the total.

I solidly support number eight, the Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA — HR 3302).Media consolidation has given us Clear Channel and networks like Fox, NBC, etc. owning far too much market. Then you have the Providence Journal which is owned by Dallas based Belo Corp. Since Belo bough the ProJo it’s gotten to the point where the paper isn’t fit to line a cat litter pan, and the website is absolutely hideous.

TheClean Money, Clean Elections Act (HR 3099) act would do more to help us than anything I’ve spoken about so far. That is because if you had publicly financed elections, corporations would then have diminished influence on the political process. If you’ve been reading my blog you know my disdain for corporate power and you’ve seen my solutions for limiting corporate dominance over our lives.

Finally, the Clean EDGE Act (S 2829)has all sorts of goodies in store. By reducing our dependence on foreign oil, we reduce the ability of radical Muslim clerics to spread their message of hate. The bill also proposes clamping down on price gouging, which has been going on for some time.