Tuesday, February 2, 2016

REAL Populism COULD Offer Real Solutions

Image result for populism

IF I were to make a Populist argumentTHIS would be it:

While it’s long been mathematically proven that the Command Economy CANNOT work (1974) and today, Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti and Zimbabwe are testaments to that fact, the unbridled market doesn’t work either.

Just as the Command Economy discounts the most critical aspect of an economy – the CONSUMER and slavishly catering to delivering what the consumer WANTS, the market economy doesn’t understand who its primary investors are.

Any entity's primary investors are also its “TALENT,” that is, its WORKERS.

Take, for instance, Uber. A great idea, sketched out by its so-called “founders,” but shaped, molded and made workable by its primary investors, or workers.

What Uber has successfully, albeit accidentally highlighted is the pernicious effects of PUBLIC SECTOR GREED. Cities, like New York sell “Taxi Medallions,” for huge sums of money and then allow the owners to fashion abusive contracts with its workers.

A person spends $500,000 on a New York City Taxi Medallion and they want/require a return, so maybe they “rent out” their cab with that Medallion for what amounts to 60%, 70% or more of a driver’s take during a 12-hour period.

That is wrong on every level.

Taxi Medallions MUST come with strict rules about driver/owner splits (something along the lines of a minimum 60% to the driver). YES, that would greatly reduce the value of such Medallions and drive the market price for them down, perhaps way down to $25,000 to $30,000...or less.

Likewise, Uber’s “founders” don’t seem to understand whom their primary investors and co-creators are. Bottom line, Uber, like ALL other such entities, was granted access to the people’s marketplace by its representatives in government. You can’t have drivers earning $60,000/year when “founders” are raking in BILLIONS.

That money simply doesn’t belong to those organizers/managers.

So, what should be done?

The overwhelming bulk of those profits should go to pay for shoring up and greatly improving Social Security, expanding Medicare & Medicaid programs, thereby improving the lives and health of ALL citizens.

You may well ask, "Under WHAT premise exactly, do we take such freely earned profits and make them a public trust?"

The answer, is that in truth BOTH the so-called "owners"/founders are co-creators of this entity and as such BOTH hold inviolate property rights to those profits. The workers/primary investors have agreed to a limited, or set amount of compensation for their services/work...and so must the "owners"/managers. The rest must be entrusted to "The people's pottage."

The canard is often repeated that, “Absent these unbridled profits producers won’t produce, innovators won’t innovate.” That’s a flat out LIE.

Such people aren’t motivated primarily by money, but the NEED to create...they’ll innovate, create and produce anyway, even if the bulk of those BILLIONS go into a public trough.

That leaves the question of “ownership,” or PROPERTY RIGHTS.

Doesn’t the basic idea of Uber belong to Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp?

No, not when you consider that it is the workers (drivers) who’ve perfected the idea and made it workable. It’s the workers/drivers who breathe life into those ideas and make the entity work. Those workers are Uber’s PRIMARY investors. In a very real sense, they too hold viable PROPERTY RIGHTS over this idea.

So, just as the workers/drivers agree to take a set amount of compensation for their work, so must its managers and/or “owners.” Of course that would require capping ALL such compensation (in ALL forms) to ALL CEOs, COOs and CFOs. That wouldn’t be a bad thing at all, in fact, it would be a HUGE improvement all around.

Executive pay SHOULD be directly tied to how well a company does during the tenure of those executives...yes, theoretically, an Executive Team COULD owe money should they preside over a catastrophic failure of an outfit. As draconian as that might sound, AGAIN, some of the very best, will always rise to the challenge, even when the stakes are so high. The primary motivator is the CHALLENGE and NOT the COMPENSATION, which would STILL remain quite high for successful “owners”/managers.

Once that is established, the only question left is, “What to do with bulk of those profits.”

The answer SHOULD BE, “Invest them back into the people,” in the form of increased Social Security benefits, into Medicare, Medicaid, shoring up worker pension programs, etc. so that more people will have access to better lives and truly viable health care.

This form of populism is neither Capitalist, nor Socialist. It is a true hybrid. It’s sad that today’s populists, like Bernie Sanders seem unable to articulate this at all, probably because such people foolishly refuse to accept that PROPERTY RIGHTS are inviolate and that ONLY the market can work. That’s a HUGE problem for them.

On the other side, those like Ted Cruz, even Ben Carson and Donald Trump just don’t seem to believe in the limits of ownership. They don’t seem to understand that the innovators, or “founders” are NOT the only ones with viable property rights over an entity. Especially when those entities were primarily created by their primary investors/WORKERS.

There is a path from where we are, to where we want to go, but it requires greater connectivity and inter-dependence between worker/investors and owner/managers and BOTH their dependence upon the proper role of government...which is NOT merely protecting one side’s short-sighted “property rights,” while ignoring those of the primary investors/workers.

The PROBLEM with this is that we can no more trust government to, "Do the right thing," any more than we can trust Corporate entities to do the same. Human nature makes clear that humans ALWAYS press their advantage when they have one...ALL humans. Worse still, generally, it's the weakest and most pathological humans who are drawn into government. Just an inconvenient fact.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

WHO'S Undermining Municipal Disability Pensions and WHY???

Timothy Carroll, left, and Thomas Rohling - co-owners of Tragic Solutions

Anyone who has followed the painful saga in Detroit knows that the courts have ruled that pension payments, YES, even earned pension benefits are NOT sacrosanct during such bankruptcies (http://www.nytimes.com/…/pension-ruling-in-detroit-echoes-w…).

In Detroit's wake, San Jose, CA and other cities have followed suit in looking to reconfigure existing pension and healthcare benefits in the face of looming fiscal crises.

In neighboring NJ, two consecutive Governors (Whitman a Republican and Corzine a Democrat) failed to FOLLOW the LAW mandating that State's pension reserves be funded annually and the result has been a near implosion of that State's pension system. A system that's STILL tottering on the brink of disaster.

UNFORTUNATELY there are always reckless, irresponsible people who seem to go out of their way to throw the system that has helped them and countless others, who are NOT reckless and irresponsible, under the bus.

Guys like Tim Carroll of NJ (http://watchdog.org/…/disabled-partners-in-crime-scenes-wi…/); "Timothy Carroll retired at age 33. He claimed he was “totally and permanently” disabled by the trauma of seeing dead bodies while working as a sheriff’s officer in Morris County, New Jersey.

“I suffer from crime scene flashbacks and hallucinations due to all the years I served as a crime scene detective,” stated Carroll in his disability application.

"The real shock is Carroll then started a business that cleans up gory crime scenes, a New Jersey Watchdog investigation found. Yet the state continues to pay him a disability pension for life, a sum that could total $1 million or more.

"Carroll’s company, Tragic Solutions LLC of Linden, N.J., specializes in removing human residue from “bloody and/or messy” scenes, including “murder, suicide, accidental, natural and decomposing deaths,” according to its website. He formed the business with Thomas Rohling, another former Morris sheriff’s officer who draws a state disability pension."

Carroll lost his disability pension in court last year.(http://watchdog.org/120938/disability-pension-abuse/)

Abuses such as that prompted on NJ Official (John Sierchio, former chairman and current member of the PFRS Board of Trustees) to say, “I’d say 95 percent of the disability applications are questionable. It’s people who don’t want to work anymore. If a person trips over a curb, slips on ice or falls off a chair...”

According to John Sierchio, it's lax state laws that make such pensions rife for abuse. “They’re playing within the rules,” Sierchio said. “It’s the rules that are the problem. I believe that if they don’t close those loopholes, it’s going to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.”

THIS is someone WITHIN the SYSTEM condemning it!

Closer to home...and more recently, Chris DePaolis, who retired from the NYPD on disability now works for the Broward County Sheriff's Department in Florida...and regularly runs marathons with his wife (http://www.nydailynews.com/…/exclusive-ex-cop-disability-le…).

To compound his error, Mr. DePaolis made his intentions all too clear on....FACEBOOK (where else). On his personal Facebook page, he lamented America’s descent into a handout culture, then shared his decision to abuse the system. “Now I’ll take whatever I can get for this state and not feel one bit bad. If everyone else is going to get free s--t and not have to work. . . . I plan to do the same now. They made it clear to me so now am joining them,” he wrote on Facebook Nov. 7, 2012, the day after President Obama was reelected.

Yeah, the old, "Everybody else is doing it" line....That is NOT at all helpful!

Things like that make millions of VOTERS very angry. While people don't mind helping those truly disabled (as in NOT being able to work any longer), they certainly DO mind being scammed....especially by those bold enough to be "boastful, boisterous A-holes" about it! The actions of those people directly and probably deliberately harm all those who are truly disabled.

AND sadly, there's no shortage of such examples, like John Giuffrida, 42: disabled from the FDNY on lung ailments that apparently weren't severe enough to stop him from scuba diving and becoming a mixed-martial-arts fighter who competes in grueling kickboxing matches, or James Kadnar, also 42, who started collecting a disability pension in 2006 based on a chronic sinus condition, but who applied to become a cop in North Carolina in 2010 and underwent what was described as a “vigorous four-month training program.” (http://nypost.com/…/fdny-pension-board-to-review-firefight…/)

As recently as 2014 D.A. Cyrus Vance charged 106 people with SSDI fraud including 80 NYPD cops and FDNY firefighters claiming that fraud "cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars." (http://manhattanda.org/…/da-vance-106-defendants-including-…)

And PLEASE don't think regular people don't notice this...they do (http://joemygod.blogspot.com/…/911-scandal-roils-nypd-and-f…) Images like THIS (http://nypost.com/…/…/congress-enabled-911-disability-scams/) tend to stay in people's minds.

So, is it any wonder that feckless politicians would use a few examples of reckless and irresponsible recipients to undermine an entire system and scapegoat the over 90% of those who are truly disabled and truly in need? Seriously?! Have you seen any of the many exposes on Welfare Fraud?

When their government's finances are at stake, local politicians will do just about ANYTHING and cross just about ANYONE to bail themselves out.

ALL local politicians care about is ascending to higher office, just as those already IN higher office ONLY care about...staying in office. That's why public pressure is so vital and those reckless and irresponsible few help generate a very righteous indignation and exacerbate that public pressure.

Maybe these guys are just stuck on stupid.

Maybe they've been blinded by GREED ("I got this disability gig, so why not take another job and get ANOTHER disability pension from that one too?")

Maybe they don't care about any of the scores of truly disabled members...well, it's obvious they don't care about anyone but themselves.

BUT whatever the reason, what these folks do is unconscionable and SHOULD BE criminal. IF you support and respect the disability pension system, then you HAVE TO condemn those who abuse it...simple as that.

Governments ARE cracking down on such people, unfortunately, that might just be a first step to a larger, more draconian plan.

A word to the wise...DON'T be THAT GUY!

The TRUTH About Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympics

Berlin Monument to Jesse Owens

With the film "Race" set for release next month (February 16th, 2016) it's important to remember some inconvenient truths about those Olympics and their aftermath.

(1) The USA caved into pressure to replace two Jewish runners on that 4 X 100 meter relay, including one (Sam Stoller) who'd beaten Jesse Owens earlier in another 100 meter contest.

The sole reason for this was that the U.S. DID NOT want to embarrass Hitler by having two Jews on the medal platform. That's the sad truth.

(2) FDR NOT Hitler snubbed Jesse Owens: "In the immediate aftermath of the Berlin Games, a myth arose that Hitler, enraged at the triumph of an African American, refused to congratulate Owens on his victories because he failed to shake his hand. However, the press reported that the German leader gave the American sprinter a “friendly little Nazi salute,” and Owens said that the two exchanged congratulatory waves. In fact, it was the conduct of Roosevelt– who never invited Owens to the White House or acknowledged his triumphs–that disappointed the Olympic champion. “Hitler didn’t snub me - it was our president who snubbed me,” he said months after the Games. “The president didn’t even send me a telegram.” (http://www.history.com/…/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-j…)

(3) The USA DID NOT humiliate Germany in those Olympics. Germany won the medal count, including the most gold medals by a wide margin (https://en.wikipedia.org/w…/1936_Summer_Olympics_medal_table). Germany won every medal count and bested the U.S. 89 - 56 overall.

(4) Jesse Owens ran all his races in German made track shoes (Adidas).

(5) To his death, Owens said that he was treated better in Germany than he was back in the United States! There remain enduring memorials to Jesse Owens in Berlin.

I just wonder how many of those actual truths will be included in the film, "Race".

Yonkers Looking to Halve Retiree Disability Benefits From Retired Members

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For all those who mistakenly believe that (1) Retiree Disability Benefits "CAN'T BE TOUCHED," or (2) "They can't touch the pensions of those already retired"...read THIS: http://www.yonkerstribune.com/2016/01/letter-to-the-editor-a-scathing-letter-by-michael-j-ward

Yonkers Fire Union wins arbitration...http://thechiefleader.com/news/news_of_the_week/yonkers-fire-union-wins-arbitration-on-retiree-benefit-issue/article_08603f8c-7b11-11e3-b0e2-001a4bcf6878.html#.VqV4vxMOPEg.facebook

When Dumb People Bleet On...It Can Really Get....Well, Pretty Damned Dumb!

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Leonardo DiCaprio

Recently the esteemed actor Leonardo DiCaprio went all anti-corporate with this gem of a tirade; “I want to share this award (a Golden Globe) with all the First Nations people represented in this film and all the Indigenous communities around the world. It is time that we recognized your history and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people that are out there to exploit them. It is time that we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations.”


Uhhhh, does Dopey DiCaprio NOT understand that he’s employed by one of the leading global corporate outfits, America’s media and entertainment conglomerate?

Not only that, BUT the primary purpose of America’s global entertainment empire is to foster and further Western, specifically American, imperialism.

YES, our entertainment is packaged and sold around the world to (1) sell our culture, along with its fast food, fast and reckless sex, and throw-away consumerism to the rest of the world, while (2) undermining the other existing cultures around the world that don’t neatly fit into our own hyper-consumerist, “disposable” culture.

Either Leonardo DiCaprio is an utter moron or he’s a real bad liar!

Now I find it very hard to believe, given his acting abilities, his ability to breathe life into two dimensional pen/paper characters, memorize scads of lines, etc. that Mr. DiCaprio is a moron...so he must just be a really bad liar.

BUT that rant is very FUNNY stuff!

Kinda like Jack Welch railing against Corporations, or Warren Buffett ranting against unbridled wealth. Indeed, very much like a rapist railing against sex.

Such folks need someone to tell them, "STOP IT....Just STOP IT! You're doing it all wrong!"....And yes, that goes for DiCaprio too.

Monday, January 18, 2016

THIS is WHY Conservatives and Traditionalists Should Revile the GOP

GOP primary 2
RINO vs Elephant

I've long said that, "The GOP is NOT a proper vehicle for Conservatism."

The only reason I'd say that is because...it's NOT!

I don't know whether Trump is a Conservative, or not. He has supported abortion-on-demand.

I do too, so that's no big deal to me. The reason I support abortion-on-demand and even mandated birth control for ALL those on public assistance is because I believe that, "An unwilling, or incompetent parent (anyone who cannot take care of themselves are, at least at that time, fiscally incompetent) is also a UNFIT parent, a least so long as they are unwilling &/or incompetent."

But that's just me. Others will have to make up their own minds.

ONE thing no one has to "make up their own minds about" is how BOTH major Parties have been used to blunt the agendas of their chosen "Special Interests." Democrats have done it with blacks and, to some extent, with women, while the GOP has done the SAME thing to Conservatives, Traditionalists and Libertarians.

Even under the allegedly "Evangelical" G W Bush, with a GOP Congress, they COULD NOT, or would not not bring themselves to push for the overturning of Roe v Wade and ALL that would've done would be to send abortion legislation back to the individual states, where virtually every state (some say "save Alabama, Mississippi and Utah," but I have my doubts about them even being able to ban it in those places) would protect those rights.

If anything, it'd make the anti-abortion fight much harder (more diffuse) and more expensive for the pro-Life forces.

BUT still, even despite all that, G. W. Bush and company wouldn't push to get Roe overturned.

BOTH of the major Parties function to blunt the courser impulses and demands of their chosen special interests...often to the good, but, often to the bad, as well.

Here's a fascinating peak into the machinations of the GOP's inner sanctum - it's controlling establishment. Here the leading RNC operatives discuss undermining Donald Trump at all costs.

I'll admit, I was never a very enthusiastic Trump supporter. I acknowledge that he's often NOT been at all Conservative. He's boisterous and blustery...BUT the corporately controlled Democrat AND Republican Parties hate (and possibly fear) him, as does our corporately controlled national media.

For me...that's GOOD ENOUGH for now. The long list of the sins of our corporately controlled media-academia-political class is fodder for another day.

For me...at least for now...anyone reviled by our corporately controlled media-academia-political sphere is at least OK by me.

Trump is EXACTLY What the GOP Deserves...and Very Possibly What America NEEDS

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Donald Trump

Throughout 2015, I’ve been extremely cynical about Donald Trump’s run for President. Publicity stunt, or just the hubris of a HUGE celebrity ego?

But it doesn’t matter anymore, at least not to me. The fact that America’s vile media and the political class hate him is good enough for me.

I can’t even begin to express how much I revile America’s political/media class. They are a bunch of mostly semi-educated English, History and Communications majors who assiduously avoided math and the hard sciences while in College. THAT’S a fact.

I know them better than they know themselves.

I stand by my 1973 pronouncement from on high (No kidding, I believe I said this while on Mount Hood), “If you can’t do quadratic equations, then you’re NOT truly educated.”

I remain a registered Democrat, but I also remain an “Old School Democrat” from the days when the Dixiecrats and Northern Ethnic Catholics formed the voting base of that Party. I am solidly pro-Union, vehemently anti-open borders, anti-tax, against ANY discriminatory legislation (YES, including race/gender preferences) and pro-ORIGINAL Constitution (the one designed to greatly limit, even shackle government).

The fact that the GOP “establishment” hates Trump makes “The Donald” all the more alluring to me. I despise the Country Club Republicans who’ve run the GOP for the past half century. I’ve especially detested the “GOP establishment” since their Southern Strategy was fashioned by exactly this faction, specifically to blunt the voice of Conservative America.

I know there are STILL some imbeciles who believe the Southern Strategy was designed to “blunt the black vote,” which of course, is utter nonsense. It was designed to amplify it, which, in fact, it DID. The fact that it also effectively cemented most black voters onto a liberal-Democratic Plantation, is their own fault...and really NONE of my concern.

Conservative ethnic Catholic whites and southern whites, along with blacks have ALL been duped onto their own plantations, but whereas black voters claimed a large voice within the Democratic Party, like their Conservative white counterparts in the GOP, BOTH groups have been marginalized and taken for granted (“Where else are they gonna go?”) and have had their agendas blunted and compromised away at every turn by the “leaders” within their own preferred Parties.

Pat Buchanan was the first Conservative to tell the Moderate/Country Club Republicans that; (1) THIS ain’t your Party anymore and (2) Your days are numbered. Instead of listening and working with PJB, they effectively expelled Buchanan from the Party that brought Corporatism/Progressivism to America.

At every turn the Country Club Republicans have used dopey “wedge issues” like abortion and gay rights to appease their base and make their opposition look nihilistic, anti-traditional and, when they could get away with it, “downright anti-American,” BUT whenever they were faced actually doing something to deliver on those false promises, they’d “accidentally on purpose” screw the pooch, like when old George HW Bush put Souter on the Supreme Court, or when the likes of Lindsey Graham or Orin Hatch would thwart various Conservative Bills in the Senate and then make “compromises” with the likes of Ted Kennedy, in which the ONLY “compromising” was done by the Country Clubbers.

Later, they’d talk about, “how shrewd” Senator Kennedy was, when in fact, the best thing about Ted Kennedy was that he never overrated himself. On his best day, he was a mouth-breathing, knuckle dragger...a guy who had to have cheated his way through Harvard, just like GW Bush and AlGore.
All that brings us back to Donald Trump. I never watched Trump on TV. I never bought any of the stuff he hawked. I even thought the Lewis Black bit on Trump, back in 2011 (http://videos.nymag.com/vid…/Daily-Show-Lewis-Black-Supports) was pretty funny, even though Lewis Black is a political moron.

BUT with CNN, MSNBC and yes, even Fox News openly campaigning against him and the GOP establishment in a panic over the prospect of a Trump nomination...I HAVE TO like the guy...at least compared to those opposing him. Hmmmmm, Chris Cuomo, Brooke Baldwin, Megyn Kelly and Rachel Maddow, along with Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton vs. TRUMP?

I’d have to go with Trump every time.

It comes down to the cesspool of the American political/media class vs a single skunk. Which would you rather have? 6 FEET of sewage in your basement, or a single skunk in your house?!

As for me, SKUNK please!
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