Publius Speaks

Publius Speaks
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

BACK to BASICS?


ARE WE OBSESSIVELY ATTENDING TO BUSINESS, WEALTH, PROFIT,  SUCCESS, and  the  ELITE of less than 1%

Yes, we are, and we haven’t even begun to realize that the values, modes of operation, policies and procedures of business and “economic nationalism” have essentially taken over our democracy. 
 With the Electoral College victory, Donald J. Trump has become the illustration of our status.  He epitomizes not only control of government by the Elite but he epitomizes a working class capitulation to the richest 1% in our nation.  The disaffected class has voted to end our form of government, and it has taken only 40-some days to become actualized; the process of making actual that which was conceptual.  The 1% have been rubber-stamped as the rulers and democracy is the victim of their rule.  The ‘swamp’ has been drained for sure – with several of its creatures spewing right into the Trump administration where they have already enhanced the processes that have been eating away at our politics for years, but now have an electoral mandate to devour us alive. Some examples:  
1.    The clearing out of independent professionals from government; particularly from Departments of Justice and  State.
2.    The clearing out of all ‘pesky’ regulations and regulation-making that restrict business practices and thus diminish the profit-making of businesses that have become terribly “creative;” most recent example: a promised Executive Order scraping CAFE standards for cars and automobiles established by the Obama administration.
3.    The destruction of federal governing structures by a hiring freeze that forbids the hiring of anyone for jobs that come open.  Plus, we have the placement of department heads who actually will conduct the dissolution of their departments: EPA, Education, Commerce, and possibly Labor, State and HUD.
4.    The contracting-out of large programs to private contractors so that there is a constant stream of taxpayer money going to business enterprises.  But that’s not all because the use of more contracts will help to hollow-out government services into private profit-making enterprises, such as schools, prisons and certain functions that provide services to, or on behalf of, the military.
5.    More visible perhaps is the devolving of certain programs and ‘entitlements’ into State hands where they will never be the same because administrative costs will diminish services and benefits.  Think: Medicaid and Food Stamps (there will be many more, of course). 
6.    We don’t often think of personal bank accounts as being devolvement to the states, but that is the partial result since states often set laws and regulations for banks and other financial operatives (like insurance companies and financial entities, and incorporation itself).
Consider for the moment, the intended personal bank accounts having to do with Social Security and Individual Health Care accounts (if Trump-care legislation actually replaces the ACA).  What does this portend but the capture of tens of billions of personal funds that will be subject to fees and restrictions and regulations designed to filch as much from these funds as possible into bank and financial entity coffers.  The plans for all this are not to benefit the middle-class, but to benefit the Elite.  Everything done with the blessing and collusion of the federal government now infiltrated, captured and owned by the Elite themselves!

Perhaps we need to move away from our obsession with capitalistic myths (where manufacturers are protected and subsidized no matter how they behave, who they are, or what shabby products or services they produce), and enter a new era of national and community service. 
1.    Begin to look at all jobs – paid, unpaid, volunteer, low-wage -  as service to our neighbors and our communities rather than measures of individual success, standing or worth/merit all based on profit motive 
a.    All jobs have value in that they contribute to the well-being of society and of fellow-human beings.
b.   All forms of community service are necessary to the   welfare of society.  Thus, all jobs should have equal standing because each plays an important role in the building of community, but in different ways
c.    Profit, manipulation and success are the over-riding values purveyed to this society by the captains of industry and the handlers of financial capital and attendant matters. 
d.    In the area of competition, we find both team-work and annihilation of opponents existing side by side. Unfortunately, team spirit and team work are often used in the pursuit of annihilation.  Fairness and justice are not necessarily operative priorities. Can we find a way to bolster team cooperation, fairness and concern for others with a concept of competition that can be less harmful to our humanness and humanity?  Hard to say.  Is there any concept of community service that can help to re-define competition and the overwhelming urge to win?    
2.    With service to community and nation at the forefront, the values to be cherished and passed on in all societal institutions and groups would be quite different, and perhaps include:
                                                 i.      A strong commitment to serve rather than to profit returning to consumer service and satisfaction as the major business of business; taking personal initiative and action to serve one’s community, to build bridges to others; along with
                                                 ii.      An equally strong commitment to equal opportunity and choice;
                                                 iii.     Moreover, a very strong commitment to consumer advocacy and protection is necessary.  There must be a stronger commitment to scientific research in terms of food, air and water safety, disease cures, etc.  Equally, there must be a prime emphasis on consumer advocacy in terms of councils, boards, policy-making groups, and political oversight.  We must go from a society that invariably favors industry and business explanations for product failures over the vivid and deleterious experiences of consumers, very often assigning ‘consumer error’ or shortcoming as the cause of whatever failure occurs.
BACK to certain BASICS
Are we fully attending to Human rights and Welfare?

1)   Family support is at the heart of the human family. 
·        Parent-like mentoring and child care should be made available to all
·        Must care for all members of human family, here and elsewhere
·        Discriminatory attack against one in the human family is attack against all just as it is within a small family
·        Healthcare coverage needs to be given as a right at birth 
2)   Children must be allowed to thrive; must be first priority
·        Pre-natal care must be available to all mothers
·        Parenting classes must be made available to all at certain facilities; in homes; mobile; or online; even at work stations
·        Children must not be allowed to be homeless
·        Must have basic opportunities available: 
o   Books, toys, playgrounds, play-mates
o   A broad and innovative attention to safety like sensors in cars and appliances that open doors and/or windows if child is trapped inside
o   Universal pre-kindergarten
o   Health screenings; including making gene testing available to prepare child & family for potential inherited difficulties or problems
o   Must provide environmental safety and protections, i.e. reduce harmful chemicals in ground; in homes; ensure clean earth, air and water
·        Must change approach to opportunities like education
o   Saw something recently on MSNBC that gets to a basic that I believe needs to be expanded.  A principal in a school district in the middle of the country has been making visits to the homes of her students.  This is an incredible initiative, and the visuals were stupendous as she gave special attention to each family member. 
3.    Personal attention to consumers of service must characterize all areas of our society and all members of the human family, just as is done for multiple members of our own families
o   Clergy have made home and work calls for many, many years.  Doctors used to make home visits as a general rule and now it is only done by a few.  Home services offered by some health professionals (like therapists and nurses) is a good start.
o   Can we envision a time when people will receive top priority in every important area of life?  When all executives, administrators, managers, will have as a part of their job description to contact and know their constituency?
What does it all mean?  Well, it means, above all, that if we don’t start getting back to basics, like family and community service values-- turning certain concepts of the business world out of the realm of government -- plus fighting to get Trump and his minions out of office, we will never see our Democracy again in its whole form.  The Business and Financial world, the corporate giants of Drugs, Insurance, HealthCare and Fossil Fuels have captured the three branches of our federal government, and most of the state legislatures are in their hands as well, along with State Governorships. 
My final thought today on this subject (although I expect to return to it soon):  take aim at the right target. 
We have for way too long thought that politics was the bane of our existence, and that government was the major problem of our lives.  That modicum of truth is now a purveyor of falsehood.  Government per se is no longer the prime target of complaint and grievance; playing politics is no longer the way to preserve our democracy, although we must guard its structures as best we can.
The prime target now is the richest 1% who have stolen our form of democracy, who have tromped on our values, who have stolen our hard-earned dollars, who continue to extract their government welfare from the Tax system, and who are on a crusade to take trillions more from our societal pocketbook for their own aggrandizement and the collapse of the middle-class.  

If we want to regain our democratic system, we have to start aiming at the right target:  the corporate denizens who have now gained almost complete control of our lives. In case you think I’ve gone over the edge on this, I suggest some books that point to the facts of this crisis of control.  (Three possibilities: “How Will Capitalism End?” by Streeck; “Why Nations FaiI” by Acemogle and Robinson; “The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too” by James Galbraith).
I leave you with several brief questions that are examples of this control.  The answer to all of them is the same:
 "Because the 1% Elite are blocking or preventing any change or solution that does not benefit them."

Why is it that this country of all the developed nations does not have single-payer universal health care that is far less costly than our current system?
Why is it that our government is by law prevented from making a deal on drug costs with domestic and foreign manufacturers?
Why is it that manufacturing gets more attention than the 1 in 5 children who are currently living in poverty?
Why is it that scientific evidence of climate change is being denigrated and start-up companies in alternative fuels are being under-funded?
Why is our public education system not producing the best and brightest students in the world?
Why do you have to keep repairing or replacing big ticket products that should be made to last twice as long as they do?
If carbon dioxide, petroleum by-products, arsenic, MSG, certain minerals, dyes, human waste, lethal chemicals, and many more substances are known to be harmful, how come they keep showing up in our food, air and water?
If the future use of drones, robots, 3D printing and nanotechnology (to name a few innovations) is projected to bring negative changes to the whole area of work, jobs, training, wages and levels of employment, why aren’t we addressing this pro-actively as a nation?
Finally, how come you can’t get your local conservative Republican congressperson to listen to and care about your needs, your opinions, your concerns?
We will not have true service of the People again by citizen representatives committed to their constituents until we break the stranglehold that the Elite 1% now exerts at every point in our governing system.
To achieve reform of government in terms of human family values and community service of the People, we must untangle government from capitalism’s lawyers, lobbyists, PACs, the buyers of elected officials, and the fake institutes and Think Tanks that sell us lies; from the organizations that abuse their non-political status, and from an election system that favors the wealthiest.   And, we must push for the regulation of every industry, every financial entity, every corporation, every manufacturer, every organization that exhibits manipulation or behaviors that violate those basic values.
 Corrupt officials from the private sector working hand-in-hand with corrupt politicians from the public sector does not make for a representative democracy.