True Definitions

I’ve been reading Conservative websites for the last day or so, curious as to how the Republicans viewed the outcome of the Presidential election.  Donald Trump probably made the funniest or the most curious statements.  “This election is a total sham and a travesty.  We are not a democracy!” quickly followed by “More votes equals a loss…revolution!”  To me at least, it is a clear sign that America needs to be more careful about to whom it gives a reality television series.

Many of Trump’s minions quickly aped their leader bringing up the whole birther scenario and even Obama’s college transcript gate.  Of course, the usual racist remarks were woven into the subtext along with claims of Obama being a Socialist.  I guess, that is what I find most appalling in this maelstrom, the inability of millions of otherwise sane and normal individuals to discern one political philosophy from another.

Cap•i•tal•ism, from
An economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

So•cial•ism, from
1. A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

2. Procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.

These are general descriptions, but good enough for our purposes.  Under these guidelines, is Barack Obama a Socialist?  Obamacare is called Socialist, but Obamacare mandates were backed up by the United States Supreme Court.  The decided legitimacy of a mandate on the general public declaring they must purchase a product from a private corporation under penalty of law.  It doesn’t sound very Socialist to me, millions of government tax dollars being filtered from public coffers to private hands?

What’s more, Obamacare places insurance corporations in full control.  Provided the insurance companies stay inside the law, there is no appeal.  Under Medicare, the US government is charge and private insurance companies must conform to Medicare in order to participate.  So Obama care then becomes the antithesis of Socialism; maybe it was Obama’s bailout of GM and Chrysler that convinced the multitudes of Republican voters that this President was a Socialist.

During the GM bankruptcy, General Motors was allowed to pick and choose which assets to keep and which to discard.  Among the discarded assets was an aluminum casting plant along the banks of the Hudson River.  The State of New York and the Environmental Protection Agency had listed the plant as a superfund clean up site and estimated the minimum cost of cleaning the site was between $900 million to a billion dollars.

When the auto executives came to Capitol Hill hat in hand, our representatives excoriated them for flying to Washington in private jets.  They received a very severe tongue lashing, then they were given everything which they had asked for.  Not one word was uttered during the process about General Motors being the second largest auto manufacturer in China.  Nor were GM’s profits in China exceeding $3 billion annually considered.  Over 10,000 white-collar employees were let go at Chrysler and GM, their pensions and benefits vanished like a mirage at the hands of these…Socialists?

Thousands of pensioners woke to find their pensions had disappeared as well, GM’s pension obligations were largely eliminated, pushing seniors over to the public trough of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation = (You & I).  There were no strings attached to this agreement, GM was free to take the money and if they so chose, to lock the door on every domestic manufacturing plant and laugh about it all the way home.  Clearly, if this is Socialism, Obama is not very good at it, but likewise, this isn’t really Capitalism either.

“GM now has about a $2,000-per-car manufacturing advantage over its Japanese and European rivals, a swing from a similar-sized disadvantage before the restructuring,” said David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research.  I guess that’s why GM has reduced prices to reflect their more competitive stance in the marketplace… not!  An August 2012 report to Congress from the White House stated if the US government were to sell its remaining stake in GM, it would result in a loss to tax payers of $25.1 billion dollars.  This was a government beat down of workers, young, old and retired.

In Obama’s $787 billion dollar stimulus, one third of that total went in the form of tax cuts to private corporations.  With approximately 30,000 firms in the US that works out to an average benefit of $8,743,000 per firm.  You and I, well, let’s see, we received an estimated benefit each from the stimulus of $1,668.  No one is arguing over the need for a stimulus, what I’m saying is that this was neither Socialism nor Capitalism.  The original idea was to stimulate the economy, but a disproportionate amount of the money went to the top of the economy instead of where people were hurting at the bottom, kind of like fighting a forest fire by hosing down the tops of trees.

This was the same path begun by Herbert Hoover when he initiated a program with two billion dollars to refinance the debts of banks and railroads.  Was Hoover also a Socialist or is Obama a Republican?  “Cash for Clunkers” was a program designed to help the big three automakers facing 30,000 leased vehicles being returned per month.  With a crumbling economy this spelled disaster for all automakers, foreign and domestic.  Disproportionately, the domestic lots saw returning Denali’s and Escalades, Explorers and Ram Trucks with Hemi’s, yeah cool; Hemi’s with $4.00 a gallon gasoline.  The same program had been tried by Henry Ford back in the last Great Depression.

Ford’s program bought back Model T’s and crushed them when the customer bought a new Model A.  Only, there were already so many Model T’s out there and only a few people who could afford a new Model that the program was a failure.  This time around, the program worked by stabilizing the price of new cars by eliminating the supply of used cars.  Arguably, government intervention in an industry could be considered a sort of left-handed Socialism.  Except that, in Socialism the government moves to create the greatest good for the greatest number, while with this program, it did the opposite, giving tax breaks to those able to afford a new car, while punishing those who could not afford a new car by raising the price of used cars, a sort of Socialism in reverse.

Was Obama acting as a Socialist?  Was Henry Ford acting as a Socialist?

Many on the political left were also greatly disenchanted by the performance of Barack Obama in his first term.  To me, I fall back on the takes one to know one rule.  The attacks on Obama from the left were as loud as the attacks from the right; it was Rahm Emanuel who said “Fuck the UAW;” he did not say, “Fuck the UAW, comrade.”  Asked in anger by Obama’s press secretary if we, (the professional Left) wanted a Canadian style health care the left answered resoundingly “Yes!” the right answered, “Oh heavens, no!”

There is a disconnection here, a jumble of political philosophies and of political rhetoric.  The political right seems obsessed with chasing non-issues or serving up tired political bromides of Socialist, Communist or foreign-born alien.  On Election Day, I even saw NRA ads claiming Barack Obama was going to take your guns away, despite the fact that Obama couldn’t be lured into a gun debate even in the wake of the Batman massacre.  The political right has attempted to paint Barack Obama’s first term as a failure and speaking as a Socialist, I have to agree.  It was a failure, so much so, that Michael Moore posted an election day plea to forgive and forget Obama’s Right wing transgressions or else the sky would fall.

The left was pleading to the faithful to forgive Obama’s Right wing policies, while the Right was pleading to elect Romney.  To return America to the traditional Republican values of smaller government except, Obama cut the size of government more than any president in recent history.  It doesn’t seem to make sense, does it?  Obama isn’t a Socialist but he isn’t a Capitalist either, he is something else entirely.  A Rightwing Democrat, corporate plutocrat with a license to kill in his fingertips.

We’ve seen a continuation of the Bush war policies and a continuation of Bush Tax policies.  We see our rights extinguished as the Supreme Court becomes openly politicized and criminalized as well.  Two major political parties which agree on most matters of war and of rescue, of free trade and of monetary policy, as an insane black curtain of world turned upside down madness descends upon us.  It is now a one party state, where disputes are settled along the margins.

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.  That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power…. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion.

Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.

They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.

They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.” –Henry A. Wallace

So, what does it all mean?  It means Donald Trump is correct, but for all of the wrong reasons.  This country does need a revolution; there is no other means of rectification.  Your taxes will continue to increase; if you have wages, they won’t keep up with inflation.  The public school systems will continue to deteriorate and your children will fight endless wars of aggrandizement until the eventual collapse comes, which by the way, will be blamed upon you.

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