Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Move to China; Cut Out the Middle Man

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

If because your job has been out-sourced to China and you are reduced to shopping at Wal-Mart, you should consider a move to China to cut out the middle man! China is going to get your all but worthless dollars anyway by way of US retail outlet: Wal-Mart! And when the dollar is completely worthless, it 'won't matter anyhow'. We will all be living in Chinese made tents.

If because of GOP transfers of unearned wealth to the increasingly tiny elite of about one percent of the population, labor is unproductive or impoverished the productivity of the nation will decline and ultimately collapse.

If the poor can no longer afford decent housing or food it is because elites have bid up prices on commodities. But because conservative robber barons and huge corporations have consolidated control of markets, your threats of boycott are laughed at. If you can no longer afford decent housing, health care or food, you have most certainly fallen off the bottom rung. It is clear that big business doesn't care about your fate and because the GOP is owned, the GOP doesn't care either.

A Give a Shit Attitude!

Just this kind of arrogance preceded the crash of '29 and the Great Depression which followed. This is not, therefore, the first time in American history that 'big business' flouted its 'give a shit' attitude. In his great 'A Rendezvous with Destiny' speech to the Democratic National Convention of 1936, FDR' made it very clear what is wrong with America today. His great speech is just as true now as then. FDR called it what it was and remains: economic tyranny!
For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor, other people's lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of Government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people's mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.

The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the Government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They granted that the Government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the Government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.

Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.

--A 'Rendezvous with Destiny, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1936
There are but two recent root 'aggravations' of this economic tyranny:
  • The political ascendancy of the Bush family --Prescott Bush, George H.W. Bush, and, more recently, George W. Bush.
  • The rise of Ronald Reagan, his disastrous and inequitable tax cut of 1982, the two year long depression caused by 'Reaganomics', his legacy of increased terrorism against US interests, rising inequalities of wealth and income, the deterioration of educational standards seemingly everywhere in the US.
The origins of our dollar's collapse may be found in the Nixon and Bush trips to China as well as Reagan's 'give away' to his elite and greedy base. These extremist right wing policies have eaten away at our economic health like wood worms. The right wing/GOP subversion of our currency resulted in exceptions for the ruling elites while lower and working classes pay more than their fair share of taxes. It's why the real elites --just one percent of the total population--often pay no tax whatsoever!

Labor is taxed but capital gets a free ride --a recipe for an impending economic collapse, a collapse that appears to be well underway and beyond anyone's power or ability to stop. Nevertheless, the government will play it's well-rehearsed role, that of shakedown arm of the nation's tiny but increasingly wealthy elite.
Nixon deplaned in Beijing on February 21, his flair for both diplomacy and drama well in evidence. Notes Nixon biographer Stephen Ambrose, "He knew that when his old friend John Foster Dulles had refused to shake the hand of Chou En-lai in Geneva in 1954, Chou had felt insulted. He knew too that American television cameras would be at the Peking airport to film his arrival. A dozen times on the way to Peking, Nixon told Kissinger and Secretary of State William Rogers that they were to stay on the plane until he had descended the gangway and shaken Chou En-lai’s hand. As added insurance, a Secret Service agent blocked the aisle of Air Force One to make sure the president emerged alone."

Soon after their arrival, Nixon and Kissinger were summoned to a previously unannounced meeting with Chairman Mao, which Kissinger later referred to as their "encounter with history." Next came a formal welcome banquet hosted by Chou En-lai, broadcast live on the American morning news thanks to the 13-hour time difference. In the Great Hall of the People, as the People’s Liberation Army band played such American favorites as "America the Beautiful" and "Home on the Range," course after course was followed by seemingly endless rounds of toasts. "‘Seize the hour! Seize the day!’" Nixon quoted from Mao, raising his glass to his Chinese hosts. But beyond the pomp and spectacle, the banquets sent a clear and dramatic message to everyone watching that a new relationship was being forged.

--Nixon's China Game, The American Experience
Nixon's trip was preceded by a long buildup that included 'ping pong diplomacy' and a little known or written about advance trip by George Bush Sr.
Premier Chou En-lai worked the public relations opportunity beautifully, receiving the Americans at a banquet in the Great Hall of the People on April 14. "You have opened a new chapter in the relations of the American and Chinese people," he told the unlikely diplomats. "I am confident that this beginning again of our friendship will certainly meet with majority support of our two peoples." He also extended an invitation for more American journalists to visit China, provided they do not "all come at one time." That same day, the US announced plans to remove a 20-year embargo on trade with China. A Chinese table tennis team reciprocated by visiting the United States.

Ping-Pong was "an apt metaphor for the relations between Washington and Peking" noted a Time reporter, as each nation signaled, in turn, its openness to change. Despite the public warming trend, Nixon and Kissinger decided to keep their back-channel negotiations with China to themselves. It was not until July 15, after Kissinger's secret mission to Beijing, that Nixon announced that he, too, would make the journey the following year, as the first American president to visit China.

--Ping-Pong Diplomacy, The American Experience
Bush's bailouts proved Marx correct but, like everything else GOP, they' mucked it up. It's not even 'good' Marxism. The bailouts have benefited only the nation's elites, the same gang that had benefited most from Reagan's tax cut of 1982. Marx said that Capitalism would collapse of its own inconsistencies, 'internal tensions which will lead to its destruction.' The GOP, the greater of two major sellouts to the MIC and K-Street, merely hastened that result. The 'elites' who benefit do not merely maintain offices on K-Street, they OWN K-Street! The Military/Industrial complex serves at their pleasure. The MIC is expected to defend 'their' interests (not yours) abroad with the lives of YOUR sons and daughters.

Some recent history may illustrate the point: the Wall Street crash of 1929 was followed by a severe world wide depression acutely felt in the US, Germany, France, and to a lesser degree --Great Britain and Sweden. Nevertheless, unemployment was high in Sweden when that nation returned a Labor government committed to a program of public investment to address the high unemployment problem. It worked. By 1935 real output in Sweden was 7 percent above its 1929 level. Unemployment was reduced and the finance minister was said to have been happy to suffer another budget deficit to stimulate the economy.

Ronald Reagan's budget deficit did not have as happy a result. So --why did Keynesian economics work for Sweden in 1929-30 but not for Ronald Reagan more recently? The answer is simple: Sweden was then --as it is now --among the world's most egalitarian economies. The US --among the very least egalitarian! Reagan's tax cut of 1982 benefited only the investor class at a time when increased consumer spending might have stimulated the economy. A 'Keynesian' deficit might have stimulated growth! The Reagan deficit had the opposite effect.

What's Wrong with the American Economy is Wealth and Income Inequities and the Dysfunctional Mentalities That Create Them

The proof of my assertion is the public record. Reagan's tax cut of 1982 was quickly followed by the nation's worst recession since the Great Depression, a recession of some 18 months characterized by record levels of unemployment and home losses. The economy contracted, people had less money to spend, many lost their homes and slept under bridges in 'boomtown' Houston. I know --I saw it. I was one of the lucky ones who somehow managed to keep a cozy home to sleep in. Luck! But for the grace of God go I! And no thanks to Unca Ronnie!

Reagan's best critics were found inside his regime, primarily, budget director David Stockman who blamed a "noisy faction of Republicans" for Reagan's infamous tax cut and the debacle that followed. Reagan might have achieved the prosperity that Keynes had predicted. That might have happened had his policies rewarded the working and middle classes instead of the rich and idle elites. Fact is --Ronnie was owned! The government is owned! The MIC is owned! We are owned! We are slaves to a system that may be beyond out ability to reform short of revolution.

The Reagan-heads forgot that the wealth of a nation is the result of the 'work' that is done by its people --not the 'offshore investments' of an utterly worthless, idle leisure class.

The US economy has entered into a contraction not seen since 1929. Private and public payrolls combined have shrunk for 14 straight months. Just recently, the US economy lost some 650,000 jobs over a period of four months. At the time, I asked: why had not GWB's bailouts worked? Obviously, as was the case with Reagan's 'voodoo economics', the wrong people got the money. Most certainly, the wrong people continue to get the money. The wrong 'people' were bailed out. The wrong people still get rich. You still get poorer whether you still have a job or not.

There was no Reagan recovery!

The record shows that the growth rate was 3% between 1979 and 1989 --the same as the growth rate between 1973 and 1979! There was, then, no improvement with "voodoo economics" than without it. Did Reagan's tax cuts bring about more growth than would have normally occurred? Of course not! The opposite occurred. The GOP/right wing is happy when you swallow whatever they puke up.

Worth repeating:
The opposite occurred. The record shows that the growth rate was 3% between 1979 and 1989 --the same as the growth rate between 1973 and 1979! There was, then, no improvement with "voodoo economics" than without it.
There was no Reagan recovery. Punch out the next gopper who tries to tell you that there was. Wealth did not trickle down! Rather, wealth has continued to be transferred upward to about one percent of the total population. Recently, the bailouts just wound up in the wrong hands and may have made matters worse! As Santayana said: "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it!"

I am inclined to believe that this transfer was deliberate, planned and executed. It abated only briefly in Clinton's second term. That is but one reason Clinton is officially and systematically demonized and reviled. I have my own problems with Clinton, that is, he did not go far enough. But everything said about Clinton by Republicans are lies! Likewise, I have problems with Obama --but everything said about him by Republicans can be dismissed summarily.

The rise of Ronald Reagan brought with it a spreading of wealth upward to the upper classes and Wall Street insiders, in fact, an increasingly tiny elite of just one percent of the nation which owns more than 90 percent of the nation's total wealth. That fact is graphically illustrated above. The result is factually documented by the government's own agencies --Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Commerce-BEA, et al. Income inequality is measured by what economists call the GINI index. The higher the GINI, the greater the inequality. These numbers, recognized and cited by economists from Friedman to Krugman, from Keynes to Galbraith, invariably increase during GOP regimes.

Now --as the late Steve Kangas pointed out, 'conservatives' will claim that correlation is not 'causation'. I think conservatives are wrong on that point, but if, in fact, GINIS always go up under GOP regimes, what difference does it make? The pragmatic solution is simply this: fire the GOP! Permanently! We cannot afford to continue to support both the GOP and its elite, pampered, privileged sponsors in business, industry and government. See more about 'income inequalities' at: What do liberals believe about income inequality? Also: Myth: The rich get rich because of merit. The rich get rich because they are born rich and get obscene tax cuts for producing nothing.

There are many parallels with the American economy of the 1920s. The economy was booming but by 1927 the nation had overproduced goods for which there was no market. Overproduction led to a slowdown in both manufacturing and agriculture. This is evidence --if not proof --that 'trickle down/supply side' economics is a deliberate right wing fraud. Transferring monies to manufacturers that are over-produced is economic disaster. Why should a capitalist get a tax cut for producing product that cannot and will not be sold? Wealth does not 'trickle down', rather, it is transferred to tax heavens offshore. Clearly --a bailout for big banks is a mistake that will continue to have the effect of reducing the supply of money in circulation --a 'contraction'. The so-called 'Great Depression' was, in fact, a great contraction in which those who would have spent monies were deprived of it.

During the Great Depression and, later, Ronald Reagan's depression of about two years, millions lost their jobs. Earlier, in 1929, bankers and financiers continued to speculate on stocks, borrowing the money and buying stocks 'on margin'. More recently, 'short sellers' made fortunes that you can rest assured have already been transferred into offshore tax havens.

The wealth of a nation is not the money it prints, borrows or coins. The wealth of a nation is the productivity of its people and their industries. Both declined under Reagan and declined again under Bush and declined yet again under the other Bush!

One wonders why Reagan didn't just cut out the middle man. A more equitable tax cut or better a more progressive tax might have put more spendable income directly into the hands of consumers. Spent money circulates and drives an economy. That consumers spend money seems to be a fact lost on the likes of Reagan, Bush, and the nation's rich and callous elites.

Surely, there were knowledgeable advisers in Reagan's regime who knew better. The tax cut, therefore, was entirely political, a pay off to the rich for their support, or more precisely, their investment! Nothing has changed in the GOP. The Bush administration has made several such "payoffs" during his catastrophic and criminal regime.

The 'contraction' of an economy is typically called a 'depression'. The US economy is contracting due to
  • the transfer of wealth to but about one percent of the population;
  • this 'elite' has transferred most of its wealth offshore where it has absolutely no good effect on the domestic US economy.
The current collapse of the US is the end result of a trend that was begun with the passage of Ronald Reagan's infamous tax cut for his rich, elite base. The year was 1982. Historians willl write of that date that it was the beginning of the end of the American empire.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Texas is 'number one' in executions, murders, children in poverty, industrial pollution

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Texas recently beat Mississippi in a race to dead last in high school graduations. At the same time, Texas may 'boast' that it is 'number one' in executions, number 'one' in the number of children living in poverty, number one the number of murders per one thousand persons, number one in various forms of industrial pollution! Number one in the race to bottom.

I had toyed with headlining this piece: 'Why Capitalism Must be Eliminated and Replaced'. But the answer was too obvious: Texas! Texas will have proven Marx correct about almost everything! Marx was certainly correct about the source of 'value' in any economic system. He was most certainly correct about the incompatibility of capitalism and democracy. Texas is the best evidence Marx didn't live long enough to cite.

Texas is called the gulag state for good reasons. Certainly, justice in Texas is applied inequitably. Minorities --primarily black and Hispanic --are disproportionately represented in the Texas gulag system but under represented in the State legislature, the various city councils, and the state judicial system. Texas is about 50 years behind the times in this regard.

Texas is a state in which so-called 'free enterprise' has robbed millions of children of a decent education and as many poor of justice in a state ruled by elites. As a result of so-called 'free enterprise':
  • Texas/Bush syle provides the residents of Texas with some of the nation's very worst crime and incarceration rates;
  • Texas subjects the residents of Texas to deteriorating air quality and wanton ecosystem destruction;
  • Texas can boast of the the nation's very worst murder, crime and incarceration rates!
  • Texas --a state that now leads the nation in pollution, crime, and illiteracy --should be studied by any other state wishing to avoid a similar distastrous fate.

Surreal Scenes from a State in Terminal Denial

Recently --Texas Gov Rick Perry's boisterous audience of schizoid idiots were caught waving US flags even as they shouted: SECEDE! Clearly, a result of the monumental failure of Texas to educate its young. It is a lapse of values! It is as well an utter failure of policy and budget priorities resulting in Texas' utter and humiliating failure to educate its younger generations. Nevertheless, Perry is said to have 'fired up an anti-tax tea party with an old Southern mantra: 'states' rights'. I say 'state's right' is old-time, old South bigotry. 'State's rights' is a wake up call to a black community that was denied in Texas the promise of Dr. Martin Luther King's struggles.

I doubt that this so-called 'tea party' was exceptionally stupid! It was, rather, typically stupid, based on a profound and growing ignorance of economics, history, and recent headlines. The 'tea-parties' are an obvious result of Texas' proven inability to educate its young! Perry was whistling past the graveyard with a tired old tune: "...the Texas' economy is in good shape compared with other states" and "...the federal budget mess"

Is it?


Texas is, rather, out of oil and out of time. Like the US, as a whole, one is hard pressed to name a single viable industry since the East Texas and, later, the West Texas oil fields failed to compete with Middle Eastern oil. Before the oil boom, Texas was a farm and ranch economy. Without oil or its equal, Texas will be fortunate if it makes a peaceful transition to a farm and ranch economy. Indeed, the nation --having exported its auto, steel and electronic industries during the Reagan years --will be fortunate to survive as a farm and ranch economy. It will be fortunate because the conduct of farming and ranching has been taken over by the huge monopolies. In simpler times, a family might survive a downturn or even a financial collapse by living off the land. Today --there is, perhaps, no land left that might be homesteaded and everywhere poor people are deprived of the means by which they may survive or make an honest living.

Gore Vidal, meanwhile, foresees a US bankruptcy putting an end to what he called 'insane wars'. He is correct about the insanity of US wars in particular. In the end, however, bankruptcy will be even costlier as a direct result of 'reagonomics'. That is, only one percent of the nation owns more than about 90 percent of the rest of us combined. Only these elites benefit from wars of aggression and oil theft.

Any person not a 'member' of this tiny one percent pays for US wars with his/her life or with higher taxes as a percentage of his/her income. The elites pay absolutely nothing!War is, in fact, the elites' bread and butter. There is a good living to be made with war, a killing, in fact! The elites are the sole beneificiaries of US wars, adventures and land grabs. These elites --for whom war is most often fought --will eagerly sacrifice the lives of every young man or woman not carrying their seed; they will, likewise, finance upon the backs and futures of the unborn poor numerous wars of aggression from which only they benefit. It is a form of eugenics that numerous famous Americans notoriously supported.

A bankruptcy for America will be a very, very hard crash from which there may be no bounce as there had been during the FDR administration. Later, a GOP President, Ronald Reagan, would preside over what had been at that time, the biggest, longest, deepest depression since the crash of '29. Yet --the nation recovered under a Democrat, Bill Clinton, demonized and hated for having dared undo the harm that had been done by Ronald Reagan.

Texas is the Number Backwater in Education: Another Idiotic Idea
The school board in this impoverished rural hamlet in North Texas has drawn national attention with its decision to let some teachers carry concealed weapons, a track no other school in the country has followed. The idea is to ward off a massacre along the lines of what happened at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.

“Our people just don’t want their children to be fish in a bowl,” said David Thweatt, the schools superintendent and driving force behind the policy. “Country people are take-care-of-yourself people. They are not under the illusion that the police are there to protect them.”

Even in Texas, with its tradition of lenient gun laws and frontier justice, the idea of teachers’ taking guns to class has rattled some people and sparked a fiery debate.

Gun-control advocates are wringing their hands, while pro-gun groups are gleeful. Leaders of the state’s major teachers unions have expressed stunned outrage, while the conservative Republican governor, Rick Perry, has endorsed the idea.

--In Texas School, Teachers Carry Books and Guns, New York Times
Texas Is No. One; Leads the Nation in Executions
When Justice Byron White wrote the Enmund decision in 1982, he observed that the Court was not aware of a single execution of someone who did not kill or intend to kill. What a difference another quarter-century makes. Months after Enmund was decided, Texas executed its first prisoner since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. In the tidal wave of capital cases that followed, numerous defendants would be sentenced to die under the law of parties.

One was Norman Green. Green was charged for a murder during a botched robbery in an electronics store in 1985. He got death. His accomplice, the man who actually pulled the trigger, got life. The arbitrary result exemplifies what Green's appellate lawyer, Verna Langham -- who also handled Kenneth Foster's first appeal -- sees as the danger of the law of parties. "[It] is subject to such loose interpretation," she told the Austin Chronicle in 2005. "A kid in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people can end up being sentenced to death." Green was executed in 1999.

--Alternet, Innocent Man Sentenced to Death Under Cruel Texas Law
Everything's big in Texas — big pickup trucks, big SUVs and the state's big carbon footprint, too.

Texans' fondness for large, manly vehicles has helped make the Lone Star State the biggest carbon polluter in the nation.

The headquarters state of America's oil industry spewed 670 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2003, enough that Texas would rank seventh in the world if it were its own country, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The amount is more than that of California and Pennsylvania — the second- and third-ranking states — combined.

A multitude of factors contribute to the carbon output, among them: Texas' 19 coal-burning power plants; a heavy concentration of refineries and chemical plants; a lack of mass transit; and a penchant among ranchers and urban cowboys alike for brawny, gas-guzzling trucks — sometimes to haul things, but often just to look Texas tough.

Debbie Howden, an Austin real estate agent, said her family of six has two pickup trucks, three SUVs, and no apologies. "I would definitely put size and safety over the emissions thing," said Howden, 55. She calls their high fuel bills a "necessary evil."

--Texas Is Biggest Carbon Polluter
Ten large companies generate more than one third of the 2.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide emitted each year by U.S. electric power generators, according to figures in a first-of-its-kind database unveiled Wednesday.

American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, and Southern Co. of Atlanta, which run the largest coal power plants in the country, top the list of U.S. companies responsible for greenhouse gas emissions from electricity, according to data compiled by the Center for Global Development, a global economic development think tank in Washington, D.C.

The database, called CARMA or Carbon Monitoring for Action, culls for the first time data both from government regulators around the world and commercial databases to provide an up-to-date look at the state of CO2 from power production—which accounts for one quarter of all carbon emissions. (The database doesn't look at other large sources, like transportation and manufacturing.) Here are the top sources of greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation in the United

--The 10 Biggest Carbon Dioxide Polluters
The fascist corporatization of state prisons makes a slick end run, perhaps a 'triple option', around the Bill of Rights, sets up crony corporations with a guaranteed gravy train at tax payer expense, and --to sweeten the deal --it provides them with slave labor. Bill Yeoman nor Darrel Royal could have done better on the gridiron.

It is no accident that under Gov George W. Bush, Texas beat out Mississippi for 'dead last' in education. As education declines, crime increases. Increasing crime fuels the corporate prison gravy train. Justice has nothing to do with it.

It's about warehousing and enslaving people for profit

There is nothing in the middle ages half so slick, so cunning, so evil! Unless the nation wakes up to what happened in Texas, the nation will enter not just an economic depression but a new dark age, perhaps an end to civilization as we know it. We already share with the middle ages, a careless disregard for life. In Texas, the crime rate has increased as the prison systems --under Bush Jr --went corporate! As a result, one in 100 Texas residents are in prison, many of them 'corporate' lock ups in which prisoners have no rights. As Texas took the GOP/fascist prison route, education tanked --a recipe for future unemployment, poverty and increased crime.

I see a pattern

Declining education guarantees that unemployment, poverty, and crime will rise. Declining education likewise guarantees a risk free income for the evil corporations who run the state's corporate gulag with no-bid contracts! As long as the quality of public education declines, two groups will benefit: the corporate owned prisons and expensive private schools affordable only to the very, very rich and/or privileged. I was naive to believe that everyone was entitled to an education. I was naive to believe that education was not just another status symbol as was Yale to Bush.

The GOP runs states like Bush ran the war of aggression against Iraq. State prisons are just another money making opportunity, as was Iraq for the likes of Dick Cheney's Halliburton and professional thugs like Blackwater. And 'education' is just another area in which everyone but about one percent of the population is priced out.

My assertions are backed up by a recent Pew study of trends that had been embraced by Bush's Texas, primarily the rapid outsourcing of prison construction and management throughout the US. As in Texas, crime rates over the period under study increased. Guilt or innocence is of no concern to corporate robber barons.
For the first time in history more than one in every 100 adults in America are in jail or prison—a fact that significantly impacts state budgets without delivering a clear return on public safety. According to a new report released today by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project, at the start of 2008, 2,319,258 adults were held in American prisons or jails, or one in every 99.1 men and women, according to the study. During 2007, the prison population rose by more than 25,000 inmates. In addition to detailing state and regional prison growth rates, Pew’s report, One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008, identifies how corrections spending compares to other state investments, why it has increased, and what some states are doing to limit growth in both prison populations and costs while maintaining public safety.

As prison populations expand, costs to states are on the rise. Last year alone, states spent more than $49 billion on corrections, up from $11 billion 20 years before. However, the national recidivism rate remains virtually unchanged, with about half of released inmates returning to jail or prison within three years. And while violent criminals and other serious offenders account for some of the growth, many inmates are low-level offenders or people who have violated the terms of their probation or parole.

--More than One in 100 Adults Are Behind Bars, Pew Study Finds
It is an Orwellian nightmare of waste, graft, and fascism in which no one is held to account. It is a corporate 'gravy train', reliving elected officials of almost every responsibility that government is traditionally and rightfully accorded. It's a scheme, a legalized payoff, a 'good living' for those profiting from incompetent and irresponsible government.

As the GOP "Enronized" the great state of Texas, an assembly line criminal justice system, in cahoots with a medieval, privatized prison system, proved to be an oxymoron. It was "criminal" but hardly "justice". Despite the GOPs "worst" efforts, crime in Texas, always a topic of much discussion and study, has gotten worse. Texas is big on capital punishment, but even the industrialized application of the death penalty cannot kill off the criminals as fast as they procreate and multiply. The GOP may one day cite this fact in support of a "final solution". year's end 1999, there were 706,600 Texans in prison, jail, parole or probation on any given day. In a state with 14 million adults, this meant that 5% of adult Texans, or 1 out of every 20, are under some form of criminal justice supervision. The scale of what is happening in Texas is so huge, it is difficult to contrast the size of its criminal justice systems to the other states' systems it dwarfs:

  • There are more Texans under criminal justice control than the entire populations of some states, including Vermont, Wyoming and Alaska.
  • According to Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates, one quarter of the nation's parole and probationers are in Texas. California and Texas, together, comprise half the nation's parolees and probationers.
  • The number of people incarcerated in Texas (in prison or jail) reached 207,526 in mid-year 1999. Only California, with 10 million more citizens, has more people in both prison and jail.
  • Texas has a rate of 1,035 people behind bars for every 100,000 in the population, the second highest incarceration rate in the nation (second only to Louisiana). If Texas was a nation separate from the United States, it would have the world's highest incarceration rate--significantly higher than the United States (682), and Russia (685) which has 1 million prisoners, the world's third biggest prison system. Texas' incarceration rate is also higher than China (115), which has the world's second largest prison population (1.4 million prisoners).
  • If the US shared the incarceration rate of Texas, there would be nearly three million Americans behind bars (2,822,300)--instead of our current 2 million prisoners.
  • The Texas prison population tripled since 1990, and rose 61.5% in the last five years of this decade alone. In 1994, there were 92, 669 prisoners in Texas. This number had increased to 149,684 by mid-year 1999.
  • The Texas correctional system has grown so large that in July 2000, corrections officials ran out of six digit numbers to assign inmates, and officially created prisoner number 1,000,000.

    --An Analysis of Incarceration and Crime Trends in The Lone Star State

The lessons of the recent 'downturn' are lost on the 'mainstream media'! Owned by some some five or six like thinking conglomerates, the MSM is the last place one should expect to find the truth. For example, the MSM will never tell you that Karl Marx was absolutely correct! Capitalism and democracy are incompatible.
If we divided the income of the US into thirds, we find that the top ten percent of the population gets a third, the next thirty percent gets another third, and the bottom sixty percent get the last third. If we divide the wealth of the US into thirds, we find that the top one percent own a third, the next nine percent own another third, and the bottom ninety percent claim the rest. (Actually, these percentages, true a decade ago, are now out of date. The top one percent are now estimated to own between forty and fifty percent of the nation's wealth, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 95%.

--David Schwikerd, After Capitalism
Schwikerd suggests that 'economic freedom' and 'capitalism' are just as incompatible as Karl Marx has already stated. Schwikerd proposes, therefore, that we eliminate capitalism because capitalists, he says, are consistently bad for democracy. Contrary to what you may hear on FOX news and other symptoms of this failed system, Schwikerd holds that the US can, in fact, must eliminate the class of 'capitalists' who have transfered the product of US labor i.e, the very wealth of this nation upward to but about one percent of the entire population.

Diehards will object that despite the growing divide between obscene wealth on the one hand and abysmal poverty on the other, the US is still a 'land of opportunity'. That is just not true, and perhaps never was.
If the data were to show, for example, that many families were likely to move from the bottom fifth of the income distribution to the top over time, or that children of wealthy families might switch places with middle-class kids when they became adults, then one could conclude that the benefits of growth were more broadly shared than suggested by the profound inequality displayed in the snapshots of Chapter 1.

The evidence, however, does not find this degree of mobility. Of course, some families do move up and down the income scales, but most maintain their relative positions, meaning that relative to other families in their cohort, they remain at or near the income or wealth position in which they started out. For example, one recent study finds that about 60% of families that start in the bottom fifth are still there a decade later. At the other end of the income scale, 52% of families that start in the top fifth finish there at the end of the decade.

--The State of Working America [ PDF ]
Why Karl Marx was Right and Republicans are Just Plain Stupid

How is wealth re-distributed?
  • The rich elites pay less as a percentage of their income because they have write-offs and dodges that you do not;
  • The rich pay much, much less as a percentage of their total income just staying alive;

As the L-curve demonstrates, most of you reading this article may never find yourself occupying a house costing some one or two million dollars or more. Those in the elite one percent, however, may have several much more expensive houses the total value of which is but a small percentage of total income, an even smaller percentage of total wealth. Should you secure a mortgage for a five hundred thousand dollar house, you should ask yourself what is the value of that house as a percentage of your total income, total net worth? What is the value of that house as a percentage of Bill Gate' total income? Minuscule! Life on a curve is skewed!

Marx adopted Hegel's 'dialectic' substituting 'realism' for 'idealism'. Marx's use of the 'dialectic' was not to explain the world in metaphysical terms but, rather, to makes sense of history. The result is an economic assessment in which Marx interprets history in terms that make sense to biologists: a struggle for survival. Like Darwinists, Marx believes that it is this 'struggle for survival' that determines the nature of societal evolution. The history of humankind is reduced to a class struggle, how one class' exploits another, how 'capital' exploits 'labor', how 'elites' enrich themselves upon the 'value' that is created by acts of labor and labor alone.

Marx saw no other solution but a workers revolution to overthrow the ruling capitalists, to establish a 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. Marx foresaw and described a return to a 'classless' society at the end of an economic cataclysm that would lead inexorably to the communal ownership of the means of production.

So --it is no wonder, then, that the likes of George W. Bush, the leadership of the GOP, the elite robber barons of big business have 'labored' mightily to demonize and discredit the words and concept: 'class warfare'. They are frightened little wimps! I say: "bring it on"

If the ruling elites are incorrect about everything, they must surely be terrified of a world wide revolution that will inexorably and inevitably sweep aside their house o'cards at the end of an economic tsunami.

The GOP has supported and effected outright transfers of wealth from all Americans to an increasingly tiny percentage of the US population. There is but one word for this: THEFT! [See: 'Greed is Good': The Death of an Economic Religion]

Although the US economy produces tremendous wealth, it is always accompanied in GOP regimes by tremendous poverty. The US, for example, was most egalitarian in the years immediately following WWII. During GOP regimes, income inequality increased as measured with the GINI index. Higher Ginis indicate greater levels of income inequality. These indices have been significantly greater in every GOP regime since World War II.

Certainly --there is enough wealth to go around. Instead, wealth flows upward ---not down, as the propagandists of 'supply side' i.e. 'trickle down theory' would have you believe. The problem is systemic --the result of identifiable, right wing policies.

The primary culprits are GOP tax cuts by Mssrs Ronald Reagan and Bush; the effect of those cuts have been the deliberate transfer of wealth first to the upper quintile and, most recently, to an increasingly tiny elite of about one percent of the total population [See: Dr. Daniel Weinberger, US Census Bureau Briefings; Also see: The Quarterly Journal of Economics: Income Inequality in the United States at the following. It's a PDF and cites academic and official, original sources of data.]

The financial collapse of the US is tragic enough but complicated by the fact that Bush stole your money in order to commit capital crimes --crimes for which he could be executed when found guilty as charged. There is a place in the dock for Bush. [See: US Codes, Title 18, Section 2441]

The GOP hopes to deflect attention from its traditional marching orders. The GOP raison d'etre is simply this: pass tax cuts and other measures that enrich only the ruling elites far beyond what they might have achieved solely on merit. IF you are NOT among the top one percent of the nation, the GOP has ROBBED you under the rubric of "cutting taxes".

Wealth does not originate with rich people.

Thanks to GOP policies which, in fact, concentrate wealth at the top, there are increasingly FEWER 'small business' people because small business can no longer compete with HUGE corporations favored by the GOP. There are no more Bedford Falls. The GOP has a vested interest in keeping the truth from the American people. The truth is: wealth does not originate with rich people. Every economist --even right wing economists like Milton Friedman --subscribe to an established principle --the labor theory of value. The labor theory of value has been the basis for almost every major economic theory since Aristotle.

The GOP believes the opposite. The GOP would have you believe that capital creates wealth. Think about it --if wealth had been created by the rich and, indeed, trickled down, the GOP would never feel 'compelled' to pursue its unfair tax policies which are, in fact, the source of their wealth. If what the GOP tells you is true, the wealthy would have already been wealthy. The term 'nouveau riche' would be an oxymoron. The official statistics prove beyond any reasonable doubt that GOP tax policies have enriched an increasingly small percentage of the total US population. It only makes sense to support 'trickle down' economics if, in fact, wealth does not trickle down. The GOP pursues unfair tax policies because wealth does not and has never 'trickled down'. Wealth trickles up and the government always taxes it at its source, its creation! Its 'creation' is the act of labor itself. Government, therefore, puts an unfair 'tax' upon this 'labor' and transfers the proceeds to an elite that has done nothing to create it and, in fact, does nothing to deserve it.

Lower and working classes, therefore, pay more than their fair share of taxes. The government taxes labor and gives capital a free ride, a recipe for an impending economic collapse, a collapse that appears to be well underway and quite beyond anyone's power or ability to stop. But that has not stopped the government from playing it's well-rehearsed role as the shakedown arm of the nation's tiny and shrinking elite.

If because of GOP transfers of unearned wealth to the increasingly tiny elite of about one percent of the population, labor is unproductive or impoverished the productivity of the nation will decline and ultimately collapse. That is what we see happening as I write this. The poor are increasingly denied decent housing or food because elites have bid up prices on commodities. If you can no longer afford decent housing, health care or food, you have then, perhaps recently under Bush, fallen off the ladder. It's the GOP way.

During the booming, Democratic sixties, a distinguished economist had written that there were increasingly fewer 'status symbols' available to millionaires that were not also available to anyone earning 20 thousand dollars per year. In those days, a 30 thousand dollar home was a two-story, four bedroom, two car garage affair, perhaps on a cul-de-sac, and it may or may not have come with a pool. Have you shopped for a similar home lately?

Social Darwinism is one of many ideas that have harmed mankind. Social Darwinism is an idea that has harmed mankind by providing a rationalization for the perpetual and deliberate impoverishment of large segments of our society. It does so insidiously with a baseless theory that is not only fallaciously associated with Darwin, it is a 'theory' for which there is no evidence.

In simpler terms, the philosophical basis for the American right wing is this:
"Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons? Then let them die and decrease the surplus population."

—Scrooge, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
In those categories and thanks to the GOP, Texas is NUMBER ONE!

"It's Like A Whole Other Country"

Welcome to the third world. Texas has nothing over the rest of the nation. We will soon be living under a freeway overpass eating cat food while our volunteer military gets its ass kicked to protect our right to eat cat food.

Isn't democracy great?

Found quoted on the Barefoot Bum:
Folly, thou conquest, and I must yield!
Against stupidity the very gods
Themselves contend in vain. Exalted reason,
Resplendent daughter of the head divine,
Wise foundress of the system of the world,
Guide of the stars, who art thou then if thou,
Bound to the tail of folly's uncurbed steed,
Must, vainly shrieking with the drunken crowd,
Eyes open, plunge down headlong in the abyss.
Accursed, who striveth after noble ends,
And with deliberate wisdom forms his plans!
To the fool-king belongs the world.

— Friedrich Schiller, The Maid of Orleans (translated by Anna Swanwick)
The Texas Criminal INJUSTICE System!