Friday, October 07, 2011

An Occupy Wall Street Analogy

There is an Urban Legend among truck drivers, about a driver delivering to a warehouse. Now this particular warehouse, he particularly hates to deliver to. Usually, after a driver opens his trailer doors and backs into the dock, he gets to spend precious bunk time while waiting to load or unload. Not at this warehouse. When he backs into the dock and goes in to let them know he's ready, they casually point to a forklift and ignore him. The meaning being he does it for himself and gets no additional sleep.

Well, one fine day while driving to the warehouse, the driver worked out a plan. He backed into the dock, went in and announced he was ready. He was directed to the forklift. He climbed aboard, fired it up and aimed it for an empty bay door, jumping off right before it sailed out, crashing ruinously to the ground below.

Hearing the great crash, the warehouse managers came running out, demanding to know who did this. "I did," the truck driver said, "but I think I know what I did wrong. If you get me another forklift, I think I can do better next time." So, what did the warehouse managers do?

A) Hastily agree and provided the truck driver with another forklift?
B) Demand the driver leave immediately, ban him from the property but maintain the same policies?
C) Hire trained forklift operators and ban any truck drivers from operating them?

Since this is an urban legend, there are no wrong answers.

Now we see Lehman Brothers, laying in crushed wreckage in the throes of dying quivers. Government Treasury Agents demand to know who is responsible. ShitiGroup, Skank Of America, Golden Sacks, Sterrill Mynsch, said they were. "Sorry about your busted economy," the ring of professional check kiters declared, "but if you give us $700 Billion dollars, we think we can do better next time. If not, I'm afraid we'll all have to jump." So what did the Government agents do?


Well, we did get Dodd-Frank, and a consumer protection agency. Of course Dodd won't be running for reelection due to pending employment in the financial industry, leaving loopholes in the legislation big enough that our tired truck driver can turn around in. And the Consumer Protection Agency is yet leaderless, the best choice kicked to the curb--Elizabeth Warren.

It is painfully and crystal clear that something is deeply wrong in America. Those who occupy Wall Street, and their Brethren (and Sistren!) with like protests across America are demonstrating frustration with our Government. Corporations and banks and bond traders will do all they can to make as much money as they can--from the rest of us. Unfettered, raw, free range capitalism has only one end in all the history of the world--all the money and power in the hands of the very few and a powerless terrified everybody else. That is not the America I know and love and it is what the Occupy Wall Street movement is fighting to prevent.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Left Battles The Left

Recently I got into a debate with a fellow lefty. For my part, I was deeply annoyed at our "Democratic" President and his unwillingness to fight for Democratic principles. As the leader of the party I hold him responsible for the right wing legislative agenda that has continued to plague America. The one I was debating with held that Obama does not write legislation, but was nonetheless amazed at the success he had and was immeasurably pleased with his performance faced with such abstinence in the congress. In short, this person had built a hedge around the President, as completely powerless to influence legislation, but was happy for the most part for the Presidents accomplishments on the legislative outcomes.

We have four groups of voters in America. About 1/3 of them are racist christopaths who pervert a perfectly good religion for a dose of fundy red bull and are protected by a diamond hard ring of mile thick, bunker hardened ignorance. There is no reaching them; giving them facts is like giving medicine to a dead guy, why bother. Then there is the third that works so hard, they have nothing left to pay attention to politics and view politics like voting people off of an island to see who will end up running the "Meet The President" show for the next four years. They know it's serious, but it should be entertaining too.

Then it's the last third, divided in half. One half believes criticizing a Democrat, especially the President, is absolutely insane and we should support them because they are on our team. The other half (of this third) believes Democrats should enact democratic policies since thats what they were elected for--and criticize them when they do not. I hold it is wrong for the Government to prosecute whistleblowers. I hold it is wrong to "rendition" people and hold them indefinitely without trial. I hold it is wrong to wiretap American citizens without a warrant. Even if the President is a Democrat, these things are just as wrong today as they were when a Republican was in the White House.

I felt it was a colossal error to sacrifice the public option in the healthcare bill at the insistence of the insurance industry. The idea was to make the system more affordable and efficient. The health insurance has 500 square miles of 20 story buildings jam packed with denial clerks. That takes a lot of money, gums up the works and delivers not one ounce of health care. The progressive caucus, with several other democrats, signed a pledge not to pass health care without the public option, more than enough where it would be impossible to pass one without it. House teabaggers swore they would not raise the debt ceiling without massive cuts and no new taxes.

Why did the progressives cave on the public option? They will never be taken seriously. The teabaggers did not cave and Boehner said he got 98 percent of what he wanted. The same man was President in both cases. One was a victory for the far right fringe element and the other was a victory for AHIP and PhRMA. Both were major losses to the middle class of America. The insurance industry gets 30 million new customers, premiums paid mostly by the treasury, with copays so high the newly insured still won't be able to afford a doctor visit. A one-way cash flow from public funds to private industry, traded for campaign contributions.

Next, Dear Leader will look into cutting Medicare and Social Security. Will the Obamabots stand quietly by, dropping their laundry and grab their ankles while saying "Thank you Sir, May I have another?!" Perhaps they'll save their criticism for people like me, who think it is a good idea to enact legislation that polls in the high 60s and low 70s and a bad idea to cut programs that over 80 percent of Americans approve.