Why capitalism will fail…

…and, yes, I do understand that such a title as that places the author in one of those troubling lights, one that suggests he is either a rock-throwing, graffiti spraying, dreadlock-topped and angry young anarchist post-grad whose revolutionary thesis in the form of a graphic historical novel that attempts to redefine Bakunin as prophet and seer for the 21st century… or one of those “new age commies” with a lumberjack beard and a man-bun, looking to save the Earth by wrapping his lettuce, carrots, celery, e3ddb24c898167db1bee81136ed85e50--lumberjack-men-man-bunand radishes in planet-friendly, wax-process paper rather than storing it in plastic Zip-loc bags, the sort of zeitgeist common man of the 21st century who stays home and watches the kids while writing a socialist cookbook-cum-manifesto titled, “Thirty-seven ways to eat the rich.”

As much as I might like you to think of me in synch with such a seductive, rebel sort of image, along with the manly, disheveled ‘look’ that goes with it?  As much as that might boost my image?  Let me assure you, up front and out loud, that I am neither of those things, but probably both… in spirit at least, if not in fashion… and infinitely more radical and dangerous in fact than any Marvel-inspired stereotype you could imagine, armed as I am with opinions based upon facts and referential analysis of historical precedence.  But hey… relax, these are only ideas, little seeds I like to plant in the minds of the innocent and the unwary.

But enough about me… let’s talk about you.

The economy, they tell me, is booming.  Are you getting your share?  Of course not.  Saddled with student loan debt for a principle sum that seems to grow the more you pay 3b3e6d3fc7b3067f5a30afd139da02beinto it, money you borrowed for a degree that would give you a decent living if it translated into real-world value, perhaps you already know that the possibility you could own a home of your own probably seems like a pipe dream.  Mom and Dad might have left you theirs when they died and they certainly would have, but for the inordinately inflated cost of the medicine and health care that didn’t quite give them the longevity they’d hoped for.  Drug companies, co-pays and deductibles impoverished them, took what was left of their savings after their retirement plan succumbed to whatever economic reason that caused the fund to go broke.  They lost their home in the process… and you?  Well, if they were still alive, you would likely be taking care of your parents.  Sadly, those of you whose parents have survived may yet be burdened with their end-of-life care.  And… since you can barely afford to take care of yourself and a family, if you’ve been optimistic enough to marry and have children… how will you take on the more and greater debt that comes with such an added responsibility?

If that’s not your situation?  If you are you doing very well today in an economy that provides for the wealthy by borrowing from the future of everyone else… if you enjoy the benefits of corporate welfare like other wealthy Americans with a stake in huge monopolistic enterprises like Amazon… if you pay no taxes whatsoever?  How fortunate for you, but stop for a moment and think… how long can this go on?

For the rest of us, who are not so lucky?  Hyperbole and hypotheticals notwithstanding, the facts tell us this:  the opportunities that existed for our parents are not as prevalent today and for us as it was back then and for them.

It’s not hard to pinpoint the cause of such unprecedented economic inequality.  The facts are there, though hidden and mystified by those who manipulate the truth.  You ask, “What is truth?”  Ask a huindrd people and you will get a hundred different answers, but the truth doesn’t change.  Truth is not a marketable commodity.  Every fact, figure, or representation of truth is only and absolutely binary in terms of its reality.  A thing is either true… or it is untrue.  Truth cannot be enhanced, varnished, polished, rendered more attractive in any way except that it will detract from its essential being.  A fact is either true or it is not.  There is no liberal truth, no libertarian truth, no conservative truth.  There is only truth.  Everything else?  Dross and manipulation.

Convincement, the result of long decades of propaganda in the form of marketing and hucksterism brings us down to the pinnacle of possibilities in government evolution under the influence of capitalism… and what doesdt.common.streams.streamserver that look like, exactly?  In 2016 it led to the presidency of the ultimate huckster and capitalist poster boy, Donald Trump, the current skipper of a sinking ship of state that better resembles… and could very well be modeled after… the example set by the present Russian plutocracy under Putin.  Wealthy American oligarchs and right-wing corporatists now direct and control virtually every segment of the executive branch of our Federal government.  They’ve begun dismantling benchmarks, controls, and safeguards that have been established over long decades of progress in protections for the average American from the growing influence of monopolies and corporate monoliths.

I’ve often and unapologetically labeled Trump’s administration “fascistic” in the past and even progressives have criticized me for doing so, but it fits the description quite well if we can hear the opinion of people who lived in a time when fascism threatened the safety and freedoms of the entire world.  If you don’t accept my characterization, then read this… from Henry A. Wallace, Vice President under Franklin Delano Roosevelt (quoted in the New York Times, April 9, 1944) and then tell me you do not sense an eerie feeling of historical déjà vu….

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“The really dangerous American fascist… is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power… They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. 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.”

(Snooze alert – in that the following two paragraphs may include boring descriptive reprsentations of economic concepts, but I will try to be brief.)

If we take the concept of capitalism down to its basics, it could be explained as an economic theory based upon the concept of property and commercial exchange that transcends the original method of trade, which was barter… a simple swap, where one commodity was traded with another comparatively valued commodity based upon the needs of both parties.  Capitalism renders trade infinitely more efficient by introducing commodity exchange with the use of money, which is any medium that represents value in terms of the need for which it is exchanged.  Trade assumes both the concept of property and the value of money.

Without getting into the details where the devil resides, capitalism is driven by needs… by the satisfaction of human needs and desires through trade.  But there is no equity built into the system that we know as a free market economy.  It’s all about competition for profit, some reward of extra value acquired by obtaining greater value in the trade than that value required to produce the commodity traded….. and blahblahblah… blah.

Simply put, capitalism is based on greed with the rewards going to those who can get more of everything than everybody else.  It collapses every now and then due to massive inequities and inflated values inherent with inevitable institutional dishonesty when greed is the defining energy source… and when it does collapse, everyone suffers.  Greed is at its peak today, so get ready for another major economic disaster.

I wrote the following assessment on Facebook back in October of 2016, before Trump was even elected, when everyone could not believe that the fascist pretender had a chance of becoming the “leader of the free world…”

“The pharmaceutical companies and the medical industry have grown fat and rich by developing pain medications that have caused drug dependencies in millions of people who would never have otherwise been led into a dependent lifestyle. In the meantime, criminalization of street drugs has led to mass incarcerations and created a for-profit prison industry that makes millions off the labor of prisoners in a new

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“The Lord provides” = Jacob Burck 1934

brand of slavery.  In the meantime, the price of life saving drugs which have been somewhat affordable in the past and necessary for the survival of millions of people are systematically and suddenly overvalued beyond the reach of any but the most wealthy Americans.

“Bankers commit crimes that result in catastrophic financial losses and economic collapse nationwide, putting thousands out of their homes and others out of their jobs. Not only does our government not prosecute these insidious parasites, but rewards them by bailing out their banks while they set up roadblocks that make it it virtually impossible for homeowners to come back from foreclosure.  Injustice abounds.  Social and economic equality does not exist in any discernible measure. We are not living in a post racial society, nor do we enjoy the same freedoms and opportunity that were prevalent only fifty years ago. We are moving quickly toward an oligarchy of race, privilege and wealth that fairly ignores the concept of the common good of all people in a democratic republic that once conceded this primary and indisputable fact… that we are all created equal.”

Tell me things have gotten better since then.  I dare you.  Capitalism will fail us again and again and again and again and… et cetera, et cetera… ad infinitum.

Okay… I get tired of criticizing things as they are.  I want to talk about things as they should be.  My next essay here won’t consist of any additional critiques… no continuation of an ongoing though relevant screed listing the numerous evils of American capitalism.  Instead, I will begin to present an alternative possibility, a thing to be accomplished, not through some violent Marxist revolution, but American style.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something absolutely different and quintessentially… unequivocally American as… you know….

 

 

Why you really should pay some attention and why Congress doesn’t take meaningful action….

It’s rather simple and it has been obvious from the beginning that the reason the GOP and many Democrats continue to act as though Trump cannot or should not be stopped is that he is doing exactly what they have wanted for decades, to dismantle the Federal government… agency by agency… and to stack the Federal courts with judges who will continue the process of deregulation of protections and safeguards established for consumers and average citizens… and to buttress the corporate-friendly policy of decentralization of government in the judiciary for decades to come.
I’ve re-iterated this point from the beginning and watched the maze of daily crises and programs of disinformation in the media continue to distract from that one issue that really matters, the dismantling of a Federal government which is the only guarantor of those concepts that have set us apart as a nation, justice and equality before the law. As corporate interests have gained control of local and state governments with untold millions in dark money and a concerted campaign to control the voting processes, with Trump in the White House, those same forces are now able to deliver the ultimate coup and establish the autocracy of wealth and privilege they’ve always wanted, essentially destroying even the illusion of representative democracy.
It’s past the point that they even try to conceal what they are doing…
Wake up, America. Just wake up !!

The real Trump agenda and why it will never be stopped (Click here)

From silence… assent

People prefer not to say it, but it’s there.
Watch him work.
It’s like a symphony and he’s the conductor.
Maybe you don’t want to watch, but you should.
It’s time to wake up and recognize the meaning of it all. Something terrible is happening and we can no longer deny it. The prohibitions of moral compulsion have not constrained it and we wonder, now, if even the rule of law is able.
After all, t’s not as though one man is the source of it.
Trump himself is but the wink and the nod that unleashes those sleeping dogs of incivility and aggression that rested in that dark other room we seldom ever visit for fear of waking the things we would rather deny. We’ve been astounded at how easy it was for him to spark such a movement, but the truth of it is… all he had to do was to know it was there and exploit it. He can’t, then, be rightly accused of inventing a storm that was not his, but just waiting for one who was willing enough to stir it from slumber, to whistle up the wind that now rages around us.
Why cry havoc, after all, when all that’s required is to vent the pressure with the license of a grin? Donald Trump is nothing, after all, but a permissive conduit for all that is vile and suppressed within us. Surely no man could ever deny it… or try to suggest all that which is vain and terrible within the mob he unleashed did not exist before he stirred it to life. It was there all along unexpressed… ready to be tapped, a roiling boil, seeking only his permission to be vented. 
And how good they must feel to be finally liberated, free to express what is never permitted. Profanity laced permission… dog whistles and strokes of intention… approval, encouragement, the wink and the nod that whispers to the sleeping dogs… “It’s okay to be angry. I’m angry too. Let’s be honest. Let’s stop pretending. Let’s finally take back dominion. Let’s take back the nation that’s meant to be ours. Let’s take back the land that was meant to be ours. It was meant to be ours.”
Blood and Soil. 
Blut und Boden.
It’s happened before. Or have we forgotten?
Oh, I know. I’ve heard the connection is purely hyperbolic and the phenomenon should never be taken so seriously as all that. It never is.
That’s how it grows.
In the end, people ask, “How did it happen? How did it ever get so far out of hand? Why didn’t someone see what was coming?”
Who knew?

First, they came for the opposition…

Last night we got a glimpse at what Trump’s future agenda could be during a telephone interview on Fox News, preceded by a monologue and vilifying tirade against critics of the President delivered by Sean Hannity, who might be called Donald Trump’s new Minister of Propaganda on what amounts to State-sponsored television. Before speaking with Trump by phone, Hannity made wild claims and accusations which he accentuated by calling for the investigation and criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton and many others, including various and former government officials such as the former Director of the FBI, James Comey and other individuals Hannity characterized as criminal conspirators in an attempt to seize control of the government.

In his accusations, Hannity even went so far as to cite specific Federal statutes under which each individual might be indicted. Before the interview with Trump, Hannity spun a narrative concerning the intent of the Mueller investigation, framing it as an attempted coup… making outrageous accusations against specific individuals, fabrications he sought to bolster with contextually cynical misrepresentations in cherry-picked and curiously edited video clips that, if you were at all familiar with the original context, you would immediately recognize as outrageously inappropriate in reference to Hannity’s claims.


The actual phone interview with Trump was every bit as bizarre, with Trump reinforcing the claim that the Mueller investigation was nothing more than an attempt to unseat a duly elected President, an attack by a shadowy cabal of professional government bureaucrats that Hannity and other extreme right wing pundits often and consistently label as “the Deep State.” If it did not represent a looming, dangerous, and dark perspective from a mentally unstable individual in a position of power, these characterizations and clear threats of retribution by the President and his allies against anyone who dares to criticize or investigate him for wrongdoing would be laughable. But, in fact, it’s not in any way amusing. It’s all getting very real… and I wonder if we are not on the verge of a moment in time, the fulcrum of an historical narrative that we will one day identify as the beginning of a sinister evolution.

“The only thing necessary…

…for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke

So… with a false and thoroughly premature public dismissal of the Mueller report, before anyone beyond the Trump-friendly Attorney General, a man who was selected, one has to believe, for his recorded disdain for the investigation, has even had the chance to read its content, Trump declares himself vindicated and imagines himself free to pursue his campaign to flesh out the foundations of his autocratic political stronghold. And why wouldn’t he? Nancy Pelosi made it clear she is not interested in impeachment and the Senate? Trump territory, no spine to be seen therein to take a stand for democracy and justice. What’s good for corporations is good for the Senate and Trump has shown a willingness to play for pay and to dismantle those troubling regulatory agencies in the Federal government that corporations would like to have neutered and unable to inhibit their predatory practices in pursuit of profit.

Trump is free to act as though resistance is quite as it seems… futile. In a New York Times report by Robert Pear, also published on March 25th, we read, “The Trump administration broadened its attack on the Affordable Care Act on Monday, telling a federal appeals court that it now believed the entire law should be invalidated.” This sudden change in direction, a bold move by the Trump administration could entirely undermine and eventually destroy Obamacare, a move that is not only politically unsettling to his own party, but also threatens the stability of the insurance industry… to say nothing of the more than 100 million Americans who may lose their health insurance. But if Trump doesn’t want it? Consider it gone and to hell with the consequence.

In the Washington Post, Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey reported on the same day that, “… at an Oval Office meeting on Feb. 22, Trump asked top advisers for ways to limit federal support from going to Puerto Rico, believing it is taking money that should be going to the mainland, according to senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of the president’s private remarks.”  Trump has never been shy about expressing his disdain for the people of Puerto Rico, acting almost as if he is ignorant… or even contemptuous… of the fact that they are citizens of the United States and not foreigners in another poor and powerless “S***hole country” of the Third World as he has so scornfully described some African nations in the past.

Again in the Times, we read a report on Monday by Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos, “President Trump and his Republican allies went on the offensive on Monday, vowing to pursue and even punish those responsible for the Russia investigation now that the special counsel has wrapped up without implicating him or his campaign in a criminal conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.  Mr. Trump, grim faced and simmering with anger, denounced adversaries who have pounded him for two years over Russian election interference, calling them ‘treasonous’ people who are guilty of ‘evil’ deeds and should be investigated themselves. ‘Those people will certainly be looked at,’ he said.”  These chilling remarks are worthy of any dictator… but certainly not worthy of an American president, nor of any other leader in any nation of the free world.

By taking an unprecedented step in recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and receiving Netanyahu as friend and ally, Trump not only bolstered the strong man of Israel’s shaky political underpinnings, but sent a message to another strong man in Russia, his old friend Putin, concerning Russia’s annexation of Crimea that America no longer stands up for oppressed nations around the world.  This sort of unsettling unorthodoxy is never surprising when it is preceded by the name of Trump… and that in itself should be an alarm bell, in that any single event prompted by such dangerous perspectives would normally be enough to rally protest and ensure censure, but as each day passes, marking the bold, uncontested crossing of yet another Rubicon by Julius Trump, our Congress does nothing and the Senate seems obsequious in its silent assent.

All the signs are there… dire threats to his critics and the press, unwillingness to even consider political consequences for himself or his party, the negation of our nation’s treaties and longstanding international alliances, and the embrace of dictators, murderous strong men, and similarly corrupt individuals within the private and public spheres of influence in America.  All that is required of his enablers is that they give him unquestioned loyalty… for which he is willing to provide an open hand and an unfettered, unimpeachable license to steal.

The question, America, is this… what are you going to do about it?

What is Trumpism?

Is there really such a thing as Trumpism? Or is the man, the administration, and the thrust of his presidency purposely and aggressively indefinable, an ambiguous, amorphous fog, made up of mere visceral reactions to both impulse and the momentary influence of stray voices passing through his mind?  Lacking disciplined approaches or the need to develop constructs of vision, the man who neither reads nor even trusts that which has been proven by consensus and subsequently recorded as fact, much prefers hypotheses to conclusions, and possibly represents the very pinnacle of reactive thinking.

Agog with affection in the presence of authoritarian leaders, he lacks the stone and substance with which to emulate their brand, coming off, instead, as little more than the reflection of a spoiled and petulant adolescent.  Seated, his posture is oddly defensive, arms crossed so tightly about him at times, he looks to be romancing himself… while his facial expression betrays the possibility that the affection can never be returned, much like a man who possesses a powerful, even passionate love/hate relationship with himself, but one in which the component of disdain has utterly and irreversibly overcome the struggle.  Having no confidence and no rigid core of character within him, perhaps he is a liquid human tide subject to the influence of superior suggestive forces within his orbit.

If indeed there is such a thing as Trumpism, perhaps it does not emanate from this one man…



….but from an amalgam of individuals, a collective perhaps, a coalition of names… like Jared and Stephen and Vladimir and Kim. A pastiche of somewhat unusual men… like Bolton and Bannon, Pompeo and Flynn. Cohen and Cohn, Mussolini and then… Hannity, Coulter, Limbaugh and such… Don Junior and Eric, Ivanka, of course… Pence and Mnuchin and Betsy DeVos. The list goes on and on and on and must also include every angry voice in the crowds of adoring, MAGA-hatted fans… and passing thoughts from Twitter feeds… indeed, every passing voice that somehow strikes a serendipitous chord within the molten, mercurial mass of what passes for thought in the primordial presidential soup behind that often vacant stare from the man who is ultimately in charge of the future of our nation. This man who somehow… and perhaps quite by some fluke, some paradigm shift in the fabric of the universe, a glitch in the foundational laws of probability… now finds himself at the very helm of global history.

What is Trumpism? I believe we’ll only get the answer when we finally understand the question or when his epoch has ended… and if that sounds like I’m at a loss to describe Trumpism definitevely and with confidence? You get an “A” for the course.

Class dismissed.