10 August 2011

Conservatism means more for the wealthy

A few weeks ago Harold Meyerson wrote about corporate America's chokehold on wages .  For Wisconsinites today is the day after the big recall elections.  If you woke up happy this morning, it probably means you're a republican and you support the ever widening gap between the rich and poor.

It's essential to understand that the conservative agenda has been very clearly spelled out.  They represent the wealthy because it is the wealthy who create jobs.  Obviously this is not an outright lie.  But it is not entirely true either.  The majority of large corporations in America are sitting on piles of cash.  They have no interest in hiring.

Apple's cash hoard is well known and the financial maneuvering of GE is also well known.  But less known are the entitlements garnered by Ron Johnson and Herb Kohl.  There is a very good reason why Sen Kohl remained in the Senate for as long as he did.  Likewise, there is a very good reason for Sen. Johnson to run for office.  The reason is simply greed for power and the right to bargain their own clout for business interests.

It is a sickness that turns people into dollar signs and government into a business.  We are living in the age of sickness that is being spread by the hordes of religious fundamentalists (conservatives).  It is a dangerous combination that mixes religion (vehemence) and politics (aggression).   Examples of the results of the wickedness of people who have mixed politics and religion are myriad (think Inquisition, Iran, Saudi Arabia, KKK).  It is precisely why the authors of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence argued for the separation of church and state.

GW Bush offered us an eight-year look at what a religious government might look like (two wars, special ops spread throughout the world).  Another religious lunatic in office could prove fatal.  It is not overly dramatic to envision a wacko christian (Texas' Perry, M. Bachmann) leading us headlong into WWIII on religious conviction alone.  (Lest we forget that Mr. Bush often spoke with god.  Anyone holding conversations with internal voices might find him/herself in a sanitarium.  But he/she would be quickly released as soon as the voice was identified as "God".)

It seems that there are very good indications that the religious right have matured to a refined state of insanity.  While they preach the word of god, they covet only for their self worth.

Yesterday was a perfect example.  The Darling - Pasch race was decided by the results in Washington, Ozaukee, and Waukesha counties.  The commonality is obvious.  Money.  They voted overwhelmingly for Darling for one reason.  The people of those communities believe they should pay less in taxes.

It is the finest commentary on the avarice running rampant in a broken capitalist society.  The people of Wisconsin have appointed selfish egomaniacs as representatives with the dire hope that these representatives will provide less services for the least among us.

Everything that has happened in Wisconsin this year indicates that we are moving toward a more privatized individualistic society built on paranoia and fear and designed to punish those born, by utter chance, into poverty.  On a personal level, it boils down to greed.  On macro level, it is sheer wickedness.


Another indicator of our completely mucked up system is the health insurance costs that the average worker faces.  In one local company, 90% of the employee's cost is covered.  Dependents are not included.  United Health Care provides coverage.  Family coverage (the employee, spouse, child(ren)) costs $500 per pay period.  There are 26 pay periods in the year.  So, with only health coverage, not including dental, or co-pays, or the deductible, family coverage costs $13,000.  Add to that $50 per pay period for dental coverage ($14,300), and a $3000 deductible, which means that for a year's worth of family coverage would cost the employee $17,300.  Does that seem sane?  It's insane to think that this is what we have to pay for health coverage while Stephen Hemsley earns $20M a year.  

But for republicans and conservatives, Hemsley needs that money to create jobs.  Hemsley needs that money to buy a yacht and vacation in the Bahamas.  That's sick.


Evidently any juror can be removed from a jury based on his/her profession.  Inside Higher Times reported that a professor in Nevada was removed from the jury by the DA because he was a professor and professors are liberal.
"Professors are notoriously liberal," the prosecutor said, according to the Supreme Court ruling, adding that "I just don’t like them on my juries, period."

Not surprisingly in these conservative times the Nevada Supreme Court upheld the appellate court's ruling that no unfair treatment was committed.

The precipice that Tony Judt writes about in "Ill Fares the Land" right before us and we are heading in.
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.
                                                   Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village (1770)
Judt's introduction is mindbogglingly brilliant:
Something is wrong with the way we live today.  For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose.  We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth.  We no longer ask of a judicial ruling or a legislative act: is it good?  Is it fair?  Is it just?  Is it right?  Will it bring about a better society or a better world?  Those used to be the  political questions, even if they invited no easy answers.  We must learn once again to pose them.
And so here it is 2011 and the US dangles in the air suspended between the obstinate tea party and conspicuous consumption, while the bottom plunges deeper under.  Conservatives offer no solutions except privatization.  Liberals have no answers to the fundamentalist claims of ineptitude in big government.  As America careens into oblivion, shamed by China over our debt debate, look toward Canada, Germany, Finland, Norway, etc. as they recover from the global recession and we flounder in political deadlock.

As John Donne wrote,
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,

It tolls for thee.

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