Tag Archive for Franklin D. Roosevelt

Good night and good luck, America

I had to say a few things before this election. As I write it isn’t over yet, but whoever wins, the entire campaign will leave a lot of bad taste in many mouths.

I keep wondering how it is that one candidate for President is able to quantify how many jobs he will supposedly “create” if elected. If he truly cared about the country he’d disclose just how, and yesterday. Truth is he hasn’t got any more ability to “create” jobs than your dog. Now just where did he get that number, 12 million?

What if, just suppose that the membership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been intentionally holding back on hiring. Why would they do that? Perhaps they hate having an African-American Chief Executive. Or they simply want to be able to do whatever they like. Either way, from what I read, those who do have jobs aren’t getting raises and are just about to work themselves into the ground. Stress and burnout are really good for productivity.

Twelve million sounds like a lot. That requires growing the paycheck lines by about five per cent. Actually, I’m not an economist, but if maybe around eight million were hired in short order, making the “capitalist” candidate look pretty darned good, those mysterious “multipliers” could take care of the other four million.

I would not put it past them. The Chamber has made no secret of its disrespect for and dislike of the sitting President. And many on the “red” side of the aisle (I remember when that meant they’d be Communists) openly express their dislike for the current Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Prof. Ben Bernanke. What now?

Bernanke’s “quantitative easing” has meant a lot of companies were able to hold on when pure “market” economics would have meant doom. These moneyed conservatives hate that. They read Schumpeter. They salivate over buying up assets for pennies on the dollar. They haven’t had many opportunities to do that since 2007, and they’re unhappy. According to this way of thinking GM and Chrysler should have been on the block that way, but the Administration headed off the Indians at the pass. No wonder the candidate with Utah connections has been upset over the bailout of the car companies.

Likewise, the “failed” stimulus. Bull. Picture the Dutch boy with his finger in the dike. When he grows tired or has to honor Nature’s call, he needs someone to stick his thumb in for him, or the Netherlands becomes the New Jersey shore last week. What if no one shows up? Would any Dutchman logically be unhappy if at the last minute some stranger shows up with a fresh thumb? Would anyone in Holland care very much who this new guy is? Truly, if no one fills the hole sooner or later those lowlands are gone. This is pretty much what happened starting in 2007, when that other rocket scientist from Texas sat in the White House. Was his policy misguided? No? You can’t have it both ways, pilgrim.

Onerous regulations are said to be the bane of American business now. If that were true, wouldn’t we expect to see dozens of lawsuits in federal district courts challenging every one of them? No, the Federal Register hasn’t hurt many. Businesses would apparently rather blame their own lack of innovation and creativity on the White House. If that fails, then there’s the Chinese at fault. Once in a while it might be labor unions. Or, if all else fails, there’s that tried-and-true bogeyman, the cost of money. Oops! Interest rates have been lower than a snake’s butt for so long it seems like forever. Corporations have been borrowing like crazy thanks to these tiny rates, trillions of dollars’ worth. Now, if government were run like a business, then they’d borrow and . . . Oh, fudge. There goes another mantra!

It’s sad to admit it, but the USA already has a health care system that rations service by income. Some want education to be the same. Where does that take us? Not to Canada, not to Norway, not even to Saudi Arabia. Try a place like Pakistan, or Niger. Some of these self-styled conservatives might envy Niger, because of their oil. Heck, I even see where some in Longmont have expressed envy over Firestone and Frederick. These people don’t get out much.

If voters want to buy a horse, they would almost always check its teeth. They should go a bit farther with their government. And if they are serious about having a government run like a business, they must ask themselves who benefits. If they have corporate experience, answering THAT question will be easy, and enlightening.

I wonder if Franklin Roosevelt wasn’t saved from assassination just before his first inauguration by the hand of divine intervention. FDR also avoided a coup from wealthy “businessmen” whose utterances would sound very familiar today. Then we were winners in World War II. It was fortunate for the nation that Hoover preceded FDR and not the other way round. A parallel is advocated by some today. If we get this wrong and elect a REAL non-Christian President, then what might befall us? Was Hurricane Sandy a warning? Or was it the wave one candidate needed?

Another contributor to this thread is fond of stating that the American public doesn’t like having a President smarter than they are. Well, in 2000 and 2004 they darn sure got exactly that. Now they’re uncertain, as they believe they have another one. I remember clearly during the GOP debate season (21 of them, I believe) that many “men on the street” claimed they wanted “somebody else” and not the man who was eventually nominated. Now in many cases that guy on the street is again saying, with regard to the incumbent President, I’d like to see “somebody else.” The electorate will never be happy. As for me, I am voting for the Presidential candidate who actually strikes me as having a bit of humility. This human quality will serve better than having a wallet at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In case you’re wondering, this candidate is the one with daughters and not sons.

Good luck, America.

The real meaning of Freedom

Baum and friends have no respect for your rights

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

The following communication is by Alan Grayson, former U.S. Representative from Florida and 2012 candidate. Grayson is likely one of the most committed and honorable public servants of the 21st century. He demands a freedom that belongs to the people, all people, all NATURAL people. Is it possible to achieve true freedom when so many in the United States would sacrifice genuine freedom to a crass, unethical, immoral philosophy that elevates wealth and corporate power above all else?

By Alan Grayson:

My 16-year-old daughter Skye got a credit card application in the mail yesterday. I guess I should be glad that we still get them. If we didn’t, that would be a strong sign that we’re broke.

Anyway, the envelope for this credit card application said: “FREEDOM. Defined By Cash Back Rewards.”

One could say that those six crass words, directed to a 16-year-old, sum up exactly what has gone wrong with America.

Honestly, I have no idea how “freedom” could be depicted by, associated with, or derived from – much less “Defined By” – cash-back rewards. Is that what the Revolutionary War was all about? Cash-back rewards?

Don’t get me wrong; I like cash-back rewards almost as much as I like cash. But they don’t have anything to do with freedom.

A great deal of advertising, just like a great deal of political discourse, reads like assault and battery on the English language. You don’t have to take my word for it. Just read Karl Rove’s playbook, “Words That Work,” by Frank Luntz. Or Newt Gingrich’s “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.” Or George Orwell’s “1984.” (Note to right wing: “1984” was not intended as a how-to book.)

And one of the all-time favorite tricks of the tricksters is their corruption and debasement of the word “freedom.”

After all, who can forget the twisted phrase, “they hate us because we are free”?

When a politician speaks about “freedom,” it’s usually meant to deflect your attention away from the gross disparities between the rich and poor. To paraphrase Anatole France, the rich and the poor are both free to lose their homes, and sleep in their cars.

But there was one American leader who knew what freedom really means: Franklin Roosevelt. He recognized that the term “freedom” includes freedom from certain things: freedom from poverty, freedom from ignorance, freedom from discrimination, freedom from disease, freedom from war. Listen to what FDR said in his ninth State of the Union address, after he was elected to an unprecedented third term:

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want—which, translated into universal terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world. That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.”

It still is – 70 years later, in our time and in our generation.

My conception of freedom is that you can be all you can be, unchained by mass unemployment, bigotry, poor health and poverty. And it sure is different from Rick Perry’s, or Michele Bachmann’s, or Eric Cantor’s, or Sarah Palin’s. Janis Joplin summed up their kind of freedom this way:

“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”