The intent of this blog is to promote human equality, human progress, human peace and justice, and optimism. To accomplish this, to encourage the discussion of ideas after identifying and discovering problems, and then creating positive solutions for "we the people," in order to provide for the "general welfare" and "domestic tranquility" of America now and its "posterity" into the future. To encourage an emphasis on separation of religion and state for all, no matter if this is for those "of faith" in a Maker / Creator (Deists, God-loving people, Christians, various people of spirituality) and atheists or agnostics.

Posts tagged ‘socialism’

Perhaps Clarification Necessary, From Historical Evidence, too?

Dear Fellow Community Members:

A very good letter to the editor appeared in the Feb. 2 edition of The Times-Tribune of Scranton, PA. From Richard London of State College, who writes, “Socialism bluster ignores reality.” London touches on the “knee-jerk reactions” of Republicans who are always clamoring for a fight with Democrats (as I interpret this; you can interpret it as you like). I have viewed this contentious attitude from Republicans since I was a Republican myself and EXPECTED to be contentious with all Democrats. I kid you not. I remained with that party in Florida for many years and am sad I did.

What my partner and I have observed is this. There is no goal of Republicans to solve the problems of this nation, but just act like dictators and force everyone to go along with their desires. It began under Reagan and we viewed it during those years. My partner and I did not actually meet until 2005, but when we compared notes, it was astounding as to how our notes matched each other. I can say the same thing about his now-deceased brother who had been a Republican for many years.

it is unbelievable to be in “Yankee-land” and have difficulty in finding people who are on the same page as we have been since coming together in 2005. This letter to the editor is one of the first we have read which demonstrates being on the “same page” with someone up north. Sad to see that this does NOT come from the Gannett Pravda of Binghamton which has condensed the size of its newspaper, reduced the information it once provided, and evidently does not provide information for those of us on this same page. We really dislike Gannett as it also took over the newspaper where my partner worked for some 33 years as a copy editor. That newspaper in Palm Beach County did the same thing – condensing the information to nothing and then claiming, “no one reads newspapers.”  Of course they don’t when the saboteurs at the top reduces them to nothing. Perhaps that also explains why it is so damn difficult to find people here in the Southern Tier who are on the same page? Just a conjecture on my part.

In light of what I just said, let me share that letter by Richard London (perhaps a professor? I have no idea, but his address is State College, PA).

Socialism bluster ignores reality

Richard London

State College, PA

The Times-Tribune (Scranton, PA), 2 Feb. 2022

Editor: An accusation that Republicans love to hurl at Democrats is that they are “socialists.”

Do Republicans understand what American socialism, also called “democratic socialism,” really is? Do they confuse it with Soviet socialism, from the old U.S.S.R. days, or modern socialism in authoritarian places such as North Korea or Venezuela?

Socialism, or socialization, is any structure in which a governmental agency – federal, state or local – collects funds from the general public via taxes, and uses the money to provide a service back to the population at little, or no, cost. The arrangement has been authorized by the people, though their representatives; hence democratic socialism.

Everyday examples of socialism include public schools and highways (state level), Social Security and Medicare (federal level), and public libraries (local level). Nearly all Republicans embrace and enjoy these benefits provided by the socialization mechanism, but many of them decry socialism in general.

Maybe it’s a knee-jerk reaction to Democratic social issue proposals. Maybe Republicans just don’t understand the term. Maybe they understand, but want to turn public opinion against proposals by using a loaded term from the past.

The difference between Republicans and progressives is not that progressives accept socialization and the Republicans reject it, since both clearly accept it. Both are willing to use the mechanism for examples such as education, highways and libraries, and even for retirement and health insurance plans (at least for the elderly); progressives want to use it for additional things to benefit the public.

There are some parts of this letter, I wish to place add-ons, but will not go to long length to do so. Being that i spent 40+ years in education and as a librarian, I feel there is one thing I wish to add regarding the statements about libraries being part of the “socialization.” The public library here in Newark Valley exists due to an endowment more than 100 years ago from two Republican families here in Newark Valley. I am told that it is able to run by means of dividends from that endowment. I speak of the Tappan-Spaulding Memorial Library in Newark Valley. The Tappan family, especially, was once a big family here in Newark Valley. Republicans, for sure.

I mention this because of the “bluster” surrounding socialism. This library was never one of socialism, but one of capitalist investment and return on investment, by way of dividends earned.

With this being said, Mr. London’s comments about Social Security and Medicare can be challenged as NOT necessarily being socialism. That is where people today, I believe, are confused as to what socialism AND capitalism are about. The aristocracy of the 19th Century grabbed hold of the ideas of capitalism and spun those ideas around so as to benefit the aristocracy and supply side economics. Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican “progressive” tried to spin the thoughts of capitalism to those of REGULATED capitalism. Remember TR was called the “trust buster?” Remember that Thomas J. Watson was nearly arrested, before founding IBM, for working at NCR and working to do a Trump-type of thing; “destroy the competition.” Regulations almost sent Watson to jail. He reformed when he created IBM and there are many who can be thankful for that. It was those idiots who took over the corporation after Watson who sent it reeling to North Carolina and Texas.

Social Security and Medicare have received funds, just like a CAPITALIST endowment, from the common folks like you and me. The “bluster” over socialism, in my humble opinion, has totally destroyed the ideas of endowments, dividends, and return on investments. Thus, we have Trump and Republicans working to destroy Social Security and Medicare, in the name of anti-socialism which is described by Mr. London in his letter.

It is damn difficult to find anyone on the same page I am with regard to the practicality and REALITY of capitalist considerations of Social Security and Medicare. I’ll be damned if I can find anyone who does not conform to the false notions of Karl Marx which blames capitalism. Karl Marx SHOULD have blamed the aristocracy of the day and its grip on promoting supply side economics which they called, “capitalism.” The stupidity of some economists of the 1970s and then Reagan in 1980 brought back this notion about supply side economics and today, we are falsely giving accusation to Social Security and Medicare as being socialism when, in reality… (REALITY is a word in the title of Mr. London’s letter to the editor), the money we all put into those government programs gets stolen from us, by both Democrats and Republicans alike, to use for government programs (like war and a war on drugs for the sake of drug lords which apparently now focus on the locality near the old IBM on Washington Avenue, Endicott) where they should not be used. We common folk forfeit the ability to gain dividends from our CAPITALIST investments, due to this false talk about it all. 

I know everyone wishes I do not make the article so lengthy. But let me tell you about how my lack of length and detail and no one understood my writings about the Ozempic med saved in a refrigerator for three months, rather than one month. Until I went into detail with a comparison of Ozempic in a refrigerator to milk in a refrigerator over three months, no one even tried to consider what I was saying and THINK, as Thomas J. Watson suggested IBM employees do.  THINK is for the sake of common folk, Middle Class, and democracy. Republicans today don’t want THINK, so they work to destroy public education, while Democrats sit around like a bunch of wimps and let the Republicans do what they want. That is REALITY, as pointed out by Mr. London of State College, PA. That is the reality to which I address.

In college at SUNY Potsdam History program (I minored in history, behind my major of music education), I was introduced to books by Dr. Daniel Boorstin. Dr. Boorstin eventually became the only decent part of Ronald Reagan of the 1980s. Boorstin was appointed as Librarian of Congress (after I earned my Masters of Library Science from Syracuse University). Dr. Boorstin’s book series is titled, The American Experience. Each book was about some different aspect. The Explorers. The Colonials. The one we read was about the American DEMOCRATIC experience, but I have purchased and partially read the others in the series. They are very interesting.

I am going into this detail as background for what I am about to say. Boorstin’s democratic experience includes a chapter about the first insurance commissioner in Yankee-land Massachusetts, Erasmus Wright. What does he have to do with what I am saying here? Because in the 19th Century, Erasmus Wright took on big insurance of his day who were run by criminals who took people’s money for life insurance but rarely had the money left over to pay when the people died. To me, this is no different than big homeowners insurance (especially in Florida) taking our money and never considering the capitalist investment and the dividends available when the money is not used. Instead, we always end up with a zero return on investment. Same thing with life insurance when Erasmus Wright of Massachusetts took it on. Same thing, too, with employer-provided health insurance for 40 years, many times with money contributed by ME, the EMPLOYEE, and nothing in funds to collect dividends. I am angered by Blue Cross & Blue Shield for the money I contributed over 25 years as a college professor and now being told by Medicare Blue Cross Blue Shield (Excellus) that “they cannot pay for pre-existing conditions;” while I pay premiums for six months.  UHC of AARP says the same thing, while I paid membership dues to AARP for some 20 years or so. That endowment with dividends works for the local library. But lawyers and accountants with their big fat wallets, make rules against the thinking about endowments into insurance for us little folks who pay all the taxes. I don’t recall the name of the health insurance coverage I had prior to 1995 when I began working for the college, but there is an investment there, too. Add to that privatized insurance what I have paid into Medicare and Social Security (FICA) over 40 years total and I should have enough of dividends to help pay for my health care and retirement.

But the norm is to only do this with big fat pigs of corporations, but not for the common folk. And then have to listen to the “bluster” about socialism which “ignores reality.” I write and write and write and write and write about these things and neither Democrats or Republicans pick up on it. I would expect that of lousy fascist Republican leaders who defend the fat pigs, but what about the Democrats? Nothing but wimps who are afraid of being blasted by false “bluster of socialism?” It is sickening.

No wonder a friend and colleague (professor) had to talk me out of leaving this nation back in 2016 when lousy Trump was elected, so I could live in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, or even Scotland. This friend said, “we need people like you who are willing to stand up against what is going on.” Here I am. All alone.

But then again, I cannot collect ANY Medicare in any of those nations, thanks to the bullshit of Republican fascist control. So why bother? The only options? Live in the mountains of Mexico and Central America where I have to live in heat and humidity, which I really is lousy for me.Should I have the dividends earned for Medicare, FICA, and PRIVATIZED insurance, over many years, I might have a chance of living in those other nations.

I might add that it was a Democrat who put that homeowners’ insurance crap in place in Florida. Shame on him. But then again. What the hell did Jeb Bush, Rick the Prick, or DeSantis do to reform it from that? Nothing. Yet, some miserable SOB in Pennsylvania will attack our Democratic Party governor in NY for trying to find a solution to the gun problem by way of “bail reform.” Why? Because those idiots in Florida have more interest in the wealthy fat pigs than they do about the impact of insurance criminals on common folk. DeSantis puts in place stupid ignorant rules to put down the teaching of history regarding slavery and sexual identity in the schools. No. He does not do something to actually help the common folk, only for the damn fundagelical Southern Baptists of the Baptist Conservative Network and other ultra right wing religious bastards. But for insurance? What does DeSantis, Rick the Prick or Jeb Bush do about that? Not one damn thing, as they gerrymander the state in order to maintain a one-party legislature and governorship (with TERM LIMITS, too), which were CREATED by gerrymandering for the sake of central Florida white supremacists.

I am obviously very angry about these situations and become angry at anyone who supports these damn Republican fascists.  So I write. And I write. And I write. And I write. Someone pay attention and stop leaving me all alone and not seeking the same page with me (common ground); or perhaps HIDING what they truly believe, especially if they are not impacted by racial or sexual identity issues.

Socialism, Knee-jerk Reactions of Republicans, in 2 letters to the editors of a newspaper

Dear Editors:

My comments about two letters to the editor published in your newspaper, 2 Feb. 2022. (1) Richard London (State College) wrote about “socialism bluster ignores reality.” (2) Edward Zindell wrote, “guns not issu, repeal bail reform.” The letters appeared adjacent to one another.

The letter from Richard London was excellent. It reviewed the “knee-jerk reaction to” Democrats. How true. Interesting that this kind of describes what Zindell said in the letter which followed. I can only assume he was a Republican. But it is usually Republicans who give the “knee-jerk reactions.” However, I recognize tht assuming does make an “ass of you and me.” 

Mr. London’s one paragraph kind of sums it all up, as I provide the actual quote:  “Maybe it’s a knee-jerk reaction to Democratic social issue proposals. Maybe Republicans just don’t understand the term [socialism]. Maybe they understand, but want to turn public opinion against proposals by using a loaded term from the past.”

When I conclude Zindell and a “knee-jerk reaction,” I guess I am coming to such a conclusion because he is writing to a Pennsylvania newspaper with an accusation directed at the governor of my home state of New York, who happens to be a Democrat. Silly me if I am wrong about this and I take 40 lashes from a wet noodle.

Three-Penny Op-ed: Socialism, Ambiguity, and Short-sighted Two-sided Contrasts

Everything is presented as black and white. We, the citizens of the USA, rarely get presented with more detail about a subject. If we did, though, too many of these younger generations reject learning and removing the blinders to soak up the details. Thus, the media folks and others can make statements based only on THEIR interpretation and never taking into account considerations for black, white, gray, or other tones or colors of the rainbow. After all, the rainbow naturally occurs when rain and sunlight simultaneously appear before our eyes.

I like Joe Scarborough and have learned a great deal from him, since I first read his article in a business magazine, published in 2005. Even Joe Scarborough, though mentions “free enterprise” and a black and white contrast between that and socialism. I would like to suggest that is not the case.

A Cuban whose family was forced to flee Cuba when Fidel Castro’s troops confiscated her family’s property helped me learn these differences. There is socialist autocracy as dictated by Fidel Castro and there is supply-side economic centrally planned autocracy as dictated by Battista, masquerading as capitalism and “free enterprise.” When this Cuban person visited a socialist democracy where the people are the happiest on earth, Denmark, she commented about how their mobile phone system far surpassed that in America. No wonder the people of Denmark, time after time, have been rated the “happiest on earth.”

The people of Denmark have socialist-capitalist democracy, not autocracy. They also have free enterprise, too. Yet, the American herd mentality, generated by the media in the USA, just use the word, “socialism” to describe Denmark and other Scandinavian nations. Mr. Scarborough, there does not need to be a differentiation between socialism and “free enterprise” capitalism.

In 2005, Mr. Scarborough wrote about the need for regulation. This COULD mean regulating the capitalist markets with an infinite demand or supply. Few supply side industries are infinite. One would think oil is infinite when listening to those who control the status quo in oil, from Texas to the Koch brothers to Saudi Arabia (whose royal family was responsible for 9/11 and for cutting off the heads of their citizens who disobey the autocratic monarchs), and many others. The net result is that we pretend oil is an infinite supply, when it’s not. Big oil works to block the R&D efforts and businesses which can provide more capitalist competition and help do what capitalism is designed to do: competition can help keep prices lower. Supply-side idiots controlling and regulating the markets. In criticism, I say that Mr. Scarborough appears to follow the American supply-side fat cat herd mentality when putting forth the “norm” of there being a black and white contrast between socialism and free enterprise. I just mentioned something which pretends to be free enterprise and it is not, so it regulates its own market and works to destroy a third-party regulator, the government. There was an American family with two presidents who side with Saudi Arabia and the oil monopolies, with one saying, “what is good for business is good for America.” Wrong. Balance is good for America.

The Scandinavian nations prove that socialism can coexist with capitalism and democracy. The Scandinavian nations are more racially homogeneous than the USA, so they don’t have to consider only two sides of the equation with “black and white.” America has to go beyond just two sides of the equation because it is not racially homogeneous. The reason why Americans are against socialism are the same reasons and the common thread which runs through so many issues in America: systemic racism. And I am not being ambiguous here because I refuse to accept those, whether black or gay (Lindsay Graham) who are “Uncle Toms” and do just what the “massa says.” This is the reason why so many white people wish to “make America great again” by going back to the days when white supremacy reigned in America. To these jackass idiots, this makes America great, not human equality as it appears in socialist notions, Social Security, Medicare, ACA, freedom to carry guns (for white folks to use the guns against African-Americans, Latino/a, indigenous folks, as in the past). This is the background of the NRA and the false ideas about the 2nd Amendment. False because it was how the 2nd Amendment was applied for many years when the “nation was great” (according to the MAGA group of the idiocracy).

This would mean that socialism is too much of an “equalizing” force.” Therefore, it is rejected by preaching ambiguous notions about what socialism is. It also means that only white people should be allowed to carry guns and kill by “standing the white-skinned people’s ground” as developed by the NRA (and Jeb Bush of Florida). America needs to BECOME great by getting over these ambiguities and simple “black and white notions.”

This is all said with all due respect to Joe Scarborough. I also say, with due respect, that Bernie Sanders and “socialism” is not, in many respects, the socialism of Scandinavian socialist-capitalist democracies. For instance. According to information I have read, out of Sweden and other Scandinavian nations, there are no government-instituted minimum wages. Why not? My impression is that we are describing a situation in which these nations recognize the role of balance in capitalism. Just as supply and demand in industries helps create a competitive environment in order to provide better prices and for being able to obtain products and services with more “bang for the buck” (value at a better cost), a lack of minimum wage will help maintain this. But. What are these nations doing to train its people so that industries in the future can better serve the demand side of the markets? Are they using privatized education and hospitals in order to accomplish the goals to solve problems? I really doubt it. It is another style of regulating what is done, but doing the regulation responsibly.

Are these nations perfect and more perfect than America? Not likely. There is no perfection. But they might be more reasonable and rational. One could say, “well they don’t have very many black people there.” OK. That might be true, when contrasting with America. But what is that worth? You mean to say, Americans are not able to learn to coexist in a nation where we do have multi-colored people? Bull. I don’t believe it.

I invoke, once again (and again and again and again and again) Frank Sinatra: “we can have fun in fixing an imperfect nation.” Frank Sinatra had a black friend in his “rat pack” who experienced systemic racism in this nation. From white Army troops in World War II pissing on Sammy Davis, Jr., to being denied the same entrances to the same hotels where he and Sinatra were performing, there was a problem in America and that problem was NOT what made America great. No wonder Sinatra described America as “imperfect.” Sinatra was not willing to give up solving the problems of the land he called, “home.”

If people feel they don’t want to be contentious with others, so they just shut their mouths, out of fear of retribution and willingly accept lawyers who pit Americans against Americans with personal injury lawsuits and workman’s comp (rather than equalized healthcare for all), what a shameful, shameful, shameful bunch of Americans. I feel sorry for such people in their scummy ideas against anger and contentiousness when people say, “I am mad as hell and I ain’t going to take it anymore.” Anger and contentiousness against inequality in America, in any form, means we stand up for what is the correct thing for America to do to combat systemic racism (and homophobia, too).

Also to be mentioned is the idea of unions. When either side of unions is irrational and unreasonable, they destroy the balance which should be achieved. The ones with the whips had enough control to knock down the unions which went too far in America. They developed NAFTA and shipped jobs overseas. The irrationality of such bastards on the management side felt forced into a corner by irrational unions. Perhaps that is the case. In the process, these management bastards have increased their salaries and bonuses exponentially, as they still continue to work to destroy unions, in a vengeful attitude which then puts the union people in a corner. These working people think a Trump will solve their problems. Think again, you idiots. His cronies are the ones who wish to continue to replace workers with robots, you idiots, so go vote for idiot Trump and his followers, but be careful what you wish for because you might get something you don’t like or enjoy. As a member of a union, I can say that we faced this irrational attitude with an administration which refused to acknowledge our rationality while attempting to work out compromises at the negotiating table. I suppose I can say I understand why such Republicans acted in the manner they did, due to the lack of balance in unions and their delight at destruction of good things.

One more thing. Regulated capitalism might have elements of socialism, as what I have described here, but only when there needs to be regulation on both sides of the supply and demand considerations (on both sides of union-management negotiating table) and the goal is balance. Lacking this kind of balance and pushing the one-sided aspect of “free enterprise” and we end up getting rid of the “referee” in government (third party). This can be likened to letting Roman gladiators go in an arena and killing people like Christians. Supply-side economics with centrally planned economics from top-down of monopoly-style big corporations is not capitalism because, like the gladiators in an arena, it destroys and “kills” the opposition.

This can also be likened to a what-if scenario. What if an NFL team played a high school football team? What if there were no referees and all the rules were established by the NFL team, including the possibility of destroying human beings in the process? What if such a situation existed? If you would love to see this, then go to h-e-double hockey sticks because you are a savage barbarian trying to invoke your will upon a civilized nation.

My Cuban colleague I mentioned who came from Cuba at an early age in her life, also served on a Civility Committee which recognized coexistence and attempted to teach our students such concepts. Not barbarism. Civility. Coexistence. In America, the imperfect nation that it is, but being able to have fun in fixing it.

I would have fun in creating a democracy NOT based on a two-party system, as well, but based on something similar to the parliamentary system in Britain which went against King George and removed some of the taxes he imposed on the colonists. Bet Americans don’t know about this little aspect. But a parliamentary system night have two parties in control, but there are other parties to which the party which is in control has to make alliances with the parties with smaller numbers in order to name a prime minister. That prime minister has to maintain that coalition and partisanship is shot in the foot in the process. I do not believe the upper house of the parliament has any stupid freaking filibuster rules, either, which decimates the ability for compromise. Go to h-e-double-hockey sticks, Mancin.

With all due respect to those who continue to invoke a two-sided contrast in any form, it’s the resulting ambiguity and lack of compromise in actions (not values), stupid.

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