Tuesday, February 17, 2009

“It’s Too Late America”

“It’s Too Late America”
By Kent Felder

Bonjour Américains, se réveiller! Oh merde, c'est trop tard. Dans ce cas bienvenue à l'Europe!
Hello and welcome voters! Welcome to the new world order in 21st century America, a Socialist Paradise looking very much like Europe. Except here we ingest lots of baloney while over there they at least enjoy lots of fairly good wine. With the U.S. economy in a downward spiral and adversely affecting the economies of most of the world’s nations, right now life here is not exactly a “paradis” of any sort. However, it is definitely moving toward more “socialisme”. In fact, if the voters last November didn't recognize the signs then, they surely will now. Even Newsweek magazine, usually an ally of the political left, admits it on their Feb.16, 2009 cover, declaring “We Are All Socialists Now.”

Seek your own definitions and understanding of socialism, but allow me to remind you of Karl Marx’s notion that socialism was the transitional stage between capitalism and communism. A famous American socialist and magna cum laude Princeton graduate, Norman Thomas, who ran 6 times for president, said: “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." He went on to say: "I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democrat Party has adopted our platform."

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not completely opposed to the Democrats’ economic stimulus plan. Everyone agrees that our nation’s economic situation is grim and that relief is needed. But I am opposed to doing it unwisely and I don’t believe all the best ideas have been considered. I also distrust President Obama’s repeated promises that his plan is devoid of “earmarks” and “pork”. If in fact they are there, it won’t matter what sort of semantics games Obama and the Democrats wish to play, it’ll be politics as usual. Changing the process by which pet projects are inserted into the bill can’t hide them. The bill American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be parsed, dissected and thoroughly analyzed in coming weeks, and no amount of rhetoric will fool the people or hide the truth.

I don’t think I’m alone with my concerns, unless this is the Twilight Zone, because I know I’m not the only one who has observed happenings since Obama’s inauguration. Regarding the economic “stimulus” bills, on January 22nd House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “Yes, we wrote the bill. Yes, we won the election.” She was saying to all the Republicans who opposed her version of the bill, “get out of our way.” On February 5th the Democrats held a conference “retreat” in Williamsburg, Virginia. There, surrounded by his party members, President Obama spoke about the stimulus bill, decrying his opponents’ “8 years of tired arguments and worn ideas,” mocking them and demanding immediate passage of his stimulus bill. So much for bi-partisanship. He said “That's what the American people called for in November and that's what we intend to deliver.” To a few Republican congressmen he’d earlier made a big show about being bi-partisan, but now, for all his empty rhetoric, he too was saying “get out of my way and do what I say, and be quick about it.”

Undeniable facts and unmistakable trends lead me to my concerns about socialism. Except for anyone in a drug-induced stupor or in a coma, in just the last few months everybody in America has witnessed our government buying insurance companies, major industries, banks, Wall Street financial institutions, and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’ve heard our government’s stated goal to impose more “controls and accountability” over those all entities. We’ve been promised (or threatened with) universal, government-regulated healthcare. Education is being increasingly federally subsidized. Our military is being denigrated and marginalized, with unsettling implications. Recently, another ominous action occurred late on Friday afternoon of February 6 when our new President moved control of the 2010 census out of the Department of Commerce and into the White House under Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff. Ominous because things like that often happen late at night or late on Fridays. That way it’s expected that the news will be overlooked by most people, lost in the rush to the weekend. Over a few days the news will get buried among the back pages of the newspapers. No one notices or complains. People tend to quickly forget these things anyway.

Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States provides for a census every 10 years, by “actual enumeration”, and a statute passed by Congress specifically provides that the duties under that clause are to be performed by the Secretary of Commerce. Moving that responsibility to the White House politicizes it, empowers the chief executive even more, and gives control to the political party in charge. The census is used to allocate federal aid to states and to draw electoral districts. Census numbers are the basis for congressional redistricting, and they provide the data by which government spending is allocated for everything from soup to nuts. The census decision came last week after Democratic California Rep. Barbara Lee, chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus, and some Hispanic groups complained to the White House that Judd Gregg, the Republican senator picked for Secretary of Commerce, couldn't be trusted to conduct a complete census. Sadly, Judd is reportedly an advocate for physical door-to-door canvassing to determine a more exact population count, as opposed to “sampling” which is favored by those making the case that minority populations have long been “undercounted.” In addition to who will be controlling the census, sampling provides a huge opportunity to manipulate the numbers, something that could favor those controlling the counting. Am I the only one seeing a pattern here? Is the Democrat Party not maneuvering for yet more control?

Other recent alarms went off when all the House Democrats, without any Republican participation, crafted and passed their version of an Economic Stimulus bill. On Februaty 13th the Senate Democrats followed suit and passed their “compromise” version of a stimulus bill with only 3 Republican supporters. Bi-partisan? Not so much. Many will say, “So what? I can’t wait until I get my check.” But perhaps they should ask, “What does all that mean?” Besides tremendously increasing the nation’s debt, devaluing the currency, causing inflation and burdening future generations, it also means that one political party controls our nation’s finances. It means one political party is quickly positioning itself to remain in power for a long time. By controlling the disbursement of current and future tax revenues, all borrowed, that one political party is solidifying itself as the government Godfather who all will depend upon. When people rely on the government to take care of all their needs, as people become more dependent, that government eventually becomes omnipotent. (Suddenly I can’t get out of my mind the picture of a rat in a cage, somewhere in a laboratory, drinking water from a little tube coming through the bars while waiting for a tiny prefrontal lobotomy.) Whenever a government determines and controls the flow of money, it isn’t a big leap to controlling ownership, the means of production and the distribution of goods. Does any of this sound somehow familiar? History shows us that when one political party or system controls a government, it hasn’t worked out so well. Those governments are usually administered by a small, elite group, or perhaps one person at the top, without input or consent from the rest. Even if it were not just one man at the top - such as the Pope of Hope as I like to call him - but maybe a small group, I really don’t want people like Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee, Barney Frank, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, or Tim Geithner deciding what’s in my best interest. Frankly, I don’t believe they give a hoot about anyone but themselves.

Economically speaking, let’s examine how we got here from where we were. To be blunt, it was the government once again making bad policy decisions and dictating how money should be distributed, for the sake of social justice and equality, of course. Lending institutions, insurance companies, investment bankers, and home builders all cooperated. In fact, they reveled in an orgy of bad management because it financially benefited the few folks at the top of those companies, as well as a few who floated between the government and the businesses. Many became multi-millionaires, “for our benefit and for social justice”, of course. Jamie Gorelick and Tom Daschle are two examples that come to mind. But wait! After a while it was our government telling us that their own policies were causing problems and therefore needed more regulating. Simultaneously it was also our government who decided those policies were working just fine, thus no more regulations needed. Okay, which was it? I’m confused. Then our housing market, lending institutions, insurance companies, investment banks, and big auto manufacturers started hemorrhaging red ink. What did those smart industry experts do? They asked our government for money. And our government decided the best policy (déjà vu) would be financial bailouts, so those governing us, once again, gave all of the outstretched hands lots and lots of our tax monies. Hundreds of Billions of dollars.

Time out, time out! I recently calculated something to make a point and put perspective on the stimulus package. I looked up the latest Census Bureau study to see the overall U.S. median household income – it was $50,740. High-to-low median incomes range from $68,080 in Maryland to $36,338 in Mississippi. Using an example $50,000 annual salary, at that rate I calculated it would take 20,000 years for that man to earn $1 billion dollars. For a $100,000 annual salary it would take 10,000 years to earn $1 billion dollars. Assume you earn a $1 million dollar annual salary; it would take you 800,000 years to earn $800 billion dollars, and the latest “stimulus package” is about that size. Hmmm. I haven’t tried yet to extrapolate this into a political party’s term in office…

Back to bailouts: Unfortunately our government neglected to properly manage the last recent bailout monies given to the aforementioned institutions, so these geniuses are unable to tell us exactly where it went or how it was used. Or perhaps they’re unwilling. Even several Freedom of Information Act requests since last November and a news media lawsuit have not pried the proof from the Treasury Department as to where the money has gone. Yet every day lately we’ve been promised transparency and accountability, and no earmarks and no pork! Meanwhile, to me the only thing that is transparent, or apparent, is that our economy continues to disintegrate and our politicians continues to blow smoke and lie. So, what does our Democrat controlled government do? They unilaterally decided another best policy will be to hand out more money to those institutions, and even give some to state governments and to different departments of – guess what - our federal government. The House passed the bill just in time for Madame Speaker to leave for a week long government-paid junket to Europe. The Senate voted Friday night. Neither group will have been able to read the 1,100 pages of baloney they finally published around midnight – it would be impossible to read in that short period of time. “Our” representatives voted on something that they haven’t even completely read, obligating me to spend my 800,000 years of salary. Tell me, is my lobotomy over? I don’t feel anything. Oh, it was only a colonoscopy.

All these recent government moves have menacing overtones, but should not surprise anyone not suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder. Anyone that could read and had cared enough to do the research during the election will probably recall the things they read about our new President’s past. Plenty of information and data about Obama’s past, his education, his mentors, his associates, his memoirs, and his work record were available to anyone interested. There were plenty of indicators of his possible and probable future leanings. But the news media, being biased and politically correct, did not want to pursue anything controversial during The Chosen One’s campaign. They still avoid doing so today, and they sure as heck haven’t gone back to investigate or verify things they skipped over during the past two years.

I don’t know if you see or recognize the same pattern here that I do? Call me cynical or paranoiac, but to me it is apparent that our government doesn’t always make the right decisions for our mutual benefit or have my best interests in mind. Those “representatives” in Washington aren’t representing me. Therefore, having learned something from historical facts, I have large misgivings about the current direction of our government’s policies. The common factor among past and present failed policies governing our lives seems to be – guess what - the government. Hello, is it hot in here or is it just me? Is it just me that sees a pattern? I’m not talking about the Democrats’ mantra about “the failed policies of the past 8 years.” (Jeez, if I hear that phrase again I’m going to scream!) I’m talking about the failed policies of all our political parties for the past 80 years since the stock market crash of 1929! And I’m not debating whether Herbert Hoover’s and Franklin Roosevelt’s governments shortened the Great Depression or prolonged it. Research that yourself. But I am reminding you that numerous of their stimulus programs created government subsidies and a welfare-entitlement frame of mind that remain today. Look up their programs yourself. That dependency mentality hasn’t always been beneficial for America, and it is growing as we watch.

Here’s a definition I found in a dictionary: “Socialism is an economic system characterized by public ownership and centralized planning of all major industries (manufacturing, services, and energy), banks and insurance companies, agribusiness, transportation, the media, and medical facilities. It’s a set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration.”

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