Country for sale! To the highest bidder!

United States of America – model of the free world

For Sale to the biggest liar and the highest bidder

Contact: Elmer Gantry, P. T. Barnum or Charles Ponzi

Ted Folkert

October 31, 2014

This is a costly but curable disease. No, I’m not talking about Ebola. You can tune in to any TV channel, newspaper, or magazine and get nonstop coverage about Ebola. We all know plenty about it. It is a terrible contagious disease which deserves all of the efforts underway to control and overcome it. There is nothing we can add to that conversation.

The costly disease we need to focus on is the contagious, democracy-threatening, disease of inequality, fueled by corporate-inspired, right-wing expounded, special-interest financed, avaricious, hyperbole which is being drummed into the heads of those of us who are unable or unwilling to investigate and educate ourselves on the true facts of the issues that will determine the future of the working class in this country and the sustaining economy upon which our future relies.

The campaign of falsehoods, mis-truths, out-of-context statements, misleading advertisements, and outright lies makes our famous fictional and real swindlers look like a beginners. You remember Elmer Gantry, the bible thumping con man, evangelist selling religion to small town America. You member P.T. Barnum, the carnival, circus guy who said: “there’s a sucker born every minute”, and “every crowd has a silver lining’, as he removed money from your pocket and put it in his with his hoaxes. How about Charles Ponzi, well-known for the Ponzi scheme, a clever selling of big paying investments fueled by paying dividends to former investors with new investors’ money, a scheme still quite popular today, particularly on Wall Street.

The shenanigans of Gantry, Barnum, and Ponzi look like chump change compared to the high-stakes game being administered by the corporatists, through the efforts and co-conspiracy of the Republican Party today. The would-be aristocrats today have hooked them up and reeled them in with offers they couldn’t refuse, offers that make the Godfather’s small time crime look like chump change.

We are talking big bucks now. I don’t know how much, but I read about part of what they are willing to spend to get the laws they want and the enforcement of the laws they want.

Check these numbers out: 2014 campaign expenditures for House and Senate races almost $1 billion to date. This is the money they are willing to spend, not the reward they expect to get from the investment. And the candidates are willing to sell their ideas in order to enjoy the power of office and the monetary rewards down the road for having held the office.

As far as enforcement of our laws is concerned, states who elect judges are now experiencing huge increases in campaign contributions for election of the best justice that money can buy. Not to be casting aspersions upon our elected judges, but how else can we interpret this inevitability. Since the year 2000, $288 million has been the cost of judicial elections.

The only way we can break this enormous obstacle to our progress toward democracy is by getting the money out of political campaigns, getting the money out of judicial campaigns, and restoring the intended method of election, candidates running on their merits and on their integrity and on their principles.

As we now know, this won’t happen without a constitutional amendment. But we can start it in the right direction by electing better leaders. And we can start that next Tuesday when we select our choices and cast our votes.

Vote for Democratic candidates. We know where they stand. They stand closer to the working class, closer to the proletariat, further from the plutocrats, further from the corporatists, further from the aristocracy.

Think about it!

Please help us elect better leaders!

Knowing who your friends are

Knowing who your friends are  

Ted Folkert

October 28, 2014

Bill Moyers tells us what his dad said about Franklin Roosevelt – he said: Roosevelt is my friend. My mom and dad lived through the Great Depression and they felt the same way. They thought Roosevelt was their friend. They always voted for Democrats because they thought Democratic candidates were their friends. They thought Democratic candidates had their best interest in mind, that their hearts were in the right place, and that they believed in the common good of all the people.

I wonder how many of us now know who our friends are.

Our only chance to express our opinion and have it counted is upon us. What is it we want from government? A strong economy with jobs for everyone who wants one? A job with a living wage? A safety net for those of us who need a helping hand, to help us through catastrophic events that we can’t handle? A government that assures a safe and beneficial infrastructure for transportation, utilities, and protection from catastrophes? National defense? Police protection? Flood protection? Disaster relief?

The Social Security Act was signed into law by Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt. All Republicans voted against it. All attempts to end it, reduce benefits, or hand the fund over to Wall Street to gamble with the money have been promoted by Republicans and denied by Democrats.

Medicare was signed into law in 1965 by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson. Since then Republicans have relentlessly attempted to reduce it and eliminate it many times.

The Civil Rights Act was signed into law in 1964 by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson. The Voting Rights Act was signed into law in 1965 by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson. The Southern States then became heavily Republican because of the widespread racial discrimination in those states.

Universal health care has been a goal of Democrats for more than fifty years. It was defeated by Republicans many times until 2010 when the Democrats passed and Democratic President Barack Obama signed into law, the Affordable Care Act. Since then the Republican congress has voted 50 times to repeal this law, a law which has enabled thousands, perhaps millions, of uninsured people to have health insurance.

For many years Republicans have tried to eliminate or reduce unemployment benefit programs. All attempts have been prevented by Democrats.

When we go to vote we must remember who our friends are.

Our friends are the Democratic candidates, the candidates who represent the working class as well as the privileged class, the proletariat as well as the plutocrats.

Vote Democratic. Vote for the people, all of the people.

Please help us elect better leaders!

The Three “E”s – Education, Energy, Environment

The Three “E”s – Education, Energy, Environment

Ted Folkert

October 23, 2014

The three “E”s go together like the song we all remember, like “love and marriage”, like a “horse and carriage” – “you can’t have one without the other”.

Education, energy, environment – Environment, energy, education – Energy, education, environment. It doesn’t matter what order you put them in, it is all or none – we have to have them all or it won’t work.

We can’t have a safe and life-supporting environment without renewable energy sources. The development of renewable energy sources requires a good system of education to provide us with well-educated scientists and engineers. We must have renewable energy sources. The energy sources we have are finite and are inducing global warming, which the scientific community, almost unanimously, agrees is destroying the ability of our environment to support human life.

This factor alone supports the belief that nothing can be more important to the future of the country than education. The experiments with “No child left behind”, Bushes pathetic brainstorm, using constant testing to gauge the success and ability of educators who have no choice but to teach the students they are given, regardless of their intellect, their language barriers, their family life or lack thereof, their social privilege or lack thereof, their nutrition or lack thereof. Thousands of good educators, teachers and administrators, have lost their jobs due to failure to meet testing score achievement requirements. Many more have lost their jobs due to cheating on the testing in order to save their careers, although it was the only way to meet the challenge due to the impossibility of reaching the goals with the students they were given to teach.

A college education needs to become more affordable. Students should not be at the mercy of avaricious lenders who load them up with student loans, financially guaranteed by their parents, which become a burden for many years to come, delaying marriage and child bearing, preventing the purchase of homes, furnishings, and other necessities of family life, and ending up with an education that fails to provide the employment opportunities that they had anticipated. We need to make it possible for all of our young people to receive higher education at the level they can achieve and at a cost they can afford.

Our primary energy sources all entail the burning of fossil fuel – coal, oil, and natural gas. All products of buried life forms of millions of years ago, plants and animals. Mother Nature buried them over millions of years and we are extracting them and consuming them in a couple of hundred years or less. We are not only consuming them, we are sending the part we don’t use into the atmosphere, which makes our air toxic, destroys ocean life, and causes a warming of our planet. What a way to take care of your home. It is like pouring gasoline on your house and assuming that lightning will never strike or turning on the water in the bathtub and laying down and going to sleep. How stupid can we be?

Let’s face it. We are ignoring our home. We are destroying our home. We continue to deter the best way of saving our home, education. Why do we do this? We do it because it isn’t important to those we elect to lead us. They are totally absorbed in fund-raising so they can keep their jobs. They serve those who pay for their campaigns, those who tell them what to be focused on and how to vote on whatever comes up, if anything ever comes up. They allow the behemoth corporations to own all of the public airways. Consequently, we don’t hear the opinions of the scientific community. Consequently, we don’t get a fair analysis of the qualities of those who run for office, we get the analysis they want us to hear. They allow the five angry men in black dresses to hand the behemoth corporations total control of the electoral process, so that they can focus on the only thing that matters, next quarters value of their corporate stock, stockholder value. That is all that matters. That determines the salaries and bonuses of the corporate leaders. What could be more important than that? They have numerous homes, cars, planes and helicopters to support. They need the money.

Well, we know what they need. And we also know what we need. What we need is education. What we need is renewable energy. What we need in a life sustaining environment, a planet-sustaining environment. And the way we get what we need is by electing better leaders. What we have now isn’t working. What we have now is ignoring the clear and present danger to the planet and focusing on the clear and present personal reward for those who control the largess of the public treasury. They are doing what they are told but we the people don’t get to tell them what to do. That isn’t the way it is supposed to work. We can change that at the polls. It is up to us. We can do it.

Think about it!

Vote for education. Vote for energy. Vote for the environment.

Help us elect better leaders!

Think about it! Please help us elect better leaders!

Think about it!

Please help us elect better leaders!

Ted Folkert

October 20, 2014

Considerations before we go to the polls to mark our ballots:

  • A leader who tried to be honest and forthright:

“Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, five star general, commander of the Allied Forces on June 6, 1944 – D-Day in WWII, and president of the United States from 1952 to 1960.

  • A well-respected editorialist:

It’s hard to make sense of these tragic encounters in which healthy young people, not much older than children, are lost for reasons that, at best, remain obscure.” Bob Herbert, former NY Times editorialist and author.

  • Example of senseless loss of lives and unnecessary devastation:

By 2014 nearly 6,800 hundred American service men and women had been killed in the 2 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and tens of thousands had been wounded, physically or mentally. More than half of the 1.5 million troops that have been discharged have received medical treatment at VA facilities and have been granted benefits for the rest of their lives at an estimated cost of $600-900 billion. The costs of these wars will probably exceed $5 trillion.

  • Lesson learned by most and ignored by some:

Madison, Lincoln, Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, and Reagan-all insisted on wartime tax increases-George W Bush insisted on tax reductions and excessive spending. Tom DeLay, former majority whip for the Republican controlled House of Representatives, insisted that “nothing is more important in the face of war than cutting taxes.” (DeLay was later convicted and sentenced for money laundering)

  • Thumbing one’s nose at the lower and middle class:

To a crowd of wealthy supporters: “this is an impressive crowd of the haves and the have-mores.” George W Bush.

  • Example of speaking the truth and ignoring the consequences:

“People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here is the painful part, they’re right. The system is rigged.” Elizabeth Warren, United States Senator.

  • Considering our progress as a society:

The image we claim to project as a prosperous middle-class society with the highest standard of living in the world is an attempt to hide the fact that one third of our 300 million people are at or below the poverty level. One in five of American children are poor, as are one in three of black children.

The Department of Agriculture reports that nearly 5 million Americans live in households designated as “food insecure”.

The stories of the difficulty of high school and college graduates in finding careers with compensation sufficient to support a family are endless and saddening. The enormous student loan burden that most of our children end up with after graduation is a lifetime burden. The result of all this is young people staying or returning to the homes of their parents, forgoing marriage, and forgoing child bearing. These debts cannot even been dismissed in bankruptcy, a law handed to the greedy banksters by our fearless leaders. All of the major corporations can be relieved of their debts through bankruptcy without any stockholder being held responsible but our students who have been defrauded by greedy lenders cannot dispose of their debts and get on with their lives. Unbelievable!

And all the while the well-off are enjoying the luxury and opulence awarded them by privilege and favorable taxation, willingly basking in their lawful avoidance of paying their fair share of the cost of providing the services required for maintaining a just and prosperous society.

  • The brunt of the problem:

We desperately need to be dealt a better hand. We need to shuffle the deck of cards, vote the dishonest card shufflers out of office, change the deck, and make everyone play by the same rules.

Since the Great Recession, brought on by the avaricious Wall Street swindlers and their accommodating elected officials from Bill Clinton to the present day, 95 percent of all income gains have gone to the top one percent of Americans. Our leaders chose to sleep with the banksters and abandon the working class. This situation is devastating for our economy and is preventing creation of jobs for the working class, those of us who actually make the economy work efficiently. The game is rigged. Elizabeth Warren is right. The game is rigged. We need to unrig it. We need to shuffle the deck.

Although those who are willing to go to any possible measures, no matter how harmful, to gain power, we must determine, among those running for office, who will support our needs in protecting our economy from additional harm. And we need to help them get elected. We need to identify those self-serving lackeys who support the rich and powerful in their quest for an aristocratic government and we must help them be removed from office before they can complete their objectives. Otherwise, there will be no improvement of conditions for the poor or for the middle class and the movement to aristocracy will become complete, leaving the masses with no opportunity to achieve a rewarding life.

  • The challenge we must accept and pursue:

Let’s focus on improving our U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with candidates who will support policies that will improve our economy and future opportunities for all citizens. This means tax laws that enhance progressive taxation that will provide funds necessary to rebuild the decaying infrastructure of our country while creating the jobs to rebuild our stagnant and recessionary economy.

And it means electing those who will support the only path to creating election laws that will allow the voices of ordinary people to be heard – as someone called – “the very essence of a true democracy.” That path we must take is a constitutional amendment to prevent the Supreme Court from handing all of the power to govern and control our nation to the rich and powerful individuals and corporations. They have done serious damage to our republic and we must stop them in the only way we can. Previous presidents stacked the court with corporatists and we need to stem the tide.

Think about it!

Help us elect better leaders, please!

Whatever happened to our old friend Harry?

Whatever happened to our old friend Harry?

Ted Folkert

October 13, 2014

Remember the song that ended something like: “…. Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby? Can you tell me where he’s gone? I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill, with Abraham, Martin and John ….”

It makes me want to sing about our old friend Harry ……. the guy who said that accepting money for speaking would be unbecoming in his post-presidential years. The guy who said about the $1,000 per plate fund raising dinner for John Kennedy – “there goes democracy.”

Boy how things have changed since the days when Harry Truman left office without even a presidential pension. He spoke for free, even at my high school – and mowed his own lawn, much to the chagrin of his wife Bess.

But, like so many of Truman’s statements, he was right about “there goes democracy.” Democracy has been going downhill ever since. Harry didn’t suffer fools well and he didn’t like crooked politicians, including Richard Nixon. He didn’t mince his words either. Like some Missourian said: “He calls ‘em like he sees ‘em.”

Having the pleasure of reading the editorial by Steve Paul in the Kansas City Star recently triggered some historical thoughts about democracy and what we used to think it was. In Paul’s article, “For David McCullough, History is Always Human”, he speaks about his interview with David McCollough, historian and biographer, who reminds us of the importance of history, both written and photographic.

Read the article by Steve Paul: http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/steve-paul/article2664697.html.

The thing the song reminds us of about Abraham, Martin, John, and Bobby, all who were assassinated, is that they were all heavily involved in movements or political events that were crucial in reducing inequality in the effort to enable a more just and enduring freedom. An objective that seems to have gotten lost in “there goes democracy.” An objective that is talked about by everyone seeking public office but quickly forgotten after the election, either because it wasn’t meant in the beginning or the distraction of raising money for reelection becomes too overwhelming.

Truman was right on, democracy ended with the $1,000 per plate fund raiser.

It is unlikely that it will return to the forefront until the $1,000 per plate dinner, which has become a $60,000 per plate dinner, comes to an end and becomes unlawful.

That is exactly why we desperately need a constitutional amendment that will make everyone’s vote count the same and everyone’s interest count the same.

Think about it!

Convince someone today to help us elect better leaders!

 

Dark money – close to $1 billion

Dark money – close to $1 billion

Is this what we call democracy? I don’t think so. It sounds more like those words that we, the working class, fear the most – “aristocracy” and ”oligarchy”.

Ted Folkert

October 9, 2014

Quotes from Leah McGrath Goodman, Newsweek:

“….. the Center for Responsive Politics estimates that dark money expenditures could reach “upwards of $730 million, or, if the rate seen in the last midterm holds, edge close to $1 billion.” Quote from the Newsweek article by Leah McGrath Goodman, “As Dark Money Floods U.S. Elections, Regulators Turn a Blind Eye.”

“While the partisan battle rages over whether such anonymous and unlimited political spending should even be allowed, a more immediate concern is the unwillingness, or inability, of regulators to get involved and enforce the existing rules—for dark money and for campaign spending in general.”

“This year, the greatest amount of dark money, more than $50 million, has been spent on boosting Republicans and defeating Democrats. Outside of the realm of dark money, it’s the reverse: The majority of funds—more than $100 million—have been spent on defeating Republicans, with pro-Democrat TV ads dominating top Senate races in the first two weeks of September.”

End of quotations.

Continuing in our quest for a constitutional amendment to move us closer to democratic elections, this article makes some salient points in exposing the real danger done to the electoral process by the five angry men in black dresses. The problem is real and the outcome can render us defenseless against any progress in gaining strength as a democratic society.

If the Republicans gain control of both houses of congress nothing will happen in the next two years to move us forward legislatively. If they just maintain control of the House the same is likely true. Losing the Senate will exacerbate the problem and make even operating the government difficult to impossible.

Without Democratic control of both houses, any progress seems unlikely, as exemplified explicitly over the last four years. Our government has become the laughing stock of the industrialized world and the source of limitless material for all of the comedians in the Western world. We are the gift that just keeps on giving for the comedy industry. And we simultaneously consider ourselves the world leader, the financial center of the world, the epitome of democracy? What a stretch!

The evidence is overwhelming, the jury is in, the answer is apparent, the challenge is insurmountable without a constitutional amendment to create election laws that assure fair and just elections by registered voters undeterred by nefarious self- interest groups whose goal is to wrest complete control of government and continue the movement to aristocracy, a failing system and a path to a downward spiral in the economic future of the U.S.

Read the article: http://www.newsweek.com/2014/10/10/dark-money-floods-us-elections-regulators-turn-blind-eye-273951.html

Think about it!

Majority Rule – People or Money?

Majority Rule – People or Money?

Ted Folkert

October 5, 2014

Listen to all of our leaders and would-be leaders. They all tell us that they are for democracy – that only they can make our country more democratic. Of course, democracy suggests majority rule – you know – one person, one vote, which is not the definition that many of them understand while they pretend to lead.

The thing they don’t tell us is which majority rule they are following, the majority of the people or the majority of the money. It appears that money has won out here, especially since the five angry men in black dresses have declared it so, by deciding for us that anyone can spend as much as they want on political contributions in one way or another.

Democracy and majority rule really defines the essence of government for the common good, the primary subject that we discuss here.

History provides substantial evidence that a democracy cannot prevail in an autocratic, aristocratic, or oligarchic government. Leading economists provide substantial evidence that the level of inequality of wealth and income we now experience leads to an inheritance society, an inheritance society leads to an aristocracy, which leads to an oligarchy, which leads to anarchy, which leads to an autocracy. A vicious circle of failure to govern and failure to sustain a viable nation that provides equal opportunities for all, which our constitution implies to be essential to a free people – all of which implies a failure of our leaders to lead.

In order to approach the most important common-good subject of the day, perhaps we could employ some simple logic, even though that would be adverse to the manner in which our government actually operates.

Simple logic:

Premise: Democracy should include all of the people.

Premise: All votes should have the same value in an election.

Premise: Some people have more money than others.

Conclusion: Money should not be allowed to vote in elections.

Premise: Candidates for election like to spend money to convince voters to elect them.

Premise: Some people stand to prosper more from the outcome of elections than others.

Premise: Some people have more money to contribute to political campaigns than others.

Conclusion:  People should not be allowed to spend money in political campaigns.

Premise: The Constitution of the United States has been interpreted by the five angry men in black dresses to allow money to vote in political campaigns.

Premise: In order to overcome the interpretation of the five angry men in black dresses we must amend the Constitution of the United States.

Premise: An amendment requires two-thirds of both houses of congress to approve an amendment, which then must be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures – or – two-thirds of state legislatures are required for proposing an amendment, which would then require ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures – either of which is a substantial challenge.

Premise: The US Senate is unable to obtain two-thirds and the House of Representatives is totally dysfunctional and would not even take up a vote.

Conclusion:  We the people must take the action necessary to accomplish this challenge, the most important challenge one can imagine for the future of the nation.

Premise: There is considerable grassroots action now taking place for promoting an amendment to the constitution to correct our election laws. The political organization, Public Citizen, is very active in such an endeavor.

Premise: The Senate received a majority vote for the Democracy for All Amendment that was recently proposed, without any Republican votes, but the House will not take it up.

Premise: There are efforts going on across the country with 16 states and 550 cities indicating support for such an amendment.

Premise: Polls have shown that 3-1 of those polled oppose the Citizens United decision from the five angry men in black dresses, including 2-1 of Republicans who also are in opposition.

Premise: A majority of 6-1 are unfavorable of spending of special interest groups and lobbyists in campaigns. Yes, six to one!

Conclusion: We the people must take the action necessary to accomplish this challenge, the most important challenge one can imagine for the future of the nation. To accomplish that, we must tax capital (wealth) and increase taxation of excessive income. A subject for considerable debate, but one that the working-class would generally agree with, along with many of our leading economists. The condition of inequality over time creates a class of inheritance which, without effective taxation, continues to grow until a society of aristocracy exists and eventually becomes an oligarchy, control of government by a few wealthy individuals or families.

To accomplish effective taxation and control inequality, we must eliminate control of our electoral process by the rich and powerful individuals and corporations. A large majority of the people agree, Republican and Democratic.

Many of our leading scholars, economists, and progressive politicians, who have struggled with this enormous objective, have concluded that this cannot be achieved without a constitutional amendment that would establish an electoral process that eliminates big money from controlling the election of our leaders. An amendment that eliminates the declawing actions of an activist Supreme Court, that group of nine appointed individuals who hold our democracy in their hands and create decisions that force their political beliefs on the people.

A democracy, which we all believe we either have or at least desire, requires majority rule. Not the majority of the money, but the majority of the people. Just because one person controls more wealth than another does not justify the wealthier person to have more influence on the electoral process, thereby reaffirming the right to continue the advantage in income and wealth. People of lesser wealth should have an equal vote in the election of our leaders and the enactment and enforcement of our laws.

Conclusion: : We the people must take the action necessary to accomplish this challenge, the most important challenge one can imagine for the future of the nation.

Think about it!

Our Dedicated Secret Service

Our Dedicated Secret Service

Ted Folkert

October 5, 2014

With a 1.6 billion dollar budget, why can’t we protect the president of the United States from potential harm? Of course the job is enormous. But the budget is also enormous. With all of the brilliant, highly educated, professionally trained, law enforcement specialists in this country, the country with supposedly the finest military in the world, why can’t we keep the president safe, at least in his home or on an elevator? One would think that in his home or on an elevator anywhere in the world, the president would be the best protected. A grade school kid could devise a plan to keep intruders out of the White House or off of an elevator.

Come on. This is pathetic.

Did you know that there have been 20 attempts to kill presidents of the U.S.? Did you know that 4 presidents have been assassinated while in office (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy)? Did you know that 2 other presidents were injured in assassination attempts (Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan)? Did you know that every president since John F. Kennedy has been threatened with assassination?

Do you think our Secret Service is aware of these facts?

Maureen Dowd takes up the subject in her New York Times article today.

Read the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/opinion/sunday/maureen-dowd-the-fall-of-julia-pierson.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region

Is this the party to whom I am speaking?

Is this the party to whom I am speaking?

Ted Folkert

September 25, 2014

Do you remember what Lily Tomlin used to say when she did her comedy gig as a telephone operator? Those were the days when we still had telephone operators. I think her appearance was on “Laugh-In”. She would dial someone and ask them: “Is this the party to whom I am speaking?” And then go on messing with them in an insulting manner. She was hilarious as she talked and snickered through her nose. The reality of her comedic gig kind of reminds me of political conversations we encounter today with those who don’t read or listen, except that these conversations aren’t funny and aren’t intended to be. They are primarily repeated sound bites heard at some bar or water fountain by the uninformed or misinformed, the self-appointed-spokespersons-for-responsible-government. (I think a more accurate name would be irresponsible government.)

Lily Tomlin always made funny conversations, which was her job. The self-appointed-spokespersons-for-responsible-government made disappointing conversations for the most part, which was the best they could do without any real insight on their subject or basis for their opinion.

But what we need to talk about now is what Pat Hininger calls “your-vote-is-your-voice-as-an-American-citizen.” We need to talk about it because now is the time we need to exercise this responsibility as an American citizen. Citizenship comes with responsibility. Its survival requires participation. Citizenship requires that you and I keep informed about the issues that affect our lives and our country. It requires that we express our opinions at the polls when called upon to do so. That is the price we all should have to pay in order to remain citizens of this great country.

It always amazes many of us at the low turnout of citizens who exercise their right to vote. The distressing realization amongst our neighbors and associates is that those who do not stay informed on the issues, those who do not vote, are just as vocal, if not more so, about the actions of government as anyone else. Their expressions are uninformed sound bites that they hear from other uninformed citizens, but they repeat them just the same. They complain about President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, the US Senate, the US House of Representatives. Those they don’t complain about, who are the worst culprits of all, are the 15,000 lobbyists, who tell the elected officials how to vote on the issues, and the rich and powerful individuals and corporations, who finance our irresponsible government with their campaign contributions and invisible personal rewards, during and after serving in public office.

I repeat – those they don’t complain about, who are the worst culprits of all, are the 15,000 lobbyists, who tell the elected officials how to vote on the issues, and the rich and powerful individuals and corporations, who finance our irresponsible government with their campaign contributions and invisible personal rewards, during and after serving in public office.

Therein lies the problem. Therein lies the most important reason that we need to be informed and to vote in the upcoming elections. The only way we can ever effectively change the control of our government, return the control of our government back to the people, is to change the constitution with an amendment to circumvent the ability of the five-brain-dead-men-in-black-dresses from handing all of the electoral power to the rich and powerful individuals and corporations.

The only way that can be accomplished is by electing better leaders. The only ones who can accomplish it are you and me. We can elect better leaders. We can help to expose those who are fraudulent, those who are lap dogs for the powerful, those who care not about their constituents, those who are merely self-centered and avaricious imposters who yearn for the power to select who succeeds and who doesn’t in this country, who gets to dole out the rewards, the good life.

The unscrupulous leaders of whom we speak care not about education unless it is controlled by private industry, those who finance political campaigns. They care not about rebuilding the infrastructure of our country so that it will serve the needs of our kids and our kids’ kids unless it is controlled by private industry, those who finance political campaigns. They care not about solving the environmental problems created by human behavior unless it is controlled by private industry, those who contribute to political campaigns. They care not about health care for all Americans. They care not about Social Security, only pensions for retired legislators like themselves. They care not about early childhood education. They care not about safety nets for those who are unemployed or those who are ill or those who are handicapped or those who are single parents who need help. None of these matter unless they are tied to getting reelected.

Well, we can make them tied to reelection if we change the constitution to eliminate political contributions. If we do that, we can change the whole concept. We can get leaders who care about these essential and fundamental issues that will sustain the nation and make it more democratic, more like a democracy, more like a democratic republic, less like an aristocracy, less like an oligarchy.

We must do it for the sake of the nation. If we don’t America will likely become a monarchy or oligarchy in future generations. This is not a frivolous statement. The path is already established. The inequality of income and wealth is already creating a nation of inheritance and it is getting steadily worse. Such a trend is extremely dangerous and is hard to turn around until an oligarchy is fully established and entrenched. It is all downhill from there. Then it fails and the country suffers decades of decline.

Think about it!

Study the issues. Form your own opinions. Vote for responsible government.

GO VOTE! Please!

 

Democracy or Plutocracy? – We have a choice

Democracy or Plutocracy? – We have a choice

Ted Folkert

September 22, 2014

In a few weeks we will be called upon to participate in the electoral process. The process wherein we get to decide what is best for us. Now we must review the issues and the candidates to determine the people and the policies that we feel will best serve the country.

Those who identify with the Democratic platform would generally follow the conclusion that Eleanor Roosevelt may have explained as “it’s better for everybody if it’s better for everybody.” That is the policy that prevailed in the FDR administration with Eleanor as the head cheerleader – one of the most critical times in recent history, a policy which unarguably helped us recover as a nation when the economy was so devastated that we were on the brink of failure as a democratic republic.

Such a choice would favor those candidates and policies that require a big, strong government capable of enacting and enforcing rules and regulations that would support an outcome of equality of opportunity for all of our citizens and curtail actions that work in the contrary.

The Republican platform, as it was in 2008, 2010, 2012 and all the years before would of course focus on tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation of our financial system, repeal of healthcare for all of us, elimination of Social Security, unemployment compensation, and Medicare. Eliminate all possibilities for collective bargaining, curtail unemployment benefits and educational opportunities.

The question their beliefs and principals doesn’t provide an answer for is, how do we assure that all citizens have a clear path to a good education, employment opportunities, and an equal chance to contribute to society as law abiding citizens?

How do we assure that all citizens receive the basics of human subsistence – food, shelter, and clothing?

How do we assure that there are equal opportunities for all of our citizens to compete for jobs or business ventures?

How do we control monopolistic obstacles to competition, barriers of entry that prevent competition?

How do we assure transparency in business, government, finance, education, media, healthcare – to expose those that lie – cheat – steal – mislead – deceive – defraud – bilk – misrepresent. And those that would use nondisclosure – smoke and mirrors – sleight of hand – trickery – ponzi schemes – scams – pyramids – false advertising – false claims, in order to gain undeserved monetary advantage.

How do we provide a system to resolve disputes, to assure the rule of law, protection of property, contract rights?

How do we provide a system of finance for consumers and business? One that actually provides the needed function instead of what we have now, a system of finance that nearly steered us into the deep chasm of financial ruin, one that drains the accounts of all of the unsuspecting citizens in order to fill the pockets of the few unscrupulous and avaricious fraudsters?

How do we assure that all of the most basic common services are provided without interruption – military defense, police protection, fire protection, health care, education, transportation, flood control, public utilities, disaster assistance, and welfare for those who cannot exist without it?

The only way to provide these essential, basic services that are imperative for a country of 300 million to survive and prosper, is with big government. There is no other way.

Arguments to the contrary are never supported by any reasonable explanation that can withstand the time proven facts and examples from history since the beginning of civilization. There are no examples to the contrary of any civilization that has existed on this scale for any long period. They all failed sooner or later. Even relatively recent history is replete with examples of the failure of countries that did not provide these essential basic human services. Only sparsely populated, primitive, “hunt and gather” societies have survived for any length of time, never those with advanced populations and industrial societies … those with millions to feed every day.

How can we ever hope to survive and prosper with a government that follows the ideals of those who propose less government, or no government, or “old west” solutions to law enforcement, or “pioneer age” solutions to transportation, or a military without modern weapons or advanced technologies, or without a public school system, or without a healthcare system that provides care for all the citizens, or without a system to administer a foreign policy that maintains relationships with the rest of the world for peaceful coexistence and fair trade relations, or protection of our environment for the survival of future generations?

How do we survive without a system to regulate intrastate and interstate commerce and foreign commerce, or without a system that supports and controls modern transportation to allow us to move about our communities and our states and our country and around the world in a safe and efficient manner?

The Republication platform proposes “shrinking the government and paying off the national debt.” But during the Bush administration, government spending increased from 18 percent of GDP to 20 percent, the national debt doubled from $5 trillion to $10 trillion, and the annual budget exploded from a $128 billion surplus to a $1.4 trillion deficit. Where were the GOP’s convictions about small government and fiscal responsibility during the Bush administration’s spending spree?

And they want to phase out Social Security and Medicare, two of the most successful programs ever created. The programs that we have dutifully contributed part of our paychecks to all of our lives … and disproportionately to our ability to pay, I might add.

Well, obviously, their platform is not about “shrinking the government and paying off the national debt.” But that is their story while they are raising millions from the corporations and the rich and powerful so they can gain total power and control of the largess of the federal budget and all of the hidden benefits to be derived therefrom.

It is all a game, a casino … like Wall Street, a game that cannot be won unless you lie, cheat and steal … a zero sum game … winner take all … like the poker games on TV that enthrall many of us who are looking for a piece of the prize that is so difficult to attain through hard work and perseverance. A piece of the prize that is difficult to attain through honesty, truth, fair dealing, integrity, selflessness, egalitarianism and all of the other terms that would be used in a discussion of “government for the common good”.

These are the discussions that we need to have with ourselves before we go to the polls to cast our vote.

Think about it!

Convince someone today to help us elect better leaders. Please!