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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Two Political Parties are NOT the Same

Sure, campaign contributions can and do buy government representatives in the US in all states on every issue, definitely. If anyone gets that, it's me. I've been writing for a few years on how we need to kill campaign contributions.

But the fact is, if anyone in the US looks coldly and honestly at our US Congress, the representatives there and what they've written and done and who they've represented and defended and fought for, it's clear the Republican Party and their operatives have fought for and still are fighting for the wealthy and corporations far more than that other party.

Far more.

The CATO Institute and the Heritage Foundation and the Koch brothers and Waltons and others aren't all aligned with the Republicans and the Right Wing of this nation because they're fighting for the working man or the average man and woman on the street or the middle- or lower-classes. Not a chance.

And for proof?

Look no further than this list of things for the people, for the nation that the Democrats wrote and created:
  • Social Secuity
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • The GI Bill
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Environmental Laws
  • The Space Program
  • The Peace Corps
  • Americorps
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Family & Medical Leave Act
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Americans With Disabilities Act
  • Freedom of Information Act
  • Women's right to control their reproductive future
  • Allowing citizens to view their own credit records
  • The Internet
  • Balancing the federal budget
  • The Brady Bill (5-day wait on handgun purchases for background checks)
  • Lobbying Disclosure Act
  • "Motor-Voter" Act
  • The Voting Rights Act
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Medicare/Medicaid
  • Food Stamps/WIC
  • Social Security
  • Peace between Israel and Egypt
  • Peace between Israel and Jordan
  • The Department of Education
  • The Department of Energy
  • The Department of Transportation
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Labor Laws
  • The Marshall Plan
  • Winning World War II
  • Food Safety Laws
  • Workplace Safety Laws
  • The Tennessee Valley Project
  • The Civilian Conservation Corps
  • The Securites and Exchange Commission
  • Women's Right to Vote
  • Universal Public Education
  • National Weather Service
  • Product Labeling Laws
  • Truth in Advertising Laws
  • Morrill Land Grant Act
  • Rural Electrification
  • Public Universities
  • Bank Deposit Insurance (FDIC)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Public Broadcasting
  • Supporting the establishment of Israel
  • The United Nations
  • NATO
And the Republicans and Republican Party were against virtually, if not actually, each and every one.

The Republicans are against the Voting Rights Act and are, instead, trying to disenfranchise Americans and keep them from being able to vote. IN Texas alone, in the last election this year, it's been estimated that the Republicans' Voter ID laws--very Jim Crow like--kept 600,000 Texans from being able to vote.

Very American, eh? Very "Representative government" right?

So don't say the two parties are the same. 

They're anything but.

More than 10 million Americans got health care insurance in the last couple of years, due to Democrats.

They're not the same. 

No way.

I'll grant you, the money spent in and on elections makes them too similar but the differences, the wide differences, are still very much there.

And just now, Republicans are working on destroying Social Security. And Medicare. And Medicaid.

Finally,we need to stop seeing fellow Americans as "us vs. them." We need to all be Americans, working together for the benefit of America and Americans, all of us, and decidedly not just the wealthy and corporations as too many things have been in the last few decades, at least.


Sevesteen said...

It frustrates me that you do not seem to be able to understand what libertarianism is about, that anyone not left wing must be riht wing.

One of the key elements is the difference between positive and negative liberty. Most of your list are positive liberties--where things are given. If there were no costs involved, many of these things would be great--but in most cases they divert resources that could be spent in other ways--and these resources are taken with the threat of force. For every dollar spent on these projects, force was used to take a dollar from someone.

Libertarians support negative liberties--not the right to have things given to you, but the right to make your own choices. I don't want money taken by force unless absolutely necessary, I don't want that money to be spent on me. Reproductive freedom is one example of a negative liberty (and one I fully support)

Most of us are not against charity--We are against forced charity, the notion that it is moral to use my money for charitable giving that YOU support.

Mo Rage said...

My response, part I:

Okay, for starters, I'm all about what you call "negative liberties" also. If that's the way we can all get and keep things done and people helped, etc., then great, I'm good. Sure, it works. In a perfect world, that's great. But keep in mind, in a perfect world, Communism is a brilliant idea that works, too.

The fact is, this isn't a "perfect world", no way. If this were a perfect world, people wouldn't go hungry, without housing or healthcare, etc. In a perfect world, we wouldn't need government, sure. Heck, churches and people's own private donations would take care of everything.

But you and I both know we no way live in that perfect world.

With the greedy--frequently, the wealthy--and corporations, there needs to be a counter to that greed, those power grabs, etc. And the only fallback we have is government. Without government regulations, we have air, water and soil like China's and tens of thousands of people are dying because of it.

I'm for limited government, let me make clear. I'd be for Libertarianism if it would work and if it could work.

But let's be honest, let's be real here. Libertarianism no way works. Not only does it not work it can't work.

There is not one place, not one example in the world where Libertarianism can or does work.

And here's why.

Libertarianism, first, is either small or zero government. In a nutshell, that's what it is. And Libertarians can't even decide how little government they want. I've seen plenty--plenty--that say "no government" of any kind. And then there are those who say just small government.So part of the problem lies in that you all can't decide how little is enough and how little is not too much. It needs to be stated here that zero government would be and is anarchy in its truest, ugliest form.

Second, the reason why Libertarianism doesn't and won't work is because corporations today have so much power.

How is the average person in the nation and world--which is most of us, the middle-, working- and lower-classes--how are we supposed to counter the power of today's corporation, even the local one, let alone the multi-national corporation? How do we fight them if they pollute on a huge, grand scale without government? How do we keep them from polluting or ripping off millions financially, both of which we've seen examples of time and again, if we don't have and use government? How do we keep the corporate internet service providers, as a third example, of slowing down the internet for no other reason but than to charge us ever more and so, increase their profits, thus making us pay much more here in the US for ever-slower internet?

Mo Rage said...

My response, part II (it can't accept as much as I needed to write to answer).

How do we keep corporations from paying wages to their employees that aren't even a true, fair, just, intelligent, respectable living wage without government?

And the answer to all these questions is that we can't.

We can't do any of these things without government.

I'm not for "big government" just for big government's sake. No way. And don't accuse me of that. It's untrue. There is no better example of unnecessary big government than Republican, "Conservative", "small government" George W Bush and his boondoggle of the "Homeland Security" Department. I think you and I surely agree on that.

But on the flip side, do we need an agency to oversee corporations to make certain they don't pollute at will?

I think we can go down through our own nation's history, let alone the world history, and show the only way we can keep large and small abuses of the environment from happening is by using our collective power and that is through and with and by government. And government is us.

No, you're right. I doubt you'll ever get me to see the value of Libertarianism especially now, with corporations and multi-national corporations able to take so much advantage of individuals and groups and in all the ways they can to do so.

Libertarianism, in today's modern world, is a fool's paradise.

And who forces charity?

Well, other than the Catholic Church. And that every Sunday morning.

Sevesteen said...

I'm not trying to get you to value libertarianism, just understand what it actually is.

Libertarianism has the same relationship to anarchy that liberalism has to communism. American liberals can't decide how far they want to go along their path either. It is also funny that you use China as an example of pollution caused by anarchy--they have plenty of government.

And libertarianism isn't designed for a perfect world--it recognizes that the world is imperfect, that there are predators both corporate and individual, and allows mechanisms for dealing with them. As an example libertarians have a non-aggression principle rather than a nonviolence principle--so long as you do not initiate violence neither will I--but I will use violence in defense if necessary.

I agree that anarchy is unworkable-some sort of power will fill the vacuum, and it will almost certainly be corrupt and abusive.

Corporations don't have power on their own, they derive their power from government and use government to maintain power. While it is absurd to say that internet speeds are slower (not long ago my entire salary wouldn't pay for the speeds I have now) the problems we do have are largely created by government--In most places ISPs are the phone company and cable company, both leveraging the advantages of being a government sponsored monopoly. However preventing me from paying extra for luxurious amounts of bandwidth isn't the solution.

Peace Corps, Americorps, food stamps/WIC are all examples of forced charity. The church can't send men with guns to collect your tithe.

Mo Rage said...

Wow. So much to respond to.

First, actually, I think you're extremely wrong about Libertarianism having "the same relationship to anarchy that liberalism has to communism" since it was Libertarians who said they wanted no government whatever. Liberalism and Communism is just a lie and a canard but it will forever come up.

Second, I didn't "use China as an example of pollution caused by anarchy." Far from it. I used China as a rather clear comparison of what Republicans and the Right Wing, including the Tea Party and yes, even some Libertarians would have America do by not having the EPA to a) issue regulations to combat pollution and/or b) keep corporations and the wealthy in check when it comes to business and polluting our environment.

I think all governments are designed "for a perfect world" or to get us there, as close to that as we can get. Naturally, they'll always be flawed as long as humans create and run them. That's a small matter.

The non-aggression principle of the Libertarians is something I naturally and whole-heartedly embrace, certainly. I agree with and commend them on that. George W Bush could have used some of that.

Corporations may not have power "on their own" but they definitely, absolutely have power and none any more so than now when they can pay their--our--government representatives to give them and all the rest of us whatever government they want and that suits them. That, it's my contention, is one of our biggest problems, as a nation.

If it's your position on the internet that "the problems we do have are largely created by government", I think you are wildly mistaken and we part company on that. AT&T and Time Warner and Comcast absolutely want to slow down the internet and charge us more and more for data, etc., so our speeds are slower and costs higher than most other industrialized nations and that's not because of government. It's because of the profits they want and the fact that, again, they can buy our representatives and legislators and their legislation and have it be as much unfettered Capitalism as possible all so they can screw us and get larger and larger profits.

On your idea of the Peace Corps being "forced charity", what other organization in the world could, would and did do what the Peace Corps did and does? The Catholic Church, at that time, came closest but they weren't doing it. What possible harm could you see, do you see in the Peace Corps? Just because it spends money? The people volunteer for the work. The people of the other nations are helped. It seems like you're bemoaning a problem that isn't there. I assume it's our expense. You don't think we, the US, isn't helped by helping other nations? It must be more of that "forced charity", I guess. You and I pay a tiny fraction of our taxes to help others and you don't want to have to pay that. Do I have that right?

Sevesteen said...

I've not heard of a libertarian saying they want no government, certainly not the majority. You are redefining words so they support your arguments.

Using China as an example of what the right wing is doing wrong is absolutely absurd. Boy are you redefining words.

You obviously don't understand the non aggression principle, or you are redefining it to suit. Having the government use force on your behalf--for example to collect money by force for causes and projects you support--is a violation, no matter how worthy the cause.

When was the last time you turned down a raise? Of course corporations want to maximise profit. Bell Telephone has always wanted to maximise profit, that was much easier for them under a government monopoly--do you remember what a phone bill cost before deregulation, and in the years before competition?

Whether the Peace Corps does good work is separate from whether forcing me to support them is moral. Much of US foreign aid is ultimately harmful to the people it is supposed to help despite good intentions.

It's the use of force that is wrong. That you want to use force to support the Peace Corps says a lot.

Mo Rage said...

Sevesteen, let's have an honest, adult, mature conversation and debate here. I've seen and heard Libertarians call for no government whatever, period. No, it's not the majority and I've never claimed otherwise. I am not now nor have I been "redefining words so they support your arguments." If you're going to sculpt what I say and redefine me,what I say and my arguments or points, there is no further reason to discuss or debate or converse with you. I won't tell you what you've heard, don't tell me the same.

Using China as an example of putting business and business' goals and low pollution controls compared to what the Right Wing and Republicans want to do--that is, do away with the EPA, and plenty, plenty, have called for that--is no way "redefining words." Not even remotely. It's an extremely accurate description of what their words seem to call for.

Okay, I agreed with you on non-aggression, that I think we, as a nation should be non-aggressive in our military stance, like you, as you described and now you're saying I "obviously don't understand the non aggression principle."

You seem to only want to disagree with me for disagreement's sake. It's as though you want to keep me for some constant theoretical thought enemy, that we can agree on nothing. If that's your goal, great. Again, it makes conversation with you not just difficult but pointless.

What's to not understand about a non-aggression principle for the nation? We shouldn't have attacked Iraq under George W Bush, for just one best, very recent example.

On corporations, it's not just that they want profit and profits, it's that they want to use and are using the system to wring that maximized profit unreasonably out of the nation, out of the public, while giving a worse and worse product. They're using their position to take not just advantage but unreasonable advantage of the public. And they only way to counter it is by and with and through government and government regulations. It's all we have.

And the word is maximize.

Your "support" of the Peace Corps, at any given time is pennies. Over the course of your life it is some few dollars. You don't think that's worth it, to help people? Are you a Christian?

I think that I condone helping my fellow humankind says far more about and for me and my kind than any imagined "force" you have about the government requiring it.

Sevesteen said...

I suppose this could be a case of no true Scotsman, but someone saying NO government is an anarchist rather than libertarian regardless of how they identify--and from a Statist point of view I suppose it could be an insignificant difference just like a libertarian or anarchist sees an insignificant difference between liberals and conservatives--they are both statists, just a slight difference on what they want to control first. We do tend to run with anarchists since the direction is the same for the first 90% of the trip, we just want to stop before the cliff.

We're using a vastly different definition of non-aggression. If I don't pay the part of my taxes that goes to the Peace Corps or the military men with guns will come and lock me up--that's aggression. Whether or not the money is used for good or not is a separate issue. Not as bad as dropping bombs on people, but it's a difference in degree.

No, I'm not a Christian. I help people, I give to charity on my own. I do not think it is moral for me to steal from you to give to charity, to threaten you to give to charity, or to force you to give to charity--even if I get the government's backing first

Voluntary charity is admirable. Involuntary charity is still force. The ends don't justify the means.

Mo Rage said...

So taxes, to you, are "theft"?

Do you agree you get anything good out of them at all or no?

Just curious now.

Sevesteen said...

i suppose theft is too strong a word, but it's close for a lot of taxes. Embezzlement maybe?

The simplified version is that government should be run for the general welfare rather than individual welfare. Roads are general welfare, driveways are not, even if there is a program for free government driveway paving. Handouts to benefit specific people or businesses are misappropriation of funds.

What would you call it if I managed to take money from your bank account, but spent most of it on groceries of my choice that I then gave to you? You'd benefit somewhat from the groceries, but you almost certainly would do a better job buying your own groceries. You seem to focus on the "bought you groceries" part, ignoring the "with money taken".

m said...

And I agree, "government should be run for the general welfare..." In fact, I and a lot of us think it is.

Your description of government, however as taking "money from your bank account, but spent most of it on groceries of my choice that I then gave to you" is, in my opinion, wildly inaccurate. Unless this is how you describe the WIC program which actually takes money--taxes--and gives vouchers--SNAP vouchers--to others, the poor but that takes those taxes from those who have some money, the middle and upper classes, and gives to the poor. And it's not that much money from you, either. Sure, it's enforced but if it helps those with less, I'm good. Good for us.

Mo Rage said...

that was me, above.