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Re: “Running the U.S. into oblivion” [Letter, Village News, 12/5/13}


Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Issue 50, Volume 17.


Donohue asserts that: Our President is negotiating with Iran in order to control the 2016 elections. That Iran is a nation of pedophiles and liars. (I’m sure all nations have pedophiles and liars.) That Obama has a racist administration. That Reagan had more integrity in the White House than any President since then. That Obama has a quisling (traitorous) administration determined to run the U.S. into oblivion. That Obama is worse than Pearl Harbor, and that Obama has become a cancer and is eating away the spirit of America and turning the Advertisement
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U.S. into a third world country.

Like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, these opinions are just manufactured and without merit.

Our President was editor of the Harvard Law Review; a professor at the University of Chicago Law School; an Illinois State Senator; a U.S. Senator from Illinois; and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. He was also intelligent enough to oppose a fabricated war against Iraq.

President Barack Obama is a good and decent man. I am proud to have him represent me in the U.S. and around the world.

Joe R. Jones


 

19 comments

Comment Profile ImageJon Monday
Comment #1 | Friday, Dec 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm
Amen.

The sad thing is that the radical right cant even see that the Democratic Party is not liberal, much less socialist. They are right- center, otherwise they would pass things that have enormous public support, such as background checks on all gun purchases, raise the minimum wage (90% support), raise taxes on those corporations that pay little or no taxes on billions in profits, etc.

But, the Dems are the best we have to work with for now. Maybe when the Republicans finish pushing back on the Tea Party (that started this week), we can have a more balanced government.

The country as a whole is more liberal than either party represents. I think next year Dems will be pushing more liberal ideas, as this years elections show that it will work to defeat the crazies.
Comment Profile ImageTerry Leather
Comment #2 | Monday, Dec 16, 2013 at 8:46 am
Comrade Monday, you have described perfectly glorious government that I envision. Steady Comrade, it's easy to get confused when one is in the bowels of the Wayback Machine™.

But, let us not sail off into Bourgeous fantasies, da? Everyone knows there will always be goods to redistribute. Capitalist stooges cannot help but overproduce in the same way we cannot help but redistriibute! You also forget that there will always be enough for proper party redistributive methods, as long as party controls what is considered 'enough'.

Only have one bottle of vodka and no beets? Guess what the new nutritional requirements just changed to? See? It is just that easy!

Now let's roll up our sleeves and build our new Age of Enlightenment™!!
Comment Profile ImageJon Monday
Comment #3 | Monday, Dec 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm
Hi Terry,

Can we leave the sarcasm aside - I have concrete, practical suggestions and I'm looking for anyone on the right to have an actual exchange of fact-based ideas.

I'm not a socialist, or a Marxist, but a retired capitalist, who has started businesses, hired and managed hundreds of employees and paid more than my share of taxes throughout my career. Do you have any positive ideas youd like to share?

If I were king, here is a short list of how Id like to see things change, for the benefit of a vast majority of Americans:

How about a mandatory 2 year commitment to do service for your country. It can be in the military, or community service, or part of the Peace Corps. The idea is that we all should be proud to do that service. If you have specific skills or want to develop some, do your service in the medical service. It can be done before or after college - your choice.

A fair, flat tax on all income, with a little bit of progressive rates. This would apply to all: individuals, businesses, churches, trust funds, etc., no exemptions or exceptions. The first $20,000 is 0%, for the next $30,000 10%, for $50,000 to $1,000,000 15%, and anything above $1,000,000 20%. We could pay off the national debt, and then lower the rates for all brackets. No deductions or loopholes. No special breaks for corporations or the wealthy. If there is income, you pay your fair share of taxes.

No Cap on Social Security - everyone pays the same percentage on all their earnings. Take away the break for those earning over $114,000. No reason for those who make less paying a higher percentage of their salary, as those making more.

Everyone should be be allowed to sign up for Medicare as their primary health insurance, if they want, with those under 65 paying their full pro rata share. It would be automatically less than a for-profit company, as Medicare admin costs are 5%, compared to private insurers admin is capped at 20%. Private insurance companies can still sell policies, as they do now - and for those who want a better primary insurance policy than Medicare, they can still buy a policy on the private market. I have supplemental policies for both healthcare and for prescriptions, and like them very much, but not all can afford that.

Rather than long-term unemployment, Id suggest a WPA type program, where people can learn skills and work for the betterment of the country: Forest Service, cleaning up poor neighborhoods, working at retirement homes and hospitals.

I would keep the six months unemployment the same as it is now, to let people try and find jobs within their skill set. But, after than, they need to work/learn to place them in a career.

I'd make it illegal for a politician to accept donations from an individual, or corporations, or lobbyists for sectors of the economy, and then vote on issues that affect that donor. Better yet, take all private money out of politics. People can qualify to be on the ballot by gathering signatures from the voters who they would represent. After that, each qualified candidate would be allocated a sufficient amount to run a primary. The winners of the primary would then be given a somewhat larger amount for the campaign. No outside spending at all. I'd require that media, TV, Radio, and Print, be required to give free time to individual ads for qualified candidate, and time for debates, as part of their FCC requirement to do public service. That way, you don't have to be rich, or have rich friends to be elected. You just need the support of citizens.

That's enough for now. I beg you Terry, make an argument FOR something, and not just express sarcasm for my ideas. Say what you want, or talk about what you object to in my suggestions.

You see, this doesn't take any wealth away from anyone - it just taxes all fairly on income - not wealth.
Comment Profile ImageParents:Do you know where your children are at?
Comment #4 | Monday, Dec 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm
I wonder whose 12 year old posts here under the name Terry Leather?
Comment Profile ImageJon Monday
Comment #5 | Monday, Dec 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm
I forgot the most important item on my wish list, to boost our economy and to help the working poor.

The minimum wage should be a living wage. After all, all employees have to live, pay rent, buy food and medicines, and all the other base expenses a person needs to show up for work.

If the company does not pay a living wage, they are in essence, asking for a government hand out, to subsidize their profits. To make up the difference between what an employee needs to live and what they are being paid.

I think the taxpayers should not have to subsidize consumers and businesses, just because they want to keep labor costs low, and prices low. Shame on all those depending on taxpayers to subsidize profits and low prices, on the backs of the working poor.

If the minimum wage had just kept up with inflation over the last 30 years, it would be around $10 an hour. Our society is better than that - at least we should be. This is the inequality that the Pope is talking about.

The Tea Party exposed their priorities by shutting down the government, costing tax payers $24 billion. While at the same time, they blocked funding for food stamps, which would have cost $5 billion. That move literally took food off the table of millions of working poor, elderly, and children.

Wheres the shame?

Can we have a serious discussion about this, or just exchange snarky comments? Im hoping for anyone on the right to step up with real thoughts and suggestions.
Comment Profile ImageTerry Leather
Comment #6 | Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 at 9:02 am
Hello Mr. Monday.

It pleases me when a pupil, even one of advanced age, learns from my postings; Your begging question reveals the innocence of a pupil approaching the enormity of an accomplished intellect with a boundless capacity for educating others.

Therefore, I cannot give you an answer to make an argument FOR something Mr. Monday, because I am not a moralist. I only see things through the cold prism of science...for I am a scientist. A scientist like no other, perhaps, blending complex theories with an intuitive brilliance to produce a supply of policy recommendations that have no equal. And yet, I am a mere scientist.

So, I will list a few terms below, Mr. Monday, and then I will ask that you think about these terms and how they interact with morality and capitalism. And then, you, and only you, can determine the morality of capitalism. Your morality, and your capitalism.

Inequality
Quagmire
Cronyism
Enron
Budget deficits
Immoral tax cuts
Stagflation
Passing the buck
Economic misery
Trickle-down economics
Halliburton
Bush Lied
Wal-Mart
44 Million uninsured Americans: They will die for the unilateral oil wars

I gave you the facts, now you must do the thinking. A rather clever teaching device of mine, wouldn't you say?

Good luck, my gentle yet naive friend.

Professor Leather, Ph.D.
Comment Profile ImageJon Monday
Comment #7 | Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm
Hi Dr. Terry,

I appreciate your "enormity of an accomplished intellect with a boundless capacity for educating others." and "intuitive brilliance" which may be able "to produce a supply of policy recommendations that have no equal."

I haven't seen any evidence of that in your prior posts, which seemed to me to be mostly complaining about things, without offering your ideas or policy recommendations.

But I'll tackle your post with all due seriousness, even though I still sense that your not being serious.

By now you pretty much already know my position on all the topics you list, I'm curious where you are at with each of these.

The thing that stuck me most from your post, is about morality. You asked that I think about a whole this list of issues and how they "interact with morality and capitalism". Perhaps this is the heart of where we disagree.

First of all, capitalism, as such, is amoral, it's only what you make of it. It can be used in a moral way, or an immoral way - up to the individual and their conscience. There's a saying that God provides light from the sun; some use it to read scriptures, some use it to forge documents. Up to us, what we do with our lives, as we are given free will.

I wonder if you agree that there is a moral law of the universe, that we should recognize and obey, or is the universe just an empty collection of material stuff, that happened to evolve into lifeforms, that live and die - the end?

I believe that there is a moral code to our existence. That's the very foundation of believing in God. I can admire an atheist who is also moral - as a brave soul, thinking that there are no consequences to getting ahead on the backs of others, but acts otherwise. I know a fellow like that. He thinks believing in God is a childish and foolish thing - but he's the most moral person I know (outside of many of the monks, priests, and nuns I've known).

Is this just a dog-eat-dog universe, or should we live our lives as if there is a God and we answer for all our actions.

I don't understand how people who think they are religious can live as if there is no moral code, and that we don't have to answer for our actions. That we don't have to respond to another person's plight.

You say, "I cannot give you an answer to make an argument FOR something Mr. Monday, because I am not a moralist," which, BTW, is defined as a person who teaches or promotes morality.

This is a pretty stark view of life - that you can't be FOR anything, as you consider yourself free of moral obligations or consequences.

Are you FOR people being saved from starvation?

Are you FOR people having an equal chance to live a life free of disease, poverty, and untimely death.

Are you FOR kids having a equal chance for an education?

Are you FOR people being taxed fairly and equally?

Are you really not FOR anything, but just against those who do teach and promote morality?

You say, "I only see things through the cold prism of science... for I am a scientist."

I like to think that I approach things in a scientific manner. The scientific method, as taught and promoted by Sir Thomas Huxley, is the foundation of all modern science, and yet he had room in his heart and mind for morality. Even though he considered himself an agnostic (he invented the word), he supported the reading of the Bible in schools. This may seem out of step with his agnostic convictions, but he believed that the Bible's significant moral teachings were important to teach.

In an article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from 1978, there is an article titled, Altruism: Its characteristics and evolution, the author points out that altruism, where an individual who is presumed to have self-interest at heart, does something that benefits others at a cost to themselves, is a beneficial attitude to the greater population of the species and allows the group to thrive.

It's a trait that is not only found to be beneficial to humans, but even insects show the trait.

Other articles have pointed this out as well - humans (and not just humans) have a built-in capacity for altruism, if not overridden by and individual's sense of selfishness.

I don't want to prosper on the backs of others. It's a lazy approach to living in a society. I'd rather pay an extra dollar for a burger than think about the person behind the counter having to go on food stamps to save me a buck.

Here are some of my favorite Thomas Huxley quotes:

It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance.

The great thing in the world is not so much to seek happiness as to earn peace and self-respect.

Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed.

It is not to be forgotten that what we call rational grounds for our beliefs are often extremely irrational attempts to justify our instincts.

Teach a child what is wise, that is morality. Teach him what is wise and beautiful, that is religion!

And my favorite:

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.
Comment Profile ImageTerry Leather
Comment #8 | Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 at 2:48 pm
Dear Concerned Democrat,

You impress me as someone who will not be bullied by corporatists and fascists. First, you recognize that you are not my equal by using my proper Title; this is both admirable and expected. In any society, there is a segment of the population that has profound academic wisdom -- and it is their & your responsibility to convince (or dare I say "compel"?) everyone else to apply it to their personal lives. Remember, there are many situations where "free will" is all wrong, and we must pay our fair share.

I will address a few of your simple questions now WHICH i have put in "quotations" to discern you from me, (as if that could really happen):

"I believe that there is a moral code to our existence. That's the very foundation of believing in God. ..."

You are indeed a legendary moralist -- a man who has been unaffected by your wealth. Many listen to you for your new ideas, never detecting a sliver of hypocrisy. Despite your celebrity, you have a common touch -- though of course not without the many flaws that common people generally have.

"Is this just a dog-eat-dog universe, or should we live our lives as if there is a God and we answer for all our actions"

To make things easier for you to understand, let's look at an example. Say we have a sub-section of society comprised of exactly two people: You and me. You have a watch, and I take it. You no longer have your watch, and now I have your watch. To an uneducated person, this might seem like a neutral event. After all, the watch is still there -- only its ownership has changed. Your loss is my gain; it's a "wash". More sensible people, however, raise a much more valid point. Specifically, would it not be fair, efficient and moral for me to not take your watch -- and instead have the government take your watch and then give it to me? One can easily see how this theory can be used to improve society's welfare in many, many, many “moralistic “ ways. Hardly Dog eat dog. More like "Government attack dog eats your Dog universe"....perfect.-

"I don't understand how people who think they are religious can live as if there is no moral code, and that we don't have to answer for our actions. That we don't have to respond to another person's plight."

In order to educate and impose Morals, I recommend lecturing. Specifically, you should lecture to everyone you come across: Here on FBVN, Friends, relatives, acquaintances, store employees, Conservative Marines in town, UPS couriers, or anyone else who crosses your path. And don’t forget about special circumstances, like lecturing emergency-service employees about nationalizing health care while they are resuscitating heart-attack victims.-

"Are you FOR people being saved from starvation?"

We all benefit when everyone else is well-fed. So therefore, they only way of ensuring proper nutrition is through the nationalization of supermarkets. Such a plan would be fair and effective…it has to be because it’s a public good! We all benefit from technology…so we must have nationalized cell phones! (see, easy!) Aside from the fact that it’s cruel to deny cell phones to the poor (a topic for some other time), only a strict government commission can ensure that everyone will have one at a fair price…and that we all pay for them-

"Are you FOR people having an equal chance to live a life free of disease, poverty, and untimely death."

Health care is something that we all benefit from. For example, if I get sick and am unable to write, then most major economies will be affected. And it is impossible to exclude anyone from the plethora of benefits from my policy prescriptions. Everyone benefits whether they pay or not. Now, is this fair? No, it isn’t. But if everyone were compelled to contribute to my health insurance, then they would be paying equitably for my services. Now extend this to the entire population, and you will easily why it is so very crucial for everyone to be paying for everyone else’s health care. It’s called “nationalization” and it’s a derivative of the “public-goods argument.” From an ethical perspective, it is uncontestable; everyone benefits from everyone else’s good health, and the only rational way of paying for it is by a schedule of government-set taxes and payment directives

"Are you FOR kids having a equal chance for an education? "

Education matters, remember taxes democratize society. Is it right that your neighbor can send his children to private school? No, it isn’t. And if we tax him, we can then afford to build more public schools that his children will need to attend when he is no longer able to afford private schools. Children must be taught at an early age that money-mongers are evil. And they must learn that when they grow up, they will deserve to have anything they desire at a price that they think is fair. What they want should be theirs for the asking. In fact, isn’t that how you raised your children? No? Well, that’s why we have public schools, to educate them…

"Are you FOR people being taxed fairly and equally?"

Taxes are best when they are egalitarian; i.e., everyone ends up with an equal income regardless of what they are initially paid. This is economically crucial because history has shown that people are happiest when they feel no envy -- and the best tax is therefore one that leaves everyone with nothing. But obviously, this is not acceptable. For such a tax would leave no room for deductions; in order for people to pursue worthwhile activities, they must be able to deduct expenses from their taxes. Without such deductions, society would be left with nothing but greedy corporations and rich people thinking only of themselves -- no one would contribute a dime to charities, and no greedy corporation would ever do anything beneficial-

Sorry, no time to continue, as you are the word count champion. Enjoy your elated sensation, Mr. Monday, for you have learned something from me today

P.S. I hope you enjoyed my new writing style. My colleagues encouraged me to use sentence fragments. For dramatic effect. Like this.

Professor Leather, Ph.d
Comment Profile ImageJon Monday
Comment #9 | Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm
Sorry to tell you Terry, my posts are not for you, you are not my audience.
Comment Profile ImageReally?
Comment #10 | Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 at 9:48 am
"My posts are not for you, you are not my audience" Jon Monday

Your audience?? Hilarious!! Do you write all your own stuff?

You are thoroughly self-important.
Comment Profile ImageWT
Comment #11 | Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm
His "audience" is himself. Nobody but another of the same type would want to read that blather.
Comment Profile ImageJon Monday
Comment #12 | Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 at 8:46 pm
Hi WT,

In an way, you're right. Writing these posts helps me to focus on researching and understanding the issues that actually effect me, and the majority of Americans.

I keep hoping that someone on the right will seriously put forward their views, backed by facts. Unfortunately, there are only a few who venture to respond seriously. Thank you Pink, and the others, who find a way to have polite discourse with those they disagree with.

It helps me to understand what the other side is concerned about. Which I often find is based on misunderstanding or out-and-out fabrications by right wing media.

It is well known that most of the people who vote for Republican politicians are actually voting against their own self-interest. That's what I try to point out with facts, links, and corrections of so-called facts.

In other words the exercise for me, helps to polish my arguments and knowledge base for discussions with friends and family. For example, I managed to win over my father, who has voted Republicans for over 50 years, but no more until they field serious candidates promoting policies that make sense for the majority of Americans.

There are two groups of people in the US - those who have greatly prospered since the crash, and those who are falling behind.

When I hear people defending the Republican policies of tax, regulatory, and policy breaks for the wealthy and corporations, while driving down the poor and middle class, I have to wonder which group they are in. If you haven't significantly increased your net worth since 2007, you're not being represented by Republican policies.

Here are some facts to support that statement - I invite an informed response. Here is an article from the LA Times:

5 years after financial crash, many losers — and some big winners

FIVE YEARS AFTER THE MELTDOWN
Corporate America, banks, the super rich and the index investing concept have gained. Savers, low-skilled workers, many homeowners... have suffered.

articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/14/business/la-fi-crisis-winners-losers-20130915
Comment Profile ImageRedneck Bill
Comment #13 | Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 at 8:55 pm
Jon's "problem" is that he is trying to have a discussion.

You rednecks don't have any interest in discussion; all you want to do is tell anyone with whom you disagree how wrong they are. It's the American way, right?

Professor Redneck Bill Ph.D.
Comment Profile ImageRay (the real one)
Comment #14 | Friday, Dec 20, 2013 at 12:42 pm
Chapter three in the new Monday novel?
Comment Profile ImageJon Monday
Comment #15 | Saturday, Dec 21, 2013 at 2:17 am
Hi Dr. Bill,

The saddest thing about American Politics is that the vast majority of citizen who vote for Republicans are voting against their own self-interest.

But, as Aldous Huxley said, in reference to his novel, Brave New World, you don't need to suppress the people with guns and tanks, you just have to distract them with glittery objects (my word, but things like reality shows and spectator sports). That's how the Romans did it - bread and circuses. Then the people will come to love their servitude.

I was just reading another thing that Huxley wrote today, and found it quite profound, given that he wrote in in the 40s:

The invention of the steam engine produced a revolution, not merely in industrial techniques, but also much more significantly in philosophy. Because machines could be made progressively more and more efficient, Western man came to believe that men and societies would automatically register a corresponding moral and spiritual improvement. Attention and allegiance came to be paid, not to Eternity [God], but to the Utopian future. External circumstances came to be regarded as more important that states of mind about external circumstances, and the end of human life was held to be action, with contemplation as a means to that end. These false and historically, aberrant and heretical doctrines are now systematically taught in our schools and repeated, day in, day out, by those anonymous writers of advertising copy who, more than any other teachers, provide European and American adults with their current philosophy of life. And so effective has been the propaganda that even professing Christians accept the heresy unquestioningly and are quite unconscious of its complete incompatibility with their own or anybody else's religion.
Comment Profile ImageRedneck Bill
Comment #16 | Saturday, Dec 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm
Hi Jon,

I'm sure you realize I'm as big a wise acre as the other doctor on here. Of course neither one of us are doctors, but through the anonymity on the internets and sites like this, you can be anyone you want to be. And you can be smart as well, as Dr. Leather has made a point of noting about himself.

I don't really know the answer to the condition of our country but I think our political system is broken. If things worked as they have in the past, both political parties would manage to find common ground and there would be progress on the numerous and difficult problems we face. But the minority party has chosen gridlock over governing, and so here we are, stagnating or even declining.

Right now I'm not really happy with either political party, but I align more with the Democratic party because their basic philosophy is to favor the common man, while Republicans believe you benefit everyone by favoring business. In my view, the Republican approach hasn't worked.

I favor a 2 or more party system, I'm just not sure either the Democratic or Republican parties can change enough to function. They are so beholding to lobbyists that what's best for the country becomes secondary.

But people hold strong beliefs about both politics and religion, and whether it's the glittery objects or just stubbornness, they seem unwilling to hear anyone with whom they disagree. That seems to me to be what has changed, and it bothers me. We can't even seem to be able to talk to each other. Which will prevent us from solving what I see as fairly large and complex problems.

I'm old and getting closer and closer to my personal end here. But I have kids, and I worry about the country and world I will leave them. My kids are energetic and enthusiastic about their future, but I wonder if that will be enough.
Comment Profile ImageJohn the Baptist
Comment #17 | Saturday, Dec 21, 2013 at 6:37 pm
I can’t explain how conservative and liberal views on economics managed to diverge to the extent they have, but here is an example of the result.

Pope Francis wrote this:
“54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

In return, Adam Shaw charges Pope Francis with: “… failing to see that free markets have consistently lifted the poor out of poverty …” Shaw says this despite the ample evidence that US poverty remains high while the rest of the economy recovers for the wealthy. Also, Google this: CBS News: 80 percent of U.S. adults face near-poverty, unemployment, survey finds.

Either the free market doesn’t work, or what we have now is not actually a free market. Whichever it is, we need to fix it.
Comment Continued : The comment above was written from the same location.
Post Continued
Comment Profile ImageJohn the Baptist
Comment #18 | Saturday, Dec 21, 2013 at 7:04 pm
Sorry, I meant to provide these citations:

I encourage everyone to read at least paragraphs 53-56 of Pope Francis’ Exhortation: see www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=10390#The_scope_and_limits_of_this_Exhortation

Adam Shaw’s rebuttal is here: www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/12/04/pope-francis-is-catholic-churchs-obama-god-help-us/
Comment Profile ImageJon Monday
Comment #19 | Monday, Dec 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm
Hi John the B and Rddneck Bill,

Since we seem to be the only people on this thread at the moment, if you ever want to email me, you can use this address, as I'll set it up to only receive emails from invited guests: jon at saveklsd dot com.

If anyone else sends something, it will just go to my spam folder. I'd invite Terry, if only he's be serious and bring his ideas out of hiding.

Maybe we can exchange some ideas, without the distraction of a caged monkey throwing feces at people who want to have a serious discussion.

Just put Fallbrook Village News in the subject line.

Best,

Jon

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