Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Back To Hooterville Once Again! or, Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Wow. In one ill-fated evening, I've been thrown back to how I felt on November 4, 2004.

So, I guess I'll be firing up the ol' tractor and heading out into the back 40.

I'm going to be cross-posting on my "Price of Right" Facebook page as well, but I think a blog is right for what's going on right now. I'm not going to inundate my friends and family with my opinions who don't really want to hear political stuff or who want to come over and argue. I'll continue to post music and cat stuff on my regular Facebook page. On this page, I am preaching to the choir.

So I invite you to join me here!

The following is the first post up on Price of Right:

Last night, like many of you, I was in total shock. I love you all for coming by and sharing your own thoughts and feelings with me, and for your support. I have a lot more to say, and right now I only want to say it to you.

The main reason I wrote my book "The Price of Right" was really to answer my own question, which is why people support ideologies and policies which go against their own best interests. I knew why rich people supported the conservative ideology, but why in the hell did working people support these ideas that had an adverse affect upon them?

I learned several things on that journey.

I learned that facts don't matter.

I also learned that people have deep psychological - and physical, or genetically-based - reasons for thinking the way they do, and that when you hold a position like that, it is not going to be swayed by logic or argument. So I quit arguing and trying to convince other people to change their minds. People occasionally do, but not because someone out-argued them on a blog or Facebook post.

Instead, I decided to focus on reaching out to the people who share the belief system I do, and hoping to empower and encourage each other. Yes, I'm 'in the bubble'. I'm in the 'echo chamber'. I'm not going to expend my energy and emotion on people who my thoughts and feeliings are just going to antagonize. And so, here, I'm not having people come shit on me and my friends. There will be deleted comments and unfriending if necessary. Being 'public' doesn't mean you get the right to come in and trash the joint. This is my home, and I'm running it.

Even in spite of how devastated I am because of last night's catastrophic events, I still believe that there is strength and power in coming together and working for progress and positive change - even if we don't see the results in our lifetime. We fight because it's right, not because we think we're going to get our way. I believe this more than ever, even if I don't 'feel' it right now.

It was, in fact, a day much like today - the waking nightmare after a gruesome election - that gave me the impetus to begin writing my blog "Last Left Turn Before Hooterville". I woke up the day after the second Bush election in 2004 and I couldn't get out of bed. I couldn't believe that after the previous four years he was still in the White House. I experienced a profound sense of disorientation. I didn't know where to turn or what to do.

I had never written before in my life, but I felt, like I feel now, that it was 'write or die'. I started reading the comments on the Washington Post political site, and got into a conversation with a guy who had his own political blog. I went over there and for the first time felt like there were people who thought the way I did and wanted to talk about it. So I started my own blog. And that blog led me to a whole world of progressive thought and progressive friends - and even a book contract! I feel so lucky that I was able to have a platform to write exactly what I wanted to say.

So I invite you, my friends and loved ones, over here to chat with me - share some solidarity and hope, and channel our anger and frustration into action.

And fuck those motherfuckers.

Here is a link to the very first post I wrote on my Hooterville blog. It takes me back so viscerally to the way I felt then, which is the way I feel again now. And I would take a thousand Dubyas over the monster that has just bullied his way into the presidency.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

In Six Words: Why Government Should Not Be Run Like A Business - by Donald Trump

A favorite argument - perhaps THE favorite argument - by conservatives, when discussing government, is that it should be run like a business. This is their justification for privatizing every government-controlled agency or organization. They say that running America like a business eliminates bureaucracy, waste, fraud and needless spending. That if a business was run like the government, that business would go under. That if America was run like a business, most of the problems we face today would be eliminated.

And the corollary is, what's good for business is good for America

This is a fallacy, and I think it's time we addressed this head on:

Government and business have distinctly opposite interests.

Business is, at its core, for profit. Not 'breaking even' and definitely not taking a loss. It is simple math. Dollars and cents, nothing more.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that idea.

There is nothing wrong with the idea that the aim of business is profit. This is what drives the economy and is the backbone of the world. Supply and demand. Incentive to create something, to work for something, to achieve the things that you want - this is one of the things that 'makes America great', if you will.

But it is not the only thing.

There are things that all people need that are not profitable - in fact, they cost.

Having clean air, water and safe-to-eat food is not necessarily profitable, but they are necessary for our survival. We need to defend ourselves from attack. We need roads, we need health care, we need a national infrastructure, we need an educated people and - we need a legal system. We need laws to protect people from being hurt, damaged, stolen from or killed.

We need laws for business as well, to make sure that business can operate fairly. What if we didn't have laws that enforce contracts? If a business sold widgets to someone in advance, and then the person just took off with the widget and didn't pay, without laws that enforce that business' right to have that contract honored - "I give you stuff, and you pay for it" - that business would have no recourse. And if someone broke into the business' warehouse and stole all their inventory, there wouldn't be a thing you could do about it. The legal system that protects us all - businesses and individuals alike - has to be created and enforced by We the People. And taking care of the interests of the Amercan people costs money in the short run, although it pays off in the long run - in quality of life, in freedom, in security, in progress. But not in quarterly profit.

This is the difference between government and business.

Business is like a powerful engine - with wheels and steering and brakes, it can go where you want it to go, but without parameters like steering and brakes, it can run over and destroy people.

If the goverment is run like a business, then the only concern is the profit. And in business, people's welfare is not the most important thing. The only concern is the bottom line. For business, that's fine - it's the way it's designed. But the government exists for the interest and well-being of the people.

And a perfect illustration of this was given to us by none other than Donald Trump.

Last Monday, at the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton said, "Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis. He said, back in 2006, 'Gee, I hope it does collapse, because then I can go in and buy some and make some money.' Well, it did collapse."

Trump replied, "That’s called business, by the way."

In those six words, he made the case for not only why he is unfit to be President (or even dogcatcher) but why government should not be run like a business.

Running the country like a business means money first, people second.

Being a wealthy businessman (I don't say 'successful') is not a reason why Trump should be elected President. Because he is proud to profit by the hardship and losses of the American people.

This is his priority, and it is his prerogative as a business person to at least attempt to do so.

But the President is a public servant. The President's interest has to be first and foremost that of the American people, not his own wealth and power. Do you really believe that if those were to come into conflict, that the People's interests would prevail?

Me neither.

Donald Trump himself has told us in six words why he should not be President.

Believe him.