Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

Mitt Romney Is Correct

Romney drew catcalls for saying that corporations are people.  He should be applauded for saying the truth.  According to the Constitution, Blacks were fractional people – – 3/5, to be precise – – and without any rights.  The 14th amendment granted Blacks their status is part of humanity, but the Supreme Court gradually gutted that part of the 14th amendment.  In compensation, the court granted even more rights to corporations by recognizing them as people.

 

In addition to the rights supposedly granted to ordinary people, corporations have additional rights, such as immunity to most laws, especially the death penalty, even when the corporations act irresponsibly.  Even when such behavior takes human lives, the corporations escape unscathed.

 

When I was an undergraduate, H. L. Hunt, leader of the Hunt clan (and supposed Kennedy assassination conspirator), proposed on his radio show that one dollar – one vote would represent true democracy.  The idea seemed ludicrous to me at the time, but Hunt proved prophetic, especially after the Citizens United decision.

 

Of course, Romney was absolutely correct.  Corporations are people.  Congress has the duty to (exclusively) represent these artificial people.  Now is the time for all of the presidential candidates as well the rest of society to knowledge this fact.  Corporations are people, and will continue to be people until the time comes that real people wake up and put an end to this nonsense in which corporate rights take precedence over human rights.

 

 

Great Moments in Punditry: Calling Dean Baker

46: “And so defenders of faith in the Bush boom abounded, typically in and around the Bush administration. Early in 2005 in the Washington Times, James Miller III, who had served as Ronald Reagan’s budget director, lauded “the efficient U.S. arrangements for housing finance” as “the envy of every other country.” The trillions going into home loans reflected the accumulated wisdom of a competitive financial system: “Gone are the days of mortgage credit crunches and exorbitant mortgage rates spreads. American homeowners . . . are assured of a steady, liquid, and generally affordable supply of mortgage credit.  And investors, both domestic and foreign, are provided a flow of debt- and mortgage-related securities that are highly liquid, transparent, and secure.” Miller, James III. 2005. “Should Homeowners Worry?” Washington Times (7 January): p. A 17.

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A Model for the Peace Movement?

441: “Emperor Zhengde insisted on leading an army against the Mongols in 1517 only for the official in charge of the Great Wall to refuse to open the gates to let him through because emperors belonged in Beijing.”

 

Morris, Ian. 2010. Why The West Rules — For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux): p. 441. [A great book]

A Calamitous Response to Calamity

I grew up 18 miles from Youngstown, Ohio, the nearest thing to a “big city.”  The town was the epicenter of the Rust Belt because of his heavy dependence on steel.  As the economy disintegrated, arson became the major industry because housing values had declined so much.  Recently, the town was in the news because it pioneered in the deliberate shrinkage of a city.

Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that a new steel mill is under construction, which might seem to be a reason for celebration.  Unfortunately, the purpose of the mill is to produce million tons of seamless steel tubes used in “fracking,” which has become a major source of income in the area, but a serious threat to the water supply.

 

Ansberry, Clare. 2011. “A Steel Plant Rises in Ohio.” Wall Street Journal (2 August): p. B 1.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904233404576462562705511704.html?mod=ITP_marketplace_0 

Manufacturing Discontent: A Prelude to the Phony Debt Crisis

 

 

I just posted a short video clip discussing my 2005 book, Manufacturing Discontent and its relevance to the phony debt crisis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmYWMV-PJ-M

 

Unions vs. the Good Guys at Delta Airlines

The FAA was shut down because of a partisan dispute.  The basic issue was supposed to be the Republican demand that the agency save $16 million by ceasing to subsidize 13 airports with relatively little demand.  Yes, the airports were in Democratic strongholds.

 

NPR’s Brian Naylor reported that the airports were a bargaining chip.  The real issue was the threat that union power posed for Delta.  The National Mediation Board rejected a practice that counted required a union to win more than half the eligible votes rather than half of the votes cast.

 

Delta, the only non-union airline, got the Republican bill to include language overturning the National Mediation Board decision.  Since the House leadership refused to budge, the FAA shut down, leaving the government unable to collect $30 million per day in taxes.  Patriotically, most of the airlines continued to collect the tax in the form of higher fares.  However, these “job creators” kept the money so that they could help the economy.  Besides, the government could make up the lost taxes with still more tax cuts.

 

This brings us back to Delta, which graciously agreed to refund the “taxes” that it collected.  Hopefully, we will reward Delta for this good behavior by supporting the House repeal of the union election rule.

More on Cutting the Military Budget

A few days ago, I wrote about the military’s desire to cut back on care for the troops.  Judging by the news, the military has done a good job of avoiding caring for soldiers with traumatic injuries.  The Wall Street Journal just reported that soldiers also suffer from a high rate of arthritis, which is not surprising, given that they must carry heavy weights on uneven terrain.

At least we can be reassured that the soldiers will share the burden with the (most of the) rest of society and that our society is fair.

 

Lukits, Ann. 2011. “Military Members at Risk for Joint Problems.” Wall Street Journal (26 July).http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904233404576458564080952384.html?mod=ITP_personaljournal_1

“U.S. service members are at high risk of early disability from osteoarthritis due to the job’s extreme physical demands, according to a study in Arthritis and Rheumatism.  An estimated 26.9 million American adults have osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis in older individuals.  The condition is also associated with traumatic joint injuries.  From 1999 to 2008, first-time diagnoses of osteoarthritis were recorded in active-duty service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.  On average, 10,827 cases were diagnosed annually among about 1.4 million service members.”

“Osteoarthritis rates were 26% higher in members age 20 to 24 than in the general population, and twice as high in those over 40, the study found.  Women had 20% higher rates of osteoarthritis than men; blacks had 15% to 26% higher rates than non-blacks.”

“The Army had the highest rate of osteoarthritis, followed by the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. Regular knee and hip bending plus strenuous physical activity likely contribute to higher osteoarthritis rates in service members, the study concludes. More research on risk factors in military populations is recommended.”

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