Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “politics”

The 1981 Epoch: Ronald Reagan’s Genocide of the Middleclass

Staring at the extinction of their middleclass way of life, you’d think Americans would be ‘mad as hell and not going to take this anymore’.

It is mind boggling that so many Americans have a god-like fascination with Ronald Reagan. This is the man who set in motion the financial gang-raping of the middleclass. Unbelievably, a significant portion of Middle America still loves the man. Why? Is it some sort of Battered Wife Syndrome, the ongoing reality-clouding propaganda by Citizens United or is the conservative middleclass too embarrassed to admit that they were duped by Reaganomics?

But, here we are, repeating stupidity. Instead of trying to reverse Reaganomics, we are now trying to enhance it; more tax cuts for the rich and for corporations, more union busting, deregulation and privatization of government programs.

To increase our understanding, let’s review history: today, many Americans believe that middleclass society magically appeared with the birth of our nation and grew over time. This is not true. With the market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression, the country fell into economic chaos and floundered under Republican President Herbert Hoover. Prior to that, there were a few rich people, a lot of poorfolk and a handful of in-betweeners. Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in March of 1933, quickly launched new legislation and executive orders that would become known as the New Deal.

The New Deal increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans, increased corporate taxes, regulated banks and Wall Street, created government programs (social security, unemployment insurance and minimum wage), and created pro-union alliances. FDR’s policies pulled our Nation out of the depression and gave rise to Middle America. In less than a decade, the Leave It To Beaver and Ozzy And Harriet society would grow to become the largest demographic in the country and the envy of the world—The Great American Middleclass.

From the late 30s through the late 70s America prospered and the Middleclass would live comfortably. In steps the B-movie cowboy with his traveling show of Reaganomics and the 1981 epoch begins. Middle America starts to save less to maintain living standards, eventually leading to the necessity of financing their way of life. Wealth transfers from the Middleclass to banks, corporations and the rich get richer. Wealth disparity now sit at the largest level since the robber-baron days of the late 1800s through the 1920s.

We need a call to action. We need leaders with intellect and integrity but most importantly we need leaders with the political will of FDR. We need a champion of the Middleclass.

Americans need to act, educating ourselves on what policies actually work based on historic proof. We must not listen to money-influenced mainstream media. We must not let ourselves polarize against each other with agenda promoted by today’s corporate-financed politicians—it’s their tactic to divide and conquer.

Social media can be the great equalizer; we’ve seen its power in the Middle East. We can use it to educate, organize, create an agenda and protest. Once we have an alliance with critical mass, change will come. Here’s an example: use social media to organize home owners to not pay their mortgages for a few months. Even if a portion of home owners participated, the financial institutions would be chewing on the politicians’ asses to find a resolution before the markets tank.

Change is easier than we realize.

Genocide of the Middleclass, begun by Ronald Reagan, must stop.

-Roger Ingalls

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Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

The Great Deception

Who benefits from the childish playground feuds between the Republicans and the Democrats? While the two major political parties are busily spitting on each other and promoting their agenda like a Kardashian C-List entertainer, Big Business is quietly getting away with murder. Have our political leaders become so blind, they can’t see what Big Business is doing?

No, they know exactly what’s going on, it’s by design. It’s a deceptive puppet show. Our elected officials are willing marionettes controlled by corporate puppeteers, just like a junky is a willing slave to their dealer.

But why would Big Business produce such a show and finance politicians? One word – deception.

“All warfare is based on deception”, Sun Tzu, The Art of War.  Just like a magician uses a distracting hand motion to set up a trick, corporations steer their funded politicians into polarizing issues to create a media frenzy. While we’re all watching the show, the real action is taking place behind Washington’s closed doors. And don’t forget, your favorite media network or newspaper is probably a subsidiary of some big multinational corporation.

Let’s take a closer look at this deception by focusing on America’s largest company, General Electric. The top corporate tax rate is 35%, yet G.E. paid zero taxes in 2010 on $5.1B profits for its US operation and claimed a $3.2B tax credit. How is this possible? G.E. assembled a large tax department headed by a former Treasury official, and staffed by personnel from the IRS and Congressional tax-writing committees.

It’s been reported that General Electrics’ lawyers and lobbyists were deeply involved in rewriting portions of the corporate tax code that were signed into law by George W. Bush in 2004. When certain tax loopholes were set to expire in 2008, G.E. successfully persuaded Rep Rangel to keep them and shortly thereafter, G.E. announced a $30M donation to NY schools with $11M going to Mr. Rangel’s district. Of course G.E. says their tax benefits are good for American jobs, but they’ve reduced their US workforce by 20% since 2002.

By receiving great incentive to invest their money offshore, we are now facing, as a nation, one of the most jobless futures of the last eighty years.  We won’t hear it in the media – Big Business now pulls most political strings, and controls most “news” outlets – but soon we may be taxed so multinational corporations can receive subsidies to create jobs here in the US.

In other words, we’ll be paying to get our own jobs back.

–Roger Ingalls

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Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

Google Personalization, the News Media and Politics

Almost every day, I hear and see more evidence that we will soon be free of the burden of receiving news we don’t really want to hear. You can now choose media sources based on their ideological slant. If you’re a so-called conservative, it’s Fox “news”, Rush Limbaugh, and an endless stream of conservative websites. If you’re a so-called liberal, it’s MSNBC, and an equal supply of web sites.

But the big smoking gun is Google. Google is now offering ever-improving personalization in your searches. Google says it will now use your web browsing history in order to refine your searches and present you with the options for which you have shown a preference. In other words, you will be shown more of what you already think.

For example, a person who frequents Fox “News” on the web and/or conservative blog sites will likely see this page: Limbaugh: ‘Obama has yet to prove he’s a citizen’ at the top of his search and not this one on Snopes.com: Birth Certificate . Sure, the other result will probably still be in the search results, but it’s well known that people don’t typically go too far down the list – most take what’s near the top.

So now you won’t have to worry about information contradicting your own opinions. You can think whatever you thought yesterday, and probably find some information source to back you up. Of course, it’s long been known that the internet is a place (in cyberspace) where you could do exactly this – look only at the sources that you prefer. But now Google is making it that much easier. Google’s personalization mechanisms have actually been in place for some quite some time, but the system takes a while to “learn” whether you’re a redneck or a longhair (or whatever delineation you like) so the effects are probably seeping into society slowly.

What will be the psychological effects of search-engine personalization (that is, beside the creepy sensation that you are being watched – you are!)? It seems to me that if what you already expect shows up in all the highest-ranked results of a search, you might start to feel like there simply is no reasonable, intelligent alternative to your version of the truth. Because you have seen lots of “hard evidence” backing up your views, people who think otherwise must be stupid or crazy or both, right? They obviously haven’t done any real “research”.

So what about the “mainstream media”? How do they please those who like to be pleased and, at the same time, anger those who like to be angered? Well, the major networks’ news departments seem to have adopted a teeter-totter approach, with a story that sounds liberal (like that people die in wars) followed by a story that sounds conservative (like that people are angry at the government over unemployment).

It now appears that the profession formerly known as journalism has been infiltrated by politics. When I watch the news, my neck gets sore from watching the ping-pong ball go back and forth: “Since we just offended the half of our viewers who think that facts are partisan, we will now offend the other half with this story about a senator, an underage girl, and a member of different species.” I’m offended, all right. I’m offended by the game itself.

Welcome to the new America – where the cows run free (at least some of them) but the people have their feet stuck in partisan cement.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com

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