A progressive argument to battle your conservative friends

Crazy times.
Divisive times.
“Them’s fightin’ words,” times.

I’m reticent to even broach this subject for fear of retribution or retaliation. But, fuck it, progressives need better ammunition to fend off the irrational arguments of the Radical Right.

  • “You’re all trying to convert this country over to socialism!”
  • “Get government out of my business.”
  • “Big government is bad business.”

Yeah, I hear your words. Let’s just do a little theoretical experiment and we’ll see where you stand afterward.

#1 You don’t like socialism? Then, you must not like government programs that operate on behalf of society. OK, then, let’s do away with the socialism we currently enjoy. No more:

  • Judicial system which provides for rule-of-law adjudication of crimes and grievances. No more suing that corporation for poisoning your toothpaste. No more court system to ensure crimes are tried and resolved.
  • No more police departments.
  • No more fire departments.
  • No more emergency services. Your call to 911 will go no where.
  • In fact, no more telecom system as corporations will now own the airwaves and you’ll have to pay that monopoly dues to rent the air waves.
  • No more highway system. No more bridges, tunnels, lights, or smooth driving anywhere.
  • No more banking system. No more Fed. Your money will now be controlled (inflated away) by independent banking corporations.
  • No more financial system. No more FOMC or SEC. The stock market will become a Wild West of robber barons.
  • No more FDA or USDA, the quality of your food and drugs will now be controlled by corporations.
  • No more EPA, your air, land and water will become as polluted as corporations want it.
  • No more OSHA, your jobs will be as risky and egregious as corporations can make them.
  • No more Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, you get old or sick, oh well.
  • No more national security or military. Foreign governments will attack with impunity, with both organized forces and insurgents.
  • This list goes on and on and on… ***

You don’t like socialism? Well, guess what? You already live in a socialist society. AND YOU LOVE IT! And if it were gone — you would suffer.

(You know who also loves socialism, that is, a social system of government of the people, by the people, for the people? … The wealthy and the corporations they run. But do they pay their share for all of these amenities? These privileges? These first-world services and benefits. NO THEY DON’T. You want to point a finger at someone? Point it at the wealthy and their corporations.)

So you say you don’t like socialism, but yet you live in a highly socialistic society as evidenced above. So which is it? Are you a hypocrite or do you just not understand that government IS society.

Next time some Right-wing conservative attacks your progressive, liberal ideals use this argument. We’re not that different. We all enjoy a vast and beneficial social system. Making it work a little better for all of us is what we progressives want.

#2 Without government “in your business”, protecting your business, you wouldn’t BE in business. Without the agencies and laws and equality built into the system (albeit somewhat half-assed right now), your business could and would get commandeered or monopolized out of business.

#3 It’s not that big government is bad, it’s that bad government is bad. Corporate lobbyists that drive legislation — BAD. Lifer politicians that treat their office like a royal award and act more for themselves than the people — BAD. The wealthy who think they can buy elections due to corrupt campaign laws — BAD.  Tax laws that ignore the monumental protections and benefits the wealthy enjoy without them owning up to said benefits — BAD.

Government IS us, We the People. If it’s not working for all of us, then yeah, let’s change it. But ignoring the fact that we’re already living in a valuable and advantageous socialism is denying the health and well being you’re enjoying right now.

[*** These are all social programs created by government to benefit society. Not “technically” socialism, but certainly part of the social fabric we voluntarily contribute to (taxes) and expect results from (all mentioned)…
Including: USPS, National Parks, HUD, FEMA, SNAP, public education, and hundreds of others.]

United States Postal Service

The USPS is a service.

A utility really. A vast network of delivery agents, offices, machines and infrastructure. Delivering the mail, packages and such is like delivering water or electricity or natural gas. It’s a Public Utility.

usps

And, as a Public Utility the service of mail and package delivery should be executed, governed and controlled by a public entity.

The USPS should subsume Federal Express, United Parcel Service, and the other delivery services. Hell, just look at the names of those other “corporate” entities: FEDERAL Express? UNITED Parcel Service? They’re practically already government services.

There’s no need for such a service as the delivery of the mail or packages to be a competition. Corporations should not be in charge of such a utility as the delivery of goods from point A to point B. The USPS was created to do exactly this. But today, the USPS is under the gun as its contractual obligations to its employees runs afoul of its ability to compete in what should NOT be a competitive market place.

Next Day Air is just that. Two Day Delivery the same. There should be just the one entity that performs this service, at a publicly decided price. Period.

That glass of water you just poured, or the kilowatt of electricity you just consumed are both delivered, managed and priced by a Public Utility.

And so should mail and package delivery.

 

 

Post COVID Blues

When this coronavirus is finally subdued:

  • I’m afraid when I go back to work my pants won’t fit anymore.
  • I won’t be able to get on an airplane without providing a blood sample.
  • Friday night at the movies will become Friday night at the Hulu.
  • Libraries will have all closed.
  • Cruise ships will be towed off shore and sunk to build up the Great Barrier Reef (yeay!).
  • You’ll need a license to go for a picnic.
  • There will be home machines you can buy to turn old books and furniture into toilet paper.
  • Clorox Company will buy Nabisco and make Bleach Blondie Brownies.
  • A home hazmat chamber will don every frontdoor.
  • Drone pilots will become an Olympic Sport.

When all this is said and done, Drumpf will have died from the virus (shot by an inoculated tranquilizer dart by Nancy Pelosi), and we’ll be resigned to living in a hyper-paranoid world where a six-foot distant “air hug” is considered affectionate.  Kisses — NOT!

 

Unexpected Consequences

In addition to apocalyptic scenarios, I also enjoy teasing out the possibilities of action/reaction in society’s macro behaviors. Like Freakonomics taught us, what are the implications to what we’re experiencing and how we’re reacting? Here are a few I’ve heard of and some I’ve dreamed up myself. My favorite is Goldie’s “there’s gonna be a rash of December babies born this year due to the work-from-home mandate.”

Close the borders and…

  • Migrant workers cannot come in to perform the agricultural work needed by 1/3 of the industry.
  • They won’t be there to pick, pack, and purvey the produce we need directly, and the food industry needs to create our canned, bottled and frozen foods.
  • Those same workers won’t be there to perform the planting that will result in crops in four to six months.
  • Close the borders and we eventually starve.

Close the schools and after school programs the daycare facilities and…

  • All the kids now need parents to stay home.
  • Many of those parents are critical service workers: police, healthcare, emergency responders, infrastructure repair.
  • And the kids won’t be staying home, or alone, or away from the elders who live with them. They’ll be out mixing it up with other neighborhood kids, perhaps more so that had they just stayed in school.

Shut down the hospitality industry and…

  • Fifteen million low to medium wage people lose work if not their jobs.
  • Another eight million in the airline industry lose work if not their jobs.

* Suppress spending across the entertainment, sports and restaurant industries and the velocity of money drops through the floor — ending up in a massive recession — one we’ve been expecting for three years.

* Drive the price of oil down below $30/barrel and the booming U.S. shale oil and fracking industry collapses throwing another million workers into the pit.

@ On the bright side, fewer cars on the road means fewer traffic accidents; less air pollution; quicker response to emergency calls (to save an elderly person with COVID symptoms).

* Force everyone to work from home and the homeless go WTF?

@ Fortunately, it’s already second nature to remain socially distant from the homeless.

@ Is there going to be a resurgence of home cooking where millennials learn to make more than Mac-a-cheese and Ramen?

* Too bad Grandma won’t be allowed in the kitchen with those asymptomatic carriers.

* Millions were forced from their homes to live at the whims of the rentier society during the last Great Recession.

@ Although thousands more will end up being force to foreclose during this calamity, at least we know that the rich are just as susceptible to this scourge — so there’s hope a proportionate number will die along with the rest of us.

* Is this the end of the Farmer’s market? Craft fairs? Concerts in the park?

No doubt the unintended and unexpected consequences from this pandemic will continue to play out. How many more can we come up with? I’m sure there are dozens just waiting to be exposed.

  • More marijuana smoking/eating?
  • More alcohol binging?
  • More reviews on movie venues, book venues, products?
  • More online psychologist sessions?
  • More facetime calls with estranged family?
  • More Amazon Prime memberships?
  • More neighbor altercations?
  • More house cleaning?
  • More nookie?
  • More?

China to invade Russia

There was a recent map published which showed population as area rather than area as area. What struck me was the juxtaposition of China and Russia.

Russia has 16.3 million square kilometers of land. China 9.3 million.
Russia as 144 million people. China has 1,415 million people.
Russia shares a border with China that is 4,200 kilometers long.

When China needs to expand guess which direction they’re heading?

We wonder about Russia’s vast military build up, maybe we shouldn’t wonder at all. Russia’s might to fight the US or NATO or the EU? Naw, they have a much bigger problem south of the border.

RussiaVsChina

With global warming turning the Siberian wasteland into potentially viable farmland. That and access to the Arctic Ocean might entice a Chinese takeover of Eastern Russia. All them resources just begging to be turned into high tariff products bound for the US and elsewhere.