Psychological Hostage by Kelsey Palmer

(Writing a guest column today is Kelsey Palmer.)

Psychological Hostage

Abuse, malefaction, molestation, violation, physical, mental, trauma, Rape. This is not an unknown word among us. Often we would hear it being yelled by teenage boys in the crowded halls of high school, but what was fun for them to yell is not fun at all. Sadly, it is not an unknown action to too many of us. Usually women. Many many women that really mean “yes” when they say “no”.  Really mean “continue” when they “stop”. No! Some say they deserved it. Others say they led the guy on. Call them Femi-Nazis for trying to bring to justice a criminal act against them! How dare you. How dare you all for thinking in the slightest that this is a small matter. No! Rape is a criminal act or is it? It leaves scars, physical and emotional. Then there are women who think they can cry wolf when there are so many who actually see it.

!!@@#dddddd444193mIn light of rape, it is a criminal act. When someone (usually male) chooses to molest another (usually female) it is not out of the kindness in their hearts. It is not them looking out for the other. It is someone deciding to take away the freedom and rights the other has. That is why it is a crime! It is in violation of the rights we hold as humans, but you would never guess that from the way the law enforcers handle it. Thousands of unsolved cases and why? Because they are too expensive and time consuming. What about what this person had to go through? What about the turmoil this person has to face, the fear that their rapist is still out there lurking in the shadows. I would like to say I am proud of congress for finally doing something about this, but this should have been worked through years ago. Before the rape kits began piling up to extreme heights. Of course, like many other things America was slow to realize that this was an important matter and because of this many have suffered.

In continuation of my sentence before, many have suffered. No one can truly understand the psychological difficulties that come with a scene such as this until they have lived through it themselves. The trauma that comes with it at times can be more than one can bear.  It makes a person want lock themselves into a dark room, curl into a ball, and never allow anyone to come near them again. One could never understand the power of the mind until years after an event something as simple as a scent could bring it all hurtling back. Stuck in your mind till you forcibly distract yourself. It can cause a perfectly normal person to feel like a monster because of the horrible thoughts and ideas that come to their mind. To do to others what was done to them. Some are lucky enough to bypass these mind games and others have to shove them out until they are gone. Suffering in every step of the process because they have been broken just because some man decided it would be fun. And because of that man one could think that they will never be worthy of another because they have been used and abused like some dog’s toy with no soul, life, or future. Definitely no ability to make decisions for themselves. There are scars that exist far beyond the eye can see and the victims of a crime like this have them. So they go to the police in the hopes to find some peace of mind, but instead they are greeted by the high prices of rape kits. You might as well stamp a sign on the door saying “Have you been raped? Sorry, we won’t help you.” Even if a girl has the ability to do a rape kit all that will happen is it will be thrown into the back of a lab to collect dust until years later a bored detective decides to give it a shot. It still might not be that girl’s kit though, since there is a pile of these kits from over the years. To conclude, I feel that if America would get a grip and find a heart this would have been solved already because they would understand the pain that came with these crimes.

My last thought for this paper is that women should not cry wolf unless they see one. What I mean by this is that if a woman has sex and then regrets it they should not file rape. If a teen has sex, but does not want to get in trouble they should not file rape. If a woman is not raped, they should not say they are. I am not saying this is always the case because it rarely is, but it should not happen. When this happens, people are less likely to believe those who are actually raped. When women who are raped go unnoticed all of the psychological issues I spoke of before only progress because they need help! If there are so many cases of true rape that we already “do not have time for” we definitely do not have time for those that are not rape at all.

To conclude my paper, rape is a horrible thing that must be stopped in some way or another or at least diminished. Women going unnoticed and criminals continuing to be free is not the American dream I had in mind and I know that many people feel the same. These women need peace, help, and the ability to recover from the pain that has been forced upon them. This is not an easy task to undergo due to the fact that there are so many victims, but I know that if we just try to help them and solve their cases not only will they have more peace, but we will show the men that there WILL be consequences for these actions. In this way they will hopefully think twice before making such a damaging and idiotic decision.

Kelsey Palmer

James, the Jihadist

James, the Jihadist
James, the Jihadist

James, the Jihadist

I have argued that allowing gays and lesbians to be discriminated against in business transactions is wrong and poor business ethics. I have advocated that this legislation be changed before enactment and if enacted to be repealed. In this, I have acted inside the bounds of political activity traditional in this nation. At no point have I advocated violence against any religious establishment.

Nevertheless, people who agree with me and have made similar public comments have been described as “Jihadists” by Presidential candidate, Ted Cruz. A Jihadist? I don’t think I qualify. I am not currently involved in a Jihad, have not advocated violence against anyone over this legislation, and look ridiculous in a burnoose. I personally am a Christian and I am not part of a conspiracy to wage a Jihad against my own religion. I would find that personally divisive.

Being accused of being a Jihadist is not the only insult that people who share my beliefs have received on this issue. According to former Presidential candidate, Newt Gringrich, we are part of a lynch mob. And he backs up his claim, by explaining that people like me have to be deluded because the bill is “exactly the same as in Connecticut.” I believe he is implying that the bill is like the one in many states and the one passed by the federal legislation during the Clinton Administration. That’s a lie.

It’s not a little lie. It’s a giant hulking monstrous lie. As an attorney, I am well aware that adding a single comma can change the intent or the effect of legislation. The Indiana bill contain two entire clauses not in other bills save for the one in Texas. But the Texas bill has a civil rights exception that protects gay and lesbians. The Indiana bill doesn’t. The Indiana bill was designed like a laser beam to hit a single target, gays and lesbians in the market place. The foundation of the bill was in the fact that neither Indiana nor the federal government has legislation protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. All the other groups, women, minorities, etc., were protected by previous laws. Gays were the only people without cover The new clauses and the absence of a civil rights protection made the legislation dramatically different from what had been passed before. The bill does look similar to the bills passed before but if it walks like duck, quacks like a duck and has dripping fangs as well as razor sharp teeth, it’s not a duck anymore.

That the bill was identical with other state legislation and therefore did nothing new was a great talking point but that doesn’t make it true. No matter how loud or how often a lie is said does not make it reality.

But there was still more, I am not only described as a Jihadist and a leader of a lynch mob, I also lack perspective. According to Tom Cotton, the new Senator from Arkansas and famous letter writer, I lack perspective because, “In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.”

No, that’s not how it works. If I point out that a man is starving, and you point out that another man up the street is also starving but that I wasn’t paying attention to his problem – a point has been made. But Cotton’s argument is too distant in nature and form from the situation in Indiana. As an American citizen I can have little effect on the law in Iran. But as an American citizen, in this country, I have both the right and the responsibility to participate in the affairs of the nation. I cannot and will not close my eyes to injustice that I can do something about. And that is where Cotton’s argument fails. However much I may lament the actions of people in other nations, I live here and what happens affects me directly.

Why are the first two criticisms so bizarre? It seems pretty obvious that group of citizens, newspaper writers, politicians and leaders in business are neither Jihadists nor part of a lynch mob. These two criticisms have no connection with any objective reality but they are designed for use. There will be radio shows, television pleas and letters, literally millions of letters, saying this –

HOMOSEXUAL JIHADISTS ARE PLANNING THE DESTRUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY, YOUR CHURCHES WILL BE DESTROYED, YOUR BIBLES BURNED AND RELIGION AS WE KNOW IT WILL CEASE TO EXIST!!

CAN YOU SEND $100, $50 OR EVEN AS LITTLE AS FIVE DOLLARS TO SAVE THE WORD OF JESUS CHRIST FROM BEING WIPED OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH BY THE GAY LYNCH MOB?

And then they’ll talk about this being a critical point in American history and the need to act now, right now, and how sending them money will allow brave men (insert current anti-jihadist fund raiser) to act on their behalf to defend American values.

I’ve seen fund raising letters like these dozens of times; the writing is usually in all caps, although usually the lead statements are in giant blood red letters that virtually scream crisis off the page.  How many of you remember the letters sent out charging that if John Kerry won the Presidency, bibles would be banned? That was in the 2004 campaign but these kinds of fund raising appeals are made constantly preying on those who would believe the worst of their fellow Americans.

To me, it seems obvious that the Jihad and lynch mob lines are set-ups for fund raising letters and Senator Cotton was just commenting. After all, you can’t really do much with a “lack of perspective” charge in a fund raising letter.

In conclusion, there is no Jihad, period. There is no lynch mob. And there is plenty of perspective.

What happened was democracy in action. I wasn’t pleased with all of it, but businesses, individuals, and elected officials stepped up publicly and opposed the legislation and it was changed. That is how things are supposed to work.

I participated in that as an American citizen as is my right under the law. And that is just what I am, an American.

James Pilant

(Below are my sources and the quotes I drew from for the above article. jp)

Senator Says Critics Of Indiana Should Get ‘Perspective,’ Be Thankful State Doesn’t Execute Gays

Appearing yesterday on CNN, Senator Tom Cotton (R) urged critics of Indiana’s “religious freedom” law to get “perspective,” suggesting the treatment of LGBT people in Indiana compared favorably to countries where gay people are executed.

“I think it’s important we have a sense of perspective,” Cotton said. “In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.”

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/04/02/3642060/senator-says-critics-indiana-get-perspective-thankful-state-doesnt-execute-gays/

Newt Gingrich Slams ‘Lynch Mob’ For Opposing Indiana Religious Freedom Law

The fact is, for example, the governor of Connecticut announced he wouldn’t send people to Indiana. Well, Connecticut has exactly the same law. They adopted it 20 years ago. The head of Apple announces that he’s deeply disappointed. Apple sells cell phones in Saudi Arabia, where being homosexual is a death penalty. The level of selective outrage, the opportunity to pick a fight — the news media couldn’t help themselves.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/01/newt-gingrich-lynch-mob-indiana-religious-freedom_n_6986808.html

Ted Cruz: ‘Jihad’ Was Waged Against Religious Freedom Bills

“We look at the jihad that is being waged right now in Indiana and Arkansas going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” Cruz said during a panel moderated by conservative radio host Steve Deace on Thursday. “We need to bring people together to the religious liberty values that built this country.”

via Ted Cruz: ‘Jihad’ Was Waged Against Religious Freedom Bills.

Do They Think We’re Stupid? Indiana Republicans Surprised by Backlash?

Do They Think We’re Stupid? Indiana Republicans Surprised by Backlash?

In studying business ethics, one is exposed to many, many individuals who tell you things that are self-serving and often bordering on falsehood. The smart ones use at least a grain of truth in their statements. But sometimes something is said that is so incredibly false, you are not at first able to comprehend that a human being capable of basic ambulatory motions could make such a statement.

Read the following.

Do They Think We're Stupid?
Do They Think We’re Stupid?

Indiana GOP Leaders Shocked Their ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Is Seen As Anti-Gay

“I don’t think anyone anticipated that the characterization of the bill would be, this denies to services to a specific class to Hoosiers. It does just the opposite. It includes all Hoosiers in the religious freedom standard. And it’s a misperception that it denies services,” said Indiana state House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) during a Monday morning press conference with Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R).

via Indiana GOP Leaders Shocked Their ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Is Seen As Anti-Gay.

The law was crafted an an anti-gay act from the very beginning. You want evidence?

How about this from USA Today –

Indiana is just one year removed from a battle to block marriage equality, and where the right for same-sex couples to marry was won only by a court ruling overturning a long-standing ban.

It is telling to opponents of the religious freedom act that the law was driven mostly by the same conservative Christians who lost their fights against marriage equality. It’s also telling, opponents say, that one of the law’s primary sponsors, Republican state Sen. Scott Schneider, has touted the notion — which will be an issue for the court to settle — that Indiana’s RFRA could exempt Christian businesses from having to provide wedding services to gay couples.

And what has the legislature been doing about LGBT rights in the distant past – 2013 to 2014?

This one was 7/9/2013.

Indiana GOP passes law making it a crime for clergy to perform gay weddings

This one was January 14th, 2014.

Indiana lawmakers advance gay-marriage ban amendment

And what does the local press say?

Here is the Indy Star, a Gannet Paper, Dec. 26, 2014:

Same-sex marriage is the issue that won’t go away, no matter how much the state’s Republican leaders may try to avoid it.

Social conservatives, including some state lawmakers, delivered a reminder of that this week when they said they would pursue “religious freedom” legislation that would allow businesses to not serve gay couples.

And what about the defense, I’m seeing all over the internet that this is just like the other religious freedom acts passed in the federal system and many states –

The Indiana law differs substantially from the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by President Clinton in 1993, and all other state RFRAs.

There are several important differences in the Indiana bill but the most striking is Section 9. Under that section, a “person” (which under the law includes not only an individual but also any organization, partnership, LLC, corporation, company, firm, church, religious society, or other entity) whose “exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened” can use the law as “a claim or defense… regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.”

… Indiana’s is the only law that explicitly applies to disputes between private citizens.*

(Note – Texas has a similar provision but specifically exempts civil rights.) From the article above.

See, this is just a play for the rubes. You copy the language of a commonly passed law but change key wording to give the law a different purpose. Another key point is that Indiana has no law protecting gay or LGBT rights. That means the law has a far greater sweep than the laws it claims to copy.

Now, if you want to oppose gays or anyone else participating in the marketplace by your speech or legislation. You can do that. You have that right. But to act on that opposition and then feign surprise when you’re caught is ridiculous.

If discrimination based on sexual orientation isn’t bad business ethics, not much is.

James Pilant

Obama’s Wonderful Words

Obama’s Wonderful Words

Tom Wheeler is Chairman of the FCC. Tom Wheeler before becoming Chairman of the FCC was a lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry. Tom Wheeler was appointed by President Obama.

Obama's Wonderful Words
Obama’s Wonderful Words

President Obama is calling for strong protections for net neutrality with his usual eloquence and newsworthy phrasing. Where was this concern when he appointed Tom Wheeler?

If the President says he wants something done and he appoints someone who is not on the same page, whose fault is it? And how seriously should we take a President who says wonderful, wonderful things but whose actions are not in sync with those same wonderful words?

I believe in net neutrality. Without it, this web site and many others like it will load slower and probably eventually disappear from the net altogether. The President appears to be on my side. It is well said that appearances can be deceiving. If he really wanted net neutrality he would have appointed a stalwart defender of the concept and not an advocate for the cable companies to the commission.

What he wants it to have it both ways and he’s getting it. He wants to be seen as being on the right side of the issue but doesn’t want that right side to become law. So, the President puts on his game face, calls us to battle and then does nothing while keeping up appearances.

It’s called being played and I don’t like being played. I’m not tired of his talk – I’m disgusted with the talk. I believe in the power of words. I’m a teacher. But words are only one element of leadership. Sometimes words are the only things you have but this is the President. He actually gets to appoint people and direct policy. You would think that there would be synchronicity between the two things but with this President, you would be wrong.

I want to see Net Neutrality enshrined in law. The President says he is on my side. How much he means and how much it matters remains to be seen.

James Pilant

Obama Net-Neutrality Stance May Spur Fight With GOP – WSJ – WSJ

Mr. Obama specifically called for the Federal Communications Commission to go beyond its previous proposals and explicitly ban broadband providers from blocking, slowing down or giving preferential treatment to some websites. To achieve that, he said, the FCC should classify broadband as a utility or common carrier, which would open up the industry to greater regulation.

via Obama Net-Neutrality Stance May Spur Fight With GOP – WSJ – WSJ.

A Good Person, Really?

A Good Person, Really?
A Good Person, Really?
A Good Person, Really?

At the bottom of the page is an excerpt from “War Machine’s” suicide note. For whiny self indulgence, it would be difficult to exceed. In his mind, he is being persecuted, apparently for being a “real” man.

What does this have to do with business ethics? Haven’t you noticed that men’s sports seems to involve on a routine basis, a level of misogyny more appropriate for the Dark Ages than 21st century America? It’s not an aberration. It’s part of the win at any cost mentality. It’s part of a male centered system in which moving a ball around an enclosed area is somehow of critical importance.

A lot of this is about money. A hooked customer is much better than a thinking one. But on the other hand, a lot of it isn’t. The feeder teams, the high schools, have only limited money incentive to compete (aside from the enormous costs to education) yet here too we encounter misogyny on an incredible scale. Rape victims are re-victimized. Hazing of a particularly deviate kind is considered a “boys will be boys” problem. Parents rush to defend football programs where the players act more like a youth gang than a sport.

It results in attitude’s like War Machine’s note. War Machine is a victim in his view – a very high level of Freudian projection. The woman he seriously injured is persecuting him. When she broke up with him and moved on, she had the nerve to have sex with someone else. You can almost hear an orchestra of tiny violins. And he’s unfairly being charged with crimes because he’s a guy living in the wrong era. Ah, if only there was a good Viking raiding party needing a few good men, maybe some horde ready to ride out of the wilderness and destroy a fledgling civilization. But unfortunately, he lives in a nation where there is some law and he will be held accountable.

This bleeds over into schooling, work and politics.

One of the worst elements of misogyny that seems to leak into every part of work and play is the amazing capacity for males to blame women for male behavior. Be it rape, pregnancy, or spousal abuse, every single time, no matter what the circumstances, “she” should have done something else. She should not have been out that late, She should not have worn those clothes. She should not have talked back. She should not have resisted or she should have resisted. She should have known what to expect. She should not have been drinking.

Or on the job – she should not have been so aggressive. She should not have applied for the job if she was just going to get pregnant. She should not have joined a job if she couldn’t take being or not being in the “boys’ club. She shouldn’t take so much time off. She shouldn’t have so many children.

See, it’s all the women’s fault. You might think rape is an affirmative act requiring decision making and physical action on the part of the perp, but no, men are lured into rape by the siren call of cunning, conniving women. You know, the root of all evil, cursed by poor negotiating skills with snakes. And women get pregnant by themselves. And beat themselves up, etc.

A new era is upon us. We are going to have to think about these issues. The note from “war machine” is a wake up call to the rest of us about the costs of misogyny, the macho culture of sports and the stupidity, the self-righteousness of some men.

James Pilant

Addicting Info – War Machine’s Suicide Note Blames Men’s Oppression For Making Him Beat Ex-Girlfriend

However, his attitude changes later in the letter as he admits to “crying like a lil’ bitch” and blames Mack for the “f*cking ridiculous” allegations that have ruined his life. He wrote:

“They wanna charge me with battery and domestic violence? Fine, do it, but don’t railroad me with B.S. fantasy charges like: Rape! Attempted murder! Kidnapping! And Burglary! It’s making it impossible for for justice.

I’m a good person with a huge heart and everyone who knows me know that, especially Christy.” (source)

War Machine seems to have forgotten that he fractured Mack’s rib, ruptured her liver, knocked out her teeth and broke her nose. Not to mention that he attempted to kill her, and would have succeeded if she hadn’t run away. Instead, he suggests that Mack’s “scumbag agent” is pressuring her to testify against him for cash.

Toward the end, War Machine again whines about men’s rights, saying:

“Society has killed men, I was never meant to live in this era anyway. Follow your dreams and think for yourselves.” (source)

via Addicting Info – War Machine’s Suicide Note Blames Men’s Oppression For Making Him Beat Ex-Girlfriend.

The Crisis of Capitalism, Connect the Dots?

The Crisis of Capitalism
The Crisis of Capitalism

The Crisis of Capitalism, Connect the Dots?

Reading the business news and political commentary over time clues you see certain controversies over and over again. In time, you begin to see the relationships between those controversies. Below are listed six links to stories about the economy. They cover different subjects in different ways sometimes in different formats. For instance the lead article on median household income is a statistics based economics analysis, while the second item is a professional discussing what attitude he should take in encouraging his students to pursue higher education. Nevertheless, they all tie together. They tie together evidencing the crisis of capitalism. And by this I mean capitalism as practiced in the United States. Let me explain how. ( The essay will pick up after the six links.)

Middle-Class Death Watch: The Median Household Is Now Poorer Than in 1984

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/07/31/middle_class_poorer_than_in_1984_housing_wealth_has_crash_debt_has_risen.html

American Dream Fraud: Confession of a Stupid Idealist

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-strauss/college-costs_b_5641798.html

The Frightening Growth of Suburban Slums

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/08/01/suburban_poverty_it_s_becoming_more_concentrated.html

Is There Any Way That Weak Employment Numbers In Europe Might Bolster Concerns That Most Economists Are Right About Government Stimulus

http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/is-there-any-way-that-weak-employment-numbers-in-europe-might-bolster-concerns-that-most-economists-are-right-about-government-stimulus

Wall Street Has Raked In Almost A Billion Dollars Helping Companies Move Overseas To Dodge Taxes

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/07/29/3465206/wall-street-inversions-overseas/

Think everything on a dollar menu costs a dollar? Think again.

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/08/01/think-everything-on-a-dollar-menu-costs-a-dollar-think-again/

Median Household Wealth Falls.

The first story is a economic tragedy, an incredible one. The middle class wealth of Americans has fallen below the level of 1984. And it didn’t fall a little bit, it is twenty percent less, one fifth.

Let me put this in perspective for you. The Gross National Product in 1984 was a little more than four trillion dollars. As of 2012, it was sixteen and a half.

That means that this nation increased the amount and value of its good and services roughly by a factor of four and during that time of growth, the middle class actually lost ground. Where did all that money go? And why did the bedrock producers of wealth, the American worker, get less and less of it?

Currently the one percent hold 38% of the nation’s wealth. Their income rose from 1979 to 2007 at a rate of 275%.

Well obviously, it must be that the one percent produce enormous economic gains while what workers produce is worth less and less. Do they really? Between 1979 and 2007, worker productivity in the United States went up 240 percent. American workers more than doubled their productivity and were rewarded by declining income.

So, from the first story we can conclude that the middle class is becoming poorer while the wealthy accumulate more and more wealth.

Is College Worth It?

The second story is by Larry Strauss.  He’s a teacher and he begins the essay talking about his family coming to America in years past believing in the American dream and through hard work and brains made it into the middle class. But now he finds himself in a quandary. Is a college education a road to the middle class for his economically disadvantaged students? It’s hard to encourage a student from that background to take on an incredible amount of student loan debt on a promise of economic advantage when the job market is so hideous and whole idea of economic advancement may be questionable. His students from four or five years back talk abut owing massive student loans while being lucky if they can find any job at all. Some have moved back in with their parents.

He is confronting with courage and commitment a new conundrum of our age. While college becomes more and more expensive while becoming more and more a corporate form based on profit and dubious numbers, the promise of upward mobility may be overblown if not a mirage. It is entirely possible that large groups of Americans will in the future be permanently consigned to the class they were born in.

Poverty in Suburbia

A new phenomenon, the urban slum, is appearing all over America. First reported during the dot.com burst, by about the year 2000, there were significant numbers. But now their population outnumbers those in the inner city slums. Poverty has moved from the underclass to the middle class.

If the news that urban poverty had increased dramatically wasn’t bad enough, that it is in the suburbs is a human tragedy in itself. An inner city can get services to people easily by comparison with an urban environment. In an inner city, you can walk from one place to another, public transportation is common and facilities such as soup kitchens, government offices, etc., can be centralized for greatest access. The urban landscape was designed around the automobile. Housing developments were laid out between broad sweeping roads with access to home with lots of parking and big garages.

Poor people have trouble keeping cars and if they have a car, the cost of maintenance, insurance and fuel will often make it unusable. So, the urban often go without food and government services. And the scattered community and its implied culture of success makes the support of neighbors and even friends difficult. It’s hard to maintain self-respect in a culture which even in the darkest of economic times blames unemployment and poverty on defects of character.

The Intellectual Poverty of the Ruling Class

The response of the government in the United States and Europe to the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression was austerity. This was an odd response. The great body of economic thought in both the United States and Europe was that in a time of economic calamity the government should step in and stimulate economic activity while alleviating the suffering of the people. This was ignored. A handful of economic studies and a privileged band of economists gave credence to the idea that austerity promoted growth. It was a bizarre theory now and after its continued disastrous failings, even more bizarre now.

Look at the problem from the perspective of the people. The collapse was caused by a relatively small group of banks on Wall Street. Once this catastrophe happened, millions of people lost their jobs and the businesses that served those people perished as well. They suffered while having no responsibility for what happened, and when it might be expected that the government well aware and having aided and abetted the actions of these investment bankers would take some pity on their plight, they were thrust from the concerns of the government, abandoned to the invisible hand of the market which was intent on preserving and maintaining their suffering. Many unemployed people felt that it was strange that the banks did not suffer while they were considered to have failed in a fundamental way, that if only they were more ambitious, more careful and displayed more grit, they could lift themselves out of the economic crisis, and thus shift from “takers to makers.”

In the United States, the cash strapped local and state governments cuts services, while the President created a stimulus package half the size of what was necessary. After that the President began making cuts joined by Congress. Nevertheless, the United States has done better than the European Union which intent on punishing the “unworthy” imposed draconian cuts on its weaker members, many of which have suffered terrible economic losses. Meanwhile, the so extravagantly promised wonder growth from austerity has failed to materialize.

Why did a doctrine contrary to basic economic theory gain such traction? It was convenient. In the United States, the “very serious people” as well as the economic elites had wanted to cut benefits such as social security for many years. They wanted to impose discipline on the people. Newspapers, in particular the Washington Post and to a lesser extent the New York Times provided (and still do) a constant diet of horror stories about deficits and the costs of benefits. For elites, disaster, catastrophe, human suffering, even calamities caused by or enabled by their actions are opportunities to enact their agendas. And they saw the economic disaster as an opportunity. So, on fragile but well publicized evidence, they proceeded to impose austerity. Their actions produced human suffering on a vast scale while crippling the recovery.

Facts, evidence and expertise are not important in Washington. When facts and evidence prove inconvenient, they are ruthlessly attacked. The attacks often verge on the hysterical.

The ruling classes in the United States place little importance on objective evidence and reasoning when creating public policy. Their disregard has produced great human suffering and bodes ill for the continued existence of the middle class.

The Wages of Sin are almost a Billion Dollars

The next story concerns the movement of American companies’ headquarters overseas to avoid taxes. It’s called inversion. A large American company purchases a small foreign company and then takes on their tax identity and from then it does the same things it did before just without paying taxes in America.

Here we have corporations, created in the United States, its employees trained in American institutions, its rights protected by the laws of the United States, moving to  foreign country not actually but symbolically – just enough to avoid taxes. Millions of Americans have suffered and died for this nation. Millions more have paid taxes to support the legal and physical structures (like roads and schools) that made these corporations possible. Their profits are often subsidized by government contracts and by a myriad of laws that support established businesses.

And yet they abandon any responsibility to the United States, to simple morality and the demands of patriotism.

This is a tragedy, perhaps in a real way, the first direct evidence of nation in the throes of self destruction. But the greater tragedy right now, is that no one is going to do anything about this. There has been a bill submitted to Congress to end the practice but it is dead on arrival in the House of Representatives. No one is going to do anything about this, the people who are evading these taxes are more important than the interests of the American people.

Right now, a compliant press is busy churning out pro-tax evasion articles. Because no matter what a business does in the United States, it has stalwart defenders in the press if only in the business press.

A Dollar Menu, it depends how you count.

Many workers in the United States make little money. A full time worker on minimum wage gets 290 dollars a week. The United States has the highest proportion of low paid workers in the developed world. Seventy-three percent of those on food stamps are working Americans. And of these working Americans a good number work in fast food. Since their salary is insufficient to support a family they have to resort to state and federal aid. This is in a real way a subsidy paid by the taxpayer to companies paying the minimum wage. If the workers had little chance of meeting basic human needs while working at one of these places, they are hardly likely to stay. Fast food businesses as well as big box retailers are able to maintain their work force through federal and state benefits for the poor and their children.

So, what does a dollar hamburger cost? And what would it cost if the worker were paid enough and given enough hours to not need benefits to have a decent life?

Summing Up

Those are the stories I found in one day on the web

Here are the factors we seen in the stories:

1. The middle class has been denied a share of the growth in production and profits from 1984 to the present time.

2. The traditional route of social and economic advancement, education, is losing its capacity to generate social mobility, and the crushing burden of student loans calls into question, whether or not higher education is worth pursuing.

3. The traditional middle class environment, the suburbs, once a symbol of economic success, are now suffering the same blight as the inner city.

4. The governing elites no longer concern themselves with issues related to the population at large but focus their concern on the “wealth producers.” And in that pursuit, facts and ideas that contradict their goals are simply ignored.

5. The corporate movement to avoid taxes is organized, profitable and continuing.

6. Many corporations are paying such low wages that government benefits are necessary to provide basic necessities to their workers, and that this constitutes a massive de facto transfer of money from the government to these corporations.

This adds up to a bleak picture of the future. We have a middle class declining in numbers and wealth while the means of upward mobility increase in expense while becoming less useful. The leadership we have is unconcerned with these problems and in fact, these kinds of issues are peripheral to their interests. Corporations are no longer content with their privileges and power but have abdicated all responsibility for participation in an organized society. These organizations now live by the philosophy, “It’s just business.” And that justifies any crime and any breach of duty with the nation that sired you.

In conclusion I believe that the crisis of capitalism is upon us. I believe that capitalism as practiced in the United States is concentrating wealth and income among a very small group of people while diminishing wages and opportunities gradually diminish the middle class resulting in a huge permanent underclass locked into permanent income insecurity.

George Will Crosses the Line

George Will Crosses the Line of Decency

I had pondered for a number of days whether or not to discuss the Will column on campus rape and his claim that Progressivism had transformed rape into a “coveted status.” I was upset, but he has said many foolish things as have many other writers on the Washington Post. So, I was leaning toward skipping the topic and discussing the oligarchy of internet providers. But today, the Washington Post responded to criticism, and it was a remarkable response.

According to Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt he welcomed the column and it “was well within the bounds of legitimate debate.” Really, that’s what he said.

What are the facts?

George Will downplayed the seriousness of campus rape, suggested that women claimed rape when it was not an appropriate charge and out of political correctness. I am familiar with the studies done on campus rape.  Here is one from the National Institute of Justice, an arm of the United States Justice Department. It indicates that on a campus of 10,000 female students, there will be an average of 350 rapes a year. The report indicates that five percent of the women in college are likely to experience rape in any given year (page 11). I can go on and tell you more findings, but does it appear to you that campus rape is a made up crisis? or that it was brought about by Progressivism run amok?

The Business Ethics of the Situation

The Washington Post is a newspaper, a business. It is supposed to provide news and commentary. Many things are debatable and a good newspaper provides a platform for vigorous debate over the great issues of the day.

But some things are facts. And trivializing facts about the nature of rape and suggesting that women are willing to decide later that it wasn’t consensual and that being raped is a positive status would seem in my mind to be in a real way a defense of the rapist, the poor misunderstood male who interpreted a woman’s “No” as part of a twisted game, who may have felt that if a woman dresses suggestively, drinks or invites him into her living quarter, she’s just asking for it.

It was to be hoped that these few men, for the statistics are clear – only a small proportion of the male population rape, could be deterred by more vigorous administrative action or at the very least they could be subject to more vigorous punishment. But this is now rendered more unlikely by George Will and defenders of a status quo which celebrates past custom and male aggression. For the poor, much put upon males, it was in his mind one indignity too much.

This issue brought forward by the commentary page of the newspaper is about crime. I firmly believe that if Will had trivialized armed robbery or shoplifting, he would have been fired yesterday. A great newspaper does not ignore facts or imply that a crime is okay because it has been the custom in the past – so was slavery and wife beating. Times have changed and George Will likes the old way.

But crime is crime, and the newspapers twisted ideas on what constitutes fair comment distorts a horrible act into a matter of dispute. That’s not responsible commentary.

James Pilant

On the same subject:

https://fishershannon.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/a-letter-to-george-will-in-response-to-his-june-6-2014-opinion-piece/

http://tpfleming.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/george-will-lashes-out-at-rape-victims/

http://barrystuartlevy.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/george-will-being-a-victim-of-sexual-assault-is-a-coveted-status-that-confers-privileges/

Dan Bodine Has a New Post

abom11thDan Bodine Has a New Post

It is with great pleasure I post a portion of Dan Bodine’s new post at the Desert Mountain Times. Please go to his web site and read it. Sign up as a follower and enjoy being part of a real writer’s experience.

James Pilant

All this talk about Texas being “backwards” is a conspiracy

Want to pass along a link to a new HBO film series that includes Texas’ “religiosity” – vis a vis its “backward” political culture – that’s guaranteed to ruffle some feathers! Even has my favorite congressman in it.

Maybe the picky theme should be why should climate denialists, science denialists, far-right conservatives, religious extremists, and a backwards religious and political culture all have to do with our beloved, great state of Texas?

You lookin’ to buy a car, young man?

Yeah, I’ve mellowed some. Twenty-five years ago in Johnson County as my first-career world was collapsing on me, loveboat and all, one of the memorable conversations that arose in it was with my business pardner, the late Don R. McNiel. I’d disappointed him in a writing piece.

Don, a wealthy Republican entrepreneur who Barton listens to testimony during a hearing on synthetic genomics by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill in Washingtona year or so earlier had unsuccessfully challenged House Speaker Jim Wright of Fort Worth for his house seat, accused me of “taking a cheap shot” at our GOP Congressman Joe Barton for his whole hog support of capitalism. …

http://desertmountaintimes.com/2014/05/all-this-talk-about-texas-being-backwards-is-a-conspiracy/

From Around the Web.

From the web site, Rethink, Renew, Revive.

http://rethinkrenew.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/meet-rep-joe-barton-he-understands-global-warming/

This is paraphrased, the full quote is: (Joe Barton’s)

“Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can’t transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It’s just something to think about.”

Not as cringe worthy, as he made the thought hypothetical, but clearly doesn’t have a grasp of the scientific principles here.  Yet, he would tell you that there is NO way that humans are POSSIBLY responsible for Climate Change.  He would say it’s something more like Noah’s flood.

I Will Miss Bob Hoskins

I Will Miss Bob Hoskins

It was the movie, The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish, that made me a Bob Hoskins fan. Through comic circumstances his character winds up dubbing pornographic films. His female counterpart, making the “other sounds,” is played by Natasha Richardson. Through this unlikely partnership, he falls in love with her. The comic situation had me laughing until tears came to my eyes. There is something delightfully bizarre in two people making the sounds of sex and then falling in love.

I always look for actors who I think would be likable in real life. I always sensed a genuineness in him. I would have like to have met him. I’m sure he would have said something funny.

I saw him in a lot of movies. The first time I became aware of him was as the crusty sergeant in Zulu Dawn. Whatever he played he always stood out, a real individual.

He’s going to be missed. I’m going to miss him.

James Pilant

Bob_hoskins_filming_ruby_blue_croppedR.I.P. Bob Hoskins 1942-2014 – Salon.com

Bob Hoskins made Hollywood movies at the peak of his fame in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but that wasn’t really who he was. As every obituary of the English actor published this week will note, Hoskins’ most widely seen role was probably Eddie Valiant, the toon-hating L.A. private eye in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” Robert Zemeckis’ influential hybrid of live action and animation. But Hoskins drawling his way through an American role never felt (or sounded) right to me. As a man and an actor, Hoskins was a Cockney down to his soul, a product of a bygone working-class London who grew up to become a key figure in the British film renaissance of the ‘80s.

If you look at Hoskins’ bio it will inform you he was born in the country, in the agricultural county of Suffolk, northeast of London. But the year was 1942, and any British person above a certain age will understand the context immediately. London was being bombed daily by the Luftwaffe, and a German invasion still seemed imminent. Pregnant women were routinely evacuated to small towns to give birth, and at the age of 2 weeks, infant Bob returned to the north London neighborhood of Finsbury Park (which, somewhat later, would produce John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten).

Hoskins’ dad was a truck driver (and reportedly a member of the British Communist Party) and his mom taught nursery school; like most working-class British kids of his generation, Hoskins received only a very basic formal education and left school at age 15 to go to work. According to his own hyperbolic-sounding tales, he picked fruit on an Israeli kibbutz and took care of camels in Syria. An English teacher had apparently implanted a passion for the theater, and in 1972, at age 26, Hoskins accompanied an actor friend to an audition and wound up getting the leading part. He had never acted before in any context and had no training; the method acting so beloved by professionals, he would say later, was “a load of bollocks.”

via R.I.P. Bob Hoskins 1942-2014 – Salon.com.

Watch a short scene with Bob Hoskins!

From Around the Web.

From the web site, Pensive Digression.

http://pensivedigression.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/bob-hoskins-passing/

A great actor has passed away at the age of 71 from complications brought on by Pneumonia. I’m serious by the way. Bob Hoskins may not have been appeared in as many films as Christopher Lee or be able to lay claim to the same level of fame as the great classical actors, Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff for example but I have fond memories of his movies from my youth. I want to talk about two in particular here. An ode to you Mr. Hoskins.

The first of his films that I loved as a child was the semi-animated, semi-live action comedy “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”. This films was and still s hilarious. Bob plays the role of a surly investigator with a grudge against cartoons. This proves to be quite a problem when he lives in a world where the “toons” co-exist with real life people every day. He is the only hope of a cartoon rabbit called Roger to prove his innocence after being accused of murder.

What I loved about this film was the humour, which wasn’t afraid to go dark, the lighting, the music, the way the actors blended seamlessly with the animated characters, but most of all it was probably just the animated characters themselves. All the famous animated characters from way back made appearances, Buggs Bunny and Mickey Mouse even shared the screen for a scene, it was awesome! Now that I’m older I still find myself easily watching it anytime I need a laugh. Appreciation for a certain character in particular increased as I matured. Ohh Jessica Rabbit… Damn!

There’s a New Blog Called Big Business Out of Government!

029There’s a New Blog Called Big Business Out of Government!

The blog’s first post is dated April 27th of this year. I like what they have said so far and have my own reservations about corporate control of government. I’ve noticed that they tend to be “outspoken.” Some would use the term, shrill. But I’ve been called shrill myself and sometimes it is very difficult not to be outraged by the things going on in this country.

Please go have a look at this new blog and see what you think. As an example I’ve reprinted their first posting below.

James Pilant

The US government isn’t here for you anymore Princeton study finds.

http://businessoutofgovernment.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/the-us-government-isnt-here-for-you-anymore-princeton-study-finds/

Our blog should start with a bang, and what bigger bang is there than a peer reviewed paper that outlines how the US is now an oligarchy?

To put simply, an oligarchy is a government that is ran by a handful of people. In the case of the US, the government is ran by the 1%. Those “Americans” who can open their pocket books, resources, and offer 6 to 7 figures positions to legislators, judges, cabinet members, and so on, in exchange for massive deregulation, bailouts, and even wars in order to feed their insatiable appetite for profit and power. These “Americans” pull the strings in the US and they don’t give a shit about you.

http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf

From around the web.

From the web site, A Philosopher’s Blog.

https://aphilosopher.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/the-american-oligarchy/

One of my lasting lessons from political science is that every major society has a pyramid structure in regards to wealth and power. The United States is no exception to this distribution pattern. However, the United States is also supposed to be a democratic society—which seems rather inconsistent with the pyramid.

While the United States does have the mechanisms of democracy, such as voting, it might be wondered whether the United States is democratic or oligarchic (or plutocratic) in nature. While people might turn to how they feel about this matter, such feelings and related anecdotes do not provide proof. So, for example, a leftist who thinks the rich rule the country and who feels oppressed by the plutocracy does not prove her belief by appealing to her feelings or anecdotes about the rich. Likewise, a conservative who thinks that America is a great democracy and feels good about the rich does not prove her belief by appealing to her feelings or anecdotes about the rich.

What is needed is a proper study to determine how the system works. One rather obvious way to determine the degree of democracy is to compare the expressed preferences of citizens with the political results. If the political results generally correspond to the preferences of the majority, then this is a reasonable (but not infallible) indicator that the system is democratic. If the political results generally favor the minority that is rich and powerful while going against the preferences of the less wealthy majority, then this would be a reasonable (but not infallible) indicator that the system is oligarchic (or plutocratic). After all, to the degree that a system is democratic, the majority should have their preferences enacted into law and policy—even when this goes against the wishes of the rich. To the degree that the system is oligarchic, then the minority of elites should get their way—even when this goes against the preferences of the majority.