Privatization or Grabification?

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Roaring Twenties Reprise
Privatization or Grabification?
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In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev was promoting glasnost (“openness”) and perestroika (“restructuring”) in an attempt to overcome the Soviet Union’s economic stagnation and stunted growth. These initiatives promised the “utmost respect for the individual citizen and favorable consideration for protecting one’s personal dignity.” By creating a dependable and effective mechanism for accelerating economic and social progress, Gorbachev hoped to encourage initiative and creative endeavor.

As General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991 and as that country’s de-facto head of state from 1988 until 1991, Gorbachov gained authority to create joint-stock companies out of state enterprises. The shares became available on stock exchanges. Gorbachev was instrumental in diminishing the role of the Communist Party in governing the state. The party’s official role was ultimately removed from the constitution, in a way that enraged some and inadvertently led to crisis-level political instability with a surge of regional nationalist and anti-communist activism. A failed coup attempt in August of 1991 was followed by an acute food shortage. On December 26, the Soviet Union was dissolved.

MAGAlomania

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Roaring Twenties Reprise
MAGAlomania
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The fall of the Soviet Union was a vindication for the strategy of the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence, Allen Dulles. His plan to bankrupt the Russians through an arms race, a space race, and any other competition the adversary could not afford, eventually made it possible for Ronald Reagan to successfully challenge Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall.

Pitting a deep economy against a shallow economy, while effective, had significant costs beyond the economic. There was no shortage of individual stake holders in the old Soviet order that were outraged, including one Vladimir Putin. They found ways to make themselves feel better by indulging in grudges as they worked to redirect certain new equities, intended for Russian citizens, while enriching themselves.

Gesture Politics

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Roaring Twenties Reprise
Gesture Politics
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Way back in 2005, The New York Times used the expression “gesture politics” to describe the substitution of symbols and empty promises for policy. Today, gestures towards bipartisanship and voting integrity together with a feigned respect for the United States constitution ring hollow. The will of the electorate really hasn’t mattered to some politicians for a very long time. Sure, we occasionally witness a certain genuflection as an election draws near. But, the real focus for politics, and its practitioners, is always on the big, oftentimes dark, money.

In 1870, James Freeman Clarke said: “A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.” The Clark quote is especially striking in the midst of our country’s hyper-partisan election cycles, as so many politicians seem willing to betray many of the ideals they once touted, just to win re-election. Beyond politics, there is a higher plane where true statesmanship thrives. Within such an environment the cultivation of that entrepreneurial spirit, that can take our country from one level of attainment to the next, is encouraged and nurtured in accordance with the laws of fruitfulness.

Masquerading in Conservative Garb

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Roaring Twenties Reprise
Masquerading in Conservative Garb
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Edmond Burke is best known for the quote: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” He was also the first and, some would say, the best advocate of conservatism. He held that rulers are only “trustees for the people” and, in describing the character of an effective leader he said: “the temper of the people amongst whom he presides ought therefore to be the first study of a Statesman.”

It may be useful to contrast and compare the way conservatism was defined, at the time of our nation’s founding, against what is sold as conservatism today. True conservatives understand the difference between that pride that comes before a fall and the kind exhibited by the person of true integrity, the one that puts the content of their character and the quality of their work above all else. Somewhere in the array of definitions for the term pride is the difference between motivating and incentivizing someone.

Party of Unmitigated Selfishness

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Roaring Twenties Reprise
Party of Unmitigated Selfishness
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The United Nations currently lists 18 “Global Issues.” Among the many are poverty, hunger, water, and health. Poverty-stricken communities are not only disrespected, they are often disregarded due to their low socio-economic status. This occurs even within affluent countries. However, according to the World Food Program, countries with the highest level of food insecurity also have the highest outward migration of refugees.

One in nine people on our planet goes hungry each day while also suffering from the lasting effects of nutritional deficiencies. Restricted growth, and the deaths of about 3.1 million children under the age of five occur each year as a result of our collective neglect. For countries with the means, the failure to provide comprehensive healthcare to its citizens hobbles their economies as well as their overall competitiveness.

I Will Not Yield

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Roaring Twenties Reprise
I Will Not Yield
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There was a time when, if you were to express an opinion in writing, it would likely be over your own signature. In fact, sending an unsigned letter was widely considered an act of cowardice. Today, those lacking the courage of their own convictions can express themselves through anonymous donations to political action committees. Under what is termed “traditional dictates of Senate courtesy,” a shifty member can even place a hold on legislation anonymously and two or more such members can make such a hold last indefinitely. Contrast that to the way the filibuster was once seen, almost universally, as an act of courage.

Yes, the filibuster was once painful. It was adversarial. And it was a way to reveal one’s true character. The person holding up a vote in the Senate would have to stand and be seen. Forty senators would have to be present for the arguments, the rhetoric, andnthe cookie recipes. It was not a back channel process for those lacking the kind of backbone required to be truly representative of one’s constituency. Today, dark money and under the table transactions rule in the USA.

Corporate Personhood

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Roaring Twenties Reprise
Corporate Personhood
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The first time the Supreme Court apparently held that the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause granted constitutional protections to corporations, as well as to natural persons, was through the 1886 Supreme Court case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co. A headnote issued by the Court Reporter is alleged to have been secured by the railroad through bribery.

The United States Supreme Court’s current view of corporate personhood is clearly not limited to any corporate need to enter into or enforce contracts. It has morphed to deceitfully rot the foundation of democracy. It now regards a corporation as something other, or somehow more than, the voice associated with the rights of those individual true citizens that are the lifeblood and the component parts of every enterprise.

The Death Cult Unmasked

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Roaring Twenties Reprise
The Death Cult Unmasked
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Every once in awhile we take in a scene that speaks volumes. For example, at the height of the pandemic, passers by could write long dissertations on depraved heart indifference, as inspired by the folks filing out of church services without a mask among them. As the institutional church continues to accelerate its free-fall, people from all walks of life are asking the adherents: Just what is your attitude towards the most vulnerable, the least of these? If you really cared about anyone other than yourself, would reasonable precautions really be all that inconvenient? Is this congregation Jesusonian or Luciferian?

Right now Covid variants are rising as vigilance is falling. You don’t need to be an epidemiologist to understand that increased mutations of the virus are wholly dependent upon increased replication. Those refusing to mitigate the spread are in no way helping. While this simple fact may be rejected by the most self-absorbed, it is fortunate that the surgical team performing life- saving procedures on such shrinking hearts, cares enough about others to wear masks when a chest gets cracked open.

Sunsetting the Slave Patrols

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Roaring Twenties Reprise
Sunsetting the Slave Patrols
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As they were breaking Jim out of jail, Tom Sawyer tells Huck Finn that “Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.”

The number of videos gone viral, depicting police violence upon non-white citizens within the United States, has raised awareness of persistent failures to reform a cop-culture tracing its roots to deep within that of the slave patrols. As police unions continue to make excuses for oft repeated instances of brutality within their ranks, corrupt politicians game the system to insure that a black man or woman never amounts to more than three-fifths of a person in a vote tally.

Restoring Legitimacy

Roaring Twenties Reprise
Roaring Twenties Reprise
Restoring Legitimacy
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From an early age we are admonished to “Never judge a book by its cover.” As we begin to pay attention to our participatory democracy, we quickly learn that any initiative named by a politician cannot be accepted at face value. Throughout history, we’ve been subjected to a wide variety of catch phrases that were used to deceive the general population. Most recently these range from trickle down economics to election integrity. We also suffer from the politics of destruction as childish coercive labeling is used to derail any sincere attempt to elevate the political discourse: Terms like repugs and libtards are now in common use.

One of the biggest ongoing deceptions involves simple misnomers. The term packing is generally understood to mean to fill a container of a given size. One might pack a suitcase or cram a large number of things into a given space, such as when a makeshift shelter is packed with beds jammed side by side. Of course, once a politician exerts their distorting influence upon the language of the realm, the meanings become contorted and decidedly self-serving.