Democrats & Liberals Archives

Disaster Capitalism on a Grand Scale

As the cost of food and fuel spirals out of control, and the mortgage and credit crises all strike at a global level, one has to ask if this is a “perfect storm” or a manufactured opportunity - or both.

In her book, Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein documents the planned manipulation and creation of disasters as opportunities to advance a corporatized free market environment. While generally operating at a national level, the process has also been utilized at a regional level. For example, the deliberate attack during the Asian market collapse. As I have watched the unraveling of the global economy, I have wondered if the scheme has not moved to a global level.

There are an array of events and actions that seem to provide evidence that "disaster capitalism" is at play in current global events. These current disasters are running side by side and sweeping across the world. The global food crisis (particularly grains), the massive run-up in fuel prices, and the global mortgage crisis which has morphed into a global credit crisis, all evidence the hand of economic "liberalization."

While called "liberalization," this is a process aimed at undermining the sovereignty of nations by removing any "barriers" to trade, and any nation-based efforts to control their own economic and social policies. This "liberalization" is actually aimed at chaining the total resources of the planet to the total control of private capital.


FOOD CRISIS
I had suspected that these various crises were being manipulated (and in part constructed) for some time. However, recent events have shown the hand that is at play. The global food crisis is sending millions of people into poverty and even death. A complex of issues are involved in this crisis - petroleum costs, biofuels initiatives, global warming resulting in water and crop failures, and the implementation of global economic policies. As nations struggle with the crisis, and governments are shaking under the stomping feet of the hungry, one has to wonder at the solution being offered to address runaway costs. That solution is to further "liberalize" the global food markets.

This call for "liberalization" has sounded loudly twice - once from the UN world food summit, followed a week later by a statement from John Negroponte (U.S. Deputy Secretary of State) for removing trade barriers on food.

They (heads of state) agreed urgent economic assistance for affected countries, and to support agricultural production and trade through further liberalisation and reduced trade barriers. These measures, the conference statement says, would assure "better integration of small-scale producers with local, regional and international markets." (IPS)
"These restrictions should be lifted. They have taken food off the global market, driven prices higher and isolated farmers from the one silver lining of the rise in food prices: higher incomes for agriculture producers," he said. (Negroponte as quoted by Reuters)

There is apparently no discussion of how creating the import/export economies has undermined the food security of nations, nor how that has replaced small agriculture with plantation agriculture. Nor any discussion that while "biotechnology" may produce some yield gains, that it places the food chain directly in the hands of transnational agri-business.

It also seems a major oversight to call for dramatic increases in the amount of money for food aid at the same time that the push is on to further corporatize the food supply. Just whose pockets is food aid filling?

MORTGAGE / CREDIT CRISIS
The "creative" financing that blew up the housing bubble and is resulting in foreclosures across the United States and Britain (and perhaps elsewhere), were part of "creative" investing in a "liberalized" global marketplace. Low interest and risky loans were bundled and sold up the financing/investing food chain. Then bundled with other investments and sold again and again across a global financial market. Then interest rates rose and with them the mortgage payments of millions of people. The collapse has sent cannon blasts through the global financial markets spurring bail-outs by reserve banks in an attempt (purportedly) to stop the hemorrhaging. Unfortunately, it has not. Further, and not surprisingly, the mortgage crisis "turned into" a credit crisis. This was totally predictable given the "bundling" schemes.

The lie underlying the mortgage / credit crisis is the huge losses. While certainly lots of folks got hurt (and continue to be hurt), those bundled investments made a profit at each sale and re-bundling. Those profits went in somebody's pockets. Further, Both the U.S. and the British federal reserve banks have thrown billions of dollars (and pounds) into the gapping maw. Those finances coming ultimately from our pockets ... and ending up in someone else's. This is a massive expropriation of present and future wealth - not to mention the potential collapse of national economies.

OIL (COST) CRISIS
Let me start by stating that what is driving oil prices is complex. I firmly believe that we are at (or beyond) peak oil. We are in a world where the demand for oil and natural gas continue to climb and the production is remaining steady or falling off. The increasing demand for a limited resource will drive up prices. This does not mean that there are not profit-taking opportunities. In fact, there are more opportunities than at any previous time. It is also true that manufacturing capacity has not been increased despite increasing demand. While the efficiency of refineries has increased, it appears to be maxed out. Therefore, regardless of increases in production, only so much petroleum can be refined - driving up prices by limiting supply. However, given peak oil it makes no sense to me to increase refinery capacity.

There is something significant happening beyond the realities of oil supply and capacity, and that is the commodities and futures market. It is estimated that 25% (or more) of the current cost run-up is "speculation." It has been said that the market is "out of control."

I suspect that a combination of profit-taking is happening, and this is totally predictable in a scarce resource market - even if that scarcity is being manipulated. Regardless, the crisis creates opportunities to push through more transfer of wealth and accomplish "other goals." Those goals range from a renewed push to exploit every potential oil resource (off shore drilling, ANWR, the Arctic) as well as increased pressure and manipulation on producer states (OPEC, military bases in Africa, increased U.S. military placement in Latin America). Those "other goals" may also include increased military presence and control of civilian populations.

TYING IT TOGETHER
Are we seeing a world-wide "shock doctrine" move? I believe that we are. The crises we are seeing, while certainly based in certain physical realities, have been manufactured to collapse level. That manufacturing has been facilitated by global economic and social manipulation that has removed the supports for stability (and response) at the same time that other "uncertainties" have been introduced and fanned into a seemingly out of control conflagration.

The instituting of a global war on terrorism manufactured by the neo-cons and the Bush administration (with the help of Congress and corporate media) has been great for achieving multiple goals. In the United States and elsewhere, the implementation of "anti-terrorist" legislation and machinery has undermined the transparency of government while creating actual threat to those who would resist the power grab. The occupation of Iraq has generated tremendous regional instability while removing oil resources from the market - both of which have been a consistent feature in increasing oil costs. Further, it has normalized (if not institutionalized) massive levels of corporatization - particularly of the military. This in turn has led to an incredible increase in global military spending. In fact, according to Agence France Presse there has been a 45% increase in global military spending over the last ten years. This is certainly a wind fall for the "defense" industry.

Also facilitating the current catastrophe is the "liberalization" of the financial markets. One of the segments of the market that is linked to at least two of the three crises is the commodities and futures market. In the wake of the Enron scandal, there was noise made about closing the "Enron loophole." As far as I can tell, that "loophole" remains in full usage.

Legislation was not moved forward until September of 2007 to address this "weakness" in the commodities sector. That legislation was H.R. 4066 / S. 2058 -To amend the Commodity Exchange Act to close the Enron loophole, prevent price manipulation and excessive speculation in the trading of energy commodities, and for other purposes which was referred to Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry on 9/17/07. That bill was added to the farm bill that Bush vetoed - which explains a lot about why he really vetoed the bill. The legislation to close the loop hole and provide greater oversight was included in the farm bill (Text of bill) which became Public Law 110-234 over Bush's veto. However, 110-234 does not seem to exist in either text or pdf form in the GPO database, one can view the enrolled House version H.R. 2419 . I believe that this is (coincidentally) the bill which had some sort of error and was returned to the Senate (where apparently it has languished once again).

It seems to me that one way to control the "out of control" market speculation on both petroleum and grains, is to clamp down on this market - both here and globally. At the very least, there should be a commodities "holiday" to allow a cool down period, and to move to improve the transparency and controls on these markets.

As these crises continue to drag down economies, nations, and peoples, more and more "shock doctrine" mechanisms will be thrust forward. The current situation and crises create a perfect opportunity for a corporatist end game. Such a move, would be catastrophic for us all.

I could be incorrect in my reading of the current environment. However, I could also be right. I write this to raise people's awareness of the possible "invisible hand" that is at play so that we (meaning the people of the world) are not totally disenfranchised in a Ponzi scheme pitched as "saving" us. The disasters themselves pose deadly challenges for much of the global population. I strongly believe that increased "liberalization" is not going to resolve any of these issues. However, it would dramatically advance an agenda that has already caused immeasurable harm to billions of people and the earth which is our home.


Other Related Articles
Food Summit Agrees Greater Liberalisation

U.S. says ending trade barriers key to food crisis

Global Military Spending Soars 45 Percent in 10 Years, Agence France Presse, 6/09/08

New homes slump worst since 1945

Falling like a ton of bricks

Enron Commodity Trading was Not Original.

Myth-makers caught short in oil speculation. R. M. Cutler, Asia Times, 6/18/08.

Posted by Rowan Wolf at June 17, 2008 5:54 PM
Comments
Comment #255871

Ummm, Rowan, You mentioned a deliberate attack as the Asian markets collapsed. I guess I’m the dummy here. What are you talking about?

Posted by: googlumpus at June 17, 2008 8:53 PM
Comment #255874

Rowan:

Nice article. I could not agree more with your thesis as presented in the first paragraph, but our conclusions could not be more out of phase. I do believe that these crises are interconnected, but not for the gain of capitialism, rather for the gain of socialism. IMHO the only dot missing is “global warming”.

IMHO most crises are consequences of poor planning and/or inaction. As to the oil and food crises, oil demand has increased drastically while production has not kept up, hence higher prices. One of the solutions to the oil supply problem that has been floated is drill in Anwar and offshore. Without a doubt this would increase production. One of the main arguements against this that I hear continually is that it will take a decade to get oil production from these sites, therefore it is not a solution. I would like to take this moment to remind everyone that a decade ago President Clinton vetoed a bill that would do just that. If he had signed the bill, that oil would be on line now, just when we need it.

One of the other arguements I hear a lot is that we need to ween ourselves off of oil and go to alternative fuels. ETHANOL. Congress mandated that we increase ethanol production and at the same time we continued to subsidize people not to grow our fuel. Given that we feed many peoples with our corn and grains, and we mandate that those start being converted to fuel AND we pay people NOT to grow it, how can the prices not increase. More than that, how can we expect the crisis of world hunger to be solved if we take these actions?

Tying it together:
1. We are too shortsighted to see the future energy needs and/or we oppose meeting those needs on the grounds of environmentalism.
2. In our efforts to punnish oil companies we create their “obscene” profits and create a food shortage.
3. “Global Warming” threatens the existance of man. Cause….Fossil Fuel.
4. Corporations and capitalism are blamed for all of the problems.

Government is the only solution. What you can eat, use, consume invest in and how you can live can only be decided by your Uncle Sweety. Throw in Universal Healthcare and loss of property rights and we have nothing to worry about….cradle to grave. Let the people that caused these crises in the first place for PARTY politics provide the solutions. It seems to have worked for Social Security, Medicare, the budget deficit, the national debt and the education system.

Posted by: submarinesforever at June 17, 2008 9:19 PM
Comment #255879

googlumpus - I am referring to the Asian market crisis of the late 1990s that resulted in crashing economies in South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and elsewhere. It resulted in “bargain basement” prices for numerous Asian businesses (such as Daewoo and LG Energy - the largest energy supplier in Korea) and the buyout of several Asian banks.

Posted by: rowan at June 17, 2008 10:46 PM
Comment #255880

Rowan excellent article, great topic , you have outdone yourself. Its apperent to me that the disaster capitalist you refer to are in deed artificially driving up the costs of commodities around the world. Watch what happens to water once they get their way with controlling the supply of water to the world. BTW you are correct, your reading of the current environment is spot on. You can tell by the number of people that cant see whats in front of their eyes, take submariner for example, complete and total refusul to beleive that corporations or capitalism could be less than perfect.

Submariner said “I do believe that these crises are interconnected, but not for the gain of capitialism, rather for the gain of socialism.”

Exactly how does socialsim gain on any of these issues submariner? The corporations write the deregulation laws and then proceed to cause these shortages for the gain of the corporations. As a response to the imagined shortages they say we need to deregulate even more to solve the problem. The governments admit that there isnt a lot they can do. Yet somehow its a boon for socialism? Do you have your partisan blinders on?
I expect that next you will be telling us how the cost of TV sets and electronics has come down drastically and how thankful we should be for this disaster capitalism deregulation frenzy.


One has to wonder how come there are no long lines and stations out of gas if there is such a shortage of oil. One has to wonder why the current refineries are not running at maximum output if such a demand exists. One has to wonder why the oil exploration companies aren’t drilling on the leases that have been let yet continue to harp on ANWAR.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 17, 2008 11:47 PM
Comment #255886

How about this?
US cracks down on oil speculators. Thought they couldn’t do anything. DUH

Posted by: rowan at June 18, 2008 1:08 AM
Comment #255888

Rowan,

That’s a very good article. As to the “perfect storm” the real “storm” as far as it effects Americans is the weakening US $! That didn’t begin in just the past few months.

We are and have been a debtor nation for quite some time, but that debt has more than doubled in the past seven years if you take into consideration everything!

What happened to our ownership nation? Oh yeah, the top 0.5% own the nation! That must be it!

I’ll go out on a limb and predict that we”ll see another oil “glut” by November 1st! Yep, a glut!

Anyone else remember that? And that also drove up gas prices! Too little oil …….. prices go up, Too much oil ……….. prices go up!

So goes capitalism! And nothing will change without someone like Nader at the reins!

Posted by: KansasDem at June 18, 2008 1:43 AM
Comment #255898

I don’t believe in a shock doctrine. What I believe is that without decent regulation and government doing its job, there’s little to stop those who are unscrupulous from profiting off of people in unsavory ways. This doesn’t need to be organized, it just needs to be a tendency of business overall.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 18, 2008 7:59 AM
Comment #255899

Rowan, O.K.

I am reminded of the joke about a businessman seen crying one day. When asked why he was crying, he said, “They took my business!!”. “What happened?”, asked the sympathetic listener. “How did they do that?” “They met my asking price!”

I’m not too sure about the deliberate attack part, but I agree opportunism exists.

Posted by: googlumpus at June 18, 2008 8:42 AM
Comment #255900

submarine,

You are spot on…
Thanks for not being so myopic
and fearful in your analysis…

Government is not the answer…

Posted by: cliff at June 18, 2008 9:48 AM
Comment #255901

cliff-
Government is not an answer, it’s a necessity. Name one civilization that’s gotten along without it and survived.

What I believe is that the government can’t solve problems for everybody, everytime, but there are certain situations where it’s in the public’s general interest to stop cruddy behavior short.

The Conservative market fundamentalists have failed to realize that without some moderate, timely government action at the start of certain problems, situations can escalate to the point where people want and/or need to take more drastic action.

Staving off government action has become the style of big business, but it’s become so, unfortunately, at the expense of many people’s fortunes and well being. Do you think people are going to sit around forever and accept that state of affairs?

No, they won’t. What needs to happen is a redefinition of the relationship between government and business. Government needs to put a serious check on the excesses of business, and business needs to cooperate in this, in order to keep the regulation moderate.

Though I don’t totally buy the theory of the Shock Doctrine, I understand where this kind of paranoia about the motives and actions of business comes from. If all business does is take advantage of people in need, of lesser means, what good reason do people have to believe in the positive character of commerce in this country? Winning nearly every battle on reform and regulation over the last couple decade has put Business on the path to losing the war, both for hearts and minds, and for a friendlier environment.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 18, 2008 10:20 AM
Comment #255911
What needs to happen is a redefinition of the relationship between government and business. Government needs to put a serious check on the excesses of business, and business needs to cooperate in this, in order to keep the regulation moderate.

MMM, was right with you right up until this point…

In fact, it has been a failure of government that is the real problem. It is the goal of business to have no restrictions, that is a given. So govenment puts restrictions on business, as it should. One of those big restrictions is preventing people from perpetrating fraud.

Now, if you look at the home loan issues, the majority of them are a result of fraud on the part of the loan givers, making the people look like better risks than they were to get them approved. Because the government didn’t enforce this regulation properly, it was allowed to put a crimp on our economy and society.

BUT, it just takes a better enforcement of rules and an examination of the current rules to ensure that they are adequate if enforced correctly to solve problems in the future. New overreacting deep regulations, or as you put it ‘a redifinition of the relationship’ is preciesly what we do NOT need and the same type of reaction to our economy as we did with terrorism, overreacting and making things actually worse.

And even worse is the idea that we should use this failure of government as a new advance of government to determine what is ‘excess’ of businesses and intervene. It is abhorrent and the majority of Americans will, I hope, fight this as strongly as we are now trying to fight the infringements foisted upon us in the name of the Wars on Terrorism, Poverty and Drugs.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 18, 2008 11:24 AM
Comment #255915

Rowan, Klein may be seeing patterns in clouds.

The simple fact is, any species that overpopulates this planet is going to create shortages, and many of that species are going to suffer and die. What we are witnessing can be explained just as effectively, logically, and coherently by overpopulation as by the exploitive design of a few of the species.

One must remember the definition of economics when trying to understand economic events. How distribution of finite resources amidst infinite demand is conducted. Many capitalists have argued that what we are witnessing is distribution failures, not greed, shortages, or other manipulations by design. And they would argue, that the opposite of the current system is socialism which invariably makes production and distribution inefficient resulting in shortages and bottlenecks in the distribution system to fill infinite demand for finite supplies and goods.

In other words, similar results would occur whether the world adopts capitalism or socialism, they would argue. There is no question that hoarding of resources, capital for example, is going on as we speak. But, the conservation of wealth by those with it has proved to be a human foible in both capitalist and socialist systems.

The root of the problem as I see it, is population and ever growing demand and expectation for growing resources by a species that has already exceeded the resource capacities of this planet in some ways. The problem is not going to improve unless and until the population decreases significantly.

The earth has ways of dealing with overpopulation. We are witnessing some of those today with the increasing scarcity of fresh water, energy resources, rare metals, clean air, and violence in places with high concentrations of poor populations competing for these finite resources.

In my opinion, at some point, the human race must directly wrestle with two issues at the heart of the problem, population densities and reducing them, and distribution of resources to less population density areas.

Though it is human nature to flock into dense concentrations in cities, regions, and nations for security, access to wide arrays of goods and services, and social needs, nature has intrinsic mechanisms to force such concentrations to diminish. The nature in the human intellect has a tendency to force the focus onto this population density situation as a primary locus for the problem of economics.

China is the only nation on earth today attempting to deal with the source of the problem, population, and they aren’t doing a very good job of it, overall. Yes, they are attempting to halt population growth, but, at the same time, they are promoting population density and concentrations in their cities well beyond the carrying capacity of the natural environments of those urban regions.

And China has become a focal point for every kind of criticism for its attempt to deal with the source of the problem, population numbers. For me, this points to an enormous psychological blind spot in the human races approach to its economic and environmental resources problems.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 18, 2008 11:45 AM
Comment #255923

We have all heard some of our political pundits and practitioners say, “We can’t drill our way out of this energy crisis, but we can tax our way out!”

Isn’t this exactly what cap and trade is all about? Government creates a scarcity so government can sell what it has made scarce? The American people are stupid and will pay the higher taxes with smiles on their faces. Bull crap. When we finally reach a point where we get a yellow slip in our pay envelope that says, “Sorry, your wages failed to pay the tax you owe” maybe some folks will wake up.

I’ve listened to the convoluted thinking of liberals for over fifty years and their tune hasn’t changed. Blame business and seek solutions in government.

Drill here, drill now, pay less.

Death, destruction and despair; people crying everywhere. I can fix it let’s be “fair”. Elect a liberal, get your share.

Posted by: Jim M at June 18, 2008 12:39 PM
Comment #255928

Rowan and submarinesforever,
You are both politically correct. Yet, is not the objective of political debate to find a viable political solution using our Government and Society?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at June 18, 2008 1:40 PM
Comment #255932


At this particular time in history, population reduction is at the bottom of capitalisms to do list. For now, the number one priority is the creation of more mass consumers. As long as capitalism can create more wealth by promoting the squandering of wealth there is no need to change priorities.

Posted by: jlw at June 18, 2008 2:19 PM
Comment #255941

Rhinehold,

While in theory I agree with you, it is still a lack of oversight. If regulations are not enforced, they may as well not exist. Which is the perpetual game. It usually isn’t that there are no regulations, it’s whether a lobby influences how enforcement occurs. A new attitude is usually what does fix this. Your solution is what?

Posted by: googlumpugus at June 18, 2008 4:05 PM
Comment #255947

Rhinehold-
My experience of the main targets of deregulation has been that it is precisely those regulations that get in the way of deceptive and abusive behavior that get targeted and done away with. From the repeal of Glass Steagall, to accounting reform, to energy deregulation, what business has been asking for and Republican/Conservative type governments have been giving them are ways to make profits without going through the effort of becoming more productive.

All too often, though, it’s only the insiders that these abuses and deceptions benefit. Information becomes a means of economic class warfare.

Where that’s not the case, many conservative and Republican efforts at deregulation have been aimed at stripping away protections from unions, consumers, and employees. That people are more or less effectively poorer after years of such benefits being handed to the top is no coincidence.

That this age is starting to resemble the gilded age is not either.

Nor is the reaction that’s starting to bubble up from below. You kick somebody in the nads enough, they’re going to start kicking back, even if they have to start from the floor to do it.

Now don’t get me wrong: I don’t buy into increased government power as a panacea. There are certain places where it just doesn’t pay to do without it, but I’m not of the belief that government can or should do everything.

What I was saying is that people are more likely to overdo re-regulation when they’re totally pissed off, and the more cooperative these people are, the more they can mollify people in society. If they have to justify it in terms of profit motive, simply put it this way: we regulate our own behavior, or folks are going to regulate it for us.

I would encourage Businesses to do that, and only grant further government intrusion where they prove more ineffective than not in controlling themselves.

As far as wars go? It’s a silly approach. Try putting together policies, consistent with the constitution. Try getting at the problem, not treating it like an enemy that can be triumphed over.

In the end, my sensibility is one of balanced interests and moderation in both private and public power.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 18, 2008 5:06 PM
Comment #255948

BTW, apparently NAFTA isn’t so bad afterall…

http://money.cnn.com/2008/06/18/magazines/fortune/easton_obama.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2008061810

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 18, 2008 5:25 PM
Comment #255952

Rowan,
Good article. Whether a person agrees or disagrees with Naomi Klein’s take on things, her book “Shock Doctrine” is a terrific, thought provoking read. I would encourage anyone commenting here to check it out. The book should be available at your local library.

Posted by: phx8 at June 18, 2008 6:24 PM
Comment #255960

J2t2:
Thanks for the question. Hopefully I can clarify my frustrations and beliefs for you.

As I was saying ealier, our current crises involving oil, food and credit have a common denominator. It is of course the inept government we have had over the last few decades. I am referring to members of both Parties so please do not take this as a partisan rant. See if you can discern any leadership in this scenario:

It is common knowledge that the world population has been increasing and this will cause an increased demand in food. Also it is common knowledge that the two most populous nations are industrializing which will cause an increased demand in resources, especially fossil fuels. We have had every opportunity to explore for these vital resources and exploit them before a crisis developes. We choose not to AND in the mean time we decide to convert food to fuel AND at the same time we pay for people NOT to grow more food. All of this in the name of PARTY politics.

Please think about that. We have not had the leadership in our government for two decades to head off crises in two of the most vital areas of our way of life, food and fuel. As a matter of fact, government action/inaction has compounded the problems to a crisis level.

Moving on to another necessity of life, shelter. Much ado has been made about the predatory lending practices for home loans. Some of it has a lot of merit, some not. But keep in mind that Congress put pressure on lenders to make loans available to to many that could not normally afford it. Naturally if you are lending money for profit, you make terms with the higher risk people in a way so that the money lost on defaults will be offset. You end up with a higher home ownership rate, such as we have had, and a higher default rate, that we have had.

My answer to your question,”Exactly how does socialsim gain on any of these issues submariner?” is that our elected officials are inept at long term strategies, especially when they stand in the way of short term PARTY political gains, this leads to larger problems that are “solved” by more government control. You claim that corporations write the deregulation laws, and for sake of arguement I will stipulate to that IF you stipulate that environmental extremists and unions write the regulations. Think about what I am saying. The government we have is willing and has been willing for a long time to take “campaign” money for votes that reflect their duty as donor recipients AND they will mostly vote on Party lines to maintain their status for the donations. The first priorty for the elected is to get re-elected, and what is a better vehicle for that than to make easy decisions that cowtail to their doners but doesnt solve any problems. These people do not deserve the authorty that we have given them.

But as with every so called crisis we face, the government must be the solution. IMHO many “crises” we have faced have been blown out of proportion just so the politicains can say that they “did something”. Off of the top of your head, how many problems has Congress eliminated? How mant have they created? And now, we have Congressmen threatening to socialize…errr…nationalize oil because of the problems that they helped create. Congress did not help create the oil/food crisis”, you think?

Going to healthcare, everyone is railing against the evil HMO’s. Anyone care to guess the origin of the HMO? Congress. The biggest proposed solution to the healthcare crisis? Congress. Retirement income?…the same. Retirement medical insurance?…The same. Education?….the same. Post-grad education?….The same. Property rights vs. tax revenue?…the same. Even with the track record our government has, we continually turn over more of our rights to them as they create the problems. Right now many are willing to give our government absolute control of one seventh of our economy due to a crisis that the government helped create.

Please do not mistake my ramblings as that of an anti-government nut. I am pro capitalism, but government is necessary. But we need one that is willing to do what is best for the country, not best for the donors.

Cliff:

I am not fearful, just cynical. I would rather be able to sink or swim on my own than slowly drown due to a corrupt government.

Posted by: submarinesforever at June 18, 2008 7:18 PM
Comment #255968

“As I was saying ealier, our current crises involving oil, food and credit have a common denominator. It is of course the inept government we have had over the last few decades. I am referring to members of both Parties so please do not take this as a partisan rant.”

Submariner the conservatives have held sway the past 30 years so I dont see your comment as a partisan rant. The leadership of this country has went downhill consistently the past 30 years I wont argue that it hasnt. However there are 2 common denominators to the crisis you mention as the corprorate free market is heavily involved. The only reason the government is involved as I see it is due to the fact that the corporations run our elected representatives through the political bribery system we call lobbiest and their free speech rights.

” See if you can discern any leadership in this scenario:

It is common knowledge that the world population has been increasing and this will cause an increased demand in food. Also it is common knowledge that the two most populous nations are industrializing which will cause an increased demand in resources, especially fossil fuels. We have had every opportunity to explore for these vital resources and exploit them before a crisis developes. We choose not to”

What do you mean we kimosabe? The oil exploration companies are sitting on leases they have not used. What would you have the government do? Lease out additional lands that are out of play until 2012. Are you saying the government should interfere in the free market now? You see submariner what is happening is exactly what Rowan has stated, a false crisis has been created to force the government to open up lands that are not currently available yet are sought after by the corporate oil cartels. Why are you not encouraging the oil companies to explore on the leases they currently have? To blame the government for this is shortsighted.

“AND in the mean time we decide to convert food to fuel AND at the same time we pay for people NOT to grow more food. All of this in the name of PARTY politics.”

The subsidies for ethanol were intended to benefit the farmers in this country while providing an alternate source of fuel. The “food crisis” is being used to manipulate governments into further NAFTA type trade agreements that benefit the large corporate farmers at the expense of the little farmers. (One reason we have such as illegal immigration problem BTW.) If we took trade agreements off the table ( much like Congress did just prior to the start of this “crisis”) what would you have the government do to solve this problem. Why do you think the corporate media tells us the best way to solve the problem is to continue to deregulate trade? I view this as a corportae problem not a government problem. You can continue to blame the government as if this was the ’70s but I choose to put the blame where it belongs.

“Please think about that. We have not had the leadership in our government for two decades to head off crises in two of the most vital areas of our way of life, food and fuel. As a matter of fact, government action/inaction has compounded the problems to a crisis level.”

Submariner I have thought long and hard about this issue. If it were the fault of government, other than the fact we have no government as we knew it (the one where our representatives actually represented we the people not we the corporate entity) I would blame the government. That is the fault of the corporations and “we the people”.
I will finish my response to the rest of your post later but for now let me end with this comment. Im not anti capitalist nor anti free market, I realize though how an unchecked capitalist free market can actually usurp the will of the people and I have watched it happen. To blame government for the excesses of the corporation wont solve the problem.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 19, 2008 1:16 AM
Comment #255987

submarines, your knowledge of HMO’s would fill a thimble, maybe.

The general idea of prepaid medical care dates back to the early part of this century. The first of what we now call HMOs were started in the late 1920s in Elk City, Oklahoma (as a farmers’ cooperative), and in Los Angeles, California (where the Ross-Loos Medical Group offered prepaid services to employees of the Los Angeles County Department of Water and Power and their families.) Over time, more HMO-type systems began to grow, typically organized by businesses and community groups eager to make health care available to their workers and members at costs they could better afford.

In the 1960s, health care costs grew rapidly, and pressure mounted for federal government intervention. In fact, the term “HMO” was developed in the early 1970s as part of a Nixon Administration strategy to promote the growth of prepaid plans as a way of improving the capacity and efficiency of the nation’s health system. New federal legislation, the 1973 Health Maintenance Organization Act, recognized the promise of HMOs and encouraged their growth nationwide by removing legal impediments to their development. By the end of 1978, there were more than 200 HMOs spread over 37 states.
Source: HAP

Not Congress Sub, a Republican President. Facts are such annoying things, aren’t they? I think it was a damned great idea, which got perverted along the way.

Another aspect of his plan, and this was crucial, was that HMO’s would endeavor to help people STAY healthy, quit smoking, lose weight, exercise, diet counseling, all of which would have helped to control and contain costs. The private sector quickly realized healthy people don’t contribute to profitability in the health care industry. And the perversion of Nixon’s plan commenced in earnest under the Reagan Bush years.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 19, 2008 3:57 AM
Comment #255991

David:

It is so nice to see that when a Democratic led Legislature passes a bill in both houses, and it is signed into law by a Republican, that it becomes the Republican’s fault if you are a Democrat, and the Democrats fault if you are a Republican. This is the PARTY politics that I have been referring to. Thank you for helping make my point on that. Both PARTIES bear the responsibility for the mess, and we are just as culpable when we fall for the Party line.

You said,” submarines, your knowledge of HMO’s would fill a thimble, maybe.”. Sir, we can go down that road if you want to, but I urge caution. I can definately play that game if you wish, but I am trying to be better than that when I share my ideas and perspectives. I would hope that an Editor on a blog site would at least encourage the free flow of ideas in the stead of belittling the people he disagrees with.

Posted by: submarinesforever at June 19, 2008 5:52 AM
Comment #256005

Rhinehold,

New overreacting deep regulations, or as you put it ‘a redifinition of the relationship’ is preciesly what we do NOT need and the same type of reaction to our economy as we did with terrorism, overreacting and making things actually worse.

For once, I agree with you.
Unfortunatly, History show that when confronted to a crisis, the smart, clever, measured reaction NEVER comes first.

Human loves failure. It’s in its nature. It’s the natural process, in fact. Failures over failures over failures.

The good days, it goes toward a “better” failure stack, the bad ones toward a “worser” one.

Question is, which stack is today?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 19, 2008 9:29 AM
Comment #256006
That is the fault of the corporations and “we the people”.

Right on, j2t2.

And it’s perfectly logic, as both wanted and got less government.

Today, the one who blame government of business failure while they do all they could to push governement out of their business sphere is an hypocrite. And a coward, incapable to face it own error and failure.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 19, 2008 9:35 AM
Comment #256007

jlw,

At this particular time in history, population reduction is at the bottom of capitalisms to do list. For now, the number one priority is the creation of more mass consumers. As long as capitalism can create more wealth by promoting the squandering of wealth there is no need to change priorities.

Contrary to wealth, we can’t squander more than one earth. That’s a limit that capitalism will hit soon. Probably did, already. One could even see this situation behind the world crisis unfolding right in front our eyes.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 19, 2008 9:41 AM
Comment #256009

“Moving on to another necessity of life, shelter. Much ado has been made about the predatory lending practices for home loans. Some of it has a lot of merit, some not. But keep in mind that Congress put pressure on lenders to make loans available to to many that could not normally afford it. Naturally if you are lending money for profit, you make terms with the higher risk people in a way so that the money lost on defaults will be offset. You end up with a higher home ownership rate, such as we have had, and a higher default rate, that we have had.”

Submariner from this site:
http://seekingalpha.com/article/69239-credit-market-mayhem-and-the-s-l-crisis-drawing-parallels

I offer this response to highlight the difference between the S&L debacle of the 80’s and the current crisis:
“Unlike the S&Ls, who had the FDIC playing the role of enabler by guaranteeing deposits and tacitly encouraging the growth in the commercial and industrial development markets of the 1980s, Wall Street took the lead on this recent mess by manufacturing a trillion dollar subprime industry, and then laying off that risk on a multitude of SIVs, CDOs, CLOs and whatnot.”

Now we can blame Congress for deregulation and lack of oversite cause Lord knows the 108th and the 109th were the worst of the worst and marched in complete and total lockstep to the Administrations free market and deregualtion frenzy. I liken it to this situation: The young kid gets a piece of candy from Mom and then Dad, and then gets another from each,and then goes to big brother and sister for more Candy. Then over to Grandmother for a couple more pieces and then lastly to Grandfather for a couple more. They all give him candy and then of course the kid gets sick and blames grandfather for being sick. Then everyone starts pointing fingers at grandfather while forgetting their own actions.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 19, 2008 11:00 AM
Comment #256052

“My answer to your question,”Exactly how does socialsim gain on any of these issues submariner?” is that our elected officials are inept at long term strategies, especially when they stand in the way of short term PARTY political gains, this leads to larger problems that are “solved” by more government control.”

Speaking of inept at long term strategies with no mention of the corporations and their next quarter’s results outlook on things is hardly fair Submariner. I understand that especially in the last 7 years you can make a strong case for inept and incompetent government. I wont agrue against that. However I will remind you that this ineptitude is a result of we the people wanting less regulation and government oversight. We got what we asked for. But more government control isnt socialism its responsible government. Its not the government that is creating these “crisis’s” its capitalism without regulation. Socialism is a bygone threat that is used to create fear and compliance in the people of this country.

What long term strategies should the government be responsible for submariner when it comes to the economy? Energy policy has remained essentially the same this past 30 years as the memory of the late 70’s OPEC crisis faded. It was reinforced in secret by Bush Cheney and the oil companies early in this century. But again that was because we got exactly what we asked for a government ran by the corporations, for the corporations. The corporations demanded deregulation and an end to government interference and we the people voted for the candidates that promised us this “freedom”.

” You claim that corporations write the deregulation laws, and for sake of arguement I will stipulate to that IF you stipulate that environmental extremists and unions write the regulations.”

I have seen statements from congress in the past stating that some laws were written by lobbyist. I havent seen anthing that said extremist and unions write the regulations do you have any backup for that claim that is within the last decade? Seems the unions dont hold much sway anymore.


“Think about what I am saying. The government we have is willing and has been willing for a long time to take “campaign” money for votes that reflect their duty as donor recipients AND they will mostly vote on Party lines to maintain their status for the donations. The first priorty for the elected is to get re-elected, and what is a better vehicle for that than to make easy decisions that cowtail to their doners but doesnt solve any problems. These people do not deserve the authorty that we have given them.”

I agree with you submariner. but where do you think the money comes from? The corporations mostly. Special interest groups of all kinds also have a hand in it. The difference between us is that I beleive that we are seeing “false crises” being used to manipulate our elected reps and we the people. I see the main motivators as the corporations and wealthy not the government. I see the government as merely a tool of the corporations and the wealthy. IMHO the real issue is how with out voting we have changed our system of government from a republic to what is being called a democratic capitalism form of government. When we allow an ecomonic system to be our form of government one has to wonder. While democratic capitalism may sound good it appears to be just another name for fascism to me.

“But as with every so called crisis we face, the government must be the solution. IMHO many “crises” we have faced have been blown out of proportion just so the politicains can say that they “did something”. Off of the top of your head, how many problems has Congress eliminated? How mant have they created? And now, we have Congressmen threatening to socialize…errr…nationalize oil because of the problems that they helped create. Congress did not help create the oil/food crisis, you think?”

Once again yes at the request of the corporations their elected representatives did have a small part in inventing crises where none were before. However you can blame the puppet I will blame the guy pulling the strings.

To solve the problem will require more than government control or socialism as you refer to it, it will require that whatever the corporations want to end this and future crises must be given to them. Cant you see through this?

The loser in all of this is of course the people of this country and the world. When the invisible hand of the free market is around the throat of the governments of the world everyone will choke. That is not my idea of liberty.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 19, 2008 4:39 PM
Comment #256062

J2t2:

Thanks for the expanded reply. You have a well thought out positions and we do agree on far more than we disagree. I do have a few things I wish to respond to with the intentions of clarifying my posistion, I will discuss them as much as needed, but we will probably still have areas of disagreements. There is no harm nor shame in that. I do appreciate the tone of the discussion we are having.

You said,”Speaking of inept at long term strategies with no mention of the corporations and their next quarter’s results outlook on things is hardly fair Submariner.”. I do not mean to imply, nor do I think I have, that capitalism should be unrestrained and unregulated. IMHO there is a need for government to regulate and control potential abuses and manipulations of markets. My point is that in my adult life congress has utterly failed to remotely find a balance, mostly due to votes being sold for campaign support.

You said,” Socialism is a bygone threat that is used to create fear and compliance in the people of this country”. I could not disagree with you more. IMHO socialism, communism and facism will always be a threat to the freedoms that we enjoy. And there are others including uncontrolled capitalism and extreme environmentalism. But as to the oil “crisis”, there are calls and threats by Congressmen to nationalize the oil buisness and the refineries so that the government can control the production and flow of fuel. There is a growing sentiment that the government must take over the healthcare industry and I believe this to be inevitable. Good, bad or indifferent, this puts the government in charge of over one-seventh of our economy alone.

You said,”What long term strategies should the government be responsible for submariner when it comes to the economy?” Again I choose to use oil and farm subsidies. The Congress has failed for decades to establish any meaningful energy policy. IMHO that would be a start. Currently the Democrats closest solution is to punnish the oil companies by a windfall profits tax. The Rebublicans solution is to drill in ANWAR and offshore. Both have populists support, but neither will solve the problems we face UNLESS it can be pieced in a long term multifaceted strategy.

You said,”I have seen statements from congress in the past stating that some laws were written by lobbyist. I havent seen anthing that said extremist and unions write the regulations do you have any backup for that claim that is within the last decade? Seems the unions dont hold much sway anymore.”. Are all lobbyest corporate? What about PETA, the NRA, Greenpeace, AARP, and Moveon.org? What is the indication that the NEA has no sway in education leglislation, especially on the state level?

You said,”However you can blame the puppet I will blame the guy pulling the strings.”. If the puppet is sentient, I blame not only both, but the people paying to see the show. We all have our roles in this political fiasco and we all have our roles in the solution.

You said,”The loser in all of this is of course the people of this country and the world. When the invisible hand of the free market is around the throat of the governments of the world everyone will choke. That is not my idea of liberty.” I agree. But my idea of liberty does not include the government taking control of daily life…from cradle to grave.

I did notice that I did not give a full response to your first post to me. That was not intended and I will rectify it in you wish. Again, Thanks for the dialogue.

Posted by: submarinesforever at June 19, 2008 6:13 PM
Comment #256067

submarines, I forgive your reading deficiency and overlooking the passage which says the HMO’s were planned and developed from within the Nixon White House. Congress approved. Congress was not, as your first diatribe indicated, the instigator nor designer of HMO’s. That was a Republican Presidents’s doing.

And your comment’s logic deficiency extends further when saying “that it becomes the Republican’s fault if you are a Democrat, and the Democrats fault if you are a Republican. This is the PARTY politics that I have been referring to. Thank you for helping make my point on that.”

I did not blame Nixon for the program or its design, if you will read objectively, I praised him for it. You are responding to fantasized labels you attach to people, rather than what they actually say.

That’s what I am here for. To keep the facts from being overlooked or spun away. You’re welcome!

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 19, 2008 7:30 PM
Comment #256070

Let’s start with a simple observation. For more than a hundred years U.S. based big business has been exploiting the “Third World.” Let’s say somehow big business has morphed into Multi National Cartels. When the powers that be have totally drained the Third World what can be done?
Voila! Turn the United States of North America intl a third world failed state. Mission accomplished.

Posted by: Stephen HInes at June 19, 2008 9:05 PM
Comment #256084

Hey submariner!

Are you retired from the sewer-pipe world? Me, I’m retired from what you considered the target world, and I’m sure you know what I mean.

BTW - before you read further, please bear in mind that

And if you’re retired Navy, that means you have Universal Health Care - sure, we call it ‘TriCare’, but it is by Neo-Con definition ‘socialized health care’. It’s good enough for us retired military, but some seem to think it’s too good for single mothers working two jobs just to meet the rent and put food on the table.

If you don’t like Universal Health Care (UHC), consider this: America is FORTY-FIFTH on the list of countries by life expectancy. ALL OTHER NATIONS above us on the list DO have UHC in one form or another…except for Bosnia and Jordan, who are 42nd and 40th, respectively. Nearly all the free industrialized nations of western Europe are on that list above us.

Would UHC bankrupt us? Hm. Japan’s had UHC for a long time now (Germany’s had it since the late 1800’s), and Japan pays about HALF per capita that which we ALREADY pay for non-UHC…and this is despite the fact that the Japanese go to the doctor about three times as much as we do - thereby taking care of the little problems before they become BIG (and hideously expensive) problems.

Submariner, UHC is a good thing. A majority of doctors want it, even though they will make less money with it. A majority of nurses want it. A majority of AMERICANS as a whole want it. Who doesn’t want it? HMO’s, Pharma giants, health insurance companies…and the Republicans on their payroll.

You also said, “IMHO socialism, communism and facism will always be a threat to the freedoms that we enjoy.”

Would that mean that you’re against the Bush admin’s attacks on our Constitutional rights of protection against unreasonable search and seizure, habeus corpus, and imprisonment without trial?

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 20, 2008 1:09 AM
Comment #256085

nuts.

Please ignore the third sentence in my post immediately previous to this one.

(Got to remember to preview first….)

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 20, 2008 1:10 AM
Comment #256087

It is fine to disagree and to express your opinion. That’s what makes WatchBlog a great site. It is not acceptable to engage in personal attacks.

Posted by: rowan at June 20, 2008 1:32 AM
Comment #256108

Rowan -

I assume your post about personal attacks is for me, for my ‘sewer-pipe’ statement.

That - and the subsequent ‘target’ phrase - are inside jokes among Navy veterans. Surface sailors often refer to submarines as ‘sewer-pipes’ (and if you’d ever smelled (as I have) what happens when a CHT pipe bursts, you’d know what I mean), and submariners refer to us surface sailors as ‘surface pukes’ and to our ships as ‘targets’ (for obvious reasons).

It’s all in fun, just like between sailors and Marines. We’ll call each other every name in the book and even make up a few on the fly, but it really is all in fun, if crudely so. I can assure you that, if ‘submariner’ is a submarine vet, he took no offense, probably smiled a bit, and is readying a scathing response to the surface puke that butted in where he didn’t belong.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 20, 2008 5:13 AM
Comment #256111

Rowan and Glenn:

Glenn is absolutely correct on the sewer pipe reference. That is a “term of endearment” used in our previous world. There is absolutely nothing offensive to me in that statement. And yes I did smile a little and Glenn has earned the right to gouge me some on the submarines theme. I know that to those on the outside it may appear to be a personal attack, but that couold not be further from the truth. Rowan I do appreciate your diligence on the personal attack issue.

Glenn:

I am currently sitting around, drinking my coffee and getting ready for work. I really hope to give you a full response today or tomorrow. I am not retired from the Navy, but am 30% service connected due to a very nasty knee injury. Drink to the foam, mate!


Posted by: submarinesforever at June 20, 2008 5:39 AM
Comment #256115

David R. Remer:

You said,”submarines, I forgive your reading deficiency and overlooking the passage which says the HMO’s were planned and developed from within the Nixon White House. Congress approved. Congress was not, as your first diatribe indicated, the instigator nor designer of HMO’s. That was a Republican Presidents’s doing.” Sir, it is not my reading skills that need forgiving, I am quite literate. Apparently it is my writing and editing skills that need to be forgiven.

My statement that you referred to is “Going to healthcare, everyone is railing against the evil HMO’s. Anyone care to guess the origin of the HMO? Congress. The biggest proposed solution to the healthcare crisis? Congress. Retirement income?…the same. Retirement medical insurance?…The same. Education?….the same. Post-grad education?….The same. Property rights vs. tax revenue?…the same. Even with the track record our government has, we continually turn over more of our rights to them as they create the problems. Right now many are willing to give our government absolute control of one seventh of our economy due to a crisis that the government helped create.” The sentence in question should have read,” Anyone care to guess the origin of the HMO CRISIS?”. I apologize for the mistake, I should have caught it and had you not addressed me like I am an illeterate fool I would have clarified the error ealier.

Disagree with me all you want. Show me where I am wrong, I learn that way. But Sir, if the you insist in on belittlement and insults as part of your arguement, please do not address me.

Posted by: submarinesforever at June 20, 2008 6:09 AM
Comment #256118

Submarinesforever,
Why David may be right about how the policies and practices got put into place, I wonder if you both can remember why Our Parents and Grandparents agreed to put such a Monster in place?

For why a brat at the time, I do remember something about home-made remedies, cures, and other Ignorance even in the Medical Profession, itself that lead to the AMA we know today. How about you?

Yes, America does need a Health Care System that is fair and equal to the Consumer and Medical Companies. Yet, seeing that the Insurance Companies are the only one making money I do believe that the Left and Right of Society can come to some mutual agreement for letting the vast majority of Americans talk with the Medical Professionals without costing an arm and a leg.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at June 20, 2008 7:29 AM
Comment #256156

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of discussion of the oil situation on this particular thread. Perhaps because it has been discussed to death already, but I just got this in an email from a friend, so thought I’d throw it in here….to see if it strikes any nerves……

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/19/world/middleeast/19iraq.html?em&ex=1214107200&en=ca7e8b58a63bb7fd&ei=5087%0A

Posted by: janedoe at June 20, 2008 1:38 PM
Comment #256173

Rowan:

Not so sure what you mean by disaster. Just to bring balance to this picture, let me give a a couple of statistics.

First of all world GDP growth has been way above average.

Look here:

http://indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=xx&v=66

This is by far higher than American’s growth rate of the Clinton years. So the World has been in a boom.

Second. The American economy is expanding. All though the housing and financial sectors are clearly in a deep recession, the over all economy is still growing.

Three. World poverty rates are declining. (makes sense when the world has a mature economic boom going on).

Point four: It is NORMAL in economic booms especially at the end of the booms for inflation to return and for raw materials to become scarce.

Although there is much to unsettle a person’s nerves going on, what is happening from a global scale is classic. On a world scale, since economic growth has been above the mean for some time, one should consider it NORMAL for world gdp growth to trend below the mean for a period to give raw material producers time to catch up.

While we are all concerned about the “change” world, I am happy to report that abject poverty rates have delined drastically during this world economic boom to the extent that many of our world’s poor are now able to compete in purchasing fuel and food!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at June 20, 2008 2:24 PM
Comment #256188

Henry:

I wonder if you both can remember why Our Parents and Grandparents agreed to put such a Monster in place?

Taking your statement at face value, it is equally fair to wonder if our grandchildren will one day try to remember why we agreed to put the future system in place.

The answer I suppose is that in that period of time the system looked very good. I would argue that then capitalism looked like a breath of fresh air compared to the domination of socialism.

The problem of capitalism however is that if run unchecked creates imbalances that the moral find difficult to bear. (Slavery, child labor).

Now with the affluent bidding up medical cost clear out of sight, it is time to shift directions and protect the weakest among us by requiring the affluent to subsidize in greater amounts the health needs of the poor and young.

As an affluent person, instead of raising my taxes, my first choice would be for the government to end my subsidy of medicare when I retire. I have a very hard time morally justifying subsidizing medicare for those earning over $100,000 in retirement income when so many of our young adults have no coverage at all.

I would appreciate being able to be in the medicare program for the group discount. I am an American after all. I would just prefer to bare the full cost myself, and have those tax dollars used for the fnancially weakest among us.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at June 20, 2008 3:37 PM
Comment #256200

Glenn:

First I would like to say thanks for the decades of service. When I had just gotten discharged, it was “CHAMPUS” if my memory serves me. I am sure that regardless of the acronym, “TRICARE” is just probably the updated version. No, I do not see that as “socialized” health care. IMHO it would be classified as a retirement benefit paid by the government. I will say that I have done very little research on TRICARE, so I am curious if you are limited to using limited approved medical facilities and or Just the VA system. If you wou rather that I do the research, I understand.

I do believe that the VA Medical System is the closest thing to socialized medicine that I have encountered. Over the last 15-20 years it has improved, but it is still lacking in so many ways. While in the Navy, I had one major surgery that included an ACL reconstruction. The LCL and MCL were also ruptured and the patella was dislocated and well, I had a mess on my hands. I refused to allow my knee to be fused, but after a year of LIMDU and intensive therapy, I was able to walk again and returned to sea duty. During my first patrol back I partially tore my ACL again and accepted a medical board.

I am discharged and promptly awarded 30% Service Connected Compensation from the VA. I qualify for VOC REHAB and enroll at a major university( I am a die hard and life long Auburn fan, so please don’t ask me which university, it is too painful …lol). I start experiencing major instability with my knee along with extreme swelling and pain. I go to the VAMC Birmingham and am told that I need a MRI….waiting list for 30% SC is 6 months. That is just to do a test. After the test, there is a 6 month waiting list for ‘Scope.

I am sharing this so that you may know that I have participated in socialized health care in America and have witnessed what it is like when budget is the priorty over treatment. I do want to add that this is in no way an indictment on the care givers, I met with some fine doctors, nurses and aides, but their hands were bound. I simply have no faith in the politicians that are responsible for the regulation and control of that system. I may be wrong, but I do not think the VA has ever been fully funded.

You asked,” Would that mean that you’re against the Bush admin’s attacks on our Constitutional rights of protection against unreasonable search and seizure, habeus corpus, and imprisonment without trial?”. My answer is that IMHO President Bush and Congress both mishandled the situation by being “too smart by half”. IF a formal war had been declared on Afghanistan, Al Quieda and Iraq, then the “detainees” could have been held indefinately as POW’s. Do I blame President Bush for trying to have it both ways? Yes I do. I will also say the same about Congress. I would hasten to add that there are many more issues, some of which are very valid, some are overblown for political purposes only.

Henry Schlatman:

Thank you for your response. I must say that apparently I am allowing my prejudices and frustrations interfere with my ability to communicate. I can see where my initial post is more like a rant and even as David described it as a diatribe. I hope and think that I have at least shown the proper respect for the initial author, if not I will offer a public apology to any that I have offended. But I see where I do tend to vent in a rambling way that does not clearly convey my message. IMHO I do a lot better when someone answers/questions me in a respectful manner. Thank you very much sir for bringing that to my attention. I will definately work to improve.

To indirectly answer your questions, I will say that I am not opposed to social safety nets and am not intending to rail against them per se. What I am railing against is:
1. The administration of these programs and the lack of will of Congresses and Presidents to show the leadership to make these programs viable and sustainable.
2. The further continuance of the American people to turn over huge sections of our economy to the very same people that cannot manage our current crises.
3. People that are willing to continually reward these people just for PARTY and short term political gains.

I no more believe that unbridled capitalism is the solution to our social, political and national security ills than the government is the total solution. We need a balance, but until we change the priorities of the office holders by making them look for long term solutions in the stead of short term power, we will never achieve that balance. In the mean time, we just enable the malfeasance that Congress has displayed AND give them more control of our daily lives, all the while wonder what went wrong. If you desire more direct answers I will gladly give them to you.

Posted by: submarinesforever at June 20, 2008 7:38 PM
Comment #256207

submarines, I corrected your mistaken statement as if you were literate and intelligent. But, you weren’t going to have any of that, as you replied with:

It is so nice to see that when a Democratic led Legislature passes a bill in both houses, and it is signed into law by a Republican, that it becomes the Republican’s fault if you are a Democrat, and the Democrats fault if you are a Republican. This is the PARTY politics that I have been referring to. Thank you for helping make my point on that.

I didn’t help you make your point. Which was a cheap shot in the first place. You rejected mine out of hand simply because it didn’t jive with your point, but, mine was evidenced, yours was not.

Hence, it seemed apparent that either your reading of the evidence was flawed, and further, you attempted quite contrarily to the empirical evidence of my statement, to accuse me of trashing a Republican president, when in fact, I praised Nixon for the HMO concept.

It was obvious from your other writings that you are intelligent, so, the only other apparent explanation for your failure to comprehend what was being written was a deficiency in reading what was being written. Seemed and objective enough statement in light of the facts of the interchange, and not an insult, but a statement of fact. Which you now agree to. You misread what was being written, and or overlooked it.

I think it is important when I feel insulted to verify whether it is I, or another, who is causing that feeling. As in double checking and rereading what I thought made me feel insulted. Often this double check proves I wasn’t in fact insulted, I was simply corrected, which is not insulting at all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 20, 2008 8:50 PM
Comment #256256

David:

Thanks for the response. I do not mind being corrected, nor do I mind banter. I give and take a lot worse with people I know. But with someone I neither know nor have a major commonality with, different rules apply. Different rules apply in public or serious situations as far as I am concerned.

Your first reply to me started with “submarines, your knowledge of HMO’s would fill a thimble, maybe.” and your second started with “submarines, I forgive your reading deficiency”. Now I will accept that you meant no insult, but your opening statements are easily percieved as an attack on the intelligence of the messenger, not on the message. IMHO this is especially true when it is your response to someone. It may be just a personality clash or debate style difference which is fine. I will accept it as that and say no harm, no foul. I will also try to keep in mind that you are not intending insults in the future.

Posted by: submarinesforever at June 21, 2008 5:58 AM
Comment #256259

subs, I do need to apologize for the “your knowledge of HMO’s would fill a thimble” comment. There is no question that it should have read, “the knowledge of HMO’s contained in your comment would fill a thimble. I obviously have no way of knowing what your knowledge level is regarding HMO’s, and I apologize for that inappropriate choice of wording.

The knowledge conveyed in the comment is what I was responding to but my response was ill chosen and indicated otherwise. I was of course referring to your comment’s depiction of Congress being the responsible party for HMO’s.

My apology. I enjoy and agree with many of your comments. I save time and carpal tunnel syndrome by not often responding to comments I agree with.

I can also see how the “reading deficiency” comment could be taken personally. It was however, a reference to your comment’s failure to acknowledge what I had actually written previously, and implying that I was blaming a Republican instead of what I actually wrote, which was Praise for Nixon on his promoting the HMO concept.

I think we can agree, however, that what happened to HMO’s after implementation was not what most folks had hoped for, including Nixon and Congress. The idea was to emphasize well care and keeping people healthy to hold costs down.

Didn’t take long though, for the insurance companies and health care deliverers to figure out that there is more profit in sick people than in healthy people, and the entire concept of Health Maintenance Organizations became very perverted, driving costs up, not down.

Many subtle techniques were adopted by these organizations to pervert the system, beginning with overbooking of patients, creating long waits in the waiting rooms, and thereby discouraging patients from attending annual check-ups. Small subtle change, with long reaching consequences all to the profitable benefit of the health care deliverers.

The Pharmaceutical leaned on the Congress to directly market Rx meds to the public. Another technique which research showed them would drive hypochondriacs out of their homes and daily routines and into their offices with the marketed symptomologies and demand for the latest medicine being advertised. Perverted.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 21, 2008 7:51 AM
Comment #256282

Historically, “socialism, communism and fascism” were all products of a revolution in Europe in 1848, after a period of reactionary government that followed the end of the Revolutionary era. It also resulted in many immigrants coming here from places where the reactionaries remained in control. All these types of government have been more successful and had more popular support when allied with a religion, rather than opposed to it.

I think HMOs started with Kaiser in California in the Nixon era, as an alternative to socialized medicine. The first I ever heard of an HMO was from a relation who was an FDIC inspector. They thought it was great initially, until they had a daughter who was born with a heart defect, and required extensive surgery.

Bubbles in the economy have always been a natural product of speculation. One problem here is that the real estate and construction industry don’t ever want to let their bubble burst, and are generally supported by both parties in keeping prices high. It’s like when we were supposed to have tax simplification. This same group would never let that happen, if it involved giving up the mortgage deduction.

Posted by: ohrealy at June 21, 2008 12:34 PM
Comment #256284

“My point is that in my adult life congress has utterly failed to remotely find a balance, mostly due to votes being sold for campaign support.”

Well its likely your adult life has been during the days of the Reagan revolution and sunsequent fall out. Rowans article speaks directly to the tatics used to accomplish this goal of the far right. You do realize the far right has stated that the federal government should be reduced to a size that it can be drowned in a bath tub. The “something for nothing crowd” as I think of them wants only certain functions of the government to exist that they feel are constitutional to reduce spending. Not a bad goal but so far this ideology has lead to debt and defict spending. Using SS as an example we constantly hear that it is in dire peril and will sink us. It needs to be done away with as Wall Street can better serve the needs of the people (Obviously this assumption is ridiculous on its face). However because the Wall Street crowd can see the opportunity for tremendous profits from this move they exert money and influence to convince us that we should clamor for this change to avert the pending disaster. Of course all that needs to be done is to revert back to the law that made the SS fund seperate from the general fund and save the extra income to avert the trouble in years to come. But the problem with that is the ubercapitalist will not be able to exploit the situation for financial gain they will have to compete for our dollars(and you know how bad competition is for capitalism). So we are subjected to the constant bombardment of mis-information from the ubercapitalist of the looming disaster and the need to act.
A lot of us have been taken in by this believing that government is so screwed up that it could not possibly handle the SS program. They then put pressure on what we call our elected representatives to put the fox in charge of the chickens. As is the case with most issues roughly 50 % of our reps agree with this and the other 50% dont, so nothing gets done. Now we are back to the puppet or the puppeteer. Disaster capitalism works by not working.

“You said,” Socialism is a bygone threat that is used to create fear and compliance in the people of this country”. I could not disagree with you more. IMHO socialism, communism and facism will always be a threat to the freedoms that we enjoy.”

Well submariner if you add in fascism I will have to agree with you. Of course fascim IMHO has a new name and its called democratic capitalism. Although we dont get to vote it sure sounds sweet. Socialism as in “gov’t owned business” is a thing of the past. Democratic capitalism as in “Business owns Gov’t” is the new threat. We are seeing it today as our form of government. Although we vote for our representatives we dont pick them. They do the bidding of the corporate lobbiest and to a lesser degree the special interest groups. Of course as Americans we wouldnt sit still for this so they have a need to be covert about their actions. What works, disaster capitalism.

“And there are others including uncontrolled capitalism and extreme environmentalism. But as to the oil “crisis”, there are calls and threats by Congressmen to nationalize the oil buisness and the refineries so that the government can control the production and flow of fuel.”

One representative doesnt constitute a call to socialism does it? What do you think our representatives should do to solve this “crisis”? Years ago when corporations were smaller and their was competition the “invsible hand of the free market may have worked but will it work today? Not when its the invisible hand that is causing the problem. Conventional thinking would say that we need to use less to decrease demand and/or increase supply to meet demand. Yet little is done on either end by our elected reps. Why? first of all because they have little ability to do so. Second its much easier to cause a “crisis” to get the American people on the side of the oil companies and open ourselves up to exploitation of the commons for the profit of the few.

Conservation, why that just gets in the way of progress. Consevation, that not the American way. Conservation, why should I have to do without, its my right to do as I choose. Does any of this sound familiar?


“There is a growing sentiment that the government must take over the healthcare industry and I believe this to be inevitable. Good, bad or indifferent, this puts the government in charge of over one-seventh of our economy alone.”

Well most other countries seem to be able to adapt to the government having such a share in the GDP. Its obvious the free market has caused the health care problem and will not be its solution.

“What is the indication that the NEA has no sway in education leglislation, especially on the state level?”

I dont think NCLB was supported by the NEA so that would be one indication.

“But my idea of liberty does not include the government taking control of daily life…from cradle to grave.”

No one wants the government to take control of their daily life from cradle to grave. Do you see a “crisis” coming on here? A “let the free market continue to screw you on health care or the government will take control of all aspects of your life” crisis? This is exactly how we are manipulated submariner. Another good one is “its socialism its socialism”. This exaggeration is used to get around 50% of us to be fearful. Very effective when you hear it day in and day out on radio and TV. Makes you want to fight against this evil government and single payer healthcare to keep those evil government types from controlling our every move. We usually dont stop to consider that its blatently false or has only a smidgeon of truth in it. We dont stop to think that this message is coming from those that are currently exploiting healthcare for their own personal gain. Isnt that because they never really say it they let others do it for them. When communist Cuba has a better healthcare system than us its time to think real hard about it.

A question for you. You served in the Navy which is in one of the most socialist branches of the government. In your experience did you come across a lot of evil people whose intent was to harm the American people and to control their daily lives?

Posted by: j2t2 at June 21, 2008 12:45 PM
Comment #256303

David:

Thanks for your reply. Your words were kind and I know that you would not intentionally hurl insults. I apologize for my reaction. You do have my respect. We can and should move on.

BTW we do agree on the evolution of HMOs. I believe that Congress should have acted promptly to correct the problems.

Ohrealy:

You said,”Bubbles in the economy have always been a natural product of speculation. One problem here is that the real estate and construction industry don’t ever want to let their bubble burst, and are generally supported by both parties in keeping prices high. It’s like when we were supposed to have tax simplification. This same group would never let that happen, if it involved giving up the mortgage deduction.” I agree with you completely but just want to add that sooner or later all bubbles WILL burst and the more we try to prevent that from happening by applying short term “stop-gap” measures, the worse the impact will be. Both PARTIES are selling us out on this.

j2t2:

My “adult” life did in fact start during the Reagan years he was my first Commander in Chief. I have heard the man speak and I do hold him in the hightest regards. I do believe that government should be as minimal as possible, but that does by no measure mean that I think it allow unbridled capitalism.

I do think that SS should be privatized. I am prejudiced due to the fact that I am diciplined enough to live within my means and invest for retirement. I have earned more from my 401k than I will see from my SS taxes. And to top it off, I and my heirs have a legal right to my 401k, but not my SS.

You said,” Well submariner if you add in fascism I will have to agree with you.” Sir, I did include facism in my point. The far left and right ideologies IMHO are equal threats to freedom, and if examined closely are very similar.

You said,” One representative doesnt constitute a call to socialism does it?” No it does not. But on seperate occasions more than Representative has made those kinds of comments, and that really does bother me. Are they the majority? No. Are most if not all of them in the majority PARTY? Yes, and that does concern me greatly. I am not trying to be vague on the particulars and will look it up and post the links if you wish.

You said,” Well most other countries seem to be able to adapt to the government having such a share in the GDP. Its obvious the free market has caused the health care problem and will not be its solution.” I disagree with that statement. IMHO you can take the former Soviet Union or Cuba as an example of governments having total control of the GDP and compare the results. Please keep in mind that I advocate for a middle ground, well founded with a responsive government. I fear more government control because IMHO the more the government controls(or owns) the fewer freedoms we have. The solution IMHO will be a mix of a free market and government regulation to prevent abuses from the corporations and a loss of freedom to the government.

You posed a point by saying,” No one wants the government to take control of their daily life from cradle to grave. Do you see a “crisis” coming on here? A “let the free market continue to screw you on health care or the government will take control of all aspects of your life” crisis?”. In the stead of repeating myself, I would refer you to my comment #256200 that I made to Glenn about the VA medical system. As far as health care goes, I am fully aware what ceding my rights and responsibilities to a government system can lead to. Had I not made the decision to take care of myself with minimal government help, I strongly feel that I would not be a productive member of society. If not for the “right” to make the difficult choices to provide for myself what I thought I needed, I really wonder if I would have the ability to walk today.

When I look at the totality of SS and government health care, I believe that due to my willingness to do what it takes to provide for my self and my family in our open market, I come out far ahead in the open market. I am gald that there were mechanisms to help me when I was in need, but I am also glad that those mechanisms were not my only option.

Posted by: submarinesforever at June 21, 2008 8:17 PM
Comment #256309

j2t2:

You said,” A question for you. You served in the Navy which is in one of the most socialist branches of the government. In your experience did you come across a lot of evil people whose intent was to harm the American people and to control their daily lives?”. I overlooked this in my reply to you. “They” say that the mind is the first thing to go, but in my case, it did not make the top ten.

I would need to know what connotations you mean by socialism. I am aware of the definition, and do not see the Navy as socialist at all. As a matter of fact, I went to dictionary.com and cannot find a definition that remotely describes either the culture or organization of any branch of the United States Military. I do apologize for not being able to comprehend the premise for your question, but from what I know I disagree with it. If you will clairify your statement, I will give you my honest opinion.

But as to the quality of people I have personally met in the Navy, I would call only one evil. I hope that person never sees the outside of a wall again. I know this is very much off of the origional topic, but since you asked, please indulge me a long answer that is based only on personal experience and may not be indictive of the entire military.

Most of the people that I served with were not the “Duty, Honor, Country” type. Most joined either due to training or incentives such as enlistment bonuses, GI Bill retirement and “free medical” for life. Quite frankly, I was not in the “Duty, Honor, Country” group. Most of us had no clue as to what we volunteered for. Hell, submarine duty paid $135/month as an E-4 with less than two years service. That is $135/month!!! Sign me up!!! At this point, I strongly recommend reading “Blind’s Man Bluff” to see what we really volunteered for, AND I must point out that I was on a missile boat(SSBN) and did not participate in any of these heroic missions.

I did have many “Boot Camp, A School, NUC School and Sub School Buddies” that did. Some of them never recovered fully from it. Two of them did not survive it. None of them would be classified as the “Duty, Honor, Country” type, that is at the time of their initial enlistment. None of us realized fully what the consequences of our actions of volunteering were. BUT once we learned what our obligations were, we lived up to them or accepted the responsibility and diciplinary actions that resulted. We were not fearful of being AWARDED reduction of pay grade, loss of two thirds of our monthly salary for three months AND 60 days of restriction(45 if AWARDED extra duty). We more feared failing our MATES and putting their lives at risk.

At this point I refer you to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. Back in my day you could get AWARDED the loss of 2/3rds, reduction of rate, AND 45/45 for having carnal knowledge with a consentual adult. I know a man that got this AWARD along with the loss of his security clearance and therefore his NUC School for living with his fiance less than 4 months from the wedding date. He accepted his AWARD and served his enlistment in an honorable fashion. This is IMHO the quality of the common people I served with. I also have met two Medal of Honor awardees, and they are extraordinary.

I must believe that there exists at least a dozen people that I have not communicated with in over a decade that I could call today and say that I am in dire need. Those people would either wire whatever money I say I need, or at least more than they can comfortably afford. Or in lieu of that, at least enough for a bus ticket to their home town where I could stay with them indefinately. I know that is a bold statement, but I make it because I know there are more people than that for which I would do the same.

This may seem cheesy, but I am going to borrow a line from a Tom Clancy novel and say that honor is a debt owed to a person that sees this quality… to the person that sees it. By and large I served with honorable people.

Posted by: submarinesforever at June 21, 2008 10:06 PM
Comment #256319

“I do think that SS should be privatized. I am prejudiced due to the fact that I am diciplined enough to live within my means and invest for retirement. I have earned more from my 401k than I will see from my SS taxes. And to top it off, I and my heirs have a legal right to my 401k, but not my SS.”

I knew you did submariner. My point was the fact that after the ‘04 election we seen W and his administration use a disaster capitalism scheme to try and do away with SS. The fact that we are roughly divided 50% as a people in this country allowed for nothing to happen. Which of course is a seperate problem. I’ll leave the SS debate for a different thread. (BTW SS is actually OASDI for Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance, you might want to check your last sentence.)

“Sir, I did include facism in my point. The far left and right ideologies IMHO are equal threats to freedom, and if examined closely are very similar.”

Yes you did, I agreed with your comment when fascism was added into the mix. I should have stated it as “Seeings you added fascism….

“You said,” Well most other countries seem to be able to adapt to the government having such a share in the GDP. Its obvious the free market has caused the health care problem and will not be its solution.” I disagree with that statement. IMHO you can take the former Soviet Union or Cuba as an example of governments having total control of the GDP and compare the results.”

Yes submariner I should have clarified my statement a bit “Well most other industrialized countries(France, Japan, etc)seem to be able to adapt to the government having such a share in the GDP.” However my point was the fact that so far we havent seen a “disaster capitalism” type event that has swayed us to the single payer system and so we continue to be abused by the insurance companies.

“In the stead of repeating myself, I would refer you to my comment #256200 that I made to Glenn about the VA medical system”

Submariner I wasnt trying to debate healthcare we can save that for a healthcare thread. I was making the point of how we get manipulated into being fearful and then lead into a disaster capitalism type event.

“When I look at the totality of SS and government health care, I believe that due to my willingness to do what it takes to provide for my self and my family in our open market, I come out far ahead in the open market. I am gald that there were mechanisms to help me when I was in need, but I am also glad that those mechanisms were not my only option.”

I also am able to get my fair share submariner. I am very grateful that I grew up in a country where I had the opportunity to work for a living and had the opportunity to get an education. A lot of this was because we had a government that had the right laws in place that allowed the largest middle class in the world to develop. Unfortunatley in the name of “its all about me” we have shredded those laws and have started the race to the bottom. I would like to see my kids and grandkids have the same opportunities that I had. My parents generation provided it for me, Im just sorry my generation only thinks about ourselves and leaves the next generations in debt and a shell of our former selves.


Posted by: j2t2 at June 21, 2008 11:28 PM
Comment #256341

Craig Holme,
Thanks! And as far as your Grandchildren understanding why their Parents and Grandparents did what they did with the Democratic and Republican Civil, Political, and Religious Leaders. Lets just say that living around six plus colleges, I have personal met some of your grandchildren that even makes me question the Argument of you all being right.

For why I may never believe that every Citizen is a Corporation, learning how to use that Knowledge and Wisdom to make Every Human on Earth economically viable and financially independent by properly disposing of their personal carbon droppings. I see why you and others are against the unbridled capitalism of Individuals, Nations, and Societies.

submarinesforever,
Thanks for answering me indirectly. For as one who probably knows more about Our Government than I just the idea that My Peers and the Children of the 21st Century can do things that Our Parents and Grandparents could not even dream of in the 60’s and 70’s is in itself impressive.

Yet, as a Child of the 70’s I do believe that the Children of the 21st Century can teach their Elders and Powers-that-Be why being Politically Correct matters. Because directly speaking, they know more about this Argument of Right vs. Wrong than even I do. And that is saying a lot to Grandpa.

Note: Ever watch one of then get caught in the argument of stupidity around their peers? What happens when they come back from around the corner?

No, the Democratic and Republican Civil, Political, and Religious Leaders have never been Unalienable Right only Politically Correct. And why I thank you for standing up as an American, I do believe that the Grandparents of the Great Depression made an excellent point in the 70’s if I could only remember how it was worded.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at June 22, 2008 8:27 AM
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