Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Moroni Resident Tracks Rep. Chaffetz on “JasonWatch” Website

Moroni Resident Tracks Rep. Chaffetz on “JasonWatch” Website

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Supercapitalism by Robert B. Reich

I've often said that the free market can always be counted on to do what's profitable but what's profitable isn't always what's right.

Dr. Reich's examination of how Democratic Capitalism has been pushed aside by Supercapitalism illustrates my point better than I ever could. Of course he has dedicated his life to the subjects of economics, politics and society. The subtitle of the book is "The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life."

Reich discusses the circumstances surrounding the rise and fall of organizaed labor in the United States, the role that Oligopolies played in the American and world economy during the period he calls "The Not Quite Golden Age" (1950s-1970s) and the dichotomy that exists in the minds of Americans as consumers/investors and citizens who shop at Wal-Mart to get the best deals on products manufactured overseas by American-based companies who then go home and lament the downtrodden status of the American worker and the suffering of main streets and mom and pop businesses across the country.

Another fascinating point made is the anthropomorphism of corporations that has resulted in a false belief held by the public that companies are just like people and subsequent legislation that treats them as such. Corporations can be sued, taxed and accused of having agendas when, in reality, they are just "legal fictions," bundles of contracts and collectives of shareholders and employees. How often have we referred to corporations as having evil intent, "Wal-Mart hates unions," "Microsoft is a monopolist." Companies don't have intent. They can't hate or love. But by treating them as people, the executives that operate those corporations start to assume that said corporations are entitled to rights and representation in government and Supercapitalism has enabled them to buy that representation through lobbying and corporate donations to political campaigns. Divorcing ourselves from this fallacy of corporate sentience is the first step in dismantling that influence that business has over our government. Only by doing that can government get back to representing the interests of the people instead of implementing legislation designed to work for the economic advantage of big business. Summed up simply, our leaders in government seem to have forgotten that rights are guaranteed to people not corporations. Reich also makes an excellent case for eliminating the corporate income tax and replacing it with taxes withheld from shareholder dividends. Let the stockholders pay taxes on the income corporations earn on their behalf, the way the law works now, corporations simply pass their taxes onto the consumer.

This is just one of many excellent examples that Reich gives in his book about how democracy can come out from under the weight of corporate influence so that all Americans can eventually benefit from the positive aspects of Supercapitalism that we now enjoy, great deals as consumers and higher returns as investors while not compromising the greater good that can only be made possible through democracy that is unencumbered by corporate influence.

Fresh Air from WHYY - Robert Reich Looks Askance at 'Supercapitalism' - 9/11/2007 - "Fresh Air"

NPR.org's Book Tour - Robert Reich Issues a Warning in 'Supercapitalism' - 10/02/07

Official page at Random House

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Letter to the Editor - JasonWatch.org

Dear Editor,

I’ve been closely following Jason Chaffetz’ as Congressman for District 3. I admired his choice to sleep in his office when in D.C. I liked that he kept in touch with his constituents through YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I’m impressed with his commitment to fiscal discipline. At first he seemed like a good guy to have in office. Then I got a fear mongering e-mail from him about a “Cap-and-Trade Tax.” I did some research and found out it was full of lies, distortions and insinuations. I watched his videos. Some are informative but others are just as much political hot air as we ever got from Chris Cannon. I started to fact-check the things that he sends out to his constituents and I was very uncomfortable with the amount of disinformation he was spreading, much of it he gets directly from his party leadership. He also isn’t very forthcoming when it comes to providing sources for some of the things he says. I’ve managed to find these sources on my own only to discover that information has been taken out of context or lifted from outdated or even discredited documents. Of course much of his “research” is done for him by the Republican party, which is just as disappointing because instead of getting information for himself, he just passes the buck. Most people don’t go to these lengths to make sure that their Congressmen is being straight with them and that’s too bad. There are many people in District 3 who take Chaffetz at his word and have no idea that sometimes he’s misleading him. Not being one to sit idly by when someone tries to pull a fast one on me, I took it upon myself to start a web site to keep track of Chaffetz’ actions and statements as Congressman: www.JasonWatch.org. Out of fairness, I offer him both praise for the good things that he does do and criticism for when he falls short. So far, the good outnumbers the bad and I hope it stays that way. I’ve also included a message board on the site that’s open to the public so they can share their praise and criticism of their Congressman as well. I follow Mr. Chaffetz’ twitter feed, subscribe to his videos and, until recently, he and I were “friends” on Facebook. When I first watched his videos on YouTube, I left comments on them. Usually to point out a fact he might not have considered or to give him some friendly critique. His response was to disable the comments feature on his channel. This disappointed me. A Congressman needs to be open to criticism and the views of those he is elected to represent. I thought he made up for this on his Facebook page where people are free to post topics and discuss them. Chaffetz decided to remove me from that forum because of the “frequency” of my comments. Frankly, I just don’t think he liked what I had to say.

-Joe Puente
Sanpete, Utah

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Angle "On Facebook" (and Jason Chaffetz)

The irony is not lost on me that this isn't exactly a short response to Jason's complaints about the "quantity" of my comments. Yeah, it's a bout 9 1/2 minutes long... but worth every second! ;-)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Buy One Anyway

The Birthright Citizenship Act is Unconstitutional

Congressman Jason Chaffetz is cosponsoring a bill called “The Birthright Citizenship Act” (H.R.1868) which could amend the Immigration and Nationality Act by not granting citizenship to anyone born in the United States unless at least one parent is a U.S. citizen or national, a lawfully admitted or resident alien or is an alien serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: "ALL persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." According to the Constitution, one's birthright as a citizen is not defined by the citizenship status of one’s parents. Denying citizenship to someone "born... in the United States" under the circumstances outlined above, would require a Constitutional amendment. The aim of this bill is to punish natural born American citizens for the crimes of their parents and in the land of “Justice for all,” I can think of few things that are more UN-American. Chaffetz’ cosponsorship is especially disappointing as he has been a strong proponent of abiding by the Constitution in regard to his work with the census and Congressional oversight of the District of Columbia. To endorse legislation as clearly unconstitutional as this is blatantly hypocritical. A lot of the furor against illegal immigrants is disproportionately aimed at those from Mexico and other Latin-American countries, not because of their numbers but because of their obvious ethnicity. Legislation such as this, while possessing a filigree of concern for the rights of American workers and accessibility to public resources by U.S. citizens, is fundamentally motivated by the racism that continues to exist in this country. One needn’t wear a swastika or a white robe to be influenced by endemic prejudice. The election of an African-American President, the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of Connecticut firemen denied promotions on racial grounds and a backlash of bigoted resentment pent-up after years of political correctness and affirmative action have brought this country to a fragile point in its development as a cultural melting-pot. Just as a stretched elastic band will recoil to its slack position when cut, I fear a recoil in this country to racial attitudes of the past and bills like H.R.1868 is suggestive of such attitudes. To those who would claim to be unfairly characterized by referring to their “many friends who are (insert ethnicity here),” I would like to point out that it is possible to be a white, English speaking illegal immigrant to the United States but I'm willing to bet that if anyone were to try and round up all the illegals no one would pay attention to an impoverished Canadian even if he approached an INS agent saying, "I'm an illegal alien too, eh! Let me on the truck!"