Liberty. Privacy. Freedom of speech. Freedom of thought.
These are not natural freedoms. They are difficult to obtain and difficult to retain.
Our founders gave their lives to establish these freedoms, and always, always someone lurks in the shadows, ready to steal them away from us.
Inevitably, it begins the same: Something frightens the working class. A charismatic and bombastic leader proclaims his unique ability to solve all their problems. Only he has the knowledge and the will to protect the working class from the evils that threaten them.
All he asks is that the people give him the power to take away the liberties of “them” who are different from “us,” and who “cause trouble.”
It’s a small step, isn’t it? Those “other” people aren’t all that important, are they? It’s good to destroy “their” lives so long as “our” lives are protected.
Helping the majority at the expense of the minority, easily is justified.
Hitler did it. Mussolini did it. Mao Zedung did it. Joseph Stalin did it. Kim Il-sung did it. Pol Pot did it. Saddam Hussein did it. Robert Mugabe did it.
The list goes on and on. Always different,yet always the same.
In every case the country was under a threat, real or perceived, The working class was afraid and suffering. An evil minority was identified as being the cause.
The fearful citizens turned to a “strong man.” a dictator to save them. They didn’t care whom he hurt, so long as it wasn’t them.
But, when they made their deal with the devil, the trap snapped shut.
The “strong man” thereupon began to expunge all who disagreed with him, for he was the nation and the nation was him.
Liberty became an unnecessary inconvenience. Freedom of speech, freedom of privacy, even freedom of thought, all stood in the way of the strong man’s goals.
Eventually, the country was enslaved and even the working people, who originally supported the “strong man,” no longer could be trusted, and they too were expunged.
The people willingly had walked down the dark road, ready to allow others to be punished, so they themselves could be saved.
Ironically, but inevitably, the working people, their children, and all their loved ones were punished.
The people all entered upon the dark road, believing “it could not happen here,” but soon their hatred rebounded on them, and their hell began.
Freedom is a fragile concept, hard to win, easy to lose.
Remember that as you read the following.
Donald Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he would force even U.S. citizens found to have extremist views to leave the country as president.
Hannity asked Trump what he would do about individuals like Seddique Mateen, the Afghanistan-born father of the man who killed dozens in an Orlando nightclub in June and has criticized the U.S.
“What do we do when we find somebody that has extreme views?” Hannity asked in a town hall that was taped Tuesday but aired Wednesday so that it wouldn’t interfere with the live broadcast of Trump’s speech in Milwaukee. “Do we throw them the hell out?”
“I’d throw him out,” Trump said of Mateen, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen. “If you look at him, I’d throw him out.”
To Trump, Mateen “looks like” a Muslim. That, and having “extremist views” is sufficient reason to deport Mateen, despite Mateen being a U.S. citizen.
And what are extremist views? Are they the views of anyone disagreeing with the American government (as all Republicans have done for 8 years)?
Are they the views of those who speak against American attacks in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc., as many Americans have done?
Are they the views of those who believe in a different God or in no God at all?
Only Trump is qualified to say what views are “extremist” and what are not.
Trump did not clarify where those identified as “extreme” would be sent, but said “racial profiling” was necessary to root out people who might pose a threat to national security.
“Whether it’s racial profiling or politically correct, we better get smart,” he said. “We are letting tens of thousands of people into our country. We don’t know what the hell we’re doing.”
As for racial profiling, Hitler would agree. He too felt it was necessary.
And the German people agreed. They voluntarily — eagerly in fact — walked down the dark path to hell — along with the Jews.
Trump first advocated profiling Muslim Americans after Seddique Mateen’s son Omar went on a deadly rampage at the Pulse LGBT nightclub. In the town hall, he insisted, yet again, that Muslim Americans are not doing their part to help U.S. authorities identify terrorist threats.
“We have to be so tough and so smart and so vigilant, and, frankly, the Muslims have to help us, because they see what’s going on in their community,” Trump said. “We don’t see it. They have to help us. If they are not going to help us, they are to blame also.”
Trump never defines what “help us” means. What “help” does he expect from Muslim American citizens, that he does not demand from other American citizens?
If you don’t spy upon, and report against, your friends and family, are you too extreme? Shall we become a nation in which each of us fears the accusations of our neighbors, our neighbor’s children, or even our own children, lest the storm troopers kick down our door?
Nor does Trump specify who “us” are. Surely “us” cannot mean U.S. citizens, because he wants to deport many U.S. Muslim citizens.
And surely, “us” does not mean American citizens whose parents came from Mexico. He not only wants to deport many (calling them “anchor babies”) but doesn’t even trust a judge of that description.
And surely “us” doesn’t include blacks, or gays, or even women, who are not quite beautiful enough. Trump has no love for them.
One only can speculate that “us” means rich, white Christians born here to American citizens, just like him.
The Republican nominee gave a few more hints at the details of “extreme vetting” plan for refugees, which involves a ban on immigrants from countries with a “history of terrorism” and, as of this week, an ideological admissions test for all prospective immigrants.
Which countries have a “history of terrorism”? One easily might ask, “Which do not?”
Terrorists are everywhere. Many European nations have spawned terrorists. Shall we bar the English, the French, the Spanish, the Italians?
The United States has exported terrorists for training, and has suffered from terrorism. Clearly, the United States has a “history of terrorism.”
And what exactly is his “idealogical admissions test”? Who will create it? Who will grade it? Should it eliminate liberals? Democrats? Socialists? Fascists? Libertarians? Communists? Environmentalists? Buddhists? Satanists? Atheists?
Will it eliminate those who believe in Evolution? Those who don’t?
Who makes that determination? Surely not the United States Constitution.
Where does loss of freedom begin, and where does it end?
At least one proposal he introduced -— screening the social media accounts of refugees and terrorist suspects in the U.S. — is already in use by the intelligence community.
“We didn’t look at social media,” Trump said (falsely) of the married couple who went on a shooting spree at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California last December. “They just came in.”
After the San Bernardino shooting, FBI Director James Comey dismissed reports that shooters Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik made open posts on social media about martyrdom or committing terrorism.
Comey said all their communications were private messages that would not have been readily accessible by intelligence agencies.
As George Santayana reputedly said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Trump backers cannot remember the past, or if they remember, they naively believe, “It cannot happen here,” and “This time is different.”
Ignorance has its penalties. If Trump is elected, his followers and their families will pay with their lives, for yes, it can happen here, and no, this time is not different.
Freedom is fragile. It is difficult to gain and easily lost.
Trump is the reincarnation of every merciless dictator who ever trod the earth. He is not new. He is not unique. We have seen him many times before, bearing many flags and wearing many faces.
Fools follow dictators down the dark road to their doom. First, they lose their compassion. Then they lose their morality. Then they lose their freedoms and their lives.
It all begins with one small step.
It is ever thus.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich afford better health care than the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefiting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-tranferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be an good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.