The Programming of America: Pt III, Downsizing Government

One of the big things being pushed by media and corporate culture, in tandem with Libertarians (I’ve written about them before) and Republicans, along with centrist Democrats to a large degree, is the desire to downsize our government.

This is something I have covered in the past in a different form. The size of our government has nothing to do with our prosperity. Many of the largest government programs (after the military, which I will get to) support millions of jobs and add value to our lives on a daily basis both directly and indirectly. Schools, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, police, fire departments, libraries, health departments, the Forestry Department, the CDC, the EPA, the FDA (okay, in intent more than current function) and on and on. Without these government programs and agencies, from local to federal, our economy and environment would collapse, sold to the highest corporate bidders.

Some claim they do not trust our government. Government per se is not the problem. The problem is how beholden our government officials are to corporate interests.

Some Americans are foolish enough to think censorship is perfectly acceptable as long as a corporation does it but reprehensible when a government does the same thing. Never mind that only a few corporations own most of the media and all internet access. Yes, an ISP has the right to censor your content and even what information you can access. That can be your cable, telephone or cell service provider. All because corporations fought to eliminate Net Neutrality. They won, you lost. FB, Twitter or anyone else can block you, eliminate your account along with history and never allow you back in. They do not have to tell you why.

Some Americans are raging against the China Social Scoring system. Are you kidding me? We have the same thing here, it’s just not called that. Much of it is also run by corporations. In China, a low social score does not prevent you from getting a job, it prevents you from getting some jobs which are connected to the government. Here, you go through a background check which can include your social media history. If you are critical of the government, try getting a government job or even a job with a government contractor. Go ahead, try it. I dare you. Yet here you can be denied a job with a private or corporate employer for the same background check, even if they have no connection to the government.

In addition, private individuals will check your social media accounts to decide if they will associate with you.

There does not have to be a number associated with it to be a social media score. Information is compiled by faceless, sometimes nameless entities. Some are known, like Transunion and Equifax, credit score reporting agencies. Ones that check your social media don’t have to offer names, the criteria for judging or the fact that they ever looked at your information. They can judge you worthy or unworthy according to who is on your friends list, what groups you belong to and comments you have made on different threads.

Right now you are being monitored by the NSA. You do not have to be a US citizen. Not by a long shot. You do not have to be a terrorist. Not by a long shot. You do not have to be critical of the government. Not by a long shot. The fact that you are reading this article has been logged on an NSA computer. The phone call you made a few minutes ago to your mother, your child or Mr/Ms side piece was logged and recorded.

This country has over 1300 superfund sites. Nearly every single one of them exist because of corporate malfeasance. They poison the environment, break laws, lie about it for decades. Then when they no longer can wring a profit out of an area, they abandon it, may change their names to avoid responsibility and the taxpayer picks up the bill to clean up the mess. That process and expense can continue for decades, even generations. Your grandchildren and great grandchildren will be paying for cleaning up many of those sites. If you or they do not die from cancer or be disabled by birth defects as a result of that poisoning.

Yes, the size of some parts of our government needs to be downsized. Like the military. In money, our military budget is roughly six times larger than the next largest military budget, which is China. As far as size and extent, we are up to 100 times larger than Russia. Russia has 8 military bases outside of their country, while we have 800 foreign military bases. We have forces on every continent, ocean and nearly every country on earth. While our government rages on about how this country or that country is being “aggressive”. I’ve mentioned before that this onerous expense is paid for by you, me, every man, woman and child in this country in ways most never imagine.

I have challenged those who claim we need to downsize our government, asking them for specific examples of what should be downsized or eliminated. 99% of the time, they have no answer at all. They are just regurgitating the crap they have devoured by corporate influences. The other 1% of the time they offer inane responses which offer no solutions to any problem at all. They are just uneducated, uninformed, apathetic whores to corporate profit.

Too much? Nah. I really hope the karma of these people bites them in the ass.

The honest truth is that we may hear anecdotal stories of government overreach. Most of the time, anecdotes are all they are. Other times that overreach is a result of corporate influence, such as the legal status of cannabis, brought about by bribes by alcoholic beverage companies, drug companies and for-profit prisons in conjunction with systemic racism. In other cases, overreach can be caused by inadequate resources of government agencies, such as child welfare agencies. In other words, it is literally a case for expanding government, not reducing government.Those problems are caused by understaffed agencies with underpaid workers who come under fire if they offer an inadequate response. Those same workers may be in their jobs by dedication to protecting children or similar motivations, so they would rather overreact than underreact and have a child injured or killed because of weak actions. They would prefer to do a deeper investigation but cannot do so because of lack of time and resources thanks to their case load. Of course, that case load is a result of their job being seen as an expense which offers no monetary profit.

In a government of the people, by the people, for the people I see no reference to corporate profit or control mentioned. The founders of this country abhorred corporations. Remember the Boston Tea Party? That was waged against the East India Tea Company, a corporation. The entire Constitution of the United States references personal freedoms. Historically our laws and governmental institutions have been in place to support those freedoms from those very corporations that seek to destroy our freedom for their own profit and benefit.

I will bring this back full circle. The people who promote the concept of downsizing government are rich capitalists who want fewer rules and regulations standing between them and higher profits. They want lower taxes, lower paychecks for workers, fewer environmental regulations. They view social support programs as nothing but blockades between them and your money. They view you as an expense and an inconvenience. They view the environment the same way. They view international borders the same way.

The same rich people own nearly all media in this country and try to limit or eliminate the influence of the small percentage of media they do not own. The corporations which do not own media pay the media corporations to represent their agenda while ignoring what is best for the people of this country. In that effort, they employ psychologists, media experts, retired government agents to influence your views through fear and intimidation.

I am not in favor of downsizing the government, other than the military and their contractors. I am in favor of expanding the government. That does not mean I am in favor of Communism. Mostly because we are not evolved enough as a culture for that. Yet. Until that time, I continue being in favor of Social Democracy which forces the reinvestment of resources into our own country and places limits on corporate control of your every breath.

So which is it for you? Smaller government and removing controls from those who have no concern for your well-being, even your life? Or maintain/expand a government in which we have a voice?

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — 

I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so at $1 a month that would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share my articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is here and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Government Of The People

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people..”

These words of Lincoln should stand tall and strong in the minds of Americans. Unfortunately, that is not true. Some will say any longer but I’m not sure just how much they ever truly sank in to the American consciousness.

Those words indicate that we, the people of this country are the true rulers of our own country. Yet too many in this country make reference to “our leader/s” when referring to elected officials. Elected officials are not our “leaders”. They are our employees. In voting, we hire them. If we are collectively unhappy with their job performance, the next election and sometimes even before that, we can fire them via recall elections or impeachment. Elections are really little more than performance reviews in which we determine as a group whether elected officials job performance merits their continued employment.

Consider the job title for them. Representatives. Not manager, not dictator, not supervisor. Representatives. Meaning they are supposed to be there to vocalize and act on what is best for our interests. Not the interests of their biggest donors. It is exceedingly rare that it works that way. This is what should be the part of Lincoln’s statement, “For the People”.

Merriam-Webster defines a congress as “a formal meeting of delegates for discussion and usually action on some question”. Discussion. Not argument. Meaning multiple sides should be represented in a rational manner. I typically refer to our legislative body as CONgress because too many members consider “con” to be the operative part of that word. The literal definition of the word from Latin means, “To act together”.

What amazes me is the fact that so many Americans believe elected officials are educated or endowed with some special knowledge or power. There is no special education, no specific qualifications to hold any office in our government. Any citizen of this country can run for elected office. If there were any special education necessary to hold office, that education should be not only available to all citizens but mandatory in basic education. Yet it has been decades since even Civics was required in our school system. Public understanding of the workings of our government being so illiterate at this point is a clear indication that we need to bring that part of our education back. However, civic ignorance was literally the goal when that class was removed from the national syllabus. So it is up to us to educate ourselves and one another on this subject. Happily, there has been a resurgence of interest in the subject for some.

Of the People.” As I stated, there is no special education, knowledge or power to hold office. Yet we elect people to office and then allow them to use powers and terms such as “executive privilege”, “classified” and “privileged information” to hold over us on a continual basis. This is absolutely wrong. In a government of the people, no such special privileges should exist. Elected officials are accountable to us. They should not have any right to refuse to answer any question which does not place human life in eminent danger.We, the people of this country should have access to most of the information generated by our government and especially elected officials. We should have the right and ability to check on what is allegedly being done “on our behalf” at any time. FOIA requests should not incur formidable costs for the press, leading to weighted access to only the most wealthy press sources, which are typically corporate. Any independent media should be able to file information requests and receive answers. That information has already been compiled under our own expense.

By the People.” Many elected officials refuse to hold town hall meetings. Even if they do, they are more likely to tell voters we are wrong, even with overwhelming support on a topic. Call them and you get automated systems or flunkies reading a script. Email or write and you may get a form letter in the mail or email in response, often not even addressing that specific topic. Try social media and you may get blocked.We have seen time and again other countries conducting public referendums on various major issues. We live in a time when we can access bank records securely online, we have block chain technology, a continuous push for voter ID and a national ID card. Yet we have no national referendum on anything. There is no valid reason that we, “the most powerful country on earth” cannot implement methods whereby each of our voices are heard. A system which recorded each individual’s choice on any issue could be recorded and identity verified. The problem is, if such a system were implemented, we would have concrete public records when officials went directly against the popular will and instead acted in favor of corporate donors.

Of course, the biggest problem with having a government of, by and for the people is the personal responsibility involved. It would mean we had duty and responsibility to be informed, a commitment to be involved citizens. Many Americans do not want that. They want “leaders”, without truly paying attention to where they are being led. They want to vote once every 2–4 years, hand power and control to their anointed cult leader and then passively-aggressively complain when things become worse. Find someone else to blame. Yet they will praise themselves excessively when anything improves, cheering how “we” had anything to do with it. Even though they exerted no additional effort than submitting a ballot. If they even did that.

If we want the way our government operates to change and be more reflective of our collective will, more responsive to what the people want, then we mustdo something to make it that way.

I’ve said numerous times, we have no heroes. We are our own heroes. It’s time for us to act like it. No more blame. No more excuses. No more whining.