The Root Source of Drug Abuse

The US government and media has spoken about drug abuse for decades. Constantly seeking one influence or another to blame. Migrants, minorities, drug companies, etc.

The biggest problem with nearly any discussion on drug abuse is that the root cause of drug abuse is too often ignored, downplayed or completely omitted.

While we are seeing a massive increase in opiate addiction and overdose, this is not the first instance of this in US history. Prior to the creation of government agencies to regulate drug use, opiates were common and sold over the counter. Morphine, codeine and other opiates were in everyday medications like cough suppressants. At one time, Coca-Cola contained cocaine, derived from leaves from the coca tree, hence the name of the most popular soda in world history. 7-Up once contained Lithium, which is now used as a psychiatric medication used to treat manic disorders and allegedly acts as a mood stabilizer. Today, the US comprises 5% of the world population yet accounts for 80% of global opiate consumption.

At the same time we are seeing an increase in opiate use/addiction/overdose, the US also has seen an increase in antidepressant use since 1999. Benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax or Ativan saw prescriptions roughly double between 2003 and 2015, that most recent data compiled which I saw in a cursory search.

In addition to opiate use, the rising trend seen in illegal drug trade is bath salts. Bath salts act as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, causing elevated mood in the user.

Whether we are talking about legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, bath salts, opiates or antidepressants, the same trend becomes evident. Each of these substances has specific similar effects, meaning decreased anxiety/elevated mood. To be clear, increased dopamine production or slowing the reuptake of dopamine, results in a similar response. Dopamine is the “feel good” hormone produced by the brain.

So, the question is, why are we seeing a desire for chemicals to improve our mood? Some like to claim it is a matter of privilege. Yet they cannot then explain why drug use and addiction are either constant across income levels or worse among the least privileged in society. Or why countries with higher income levels do not have higher rates of use and addiction. In general, why has addiction become more common in the past few decades in the US, while income levels have remained stagnant? Why do drug and alcohol use increase during times of severe economic downturn?

There have been studies on antidepressant use among younger Americans which show clearly that their depression is very real, for very real reasons which pills cannot cure. The same reasons apply to all forms of drug use and abuse.

Here is a short list of reasons we are seeing chemical use rise in the US-

This country has been at war for 18 continuous years. Many younger Americans see family members and friends enroll in the military due to lack of other opportunities. Those family members and friends change, become different people. Then they may not come back or come back injured, damaged physically and/or emotionally. Young people who do not enroll have a very real fear of a draft being enacted at some point. That fear has a very rational basis.

From young to old, we see people struggling to make ends meet. Many working multiple jobs. Younger people are staying at home much longer than previous generations and it is all due to financial reasons.

The price of education has skyrocketed far beyond the rate of inflation, leaving millions with student loan debt for decades, along with the associated interest. Defaults on student loans are the highest they have been in the history of this country. Meanwhile, many who are graduating are unable to find employment in their chosen careers, even when their degrees are in business management, accounting or vocational occupations. Which leaves them earning low salaries with high levels of debt.

Vehicle loans are seeing high numbers of defaults, with the average car payment today being over $500 a month. Or a person has the choice of spending many hours every day on the worst public transportation system of any first world country. Imagine doing that when you have children. Or maybe you don’t have to imagine it. You may be reading this while riding the bus, for all I know.

There is the constant fear of mass shootings, either in schools, churches, theaters, malls, night clubs. Meanwhile our CONgress remains in the pocket of the NRA, refusing to take meaningful action. If the same number of people died every year from an illness or certain class of vehicle as from assault weapons, we would have large sums of money thrown at it and the banning of that class of vehicle entirely.

Anyone being pulled over by police has no idea if evidence will be planted on them or in their vehicle. Road side drug tests are proven to be unreliable and are inadmissible in court, yet you can be held in jail for days before a more valid forensic test proves your innocence and even that will not help if a dirty officer plants evidence. Of course, you also have the chance of being shot while reaching for your wallet.

Racism is rampant. People of color fear being victims of hate crimes just walking or driving. Or being shot by police for the crime of not being white.

Women fear being physically and/or sexually assaulted. Men fear being accused of things they’re actually not guilty of.

People are afraid to speak to each other. Period.

Like I said, this is a short list of reasons we are seeing such an epidemic of mind-altering chemical use and abuse. Yet the discussion regarding those chemicals, the root causes for the prevalence of their use is rarely discussed. The media and government steadfastly refuse to discuss the issues leading to the problem because doing so would result in lower profits for major advertisers and donors, such as drug companies, for-profit prisons and weapons manufacturers selling to police departments. They all want to continue the failed war on drugs which has raged on for nearly 50 years and only escalated with the results being what we see today.

If we want to see a change, we have to change the approach. Up to now, it has been doing the same thing every single year and expecting different results. So it is up to us to insist on the discussion to change topics. That real problems be addressed, that new solutions be enacted. Too many lives have been destroyed by the current approach. If we don’t absolutely demand that things change, millions more lives will be destroyed.

We have no idea how many innocent people have had their lives and the lives of their families torn apart by planted evidence. Even if guilty of possession of drugs, does that alone warrant paying for it for the rest of your life?

The war on drugs to date has cost us uncounted trillions of dollars. Mock hearings, millions of people in prison, families on public assistance where they were not before, children and innocent adults caught in the crossfire, decimated careers, psychological therapy for any number of related issues and militarized police all cost us every day of our lives in ways we can never account for financially or emotionally.

The ultimate truth about our drug problem is that it leads to many other problems which are far more costly on every level. It is caused by other problems which are too often ignored or viewed separately. We will never solve the drug problem unless we address the problems which lead to it. We will never stop the problems it leads to unless we solve the drug problem.

In other words, drugs are not the problem, they are a symptom of the real problem. The real problem is capitalism. Does that mean we would have no drug problem if we lived in a Socialist society? No. It means we would address the drug problem in far different ways, ways which preserved society instead of ripping it apart. The only reason we are not doing so right now is because of the profit motive of those truly in charge of our society. If we discuss ways to reduce the cost of any problem, capitalists instantly think, “But we’ll make less money!”

If we talk about treating addiction as an illness using a nationalized treatment program, they scream, “But who will pay for it?!” We would. We would pay far less than we do now in every way. We would have more money, more freedom, less violence, less crime, less depression, less anxiety, less anger, less paranoia, fewer suicides, fewer guns, fewer families ripped apart, fewer absent parents, less racism, lower medical costs of treating poisoned chemicals made in garages in other countries…

In the end, we need to wage war against the war on drugs.

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They Are Miscalculating

The media is reporting on the increasing risk of recession, based on Wall Street predictions. Or should I say manipulations?

By saying “recession” or “slowdown”, they are miscalculating at best, misrepresenting conditions at worst.

“Recession” is an interesting word. There is no universal definition as to what economic conditions constitute a recession or what constitutes a depression. Talk to different economists and you will get different criteria. None of those definitions establish complete collapse of an economy. They will use the term, “economic crisis”, even when that “crisis” lasts for years. Look at the conditions in Greece. Look at the conditions in Venezuela. In both of those countries, the economic conditions have basically been inflicted on those countries. For Greece, the conditions were imposed by creditors. For Venezuela, the conditions have been caused by US sanctions and seizure of assets.

Stock market decline. On 8/23/19 the DOW was down by over 600 points again. Which means we are quickly approaching a drop of 2000 points in less than three months. While the general economy has been suffering for years, the stock market, meaning rich investors, has been riding high through it all. We have been hearing how well the economy is doing but when you talk to real people on the street you hear a far different story.

Media complicity. With the 2020 election coming up, the media who touted the strength of the economy has changed their tune drastically. Now corporate economists are all getting on one page, stating a recession is eminent. A recession has been eminent for years, they just haven’t told you so. They haven’t told you so because they are complicit in the conditions which are leading us into a recession/depression/collapse. If they told you it was coming, they would lose advertising from financial firms. Where economics are concerned, most Americans do not want to hear the truth. They want to hear what makes them feel secure, safe, happy, superior to their neighbors and other countries.

What the media doesn’t say. Of course, most of the media are run by neoliberal oligarchs. They oppose Trump, yet have wanted to capitalize as much as they could from his tax cuts and reduction of the interest rate. Now they have received their tax cuts, further interest rate cuts are not promised and will not amount to much if they happen. Thus, at this point they feel confident in attacking Trump and claiming a recession is going to happen if the current trade war continues. They neglect to tell you the recession/recession/collapse will occur even if the trade war completely stopped right this minute.

That neglect is fully intentional. The timing of the gradual revelation of the economy receding is intentional. Had they previously mentioned the economy weakening, you would have seen exactly what we are seeing right now and will see accelerating rapidly, which corporate media is literally instigating- for people to withhold money from savings and reduce spending. This accelerates the process of economic slowdown. If this had happened in 2017 or even 2018 the slowdown would have occurred much sooner than now. Which would mean that much of the blame could have been laid at the feet of the Obama administration.

Diverting your focus. Much of the blame does fall on the Obama administration. However there are more things to consider. Any earlier revelation would have meant that the GOP tax cut would not have occurred. Increases in defense spending would have either not happened or would have been far less. The focus of media reporting would have had to center on the economy, rather than Russiagate. Have you even noticed that the media focus has so suddenly shifted to the economy and racism now that Russiagate is effectively over? It’s not like anything has drastically changed economically or socially since Mueller testified before CONgress. The exact same things are happening. The only thing that has changed is how the media reports on it.

It’s not the tariffs. The media has built up the rhetoric claiming the economy was doing well and even expanding while manufacturing declined and we have seen record numbers of retail closures. We have seen mass layoffs and the Labor Participation Rate has dropped severely. Student loan defaults hit a record high in 2018. Vehicle sales have been down for years, which led to layoffs in the auto industry. It had nothing to do with tariffs. If the economy were truly doing well, tariffs would cause some inflation but virtually nothing else. So tariffs are not helping but they are nothing but an excuse.

What is the goal? To understand what the goal is, one need do nothing more than look back to 2008/2009. How did Obama deal with the recession? He bailed out the auto industry and the big banks using taxpayer money. That’s what Wall Street is counting on again. They got their tax break, interest can’t go much lower than it is now. Republican and Democratic administrations deal with economic recessions differently. Republicans cut taxes on the rich, using trickle-down economics as a rationale in spite of two decades of Reaganomics proving it false. Democrats bail out the same entities who got the tax breaks. Republicans are also likely to reduce social support programs, while Democrats increase spending on those programs. So the goal is to repeat this process. Allow or even force the crash to occur, then expect to be bailed out. You pay, they collect.

No social spending increase would be enough. In distant history, the increases in social support by Democrats was much greater than in recent years. By 2021, any increase would have to be truly massive if it had any chance of recovering the economy. No increases in social support spending which will be suggested at this point and by the current parties will be sufficient to recover from where we are heading this minute. The national debt is already so high that it would be unrealistic to even expect social spending increases which could have an effective impact.

Wars and past recoveries. There are other factors involved in economic recovery in this capitalist system. Those factors no longer exist nor can they exist. Past recoveries from major economic downturns were coupled with major wars. Those wars allowed for the forced expansion of US markets into other countries. There are no more countries for the US to expand into any more. It doesn’t matter what we manufacture when there is no market for the goods produced. It will not be possible to destroy the manufacturing capacity of China, Russia, India, Mexico and other countries without doing so much damage as to make the planet uninhabitable. So they will remain competitors on global trade. Threats against allies no longer work, as those allies each benefit from global trade and the lower prices brought by competition.

Automation. Increasing production capacity no longer means creating jobs when too much of the work is done by robots and automated systems. I’ve written about automation many times but the concept is simple. Automation does not create jobs, it eliminates jobs. That’s the whole point of automation. It reduces cost of production by the process of eliminating incomes, so fewer people can afford even the lower prices. Past technological advances nearly all created or were incorporated in the creation and expansion of new industries. In the past 20 years or more, what we have witnessed is the automation of existing industries. There have not been any actual new industries since the dawn of the internet and social media.

Major miscalculation. Other than being bailed out, there cannot be any goal in the revelation that the economy is declining. Ultimately, the rationale involved is the concentration of wealth into even fewer hands than what we see now. However, what they are not taking into account is the actual collapse of the economy. This is something we can see coming under current conditions. The decline of the economy is not just national, it is global. Reduction in income have led to reductions in consumer spending (retail decline) in nearly every country. That results in decreased production, which means reduced freight. Reduced income and spending means less taxation. At every level more jobs are lost.

Decades in the making. Right now we cannot prevent what is coming. It has been decades in the making. When it finally does happen it will appear to be sudden but anyone who has paid attention has been able to see it coming for at least the last decade. Not only is it eminent, it is intentional, hence the gradual concentration of wealth and reduction of rights. Both major parties are complicit while blaming one another. Keep in mind it was a Democratic majority under Obama that bailed out the banks, indicted not one person, enacted a corporate welfare program for health insurance and made the GWB tax cuts for the rich permanent. Both sides increase “defense” spending every year. Both sides approved the Trump tax cut for the rich. Both sides voted to suspend the debt ceiling until July 2021. Republicans cut social spending, Democrats restore a fraction of that spending, moving ever further to the right. One step forward, three steps back in a continual dance theater performance.

What they do not count on. While the rich are counting on the concentration of wealth, what they do not take into account is the ultimate response. We have seen revolutions in world history where the oppressed masses rose up to seize the accumulated wealth of the elite. This is becoming a very real scenario under the circumstances forming right now. They may have the idea of creating a global modern form of feudal system, which is what exists to a degree right now.

However, even as we bemoan educational standards, we now live in a world with the highest level of education in world history. We also have the best communications in world history. That combination of factors make today far different than any time in the past where large masses were oppressed. We, the people, have more advantages in our capacity to fight back than at any point in history. We don’t need violence and that would be counter-productive. We can turn off corporate media completely. We can call and write elected officials and media, tell them they do not represent our views. Boycott support for candidates who take corporate money. We can pull money out of corporate investments and buy precious metals.

Most of all, we can talk to each other. Stop attacking one another and instead talk about issues. Leave names out of the discussion unless it involves policies. Stop closing our eyes, ears and minds to the flaws in candidates. Stop making excuses. Stop voting AGAINST and know what we vote FOR. Our unity is what is feared most by the oligarchy.

Capitalist Challenge

Capitalists and capitalist wannabe puppets (who own no capital yet support the agenda of the ultra-rich) are fond of claiming that Socialism has never worked. Of course, they leave out the trade sanctions and militaristic threats or outright military destruction imposed by capitalistic countries (mostly the US) on Socialist countries.

Be that as it may, here is a challenge for anyone who supports any level of Socialism to present to said capitalists:

Ask them to name one single country in all of world history in which capitalism has worked for all citizens. That has to include high wages, low taxes, affordable healthcare, no crushing poverty, no slavery, little to no homelessness, no debtors prisons, no wars for profits, protection of the environment, worker safety laws, consumer protection laws, high rate of home ownership and freedom of the independent press with no censorship.

Hell, it doesn’t even have to be a country. It can be a city.

What you can consistently expect is going to be diversion. They will try to redefine the question, the challenge, even the definition of capitalism. They will try to throw around terms like “free market”, which they will refuse to actually define. Yes, I fully expect responses which will focus on that last sentence and ignore the challenge. Just wait for it. They will try and claim capitalism is about small business, yet not explain how limits are imposed on business growth without Socialist-leaning policies.

The reason they do this is because capitalism has never worked for the population. It does not work for the general population now. It will never work because it cannot work. It is not designed to work for the general population.

The entire design of capitalism is intended to work only by force, subjugation, oppression, propaganda, brainwashing, poor education and legal control of all resources available to a society.

In the most prosperous years in the history of this country, we had controls and limits on capitalism. We had price controls on certain necessities. The subsidies we have in place right now are relics of Socialist-leaning policies meant to help the middle class and poor. Such as subsidies on fossil fuels, coal, milk and corn. The original intent was to protect society. Over time, the subsidies grew ever larger while profit caps were removed. Thus today we will hear capitalists rage against profit caps and price controls while they never mention subsidies.

During the same prosperous years, taxes on the rich were the highest they have been in US history.

Yet that prosperity did not reach all our citizens by any means. Many lived in abject poverty, often with no plumbing or electricity.

Some reading this may recall or have heard of “urban blight” from the late 60’s through the 70’s. Yet few recall what brought that blight into being. Give you one guess. It was capitalism. Elitism. Gentrification which drove up rents and property values. Racism played a heavy hand. This was topped off by the reduction of taxes on the rich. This resulted in insufficient resources to maintain public transportation and infrastructure. As desegregation spread, the affluent white moved away from city centers to the suburbs, often taking their retail and possibly manufacturing businesses with them. There was often little to no public transportation to these areas, so the living wage jobs they offered were typically off limits to the poorest in society. What remained in city centers were vacant, decaying business locations with high rent, so if less affluent businesses with less affluent customers moved in, the conditions were poor and crime escalated.

This was not a new pattern. Look at the history of slums across major cities in the US. Nearly all slum sections of major cities were once wealthy, thriving middle class white neighborhoods. Harlem is a good example, should you care to look into the history. Yes, Harlem was a white neighborhood before it later was largely segregated. Today in some areas we are seeing these areas renovated. Though that is not typically good. The renovations lead to gentrification, bringing back high rents and property costs by equity owners seeking to make fast, easy, often unrealistic profits. Thus we have the poor who cannot afford the increased rents and taxes forced out. Sometimes with no place to go. If employment is in these areas, we now have people sleeping in cars and tent cities to have access to their jobs because they cannot afford the rent.

This is all a capitalist cycle we will keep repeating until we put an end to it. No capitalist can ever explain how paying profits and reducing profits for the rich is better than what Socialist-leaning policies offer. Capitalists always claim the higher taxes, price controls, higher wages and any limits at all will destroy the economy. The opposite has been proven true every single time, with no exception.

So, when you encounter a “capitalist”, go back to the challenge above and issue that challenge to them. Accept no diversions, no excuses. If they try it, drag them kicking and screaming back to the subject. Once they predictably resort to personal insults, walk away. You’ve already won that debate. No need to continue the discussion further.

The Case For Nationalizing The Military Industrial Complex

I’ve written before that the claim is false that weapons contractors creating jobs is false. Even in the rare instances that there is any truth to it, to maintain those jobs is entirely dependent on the perpetuation of our current wars. To expand and create more jobs would require waging more wars.

Many Americans still hold by the mantra that we have the greatest military on earth. That our military technology is virtually miraculous. In any case, they think our military can defeat any opponent in existence and do so in short order.

The same people are oblivious to the fact that we have been in Afghanistan for 18 years. In Iraq for 16 years. In addition, we are directly bombing, assisting in bombing or selling weapons to other countries who are bombing 5 more countries- Syria, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan and Yemen. We also fund a significant portion of the Israeli attacks on Palestine.

In the cases where we are selling weapons, those sales may pose a profit for military contractors but it comes at a LOSS to US taxpayers. Consider the fact that the US gives $90 billion every single year to other countries. Most of those countries use a portion of that money to buy weapons from US contractors. We also buy oil from Saudi Arabia, providing profits for them to wage war on Yemen and fund terrorists in other countries. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel have been on record assisting ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Did you realize that when military contractors sell weapons to other countries, those weapons are transported by or under escort of US military ships? The companies and purchasing countries are not billed for this security, YOU are. THIS is a corporate subsidy.

Military contractors spend billions each year on lobbying, campaign “donations” and advertising on corporate media. This alone should be illegal by any account. Their profits come from taxpayer dollars and should never be allowed to be spent to influence opinions of the public or elected officials.

When corporate media has “experts” speaking about international conflicts, over 90% of the time the “experts” and guests have direct ties to military contractors. The result is propaganda and sales pitches by MIC contractors being presented as “news”. Have you noted they do not host diplomats, who would be the logical choice for the subject? When was the last time a corporate media source interviewed Jimmy Carter?

Here is a list of companies you may or may not have known are military contractors- Boeing, Ford, General Dynamics, GM, GE, CAT, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Heinz, Tabasco, Lockheed, McKesson, Humana, United Health Group, Hewlett Packard, Honeywell, Merck, Cardinal Health, Pfizer, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon, Fedex, Valero Energy, AT&T, GlaxoSmithKline, Berkshire Hathaway, Rolls Royce, Express Scripts Holding, Bank of America, Burger King, Coca Cola, Tyson Foods, Walgreens, Citi Bank, the NFL…

Of course, this is a small fraction of the list of military contractors. Is this changing your view yet of all the patriotic and heartwarming “Support Our Troops” advertising?

The point I am making is not that all these companies should be nationalized. Just making the point that they all make significant amounts through government contracts and some portion of those profits funded by taxpayers and government debt are used on advertising. We could go even further by nationalizing any oil processing which is required by the military.

However, by nationalizing weapons contractors, we would end the practice of those weapons contractors having a voice in elections and what is presented as “news”. By removing corporate profits from the equation, military conflict would then be seen as what it truly is- a drain on resources that offer virtually no benefit to society in any form. By removing the commentary of those who gain from warfare, we have a much greater likelihood of war being portrayed as the horror that it truly is rather than some patriotic, heroic, profitable endeavor which creates more enemies than it could ever possibly nullify.

Yes, I know some will still claim that the weapons industry creates jobs. Okay, so if weapons manufacturing were nationalized, would thet create fewer jobs? No, same amount. Which would likely pay more and have better benefits.

Know what else creates jobs? Schools, highway construction/repair and medical care. Plus the fact that those would create jobs and incomes in all communities, reduce costs for real life needs and provide needed services to the PEOPLE of this country.

In short, the real enemy we face is unbridled capitalism. That is what created any enemies we now have in other countries. It is what has resulted in overthrow of governments, multiple refugee crises in the Middle East and South America, tens of millions of deaths, millions with PTSD, hundreds of thousands of suicides, children growing up with damaged or dead parents and trillions in debt while society has nothing positive to show for it. Only the rich benefit from the current system.

Democracy In The Workplace

I give credit where credit is due. This article is inspired by Dr Richard Wolff, who runs the YT channel, “Democracy At Work”. If you do not follow Dr Wolff, you really should. Dr Wolff is a highly experienced professor and explains several things in this video, which you may want to watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOqqRD1t47Y

That said, no, this article is not a review of that video. I prefer making my own statements but give credit to my inspirations, be it a conversation with my girlfriend or a more known source like Dr Wolff.

Americans like to think we have democracy. Yet at work, we surrender to hierarchic structures where we simply follow dictates handed down by business and corporate demands. Those demands consistently benefit the business and corporate entities far more than it benefits the workers.

We are told by employers to refrain from discussing politics at work. The rationale promoted being that it causes stress and division. That statement is demonstrably false.

The slave mind. I do agree that some people take things personally which they should not. Why? Because our society has been (as I have written about extensively) indoctrinated into a slave culture mindset addicted to entertainment and chained to celebrity over substance.

The slave mind is promoted by two factions- the slave owners/masters and the slaves too fearful to oppose the owners/masters. The latter will adamantly and even violently defend their own slavery. These are the workers who are “brown nosers”, the ones least trusted by coworkers because what you say in their presence will make it up the chain, even if your words were completely benign. These are people that have an innate need to be led, that need an authority figure to dictate to them. These are people who will remain in an abusive relationship or environment or even thrive on it. They are motivated by instilling fear, division and drama or literal addiction to the same things and their own submission.

Indoctrination. This subservient mindset is embedded in our consciousness from childhood via religion and public education. By the time we enter the workplace, we are fully surrendered to faithfully defend the slave masters, to think that our labor, our thoughts, our very existence should be dedicated to the well-being of our employers, elected officials, judicial system and military worship, even when it is contradictory to our own best interests and that of the economy, society, the environment and the planet at large.

Democratic work space. Have you ever worked in a workplace where laborers have open communication and are allowed to voice ideas for improvement which are taken seriously? I have on several occasions. What happened was that there was greater cohesion, greater productivity, more efficiency, less theft and better morale. People felt like their ideas were heard, even if voted down by a democratic majority or rejected for practical reasons. They felt like they contributed. They felt rightly that they were cared about by their own coworkers.

Democratic leadership. In this environment, fostered by leaders who promoted it, I was able to criticize that leader (usually privately). It did result in some pretty strong arguments yet, in the end, we respected each other. There were no repercussions. I was not written up, did not have my income reduced, was not terminated. I respected them more because I was able to voice my opinions and thoughts, even when they ran contrary to instructions from above or the most popular view. They respected me because they knew they could trust me.

Hurt feelings. Think employers worry about your hurt feelings when they tell you that your family comes second to the job? That your cost of benefits are increasing? That your hours are being cut? That someone less qualified (but more subservient) is being promoted or even hired in over you or given a position you applied for? It’s not feelings that matter. Have you ever noticed that cohesion and motivation have been replaced by “professionalism” and productivity? In other words, shut up, follow orders, get along with fellow slaves and do your job or suffer the consequences. Sound familiar? How do feelings count in that environment?

Recent changes. Can anyone recall not so long ago when tech startups were a big thing? Many startups had environments and meetings where workers were allowed and often encouraged to voice ideas for improvements and tactics. That attitude spread beyond tech startups into other industries as well. Companies expanded benefits and changed environments to become more inclusive. That didn’t last long. What happened was that workers began demanding more benefits, recognition and compensation for their contributions. Some claim that this led to the tech bubble bursting but that’s not true. The tech bubble burst because of numerous startups that never produced anything and never had a cohesive concept to begin with, so they never should have been funded by anyone. Many were nothing but con artists. The demand for more compensation and recognition was frowned upon by capitalist investors who bought out smaller companies. Reduction of compensation and benefits was enforced by executives who were given stock options tied to stock price. We went through years of cutting salaries and benefits to reduce costs to support profit margins as executive salaries skyrocketed and executive stock packages grew ever larger. Today, profits are completely unrelated to company profits while stock holders get richer by artificially inflating stock prices. There is no need to consider worker needs other than public image.

Long term changes. Before tech startups, we had another structure which defended our interests and where our voices were once heard. Unions.Unions brought us the 40 hour work week, overtime pay, child labor laws, worker safety regulations, worker health insurance, worker retirement accounts, workman’s compensation, unemployment insurance and a lot more. These things were achieved through communication and mass movements, strikes and protests. Yet over time since Reagan, unions have lost cohesion due to internal corruption at the top and weakened through “Right To Work” legislation pushed through by corporate bribes in the form of lobbying and campaign “donations” to elected officials.

Competition over cooperation. The modern business environment, social environment and even educational environment encourages competition. Who decides the winners? Most commonly authority figures who profit in some way by the results of a competition. Cooperation is encouraged only when it involves one team competing against another. The division is constant and cooperation which would benefit all members of all teams equally is not only discouraged but my be grounds for elimination of/from a team. School students are graded on a curve rather than as a group. Workers are pitted against coworkers, businesses are pitted against other businesses in the same industry. Singers are judged individually and not allowed to sing as a group/choir unless authorized or ordered. Seniority and productivity earn you a mass produced pin on your uniform or a computer generated and printed award to hang on your wall. There must always be an “other”, an opponent, an enemy that must be “beaten” so “we” can “win”.

Disclaimer: This is not making a statement against competition or striving to do better. I am making a statement against this being a mindset in a way of life that we accept as a constant. Personally, I can be brutally competitive when debating things that involve human lives. I can also be very seriously competitive in games but remain polite.

The real fear of capitalists. When workers discuss politics, it will invariably lead to economics and working conditions. Or vice versa. This is unacceptable to capitalists. In many tech startups mentioned above, those who made major contributions at first gained a real share of benefits and wealth for their efforts and ideas. As startups eventually sold ownership to larger and larger corporate investors, those gains for individual workers slipped away gradually. Replaced by positions where improvements and ideas were expected, demanded and mandatory to earn flat salaries. Rewards were replaced with threats. Benefits became more expensive to the worker or were reduced, even eliminated. Today, if a worker offers an idea which improves efficiency, reduces cost or results in an entirely new income stream for a company resulting in billions in profits, the worker may get a small bonus instead of a share of the profits. Or simply a letter of recognition.

No more divide and conquer. As should be obvious through all of this, the entire goal is to keep us divided. As long as we remain divided, we can be controlled. Break up unions, split the workforce, make us compete like performing animals, tell us that the most subservient will be rewarded, follow orders, watch one another and report disobedience, accept the roles assigned no matter how demeaning or below our capacity and capability, accept the workload no matter how crushing, ask no questions, make no demands, struggle to survive so the rich and corporations survive and profit. As long as we remain divided, we surrender our own power as a group, a workforce, a community, a society. We hand our power over too willingly and lock our own shackles.

We can do better. If we want things to improve, we have only one choice. To unify. That means communicating with each other. Yes, it may at times be uncomfortable but eventually we gain more respect for each other. Can all of us agree on everything? No. However, we can gain consensus. In other words, democracy in the workplace. Which leads to democracy in ever-growing concentric circles to community, city, state, nation and world.

THAT absolutely terrifies capitalists.

The only other choice is surrendering to the oligarchy and perpetuating our own subservience where more chains will continue to be added as time goes on until we can no longer carry the weight. In the long run, if we communicate, even on the issues we disagree on, then when conditions improve, we gain more respect and caring for each other. It’s called being a society. Which is the root word of Socialism. Remember that.

Break the rules. Turn to your coworkers and start talking about real issues. Today. Don’t wait any longer.

Automation- Your Job Is Not Safe From Indirect Effects, Pt 2- Solutions

Part 1 of this series addressed the challenges involving automation which affect our economy and job market. Part 2 addresses solutions which we cannot avoid having to implement at some point. If we do not implement these solutions at some level, our economy and our society as we know it will continue to deteriorate and ultimately collapse. We’re already well on the road to that conclusion.

There is no stopping it. You will not stop the advance of technology and automation. It’s here to stay and is accelerating. Technology has been advancing since prehistoric times. Technology multiplies technology. Humans have always used tools to build bigger tools, better tools, buildings and factories to create tools. Computer programs speed the development of better, faster programs. We now have programs that write programs. Computer hardware is used to develop the next generation of hardware, faster, more capable, more resilient. The more the tools advance, the fewer the number of workers needed to accomplish the greatest amount of work. The only time this is bad is when it happens in a capitalist system. Remove money for survival from the equation and it is a positive. Keep money in that equation and it becomes deadly.

WE need to adapt our attitudes. Many Americans are still stuck in the concept that Socialism is bad. Never mind that without Socialist-leaning programs our economy would collapse right this minute. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schools, public roads, health departments, fire departments, police, jails, prisons, etc. Millions of jobs rely on a Socialist ideal right now. The problem with the advance of technology is that our economy has not kept pace. Our attitudes as a society have not kept pace.Most of this is because of capitalist ownership of media and domination of education, all pushing a capitalist agenda. “Capitalism good, Socialism bad.”WE need to evolve beyond this mindset. Stop giving in to fear of change. See what is happening. Stop trying to prop up a collapsing building.

Advances and opposition. Technology will continue to advance no matter the economic system. It is part of our evolution. It is the human drive to solve problems and defeat challenges. The first humans that used rocks as hammers made no monetary profit. The first humans to develop bronze, iron and steel made no money. The problem is that the same mindset to evolve and defeat challenges in our economy is opposed by a barbaric need to dominate, by greed, by ego. It is an absolute indication that our society has not evolved socially. It is this barbaric mindset which holds us back, which is apathetic or even sadistically jubilant at the suffering of human beings who lack the resources to dominate, even if that person is born with artificial socially imposed disadvantages which have nothing to do with their capabilities or true potential. It is this barbaric mindset which refuses to grant anything for free and pushes to make even the most basic needs like clean water a commodity available only for an ever-increasing price. It is that barbaric mindset which keeps those born or forced to the bottom of the economic ladder constantly fighting for mere survival until they have no time, energy or resources remaining to even make the attempt to climb higher. Mental slaves to that barbarism attempt to blame the victims of this system for their alleged failings. Surrendering our minds to that barbaric mentality means surrendering our lives, our society, our health, our children and our futures to someday be on the victim side of that equation. Many are experiencing this today as the middle class loses ground and becomes ever more insecure.

Limited options. There are only a limited number of solutions to the conditions which we are facing. Every one of those solutions involve some form of Socialism. Trickle-down economics is a demonstrated failure. Capitalists still try to claim that only capitalist solutions can save capitalism. Yet none of that is true. We have watched the flow of wealth to the top over nearly 40 years and we are now in crisis mode globally. You can cheer for your favorite gazillionaire all you like, that doesn’t mean that your paycheck grows any larger, that your personal future becomes any more secure. The rich have had sycophants groveling at their feet through all of history but when you no longer present a profit to the rich, your purpose has been served and you get thrown out like so much garbage along with everyone else. Stop licking boots.

Drop the resentment of the poor. Resentment of the poor does no good. Let’s say that some people take unfair advantage of welfare and avoid that argument. The fact is, if 25%, 1 out of four of Americans, took advantage of welfare to the tune of $1000 a month every month, that would equate to an annual cost of $990 billion. Now consider that most of those welfare recipients are likely to be supporting families. Consider that this spending would be spent in the economy, supporting jobs and incomes. The government surrendered more money than that giving tax breaks to the rich in 2018. The rich responded by using that money to buy back over $2 trillion in stock. In other words, enough to give HALF of Americans an extra $1000 a month. Yet that tax break created exactly zero jobs. Bloomberg recently reported that the job market declined by 600,000 since December 2018.

Solutions. It is obvious that the only way that the general population and capitalism itself will survive is by implementing some form of Universal Basic Income (UBI). As more jobs cease to exist, competition for remaining jobs becomes more fierce and as a result wages plummet, we are driving headlong into conditions ripe for unbridled civil war. You can deny it but that doesn’t change the truth. Look through history and the same conditions have always resulted in civil war by some name. Call it revolution, uprising or anything else, they all mean the same thing. The only thing missing at this point is some spark to light the final fuse. That fuse is lit. Flooding in the midwest, decreased imports and increasing prices due to tariffs mean that we are now facing a shortage of resources which will only be available to those higher on the income scale. As resources become more exhausted, it will mean more jobs are lost and prices escalate further. Cutting social support programs to support warfare and corporate welfare is exactly the wrong thing to do at exactly the wrong time. Yet that’s what is happening.

New ideas. It is obvious that new ideas and approaches are needed. We cannot keep applying the same old ideas which have NEVER worked and expect them to suddenly solve our problems. We have to be brave enough to accept the fact that the old system has failed and will continue to fail. Remaining in the same system for fear of change is no different than remaining in an abusive relationship because the abuser tells you that you cannot survive without them. It is the rich, the capitalists who will not survive without us. We literally don’t need them at all. Workers build and produce everything. Our national resources, including intellectual property, belong to us, not them. The profits from our efforts, our lands and waters do not belong to them by any authorization but our allowance, which has cost too much destruction, too much suffering, too many lives. The time for UBI is now. Not later. Later will be too late. Corporations are not your friends. The rich are not your friends. Corporate media are not your friends. Politicians who push the capitalist agenda are not your friends. The sooner YOU realize that, the sooner we can move forward together and build something better than we have. The other choice is that we all fail together.

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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! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

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

If you care to share 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 at https://issuesunite.com/ 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.

Automation- Your Job Is Not Safe From Indirect Effects, Pt 1- The Challenges

I’ve been writing about the effects of automation reducing jobs for several years now. More jobs are being eliminated through automation than the number sent to other countries.

Jobs which become automated will never come back. Period. The jobs do not even have to be automated in this country. They can be automated in another country. The result is the same, that the job no longer exists.

I still encounter people continuously that insist that technology creates more jobs than it eliminates. When challenged to explain how that works, they consistently fall silent. All they have is propaganda which they regurgitate, either programmed into them or which they directly promote with full knowledge that their words are false. Many of those who have challenged my statements work in the tech and robotics field, trying to justify their positions. I will admit that some of them seem to be trying to ease their own conscience. Sorry, I cannot be that nice to them.

I am not a Luddite or against technology. As a nurse, I prefer computer charting and despise paper charts. They’re a pain in many respects. They may be more secure for privacy but there have been many cases of paper charts being damaged, burned or destroyed. Once they’re gone there is no backup, they’re just gone. Forever. Plus the whole thing of chasing down the single copy of a chart when multiple offices or doctors want to access it while medical records sits on their thumbs is not fun, to say the least. As a writer, this effort relies almost exclusively on technology. Accessing information today takes a fraction of the time it once did. Sharing valid information is done in milliseconds. Mass social movements can be built in short order in this way. Independent media relies on technology, allowing us to bypass the multibillion dollar corporate propaganda machine.

Their rationale fails every time. The point where the tech propagandists fall is when I ask them to explain why companies would invest in expensive systems to reduce labor, when it would only result in more labor cost. I’ve stated before how jobs for auto workers, telephone operators, print setters, proof readers, toll booth attendants, accountants, bank tellers, cashiers, file clerks, manufacturing jobs and many more have been eliminated due to technological advances. Once systems are built, it takes only a few workers to maintain them. Updating software is done remotely, so one worker in another state or country can maintain systems. One or two technicians for a large company or from a contractor can maintain hardware for a city or several cities. Repairs are a matter of replacing disposable components.

No, trades are not safe. Of late, I have heard from people who say that trades are secure. No, they’re not. One person replied to a comment by saying he is a painter who does mold remediation. I concede that his job is secure. For the moment. Yet over time it will not be. This is true for many occupations.

The threat does not need to be a direct one.

The race is on. On his own statement, I directed him to do a search on YouTube. Right now there are many companies and universities in multiple countries developing home painting systems. Each one first does scanning and mapping of the space to be painted, stores a 3D model and then starts painting. So they are not limited to a set environment. It is a race for the first system to be patented and implemented. These systems do not do remediation but focus on viable structures and new construction.

Now, think about the implications.

Overcrowding. I’ll stick with the home painting issue as an example. Painters do not all do remediation. However, once robotic systems become widely used which eliminate an ever-growing number of jobs for new and stable construction, painters who relied on new or stable construction for income will acquire new skills which add on the their existing skills. Like mold remediation. This results in increased competition, driving down prices for remediation. Reduced pricing then results in reduced income per contract. The number of contracts will remain constant, while more workers will be competing for them. Less income per job, fewer jobs available.

Expand the concept. I have challenged the growing cry of people claiming that trade skills are secure. See that article here. However, let’s say that they are correct and I am wrong. If other occupations continue being eliminated while trade/vocational occupations remain secure, what happens? You’ve seen this before. What happens is that the number of people entering those careers skyrockets. The field becomes overcrowded, competition for those jobs becomes fierce, driving down wages and available opportunities are spread among a greater number of workers.

Ask a Programmer. One of the claims that will not go away is that there is an increasing need for programmers. That information is sorely outdated. Years ago, there was a demand for programmers who developed entire programs and systems. Those who had the skills could demand high wages. Today, thanks to competition, a programmer who could once demand $100 an hour can barely demand $30 and have to compete for that. Today, rather than building programs and systems, we have developers who develop applications or “apps” which run on top of operating systems. In many cases, apps can be developed with drag-and-drop programs developed by someone else. Even that has seen competition which demands short development time, perhaps only a few hours, at lower cost, meaning less income. In fact, tech development has resulted in systems which can create simple apps with no human programming needed. Tell the system what you want the app to do and it compiles an app for you with pre-written scripts pasted together. Developers have developed themselves out of jobs.

We already see the effects. The dwindling number of remaining occupations, the increasing number of applicants into these occupations is already apparent. Careers which once demanded high skill levels have been “dummy-proofed” through technology. That means fewer literal skills are required for most occupations. That means companies can pay less to workers and offer fewer benefits. Corporations can move entire operations to different states or countries and hire people with no skills at all. Just follow simple instructions for actions they repeat all day, every day for years. Auto workers demand far less pay than they once did. Programmers rarely program. Cashiers don’t have to be accurate. Trust me, I used to run a manual cash register. Riveters don’t rivet, they push a button and the robot rivets.

Many jobs are centralized. Talk to a telephone operator in your own state lately? Customer service technician in your own country? When you get invasive sales calls, chances are they are in New Mexico, Texas or some other country routed through a US number. I lived in San Antonio and New Mexico and those jobs have a high level of competition. My brother made a decent income decades ago as a telephone sales person for the San Antonio Light Newspaper. The Light no longer exists, driven out of business by Rupert Murdoch long before Fox News ever existed.

Worker productivity. We hear reports on financial news that worker productivity keeps rising. This is good news to investors, not to workers. Increased productivity means fewer workers are need to produce the same amount of goods. That means fewer jobs available. It’s that simple.

This is the end of part 1 of this series. Part 2 will delve into solutions.

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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! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

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

If you care to share 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 at https://issuesunite.com/ 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.

By The Numbers

According to Dr Richard Wolff, who is always very accurate, the average pay for a CEO today is $238,000 a week. (Just under $1 million per month.)

I broke down the numbers further.

This comes to $5950 per hour (for a 40 hour week).

Going further, it equals $99.16 PER MINUTE.

Which equates to $1.65 PER SECOND.

Simply put, a CEO makes more money in 5 seconds than a minimum wage worker in the same company makes in one hour. The CEO can take a long sip of water or coffee and make more money than the worker, who spent an hour on their feet, tired, possibly sweating, dealing with difficult customers, handling sharp or hot instruments, etc.

I won’t bother going into the difference in benefits much which for the CEO means stock packages, bonuses for cutting staff, more bonuses for declaring bankruptcy and raiding pension funds or retirement accounts, full insurance paid for by the company (in other words, by low employee wages and jacked up prices for customers). All that becomes fairly moot when they could afford any catastrophic illness and have more money in investments than a real person could ever spend in multiple lifetimes.

I see capitalist puppets defending this system all the time. People who consider themselves oppressed billionaires, yet make less in a year than the CEO makes in a month. People who have no grasp of economics. They think they understand economics because they can use a computer program to balance their checkbook for them. Or because they made $1000 on the stock market last year in a folio managed by someone else. They are economic geniuses in their minds.

Back to the numbers.

I previously explained exactly how much $1 billion is because most people have no concept of it. They just hear the term all the time and have never even considered how large that number is. So, here is that explanation again-

If you make $50,000 a year, it would take you 20 years to make $1 million.

Now, $1 billion is $1 million times 1000. Yes, I mean 1000, not 100. Check your math class.

This means that at $50,000 a year, it would take you 20,000 (Twenty THOUSAND, not a typo.) years to make $1 billion.

Maybe you make $100,000 a year. Okay, so your numbers are cut in half. You would have to work 10 years for $1 million, 10,000 years for $1 billion.

Or maybe you make $1 million a year. Then you would only have to work 1,000 years, a full millennium to reach $1 billion.

Keep in mind that at the end of that time, you would not have $1 billion, you would have earned $1 billion. You would be spending during that time frame.

Thus, at $50,000 a year, to earn the $150 billion which is Jeff Bezos’ net worth, you would have to work 3 million years. (Go ahead. Check my math.) Oh yeah. He lost some of that in his divorce recently. So I guess he’s onlyworth around $115 billion now. Poor Jeff. The struggle is real.

Some people will attack me and ask, “Are you proposing class warfare?”

Actually, yes. Yes I am. That doesn’t mean I am proposing violence. I am proposing legislative changes that equalize the balance of wealth, improve the economy, improve living conditions for the 99+%.

I’ve written extensively on how the wealthy hoard money. Like capital gains. Capital gains refer to investments. Investments are not taxed until they are withdrawn, then considered income. This is no different than your own 401k. Then capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages. There is a cap on federal capital gains tax of 20% at the highest level. That only applies if the money is withdrawn. So, if you make $100 million a year and invest $90 million of that, you evaded taxes on that $90 million. Keep doing that for 10 years and you have evaded taxes on $900 million.

Now, apply that concept to Jeff Bezos, other billionaires and corporations. Yes, corporations do it too. One way they do this is by spending money on stock repurchases to boost stock value. Stocks they bought back using money they gained from the bipartisan tax break they recently got.

This has not even reached the concept of taxing wealth. This is only discussing income. Meaning an individual or company evades taxes on cumulative trillions of dollars in income each and every year, year after year.

Meanwhile our government debates whether we should raise the minimum wage, cuts food stamps, denies Social Security applications/claims, reduces Medicare and Medicaid benefits, schools cut teaching positions, roads and bridges collapse.

When anyone proposes increasing taxes on the top earners, that’s not taking away anything they already have. It is an increased tax on income only and is not retroactive in any way. It also does not mean they pay a 70% tax on income over $10 million, it does not mean they pay a 70% tax on the whole thing. OVER $10 million means exactly that because of the incremental tax system. So if a person makes $10 million and $1, they only pay the 70% tax on the $1. Plus, it does not affect the capital gains tax I already discussed, where they can evade most of their taxes.

So the discussion on increasing the top tax brackets sounds Progressive but it’s really an illusion. CEO’s can take bonuses in stock packages. Capital gains are still a thing. Corporations pay no taxes on money spent on stock repurchases, bonuses, etc.

I’ve previously suggested a much more effective idea. Implementing a maximum income. Not wage, income, meaning from all sources.

Such a maximum income could be quite generous. Like $50 million. That is annual income. If you need more than that to live on every year, you don’t need more money, you need therapy and lots of it. Anything above that cap would be taxed at 100%. Corporations should be taxed at a percentage of profits. A 15–20% profit margin should be enough for any corporation. Bonuses and stock repurchases would not be deductions. Of course, capital gains would be taxed annually and at the standard tax rate.

If this idea were implemented, then over time it would be a possibility that Americans below that income level would not have to pay any income tax at all. Especially if we cut our military spending. The result would be all the money currently paid by most Americans on taxes would then be spent in the economy. Know what that does? It increases profits for the rich while improving lives for the rest of us. It creates jobs, real jobs with living wages. It boosts the middle class considerably. The rich do not create jobs. Consumers create jobs. In fact, the rich destroy jobs by laying people off to boost stock values and dividends. Corporations force small businesses out of existence.

These are not radical ideas. This is reasonable. It preserves capitalism but balances it. The alternatives to this are radical, either in favor of the rich as we have now or in favor of literal revolution. These ideas are peaceful and rational.

Back to that class warfare thing. One thing to realize is that the rich have waged class warfare against us for generations. We have simply hunkered down and tried to avoid the missiles and mortars falling all around us, destroying our planet, our country, our lives. It’s time to fight back.

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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! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

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

If you care to share 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 at https://issuesunite.com/ 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.

Trump’s Immigrant Detention Industry Is The Worst Form of Socialism- Pt 2

As I noted at the end of part 1 of this series, the immigration detention industry is paid for by society, yet offers no direct profit to society.

Contrast this with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. These programs offer direct societal benefits of providing a direct income or medical care. Under our current system, they do result in corporate profits but only afterthe money or service passes through the hands of the beneficiary.

None of this is true with immigrant detention centers. Instead the money goes first through the hands of the corporation. The corporation determines how much a worker gets paid after first considering their own profit margin, which is their first and only concern.

It is true that these facilities provide jobs and incomes for those that work there. They may boost local community revenues to some degree. However, this can only be seen as a temporary situation. There will come a time when the immigrant population will become so low that these facilities will decrease, leading to these facilities being closed again.

This could very well leave these communities in even worse condition than they began. You can count on the fact that many municipalities and local businesses will take out loans based on the increased revenue they see in the immediate present. So will many individuals, taking on new debt in the form of mortgages, vehicles, credit card debt and so on. Once the facilities begin reducing staff, cutting hours and closing doors, this party ends and the cleanup begins. The income will be gone and the bills will still have to be paid.

As long as these facilities remain open only for the purpose of detaining immigrants, this system is unsustainable. Eventually so many immigrants will be deported or naturalized that the end is inevitable.

For the record, the Socialist statement is also true of all of ICE, minus the corporate profit.

The alternative is considerably worse. That another use is found for these facilities. Like turning them into federal detention facilities. For whom? That’s the terrifying thing to think about. We already see laws being enacted to make it illegal to protest against corporate interests such as oil pipelines. We see laws being put in place which may well lead to it being a crime to protest our government giving billions in aid to Israel. I have no doubt laws already exist making it a crime to protest weapons manufacturers.

This in a country already hosting the largest prison population on the planet at any time in history.

Should these facilities turn into federal detention centers for other purposes, that would mean some working at those facilities would no longer be eligible to work there because employment criteria would change. These facilities would no longer be holding areas but actual prisons. The criteria for employment would then require security screening and training above and beyond anything currently required. In some cases, it would require training in restraint procedures and weapons training. (Of course, many currently working there would likely look forward to such things.) The inmates would be deemed “dangerous dissidents” and “terrorists”, even if they were someone like me, an anti-war, mostly pacifist blogger pushing for changes to our system which benefit everyone. ICE would likely be repurposed into a federal police force to identify and round up people like myself, then detain us with no charges, no right to representation, no Habeas Corpus at all.

Should that happen, many of those incarcerated would be family members, friends, social and business associates of those working in the facilities. Make no mistake that it would become a criminal act to protest the facilities themselves.

Some are going to claim that this projection will never happen, that it is unrealistic. Yet we have already gone so much further into what can only be described as fascism that our country is looking more like a dystopian nightmare than any sane person currently living in this country could believe. We are bombing 7 countries, collapsing our economy while corporate news denies it’s happening, spending an unbelievable amount on “defense”, threatening military action against at least 5 more countries, sanctioning our allies, destroying our own industries, handing all of the wealth to the already insanely wealthy, denying medical care and even food to those at lower income levels, poisoning our own water and land for the purpose of corporate profits, obliterating human and Constitutional rights at every level. What the HELL makes you think you are not next?!!

The last irony I will mention is this. Many of those who support these detention centers like to view themselves as “Christians”. The Bible teaches one to love your neighbor, love your enemy, feed to poor, heal the sick, judge not and to treat others as you wish to be treated. It also teaches you to welcome foreigners into your home and treat them as a guest, not only as an equal but with honor. One of the greatest sins listed in the Bible is pride and arrogance. The worst part for alleged “Christians” is that the majority of the immigrants from Mexico and South America are far more devout Christians than those who choose to eject them from this country.

Each day we force regime change on other countries, dictate laws to our allies and neighbors, imprison those who flee the results of our policies, separate families, kill innocent people in the name of “prosperity” and “security”, we deplete our resources, surrender our wealth, stain our reputation.. and create enemies. We are now creating terrorists within our country and in immediate neighboring countries. Those we have harmed for the sake of our own greed will seek restitution in some way, at some time. As individuals and as nations.

This country has suspended a Damoclean Sword above our heads with our actions as a society. It is only a matter of time before that sword falls and we have nowhere to turn to evade it. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

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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! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

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

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Trump’s Immigrant Detention Industry Is The Worst Form of Socialism-Pt 1

I have offered the definition of Socialism in this way many times- Any program or legislation created for the benefit of society, paid for by society is Socialist in nature.

Now, typically what I am referring to are programs such as Social Security (Where did you think that name came from?), Medicare, Medicaid, public schools, public roads, health departments, fire departments, consumer protection laws, FDIC, FDA, EPA, the Forestry Service.. I could go on but think that makes the point. Each of these provide direct benefits to society in a way that outweigh any cost. They create jobs and result in financial gains to the community at large while actually increasing tax revenue by maintaining jobs so that businesses and employees are paying taxes, local, state and federal.

Now we come to Trump’s programs. The title refers to the immigrant detention program but I refer to much more, which I will cover later.

First, in Trump’s case, I will add the disclaimer to the above definition- Any program or legislation created for the ALLEGED benefit of society, paid for by society is Socialist. I will also state that the conditions I am about to describe can be applied to many programs which are Socialist in concept, yet have largely assisted in the flow of wealth to the top. However, Trump’s programs have cut out a huge part of what funding once made any pit stop at lower levels of the economy and are instead mostly direct corporate welfare at the highest degree.

Many of the immigrant detention centers have been intentionally built in remote areas with few employment opportunities. Part of this is because this is where much of his base resides. They are also areas which have seen once-thriving industries move out, leaving communities devastated. I’ve written about this before here:  https://issuesunite.com/small-business-decline-over-generations/

It’s understandable to a degree why these facilities are supported in these communities. The people in these small communities have been watching their communities suffer, dry up and waste away slowly over many years. So, when something comes along which offers an income and possibility to revive their community, they will support it.

Many of these communities also resent immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, who have come here willing to work for much lower wages. Unfortunately, they fail to recognize the fact that it has been capitalists who hired the immigrants because they could pay lower wages and hoard the wealth. In the process, it was the capitalist that eliminated the job for legal citizens.

Though I will not demonize the capitalists too much.

There are a number of ironies involved here. For one, in many cases these communities would have died off long ago if not for the immigrants. The immigrants spend their earnings in the community, keeping local businesses afloat. This is why business owners in some cases hired them in the first place. Consider a small business owner in a small community with no viable larger employers, so consumer spending is extremely low. They are barely keeping their doors open, so seek to pay lower wages to remain in business. I am convinced this is less common than the capitalist who hoards wealth. Small local business owners would have to contend with blowback by their own community, of which they are a part. We have seen corporations busted for hiring illegal immigrants at low wages with full knowledge of the legal status of the worker. No matter the case, if the profit margin were lower, if immigrants were not spending money in the local businesses, the businesses would cease to exist. One can claim that this would leave an opportunity for another business to open but that opportunity already exists.

Another irony is that residents in these communities will often object to businesses being forced to pay a higher minimum wage because the business would have to close. They don’t even see the irony in this statement, as paying citizens higher wages than immigrants is doing exactly that.

It is also ironic that many of those in these communities claim to object to Socialism. It is capitalism which has left their communities devastated and abandoned.

Yet now these very communities are turning to what is a Socialist program. The immigrant detention industry is genuinely an industry. It sells nothing, manufactures nothing and poses no direct community profit. All of the facilities are either government owned or corporate owned. Any profits made go directly to corporations.

However, the cost of building, maintaining and staffing the facilities is paid for by society. So are the profits.