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Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Rise of an American Plutocracy


If corporations are people, then they should be diagnosed as sociopathic. Corporations exists for one reason only: profit. Like the typical sociopath, there are no pangs of conscience when a corporation’s actions brings forth human suffering.  

When a person is diagnosed sociopathic, society intervenes to prevent the diagnosed from harming himself or others. We feel duty bound to limit the freedoms of the sociopath in order to prevent the diagnosed from infringing on the freedoms of other citizens. The social contract–the covenant that all members of society implicitly adhere to in order to benefit from the laws that protect us from the wickedness of barbarism–requires society to protect us from those that would cause us harm–those that would threaten our pursuit of happiness. 

A sociopath is either imprisoned or hospitalized when he causes others harm or is considered a danger to others. But how can the government protect us from the sociopathic corporate citizen? A corporation cannot be imprisoned. The government–duty-bound to protect us from the harm caused by the malfeasance and wickedness of those predators who live outside of the social contract–and human beings–duty-bound to protect each other from the mercenaries who think human morality to be an obstacle to their pursuit of self-interest–must act to protect society from the corporate citizen through government oversight and the enacting of regulations. 

Those self-concerned hoarders of wealth that benefit from the unregulated corporate citizen, i.e. the Koch Brothers, have promulgated an ideology that manipulates the working class into supporting a vision for America that harks back to the days of the robber barons–a time when the working person’s labor enriched a few men whose unslakable thirst for wealth led to widespread human suffering. Men and children toiled for 12 hours a day, six days a week for a pittance. Families huddled together in American cities forming impoverished ghettos.

The only institution powerful enough to address the diabolical ramifications of unbridled, unregulated capitalism is the government. Yet the Tea Party continues to tell Americans that government is the bogey man–that we need to shrink government to the point that it can fit down the drain.  The narcissists that we refer to as “captains of industry” feel that they occupy an exalted position that places them beyond criticism and even the law. The Koch Brothers have repeatedly demonstrated that they could care less if, in their ascent to power and wealth, they harm others. They have been fined over 400 times by the Environmental Protection Agency for breaking federal laws promulgated to protect the environment–a reflection of their narcissism and lack of concern for other members of society who are harmed by their egregious negligence. 

The Koch Brothers’ sociopathic behavior has caused society great harm not only environmentally, but politically too. Their narcisccim will never allow them to be answerable to the people. So they have brilliantly promulgated a plan to create a political party that is nothing more than a fa├žade that masks their real agenda: to weaken government to the point at which they can crush it with their heals. The Founding Fathers believed that the government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” So when Tea Party conservatives cry for a small, ineffectual government, they are arguing to weaken the people’s  power–they are arguing against the most basic tenet of a democracy: the sovereignty of the people.

They brilliantly employ language from the American Revolution in their attempt to manipulate us into thinking that their purely selfish efforts are in fact tantamount to the principles of the Revolution. By referring to themselves as the Tea Party, they are disgracing an event that protested the corporate greed of the British East India Company  and their cronies in Parliament. They reinterpret the act as an example of the Founding Fathers’ dislike of taxes and government, when in fact their real umbrage was with their lack of a role in the process: “No taxation without representation.”

If the corporate elites and their brainwashed Tea Party followers cannot achieve a majority in the government, then they will make government ineffectual and unresponsive to the will of the people. With Citizens United, The Kochs’ were the men behind the curtain. Their own in-house attorney argued in favor of Citizens United. Citizens United is a huge blow to our democracy. It allows special interests to donate without limit to political campaigns. Now the Koch’s can get their puppets elected to high federal office by pouring unregulated, special interest money into elections. CwwsawwwwwaAithe constituents matter to a corporate-sponsored elected official. He owes his allegiance to the corporate elites that helped him buy the election.

Now that the government is beginning to fall in line with the will of the Corporate America, there is only one institution left standing in their way: the unions. After Citizens United, the Koch’s began buying gubernatorial races for politicians who promised to break the backs of unions for good. 

The unions, with the support of the government, put an end to the exploitation of the workers. Organized Labor brought about the weekend, the 8 hour workday, and child labor laws.  

The unions are a shining example of what the powerless, when united through the ideals of empathy and fraternity, can achieve for humanity, even when opposed by the corporate elite and their bottomless pits of cash. 

However, our society is self-obsessed. It’s as if we have ethical blinders on that stop us from noticing the suffering of those around us. Our society suffers from an ethical disease that has destroyed our ability to feel empathy. How can a fraternal organization like labor unions exist when people are so self-absorbed? Union membership has suffered a severe decline. 11.1% of wage workers are members of unions. The percentage is down from 20.1% in 1983 when Union membership started declining–the time period which ushered in modern-day conservatism. 

With organized labor severely weakened, it was not difficult for the Koch Brothers to get Scott Walker elected governor of  Wisconsin. And it was not too difficult for Scott Walker to get rid of the right for unions to collective bargaining: another victory for the Koch Brothers.

The Koch Brothers and their corporate elites have their greedy hands wrapped around the neck of Lady Liberty, and with each victory over the liberal guardians of America’s Goddess, they tighten their grip. American democracy is gasping for air. Will American democracy be replaced with an American plutocracy?

The Case for Obamacare


President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has developed a mythical status. So it might be difficult to imagine FDR getting stern criticism from both sides of the aisle. But at one point in his presidency, this was indeed the case. When he signed the cornerstone of the New Deal–Social Security–into law, The Right Wing called him communist. The Left Wing, of the opinion that it did not do enough, accused FDR of being a cop-out.

President Barack Obama is currently facing the same critiques FDR faced in the 1940’s . “This is socialism,” screams the right wing. “It doesn’t go far enough,” says the left wing. President Obama has received criticism from both sides of the aisle since the passage of The Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare). The president has been the target not just of mere civil criticism; he’s been the victim of egregious invective:

The magnitude, intensity, and obsession of rightist hatred of the president is unprecedented in the history of American politics because it has poisoned the ability of Republican leaders in Congress to work in good faith with a twice-elected American president … No American president should ever have to defend his Christianity and Americanism.

Bedowsky, Brent “The GOP’s Obama Problem” The Hill (2 April 13)

Theodore Roosevelt was the first president who attempted to promulgate national health insurance. His cousin FDR tried twice and failed both times. Truman tried passing a single universal comprehensive health care plan. Obama’s mere suggestion of such a Truman-like system unleashed the right wing attack dogs barking their favorite word: “Communist! Communist!” President Truman while fighting the Cold War against the Soviets, introduced the single universal comprehensive health plan. The Clinton Administration also tried a form of Universal Health Insurance and failed.

This battle was 100 years in the making. Our most revered presidents failed to pass this historic piece of legislation: TR, FDR, and Truman. President Obama, cognizant of the need for health care reform and the government’s responsibility to protect American lives, achieved a remarkable legislative victory by signing The Affordable Health Care Act into law.

The Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) has been overlooked and overshadowed by the propagation of egregious lies, i.e., Obama is going to appoint death panels and kill Grandma.

I think most Americans believe in the that health care is a right associated with the right to life. I doubt there are many people out there who believe that we ought to let a person die of treatable cancer because the 3 part- time jobs he works does not offer insurance to part-time employees (although at a Republican Presidential Debate in Texas, when the candidates were asked whether a man without insurance should be left to die, a number of people yelled, “Let him die!”)

This is not how we treat our fellow citizens. We do not allow a mother to die to because her insurance company claims that her breast cancer is a pre-existing condition. Finally we elected a president with the courage and fortitude to battle a multi-billion dollar industry. An industry with billions of dollars to spend on lobbying efforts, commercials, and public relations.

Yet your President stood up to these organizations of iniquity and said, “No, I represent the American people not you. And we are going to stop you from allowing more Americans to die just so you can continue to hand out billion dollar parachutes to people whose job it is to figure out how to get out of paying the medical treatment of a dying American.”

The insurance companies could not intimidate or “buy off” President Obama. And of course they threatened him: they poured money into the Scott Brown Campaign in Massacusetts hoping to take away the Democratic super-majority. If we kept that super-majority, it would have forced these nefarious insurance companies to actually take a lesson in what capitalism is really all about: competition (How is it that America’s fascist movement, known as The Tea Party thinks that a competitive market economy is socialism? But, then again, look at the source). Insurance would have had to compete across state lines; they would have had to compete with a government program. The cost of health care would have dropped precipitously.

Despite Brown’s election, President Obama still pulled it off. He was able to end the corrupt business practices of health insurance companies: no more pre-existing condition refusals; an increase in preventative medicine; now kids can remain on their parents plan until after college; and 30 million more people are insured. In the long-run people will live longer healthier lives.

But this could of course all be a Pyrrhic victory now that The Koch Brothers’ in-house corporate attorney put our democratic-republic on its back with Citizens United.

(To be continued)

By Paul J Adams Jr

Don’t Think–Distract


Are commuters nowadays afraid that a single thought might breach their fortress of distractions?: the latest iPhone, tablet, MP3 player, or Subway Metro magazine?

I’m worried that if a single thought pops into the mind of the kid with the iPhone sitting next to me, his head might explode. And I’m not a big fan of commuting on the T with grey matter all over me. But I might be okay. His thumbs are so fast that he must be operating at a subconscious level. Oh boy, I hope his thumbs don’t slow down.

Just as he exits the train, I notice that the guy in the Men’s Warehouse suit is already on the sports section of his Metro Paper. What are to be the ramifications if his MBTA distraction device doesn’t have the word count to get him to his stop?

Okay, relax. Focus on the guy twisting and turning his IPad in multiple directions. I peak at his screen; he’s racing a car. Surely he won’t have to worry about his mind being taxed by a single thought on his commute.

I am not so concerned about the lady in front of me. She is gripping her Kindle so tight that it seems she thinks that if she squeezes her tablet enough, the dark-skinned Italian character in her trashy romance novel might pop out.

The rest of my fellow commuters are wearing those ubiquitous Apple ear buds. There definitely safe from having to think. Those iPads will keep them comatose. It is safe to say that their are no deep thinkers in this car. I wouldn’t want anyone to strain their brain in choosing their next distracting iTune song.

People do not sit quietly anymore and meditate. People don’t think deeply anymore. Are our thoughts so disturbing, guilt-provoking, or anxiety provoking that we need constant distraction? Physically we walk around the city distracted by our gadgets, oblivious to life around us. Although we seem like we are walking, we are running–running from
our thoughts.

Where was God on April 15 , 2013?


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We will never have any earthly answers to the questions we have asked ourselves since the Boston Marathon Bombings last year. Why did a child and three young adults die violently at the hands of hate? Why did Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, and Officer Sean Collier die at the hands of unmitigated evil? Why were so many maimed? Why were Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev so full of hatred that in a paroxysm of violence they destroyed or changed forever so many lives?

It is doubtful that we will ever know the answer to these painful questions. And the lack of answers creates even more pain. It is in these moments we beg for omnipotence. We prayer so hard for the answer to the question: Why did my loved one die in such a violent tragedy? But we are human, and we may never know how to answer the question that makes our souls ache with the heaviness of injustice–a heaviness in our souls compounded with the hollowness of grief.

We turn to God. We ask God these questions. But God does not respond. God’s silence does not mean He is deaf to our prayers, or unaware of our suffering. God grieves with us. In my experience, words have done nothing to console my grief. The presence of a loved one is comforting. The silent presence of a loved one helps us keep our sanity during those miserable, painful nights–the nights that we cry ourselves to sleep. Remember, when facing those nights by yourself, you are not alone. God is with you. Be aware of His Grace and Love.

God has given us free will. God does not interfere with human actions. God did not take the lives of young Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, and Officer Collier. Most of us believe in a loving God. Jews and Christians refer to him as “father”. When the people asked Jesus how they should pray, he said, “Our Father”. We are his children. He wishes not for us to suffer. Surely he does not randomly take the lives of his children. He cannot interfere in humanity’s everyday behaviour. If he could, he would have saved 6 million Jews from dying in the Holocaust. He would have saved Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingnzi Lu, and Officer Sean Collier.

Do not blame God, but find solace in that God grieves with us; that he too lost his children to violence. God can give us the grace and love we need to overcome such tragedy. God can give us strength.

Moreover, God can help us overcome hatred. We know he advocates love. And in striving for this love, we can begin to overcome the violence human beings unleash on one another. Here we cannot help but to point out the wisdom of little Martin Richard. Engraved in my mind is his beautiful piece of art that tells humanity, “No More Hurting People! PEACE!

Martin Richard and his Beautiful Work of Art and Sagacious Words

Lieutenant Firefighter Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy: Two Heroes who Have Renewed Faith in the Goodness of Humanity


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Lieutenant Firefighter Edward J Walsh and Firefighter Michael R Kennedy: May God embrace you for your consummate selflessness. May God embrace you for loving your neighbors so truly–so genuinely–that you were willing to sacrifice your physical beings for their safety.

Lieutenant Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy made a sacrifice that we refer to as “the ultimate sacrifice.” Upon reflection of the phrase “ultimate sacrifice”, multiple virtues are conjured up: valor; courage; duty and devotion; heroism; selflessness. But Walsh and Kennedy’s sacrifice–the sacrifice of their physical beings–is ultimately an act of love. The sacrifice of one’s life to protect the life of another is the most supreme act of love.

Thus, Lieutenant Firefighter Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy, left this world with love in their hearts. There is no doubt that their immortal souls are now in God’s serene embrace. They loved their neighbors, and demonstrated their love by putting their lives on the line on a daily basis in order to protect them. Walsh and Kennedy lived in accordance with Christianity’s Greatest Commandment: “Love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than this.” Therefore, there is no doubt as to the current heavenly state of their immortal souls. In this state, they await to be reunited with grieving loved ones.

We must be ever-mindful that their loved ones also made numerous sacrifices: Every time Walsh and Kennedy left home to go to the firehouse, the Walsh and Kennedy families sacrificed their peace of mind. Despite their worriment, they supported Walsh and Kennedy’s calling to protect the city and its inhabitants. Their unwavering support of their firefighter, and their willingness to sacrifice their peace of mind for the safety and protection of the people of Boston, demonstrates their love of neighbor. Moreover, we must recognize that the relatives, friends, and girlfriends (Kennedy had planned to propose to his girlfriend on May 11–Lilac Sunday) that surrounded Lieutenant Edward Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy had a tremendous influence on the type of men they were: heroes–men willing to sacrifice everything for their fellow man.

In a society in which selfishness is rampant–a society in which selfishness is hailed as a virtue by some–the selflessness of Kennedy and Walsh has given people faith in the human race again. Their sacrifice–their ultimate sacrifice–is a testament to the goodness of humanity. There are still those who choose selflessness over selfishness. There are those who measure success not by assessing all the material goods and money one possesses, but by assessing the virtues of goodness one possesses. There are still heroes out there. There are still virtuous people out there. There are still people who truly love their fellow man. Lieutenant Firefighter Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy, confirm that such people still exist. Not only did they save lives, but they also renewed our faith in the human race. Lieutenant Firefighter Walsh, Firefighter Kennedy, you will never be forgotten.