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Predators vs. Victims

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | March 11th, 2020

photo by Sabrina Hornung

photo by Sabrina Hornung

This Is How We Stop The Trumplicans’s Predatory Capitalism

In Gallup’s large Midterm Election Benchmark Poll conducted between October 15-28 of 2018, Republican and Democratic registered voters were asked to identify “Extremely/Very Important '' political issues. The polled picked the following top six issues in this order: Healthcare-80%, Economy and Inequality-78%, Immigration-78%, Treatment of Women in U.S. Society-74%, Gun Policy-72%, Education and Student Debt-64%, and Climate Change-53%.

Since the 2018 election when the Democrats won the House of Representatives it has passed over 400 bills relating to these issues which Senate Majority Leader “Moscow Mitch” McConnell has refused to bring to the Senate floor for a vote. The Trumplicans are already screaming “SOCIALISM!” as Republicans have yelled since trying to stop Franklin Delano Roosevelt, that rich Democratic politician from the Hudson, from rescuing the country from the clutches of the predatory Hoover administration who brought us Tuesday, October 29,1929 when window jumpers splattered Wall Street sidewalks. How did Roosevelt complete the rescue from the Great Depression that ran from 1929 to 1939?

It’s about time for the Republicans to swallow the ugly truth. Theodore Roosevelt’s fifth cousin used democratic SOCIALISM to rein in the predatory capitalism of Wall Street and the banks that brought on the Great Depression. I was born in 1932 so I have always had a great interest in how my family managed to save our farm from the creditors.

As a young farm boy I witnessed the democratic socialistic Rural Electrification Agency (REA) installing power to our well water pump and barn as part of FDR’s New Deal. The democratic socialism of the New Deal emphasized the ”three Rs”' of Relief, Recovery, and Reform required to deal with the outrages of a depression. The poor and jobless people needed jobs and food, so the Roosevelt administration developed democratic socialistic programs to provide RELIEF. The economy had to RECOVER somehow and the nation’s predatory financial system had to be REFORMED to prevent future depressions, so the administration had to put workers back to work and businesses functioning again.

FDR Solved The Relief, Recovery, And Reform By Utilizing Democratic Socialism

FDR created federal programs that would help investors deal with the disaster of Black Tuesday. Congress passed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 which was used to create the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to control the rapacious predators on Wall Street. These programs still exist today but have been failing to regulate for over ten years because of political chicanery and dishonesty. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Public Works Administration (PWA), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) were all developed to provide jobs throughout the Great Depression. The CCC created jobs for young workers. They built park buildings, constructed trails, bridges, and dams, toilet facilities, ski trails, and thousands of shelters. Workers were required to send $25 a month home to help the families survive.

The Civil Works Administration (CWA) was created in 1933 to provide jobs for very skilled workers who had previously high-paying jobs but it ended one year later because of opposition to its cost. The WPA built buildings and facilities across the country. Fargo has quite a few still around. Oldsters will remember that the Fargo Central High School Midgets played their football games for many years at a south side field and fan stands built by WPA workers. The WPA was discontinued in 1943.

The democratic socialists in the Roosevelt administration also developed the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) because that area of the South was particularly hard hit by the Great Depression. The TVA electric facilities are still the largest public provider of electricity in the United States. The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) was created in 1933 to relieve the housing crisis. Millions lost their homes to bankruptcy in the beginning of the Great Depression. The FHA was developed to regulate mortgages and housing conditions—and it still plays a major role in the financing of homes.

The Federal Security Agency (FSA) came about in 1939 to conduct oversight on Social Security (SS), education funding, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Those agencies now operate on their own. The Social Security Act of 1935 is still the 800-pound gorilla of all the democratic socialism programs started in the Great Depression. It was designed to keep senior citizens out of abject poverty and to aid the disabled to lead decent lives. The SS program has become so popular in 75 years it is usually the first one listed by Republicans and now Trumplicans to receive huge cuts.

The Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) was created in 1933 to assist in the refinancing of mortgages. Between 1933 and 1935 over one million homeowners got low-interest loans which saved their homes. (Let’s remember that eight million American families lost their homes in the Great Bush Recession of 2008 because, as soon as subprime mortgages were approved, predatory Wall Street bankers quickly sold them out the backdoor to unwary suckers. Welcome to predatory capitalism. By the way, Canada did not have a subprime mortgage disaster because Canadian bankers have to keep mortgages until they are paid off. They can’t sell them out the back door. That’s called democratic socialism.)

All American Presidents Have Been Capitalists-And Will Continue To Be—But They All Have Had To Use Principles Of Democratic Socialism To Keep The Republican Predators At Bay

Democratic President Harry Truman was a favorite of mine because his wife Bess finally convinced him to use the word “manure” instead of “shit.” He defined democratic socialism in his famous 1952 quote while fighting Republican predatory capitalists: “Socialism is a scare word they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years (during the New Deal). Socialism is what they called public power. Socialism is what they called Social Security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.”

The following description by Steven Backus, a teacher in Cloquet, Minnesota, gets to that same point: “The root of socialism is ‘social,’ meaning ‘people,’ while capitalism is ‘capital,’ meaning ‘money.’ A democratic capitalist cares about money; a democratic socialist cares about people.” American presidents must be a meld of both. They must believe in capitalism while caring for all people. They must be a President-For-All.

Before we go to Bernie Sanders let’s clear up this “Cuban” literacy thing which got Trumplicans apoplectic while shouting “SOCIALIST!” I was in the Caribbean, particularly Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Vieques for months courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps for a tour of duty in 1955 just after the Cuban Revolution started. In fact, Dictator Fulgencio Batista had imprisoned Fidel for 15 years and brother Raul for 13 years when I was there. Batista had made a deal with the American Mob predators of Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano to run all the Havana casinos.

Americans came to Havana in order to commit different sins. I remember going to the Tropicana and watching floor shows the equal of anything in the U.S. But if you drove a few miles out of Havana it was like going back 2,000 years. About ten plutocratic families owned much of Cuba and the rest was run by American corporations owning banana plantations. Batista faced so much pressure from the Cuban people he eventually released Fidel and Raul. That’s when they went into the mountains and formed guerilla units with thousands of angry Havana poor and finally drove Batista out of Cuba. The Castros did not start out as communists or even socialists. They were revolutionaries. We drove them to Russia. After capturing Havana Fidel turned to the U.S. for financial help to develop the economy. But stupid Republicans in Congress decided to back the American Mob instead of the Cuban people and established the embargo which has denied economic growth in Cuba for 60 years. That’s why Fidel went to communist Russia for cash. The result was economic support from Nikita Krushchev---and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Because of my Cuban experiences I have kept files for 60 years and have always maintained that if we had helped Castro in 1959 Cuba would have become our 51st state. It is an absolutely beautiful tropical island with fantastic beaches—populated with educated, friendly people. And Fidel did increase literacy to 100% from 80%. After he captured Havana, he executed some of Batista’s police for committing torture and murder of citizens. Back in 1955 Batista had executed 58 of Fidel’s tiny army of revolutionaries. Fidel used the Nuremberg trials as a guide in Cuban justice. Amnesty International reports that between 1959-87 the Castro administration executed 216 for major crimes. Trumplicans need to read some history before screaming “SOCIALIST.”

Bernie And His Programs For The Six Major Issues

An examination of New Deal programs will reveal that Bernie Sanders is simply extending Rooseveltian proposals to help solve the economic problems of half of the families in the United States today who can’t come up with $400 to cover a car repair or family emergency--while the One Percent flies in private jets between estates on five continents. I haven’t heard he plans to nationalize Google, Burlington Northern, Delta Airlines, General Motors, Starbucks, or Charmin. Bernie’s solutions for the six major issues:

Healthcare—Analysts say Medicare-For-All will cut healthcare costs by 13%, save the country $450 billion a year , and save every family about $2,400. What is the Trumplican healthcare plan? Eliminate Obamacare because of the name--and then do “something else.”
Economy And Income Inequality—Bernie says raise the minimum wage to $15, raise taxes on the rich, increase the safety net programs, increase Social Security checks, eliminate the last tax cuts that went mainly to the top Ten Percent. He believes in the Scandinavian Model of capitalism merged with democratic socialism to provide adequate safety nets. Although we have a debt of $23 trillion, King Donald wants to cut taxes.
Immigration—Create a citizenship path for DACA people and reform regulations. King Donald’s proposal is simple: Make America White Again.
Treatment of Women—Pass Equal Rights Amendment for women. Trumplicans oppose it.
Gun Control—Pass background checks and “red flag” laws. Trumplicans are creating “sanctuary counties” and are opposed to both background checks and “red flag” laws. The NRA owns the Trumplicans.
Education and Student Debt—Over 45 million Americans owe $1.6 trillion in student debt. College tuition has risen six times faster than inflation since 1970. Over 2.8 million Americans over 60 still have student debt! The failure of states to fund higher education is a major education disaster and economic scandal. Bernie wants to pay off all the debts by taxing the billionaire class and corporations who hide trillions in overseas tax havens.
Climate Change—Bernie endorses the Green Plan which concentrates on renewable sources such as solar and wind instead of fossil fuels. The evangelical “Christians” who coronated King Donald don’t care if the climate changes. They will soon be going to Heaven naked as a jaybird in the Rapture--and the rest of us are going to Hell.

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