Has Ferguson brought back the 1960s … or the anger thereof?

About Ferguson: The decision of the grand jury has come in and now we are on to the next phase. The next phase seems to be persistent discontent with what is seen as a government that at times is not reluctant to use force. I am not judging the merit of what happened in Ferguson, or in the many other alledged but well documented cases of abuse of police deadly force or abuse of powers engagements, but something has changed .. . something completely unrelated in essence as related to the death of Michael Brown.

Since 2009 we have had one tea party after another that has preached the gospel that government is overstepping boundaries in our lives and that government is inherently evil. Perhaps the chants worked. One popular announced GOP candidate for 2016 has compared the American government to Nazi Germany. As for those chants, the chants now have been taken up by many who have a long history of experience with institutional violence and bias.

For the last five years we have seen the anger of the comfortable white middle class froth about how government cannot be trusted. Facts often did not matter then, and now in the Age of Ferguson they may still not matter for some years to come. People are mad … and when people are mad they really don’t care what the facts are.

We may now be on the verge of a real party.

GOV SHUTDOWN – “Non-essential personnel” … why bring them back at all?

GOV SHUTDOWN – “Non-essential personnel”

So do we need them if we do not need them?  They are not essential, right?

‘Non-essential’ is very much a misnomer.

If we ran government like a business we would classify those folks ‘non-mission critical’ … meaning that we do not need them to be present 24/7 to watch the lights blink and to panic when they stop blinking … but just let that check not show up in the mail and holy freaking !(^&#@ … where the hell did the non-essential people go?!

JOBS / MANUFACTURING / FUTURE – Manufacturing coming home but jobs are not

JOBS / MANUFACTURING / FUTURE  U.S. Textile Plants Return. Sales up 37% since 2012 … $22.7B in sales… Jobs are not returning. Factories are being highly automated. Before exporting jobs, one North Carolina factory had 2,000+ workers and now can do the same level of production with just 140.

The good news is that rapid changes in technology will create an ever greater flood of ‘Made in America’ products available at reasonable or just below premium cost.

The bad news is that not many Americans will be involved in actually making anything that is ‘Made in America’.

Read More: NY Times story on Textile Manufacuring | Impact of Technology on Manufacturing and Jobs (PDF Report)

I am not arguing that we should fight automation. It is a good thing on the whole: providing quality products at reasonable cost.

My concern is that we talk about jobs, jobs, jobs and yet seem to have overlooked that the world has changed. The overwhelming majority of the unemployed, or underemployed, are not in that status because they want to be. We cannot on the one hand tell people to ‘go get a job’ and then take away food asssistance when there are few jobs to be gotten. That is an outdated strategy that may have worked when we were an agrarian society … but as you have probably heard: times have changed.

We need to move to a conversation about what the future looks like, and what the future means for the average American.

Wisdom of the Founders and why we have less than perfect government

A few thoughts by Bill Golden
aka Bill4DogCatcher.com

“In questions of power,
let no more be heard of confidence in men,
but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution”
— Thomas Jefferson, Kentucky Resolutions, 1798

The Founders were fairly smart guys … although truth be told: most were braver than they were thinkers. The thinkers could be counted on both hands with a few fingers left over. And most spoke great words but were pragmatists with self-interest in their hearts when they woke up or went to bed each day.

Among the thinkers — those that gave us the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence — they were ultimately human and usually had their own dark side. My point being that government is what it is and the good ol’days were not necessarily better … we tend to remember the good and forget the other stuff.

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Jefferson was right “in questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution” … but Jefferson himself has been accused of pushing the boundaries of executive power within the Constitution, and probably crossing those boundaries.

“It is incumbent on those who accept great charges
to risk themselves on great occasions.”

— Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Colvin, 1810
where Jefferson anguished over the constitutionality of some decisions

 

Geo.Washington sent out almost 70,000 troops to collect past due taxes. When the then Tea Party of 1791 (the Whiskey Rebellion) refused to pay taxes … well, the troops returned home with the taxes and there were widows attending funerals of those that took up arms to protest paying. Washington also supported taxing citizens to pay for churches to continue their social work, continuing the practice of the former English government.

John Adams gave us the ‘Aliens and Sedition Acts‘ which made it a felony to criticize the federal government and it forbade any individual or group to oppose “any measure or measures of the United States.”  — So you think that Washingon is out of control now? Washington is a tame beast compared to the Washington of our founders.

Aaron Burr, one of our first vice presidents, was found guilty of treason for trying to setup a new country largely situated in the Louisiana Purchase area. And did I mention that Burr killed former Treasury Secretary and one of the Top 10 most important Founders Alexander Hamilton in a duel?!

The loss of Hamilton was immense as he was the ultimate pragmatic deal maker.

Virginia — even with the Bill of Rights added, Virginia refused to ratify the Constitution. Madison and Jefferson did their best … but it took Alexander Hamilton working behind closed doors making deals to bring Virginia into the fold.

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It would be easy to become cynical. Skeptical is a better path. Optimistically skeptical is even better. Government is us. We exist and live our lives based upon self-interest. We do deals. We all do. That is us, and a government based upon us is no different.

If we want better government then we should seek out transparent government. We should be skeptical of ALL political parties because the price of membership is to sell your soul to the collective whims of many for the election of one. It has forever been that way and it will be forever that way.

Our options can be to constantly point out that government constantly falls into various pitfalls … but then so do we. It is us and we are it.

God bless America. Each day is a new day to try and to make things a bit better … and should that not work out then there is always the day after today to try again.