Socialism or Social Justice?

Tom Cantrell, a friend and a smart guy whom I respect immensely, wrote me an email questioning my stand on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I responded. We have different points of view. He has agreed that our discussion can go forward in this blog. I have opened it up for others to contribute, but there are rules.

Rule #1: This is my publication, these are my rules, if you don’t like the rules, that’s okay.

Rule #2: No cheap shots. Some will say I take cheap shots. I will change something if I think I should, but see Rule 1.

Rule #3: Stay on topic. We are not going to talk about the Meuller probe, or chem trails. Who decides what’s on topic? C’mon.

Rule #4 (as of 9:00 a.m. March 8, 2019): You’ve buried me! I am unable to respond to the sheer volume of words coming in via email, Word .docs, comments, with photos, etc.

Therefore, limit your responses to ONE point. Under 500 words. Comments MUST be posted here, below. Sign in, do the Captcha dance, and I will try to get them up asap. If you want to drop me a note (“Hey, Erik, I put a comment up, where is it?”) that’s fine.

~ Erik Dolson

On Mar 4, 2019, at 9:06 AM, Tom Cantrell wrote:
Erik, you are not really advocating Socialist governing concepts are you??

On Mon, Mar 4, 2019 1:21 pm, Erik Dolson wrote:
Tom, that’s such an open ended, loaded, and ill-defined “gotcha” question, I can’t possibly answer it.

Tell me what you mean and are referring to. Give me an example based on something I wrote or said. Disagree with the specific, and let’s talk about it. If you want to discuss something, be fair in your question.

To Erik Dolson:
I do not intend to be rude but I do intend to be direct. The reason I asked was to understand why you have so much respect and agreement for AOC’s (U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) thoughts and opinions. America is a Republic and AOC does not believe in a Republic system of Government. AOC has made it clear that she supports Socialist style of Government. There is a difference in making laws based on the support of the majority versus imposing laws that the minority believes are best for the majority. No gotcha, just curious.

To: Tom Cantrell
Tom, I have clearly stated that I disagree with some of her ideas: “I was skeptical at first and don’t agree with everything she believes, but I do think she is fast becoming the most important political voice in America.”

No support for socialism there.

Again, you do not give me a specific statement that I made or that AOC has made to discuss. Show me where I have said, or for that matter, where AOC has said, that she promotes “imposing laws that the minority believes are best for the majority.”

In any case, a minority can hope to pursuade a majority that there are other points of view. That used to be the strength of America. And there is no disagreement from me that some of her views are currently a minority opinion. That the right seeks to supress her ideas by saying they are unAmerican, as you do here, is an indication of their power.

My enthusiasm for AOC has to do with her willingness to put in the work and ask tough questions. The first post noted her questioning the way corporations can and do buy senators and representatives and how this hurts ordinary Americans. The second was about AOC asking Trump’s consiglieri Michael Cohen who knew what about possible racketeering by Trump.

Nothing to do with socialism in either case.

At 10 p.m. on March 5, Tom Cantrell wrote:
Eric, my question was: “Are you advocating socialist governing concepts” ?

 I was not implying that you suggest imposing laws that the minority think are best for the majority but you do think she is a fresh voice.  So I asked you a direct question as to your views/advocacy on Socialist governing.

As for AOC, here is what she has said:  “Yup. If you don’t like the #GreenNewDeal, then come up with your own ambitious, on-scale proposal to address the global climate crisis. Until then, we’re in charge – and you’re just shouting from the cheap seats”. 

I am sure there will be other polls that some will point to but here is the best one I have seen and not only provides the exact question that was asked but also provides the demographics. https://remingtonresearchgroup.com/green_new_deal_survey/

 As for the Green Deal being a socialist ideal here is another poll with good info. https://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/432102-most-voters-view-green-new-deal-as-largely-socialist-poll-shows

 I can not agree that I am suppressing her opinions, however if the majority of Americans do not agree with her or me, it is not suppression it is free thought.  I am not agreeing with her that is clear. 

The real irony with the concern of suppression and BIG money in elections is the actions of the past to the Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus.  As we all know the IRS took a very long look at these groups and all conservative groups.  The IRS denied them 501-C status, investigated conservative groups for months/years and even tried to fine them.  So little said by so many about their fight against BIG money and it’s influence at that time.  The fight is the same but the people are different, but now those fighting are a breath of fresh air.  I would call that discrimination.  To be clear I am not suggesting that you did this.

I agree that the minority can or may convince the majority to change their line of thinking but I doubt it will happen. The attitude as been broadcast by the Political Party Leaders that a Party must stand shoulder to shoulder and vote the party line, no matter how bad the legislation is or what it’s effect would be.  Sure there will be one or two defectors but not enough to make a change.  When one sees a party that has defectors in the range of 5 to 10 people one should ask them selves a few hard questions about fair and free thinking or if they are also just following the party line.. 

Our Fore Fathers provided us with the best solutions for prosperity and Governance which can be proven by comparing America to any other country in history for success and freedom for period of 242 years.  Our Fore Fathers warned us time and time again thru the Federalist papers, Bill of Rights, Constitution and multiple speeches regarding other systems of Government yet we seem to try to flirt with the very things they warned us about.  We are acting as rebellious teenagers and trying to do what has already been done but expecting different results. Looking at the political landscape, I do not think the” tyranny of the majority” has fueled that length of success and prosperity of America for over 200 years, in fact I think the opposite.

At 10:30 March 5, Erik Dolson replied:

Tom, this is a bit of a moving target, but I’ll do my best.

Your first emails to me clearly indicate that since I expressed appreciation for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that I was advocating “socialist governing concepts.” Your phrasing noted. Which is still not true, see argument above.

It’s as if I’d said that since you’re a capitalist who favors deregulation, you want more people to have lung cancer, more lead in drinking water, tornados or wildfires to kill hundreds of people. I know that you are not in favor of poisoning children with lead in their drinking water. That’s the danger of labels, right?

None the less, you did say that AOC favors minority rule, if you will pardon the short hand. Which I don’t think is true and you don’t really offer much evidence.

The right wing has stuffed the media with mischaracterizations of what AOC said about the Green New Deal (which I do NOT support in total). It took 6 Google pages to get to an actual quote and that was from a British newspaper, once you get through “Glocknews” and the “Washington Examiner,” “Pig-in-the-Poke Daily,” etc. Six pages, that is not an exageration.

Here is what AOC said: “So people are like ‘Oh it’s unrealistic, oh it’s vague, oh it doesn’t address this little minute thing’ and I’m like ‘You try! You do it!’ Because you’re not, so until you do it, I’m the boss, How about that?”

See the words, “You try! You do it!” and “…until you do it?” She is putting ideas out there. Boy, does that have the right wing riled up. The first six pages of a Google search full of fear and loathing that a 29 year-old freshman congresswoman said  the planet is in danger and Americans need a future!

Damn straight I think she’s becoming one of the more important voices in American politics. AOC is trying to start a discussion about what is possibly the greatest threat to mankind since the last comet hit the earth. She is trying to put Americans to work (albeit poorly, in my opinion). She is trying to address the corrosive influence of Senators for Sale.

About damn time we had these dicussions in ways that Americans can understand.

Your comments about the majority of people being opposed to her concepts or her words? A majority of people think we need a better health care system. A majority of people think Trump’s unfit for office. If you want to credit opinion polls, then let’s go with those, too, okay?

Tea Party and Freedom Caucus? I will admit to disparaging both. And some were targeted by the IRS for abusing the system, possibly some which had not. But they had a pretty good run until they got swallowed by Mitch McConnel and Trump Republicans who rammed through a non-conservative, hyopocritical, budget busting give-away to huge corporations which are not hiring more workers but using their tax break windfall to buy their own stock and prop up share prices, further enriching the top 1 percent.

And when it’s time to cut the budgets, it will be the poor and middle class who will bear the burden because “America can’t afford these dangerous deficits.” The rich will scream “class warfare, class warfare” when they were the ones who started it.

Remember how Main Street bailed out Wall Street? Wall Street took the money and gave themselves a raise.

Slavishly following the party line? You’re talking about Republicans, right? Lockstep for years, now? Right? Okay, agreed.

As to your comments about our form of govenment, our forefathers, other forms of government, etc.? Non arguments, more of that “she opposes DEMOCRACY!” fear mongering, kinda like saying that since the sky is blue and chocolate tastes good, you’re on the side of right.

The biggest threat to what our forefathers envisioned is sitting in the White House, tweeting Fox News releases to undermine the very principles you say are important.

Our health care is sick

By Erik Dolson

When I had a small business, I provided health care for my employees and their families. The reason was simple: I did not know how to look them in the eye while turning them away if they had no insurance and they or one of their children faced death from accident or disease. My business was also better off if they were healthy.

Unsurprisingly, I am a believer in universal health care for America. I think that’s one way we Make America Great Again … by recognizing that we share some burdens together. I also believe that a healthy country is a more productive country, and that wonderful talent might contribute to all if we relieved the strain and uncertainty that poor health puts on individuals and families.

“Obamacare” was not a health care system, but a form of insurance. There were many problems with it, mostly the fault of Republican-demanded compromises, but it succeeded in delivering better health to millions who would have othewise suffered.

At this point, I am not advocating for one system or another. My bottom line is simply that adequate health care is a right for every American, and my belief is that in the long run, we will all be better off if that comes to pass.

Many ask “why would we sacrifice the best health care system in the world for an experiment?” Because it is not true that the U.S. health care system is the best in the world. It is best in some limited areas, and not very good in others.

 

What it is especially good at is handing over outrageous $billion$ to drug companies that profit from ownership of politicians.

What it is especially good at is overworking nurses and aides in hospitals and home health centers so more money flows to the bottom line.

What it is especially good at is pushing doctors to limit office visits to 12 minutes or so with staff coding care to maximize insurance and government reembursement.

What it is especialy good at is siphoning off billions to Pharmacy Benefit Managers, allowing pharmaceutical companies to pay kickbacks to PBMs, and allowing pharmaceutical companies to create artifical shortages to jack up prices.

There are many questions on what might work and how. But the fact is that America does not have the best health care system in the world, just the most expensive. We pay about double the average of the rest of the developed world for a system not as good. And we’re not getting our money’s worth.

Big Pharma sold me contaminated drugs

By Erik Dolson

This morning I read a press release about a recall of the blood pressure medication valsartan because of an impurity that’s a probable carcinogen. This impurity may have been the result of manufacturing changes at Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical – a Chinese company. I was prescribed valsartan six months ago.

So I went to my pharmacy this afternoon and learned that in fact, most of the valsartan they sell came from one of the companies implicated in the recall: Read more…

What if Trump were on my side?

So. Trump was having affairs with porn stars just after his son Baron was born, and his wife was recovering from pregnancy. I smiled as I thought this might make the “moralists” or religious right who continue to support him squirm a little bit.

Then Holly shared that she’d asked herself if she could support Trump, despite his disgusting character, if he advocated for other policies she believed in. Read more…

Thank you, Alabama

Dear Grady, Connie,
and other friends in the State of Alabama;

Thank you.

I believe you Alabamians have put at least a speed bump, if not a road block, in the effort by the powerful and wealthy one percent to slurp up America’s resources, destroy the vision of our founding fathers, and damage institutions that made America great.

This vote was not easy and you experienced tough conflicts in coming to the decision you did. During our conversations last summer and this fall, I developed respect for you conservatives from the very conservative State of Alabama, as different as your beliefs are from my own, a liberal from the very liberal State of Oregon.

In recognition of the difficult aftermath of yesterday’s election in your communities, I’d like to personally make a few promises to you.

First, I do not gloat. The fact that Moore lost does not represent a moment of celebration for me, especially since I know that some values he claimed to represent are values you hold dear, and some of the values I share with Jones anguish you. I’m relieved, certainly, but when you see others gloating, please do not think I’m among them.

I promise that when I speak out for the right of two people in love to get married regardless of their sexual orientation, I will also speak out for the right of a baker to bake a wedding cake for whom he alone chooses. It gets difficult when civil rights bump against rights of an individual, but this is not the only bus to the other side of town.

When I speak against the wall, I promise to recognize the impact of immigrants on your home town. Americans need to speak the same language for the melting pot to blend. Immigrants made this country great, but there is a reason that community and communicating share the same root. It’s important.

When I say every American should have quality health care, I promise I’m talking about insurance, and that you can choose your doctor and pay as much more as you want. But insurance only works if we all buy in at some level. That’s what insurance is. The free market does not work well in health care, and we don’t want our neighbor’s child to suffer.

While some need public housing, I don’t think it should be better than your house, and every able-bodied person who receives free health insurance or subsidized rent payments should do something in exchange for our support.

When I speak out for a woman’s right to determine what happens with her body, I will point out there is a point before birth when abortion is not a trivial decision. Science has changed the debate in the last 50 years, and travel down the birth canal does not magically confer the status of human being. At the same time, there are fewer unwed mothers and fewer abortions in states where contraception and family planning are available. Maybe we can make incremental changes instead of fighting for all or nothing absolutes?

That’s it for now. Again I’d like to thank you for sharing your point of view on these topics with me, and thank you again for what you did for America yesterday.

~ Erik