Open Letter to the Rush Limbaughs and Shawn Hannitys of this US of A.
I would like to better understand your attitudes towards myself and others and just where it is you think the conservative Republican agenda is leading this country and the rest of the world along with it. What is your collective vision and goal and just what will the world look like in the next 15-20 years if you’re successful in achieving these goals?
Seems to me most conservatives, “Republicans” and “Democrats” alike, have long ago already set the course for the rest of us.
What we think as citizens is no longer important or relevant, even if we do bother to take the time to become knowledgeable of the issues and vote.
The most important thing for the current political elite is to maintain the illusion of a free and democratic society as they reshape first our laws, then our world in the manner that suits the desires of those that truly keep them in office.
I talked at length with my mother yesterday evening who fundamentally feels this same way regarding our political system.
She doesn’t understand or agree with conservative Republican political philosophy either; but she gave up believing that any of us have anything to say about our lives outside of the realm of our own homes and families long ago and isn’t particularly interested in spending her time worrying about where it ends up in twenty years.
She’s accepted as fact that she’s got no say in it anyway.
At 72 she’s earned that right. But she still votes.
Most people in the working and middle class in this country feel the same way she does, that’s why so few even bother to vote, let alone actively participate in our political process to have an influence in who will be on the ballot.
I believe that the only way to maintain any semblance of a democracy is to have an informed and politically active society that thinks through where their preferred political party and resulting legislative process is taking the country and holds their leaders fully accountable. Not just for their stated intentions, but for the results their actions produce.
If unhappy with the results, which the vast majority of Americans are sure to continue to be, unite and establish a new political party that will preserve our democratic principles and protect our economic futures.
Most people simply haven’t had and don’t have the time nor the inclination to think through where our incredibly complex and rapidly changing society is headed.
To explore and actually try to comprehend both the stated and then the actual goals of the many politicians, government departments and agencies, as well as the millions of contractors that our expansive Federal and State governments currently have employed is a time consuming and difficult task for a people that are busy with their own employment and personal lives.
Politics then becomes just a sort of spectator sport for the vast majority of people that even do bother to vote. A lot like football.
You don’t need to understand every aspect of the fundamentals of the game that is going on the field to cheer for your team and follow the scoreboard.
The difference being is that football is only a game. It all reality it doesn’t make a bit of difference who wins and who loses, unless of course you’re directly involved in the sport or have bet on the outcome.
Politics isn’t just a game or a spectator sport.
It is power and control. For many it is a matter of life and death. Even in less extreme circumstances, it’s about who is worthy of a roof over their head, a seat in the dentist’s chair or necessary medical treatment for the young, the old, the sick or injured.
Football also has rules with officials and spectators to witness whether or not the rules of the game are enforced. Political campaigns aren’t waged on level playing fields.
There really aren’t many rules and the political process is continuous.
In a Republic such as ours, alleged to be based on democratic principles, the political process is supposed to be “officiated” by an informed electorate, a free and independent press and lastly credible and dedicated lawyers and judges maintaining an impartial and independent judiciary.
These three pillars of a “free” society have all but collapsed as the complexity of the issues have become beyond the understanding of the average citizen, the newspapers and broadcast mass media have been bought up by moguls and corporate owners with their own agendas to vest and pursue and the judiciary has been over-regulated by the legislatures and our legal system has become politically polarized.
Access to justice in the legal system today is blatantly two tiered with respect for the rights of the wealthy as compared to those with lesser means. Those with the deepest of pockets can almost without fail prevail in or completely avoid the courtroom, leveraging protection or a blind eye from the consequences of outright fraud and criminal behavior.
One thing we can surely agree on is that most people, but particularly men with money and power generally have but one fundamental want.
More of the same.
That and of course the basics we all fundamentally desire, rich, middle class or working poor and that’s a little security in life, insuring the safety of our lives and health and some stability in our collective economic futures.
That’s not where things are headed.
Gainful employment in the US has been to a large part off shored or outsourced in order to develop and expand the influence of our federal government and business interests around the globe.
Almost everything on our store shelves is now imported and our trade deficit has been growing for decades, while unemployment and underemployment have reduced the living standards for the working poor and shrunk the middle class as the wealth continues to accumulate at the top.
Large US corporations are now global in scope with little allegiance or regard for the economic well being of the average American consumer or rights of its citizens.
General Motors sold more cars to the Chinese last year than they did to Americans, however it wasn’t the Chinese government that directly bailed them out of insolvency or rolled back their corporate tax rates here in Michigan where they are headquartered.
The manufacturing base that remains here in the US is largely automated to increase the productivity of the remaining necessary employees to produce high returns for businesses per employee.
Labor intensive manufacturing that formerly wasn’t easily automated has been off shored.
Many thousands of industrial robots boost the manufacturing capability of the 390,000 or so remaining UAW manufacturing workers that remain employed in the US.
Roughly two shifts of UAW labor goes into the assembly of most automobiles built in the US. If you think it’s the high cost of union labor driving up the price of that new vehicle, think again.
Chrysler has reduced assembly time to under 14 hours in their Jeep Toledo South plant.
Even if you add in the labor hours for stamping and engine and transmission manufacture and of course the final assembly, there are still only between 30 and 35 hours of manual labor in the manufacture of cars and light trucks in North American plants.
How many hours do you have to work to pay for a new vehicle?
But technology is now on the brink of radically changing all this.
The capability of artificial intelligence and expert programming for computers is advancing rapidly, almost as quickly as computer capacity and capability is growing.
A single computer just recently beat out all human contestants playing Jeopardy.
The latest goal of the corporations manufacturing industrial robots that have maintained the competitiveness of what remains of the US manufacturing base are now developing and marketing humanoid robots and the best estimates I’ve read in their own advertisements is that not even cheap Chinese labor can continue to compete with the humanoid robotics they can produce.
A two handed assembly line capable humanoid robot amortized over the course of 15 years, including the estimated cost to supply it with power and maintain it is now estimated to be between $2.50 and $3.00 an hour in a plant that runs two shifts per day.
Even less if your manufacturing plant runs 24/7.
Pretty tough to justify the additional expense necessary to provide employment for an entry level human employee in a manufacturing plant where the Federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, even with no benefits, when the corporation can invest $150,000 or so in a humanoid robotic employee that can work far more dependably and with minimal supervision for less than half that.
Big space saver too. You can get rid of that employee parking lot and at the same time it solves much of the education, energy, pollution and highway congestion problems at the same time: because the robot can simply be programmed to accomplish his task on the energy your human employee might have otherwise consumed just commuting back and forth to work.
Back to football for just a minute.
Robonaut 2 had its first big public debut at this years Superbowl, then was packed up for a ride to the International Space Station, where they left him mothballed while they were getting the Union busting done down here in the good ole US of A.
Win/win for everybody but those in need of a way to make a living.
This is the next “big thing.”
Even GM is now on the humanoid robotic bandwagon after teaming with NASA, just before they shut their lights out on manned space missions, to develop the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, Robonaut 2.
If you doubt the capability of technology to replace human hands for the performance of almost all semi-skilled and skilled labor, take a look at the advancements in surgical robotics.
Surgeries can and have already been performed via telecommunications.
Pilots of airplanes do little besides assuring the safety of takeoffs and landings and simply control the computers than actually fly our modern aircraft.
Robonaut2 can be optionally operated when deemed necessary via telecommunications by a human operator and if tasked with piloting an aircraft a human pilot on the ground could handle the takeoffs and landings and any emergency situations that might arise mid-flight and leave the vast majority of the flight to the robot and the cruise control system.
Public acceptance isn’t really an issue. Nobody likes TSA going through their luggage, having to take their shoes off, getting X-rayed or patted down, but they still fly.
A stated goal of the US Department of Defense is to develop and field humanoid robotic soldiers by 2025 capable of fully autonomous and/or networked function on the battlefield, because human beings are too prone to depression/suicide and/or attacks on their peers or superiors and are prone to engage in the commission of war crimes for the sake of revenge when they are enduring the extreme stresses of modern day warfare against “terrorist’ and insurgent forces.
The first weaponized robots for ground use were purchased by the DOD in 2005 and field tested in Iraq in 2007. They were under direct human control and guidance, much like the unmanned drone aircraft that are currently in service over and occasionally launching missile strikes against targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The real problem I have with talking heads such as Hannity and Limbaugh isn’t the fact they’ve got their own opinions regarding the purpose of government that differs from my own or that they’re grossly overpaid for the alleged service they provide.
It’s that what they blow on about day after day is deliberately meant to anger, divide and dumb their audience down.
Rush will assure you that there will be technological solutions for every problem facing mankind and on that we can agree.
However the current majority of mankind may not be the beneficiaries of these technological advancements.
Worth remembering at this point that almost 900 million people don’t have access to safe water for drinking and sanitation.
But Rush is never going to tell you what he believes the end game is going to look like or who the winners and losers will be or whether the majority of our current workforce is going to be on the winning or losing side of the equation.
He just “works” to keep people shortsighted and to keep them cheering for the conservative team and laughing off the concerns of the so called “left.”
The problem I have with Americans for Prosperity and their namesake foundation is the political concept and economic solutions they are promoting for our allegedly unsolvable and unsustainable economic problems is boiling it down to simply a battle between taxpayers and “tax eaters.”
They are the sowers of the seed that has become the ultra-conservative, Taxed Enough Already Party, that is prepared to slash State and Federal budgets without regard for who’s throat gets cut on the heels of extended or new tax breaks for the wealthy.
The founders of Americans for Prosperity already know what the end game is and are already heavily invested in its progress and outcome. They are positioned to play the impact of the TEA party movement to become even wealthier and more powerful than they are already.
But you nor I will never hear it from them or our elected officials.
It’s like Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker said when he believed he was talking to Koch.
Kind of reminiscent of GW’s “Your either with us or against us.”
As for Hannity and Limbaugh, they are no different from the entire cast of corporate media talking heads from the “right” or the “left”.
Nobody is presenting any kind of a vision of where this blur of technological advancement and achievement is going to leave the majority of our citizens.
But many will tell you, it’s not for the government of the people, by the people and for the people to decide how the material wealth derived from this part of the planet gets distributed.
What they won’t say is that those decisions are best left to privately and publicly owned corporations and the millionaires and billionaires that are now running this show.
Ted Turner, owner of 2 million acres in the US, wants to return those amber waves of grain to the buffalo.
Sometimes no Piece