Thursday, January 25, 2007

May Small Business Owners (and their employees) Live Long and Prosper

Let’s preface this article with the truth. Every time someone (aka, a Republican or a Libertarian) opposes a raise in the abominable $5.15 per hour minimum wage, that person says that such a raise would ruin the “small businessman”. Truth be told, if tax cuts for “small businesses” must accompany a raise in the minimum wage, the bill will not include a definition of “small business”. Consequently, in order for “small business” advocates to support a raise in the minimum wage, they will seek a tax cut for business, period. Large global corporations who provide a large portion of the incomes of these “small business” advocates will also benefit from “small business” tax cuts. After all, where one business exists, another larger one exists making the former business a “small business” and, next to the larger business is an even larger business, etc. So, before tearing apart the “minimum wage will hurt small business” argument, let’s all agree that the above excuse is a lie told with malice aforethought by people who make their living telling lies with malice aforethought.

What if raising the minimum wage, a wage that absolutely no one in his or her right mind could support as a living wage, actually did put “small business owners” out of business? Should this not be a message to anyone who was thinking of starting a small business? Should the message be that better preplanning needs to happen before starting a small business?

For instance, if one wants to open a restaurant, one must first look into one’s financial ability to open the restaurant.

One would need to be able to afford the price of purchasing or renting the property upon which a building would stand. If a small business loan is to be used to obtain the property, one must understand that one is gambling that the business will be sufficiently successful in a short period of time to reconcile the loan quickly.

In the restaurant business, ovens, refrigerators, storage and preparation space all have to be purchased. Pots, pans, serving dishes, tables, chairs, cups and glasses need to be purchased.

Cash registers, pens, pencils, pads, order forms need to be purchased.

The owner needs to develop a partnership with suppliers of paper products, with a laundry service and, of course, with food vendors.

There can be very little doubt that potential restaurant owners think of these small but important details and add up their costs while they are still considering starting their business.

If the cost of all of the above and whatever else may have inadvertently been omitted is not congruous with what kind of recompense the potential owner envisioned for himself or herself, he or she must face the cold, hard fact that opening a restaurant may not be a good idea. One knows what kind of income one wishes to receive from a small business and if, after investigating the cost of the overhead and comparing that cost with a realistic business forecast, one realizes that starting the business will doom one to live in poverty, one will probably look for another avenue of income.

More than likely, small business owners don’t expect that they will become millionaires, close to billionaires, like CEOs and top executives of global corporations. On the other hand, even small business owners hope that the income from their businesses will place them in at least an upper middle class existence and many hope for even more than that.

What would hurt a small business owner? A small business owner would be hurt if that owner opened, owned and managed a small business and had a lower middle class, even poverty class existence to show for it.

How would raising the minimum wage hurt a small business owner? It would not. If a small business owner is hurt by having to pay employees more that $5.15 an hour, that business owner did not look in advance at everything needed to start a small business.

Along with the ovens, refrigerators, computers, tables, chairs and food vendors, the potential small business owner needs to include his or her ability to pay employees a living wage. As with any of the other necessities for starting the business, if the potential business owner cannot pay a living wage to employees, that potential business owner has to face the cold, hard fact that owning a business just isn’t in the cards.

CEOs of global corporations skim millions and millions of dollars from the profits of their corporations at the expense of the workers who produce the products for which consumers pay millions and millions of dollars. They gain this wealth on the backs of Americans who they throw away like soiled rags and workers in third world nations who already live in squalor.

Though small business owners don’t have the same wealth with which to be gluttonous and inhumane, their modus operandi emulates that of the big boys in the corporations. While arranging for the perfection of every non-human detail of their businesses, they enter into those businesses with the full intention of paying their employees a wage which ensures that those employees will live below the poverty line.

Raising the minimum wage or, better yet, paying their employees a living wage doesn’t hurt small business owners. Thinking that they can own and manage a business by financially abusing their employees is what hurts small business owners. That thought should never enter their minds because, eventually, people are going to want to live comfortably – not luxuriously – but comfortably. It’s every worker’s right to demand a living wage, whether from global corporations or from small businesses.

People who are investigating the possibility of starting a small business need to include their ability to treat their employees humanely in making the final decision. If they can’t pay their employees a living wage, they have no business putting themselves in a position to hire employees. Maybe they would do well to work for someone else who is willing to pay them a living wage.

No one, absolutely no one, should increase his or her economic standing by placing another human being on the road to economic hell!

To friendship,
Michael

“So much wrong could religion induce.” – Lucretius


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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Feeding The Hand That Kills You - or at least kills your pawns

(originally published by OpEdNews )

According to Pakistan’s Daily Times, like the phantom WMD in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, The Regime’s weapons of mass destruction could fall into the hands of terrorists. The difference? Everyone in the world knows that The Regime has weapons of mass destruction.

Based upon what The Regime did in Iraq, The Former United States of America should soon be invading The United States of America. Which member or members of The Regime, then, will The Regime hang after a kangaroo court? Who has created crimes against humanity? Who’s the major choreographer of the death dance that the American military puppets have done upon the land of Iraq and the citizens of that land? Will that person or those people be taunted by other hooded members of The Regime before the floor is opened up?

The surplus military weapons referred to in the Daily Times have already allegedly been purchased by both China, who holds most of The FUSA’s debt, and Iran, yet another sovereign nation that The Regime, through some delusional, warped thinking, feels it can attack and “democratize”. Iran can be grateful to America while it uses American weapons to kill American military personnel.

Arrogant Americans can’t bring themselves to believe that God’s anointed American government can murder 3,000 of its own citizens by staging a “terrorist attack”, as was staged on September 11, 2001. Self righteous Americans can’t call it murder when The Regime causes the deaths of over 3,000 American military personnel by invading a nation which did nothing to warrant the invasion. Will these same jingoistic, cowardly Americans use Rumsfeld’s “stuff happens” excuse when purchased American weapons kill American soldiers?

The logical next step is to find a Regime member’s prints on one of the weapons that kills an American. That’s it. If one of The Regime’s monsters actually guns down an American, maybe our wealth-addicted, no balls Congress may put punishment “on the table”.

Let’s get a pool going. Since he’s had the most experience at shooting Americans, Cheney may very well be the first member of The Regime to directly shoot an American soldier.

To friendship,
Michael

“These corporations will never stop on their own.” - Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, “The Ten Worst Corporations of 2005”







Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Is There Still Time?

(originally published at OpEdNews)

By 1932 Adolf Hitler had risen to Chancellor of The Reich, a very powerful position in the German government.

He wasn’t elected to the office as, in the 1932 presidential election, Hitler lost to the incumbent Paul Von Hindenburg. Hindenburg lead the right wing of German politics in 1932, but the left and moderate wings of the German political system joined forces with the right wing for the sole purpose defeating Adolf Hitler. It worked for the Germans in that election.

So many of us voted for John Kerry in 2004 simply to see George Bush defeated. Many of us are progressives. Kerry is a Democrat who was calling for an increase in troops in Iraq during the 2004 campaign.

We progressives so wanted George Bush defeated that we ignored the truly progressive candidates that year, Ralph Nader and The Green Party’s David Cobb. It didn’t work in the 2004 Former United States of America. Bush was elected, possibly with fewer popular votes than Kerry and possibly for the second time with fewer popular votes. We’ll really never know.

But there stood Adolf, in the upper crust of the German government. No he was not president of the Reich, he was simply Chancellor of Germany.

Just as George Bush may never have truly been elected president of The FUSA, Hitler was never elected to the presidency of the Reich. When Hindenburg died in 1934, Hitler succeeded him by doing away with the presidency of the Reich and the Weimar Republic’s constitution.

Bush still refers to himself as the president of The United States, but we’ve all heard him lust after a dictatorship in The FUSA, so long as he was the dictator. He certainly has been chipping away at the US Constitution, has he not?

The Reichstag Fire in 1933 gave Hitler an opportunity to scare the hell out of the German people. Hitler convinced the Germans that Communists and Jews were going to take over the German nation. He convinced the Germans that drastic times called for drastic measures. One of these measures was The Enabling Act which helped to implement Gleichschaltung, an initiative which consolidated power in a few elite hands at the top of the German government. This was no time for government bureaucracy to slow down needed actions to stop Germany from falling into the hands of terrorists such as the Communists and the Jews.

In initiatives in California during the past two elections, any social initiative meant to help those of lesser privilege was always rebuffed by whatever corporate giant would lose business due to the initiative by citing government bureaucracy and its incompetence and untimely method of implementing and facilitating such initiatives.

For example, the initiative in the 2006 election which would have set people in motion looking for alternative sources of fuel for California was going to create a “government bureaucracy” which would waste taxpayer money. The rebuke went on to say that those looking for alternative fuel sources could take this taxpayer money without promising results. They didn’t even have to show progress in their endeavor.

That kind of propaganda is like making a sandwich. You take what you like and leave the rest. It’s propaganda that chooses which parts of “the sandwich” we keep and which parts we don’t like and, therefore, will not use. Some call it cherry picking and/or spinning truths until they sound absurd.

Just as many Americans sit back while The Regime gains more and more control over the government of The FUSA, Germans sat back while Hitler controlled the German government. Hitler placed himself in a position where he didn’t need to use signing statements as Hindenburg did him the favor of dissolving The Reichstag before his death.

When there is a Reichstag or Parliament or Congress, signing papers become the best way to circumvent any law that the Congress may pass. The Regime doesn’t always sign away the laws in toto. Sometimes they sign away parts that they don’t like. Again, Bush is catering to his yearning to be an official dictator. This is as close as he’s come so far. There’s time yet.

German citizens supported Hitler’s power grab because they needed a strong leader to ensure their safety, to protect them from the desire for world domination shared by the Communists and the Jews.

The Patriot Act is The Regime’s Enabling Act and far too many Americans see the “need” for the Patriot Act. Like the Communists and the Jews in 1930s Germany, Fundamentalist Muslims, for no good reason, want to destroy America, America’s allies and their own neighbors.

Just as Saddam Hussein shook the hand of Donald Rumsfeld in 1983, Neville Chamberlain shook the hand of Adolf Hitler in 1938. Hitler would later be the main driving force behind air attacks on London and the killing of British citizens.

Rumsfeld would later serve as one of the main driving forces behind removing Saddam as the sovereign leader of the sovereign state of Iraq and bombing that country into ruins. Rumsfeld would later be a main driving force behind the killing of more Iraqis than Saddam ever killed.

Rumsfeld, though no longer officially Secretary of Defense, was one of the people who tied the slip knot which embraced the neck of the man whose hand he’d previously shaken. The fingerprints of Bush and Cheney are all over that rope as well.

As has been written in article after article, Saddam was hung for crimes against the Iraqi people, crimes, indeed, against humanity while those who helped construct the noose are still committing crimes against humanity.

Like the Germans, far too many Americans have seen the need for The Patriot Act, the illegal wiretapping of their own communications devices and the signing papers making congress the paper tiger it is in this day of drastic measures.

Unlike most Germans in the 30s, many Americans today have been trying to tell those who would accept and defend The Regime’s many ways of consolidating power in the hands of the Executive branch of government that they’re missing the small but important steps by which The Regime is accomplishing this consolidation.

We were told that we needed to go into Iraq to rescue Iraqis from Saddam Hussein. However, who are we Americans going to turn to to come into The FUSA and rescue us from The Regime? Will the Latin American countries which The FUSA has its eyes on and which The FUSA is sending deeper and deeper into squalor come to our rescue? Will Hugo Ch├ívez and the Socialist governments that are forming in Latin America join forces to invade this nation to help us carry out regime change, since we, as a people, don’t seen to want to do it ourselves-sort of like The Iraqis?

In the 2006 elections, we elected the conservative Democratic Party to displace the even more conservative Republican Party. Voting in The Democrats was akin to running on ice.

Those that now have the chance to oversee the Executive Branch have already pardoned that branch for its crimes against humanity. There will not be punishment for murder. In fact, some of the Democrats are agreeing that we need to send more Americans to die in Iraq, even though every reason we were given for going into Iraq in the first place has been proven to be bogus.

The latest reason, to bring democracy to Iraq, should be a cakewalk now that Saddam is as far out of the picture as he can possibly be. So let’s leave now and, like the founders of the United States of America, let the founders of Iraqi democracy do just that, found Iraqi democracy.

The Germans caught on too late. Hitler caused untold death and destruction before outsiders, not Germans, toppled his regime.

Maybe that’s what The FUSA needs, outsiders to help us take the power out of the hands of an elite few who don’t mind seeing others die to advance their personal goals. Maybe, instead of referring to America and it’s “allies” in Iraq as The Allies, other nations should ally with each other, march into The FUSA and help us patriots change our government and help us return to a democratic method of choosing a government. Maybe France and Germany can bring us democracy.

Unless we wake up soon, it will be just as “too late” for us as it was for the Germans.

To friendship,
Michael

“Be loyal to your country always, and to the government only when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain

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