Category Archives: Commentary

What we progressives should do to create a new, democratic, more egalitarian society

[Hank Bardel is the 2017 Green Party candidate for Staten Island Borough President.]

hank_fbThe problems in this world of poverty, unemployment, low wages, environmental problems, homelessness, war, legal and illegal drug abuse, alcoholism, racism, ethnic scapegoating and lack of adequate healthcare are basically caused by a maldistribution of wealth.The 1% who are the multimillionaires and the billionaires own 38% of the wealth in the United States.They also get a large percentage of the income through their corporations.This situation also exists in countries around the world.

What we have to do is  create a real democracy, A democracy where we get all the facts we need to make intelligent decisions. We need to get the facts and then through logic make the intelligent decisions democratically to make good laws.
We also have to redistribute the wealth in a more equitable manner. We have to have a progressive income tax starting with single people making over $150,000.00 and married people making over $200,000.00, to the wealthy making $10,000,000,00 or more. At the $10,000,000.00 level then we should start taxing at 90%. We also have to have an estate tax after excluding the first $5,000,000.00.
We live in a country where we have a mixed economy. By that I mean our economy. in the business and government sectors. that consists of corporations like General Motors,   small businesses, medium size businesses, partnerships like  law firms, cooperatives like Welch’s grape jelly , worker cooperatives like Cooperative Home Care Associates, non-profits like United Way and Federal, State and local government organizations that deliver services.
 I think that we should keep our mixed economy. However I believe that we have to have strong regulations that regulate all organizations. We should keep our mixed economy because all organizations can perform very efficiently. If an organization survives and delivers a good or service we should keep it. We could also mandate like in Germany that corporations give workers a seat on the board of directors. Opening up your own business can be very creative.
Our foreign policy should be based on diplomacy. We should also have an adequate military to defend ourselves.As far as the military goes we should be aware as President Dwight Eisenhower warned us in 1961 about “the unwarranted acquisition of influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex”.
Economically we have to realize that we have 2 important forces in economics. They are supply and demand, To make our economy work and work efficiently we have to have supply and an equal amount of demand. When our supply side (our goods and services) is set up we have to have an equal amount of demand (people with enough money to buy back the goods and services being produced). This is what causes a healthy equitable economy. It’s as simple as that.
Henry Bardel
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Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

Hi Everybody,
I’m posting President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1961 speech warning Americans about the dangers of “the unwarranted acquisition of influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex” in order to make it easier to familiarize yourselves with the pertinacity of his reasoning both then and now.
Hank Bardel


A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

 

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