Pecos Think Tank

Personal Thoughts

Right to Work Laws

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I don’t think “Right to Work” laws mean anything. There was a defacto, “Right to Work” law when the labor movement began. “Right to Work” laws do not negate the right to join and support your union. “Right to Work” laws do not deny workers the right to organize and demand what is right.

In the beginning of the labor movement there were no, “Closed Shops”, places where one had to be a union member to work. Workers joined the movement because they knew it was the only way to survive, and prosper. But, workers did join the labor movement, and they did prevail. In a way, I think the “Closed Shop” could be the demise of the labor movement. People have stopped paying attention to what is going on around them. Union dues are just another deduction from your pay, and the union steward is just some slick dressing politician, whom one sees at meetings now and then.

My first job was in a grocery store in Southern California. There was a strike one year. My father, a mechanic, and a member of a union, would have let his family starve to death, before he would have crossed that picket line to buy food. My father had to write a check every month to pay his union dues. They were not just deducted from his pay. My father was not just a member of a union; he was united with his fellow workers. There is a difference.

The big business conservatives who lobby politicians to pass, “Right to Work” laws think they are going to destroy the labor movement and be able to abuse their employees, as was done in the pre-labor movement days. What they don’t see is that they are actually going to strengthen the labor movement. They are forcing the union members to choose between labor and management. Given a choice, most people will choose that which will benefit them, over that which benefits someone else.

I think the unions should support, “Right to Work” laws. I also think they should stop the practice of deducting union dues from a worker’s pay. Instead they should require their members to write the monthly check. There’s something about writing a monthly check that makes one more conscious of one’s membership in an organization.

If management thinks they have problems with union workers who become union members automatically when they are hired, just wait until they meet workers who are union members by conscious choice.

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Written by dmplantz

March 3, 2015 at 11:06 pm

War on Drugs

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In 1971 then President Richard Nixon launched the “War on Drugs”. It was one of those seemingly rational moves, which turned out to be a global disaster. Nixon thought that if we got really tough on those who provide drugs, the problem of addiction would be solved. No more lives lost to addiction. Of course, addiction is not a problem of drugs; it is a psychological problem with very deep roots. If one could somehow magically eliminate all “illegal” drugs in the world, addictive people would simply find something else to become addicted to.

What really happened when increased pressure was put upon those who deal and trade in recreational drugs was quite different from what President Nixon had envisioned. The immediate effect was to reduce supply, which was a major part of the plan. What President Nixon did not understand was the most basic rule of economics, the law of supply and demand. In this case, decreasing the supply, did not reduce the demand, it simply drove the price up. When the price of drugs increased, new and more serious entrepreneurs were drawn to the drug business. As the war progressed, and prices continued to rise, soon drug cartels were formed. These cartels quickly saw the correlation between strong anti drug laws, and stiffer penalties, and price. Soon, these cartels were hiring lobbyists to lobby for stronger laws, more enforcement, and harsher penalties. It worked, the prices continued to rise exponentially.

As these cartels became ever more wealthy, they began to challenge one and other for market space, (turf). Since they were forced to operate outside the law, they became outlaws, writing their own rules, which did not necessarily mesh well with the rules of society as a whole. What once had been a rather small industry became a multi-billion dollar global industry. Soon there was enough money at stake to justify going to war with one’s rivals. And that is exactly what has happened. Had President Nixon, and the many legislators who helped him launch his “War on Drugs” taken the time to research past incidences where the government tried to change the people’s habits via prohibition, they would have seen the inevitable outcome.

Along with the drug trade, another very lucrative industry has developed due to the “War on Drugs”. This is the drug law enforcement industry. This too has become a multi-billion dollar industry involving every aspect from actually tracking down and arresting drug dealers to housing those convicted of the crime. The number of people employed in the anti-drug industry is not really known. It involves police, judges, lawyers, and of course, the vast number of people who operate all the prisons and jails which house the drug criminals.

I guess we could call this the, “Anti-drug Industrial Complex”. It is huge and if drugs were to be decriminalized, thousands, maybe millions, of people would be put out of work. Billions of dollars in government spending, in the U.S., and other countries, would dry up.

I think that decriminalization of drugs would probably bring down the World Economy. But then, of course, there’s always a big crash after a major war.

Written by dmplantz

February 28, 2015 at 9:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Game of Monopoly

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I remember when I used to play Monopoly with my brother and sister and friends, when we were kids. We all loved the game, but with my brother being 3 years older than I, and my sister 5 years younger, it was not a really fair game. I was fair game, and our little sister was dead meat. Still we had a lot of fun. Sometimes, due to the fickle finger of the rolling dice, even our older brother’s, “genius skills”, could not beat little sister, or little brother.

By design the game ends with one player holding everything. That’s the goal. The difficult thing was to continue to roll the dice, when one of the other players had hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place, owned the Railroads, and Utilities, and had most of the money.

Why am I going on with this?

I’m going go ride my bike!

But no, the winner was saying, “Roll the dice, roll the dice, I want to take your last Monopoly Dollar, that’s what it’s all about. To watch the losers squirm in defeat. That is the Game. I am the best; I won it all!

Ultimately though, in order to play it again, we had to gather up all the money, houses, hotels, and deeds and redistribute them. It would have made no sense to start again the next day with one person holding everything.

What a brilliant game!

In the Real U.S. Economy, we are approaching the point where one player, or at least one percent of the players, holds every thing. Is it really surprising then that the other ninety-nine percent wants to go ride their bikes. Or, maybe start over tomorrow by first re-distributing everything?

It has occurred to me that many of the one percent, especially since recent Supreme Court rulings, are actually spending more money lobbying against raising taxes than they would have to pay in taxes, were those taxes to be raised a bit.

When I read that the Koch Brothers are spending a Billion Dollars, on elections campaigns all over the U.S., It somehow brings up images of my big brother, with piles of Monopoly Money and Property Deeds sitting in front of him, smirking as he, once again, beats the pants off his little brother and sister.

Ultimately, my sister and I went to ride our bikes, leaving big brother to play the game by himself.

Written by dmplantz

February 28, 2015 at 9:41 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Voter ID

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Voter ID

I have a simple solution to the voter ID issue. Instead of photographing everyone when they register to vote, why not photograph them when they vote? Today’s technology could easily do this. I envision a touch screen on which the voter would verify his/her name, age, and place of residence. Upon verifying that information, a photo would be taken of the individual and a ballot issued to them. This would make it incredibly easy to check for voter fraud. With today’s facial recognition technology, we could easily check for people voting in two locations, people voting under someone else’s name, etc. It would take no extra effort on the part of any voter. All they would have to do is show up at the polling place, which they would have to do anyway. As far as absentee ballots are concerned, it would be simple to place similar devices in every government office, and embassy, where a person could verify their information, get their picture taken, and receive their absentee ballot in the mail. I realize that there are people who do not want their image captured for religious reasons. However, these people are an extreme minority and I’m sure a viable system for identifying them could be developed.

Written by dmplantz

February 21, 2015 at 8:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Controlling Guns

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            Ok, let’s assume that I am a law abiding citizen, who owns a gun. I would never misuse this weapon. I would only use it for hunting or in self-defense.

            Good for me!

            Now, let’s assume that I purchase a thousand guns, load them to capacity, and drive around America dropping them off on street corners, in school yards, on play grounds, in libraries, in courthouses, etc., etc.

            Good for me?

            I don’t think so!

            Now, this is the real issue. “Guns don’t kill people, people do!” Thank you, NRA, for that quote! However, we still, as Americans, have the responsibility to one and other, to stop the killing.

            Look! You’re not going to screen out all the crazy people. No matter how hard you try, it ain’t gonna happen. A seemingly perfectly sane person can suddenly become insane, we’ve seen it happen a million times.

            Look! You ain’t never gonna take all the guns away from everybody, it ain’t gonna happen.

            So now, the question is, how you gonna stop the killin’?

            To me, the only answer is to secure the weapons. I think most gun owners don’t have a clue as to how to keep their weapons from falling into the hands of criminals, mentally unstable people, children, etc., etc.

            Hello, NRA members, hello GOA members, don’t you see that the way to keep your right to bear arms it to bear arms right? You should be spending double the money on educating Americans on how to keep their guns from killing innocent people, as you are currently spending to ensure the right of Americans to bear arms. If the right to bear arms is ever taken away from Americans, it will not be because a bunch of  “Granola Head Liberals” took it away, it will be because Americans have had enough of the senseless killing.

            The only way to stop the killing is to take control of the weapons, and that responsibility lies with the owner of the weapon.

            Come on NRA, come on GOA, let’s see you spend ten percent of your “Right to Bear Arms” budget on TV spots instructing people on how to “Bear Arms Right”.

            I want to see TV spots which say, “Gun owners, here is how to be sure that your weapon is never stolen, does not get into the hands of an unstable person, does not get into the hands of a child, just follow these simple safety rules………..

            I want to see TV ads, from gun sellers, saying, “Gun owners, we have a reasonably priced way to secure your guns from misuse”.

            I want to see gun manufacturers producing weapons which can only be used by the owner of the gun, we have the technology!

           

           

           

           

           

 

            

Written by dmplantz

July 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Nation Divided

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I don’t think many of us would question the fact that America, “One Nation Indivisible”, has become very divided. The question is, how did this happen?

To me, the answer is very simple; We Americans divided it. We chose up sides and pitted one against the other. It’s taken a long time, but we have finally reached the inevitable outcome. Now we have two very powerful special interest groups vying for power, at any cost, being cheered on by their respective followers.

The two special interest groups are called political parties, The Democratic Party, and the Republican Party. Call them what you will, they are special interest groups.

My question is, where in our Constitution does it say there shall be political parties? Is it really constitutional to label our elected representatives and divide separate them in the Congress?

When we go to vote, the candidate’s names have little Ds or Rs or whatever next to their names, indicating what their political philosophy is. Is this legal? What if we were to start putting information next to the candidate’s names such as, Black, White, Hispanic, Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Evangelical, Short, Tall, Thin, Fat, Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, NRA Member, Favors Gun Control, would that be OK? I don’t think so. So, why is it we are allowed to indicate whether they are Democrats or Republicans?

There’s no question that when we are introduced to a person as either a Democrat or Republican, we make certain assumptions about that person. If the State indicates on our ballots that the candidate is a member of a political party, the State is telling us what that person’s political philosophy is. This is not the role of the State in holding elections. The State’s job is to present the candidates who wish to hold a particular office and then count the votes. That’s it, no more.

Let me be clear here, I am not opposed to citizens forming groups and working to further their agendas. I believe in free speech. What I am opposed to is the State getting involved in these activities, by identifying the group to which the candidate belongs or is affiliated with.

So, I say, let’s declare it unconstitutional for the State to give any indication as to a candidate’s beliefs on any ballot.

Why is it that the State prints two different ballots for our Primary Elections? There should be just one ballot, with all the candidate’s names. If a political partly wants to hold an election within it’s membership, to decide whom they will support for an elected office, let them do so, but leave the State out of it. Let them print their own ballots and hold their own election. Then they can spend all they want, say what they want, and hope their choice gets on the ballot.

Written by dmplantz

June 30, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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