Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pope Bashes Capitalist Pigs and Piglets!

Attention capitalist pigs and piglets: Pope Francis is on to you. Listen to him: You still can be saved from yourselves—and others like you. His message should inspire the vast majority of people of all religions (or none), not just Catholics, to transform the world economy for the better; it isn’t just some wishy-washy plea on behalf of the poor; it identifies the root causes of poverty and assigns blame—and it ain’t a pretty picture but it’s the truth.
            In his November 24th Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” the Pope damns “supply-side” economics (aka Reaganomics), the destructive mantra of greed-is-good America: “some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.” He even calls “trickle-down” a total fiction: “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by facts, expresses a crude and na├»ve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
            The Pope blames the thugs of the free-market for poverty: “Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.”
            He is appalled that the rich get richer at the expense of the poor: “While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few.” He condemns unbridled capitalism: “The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become[s] the only rule.”
            In short, the Pope says “No” to everything from being beguiled by consumer goods and “increasing profits by reducing the work force” to amassing private property for the sake of it. He says “Yes” to “the creation of a new mindset which thinks in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few.” He asks a basic question which should stir every conscience: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”
            The Pope is “killing the United States softly with his song.” He doesn’t mention this country by name, but he doesn’t have to: Everyone knows that it’s us. We are the villains in his indictment of the free market excesses that in recent years nearly destroyed the world economy. With a vengeance, for the past 33 years, our leaders have espoused everything to which he says “No.” The result has been an increasing number of the hopelessly poor, obscene levels of the unemployed, and a shrinking middle class. It’s so bad, that a majority of the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court believes in trickle-down economics and hands down decisions in the interest of corporations and the rich at the expense of the rights of average Americans. A vocal, obstructionist minority of both houses of Congress would gut government at all levels and let the free market reign, no matter who suffers. 
            The Pope is also “killing Florida softly with his song.” For the past 15 years, the Sunshine State has lived under the thrall of trickle-down economics, ever since Republicans gained control of the governor’s mansion and both houses of the state Legislature. Even now, before the next legislative session, the powers-that-be are carving up the state budget in the same-old, same-old ways: proposing tax breaks and incentives for corporations that move to Florida and promise to create jobs (which almost never materialize); looking to privatize state services to create cash cows for most favored businesses; considering subsidies for sports arenas and stadiums on the premise that they create jobs (which they don’t); reducing services for the poor and disabled.
            As long as there are Americans, there will continue to be pigs and piglets at the trough of the economy. As long as the Pope is the pope, I hope he will call a swine a swine. God knows, no one else will.

Stephen L. Goldstein writes op-ed columns every other Friday and Sunday for the Sun-Sentinel (Tribune paper in South Florida). He is also the author of Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned! It’s available on Amazon in paper and on Kindle:   

Monday, September 30, 2013

From Ayn-Randianization of the U.S: Wet dream or your worst nightmare

From A Cautionary Tale That Needed to be Told By Lsk on May 23, 2013 Format: Paperback Imagine waking up in the middle of a dream - the Ayn-Randianization of the United States is celebrating its 67th anniversary. A wet dream or your worst nightmare, depending on one's socio-economic-political viewpoint. The satirical novel "Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned" is the farcical sequel to the FICTIONAL (caps provided for those who confuse novels with reality), and equally farcical "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. John Galt and Dagney Taggart are long gone but the 'virtue of selfishness' (the title of another Rand novelette) is alive and well. As a satire, in "Drugged" the credos of 'greed is good' and 'self-interest is the only defensible motivating force behind one's actions' have evolved and hardened to their heartless, perhaps incredulous extreme. But then again who would have ever thought the National Socialistic German Worker's Party would turn into the concentration camp party, or for that matter, American corporations would become people, politicians genuflecting at their feet. The message is clear to the worshippers of rugged individualism. Be careful what you wish for. As a parody, this work brilliantly mocks the paper-thin, un-life-like, cardboard characters portrayed in "Shrugged". And like-wise, the constant repetition is a reminder of the mind-numbing 1,070 pages that it takes Rand to say "communism and socialism bad; capitalism good!" If a reading of "Atlas Drugged" accomplishes only one thing - saving you from the laborious task of reading "Shrugged" - then it will have been worth it. Stephen Goldstein, a Sun Sentinel political columnist, demonstrates prescience. His imaginary hard-to-believe fictional characters preceded the real-life hard-to-believe 2012 presidential candidates, and sadly resemble too many of our lawmakers in Congress and legislatures across the nation. A foreboding work of fiction with frightening premonitions for the future of America. Dream or nightmare? You decide To order Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bombing in Boston=Case against Atlas Shrugged/Ayn Rand

    In the aftermath of the bombing in Boston, there's an opportunity to reassert the need for government and to repudiate the extremist anti-government Tea Party/GOP rhetoric and mentality and Paul Ryan's budget. What better place for the hateful, modern-day Tea Party garbage to end than in Boston?
    In Ayn Rand's world, Atlas Shrugged, part of the inspiration of the Tea Party mantra that we-don't-need-government, greed is good, everyone's on their own--no one gives a damn about anyone else. But imagine the horror if Boston's tax-supported infrastructure of first responders, doctors, etc. had been gutted and turned over to for-profit businesses.
    In the underground bestseller Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned! Ayn Rand's "vision" has been shown for the horror that it is. Police and other security agencies have been privatized. So, there's no security--except for the rich who can pay for it. Imagine where the hunt for the bombers would/will be if there were no government to conduct it. The lesson(s) of the Boston tragedy is/are right out of the hurricane scenario in Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned!. Think of the abandonment of New Orleans after Katrina and tea party/GOP Congressional delay sending fund to the East Coast after Super-Storm Sandy.
     If you can stand unvarnished truth, on Kindle or in paperback, read Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned! for yourself It puts the corporate takeover of America in perspective like nothing else.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"One nation under corporate greed . . .

with injustice for all but the privileged few"

from Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned by Stephen L. Goldstein It's available in bookstores nationwide, through,, and other online booksellers. Order it NOW from Amazon (paperback and/or Kindle):

"Ever since John Galt and his mafia returned to claim this country as their own, their followers have been drugged on ideas of ruthless freedom. They have turned greed into a national pastime. They treat people like commodities. They dismantled the government, the government that was supposed to represent 'the people,' by exploiting crises. They handed over public assets to private interests because they claimed the government couldn't afford to run and keep them. And once they were in private hands, corporate raiders bled the public of every cent they could. Then, they put their stooges in what was left of government to protect their obscene profits. So, that's where are are today: One nation under corporate greed with injustice for all but the privileged few."

Sunday, September 9, 2012

CEOs ruin USA

            The United States is in the middle of a devastating epidemic of “Obsessive CEO Syndrome” (OCS), a debilitating condition in which victims’ are deluded into thinking that the chosen people at the top of organization charts have the best minds, [all ITAL] the answers to [all of our problems, and, should they choose to abandon the rarefied air of their boardrooms, make the best public servants/elected officials.
            In other words, OCS is borderline insanity. So, in order to return the nation to mental health as early as possible, [all ITAL] of us need to be able to recognize the bizarre logic and assumptions of people who may suffer from OCS and know the best protocols to save them—and us, from them. Here are examples of some of their most twisted thinking:
            1. Government can do no good: Most victims of OCS fell under the noxious spell of actor-turn-presidential-impersonator Ronald Reagan—or others who did. For eight years, the best gig of his career—no matinees!—he repeated the mantra that his corporate cronies gave him. But the last time I checked, NASA, the U.S. military, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Hurricane Center were government agencies, among others. Would anyone say they are “no good”?
            2. Business can do no evil: Eve is the patron saint of business. It’s not just a few bad apples; season after season, business reaps harvests of illegalities that are the stuff of daily newspaper headlines: Medicare and Medicaid fraud; securities, investment, and banking crimes; consumer rip-offs; ponzi schemes. Remember Enron?
            3. The Founding Fathers were capitalists who framed the Constitution to promote corporate interests: Contrary to the Sarah-Palin-made-up-classic-comic-book version of America history, our FF’s were largely former British royalist-loyalists, land-and-slave-holding aristocrats who [never ITAL] envisioned this country serving business interests on a scale they could [never ITAL] have imagined.
            4. The government should be run like a business by businesspeople and for the benefit of businesses: Calvin Coolidge observed, “the chief business of the American people is business.” But that doesn’t mean that the government should be taken over by business interests. The [proper ITAL] role of government is to provide a supportive environment in which business can thrive—but not at the expense of the public interest. No matter what they think, the Koch brothers don’t own America.
            5. The private sector creates job, but the public section doesn’t: Hogwash! Most major businesses “create” jobs through government contracts (taxpayer money). Historically, the public sector creates jobs—police, fire, and fire rescue personnel; teachers; members of the armed forces. Believing the unproven claim that for-profit businesses can provide better services more cheaply than government, proponents of privatization want to give them guaranteed revenue streams. More hogwash!
            6. Markets should be self-policed and free of regulation: 1929 & 2008: Nothing need be said!
            7. CEO’s make the best public servants/elected officials: Former CEO-governor Rick Scott has not created the jobs he promised and has violated his oath of office by routinely putting business interests above those of “the people.” When CEO-governor Mitt Romney left office, Massachusetts was 47th in job-growth, burdened with a $1 billion deficit, and had seen an increase in state and local taxes.
            The cure for OCS is facing reality: Businesspeople know nothing about running government. CEO’s should stick to business, succeed or fail, and stop messing with “the people’s” bottom line.#

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac & Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned

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It's ironic, bordering on prophecy, that Tropical Storm Isaac is threatening Florida NOW, right before the GOP convention. In Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned, a major hurricane devastates the entire Florida peninsula. No one is spared--rich or poor; it is the great leveler. But because in the Corporate States of America, which is what the USA has been renamed in Atlas Drugged, there is virtually NO government as we now know it, people are left destitute and abandoned--unless they can pay to get even basic help. The Florida governor, Chris Cott, and the CSA president, Ham Cooper, hold a joint press conference, telling the world that government has no role in helping people, even at times of unprecedented crisis. In other words, in the dystopia world of Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned, the "we don't need government" mantra we hear today is taken to its tragic conclusion. We'll see if all those anti-government members of the GOP will be looking for FEMA to help if Tampa needs it--and if they appreciate the error of their ways.

Atlas Drugged : Ayn Rand Be Damned is available on (kindle and paperback),, and in bookstores nationwide. It's a must-read, especially before the election.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: For Toxic Ayn Rand Syndrome: Cure Found

            by Stephen L. Goldstein

            The following column appeared alongside one by Kingsley Guy in the South Florida Sun-Suntinel, July 20, 2012

            I want to thank Kingsley Guy for the kind words he has to say about my just-released novel, “Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned!”; his countervailing “digressions” and oblique tweaks go with the territory. We “duel”; therefore, we dig.

            Of course, Kingsley is correct that the 240 fast-moving (some have said “hilarious”) pages of my dystopia are a frontal attack on Rand’s lumbering, badly written “Atlas Shrugged,” a merciless 1068 pages in my paperback edition. And he accurately states that “Shrugged” is considered “Scripture by libertarians,” a curious label for the work of an atheist but by no means an overstatement: Rand’s acolytes worship her. And yet, her philosophy is nothing more than one woman’s neurotic obsession with legitimizing unbridled greed, sanitizing it by calling it “rational self-interest” and Objectivism—and glorifying it in works of fiction.

            Impressionable high-school students read her with predictable devotion, finding justification for their adolescent pre-disposition to selfishness. What’s worse, many have grown up to occupy influential positions, never breaking free of her spell. When he was 16, former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, who ultimately dug the grave of the economy, crashed Rand’s funeral with his mother. University of Chicago Professor Milton Friedman built a whole school of economics compatible with her thinking. The schemers at Enron who were defrauding investors and the public allegedly met in informal discussion groups to draw energy from her works. Fair-haired GOP budget boy Cong. Paul Ryan said Rand inspired him to seek elective office and made his staff members read “Atlas Shrugged,” at least until recently when the devout Catholic first discovered Rand was an atheist. (Can you believe it?) His budget proposal is pure Rand. Less obviously, but more consequentially, the current tea party/GOP in Congress—the Party of No—has been re-enacting John Galt’s “strike” in “Atlas Shrugged,” bringing the economy to its knees to force the country to accept its policies.

            The United States is suffering from Toxic Rand Syndrome: capitalism perverted, the nation in a corporate stranglehold, self-reliance run amok—which is why I called my novel “Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned.” It begins 67 years after “Atlas Shrugged” ends. The USA has been renamed the Corporate States of America, the equivalent of a wholly owned subsidiary of the likes of the Koch Brothers. Kingsley rightly recognizes that it’s a dystopia: a nightmare vision of a future none of us would want to live in—and yet one that seems frighteningly like what we’re enduring today. It’s a difference of degree, not kind. You want a country without strong government, regulations, a social safety net, and solid infrastructure? In “Atlas Drugged,” you get it. But even the most Randian of you won’t want it. Remember New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: helpless victims stranded on rooftops, corpses floating in floodwaters, thousands huddled in the Superdome for days without food and water? That’s mild compared to some of the most horrific scenes in “Atlas Drugged,” which happen to be set in Florida.

            The success of “Atlas Shrugged” proves that, tragically, you can fool too many of the people all of the time. “Atlas Drugged” takes a stab at opening the eyes of enough of the rest who haven’t yet swallowed the Kool-Aid. It’s truthful fiction and fictional truth. Those who are most likely to reject it are precisely those who most need to face it.

            The cure for Toxic Rand Syndrome is "Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned!" It's available in bookstores nationwide, through,, and other online booksellers. Order it NOW from Amazon: