Sunday, July 22, 2012

Just Fill In the Frickin' Blank March

When are we going to stop the "dog chasing its tail" debates about our insidiously failed government of the rich and throw a peaceful, massive, nationwide demonstration that will bring the 1% corporate "evil doers" and their puppet government shills to their knees?  

Why?  Corruption, influence peddling, mortgage meltdown recessions, no jobs, illegal wars, Citizens United, NDAA, ALEC, NRA, NAFTA and all its off springs, drone murders, failed health care, failed education, poverty, CIA impunity, the destruction of our environment, climate change, fossil fuels, drug wars, failed immigration, AND, you know - just fill in the frickin' blank and march!  

But why?  Because nothing else will work and you know it.

How about combining this with the Occupy Movement's one year anniversary on September 17, 2012 in Washington D.C.?    


  1. Published on Sunday, August 26, 2012 by Common Dreams
    Time to Get a Grip, America
    by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

    Why do so many Americans feel disengaged, disillusioned, and disgusted with politics? Why is U.S. voter turn-out, on average, only a dismal 40%? Why do we feel like no matter how we vote, our values will not be reflected in Washington?

    Because it’s true.

    I happen to believe that Barack Obama shares my values. I believe he is a genuinely caring, ethical man who sincerely wants to create a country in which politicians collaborate rather than backstab each other; in which government and corporations serve the public good; in which the goal of economic activity is raising all boats, rather than creating a few luxury liners for the richest 1% of Americans. I believe he’s a good man.

    And yet, he has been unable to make a dent in politics as usual in Washington. The Republicans have shown repeatedly that they are the party of the wealthy boardrooms of Big Business and Big Finance, and since they own so much of the new media, and so many think tanks, and so many political seats, including Supreme Court seats, well, they can do as they wish and everyone else be damned.

    I have noticed a certain grim set to Obama’s jaw in the last year, as the reality of his fly-in-the-web position has sunk in. He knows that even if he wins re-election, he will be foiled at every turn. And it doesn’t help that it’s getting harder and harder for him to inspire his base—people like me who are beyond frustrated with the status quo, and no longer believe he and his team can make a change.

    When I get those daily emails from Democratic headquarters pressing me to donate to the campaign (just $12!), and then I hear about how the Koch brothers are donating hundreds of millions to the Romney campaign, the little sprout of hope that springs eternal in me just starts to wither.

    Yes, if 100 million Americans donated $12 to Obama it would make a big difference. But frankly I am not interested in betting on the horse race. I can’t sanction the wasteful spending of huge sums on campaigning, while our planet burns and billions of people are locked in poverty.

    I would rather see some savvy crowdsourcing through social media, with the goal less raising money to burn up on TV than getting more people out to the polls on election day, and empowering ordinary Americans to rise up and insist on real representation in Washington.

    But this battle is about much more than just one country’s Presidential race. It’s about our future on this planet. A vote for Romney is a vote for business as usual, and then some—drill, baby, drill. Never mind the impact on the environment and the climate.

    Voting for business as usual is truly a suicidal choice.

    Not voting at all is even worse, suicide by apathy.

    As a nation, America has been slowly drifting into a weird form of collective insanity, exhibiting symptoms any shrink would describe as manic-depressive, delusional and denialist, not to mention homicidal and self-destructive.

    It’s time to get a grip.
    Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

    Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez teaches comparative literature and gender studies with an activist bent at Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington, MA and blogs at Transition Times.

  2. Sunday, Aug 26, 2012 07:30 AM MDT
    America’s open secret: Middle-class decline
    It's become a national emergency, but where is our FDR?
    By David Woolner, Next New Deal

    America's open secret: Middle-class declineGraphic shows unemployment statistics (Credit: AP)
    This originally appeared on Next New Deal.

    In the 1930s, the president and Congress responded to the economic crisis with immediate action. Why haven’t today’s policymakers done the same?

    Sometimes I get bored sitting in Washington hearing certain people talk and talk about all that Government ought not to do— people who got all they wanted from Government back in the days when the financial institutions and the railroads were being bailed out in 1933, bailed out by the Government. It is refreshing to go out through the country and feel the common wisdom that the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.

    They want the financial budget balanced. But they want the human budget balanced as well. – Franklin D. Roosevelt, October 1937

    Next New Deal A recent study by the Pew Research Center has confirmed what millions of Americans have realized for some time now: that the middle class has endured its worst decade since World War II. With declining home values, falling wages, and skyrocketing higher education costs, the median wealth for the middle class fell by 28 percent over the past decade, while the wealth of higher income families rose slightly. The same sad story holds true for middle class incomes, as government data now shows that we have finally managed to break the half-century-long streak that saw inflation-adjusted family income rise in every decade between 1950 and 2000, but not in the decade ending in 2010. Thanks to these and other economic trends, the overall size of the American middle class has also shrunk, down to just 51 percent of the population as compared to 61 percent of the population four decades ago.

    One might assume that these alarming statistics—and the fact that the U.S. unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for more than three years—would lead to something like a crisis atmosphere in Washington, a recognition that this is no ordinary economic downturn, but a great national emergency made all the more worrisome by the onset of the worst drought in more than 50 years. But instead of acting, members of the House and Senate have elected to go on their usual five-week summer recess, confirming in the minds of most Americans that the principal blame for their current troubles and for the decline of the middle class lies with Congress.

    Roughly three-quarters of a century ago, in similar circumstances, the reactions of both the public and the government was exactly the opposite. From the day he assumed office, FDR identified the collapse of the U.S. economy as an unprecedented national emergency, not unlike the onset of war, that must be countered by “action and action now.” Indeed, his first move as president was to call Congress back into an “emergency session” that launched the most productive period in U.S. legislative history—15 major pieces of legislation in 100 days, including such “emergency” measures as the 1933 Banking Act, the Glass-Steagall Act, and the Truth in Securities Act, all of which helped provide the regulatory structure needed for the U.S. banking and financial sector to thrive for decades to come.

    But FDR’s characterization of the economic crisis as an emergency did not end there. He would continue to describe the nation’s woes in the 1930s as a “national emergency” and would continue to demand the cooperation of Congress in meeting both the short-term and long-term challenges that the nation faced as it climbed its way out of the Great Depression. It was this spirit to act—in both parties—that gave us the major provisions of the New Deal and that laid the basis for that remarkable 50-year period of expansion of the middle class that may now have sadly come to an end.

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  3. Anger and Political Culture: A Time for Outrage!
    Sunday, 22 July 2012 08:42 By Michael A Peters, Truthout Op-Ed

    Angry pacifist protester at Occupy Wall Street, April 25, 2012. Occupy Wall Street, April 25, 2012. (Photo: Saint Huck)

    At a time when anti-austerity measures across the world punish taxpayers after national banking systems have been bailed out with hundreds of billions of taxpayers dollars, when both educated and working-class youth suffer historically high levels of unemployment, when the people of Tahrir Square continue to demonstrate peacefully for basic democratic values against corrupt officials and their military, when ever larger numbers of children around the world are born into poverty and when the inequalities of Western societies have reached their highest post-war levels, it is remarkable that a 94-year-old veteran resistance fighter should become an icon of resistance and an advocate of peaceful protest.(1)

    St├ęphane Hessel (b. 1917), the French diplomat, ambassador, writer, resistance fighter and human rights advocate, wrote a 32-page essay published as a polemic that recalled the values he had fought for during the Resistance as a basis for democratic protest today. The essay originally published as "Indignez-vous!" (2010) sold more the 3.5 million copies worldwide and has been translated into fifteen different languages. The Nation published the essay in English in 2011, and it now appears as "Time for Outrage!" (Charles Glass Books).(2) As a young resistance fighter, Hessel struggled against the Vichy government and the Nazis regime. He was a Buchenwald concentration camp survivor, and after the war was involved in helping to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He has since been a founding member of many human rights organizations and a staunch advocate of human rights, signing the petition "For a Treaty of a Social Europe," and criticizing Israeli air-strikes in Lebanon. He has been a spokesman for the homeless and a critic of Israeli military attacks against the Palestinians. He has been awarded many honors including the French Order of Merit and Legion of Honor. He was awarded the UNESCO prize for promoting a culture of human rights in 2008 and various peace prizes. Foreign Policy named him as one of the top global thinkers in keeping alive the spirit of the French Resistance. Indeed, Hessel's "Indignez-vous!" (2010), an ally of the Spanish M-15 Indignants movement(3), tells the young of today that their lives and liberties are worth fighting for.

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  4. The Rise of the Police State and the Absence of Mass Opposition

    James Petras and Robin Eastman Abaya :: 07.25.2012 :: United States
    Introduction: One of the most significant political developments in recent US history has been the virtually unchallenged rise of the police state. Despite the vast expansion of the police powers of the Executive Branch of government, the extraordinary growth of an entire panoply of repressive agencies, with hundreds of thousands of personnel, and enormous public and secret budgets and the vast scope of police state surveillance, including the acknowledged monitoring of over 40 million US citizens and residents, no mass pro-democracy movement has emerged to confront the powers and prerogatives or even protest the investigations of the police state.

    In the early fifties, when the McCarthyite purges were accompanied by restrictions on free speech, compulsory loyalty oaths and congressional ‘witch hunt’ investigations of public officials, cultural figures , intellectuals, academics and trade unionists, such police state measures provoked widespread public debate and protests and even institutional resistance. By the end of the 1950’s mass demonstrations were held at the sites of the public hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in San Francisco (1960) and elsewhere and major civil rights movements arose to challenge the racially segregated South, the compliant Federal government and the terrorist racist death squads of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The Free Speech Movement in Berkeley (1964) ignited nationwide mass demonstrations against the authoritarian-style university governance.

    The police state incubated during the first years of the Cold War was challenged by mass movements pledged to retain or regain democratic freedoms and civil rights.

    Key to understanding the rise of mass movements for democratic freedoms was their fusion with broader social and cultural movements: democratic freedoms were linked to the struggle for racial equality; free speech was necessary in order to organize a mass movement against the imperial US Indo-Chinese wars and widespread racial segregation; the shutting down of Congressional ‘witch hunts’ and purges opened up the cultural sphere to new and critical voices and revitalized the trade unions and professional associations. All were seen as critical to protecting hard-won workers’ rights and social advances.

    In the face of mass opposition, many of the overt police state tactics of the 1950’s went ‘underground’ and were replaced by covert operations; selective state violence against individuals replaced mass purges. The popular pro-democracy movements strengthened civil society and public hearings exposed and weakened the police state apparatus, but it did not go away. However, from the early 1980’s to the present, especially over the past 20 years, the police state has expanded dramatically, penetrating all aspects of civil society while arousing no sustained or even sporadic mass opposition.

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  5. Delusion 2000
    How the candidates view the world
    by Howard Zinn
    The Progressive magazine, March 2000

    Every day, as the soggy rhetoric of the Presidential candidates accumulates into an enormous pile of solid waste, we get more and more evidence of the failure of the American political system. The candidates for the job of leader of the most powerful country in the world have nothing important to say. On domestic issues, they offer platitudes about health care and Social Security and taxes, which are meaningless given the record of both political parties. And on foreign policy, utter silence.
    That silence is what I want to talk about.
    In domestic policy, there are enough slight differences among the candidates to make some liberals and progressives-desperate for hopeful signs-seize upon the most feeble of promises. Al Gore and Bill Bradley take wobbly steps toward covering some fraction of the forty-four million uninsured, but no candidate proposes universal, nonprofit, government-guaranteed health care.
    John McCain and George W. Bush mutter unintelligibly about one or another tax plan, but no Republican or Democrat talks about taxing the wealth and income of the super-rich in such a way as to make several trillion dollars available for housing, health, jobs, education.
    But on foreign and military policy, there are not even mutterings about change. All the candidates vie with one another in presenting themselves as supporters of the Pentagon, desirous of building up our military strength. Here is Mr. Universe- bulging ridiculously with muscles useless for anything except winning contests and bullying the other kids on the block (it is important to be # 1, important to maintain "credibility")-promising to buy more body-building equipment, and asking all of US to pay for it.
    How can we, if we have any self-respect, support candidates-Republican or Democrat-who have nothing to say about the fact that the United States, with 4 percent of the world's population, consumes 25 percent of its wealth? How can we support them when they have nothing to say about our obligation to the other 96 percent, many of whom are suffering as a result of American policy?
    What is our obligation?
    First, to follow the Hippocratic Oath and "Do No Harm." Instead, we are doing much harm.
    By depriving the people of Iraq of food, medicine, and vital equipment, we are causing them enormous suffering under the pretense of "sending a message" to Saddam Hussein. It appears we have no other way to send a message but through killing people. How does this differ, except in scale, from the killings done by terrorists around the world, who also defend their acts by claiming their need to "send a message".
    We pretend we care about "democracy" in Cuba-we who have supported dictatorships all over Latin America for 100 years and in Cuba itself until Fidel Castro came to power. Truth is, we cannot bear the thought that Castro for forty years has defied us, refusing to pay us the homage to which we are accustomed in this hemisphere. Castro has spurned the invitation to become a member of the world capitalist dub, and that is, evidently, unforgivable. And so we impose an embargo on Cuba and make its people suffer.
    Which candidate, Democrat or Republican, has had the decency to speak out on this embargo, and on the deprivation it has caused for the children of Cuba? What meaning has the phrase "human rights" if people are denied the necessities of life?

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    Howard Zinn, author of "A People's History of the United States, " is a columnist for The Progressive magazine.