Admiral Loinpresser's Journal
There are a lot of facets involved in this question. Let me start from my point of entry. I believe, based on the environmental, economic and civil liberties policies of President Obama that it is against the interests of America to vote for either him or any likely GOP candidate in 2012. The time is short for the world's climate, according to leading authorities.
Obama sold us out at Copenhagen in 2009 and has proved to be deceptive about his campaign promises in that regard.
Still, the issue is complex and that is why I am inviting a reasoned debate on whether an attempt should be made to get Bernie Sanders (or someone else) on the ballot in 2012. Someone who will advocate for policies which lead to environmental and economic justice and the survival of the people of the world.
maintained in that status by the two major political parties?
And the banks -- hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.
Senator Dick Durbin, c. April 29, 2009
OWS, the Democrats and the survival of civilization.
Most on this website are aware that the economic elites have led us on an unsustainable path for the last 30 years. But are you aware that we have been careening toward environmental catastrophe that might well mean the end of civilization? The International Energy Agency recently gave humanity perhaps the most dire warning in world history:
Anything built from now on that produces carbon will do so for decades, and this "lock-in" effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world's foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous.
"The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said. "I am very worried – if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum
If the world is to stay below 2C of warming, which scientists regard as the limit of safety, then emissions must be held to no more than 450 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the level is currently around 390ppm. But the world's existing infrastructure is already producing 80% of that "carbon budget", according to the IEA's analysis, published on Wednesday. This gives an ever-narrowing gap in which to reform the global economy on to a low-carbon footing.
If current trends continue, and we go on building high-carbon energy generation, then by 2015 at least 90% of the available "carbon budget" will be swallowed up by our energy and industrial infrastructure. By 2017, there will be no room for manoeuvre at all – the whole of the carbon budget will be spoken for, according to the IEA's calculations.
What will a non-linear change mean for the global climate mean? It could be the catalyzing of a new Ice Age by the mechanism discussed by Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth.” It could be the collapse of global commercial agriculture, which lacks the genetic diversity necessary to cope with the accelerated mutation of microbes in warmer climates. It could be dramatically higher ocean levels or ever more terrible natural disasters (hurricanes, tsunamis, wildfires, tornadoes, etc.) the kind which have become more severe and widespread in the last decades. It could be plague from the migration of tropical parasites into previously temperate zones. Certainly it could be an aggregate of these and other predicted effects. No one one knows exactly what will happen, but the risk that we will take a quantum leap in ecological disasters is a reality predicted by climate change models.
What are the major American parties doing about this? Essentially nothing since 1997, when Al Gore personally engineered the Kyoto Protocol. The last major climate treaty conference was held in Copenhagen in 2009. To paraphrase Wall Street Occupiers, in Copenhagen we got “sold out” by Obama and those G20 countries which followed his lead. Here is what Naomi Klein reported at that time:
Contrary to countless reports, the debacle in Copenhagen was not everyone's fault. It did not happen because human beings are incapable of agreeing, or are inherently self-destructive. Nor was it all was China's fault, or the fault of the hapless UN.
There's plenty of blame to go around, but there was one country that possessed unique power to change the game. It didn't use it. If Barack Obama had come to Copenhagen with a transformative and inspiring commitment to getting the US economy off fossil fuels, all the other major emitters would have stepped up. The EU, Japan, China and India had all indicated that they were willing to increase their levels of commitment, but only if the US took the lead. Instead of leading, Obama arrived with embarrassingly low targets and the heavy emitters of the world took their cue from him.
(The "deal" that was ultimately rammed through was nothing more than a grubby pact between the world's biggest emitters: I'll pretend that you are doing something about climate change if you pretend that I am too. Deal? Deal.)
Remember Obama's campaign promise to make climate change a high priority and Al Gore would be a key player in that policy? Big Lie. Of course, the GOP is even worse in that regard. Suffice it to say that BOTH parties are advocating for the death of billions of people on this issue.
Some will say that it's too late, let's all just be cynical about humanity. I say that while there is life, there is hope. What gives some of us hope? The Occupy movement and its attempt at raising global consciousness to a sufficient degree to begin fighting for the continuation of world civilization by starting with a paradigm shift. But meanwhile, we have taken a huge step backward in educating the public to this apocalyptic threat. Once again Naomi Klein:
But the effects of the right-wing climate conspiracies reach far beyond the Republican Party. The Democrats have mostly gone mute on the subject, not wanting to alienate independents. And the media and culture industries have followed suit. Five years ago, celebrities were showing up at the Academy Awards in hybrids, Vanity Fair launched an annual green issue and, in 2007, the three major US networks ran 147 stories on climate change. No longer. In 2010 the networks ran just thirty-two climate change stories; limos are back in style at the Academy Awards; and the “annual” Vanity Fair green issue hasn’t been seen since 2008.
This uneasy silence has persisted through the end of the hottest decade in recorded history and yet another summer of freak natural disasters and record-breaking heat worldwide. Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry is rushing to make multibillion-dollar investments in new infrastructure to extract oil, natural gas and coal from some of the dirtiest and highest-risk sources on the continent (the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline being only the highest-profile example). In the Alberta tar sands, in the Beaufort Sea, in the gas fields of Pennsylvania and the coalfields of Wyoming and Montana, the industry is betting big that the climate movement is as good as dead.
If the carbon these projects are poised to suck out is released into the atmosphere, the chance of triggering catastrophic climate change will increase dramatically (mining the oil in the Alberta tar sands alone, says NASA’s James Hansen, would be “essentially game over” for the climate).
All of this means that the climate movement needs to have one hell of a comeback. For this to happen, the left is going to have to learn from the right. Denialists gained traction by making climate about economics: action will destroy capitalism, they have claimed, killing jobs and sending prices soaring. But at a time when a growing number of people agree with the protesters at Occupy Wall Street, many of whom argue that capitalism-as-usual is itself the cause of lost jobs and debt slavery, there is a unique opportunity to seize the economic terrain from the right. This would require making a persuasive case that the real solutions to the climate crisis are also our best hope of building a much more enlightened economic system—one that closes deep inequalities, strengthens and transforms the public sphere, generates plentiful, dignified work and radically reins in corporate power. It would also require a shift away from the notion that climate action is just one issue on a laundry list of worthy causes vying for progressive attention. Just as climate denialism has become a core identity issue on the right, utterly entwined with defending current systems of power and wealth, the scientific reality of climate change must, for progressives, occupy a central place in a coherent narrative about the perils of unrestrained greed and the need for real alternatives.
The hope for a global change in consciousness now seems possible, given the momentum of the Occupy movement. I close with a relevant quote from the OWS Declaration:
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
For example, Maher had Grover Norquist on his show last Friday and said something so stupid that it made my head hurt. He said Ronald Reagan was an “old school” Republican. The context was that Reagan had agreed to six or seven tax hikes during his two terms.
The idea that Reagan was “old school” in his approach to taxes is laughable. He was revolutionary (or more aptly “reactionary) in his approach to taxes. He caused radical decreases in the largest marginal income tax rates, from 70% to 28%. When his ideologically ridiculous “trickle down” policies led to the opposite effect on the federal deficit from the predictions he made, he was forced to compromise with a Democratic Congress. Hence the modest tax increases after his original hugely regressive initiative upon taking power.
Bill Maher, either get smart or surrender your show to someone with a sense of history and greater capacity for critical thinking.
The Democrats on the "Super Committee" are offering massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as part of the austerity package being negotiated, according to Reuters. Organized labor is outraged by this.
Do you think the Democratic Party is participating in class warfare against the 99%?
N.B. For the context of Part 1 you can find it at my journal on this website: http://journals.democraticunderground.com/...
Why do I do this? Have I become overly “Oprafied,” i.e. willing to discuss publicly my own personal situation? The answer is that freedom means nothing left to lose, as the song says. I am one of America's dispossessed. Don't get me wrong. I'm still much more fortunate than other people in America, e.g. the homeless, the physically disabled, those living on reservations, in ghettos and barrios. But I am poor. American society generally holds the value that there is shame in being poor. That is major bullshit. There is no shame in being poor. The shame is in being wealthy in America. Unfortunately most Americans still don't get that, indeed, far too many DUers still don't get that. I guess they weren't paying attention when the Sermon on the Mount was being taught in Sunday School.
Anyway, this series of posts is partly my declaration of independence from the bullshit mythos about wealth in America. There is no shame in being poor, only shame in being wealthy.
I got a call from a debt collector today about a credit card debt from years ago. The woman was very courteous and sympathetic when I explained that I didn't blame her at all for trying to make a living, anymore than I blame the vast majority of police who are just trying to make a living while they protect and serve in very difficult conditions. I went on to explain that I did despise those in the 1% who sat at the top of the corporation which issued me that credit card and then proceeded to charge usurious interest rates. I obtained the card in order to try keep surviving financially because I have been in negative cash flow for much of the past decade. Earlier she had suggested re-financing my home to settle this old credit card debt. I laughed and said that even if it were possible (it isn't), I had no intention of voluntarily surrendering any money to the 1% beyond that which is necessary to survive. They can go ahead and sue and good luck with that!
A personal note. I am an imperfect human being. I have read of the struggles of many on this website who report of their heroic and exemplary work to support their families, how they take multiple part-time jobs when they lose a real job and so forth. Most of those people sound better than me in that regard. I have engaged in all manner of dysfunction in my life. Bill O'Reilly could have a private eye investigate me and come up with several rationales as to why being poor is my own fault.
But I don't buy into that sort of bullshit. As much dysfunction as I have experienced in my life, I am still light years ahead of Obama, Congress and the SCOTUS in terms of being functional, not to mention the two major political parties or Wall Street. My utter contempt for them is real and legitimate. Compared to the power structure in this country, I am a paragon of virtue.
Today I am working on a spiritual way of life involving rigorous self-honesty and helping others, as well as myself. So this is my declaration of independence. There is no shame in being poor. Rather there is great shame in being wealthy. So says Jesus, so says me.
Occupy Human Dignity: My Story (Part 1)
When Occupy Wall Street started on September 17 (if memory serves), I became ecstatic. Since Reagan got elected I had had very few moments of political hope and had come this year to a point of utter hopelessness. Then people started taking to the streets. I remember the watching a stream from very early at OWS. Roseanne Barr got up there with a bullhorn (this was before the need for a human mic). She said something both challenging and inspiring. She talked about the “big I” and the “little I.” She explained that in the Viet Nam era, protests had been marred too much by the “little I” and that this time we needed to stay focused on the “big I.” In other words, that we acting collectively for the common good needed to subdue our individual egoistic needs for the power of collective, selfless action.
Spurred by her words and the physical sacrifice of those early occupiers who braved police brutality, I attempted to organize an occupy group in my hometown, a midwestern college town. The first week the reaction was very tepid but by the second week there was enough enthusiasm that my wife and I created a Facebook event page and in less than a week we had our first GA meeting in the park near downtown.
But in that first week I started to experience a personality conflict with someone who seemed to take an instant dislike to me. Mindful of the “big I” I tried to inject ideas on a limited basis and quickly began to participate less often and less vocally, even though I felt the decision making process was skewed because this person stepped up to be the GA facilitator at important GA meetings and seemed to advocate and inject his/her opinions while facilitating. Increasingly I felt the group was getting off to a bad start with ineffective planning and little thought for strategy. Things came to a head for me last Saturday night, when I arrived at our camp and was treated dismissively by this person for inquiring about the existence and organization of a videography team. My reason for making the inquiry was because the night before the police had arrived in the middle of the night and had ticketed several of us for failing to disperse from the park. No organized video team was in place, so the impact in the local media was greatly reduced the next day. Anyway, I had this unpleasant interaction on Saturday night and then at one point in the same evening had a confrontation with a drunk college student who approached our camp sign with the stated intention of peeing on it.
Bottom line is I brought all that home with me at about 3am (this is when the physical threat to the camp from drunk college students is greatly reduced, so I felt free to leave). Bringing those emotions home led indirectly to some serious family disharmony which is still completely unresolved as of this writing. The next day I decided I had had enough with the person who seemed to thwart my participation, so I disassociated with the group.
I'm happy to say that a series of events led to new people stepping up and my hometown occupy group seems headed in a much better direction. I have re-associated by writing an article supporting the group and have had many good exchanges with several people. I simply don't show up at meetings to avoid dissension.
But the family disharmony continues. I hope and expect it will be favorably resolved but don't know when or how. I have been on a roller coaster ride for the last four weeks. I have had very dark thoughts, anger depression etc. I have had to think about what it means to be poor in America and here is the conclusion I have come to:
I am poor but there is no shame in that, the only shame is to be rich in America. The ever-widening economic inequality leads us inexorably toward rebellion at least, if not revolution. We must collectively acknowledge and claim our human dignity. The only way to accomplish this fully is by creating a society with drastically less inequality of wealth.
This video was previously on the Greatest Page, but profoundly bears repeating. For me it is the clearest and most compelling explanation for the global Occupy rebellion, based on science. I believe its viewing should be required viewing for US citizenship, both for those who already enjoy that status and those who aspire to it:
"Sooner of later, your karma will run over your dogma."
I have no idea what that's supposed to mean, though your use of the word "karma" seems to indicate that you subscribe to some sort of ideology of your own.
Whenever any ideology attempts a comprehensive social, economic or political theory, that theory is contradicted at some point by experience. I appreciate many ideas of anarchism, Marxism, socialism and liberalism. I am probably most influenced by the principles expressed in the Enlightenment, Taoism and northern plains native spirituality (such as the Lakota).
But in responding to your previous post, I was put off by your blanket statement that the police can't be trusted. I have lived long enough to experience many positive and negative interactions with police. Police brutality is a terrible problem in America, but to objectify all human beings in a class is ideological to me.
Let me quote from your response for another idea which to me is ideological:
For the anarchist, freedom is not an abstract philosophical concept, but the vital concrete possibility for every human being to bring to full development all the powers, capacities, and talents with which nature has endowed him, and turn them to social account.
I do not believe that the full development of every human being can be turned to social account, if I understand the author. My experience is that human beings as a population include sociopaths who cannot empathize, but rather prey on members of their own species in a variety of ways including sexual abuse and violence and economic exploitation. In a world without government or bureaucracy, individuals with sociopathic tendencies (e.g. Charles Manson or Donald Trump) would continue to predate on others in a host of ways. That is what my experience tells me.
My belief is that a large majority of people have strong altruistic impulses, but that a minority are naturally evil. We can have a nature/nurture discussion. I suspect that genetics plays a strong role in sociopathic behavior.
I have seen many Obama supporters on this website who praise and participate in the Occupy movement. I have also seen many on this website who oppose a great deal of his policies, likewise praise and participate in the Occupy movement. This is very encouraging.
I heard a prominent Democrat in my home town make an interesting comment about the Occupy movement. I don't know if he is happy with Obama's policies (it wasn't discussed), but he thinks the Occupy movement should make Obama do the right thing. I will list some things I think would be a good down payment on the president beginning that path, but first I would like to address the philosophy of it.
If a nonviolent populist rebellion can change the insane course America is on, why not use Obama as an agent for real change? Many will disagree as to whether Obama needs redemption. But most would agree, I think, that President Obama has often publicly invited pressure from below to drive him to do the right thing. The Occupy movement clearly indicates that many people believe America is on the wrong track and that the political process requires a major change of direction. Below is a link to a poll taken before the Occupy movement even started gaining traction. The Occupy movement is solidly in the mainstream in this “wrong track” sentiment.
Certainly the wrong-track sentiment held by a super-majority of the American people is not inconsistent with a belief in the president's need for redemption. In my view Obama has an incredibly difficult road in that regard, but that kind of reversal would not be unprecedented. Bobby Kennedy launched his political career as a hack for the red-baiting Joe McCarthy. Yet he became one of the most progressive candidates for president since FDR.
The Occupy movement in the US is not about either re-electing or voting out Obama. It is about stopping and changing the course of America. It is about being part of a burgeoning global revolution of empowerment. Empowerment meant to take on the real enemy. Transnational corporations know no boundaries and act with no regard for 99% of humanity. A smaller and smaller group of transnationals possess and control ever greater amounts of wealth. This is a matter of scientific fact.
This trend is heading us toward global economic collapse. It has to be stopped in part by reversing the massive transfer of wealth to the 1%, as well as changing or at least altering politically and economically oppressive regimes, rampant on every continent but Antarctica. In that process of resistance and change, if the current American president can be forced to recognize reality in his policies and rhetoric, that should be very welcome to everyone but the most myopic individuals in the 1%. If the president isn't found fighting for one of the last seats on the Occupy bandwagon, perhaps he can redeem himself politically as well. So I hope the possibility of instilling sanity in political action and debate will be a source of unity for an ever growing part of the 99%. When we quarrel amongst ourselves, we provide comfort and cover for the true enemy: the 1%.
Let me preface the list by stating that the phrase “the Occupy movement” may be too narrow a description. For example “October 2011” goes hot in DC very soon.
That could change the dynamic as both heads of the beast in the U.S. (i.e. Wall Street and Washington) are simultaneously confronted. It could be a “force multiplier” in this decentralized, yet powerful movement.
Here is a list which might be a good faith start for the White House.
1.Bring our troops home. Not all service members can be withdrawn over night. But massive troop withdrawals should be undertaken immediately, starting with Afghanistan (aka The Graveyard of Empires). A proposal for troop reductions in Iraq, South Korea, Germany, et al., is also indicated. A realistic shift from hard power to soft power in Pakistan and around the globe should be part of this policy realignment. The bloated military budget needs to be largely re-directed into productive uses, rather than the massive human and economic waste now resulting from the current military budget. We simply can't afford this level of waste.
2.Realistic policy on jobs. National employment is increased by hiring people for meaningful governmental jobs. FDR proved this. When the federal government lays people off it increases unemployment. Small businesses need access to capital, but capital is not currently being provided by bankers who were recently bailed out with the people's money. Debt relief for small businesses and other forms of stimulative assistance are necessary to produce more American jobs in the small business sector. Corporations should be tax penalized for relocating jobs offshore and receive tax benefits for hiring unemployed American workers. Obama should provide leadership to Congress on legislation to significantly increase taxes on the rich and use some of the revenue raised to help small businesses hire, especially for clean energy jobs. If the bills can't be passed immediately, Obama needs to use the bully pulpit and let the American people know who is obstructing.
3.Financial reform. The Department of Justice needs to quit a multitude of stupid policies such as harassing medical marijuana dispensers, where they are wasting so much time and hurting our tax base, and focus instead on breaking up financial and other corporations which are too big to fail. Breaking up monopolistic corporations is just as good an idea now as when Republican President Teddy Roosevelt began doing it over a century ago. Americans are tired of the too-big-to-fail welfare kings black mailing us when their unregulated schemes of incompetence repetitively fail. Glass-Steagall needs to be put up for re-instatement. There are a host of other things needed in the way of financial reform, including meaningful mortgage fraud prosecution of banks at the federal level and debt relief for mortgate holders, students, etc.
4.Realistic climate crisis policy. The Copenhagen climate conference in 2009 would be a joke if it weren't so dangerous. America needs to lead the world in addressing the ever-worsening climate conditions around the globe, which affect our health, wealth and food supply.
5.Reversal of repressive policies. Torture must be stopped. Habeas corpus must be re-instated and constitutionally mandated civil liberties once again respected. The wide spread spying on American citizens must cease. Homeland Security should be abolished and our security needs should be addressed without the massive and duplicative bureaucracy and hysterical anti-liberty policies which make us less safe, not more so. Al Qaida has been winning ever since 9/11 because we have become ever more reactionary. It is time to reverse this and defeat the aims of Al Qaida, by reverting to the Enlightenment principle of respect for the individual, upon which our republic was founded and has evolved.
6.Perhaps most importantly, Obama should simply go to Liberty Plaza and listen to the people. As a citizen and as president, he is also entitled to address the people. His well known power of oratory could be used to great effect, but more so if he were ready to immediately back up his words with deeds.
Perhaps these types of actions would be a good start on redeeming America and placing it in a role of moral leadership in the world. Perhaps this type of action could remind us of the unifying spirit of idealism and hope so evident on Inauguration Day in 2009. Regardless, a global movement of resistance and hope is growing. This leaderless phenomenon is providing common sense to a nonsensical political system. All the sacrifice has come from the 99%. It is time to demand meaningful sacrifice be shouldered by the 1%.
These initiatives would certainly be characterized as radical by, say, Fox News. But I believe that the tenor of these changes is much more in tune with the majority of the American people than the policy proposals from either major party. And the political climate is shifting as the Occupy movement becomes visible even in the ostrich-like corporate media. Change is in the American autumn air. The frame of political debate is moving as more people and groups endorse the Occupy movement. What is legislatively possible in the near future may become dramatically different from the hogwash currently in vogue. Now it is time for American political leadership to join this struggle on the right side, or start to experience ever greater consequences.
America is on the wrong track. If you don't believe that, you are simply far outside the mainstream. The movement to change course is growing stronger every day. We should be unified in that quest.
Thank you to the person who asked me to post this.
One meme used to attack the movement, both in the press and on this website, is that there are no articulated, coherent demands coming from Occupy Wall Street. The OWS General Assembly is working on that and I would like to add input in that spirit. But in the mean time it is still being used to de-legitimize OWS. For example, on KO just now Sam Seder said the NPR ombudsman gave three reasons for its lack of coverage. One of them was no set of demands.
Before presenting my proposal, I would like to state an important principle. Although the American government has many deeply disturbing aspects (e.g. lack of action on climate change, participation in immoral wars, etc.), I believe the OWS demands should all be targeted to Wall Street. There is another major demonstration coming up soon in D.C. and it is better suited strategically and in terms of PR, to address those kinds of issues. OWS is not directed to the governmental puppets, but the puppet masters in the 1%. From the view of growing the movement and maintaining public sympathy, I believe this is the best approach.
My proposal for demands for the Occupy Wall Street movement:
1) Too big to fail equals too big to exist-- The rationale for surrendering hundreds of billions in aid to Wall Street was that not to do so would have resulted in incredible shock waves to the world economy. I don't believe the DOJ or Congress has done anything significant in anti-trust actions or otherwise to reduce the size and power of these extortionists. The people should demand that Wall Street participate in a re-structuring program so that no individual company is too big to fail. This could result in more competition and more choice and freedom for consumers and potentially avert further extortion.
Here's a link from Bernie Sanders on the too-big-to-exist issue:
The only governmental action I have found is *state* AGs who are suing because of the fraud committed by banks in mortgage foreclosures. I give a link at point three below.
2) Robust regulation of derivatives and other speculative financial instruments which led to the collapse-- Once again, I don't believe the DOJ or Congress has taken significant action. The people should demand that Wall Street participate in a voluntary compliance regime, monitored by economists, on financial instrument regulation.
Here is an interesting proposal to tax speculative financial instruments, such as the kind which led to the bailout.
3) Re-negotiation and relief for distressed mortgage holders;
As mentioned at point one above, the Attorneys General from many states are suing banks for fraud in mortgage foreclosures. Here's a relevant link on that initiative.
4) Voluntary compliance with Glass-Steagall until its re-enactment by Congress; and
5) An apology to the American people for the Wall Street actions leading to the putative need for the bailout.
These remedies could be formalized in a settlement agreement which would include an arbitration clause for alleged violations of the agreement by signatory corporations.
Of course, the big boys will not agree to such conditions or any substantive proposal which addresses the corruption and mismanagement. Why should they? They're winning. That is why we need to occupy Wall Street.
September 26, 2011.
I am a lifelong Democrat. One week from today, I will change my voter registration status to independent. The reason is that on October 1, Medicare will be cut 11% for nursing homes which provide care for some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Nursing home operators are now looking for ways to cut spending in preparation of Medicare budget cuts that will take effect Oct. 1. The 11.1% rate slash will be applied to Medicare reimbursements paid to nursing home facilities that provide post-acute care...
Death panels, indeed. This is a portent of the dismantlement of the New Deal. Martin Luther King said to give tacit consent to immorality is immoral.
I used to be proud of the Democratic Party and enthusiastically donated my time and money for candidates and party activities. I am proud of FDR for implementing the New Deal, proud of LBJ for extending the New Deal with Medicare and Medicaid, for expending a great deal of political capital to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1965. I am proud that my party helped to stop American involvement in the war in Viet Nam. I am proud that Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House symbolizing our desperate national security need for clean energy. I am proud that Bill Clinton raised taxes on the rich in 1993 and despite chicken-little predictions from the GOP, presided over the greatest economic boom in history. I am proud that Al Gore, going against his advisers, risked his political future in order to deal with climate change and personally catalyzed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. I am proud that Howard Dean ignored post-9/11 hysteria in 2003 and called out Bush for his incompetent, arrogant invasion of Iraq.
But things have changed. Now I am ashamed of a leadership which claims to be playing three-dimensional chess but engages in a Neville Chamberlain style of compromise more reminiscient of two-dimensional checkers. The dismantlement of the New Deal leaves me with no rationale for being a Democrat. Sadly, I believe the national Democratic Party leadership has left the people, so now I must leave it.
In closing I would like to make a comment of hope and link to a speech by the greatest class warrior in American history. In 1933, the Democratic Party began waging class warfare *for* the 99%, because he understood that without such a total commitment, the 1% will win, as they are doing now. If you listen to the speech linked below, you may find it every bit as relevant today as when given in 1936.
Here is my comment of hope: Occupy Wall Street.
Currently, the top five topics on the Greatest page on DU are related to class warfare.
On this website, to at least this extent, the #OccupyWallStreet movement is gaining attention. What do you think?
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Ghandi's formula is relevant to the #OccupyWallStreet movement.
We're moving into stage two with corporate media. Let the journalistic snark commence! Here is a sample of the crap that has passed for journalism at the NYT for the last couple of decades, as the NYT editors race to the basement of journalistic ethics (a la "Al Gore said he invented the Internet"):
By late morning on Wednesday, Occupy Wall Street, a noble but fractured and airy movement of rightly frustrated young people, had a default ambassador in a half-naked woman who called herself Zuni Tikka. A blonde with a marked likeness to Joni Mitchell and a seemingly even stronger wish to burrow through the space-time continuum and hunker down in 1968, Ms. Tikka had taken off all but her cotton underwear and was dancing on the north side of Zuccotti Park, facing Liberty Street, just west of Broadway. Tourists stopped to take pictures; cops smiled, and the insidiously favorable tax treatment of private equity and hedge-fund managers was looking as though it would endure...
Some said they were fighting the legal doctrine of corporate personhood; others, not fully understanding what that meant, believed it meant corporations paid no taxes whatsoever. Others came to voice concerns about the death penalty, the drug war, the environment. “I want to get rid of the combustion engine,” John McKibben, an activist from Vermont, declared as his primary ambition. “I want to create spectacles,” Becky Wartell, a recent graduate of the College of the Atlantic in Maine, said.
The group’s lack of cohesion and its apparent wish to pantomime progressivism rather than practice it knowledgably is unsettling in the face of the challenges so many of its generation face — finding work, repaying student loans, figuring out ways to finish college when money has run out. But what were the chances that its members were going to receive the attention they so richly deserve carrying signs like “Even if the World Were to End Tomorrow I’d Still Plant a Tree Today”?
One day, a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Adam Sarzen, a decade or so older than many of the protesters, came to Zuccotti Park seemingly just to shake his head. “Look at these kids, sitting here with their Apple computers,” he said. “Apple, one of the biggest monopolies in the world. It trades at $400 a share. Do they even know that?”
Predictably, Stephen Colbert has produced fairer and more objective reportage on the action, while being very funny. This gilded age is weirder than the last.
Churchill uttered these immortal words when fascist forces had until only recently seemed invincible in Europe, North Africa and the central Pacific. The Allies had been taking it and taking it. Fascism is very focused and effective at acquiring power, but abysmal at sustaining it, as ideology takes precedence over pragmatism. In less than four years Germany and Japan were vanquished and fascist genocide in Europe and China was stopped.
An analogous struggle is taking place today between 99% of the world's population and the 1% who currently rule. We have been taking it and taking it for decades. Stolen elections and the erosion of the rule of law. Reaganism has paved the way for genocide, austerity measures around the globe, ever more draconian oppression and the transfer of wealth to the ruling elites, while the global economy continues in rapid downward spiral. The struggle is taking place in Egypt, Spain, Yemen, Wisconsin and now in a growing number of American cities, most notably New York.
Stephen Lerner, a union organizer, recently spoke to activists in Minnesota about the coming struggle in NY and other cities (slightly paraphrased):
People have said 'We keep hearing we need to do something, what is it we need to do?' We need to go on offense. You folks know what I mean, we need to go on the offense? It means we have to quit being curled up in the fetal position, seeing how many body blows we can take and then we boast, 'Well, they beat us, but we can still stand up.' That's called defense...
This is about creating and building power. We're not going to convince the other side that we're right with intellectual arguments. We need to create power and in a way, we need to talk about how we create a crisis for the super rich.
Ghandi and MLK were great class warriors of the last century. They understood that to be effective the warfare of liberation had to be nonviolent in character and based on a total commitment to victory.
If you can, I urge you to go to Wall Street and help the occupation with your body and your spirit. If you can't, I urge you to work in your own community to support the occupation.
It is time to go on the offensive in this historic class war. Perhaps in New York we will witness the end of the beginning.
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