clear eye's Journal
which will include a question under oath about insurance coverage (and don't even think about lying to the IRS) and a little worksheet to figure the penalty. The penalty of, say, $950 is added into the amount the taxpayer owes on the 1040. The taxpayer decides to pay $950 less than the 1040 says they owe. He/she even includes a little note saying that they can't afford insurance and disputing their liability for the penalty. The IRS just treats the situation as a $950 underpayment, adds interest and penalties and goes about sending threatening letters, not acknowledging that the $950 is in any way a separate issue. Further refusal would cause IRS escalation. How could a taxpayer succeed in proving the specific $950 not payed was the portion for the uninsurance penalty? And as the IRS expects people to have enough witheld from their pay or to prepay themselves quarterly, most people end up claiming refunds. The whole expected refund up to the amount of the penalty would be kept by the IRS.
I think rumors have been started to lull folks into a false sense of security so as to undercut pressure to reopen the health care reform issue.
The gov't is planning a costly catastrophic weapons system designed to be more usable than ICBMs b/c it cannot be seen in time to launch missiles in response before they are hit. It will create a very dangerous situation & needs to be stopped.
Pres. Obama is leaning toward the development of a type of missile called Prompt Global Strike. He has already included a provision for nuclear warhead givebacks in the recent START agreement with Russia specifically tied to its implementation. The PGS is over twice as fast as a Cruise but doesn't alert satellite defenses by leaving the atmosphere during its flight. It can be dropped from a B-52. It can be unarmed and act like a large bullet traveling 5x's the speed of sound, armed with a conventional warhead or armed with a nuclear warhead. Targeted countries will have no way of knowing which. It destabilizes the international military situation by causing all countries to feel that they have to build up such an arsenal that the U.S. wouldn't feel safe using it against them, since at the speed it travels, they can't warn against it or shoot it down.
If we arm ourselves with these, the next Rumsfeld will likely start WWIII with it. In the meantime all human needs the world over but military ones will be put on a back burner. The sorts of development, such as sources of water and energy needed to prevent wars for resources will be starved for funds. For your children's sake, call & write your Congressional representatives and the White House.
The main lever that opens the curtain and creates the count for the voter's entire ballot won't work if a candidate lever is "stuck". The count on all votes prior to the lever "sticking" remains accurate. I strongly suspect that this idea that a lever machine with a "stuck" lever can continue to be used creating false votes is disinformation spread by those with an interest in the adoption of opscan machines and computerized counting. It smells of muddying the waters and intentionally creating doubt about something when knowledgeable people have no real doubt--like some interested parties do regarding the reality of manmade climate change.
All the incidents you list show machines that physically couldn't be used by the voter because of the failure. None created false votes. I'm if anything hypersensitive to the possibility of a fraud altered count, since my deepest political belief is that the widest possible citizen empowerment is the only way of reining in the worst abuses of government corruption that harm us all. The only way voting fraud could have been perpetrated in lever-machine era NYS was if the election workers of both parties in a precinct colluded and intentionally recorded a false result. Even then if the count were challenged, the machines would have been reread by others involved and the "error" revealed. When the machine count is exceedingly close there can be hanky-panky with the absentee and provisional ballots. (I remember such a case in local election that led to the probably fraudulent decision on a seat by one vote.) As these types of fraud are independent of the voting device, no system is immune to them, but as you can imagine they are extremely rare and never widespread.
There are often dirty tricks and disinformation in campaigns here as in all states, but how you got the idea into your head that the vote count in NYS in any recent year prior to the opscans was massively off is more than passing strange. Despite large historically conservative upstate areas, the count in socially liberal NYS who were happy w/ the Clinton-era economy was 67% for Gore in 2000, 59% for Kerry in 2004 (the swiftboating and Kerry's "elitist" background and manner took its toll), and 63% for Obama in 2008 when McCain's maverick claims worked better for many NY swing voters than Bush's Texas Republican good ole boy loyalist image did in 2000. Still, politically all these numbers, even Kerry's, are considered Democratic landslides.
Edited to add: I've heard that Oregon is on its way to online voting. I truly hope that NYS doesn't emulate your state's dicey practices.
Mr. Birkenfeld was the UBS banker who blew the whistle to the Feds on abuses of account secrecy by a number of U.S. clients and directed them toward sources of information for many others. UBS AG was forced to pay $780 million in fines and penalties to the U.S., but it seems not before they struck a deal to make sure no one would ever be inclined to blow that particular whistle again. Though the most egregious tax cheats were given probation, Mr. Birkenfeld was given a sentence of almost 3 1/2 years in jail which he started serving in January. He was falsely alleged to have witheld information on his own clients who were culpable, but transcripts of his testimony before a Senate Banking subcommittee shows that this was just not the case. Besides being a glaring injustice, his treatment obviously creates a huge chilling effect on others who are or will be contemplating blowing the whistle on misbehavior at any large bank.
Petition to Grant Clemency to UBS Bank Whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld
For more info see the National Whistleblowers Center webpage on Bradley Birkenfeld, and these videos: http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/15/ubs and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5QCN0vqjZE
Even w/ a complete ban on corporate campaign donations singly or via PACs or industry-wide associations, every single individual person associated in any way w/ any corporation, from the Chairman of Board, the CEO, the major & minor stockholders, down to the cleaning women would still have complete freedom of political expression for themselves. Even if they chose to express ideas or back candidates in a way that was dishonest and colored by calculations about how it would affect the corporation with which they were affiliated. The only thing they couldn't do was to use the resources of the corporation to do it.
The reason this limitation makes sense in terms of liberty is that the laws of incorporation of for-profits warp what speech can be uttered in its name, especially when monetary resources are used in its expression. When an employee or board member is using corporate resources, by law they can only use them to advance the profitability of the corporation, either short or long term. If they do otherwise they are open to legal reprecussions from other stakeholders (e.g. a stockholder lawsuit) all the way up to and including the loss of their position, restitution and fines. So even if a person w/ a high position in, say, a coal company feels strongly about the danger of climate change and its impact on humanity, if it will be more profitable to flout regulations for the next ten years, that company executive cannot give corporate money or equivalent resources to support a candidate or bill that might significantly strengthen regulations or their enforcement w/o facing those negative consequences.
This reality makes the impact of corporate donations a very poor reflection of the collective best judgment of the persons whose money is being donated, and even further from the best judgment of society as a whole. The influence of such donations been described as "sociopathic" in its fixation on the effects on profits to the exclusion of all other considerations including such transcendently important ones as the continuation of representative government or avoidance of ruinous wars.
If you tend to agree w/ this explanation but find yourself w/ cognitive dissonance regarding the ACLU's role in advocating in favor of the ruling, perhaps it will help you to know that the ACLU is normally paid very well when it assists a wealthy company or individual and can expect many add'l donations from other corporate coffers for protecting their "rights". In hard times when it may be a little shaky financially, that may have affected its judgment. At any rate, its interpretation of the issues involved is certainly not held unanimously by civil libertarians. It is in agreement w/ the Libertarian Party's, though.
Personally their position on this and their part in the resulting disaster has so alienated me that I prefer to support instead in any way I can, the Brennan Center (which argued on the opposite side of this case), Human Rights Campaign (for LGBT advocacy) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (currently defending ACORN). I feel that any freedom for me, my loved ones and all U.S. citizens that the ACLU may have helped protect in the past is dwarfed by the loss of responsiveness of the federal government to our needs that this ruling causes.
Btw, a study found that for-profit corporations and their associations lobbied Congress w/ money that was over 60:1 what non-profits, like the Sierra Club and unions spent combined. I'm sure they would be happy to forswear their ability to donate to campaigns and stick to advocacy and lobbying rather than have that corporate money moved to swamp the political process. Hope you've found this useful.
of Obama that they don't like. Though she claimed to be pro public option, they believed that she would immediately cave and vote for the Romney-care-like bill that the President wants. And more importantly would support the President's catering to the big financial institutions to the voters' economic detriment. Those two WH policies are terribly unpopular according to polls. The Republicans have been (dishonestly) running against both.
Of course the meat of these policies have for the most part been created in consultation w/ the Republicans. That's why going back to them for more policy advice, as Obama has said he plans to, is exactly the wrong thing to do. They will continue to set him up to take the heat for doing what the corporate moneybags want by saying in private that they demand these things, but not owning them in public.
On the necessity for a social movement for democracy and to rebuild our economy, outside of party politics
Nonetheless that is what needs to be done. Burying your head in the sand and claiming that the members of Congress that follow the WH are defending the New Deal will lose you the New Deal and all other legislation to rebuild our economy in a way that would support the middle class. What's happening now is that the big industrialists are waiting until people are willing to work for less than subsistence wages as they do in some other places before investing in productive enterprises in the U.S.
We also have structural problems w/ campaign financing and secure vote counting that make Congress more likely to listen to multi-national corporations than to us. Demands to change this also have to be part of the movement. Before we can hope that Congress and the White House will support what's in our interest, we have to regain at least some power over the elections. We won't even know for sure if Coakley has really lost today if she loses b/c there's been so much hanky-panky w/ opscan counters just like MA is using. Here's a 63-page summary of problems w/ them from 2002 - 2008: http://www.votersunite.org/info/OpScansInT... Functional elections is what allowed many places in Latin America to rein in their elites and get their gov'ts working for regular folk.
Maybe it would be too much for old pols like you and I to do, but the young people who took Barak Obama at his word when he said he wanted change that would work for the people's benefit, are just warming up. People in the U.S. aren't likely to accept being reduced to slaves, so the movement to restore Democracy and the middle class will come. I hope for the sake of everyone's well-being that it comes before we've lost everything, and before people are so angry they turn to violence or make the mistake of accepting military rule.
In reference to intellectual property rights in "Free Trade" agreements
feel maintains their preeminence. Since allowing capital to set up shop wherever and whenever they please w/o possible inhibiting fees is important to them, that is included. Since privatizing natural monopoly services such as electricity and water benefits them, that is included. Since denying the right of nat'l gov'ts to control their own nat'l resources gives the multi-nationals an advantage, they included it. And since having the exclusive right either to develop or not develop a technological advance w/o competition benefits them, that is put in.
The only "free" in "free trade" is freedom from interference in their international dominance over commerce by national governments trying to act in their people's interests, or by smaller single nation-based businesses competing w/ them. These agreements seriously weaken nat'l sovereignty as planned. I always use quotes when I write "Free Trade" in referring to the agreements b/c it is an intentional misnomer. The example you gave makes this very clear.
A good source of further info on the subject is Lori Wallach of Public Citizen.
Blaming the loss of a hugely bought election on people who don't like blue dogs misses the boat so far it's in a different ocean. The local Dems couldn't raise enough to challenge this jerk b/c 1) the HCCC didn't think a Dem had enough of a shot for them to properly finance him, and 2) Dems don't get automatically funded by the wealthy elite who are the only ones in this economy who still have significant money to donate.
If the OPer thinks we should have run someone whose votes were more for sale, then I don't get the complaint about not stopping evil. How would someone like that w/ a D after their name be less evil or less likely to misdirect taxpayer money than the Republican creep?
Some elections involving real progressive Dems that were written off by the party were rescued by donations from the netroots--just the people blamed in the OP. These givers don't have $1000s to give to all Dem candidates even if they wanted to, so they choose one or two they feel will represent them best in gov't and who have a chance of winning, and donate to those.
People including the OPer, should really learn about FENA (the Fair Elections Now Act) and the coalition trying to get it enacted and do what they can to help it. http://www.fairelectionsnow.org/coalition
While they're at it, they may want to help out w/ the struggle to get votes fairly counted and to eliminate electronically stolen elections like the Max Cleland Senate race in 2002. Here's a page of links to local election integrity groups: http://www.votersunite.org/info/groups.asp
Once we've got these things right and know that the person declared the winner will not always be the one who could buy the most exposure or the one who the head of the election machine monopoly wants, maybe then a person could reasonably blame a loss on infighting.
Re: making the current Senate HCR bill law.
While like everyone else I'm not infallible, I've read both the 200+ page summary of the House bill and a point by point analysis of the Senate bill, I've read articles by experts who have always backed the well-being of gen'l public so they can be trusted, I've seen what the economists working for the major labor unions think, I've considered the history of the actions of the insurance industry and projected from that what they would do w/ provisions in the Senate bill, I've considered it's impact on the gen'l economy as the costs to the gov't to subsidize the premiums in a mandated environment increases and who always pays in taxes for industry bailouts, and the cost of continuing the employer obligation to underwrite premiums, I've looked at what happened in the two states TN and MA who have enacted similar legislation, I've figured in the ban on state public plans, I've figured what future conservative administrations would do w/ the power over the program given to the Dept. of HHS. To the best of my ability, trying to be as fair as possible and picture what this bill would really lead to, I've concluded that it will increase suffering in many ways, both economic and in terms of security of coverage, not decrease it. The House plan just might be helpful, though it still tilts the playing field in favor of the insurers and would cost so much that it will create political momentum to cut benefits in the future.
(A background on the animosity of Bolivian Pres. Garcia Linera toward the U.S. and U.S.- backed multi-nationals)
"Paz Estenssoro reduced employment in the government mining corporation by 75 percent and broke the power of the tin miners union. He also instituted a value-added tax. Bolivia obtained favorable treatment from the IMF and other international source of funds. Later, in May of 1989, a principal architect of the NEP, Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada won a plurality in the elections. Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada is an individual with profound economic insights to the problems of Bolivia; Jeffrey Sachs referred to him as a genius."
"The bank's biggest contributors (the United States, Japan, France, the United Kingdom and Germany) wield the greatest influence, as they each get to appoint a representative to the 24-member executive board. The other 19 members of the board are nominated by the remaining 170-plus member nations. "
"...a set of economic operating principles that often compels cash-strapped nations to open their economic doors to foreign investment. Nations like Bolivia are often unable to secure loans from the IMF and the World Bank unless they agree to sell off public utilities, such as water and sanitation services, that once may have been under local control. "
Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada that privatization of Cochabamba's municipal water system, SEMAPA, was a prerequisite for receiving debt relief assistance from the World Bank and IMF.26 In February 1996, Cochabamba's mayor had received a similar message when World Bank officials refused to consider lending further aid for local water development without privatization of his city's water system.27
"On August 25, 1998, the Bolivian government, in collaboration with World Bank and IMF staff, published the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) Policy Framework Paper, 1998-2001. The document presented a blueprint for implementing free-market economic reform in Bolivia, through fiscal decentralization and privatization, to help reduce inflation and spur economic growth. The report makes specific mention of the government's intention to sell Cochabamba's municipal water company, SEMAPA, by December 1998.28
"In December 2001, when Bechtel appealed for adjudication of the matter, the World Bank became entangled in the events of Cochabamba once again. On February 25, 2002, the case of Aguas del Tunari (the consortium led by International Water Ltd., a subsidiary of the Bechtel Corporation) was officially registered with the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Bechtel and Aguas del Tunari claim that the Bolivian government violated a bilateral trade agreement between Bolivia and the Netherlands when it cancelled Aguas del Tunari's contract to distribute water and provide sanitation services to Cochabamba.29 The consortium is seeking $25 million in damages.30 The two parties are now in the process of selecting a tribunal of arbitrators (some of whom may be chosen from ICSID's "Panel of Arbitrators") for settling the dispute.
U.S. backed "structural trade adjustments" leading to massive unemployment and the privatization of water in an arid country. Notice the neo-liberal apologist in my first citation using Jeffrey Sachs as an expert on what works well.
--while watching China build its power bloc--
I futilely wish that the response from our gov't would be to start rebuilding us from the ground up as an industrial power. We would have to let empire go and concentrate our resources on redevelopment, instead of running around hysterically trying to beat countries militarily into allying w/ us and underwriting our pyramid-scheme economy. China got its power this way. The one thing they've done right, amidst their generally disastrous system, is to concentrate first on standing strong on their own two feet. I think they learned this the hard way as a result of European exploitation including flooding China w/ opium in the late 19th century. Will we ever learn?
It wasn't always this way, and it may still be possible to take the country back if we organize to rescind the structural changes that have been made. Issues are important, but progress on them is impossible when the only hands on the controls are an elite who bullied themselves into the position for reasons other than the well-being of humankind and the planet we're linked to.
What is painful to see is the world the next generation may find itself in. I have two lovely nieces just reaching adulthood.
Our interests and the interests of the elite are widely divergent. To the PTB, the destruction of the middle and working classes is not the end of the country. For these heirs of the attempted military coup against FDR, the programs which we consider the foundation underpinning a livable middle class are a deprivation of the "freedom" of capital. They don't see their wealth and power, the multi-national corporations, as dependent upon a representative U.S. gov't protecting their interests, as our survival is, or even as dependent upon a thriving economy. They can consolidate wealth and control resources (which is power) best in countries where everyone else is a desperate class of serfs and the gov't doesn't have the resources to regulate the use of resources in the public interest. They may not have more wealth than they would in places where the populace is fairly prosperous, but they will have ALL the wealth which is their motivating force.
Evidence of this is the absence of a push from the big corporate interests for large-scale jobs programs or a push for even the stimulus of single-payer healthcare, or any effort to rescue the real economy. They don't want a restoration of jobs until the jobs will be on their terms, ie. slave labor. They're not looting the country in advance of its economic collapse, but to CAUSE its economic collapse, and a big part of that effort was the ruinous Iraq occupation along w/ many other corrupt ways of siphoning the Treasury. I think this is the direction of Rahm Emmanuel's marching orders, whether or not he realizes it, as he attempts to court corporate capital for the Dems by aligning the party's goals w/ theirs.
I view all these acts of war against the middle class through the lens of what happened in the lead up to the bank bailout. Wall Street was in even more trouble than the insurance cos. are today. As Cheney and Summers prepared to tell Congress that the entire borrowing power of the Treasury had to be funneled into Wall Street institutions, they must have worried that the public would actually, physically revolt. They knew there was good reason to, considering the consequences for the citizenry.
They did two things. They had the Army Times run a piece I saw but didn't save. The Colorado Independent describes it thusly, "In September the Army Times reported that the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team — a unit based in Fort Stewart, Ga., that most recently spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle gear — would be put under the control of Northern Command, located on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs." http://coloradoindependent.com/13321/elite... From what I saw of the article, the brigade was to be trained specifically in crowd control weapons including the infamous sound cannon, and used to maintain order in the U.S. during "emergencies". (They didn't explain what was meant by that word.) About a week after Congress passed the bailout and civil unrest did not materialize, the article was removed from the Army Times website, and a retraction was put up saying that the training was to be used overseas. Since we've seen the sound cannon later set up at the G20 mtg in Pittsburgh, that's not entirely true.
At the same time as the populace was being intimidated, two members of Congress, Marcy Kaptur & Brad Sherman, reported that the WH liason personnel attempted to intimidate Congress w/ whispered threats of impending martial law including dissolution of Congress if the bailout were not immediately passed.
The additional looting of the Treasury to pay to subsidize out-of-control insurance premiums will be like an ongoing bank bailout all year, every year. Massachusetts, which tried a similar plan, was going under financially even before the economic crisis hit. The costs for this along w/ the wars and other ongoing corporate subsidies threaten both our currency, and the existence of a middle class in this country as the taxes needed to finance it, and the services lost in desperate budget-cutting, ruin family after family. The combined impact might very well cause the sort of runaway hyperinflation that Argentina experienced in the 1990's, as the Federal Reserve attempts to print enough money to keep afloat all the U.S. Treasury bonds that will have to be issued.
On bad days, my worst fear is that any mass uprising will be far from progressive. Since the MSM is for the most part blacking out what the real power equation is, the public is getting its understanding from the neo-con agenda provided to the teabaggers and from Fox News, and will blame the out of control costs on gov't "socialism", the poor, and corruption (implying the stolen money all goes into Dem officials' pockets). When our country is in a state of unrest, given the ongoing gen'l surveillance, our leaders could be arrested as "terrorists" before they can effectively get their message out to a large audience. When the leftwing was blocked in Arab countries what emerged were totalitarian Islamic regimes. If we get riots they are more likely to be in favor of some generals who say they will fix the corruption. The outcome would be a camouflaged military coup ala Pakistan, where the President remains in office, but Congress is sent home and the generals consult w/ the President instead. Or they will back civilian fascists masquerading as neocons who run against the insurance mandate and steal the balance of the elections needed for a ruling majority. In all this, the Democratic Congress, who merely went along, could be targeted as the fall guys.
I don't think the ruling elite actually expect a functional representative democracy to be in place in 10 years. They've never shown any allegiance to having one.
In the meantime if I can see that a bill is a final blow to our economy, I'm going to oppose it. If I don't go w/ the public interest on this, what the heck do I stand for?
It's so much easier to destroy a valuable institution than it is to maintain it. This is what's at stake w/ giant corporate handouts like the ruinous "healthcare reform" legislation, but, though most of the Dem Congress is uneasy about the lack of cost controls and favored better provisions, I don't believe we can convince them of the consequences.
As I allowed these ideas to organize themselves in my mind this weekend, I turned to music for consolation. Perhaps I can make up to DUers for causing you to think about this stuff, too, by sharing w/ you, courtesy YouTube, my favorite Tracy Chapman song which offers support for living w/ integrity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4xJdv0CSDE
large-scale organizing b/c of the terrorist laws (I said the same in a comment a couple of days ago), and others are afraid to participate b/c of the "non-lethal" weaponry that nonetheless maims. And even the biggest demonstrations can be ignored by the media these days w/o a readership drop in response. Why anyone bothers to read American papers mystifies me. The stuff they leave out exceeds in both importance and quantity what they include.
Where I have to differ w/ you is your implication that there is not a pervasive, widely understood issue impacting the citizenry that would drive them to the streets. People are beyond upset w/ the gov't's enabling of the banksters and the war machine to both clean out our Treasury and destroy the economy. In the days around the first bank bailout there were spontaneous street corner demonstrations all over the country. People aren't lying when they say they are demoralized by the ineffectiveness (and possibly the greater danger) of protest in these times.
It will take a level of bravery that we haven't needed since the days of the first union organizers to create effective protest now. Tactics like protest camps (as Cindy Sheehan is attempting) and gen'l strikes--actions that will interfere w/ business as usual--that will have to be used, and these will inevitably lead to arrests of the leaders for "terrorism". If we're lucky we'll have a new Bill Kunstler, a lawyer for the defense who is talented and colorful enough to both win and get coverage while doing it.
Perhaps you should be screening documentaries on the resistance in Argentina after its democracy was subverted. Unlike the early labor demonstrations, the resisters in Argentina were of the demolished middle class, like most American protestors would likely be. Our labor organizations can't even get the gumption to stick w/ organizing for single payer health care, as their convention proposed. So broad issue demonstrations would have to grow from issues NGO's whose membership is mostly the former middle class. Labor would come to the party later as they did w/ anti-NAFTA, when the movement is already established.
has been so compromised by enormously powerful players that we aren't given much choice. What's most disturbing is that this group of loosely allied mega-corporatists, while pursuing what they believe is their own advancement, are taking the world in a direction from which it will be hard to recover, especially regarding the environment. As a friend of mine said succinctly, "They're drunk w/ power."
Only if we acknowledge what has happened, will we be able to begin to correct it. Although it's clear that in order for the people to regain true representation in gov't we have to change how campaigns are financed, do as Germany did and get rid of electronic voting machines whose counts can't be trusted, and reinstate the "Fairness Doctrine" for TV and radio so that people who try to spout fallacies in support of corporatism are immediately called on it, the powerful forces aren't about to just let us do this. They don't want gov't to once again be a countervailing force, a voice of the people, against an unchecked elite. It will take a widespread national populist movement to get back our gov't enough so that it again begins to resemble what is in the Constitution and what we learned about in school.
It's tempting to say, "That's too much. It'll never happen," and slide into cynicism. But that doesn't have to be true. We have numbers on our side, and even small businesses are being hurt by the way things are. The young men in our military have been raised in an environment where they are allowed express their beliefs, and many are already expressing doubt about the Mideast wars, so they can't be counted on to turn on their own peaceable people in the streets. As the economy worsens due to the policies of the powerful and selfish few, the motivation to get out and do something grows stronger. The Teabaggers are evidence of this. Cindy Sheehan is starting it, w/ her peace encampment in DC. She is explicit that it is not only this particular war, but the war machine and the unchecked power behind it, that is the problem. She has made the connection b/t spending for war and widespread poverty. Others are beginning to organize in various places as well. (See the Bill Moyers Journal segment on the City Life anti-eviction group in Dorchester, Boston.) When they grow large enough, the different groups will begin to coalition. The movement will have to be non-violent. As in the independence movement in India, the people cannot win in a physical struggle.
The American people have a kind of dogged perserverence. It's what allowed us to farm in difficult climates in our heartland, it's what kept us going in unpleasant factory jobs until we got our pensions, it's what makes it possible for many young people to work their way through college. It's not so much the underclass who mostly haven't been taught the advantage of controlling impulses and working for a reward in the future, but the middleclass who know how to keep fighting until getting at least a part of our dreams.
Right now is not the easiest time to be an ordinary American. Unlike the previous generation we can't just do as we've been taught and expect that if we work hard and make good choices on Election Day, the system, including gov't, will work for us. It is no longer possible w/o massive self-deception to believe that we can primary out all the bought and beholden Senators b/c the reality of the current set-up for the Senators, including Ms. Boxer, is that they have to take that corrupting money to stay in office.
What we have left are two possibilities. One, that we continue as we've been--working harder and harder for less and less real spending power, engaging in a mostly sham election process, and watch our children's hopes die as the U.S. becomes a country of a few masters and many impoverished serfs and the earth slips toward unlivibility. Or two, we call on our inner strength and join w/ others to use the avenue left to us now that simply voting no longer works, and make it impossible to ignore our right to be truly represented in our government. We have to start pencilling "protest" into our blackberries and daybooks. We have to demand the process be restored to functionality along w/ correcting the worst abuses the dysfunctionality has allowed--diversion of wealth away from job creation, imperialist wars, and refusal to do what needs to be done to keep the earth livable. We have to demand it and demand it and demand it and demand it, with more and more of our friends until we can't be ignored. It's not how most of us planned or would prefer to spend our scarce leisure time, but the alternative is just too dismal. And in return for taking action, we will lose our helplessness.