Candidate Contracts: A Democratic Renewal

If you can handle my tinny, nasally mid-Western voice, the above video offers a detailed explanation on how candidate contracts take the guesswork out of voting and set a whole, new standard for electoral integrity in our country.  Or you can just read the entire text of the presentation, which follows here:

The candidate contract idea is simple and straightforward.

The candidate contract takes the guesswork out of voting.

It sets a new standard for deciding where a candidate stands on crucial issues, how serious that candidate is about solving problems which are important to us voters, how serious that candidate is about representing his or her constituents.  In fact, it sets down in writing what exactly that candidate will be doing when they arrive in Washington DC, right from Day One.

Every candidate says the right things.  They always say what they think the voters want to hear, the things that will get them elected.  Everyone understands this.

But talk is cheap.  And after they get elected, when these folks arrive in our nation’s capital and get inside that DC bubble, amnesia sets in.

How do I know?

That’s simple.  It’s so obvious anyone can see it.  You just have to look.

Just consider a few of these items.

63% of Americans want a federal minimum wage of $15.00 per hour.

That means more than 6 out of every 10 citizens want the minimum wage hiked to $15 per hour.  Mind you the minimum livable wage in urban areas like New York, San Francisco, Boston is over $22 per hour.  But $15 per hour would be a good start in the right direction. What is it now?  It’s equivalent in today’s dollars to what it was in 1950!  It’s a paltry $7.25 an hour.  It hasn’t increased since July of 2009.  That’s eight years ago!

75% of voters want fair trade agreements protecting jobs, workers, the environment.  75%! That’s a huge majority opposed to the trade bills which now give corporations enormous advantages, are responsible for exporting our jobs, destroying our unions, replacing good permanent employment with low wage temporary jobs.  Is Congress listening?  It doesn’t matter which party is in the Oval Office or even on Capitol Hill.  We still get NAFTA, CAFTA, TTIP, WTO.  Last year our pay-for-play legislators in the deep pockets of the multinational corporations fast-tracked TPP, the worst trade bill in history.  These neoliberal lapdogs won’t quit until we’re all back to being hunter-gatherers!

76% of voters want a cut back on military spending.  So what do we get next year?  Trump proposes an increase of $56 billion in the official defense budget with members of Congress from both parties cheering him on like a bunch of snarling pit bulls.

76% of voters want the U.S. completely out of Afghanistan.  We’ve been fighting that miserable pointless war for 16 years, folks!  They promised to get U.S. troops out of the country by 2014.  Now it’s 2017 and they’re putting more troops back in.  We’re going to be there forever!  For what?  To waste another $600 billion dollars and have more of our best and brightest come back in body bags?

79% of voters want no reductions in Social Security.  70% support expanding it.  79% of voters want no reductions in Medicare.  Here we have two of the most successful programs in our history, loved and supported by the people.  Yet every new session of Congress, there’s talk about cutting benefits, raising eligibility age — slash slash slash.  Or they talk about “privatizing” it, which is doublespeak for turning it over to Wall Street so they can gamble with the money we’ve put away all our lives.  It’s truly a crime!

There are many more.  So far I’ve just scratched the surface.

But there’s one last one I’ll mention that truly tells the story, that shows what a sad state of affairs our faltering democracy is in.  Get this: 93% of Americans want GMO labeling.  Mind you, they’re not saying GMOs must be banned.  They’re just saying that the labels for our processed food should say whether the product contains GMO ingredients or not, so that a shopper can make an informed judgment about whether they want to buy it — a mother who wants to be prudent in planning the diet for her kids, a person who may have severe food allergies which requires them to pay attention to the ingredients on a label.  93%!  That crosses all party lines, ideologies, religions, liberal, conservative, all ethnicities, visitors from outer space.  93%!  And Congress won’t pass a bill requiring GMO labeling.  That really says it all, doesn’t it?

Okay, we’ve got a range of different issues on the candidate contract we’ve prepared.  They are the things millions and millions of Americans want done — huge majorities of U.S. citizens.  As different as these items individually are, what do they all have in common?  You’ve got it!  NONE OF THIS GETS THROUGH OUR DEADBEAT CONGRESS!  Well, I shouldn’t say they’re deadbeat, because they’re not.  They are actually working hard to make sure none of these things gets passed, working hard not for you and I, but for their rich patrons, their deep-pocketed Wall Street donors, their Koch brothers and defense contractors, investment bankers and hedge fund buddies.

Like I said, candidates always say the right things.  Take minimum wage:  “I believe everyone deserves the right to make a decent living. This is the richest nation on earth. Every person deserves a good life.”  Sound familiar?  What’s he going to say? I think some folks should starve to death on slave wages?  Of course not.  But he used a lot of words to say nothing.  The candidate contract makes it a simple but powerful yes or no question: Will you commit in writing to raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour or not?  Yes or no.

So . . . all we’re saying to a candidate is this:  “We love your TV ads, you’ve got a lovely family, your t-shirts and bumper stickers look great!  But running this country is serious business.  So from now on, we want it in writing, in black-and-white, in a legally-binding contract what you will be doing to serve us, the folks who are sending you to your cushy job in Washington DC.  No ambiguity.  No compromise.  No equivocation.  We want it spelled out as an ’employment contract’ and we are asking you to sign it.  We’re not forcing you.  It’s your choice.  It’s a straightforward deal here.  You sign the contract, you’ve got our vote.  You don’t sign the contract, we’re looking for a candidate who has the integrity, courage, and responsibility to sign it.  We’ll be voting for that person.  Understand this:  There’s no room for negotiation.  This is final!  That’s the way it works now.”

You see, professional politicians have gotten spoiled.  They get so much attention, so much money, so many favors lavished on them once they get in office, they forget the most important single aspect of their job description:  THEY WORK FOR US!  We’re not casting votes for them to talk to lobbyists and rich campaign donors.  We’re casting our votes to have them go to DC and work on behalf of us, the people, the everyday Americans that make up 99% of the population.

Please. Just read the contract.  Everything in it is what at minimum 62% of us regular folks want done.  On many items, it’s even greater.  75%.  78%.  80% and above.  Right now those things aren’t getting done.  Year after year, our elected officials ignore the will of the people, the very citizens who vote them into office.  The candidate contract will make sure they start paying attention.

Here’s the simple truth.  Here’s what’s happening on the ground in real time right now in America.

Voters are tired of slick campaign rhetoric and empty campaign promises.  They’re fed up with a system that’s rigged.

They’re fed up with being left behind, forgotten by their elected officials.

They’re tired of everything getting done for Wall Street, the big banks, the corporations, the wealthy.

They’re fed up with nothing getting done for the PEOPLE — honest, hard-working everyday citizens.

Folks!  We need to DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND!

No negotiation.  No excuses.  No mercy.  No fear.

That’s exactly what the candidate contract does.  It lets us know exactly who’s on our side and who isn’t.

Okay, one last point:  People sometimes ask me, “What kind of candidate would sign such a contract?”

The answer to that is very simple:  A candidate who wants to win the coming election.  The contract spells out what the voters want by huge majorities.  Voters are sick and tired of compromises. They want the job done and want it done right.  Therefore, voters need to stand united and stand strong.  Vote only for candidates who are on their side, who will work for them!  And that being the case, the reason why a candidate should be running full speed with pen in hand to sign the contract is because they want to get elected and be sent to Washington DC to serve those who elected them honestly, faithfully, transparently.

Let me add some beautifully twisted logic to illustrate further why a candidate would want to sign this contract.

We all know there are some good people in politics, decent human beings who truly want to do the right thing.  But politics is often more about power, money, twisting arms, bullying, than about doing what’s good for the people.  So let’s say our candidate — who has signed the contract — arrives in Washington and right off the bat, there’s some lobbyist at his door.  The lobbyist gives his pitch, the typical let’s-see-what-we-can-do-here, the usual I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-you’ll-scratch-my-back blah blah blah.  He’s got some mega transnational corporation paying him big bucks to wax the slide with Congress and get some favorable legislation passed.  Well, here’s the beauty of the contract: Our guy, the one who got elected because he signed on the dotted line with you the voters, can say:  “Hey, I sure appreciate your coming in and talking to me about this.  But here’s the deal.  I’m under contract to my constituents.  I have no room to negotiate, no room to trade or bargain on any of this.  If I go against my constituents on this, I’ll be on the streets without this job, I’ll have to refund all my campaign contributions — and hey, the money is spent, how will I begin to do that? — and I’ll probably get my ass sued for more money than I’ll make in a lifetime.  So even if I wanted to go along with what you’re proposing, I have no choice.  I am legally-bound by contract to answer only to those who voted me into office.  Thanks for stopping by.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

See how this works?  See why this introduces an unprecedented level of honesty, transparency, integrity, back into voting?  Do you see why at least in terms of good, decent, honest politicians, we’re actually doing THEM a favor with this contract.

Okay, I’ve talked your ear off.  Let me wrap this up.

Yes, the candidate contract is a new innovation.  But it’s a necessary innovation.  Before there were cars, we didn’t need traffic lights.  Before big money and unprecedented concentration of wealth and power into the hands of a ruling elite, we didn’t need an enforceable contract with our elected officials.  Times change and we need to change with it.  Candidate contracts are the answer to the dismal state of our democracy. 

Granted, we have a lot of work to do to repair the mess we’re in.  But good work depends on good dependable workers.  Let’s put some real public servants in office who will serve the public, not just the rich and powerful. Let’s put some representatives in Congress who will represent everyday Americans, not Wall Street banks, corporate CEOs, not the incomprehensibly rich.  Let’s put some integrity back into our elections by electing only those with the integrity to sign on the dotted line, guaranteeing they will work for you in creating an America that works again for everyone.


Here is the link to look at the version of the candidate contract for a progressive running for the House of Representatives:  Candidate Contract – An American Renewal.

If you’re interested in getting into the real details of an independent campaign using the candidate contract strategy — and it is an entire electoral strategy, not just a sheet of paper with some legalese — I recommend reading the two books which got me noticed by several progressive activist groups now adopting the candidate contract for future campaigns, e.g. the highly regarded Revolt Against Plutocracy.

CC_eBook Cover_Final_200x300 “Candidate Contracts: Taking Back Our Democracy” was published in June of 2015 and is available worldwide from all the usual suspects:

Amazon (Kindle)  . . . amzn.to/1QJRiNZ
Amazon (Print) . . . amzn.to/1Cuq0du
Apple (iTunes) . . . apple.co/1BXnPcy
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1GpTTLq
Kobo (Indigo) . . . bit.ly/1OEI2xj
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/1B4DQCp
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1MGjDnN

 

!!!FFTDWD_Cover_200x300Fighting for the Democracy We Deserve” was published September 2015 and also is available both in every popular ebook format and as a deluxe paperback:

Amazon (Kindle) . . . amzn.to/1VMf2Ft
Amazon (Print) . . . amzn.to/1L9SdIC
Apple (iTunes) . . . apple.co/1JD1YAg
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1ZUJUpn
Kobo (Indigo) . . . bit.ly/1IX6rO4
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/22PXWLf
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1i7ISFM

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Democracy, Economics, Political Analysis, Revolution, Video Blog, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Contract No Vote

Asking our current political leadership to reform itself is like expecting a rabid dog to seek out medical treatment and find a path to full rehabilitation.

It’s quite obvious our “professional politicians” are now infected and controlled by an anti-democratic brain-eating virus, are well-compensated, septic purveyors of raging, exponentially-spreading corporate tyranny and ruling class oppression — a tenacious systemic disease which the brilliant — unfortunately late — political theorist Sheldon Wolin called inverted totalitarianism.

Which means if anything is to get done on behalf of the everyday citizens of this country, it will have to be initiated, engineered, and advanced by “outsiders” — that would be you and I, working with future political office holders who have not so far been and will not ever be sucked into the slipstream of the neoliberal, rapacious capitalism-at-all-costs juggernaut.

We must particularly remain keenly aware of and rigorously vigilant against spoilers in our midst.  For example, we shouldn’t for a single, inattentive moment think we can count on any of the pseudo-progressives who are now, with the Trumpenstein monster’s ball in full swing, capitalizing on their resurgent popularity on dance cards of the desperate.  There’s no question, we’re in big trouble.  Our democracy is in the middle of an existential crisis.  That hardly suggests we should turn to those who have been participating in, have often been instrumental in engineering the mess, to see what their latest bright ideas are.

Time for some new blood!  Some fresh thinking!

We especially must not be fooled or sidetracked by what has been appropriately dubbed the McResistance, those who would lead a false challenge and short-lived charge against the current order, then in the end just cave to more crippling, insidious compromises on behalf of the ruling elite.  We might not want to admit it but we do know who they are.  They include such political rock stars as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

How, then, do we know who to trust?  How can we determine who is merely engaged in another round of the tomfoolery that has destroyed our democracy, buried the American Dream under mountains of jingoistic puffery and comic book exceptionalism, gutted the hopes of everyday Americans, keeping them from participating in the enormous potential and opportunities which our country is supposed to represent for all its citizens?

There are times when ‘bold and simple’ are better than ‘nuanced and complicated’.

Yet, there is always a temptation to make something bold and simple more tentative and complicated than it needs to be.  However, there’s no need here for wishy-washy thinking, waffling, Aristotelian cogitation, or utopian daydreaming.  So . . .

Let me be clear about the purpose of the candidate contract strategy.

This might sound insultingly simplistic to some but I’m going to say it anyway.

The purpose of the candidate contract strategy is to get the good guys elected and throw the bad guys out of office.

Period!

And since in my view most of the current legislators and certainly the president falls into the ‘bad guys’ category, most of them should and — if the strategy is successful — will be replaced by a whole new freshman class of ‘good guys’.  Yes, I’m talking about . . .

Regime change in Washington DC!

REQUIRED DEFINITIONS:

While the candidate contract strategy is certainly applicable at all levels of government for any position chosen by electors, ‘elected’ and ‘office’ for my immediate purposes refers to federal openings — membership in the House, membership in the Senate, the President.

A ‘good guy’ is an elected official who is honest, transparent, and wholly responsible for representing the needs and priorities of those constituents who by majority vote have chosen him/her as their congressman or president.

A ‘bad guy’ is an elected official who does not consistently and unwaveringly represent the needs and priorities of his/her constituents, probably is beholden to or strongly influenced by campaign donors, corporate lobbyists, well-funded special interest groups, in a phrase, ‘the ruling class’ of this country.

Having said that, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of how the candidate strategy works.

BASIC BUT CRITICAL Q & A:

Q.  Who would want to sign such a candidate contract?

A.  Any candidate running for office who wants to get elected.

Q.  How can signing a candidate contract guarantee getting elected?

A.  Of course, there are no absolute guarantees. At the same time, please refer to the title of this article.  If a candidate does not sign the contract, we don’t vote for him or her.  If a candidate does sign the contract, he or she deserves, thus will get our votes. Of course, this means voters must unite and take a firm stand.  But why wouldn’t they?  It’s in all of our best interests and the best interests of our country as a whole to be strong and take back our democracy.

Q.  Why is the proposed contract in our best interests?

A.  The contract as offered, subject naturally to minor adjustments which reflect the specific needs and priorities of each voting jurisdiction, embraces those things which by huge majorities everyday citizens want done and aren’t getting done.  Poll after poll shows support for all of the items which are addressed in the contact of 65% or more of everyday American citizens.  Most of the initiatives are supported by more than 3/4 of those polled.  The people have spoken.  The contract just takes their concerns and priorities and puts it in writing.

Q.  Why should the voting public demand candidate contracts?

A.  Because at least on key issues which are important to the voting public, they take the guesswork out of voting.  There is no ambiguity, room for negotiation, or even margin for error.  The contract stipulates in no uncertain terms what an elected official must and will do on those key issues from the day he or she arrives in Washington DC.  Voters are fed up with hot air campaign rhetoric and broken promises.  In one master stroke, the contract gets rid of the smoke and breaks the mirrors.

Before we go on, let’s look at the contract I’m offering.  This is the comprehensive catch-all version, based on critical issue polling and Bernie Sanders’ campaign platform.

Now . . . back to the nuts-and-bolts.

The candidate contract or contracts are initially introduced to the electoral process — a campaign for public office — from two directions, eventually to meet in the middle.

CANDIDATE CONTRACTS FROM THE PEOPLE:

A citizens group or citizens groups representing certain constituent causes can and should put up a candidate contract which reflects issues of concern, then present them to those candidates running for office in their district.

For example, minimum wage workers in a congressional district should challenge anyone running to sign a contract boosting the federal minimum wage There already are many “FightFor15” activist groups around the country.  The appropriate candidate contract turns their pleas into a concrete demand — a forceful, decisive ultimatum.  If a candidate signs such a contract, he or she gets not only the endorsement of the group, but the members of the activist group take it upon themselves — after all it’s in their best interests — to actively and enthusiastically campaign on behalf of that candidate, reinforcing his/her own official publicity and whatever media coverage can be generated.

Senior citizens groups may likewise prepare a candidate contract to protect Social Security and MedicareThe candidate who signs such a contract again gets the full support and backing of such senior citizens groups.  They highlight the candidate’s loyalty to them in all of their newsletters, at their shuffleboard club meets, bingo contests.  They wear t-shirts or put bumper stickers on their cars and golf carts:  Future congressman Godfrey Goodman signed on the dotted line to protect SS and Medicare!

CANDIDATE CONTRACTS BY NON-ESTABLISHMENT CANDIDATES:

At the other end of the equation, an independent or third-party candidate, or a candidate running as a dissident major party candidate, for example in a primary, would make the candidate contract central to his/her campaign.  Based on research and polling in the local district, a contract which reflects the priorities of voters in that district would be drawn up, which highlights those key issues which have broad public support.  Such a contract would look like the one above, making solid, unambiguous commitments on a range of popular, critical causes.

Now it’s important to understand, the establishment candidates may give lip-service to what’s in that contract or an appropriate variation of it.  But the reality is, they will not sign it.  They can’t!  If they did, their major parties would abandon them, their campaign funding would dry up, they would be targeted — as Bernie Sanders was by the Democratic Party — for marginalization and defeat.

This makes the signed contract a huge public relations coup!  It effectively gives the ‘good guy’ anti-establishment candidate the high ground, the right to legitimately say and be able to prove, he or she is on the side of the people.  Putting the contract front and center in the campaign takes the guesswork out of the voting for the public.  They can see in the starkest terms exactly where the candidates stand and who’s really on their side.

INTRODUCING HONESTY AND TRANSPARENCY INTO THE GAME:

I don’t know how to say this gently or with Zen dispassion.  So . . .

The candidate is not a magic wand.  It’s a sledgehammer!

Signing the contract will not create some harmonic convergence of metaphysical forces which will usher people into the voting booth and make them vote for a candidate.

Signing the contract does, however, provide a powerful tool to beat up an opponent and discredit a ‘bad guy’ candidate in the eyes of the voters, while portraying in stark relief the candidate who does sign the contract, as an individual who has volunteered a bulletproof guarantee, if elected, of service to his constituents.

This is no trivial matter.

Right now, campaigning is a house of mirrors in a bank of fog.  Words are chosen with a lawyer’s eye and a Madison Avenue ear.  I’m not sure the candidates typically even know themselves where they stand on much of what’s important to the public.  But if they do, they sure aren’t telling us in clear, unambiguous terms.  Thus expectations and performance are secondary to image and appeal.  The same shallow devices, cynical psychology, and stealthy methodologies, are used to “sell” a candidate as are used to sell any other products out there, from eyeliner to soda pop and fast food to automobiles and fantasy vacation cruises.

The candidate contract puts back front and center what a political campaign should be — but rarely is — all about, which is what exactly can we expect the candidate to do once he or she arrives in Washington DC.

Having the candidate contract be the new standard for electoral integrity, particularly having it arrive simultaneously from the two critical participants in the voting mechanism — the advocacy groups among the voting public and enlightened candidates themselves — means it reflects the best traditions of the democratic process.

It represents a long-lost level of honesty and transparency, reintroduced into the requisite and most basic communication that is the foundation of a robust democratic system — the vetting process for identifying and selecting elected representatives.

The voters can and must probe the candidate:  Where do stand on this?”

And the ‘good guy’ candidate gets to reply:  “Glad you asked.  Just read my contract with you, the voters.  It’s all spelled out in black-and-white.  And yes, that’s my signature at the bottom.”

If we as voters and those among us who aspire to be elected representatives turn our backs on this idea, during such divisive and perilous times, when we’re starting to hear the initial portents of a death rattle from our sick and dying democracy, we will deserve the brutally totalitarian, crassly authoritarian, wantonly fascistic debacle our government-by-the-corporate-ruling-elite is fast becoming.

The time is right for candidate contracts.

Unless you have a better idea . . .

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis, Political Rant, Revolution | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Love Japan Redux

What were you doing on Sunday morning?

I can tell you what I was doing.  I was enjoying what I consider to be one of the most charming aspects of living where I do in Japan.

Sasayama is a tiny, traditional, rural city that sprawls over a large area, having absorbed five other towns into it many years ago.  There are about 50,000 people living within the city limits.

But Sasayama is split into a number of small villages.  Ours is called Noma.  Each village has its own shrine — ours honors Benten, the goddess of arts, literature, music, and dance, quite appropriate for my wife and I — its own community center — exactly what it sounds like, a center for holding a variety of community meetings, get-togethers, barbecues, and so on — its own sports team for the annual sports day competitions with other villages — a funny and endearing event which deserves its own separate article.

During good weather, meaning only excepting the brutal winter months, the village gets together once or twice a month to . . . are you ready? . . . clean up the neighborhood! 

Actually, since folks here rarely litter, going around to pick up gum wrappers and empty soda cans is kind of a pointless task.  So usually we do other much more useful things, like tend to the vast system of irrigation ditches and channels, cut weeds, clear excess bamboo and other unwanted wild growth.

Today’s job was working on a wall which always sprouts all sorts of destructive weeds and shrubs.  While men with weed-whackers cleared the undergrowth from the surrounding area, the rest of us hacked away at what was growing on the wall.  Note that we don’t take the easy way out — using carcinogenic Roundup — but just do it by hand.  Chop chop!

Our work sessions last from 3 to 4 hours.  After nearly two hours, we take a short break.  The village provides rolls and tea, and we just lounge about and talk, resting up for the final assault on the day’s project.

After cleaning up the wall, everyone returned to the community center, potted flowers for beautifying the neighborhood — they are placed all along the major paths and lanes which wind through our village — and were given flowers and potting soil to take home for our own personal use.

Today’s work was fairly easy.  Other times I’ve been up to my ankles in snake-infested, muddy water, or clearing thick brush which intrudes on the rice and soybean fields if left unchecked.  But it’s always good exercise and overall a pleasant experience.

People here ask me if I did this sort of thing in America.  That’s easy to answer.  Never! 

I think back on life in the U.S. spanning many decades and the lack of much community spirit, the obsession with privacy, and what would appear to be a pathological devotion to avoiding personal contact with all but the most familiar in one’s personal circles.  There is a paranoia, a distrust, a suspicion that overshadows normal, natural social proclivities.

How sad!

People like to blame it on modernity, technology, industrialization, the new economy.

But Japan is about as modern and technologically advanced as any country in the world.  People are consumers par excellence here.  The shopping malls are always packed!  Japan has unfortunately embraced the Western economic model as well.  Certainly it’s not casino capitalism, but definitely a tamer version of it — look at its frightening debt to GDP ratio!

Despite that, they have kept alive some traditions which promote sense of community, and the shared responsibility of living in that community.  They create opportunities to work together for the common good, get to know one another, and just enjoy other folks who happen to live in the same geographical setting.  Like our clean up days!

What a powerful and rewarding ritual this is!

Another reason for me to say . . .

I love Japan! 

Posted in Japan, Social Commentary, Spiritual | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How do we confront abuse of power and restore democracy?

People accuse me of being confrontational.

I say:  Absolutely! Guilty as charged.

If your neighbors are throwing garbage over the fence into your yard, what do you do?  Sit back and watch it pile up?  Or . . . lean over the fence and demand that they stop?

That demand might begin as a calm, friendly but firm request.  As your neighbors continue to dump their trash into your yard, it will become increasingly forceful and eventually take on the flavor of . . . guess what? . . . here it comes . . . a confrontation!

Our demands — based on rights and privileges guaranteed in writing in the Constitution — that our elected officials represent us and serve the interests of all American citizens, not just the rich and well-connected, have for decades been respectful, polite and measured.

The response we’ve gotten from those same elected officials has been more abuse of power and position, and the veritable destruction of representative democracy in America.

Time to get tough.

Time for confrontation!

How do we confront power?  How do we specifically confront those officials we choose at the polls and gift with cushy jobs in Washington DC, which heighten their prestige, inflate their egos, and fatten their wallets?

My strategy is so simple, so obvious, so potentially effective, I am totally baffled why often people don’t get it.

Recognize . . .

We have been handed the most powerful instrument in the arsenal, the assumption being we’ll never get it together to use it.  Of course, so far we haven’t effectively used it.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t.  It’s right there ready and waiting.

What is this weapon of choice?

It’s the illusion of democracy.

It’s the illusion that our voting makes a difference.

Granted . . .

Right now it doesn’t, because we’ve been playing by a set of rules that rigs the game.  The  fix has been in because, even though it is well within our power as citizens to do so, we haven’t successfully challenged those rules.  We haven’t even tried.

In the most simple terms, right now we elect individuals to positions of power based on what often turns out to be hollow promises, campaign rhetoric which is highly flattering of the candidate, believable and appealing on the surface, thus sufficiently persuasive to win the trust of voters and get him or her elected.

Once elected, these individuals basically do what they’re told to do by their deep-pocketed benefactors, the rich and powerful elite who fund their campaigns, proffer tacit promises of highly lucrative rewards once they leave office — refer here to Obama’s $60 million book deal and $400,000 fee for making one speech to those he served so magnificently while in office — and shield them from any legitimate challenges by candidates who don’t faithfully dance to the beat laid down by the plutocracy — refer here to the blatant sabotage of Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign by the corporate stooges of the Democratic Party.

But . . .

This mockery of “representative democracy” still depends on us to go into the voting booth and like the brainwashed, gullible, trusting sheeple that we are, to cast our votes for these carefully groomed and coddled ruling class shills.

And that’s where we can change the rules.

We must stand united and be unshakeable in our resolve . . . but here’s how we do it.

We demand that any candidate running for federal office sign a legally-binding contract, listing a number of issues which must be addressed within 180 days of taking office.

Or . . .

We will not vote for them!

Rather, we will put up our own candidate, or find one from an independent or third-party, who will sign the contract!  That person will get our full support during the campaign and our vote on election day.

Case closed!

The contract will be drawn up around those items where there is at least 62% agreement among the American public.  Yes!  There is that level of public consensus on a whole host of critical issues!

While this is not written in stone and should be adapted to the unique circumstances and needs of each local voting jurisdiction, here is what such a candidate contract looks like.

This changes the game alright, decisively putting voters in charge — at least on a number of key initiatives and policy decisions — of what comes out of Congress.

Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work?  Government of the people, by the people, for the people?  Representative democracy that truly represents the desires and priorities of the constituents?

It’s a shame that our system has become so corrupted by money and power games that we must resort to a legal document to get done what’s supposed to get done in the first place.

But that’s the way it’s worked out.  We have no other choice now.  We either take charge or suffer even more indignity and abuse at the hands of the ruling elite and their pay-for-play lackeys, the folks we send to Washington DC to do a job but who end up entirely ignoring the citizens they’re supposed to be working for — that would be you and I!

It’s simple.  It’s straightforward.  It’s powerful.  It’s decisive.

Either candidates sign on the dotted line or we don’t vote for them.

Which means that we then turn to some good, decent, honest candidates who realize what their ultimate responsibility is, where their true loyalties lie, thus will sign the contract.  We give them our unqualified support, both in the campaign and in the voting booth.

Using this simple, powerful device . . .

We’ll finally get a glimpse of what representative democracy really looks like.


CC_eBook Cover_Final_200x300 “Candidate Contracts: Taking Back Our Democracy” was published in June of 2015 and is available worldwide from all the usual suspects:

Amazon (Kindle)  . . . amzn.to/1QJRiNZ
Amazon (Print) . . . amzn.to/1Cuq0du
Apple (iTunes) . . . apple.co/1BXnPcy
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1GpTTLq
Kobo (Indigo) . . . bit.ly/1OEI2xj
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/1B4DQCp
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1MGjDnN

 

!!!FFTDWD_Cover_200x300Fighting for the Democracy We Deserve” was published September 2015 and also is available both in every popular ebook format and as a deluxe paperback:

Amazon (Kindle) . . . amzn.to/1VMf2Ft
Amazon (Print) . . . amzn.to/1L9SdIC
Apple (iTunes) . . . apple.co/1JD1YAg
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1ZUJUpn
Kobo (Indigo) . . . bit.ly/1IX6rO4
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/22PXWLf
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1i7ISFM

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Democracy, Economics, Food, Political Analysis, Political Rant, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whack A Mole Activism

Why is it in terms of progressive reform the country is going backwards?

Last time I checked, citizens were by very sizable majorities for practically all of the things progressive activists actively promote.

I’ve cited these statistics repeatedly but they’re worth looking at again:

75% of Americans want a federal minimum wage of $12.50 per hour.
63% of Americans want a federal minimum wage of $15.00 per hour.
75% of voters want fair trade agreements protecting jobs, workers, the environment.
76% of voters want a cut back on military spending.
76% of voters want the U.S. completely out of Afghanistan.
79% of voters want no reductions in Social Security, 70% support expanding it.
79% of voters want no reductions in Medicare.
80% of voters oppose the “Citizens United” U.S. Supreme Court decision.
68% of voters think taxes on the wealthy should be increased.
71% of voters support massive infrastructure renewal.
65% of voters want laws to combat climate change.
62% of voters want tuition free public colleges and universities.
74% of American voters are for ending oil industry subsidies.

We could probably add a few more to the list but this offers us the necessary perspective.

A great deal of energy and time by dedicated activists continues to be devoted to these and many other worthy causes: protecting a woman’s right to choose; respecting human rights, especially those of immigrants and vilified minorities like Muslims; protecting the quality of air and water, stopping the wanton destruction of the environment; reining in abuses in the workplace; reducing police violence; on and on, all initiatives reflecting the best values and instincts of people who believe America is for all Americans, not just a privileged few.

Yet, all of these are constantly under assault.

This should come as no shock.  There has always been a tiny aristocratic elite in our nation which views itself — not hard-working everyday citizens — as the true engine of our wealth and greatness as a country.  Reacting to both the reforms of the 1930s under FDR, and the hard-won gains in civil and human rights in the 1960s and 1970s, these elitists set about reversing these populist measures with a comprehensive, long-range strategy of taking over the governing institutions at all levels and in every branch of government, then subsequently imposing their own selfish, self-serving agenda on the rest of us.

What we see now is their spectacular success.  The Republicans — who most thoroughly and with ideological purity represent the interests of this ruling elite, though over the past two-and-a-half decades or more, the Democrats have been scrambling to align themselves with the ruling class, abandoning their traditional base of union workers and other citizens of the lower and middle classes — now have the White House, both houses of Congress, a majority of the state legislatures.  Even the majority of state governors are Republicans.

They have kicked our progressive asses good!

The reaction by our end of the political spectrum to this highly organized assault on the system of government, which we progressives and the majority of everyday people believe is supposed to serve the interests of all citizens, has been short-sighted and fragmented. 

The end product of decades of what we failed to properly assess and address is what I call Whack A Mole activism.

Just like the amusement center Whack A Mole game — though we hardly find it amusing — we are constantly challenged to whack at one crisis, while others are poised to quickly follow.  There’s always another crisis popping up somewhere else.

We haven’t even finished fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq, but now we have to fight another war in Syria.  While we’re fueling the crisis in Syria, we start another one in the Ukraine.  As if these weren’t enough, we’re getting ready to fight Russia, China, North Korea.

We stop the Keystone XL, but five more pipelines get backroom approval.  We get ready to challenge them, the Arctic gets opened up again for more drilling.  More offshore rigs start popping up everywhere.  Leases are being handed out like Halloween candy to explore for gas in our National Parks.  Our heads are spinning.

We see school lunch programs cut.  Funding for the arts.  Then women’s health centers get put on the chopping block.  Before the paint on our protest signs dries for those, the police kill a bunch of unarmed black folks because . . . well, they’re black.  What other reason do the police need these days?

Even a crisis that we think we whacked, gets new life and pops up again a short time later.  Think about Net Neutrality.  Think about the modest, completely inadequate and symbolic victories on behalf of fighting climate change with the timid and compromised gestures of the Obama administration, wiped out with the swipe of a pen by Trump.  Look at banking and Wall Street regulations.  Consumer protections. One step forward, four steps back.

The crises keep coming faster and faster and just keep piling up.

Let’s get real here.  There’s no way we can win.  Just like the slot machines in Las Vegas, this game is rigged.  The house will always win.  Who owns the house?  They do!

They keep us scrambling.  They keep us divided.  They keep us distracted, in a constant state of panic, disoriented and exhausted by the sheer number of crises being created, we’re never able to mount a unified, comprehensive, coherent counterattack.

Whether you credit the ruling elite with the ingenuity to have intentionally crafted this constant state of frenzy and chaos, or whether it has just been a convenient and effective but purely chance by-product of their original program, the upshot is the same.  We are being systematically crippled in our attempt to stop the juggernaut of regressive change.

What’s pathetic about all of this, beyond our continuing failure to make much difference and the clear prospects that we will only lose more of these battles as time goes on, is that there apparently is still this naive, completely clueless belief that by just appealing to those now in power, by just pointing out the virtues of our reasonable demands, by highlighting the goodness and justice and fairness and decency of our causes — yes by golly — they will actually listen to our heart-felt pleas, come around, and do the right thing!

Maybe we watched too many Disney movies growing up, eh?

Let’s not kid ourselves any longer.  There is a class of ultra-wealthy people, a tiny elite minority who despise us, disdain democracy, believe themselves extraordinary, superior, and above the rules and considerations which apply to the rest of us slobbering inferiors.  You can look at this psychologically, anthropologically, historically, sociologically, however you choose to analyze this phenomenon.  The reality is that it has been a factor in recorded history as long as there has been recorded history.

A fundamental principle in an egalitarian democracy is that such inevitable aristocratic forces be kept in check.  Look around.  We have failed.  Those aristocratic, authoritarian, elitist instincts which are always part of the DNA of a certain class of such patricians, are completely out of control in contemporary America.  The commons is being plundered or acquired and hoarded, the “general welfare” is being ignored — even mocked — the notion of the American Dream has become a punch line for a comedy routine that’s played out on the stage of a country in a suicidal tailspin, a nation unraveling and apparently determined to now promote everything it once stood against: grotesque wealth inequality, plutocratic pillage, grotesque and anti-democratic militarism, foreign entanglements and imperial conquest, perpetual war, destruction of citizen privacy and constitutional protection.

Of course, if we point any of this out, or especially if we gather the courage to fight “them” and their self-serving agenda, we’ll be accused of being troublemakers, insurrectionists, anarchists, communists, traitors.

But never ever forget . . .

Regular folks like you and I did not and are not starting a class war.  The simple truth is, we’re the victims of an ongoing class war started a long long time ago, a class war which just becomes more fierce and destructive with each passing day and each passed piece of legislation by our corrupt Congress.  Make no mistake about it.  We are in a war!  It’s a battle for survival.  The ruling class do not care if we live or die.  Unpleasant as this may sound, these are the facts on the ground.

Sometimes I’m accused of being extreme.  Excuse me?  The rich and powerful have stolen our country, destroyed our democracy, are now putting the finishing touches on a new incarnation of feudalism, and I should be deferential and gracious, warm and amicable?

I should give a pass to the Koch brothers?  Sure, they have families and friends, probably go to church every Sunday and sing All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name, or another lovely hymn praising the God that so blessed them with gold bumpers on their new Rolls Royce.  So what?  Their psychopathic level of greed and diabolical destruction of the environment is incompatible with democracy, with common decency, with the values of our nation, and with the survival of the human race.  THEY ARE THE ENEMY!  Period!

As the enemy, they are not to be respected, trusted, certainly not hailed as exemplars of our way of life.  They’re just like demented children beating an anthill with a baseball bat.  We are the ants.

If as I say it’s true that we’re being played by the ruling class . . .

How then do we stop playing the Whack A Mole activism game?

There’s only one solution:  We unplug it, take it out back, then take a sledgehammer to it.

We destroy the machine!

How does this translate to the struggle of everyday citizens to take back control of their country from an abusive and ruthless ruling class?

There’s a lot of room for interpretation here and history is replete with examples.

The obvious and most decisive way of “destroying the machine” is a bloody revolution.

Perhaps I am naive but I’m hoping we can avoid that.  Considering both the enormous fire power of the federal authorities and the mind-numbing number of privately-owned guns, a revolution in the U.S. would be an unprecedented bloodbath.

Destroying the machine in my view is destroying the mechanism by which the ruling class now exclusively impose their will on our republic.  That mechanism is “owning” those who we allegedly democratically elect as our legislators.  The Achilles heel of that ownership are those owned.  We stopped the ownership of our governing officials by replacing the owned with the unowned.

Almost everyone now sitting in Congress is directly responsible for or complicit with the control of our legislative bodies by the ruling class.  They benefit from it.  They go along with it.  They are not going to change it.

Therefore we must change them.  Either we change their behavior — a dubious prospect at this stage from what we’ve seen — or we “change” the them who hold those positions.  We “unelect” those now in office and elect honest, accountable, responsive representatives to replace them.

That is why I’m calling for regime change in Congress in 2018.  This to me is the positive, non-violent path to cutting deep into the system and excising the poison of corruption.

We must look at replacing at least 400 of the current sitting members in the House of Representatives, and the 33 senators up for election in 2018.  This is certainly a drastic proposal.  But sometimes you need to completely clean house and start from scratch.

Should we take them out back and take sledgehammers to them?

There are probably many in this country who are so frustrated and angry — or will be when they finally realize the level of corruption of our current elected officials — they might opt for such violent reprisals.

I myself say the most important thing is to get these criminals out of office before they do any more damage to the country.  If you press me for how we should handle long histories of such political criminality, of abuse of public trust and the mockery they’ve made of our system of government, I will say that I can see a special tribunal being set up — along the lines of the Nuremberg war crimes trials — and our current congressmen being indicted.  We could call it the American Crimes Against Democracy Court of Reconciliation.

Maybe there would be a new arcade game along those lines to help fund the proceedings.

The Whack A Politico activist game!

In my next two articles, I will get into the specifics of implementing my candidate contract strategy toward dramatic regime change in Congress via the 2018 election.

We can continue playing a pointless game toward a fruitless ending.

Or we can unite and change the game itself.

That’s the choice in 2018.

Posted in Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis, Political Rant, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bird Dogging

I’m always humbled when I find a gaping hole in my vocabulary. 

The other day, someone in a political activist group suggested that it would be effective to ‘bird dog’ incumbents about a rather controversial issue we were discussing.

Mind you, I have made this tactic central to my electoral campaign strategy, integral to implementing my candidate contract plan of action.  I just didn’t know the name for it.

See?  Even the Google definition mentions bird dogging in a political context.

Yes . . . “dogged determination” . . . very cute.

That cute characterization is the polite, PC way of describing what I’m proposing.

As I presume will happen, my enlightened, progressive, honest and transparent people’s candidate has signed one or more contracts on issues that reflect the will of the majority of voters in the district where the contest is taking place.  You can view the contract and the laundry list of progressive issues here, one that’s drafted for the House of Representatives.

But . . .

His opponents, whether newcomers or an incumbent, are establishment candidates, thus HAVE NOT SIGNED THE CONTRACT.  I’ve explained elsewhere why they cannot and will not sign these contracts, but basically it boils down to their all but certain loss of campaign funding and major party machinery support.  There are huge stakes at keeping at bay any significant populist reforms, specifically those in the progressive candidate contract.  Keeping obedient establishment lackeys in office is essential for the status quo.

For simplicity sake, let’s say the contract in dispute is not the one listing the whole gamut of populist issues, but just one for raising the minimum wage.  It would look like this.

Of course, raising the minimum wage is certainly the main focus in the battle for votes.

But the actual centerpiece of every element of the publicity campaign is the contract for raising the minimum wage.  This is where the bird dogging comes in.

At every public rally, campaign event, fundraiser, town hall meeting, meet-the-candidate barbecue or hotdog eating contest — literally everywhere the establishment candidate(s) show up in public — there will be protesters wearing t-shirts, carrying signs, chanting:

Why won’t you sign the contract for raising the minimum wage?

Understand:  ‘Why won’t you sign the contract for …’ is not a genial request for an answer.  It’s an expression of outrage!  It’s a condemnation!  It’s saying:  You are insulting us!  We as voters are making a simple, fair, reasonable request.  And you are defying the will of the people!  It’s a rhetorical question challenging the empty rhetoric of the candidate.

Of course, every candidate, especially when speaking to younger folks who are most likely working for or just barely above the minimum wage, is going to discharge billowing gusts of smiley-face vapor about the “crisis in the availability of good jobs in this country”, and “all workers deserving a livable wage”.  This always sounds nice but is really a lot of stinky poop, considering that the official rate hasn’t increased in seven years, and moreover, that adjusted for inflation the current $7.25 per hour is worth less than it was 50 years ago.

There’s only one way to take such patronizing oratory seriously, and that is to have him or her sign on the dotted line — put it in writing, in the form of a candidate contract.

The corollary to that is:  The only way to boldly and loudly declare that such a candidate is NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY is by challenging them for NOT SIGNING the contract.

That’s how the candidate contract becomes a sledgehammer in a political campaign, a serious tool for exposing an establishment candidate’s hypocrisy and duplicity.

Why resort to harassment?

To be blunt about it, at least at first, any candidate which signs any version of the contract I’m proposing won’t have much choice.  He or she will not have much in the way of funds, will not have the organizational support of a major party’s machinery, will be marginalized or entirely ignored by the mainstream media.  Such an outsider campaign will have to get in the news by making news!  By creating so much trouble and controversy, the media and anyone within any proximity can’t help but notice!  Using street theater, outlandish stunts, sit-downs, sit-ins, blocking traffic, naked acrobatics . . . whatever!  All to call attention to the fact that the slick, well-groomed, smooth-talking sack-of-hot-air opponent REFUSES to sign the contract.

Along those same lines, this is how the candidate contract works around big money.  Yes, those establishment types will have huge campaign chests to run slick ads, to disseminate their carefully-worded and misleading messages.  Those messages will always seem to be saying the right things.  They’ve got the best spin doctors, PR and campaign consultants money can buy, massaging their images and words to a milky silky stream of lovely goo.

But voters are waking up.  And people don’t like being manipulated and deceived.

As with our example, either a candidate is for or against raising the minimum wage.  That being the case, if he or she is claiming to be with the voters on this particular issue, and the voters by a vast margin are for raising the minimum wage, why is it unreasonable to ask for a clear and unambiguous commitment in writing?  After all, that’s what this candidate contract is — a clear and unambiguous commitment to raise the minimum wage.

If indeed it does turn out to be too much to ask a particular candidate, then it appears that WE’VE GOT A SERIOUS PROBLEM.  And the problem is the candidate is blowing smoke!  He or she is full of the brown stuff that comes out of the south end of a bull heading north!

Our democracy is sick.  Our whole electoral system is diseased.  This has largely because the professional political class of this country has discredited itself — and seems to be bent on continuing to discredit itself — every time one of them opens his or her mouth.  We the voters didn’t bring on this crisis of trust.  The political establishment did.  By consistently and intentionally lying to everyday Americans and with almost a religious fervor breaking every campaign promise that might actually benefit the majority of American citizens.

Worst of all, any newcomers to this corrupt system have been vilified, marginalized and excluded, unless they are willing to play ball by the corrupt rules of ruling class obeisance.  Bernie Sanders’s brilliant campaign was systematically undermined by the Democratic Party establishment.  I surely don’t need to review here how the major parties in sinister, symbiotic collusion with the media openly mock and trivialize attempts by minor parties to introduce some integrity into the river of political filth the current system has become.

Yes, the duopoly of the two corporate parties has gotten control of just about everything having to do with electoral politics.  But there’s one thing they haven’t been able to shut down completely.  That’s word-of-mouth.  That’s people talking to people.  Which is why even the most powerful individuals can be brought down by the right scandal.

What’s more scandalous than lying to voters just to get their votes?

What’s more cynical, what’s more insulting, what’s more corrupt than refusing to stand up for what’s right and good for the majority of good, decent, hard-working citizens?

And since it’s every citizen’s right to know where a candidate really stands on issues that affect the everyday lives of everyday Americans; it’s every citizen’s right to be informed, and to be treated with candor and respect; it’s every citizen’s right to know with certainty who is on their side and who isn’t; sometimes we need to let that dog-bird, bird-dog, that hybrid-GMO-predator out of its cage, and proceed with “dogged determination”.

Let it be known . . .

You’re being put on notice, establishment Democrats and Republicans.

Just the right amount of bird dogging might make honest politicians out of you after all!

If not, then it’s really quite simple . . . you’ll be replaced.

By politicians with the integrity to sign the contract.

Woof woof chirp chirp!

 


CC_eBook Cover_Final_200x300 “Candidate Contracts: Taking Back Our Democracy” was published in June of 2015 and is available worldwide from all the usual suspects:

Amazon (Kindle)  . . . amzn.to/1QJRiNZ
Amazon (Print) . . . amzn.to/1Cuq0du
Apple (iTunes) . . . apple.co/1BXnPcy
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1GpTTLq
Kobo (Indigo) . . . bit.ly/1OEI2xj
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/1B4DQCp
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1MGjDnN

 

!!!FFTDWD_Cover_200x300Fighting for the Democracy We Deserve” was published September 2015 and also is available both in every popular ebook format and as a deluxe paperback:

Amazon (Kindle) . . . amzn.to/1VMf2Ft
Amazon (Print) . . . amzn.to/1L9SdIC
Apple (iTunes) . . . apple.co/1JD1YAg
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1ZUJUpn
Kobo (Indigo) . . . bit.ly/1IX6rO4
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/22PXWLf
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1i7ISFM

Posted in Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis, Revolution | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump Makes Russian the Official Language of the U.S.

In a surprise move that caught just about everyone flat-footed, President Donald Trump by executive order today made Russian the official language of the United States of America.

Trump came out of the box swinging.  When a reporter yelled out a question to him on the 7th hole at the Trump International Golf Course, the president appeared very excited and wasn’t going to take any crap from anyone about his controversial decision.

“I promised jobs, didn’t I?  Well, we’ve got a helluva lot of signs to replace.  Also a lot of smart phones.  The Russian alphabet is in . . . uh . . . acrylic.  It’s a whole different deal from our alphabet.  A whole different deal!  But I tell ya, it’s great!  Really really great! Gotta say, I can’t wait to start Tweeting in Russian!”

Of course, this announcement comes on the heels — just 48 hours — of another truly extraordinary development, that of Trump’s replacement of Nikki Haley with Alex Jones as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. 

With the efficiency that is becoming the hallmark of this administration, the transition was quick.  Literally the following day, Ambassador Jones was seen sitting at a U.N. Security Council session with bottles of his highly-acclaimed Caveman nutritional supplement lined up in front of him, as he read a new U.S.-sponsored resolution proposing that UNESCO, under the auspices of NATO, administer Crimea as a newly-founded leper colony.

Right after Trump signed the executive order mandating the change in the U.S.’s official language, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was interviewed at a charter school volley ball meet she was attending in the Hamptons:  “Well, it’s a challenge.  But we’re making America great again.  So we’ve got a handle on it.  Some of my best friends are Russian.  And hey!  Have you ever had a Black Russian?  Come on!  Don’t give me that look!  I’m not talking about sex.  I mean the drink.  It’s vodka and Kahlúa.  Yum yum!”  Asked about how this might impact her plans for retooling America’s educational institutions, she replied:  “Obviously we need some native speakers fluent in Russian.  But we’re on top of it.  I was online just this morning and personally hired over forty excellent teachers, so no worries.  I’d say we’ve got this covered.”

Among pundits, Rachel Maddow was first in line to lambast Trump’s game-changing maneuver.  She called it a cheap Soviet-style stunt to sabotage the important work of Congress.  Under the strict guidelines established by the directive, from now on, all of the business of government — including any calls for Trump’s impeachment — must be conducted in America’s new official language.  Maddow looked into the camera and seething with contempt said, “He knows no one up on Capitol Hill knows any Russian. He and his KGB buddy Putin are behind this treachery . . . having a big laugh at the expense of the American people.”

Unfortunately, no one understood a word of her acrimonious rant.  Since Trump’s order was already in effect, her entire show was overdubbed in Russian.  No English sub-titles were made available.

What really prompted Trump’s bold, unprecedented move?

Of course, there’s much speculation.  Hillary Clinton along with the DNC leadership posed under a huge banner that said:  See? We Told You So!  Because it wasn’t in Russian, they were promptly arrested and are now awaiting arraignment.

Perhaps more reliably, an unnamed source from within the president’s most private circles at Mar-a-Lago — rumor has it that it’s an African-American maid named Jemima — stated that Ivanka Trump had just received a Matryoshka doll from a friend in Russia and was carrying on about the gift:  “Oh daddy!  Isn’t this just adorable?  I love everything about Russia!”  President Trump reportedly then smiled, and looking dreamily at her breasts, proudly patted her on the butt and said:  “That’s my girl!”

We thus conclude that as with the cruise missile attack on the Al Shayrat air base in Syria, Trump will do anything to keep his daughter happy.  Having everyone in this great nation of ours speaking Russian from now on was just his gift to his precious little daughter.

Ivanka is a Russian name, isn’t it?

 

Posted in Fox News, Nihilism, Satire | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Public Shaming

Many folks actually believe our elected “representatives” — quotation marks are warranted since they don’t in fact represent us at all — listen to us.  To put it mildly, this is a bit naive.  The simple truth is, it’s completely refuted by the facts.

Granted, these professional politicos put on a good show.  They all have at their disposal the best handlers, who tell them how to gesture and when to smile. They have the best speech writers money can buy, who twist words into incomprehensible but delightful-sounding gobbledygook, smearing just the right among of cake frosting on often the most insidious acts of blatant treachery.  We buy into this three-ring circus because we foolishly trust these clowns.

We think that if we call their offices enough times, routed into the digital black hole of automated message machines; that if we attend the rare town hall meeting when he/she has found time between lunches with lobbyists, and fundraisers blessed by deep-pocketed corporate benefactors; if we sign online petitions, that add to the growing pile of tens of thousands of similar petitions; if we organize rallies and protests which while unreported by the media we’re sure will attract some attention; if we write letters to the editor of our hometown newspapers, which in all probability won’t get published but whose message will, we believe, still somehow magically get communicated; surely all of this effort will make a difference and we’ll see some good, positive changes take place.

Talk about a disconnect!  Talk about willful denial!  Talk about delusional thinking!

Look around, folks.  Could it get worse for those of us with some humanity and decency?  Look at all levels of government. We have a card-carrying member of the .1% in the White House, lapdog puppets of the rich and powerful in control of both chambers of Congress, Republican majorities in all of the state legislatures, and Republicans also as governors of the majority of the states.

What does this mean?  What can we expect? 

Aristocrats and their pay-for-play toadies in high places are elitist and anti-democratic to the core, they are relentlessly greedy and insatiable, and will use their power to further enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us.

How will this end?

The ultra-rich have been and will continue to plunder our nation until there’s nothing left to plunder, then they’ll move on to other countries — it’s quite evident that the process is already well underway throughout Europe and Asia, funneling vast amounts of wealth to the already ultra-wealthy via hyper-capitalism and the neoliberal juggernaut.

Here’s the straight talk, though it’s not what you want to hear.

None of what we’re doing works because . . .

The people we vote into office are not listening.  Not to you and I, the everyday citizen.

It’s that simple.  We don’t need to analyze this any further.  Sometimes it’s just exactly what it appears to be.  If someone is laying in the middle of the street with six bullet holes in their head, brains scattered across the pavement, and a note pinned to their back which says, “I told you to stop hitting on my wife”, we don’t need an autopsy to see if maybe what the poor slob had for lunch caused his death.  Or whether maybe he’s allergic to his new wristwatch band.

Our legislators are serving the rich and powerful and ignoring the needs of everyday folks like you and I.  Period!  It’s right smack in front of our eyes.  This is not a rumor or a piece of conjecture.  The Princeton study by Professor Martin Gilens and Professor Benjamin Page in 2014 was unequivocal in its findings.

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

This means we are now forced to take DRASTIC ACTION.

I happen to know something that works.  Because it works with all public figures — movie stars, pundits, sports celebrities, priests, ministers, rabbis, military leaders, pillars of the community — and always works especially well on politicians.

Public shaming!

Some folks might be squeamish about humiliating so-called respectable and responsible men and women devoted to public service.  Don’t they deserve better?

No, they don’t!

They’ve sold out themselves and our political parties to a ruling class elite which is selfish, heartless, ruthless.  They made their own bed of nails, now let them sleep in it.  They made a bargain with the Devil.  They chose to align themselves with evil over selfless and honest service to the people who elected them to their wonderfully cushy jobs in Washington DC.  IT IS OUR PUBLIC DUTY TO CALL THESE PEOPLE OUT ON THEIR TREACHERY!

So . . .

Here is how we shame them, how we make it clear that we are fed up with the games, the deceptions, the double talk, the con.  This contract reflects what polls tell us by impressive margins what the vast majority of Americans want done.  And we put it to our politicos straight:  Will you sign or will you refuse to sign this contract before the next election?Dare any elected representatives stonewall us?  Refuse to sign?  Him-and-haw and make all sorts of ridiculous excuses about why they don’t want to raise the minimum wage?  Say they can’t get behind fair tax policies and closing tax loopholes?  Balk at providing decent health care to every U.S. citizen, refuse to cover the 35 million people now who currently without coverage?  Opt for having the elderly slip into poverty and hardship because fixing social security and Medicare might upset Wall Street hedge fund managers?  Insist that more young men and women should come home in body bags so we can protect oil, gas, and mineral interests in Afghanistan, Syria, every other place we’ve bombed recently?  Take the position that our electoral system is just dandy the way it is, that the evisceration of the democratic process by Citizens United and the corrupting influence of big money is just the way things have to be?  Declare climate change a lost cause and suggest that our children’s children will just have to adjust to mass starvation, resource wars, and all of our coastal cities joining the Lost Continent of Atlantis, because some of our politicians were too dumb to make it through high school science class?

Here’s what I say . . .

If our current congressman can’t step up to the plate and play their very best game for the home team, they should be shamed, booed, reviled, scorned, humiliated, vilified, mocked, ridiculed, condemned, excoriated, burned in effigy!  That’s if we’re in a good mood.

Let them stew in the cauldron of the bad publicity they heap on themselves, then rot in a big foul steaming pile of their own wickedness, after we haul the garbage to the dump!

Now not everybody will agree with everything in the contract I’ve offered here.  There will be individuals who don’t buy into every single item.  This is a work in progress and not written in stone. But the simple fact is, reputable polls tell us . . .

Most people buy into most of it.

Thus we have here the perfect device for drawing a line in the sand and asking candidates who are looking for our votes . . .

Are you on our side or not?  Will you sign this before the election in 2018?

Of course, the ultimatum inherent in this approach doesn’t stop here.

Actually . . . it starts here.

This is the starting point for us everyday citizens taking control of the narrative, making a bold decisive claim on power that rightfully and constitutionally is ours in the first place, and putting all the smooth-talking, double-dealing incumbents on notice — we can call it ‘electoral probation’ . . .

We’ve had it with the games.  We’re watching your every move.  Shape up or ship out!

In my next posting, I’ll explore how the above candidate contract will either get our elected officials to clean up their act, or if it looks like that won’t be happening, will be used in the coming election to flush them out of Congress.

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis, Political Rant, Revolution | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to Dennis Kucinich on Peace in a Military State

I have talked to Dennis on the phone but it’s been a while.  He personally sent me a copy of this speech.  Here’s what I have to say about it — an open letter.  I hope he gets it.

Dennis:

As is true to form, your speech is breathtaking in its scope and packed with everything we need to know about what is wrong with America’s embrace of aggression and militarism.

Since I have nothing to lose, and you have everything to gain from my unsolicited critique, I’ll just give it to you straight with both barrels.

Like EVERYTHING I see coming out of articulate, recognized, widely-acclaimed, highly admired, and dedicated peace proponents like yourself, your message lacks TWO VITAL, GAME-CHANGING COMPONENTS . . .

  1.  It doesn’t speak to the masses, the 200 million Americans we need to reach to turn things around.
  2. It offers no decisive solution to the gravest threat in the history of the world — America’s out-of-control military and addiction to war.

It’s easy from the “inside” of the peace movement to think that our message is valid and powerful.  It is valid in every respect, but unfortunately fails to persuade.  It fails to even get noticed by the vast majority of Americans.  The people we need to reach may not even know who Dennis Kucinich is, they’re so dumbed-down and brainwashed.  They certainly don’t know who Gareth Porter or David Swanson are.  So everything you well-meaning, informative, eloquent folks say . . . is preaching to the choir.

Why do we need these everyday Americans?  Well, you said it yourself.  While you were in Congress, you made proposals, you argued, you reasoned, you pleaded.  What happened?  You were brushed aside like dandruff.  Then you were railroaded out of Congress.

I don’t know how you read this, but I know what the correct reading is . . . 

THESE ASSHOLES WILL NEVER LISTEN!  THEY WILL NEVER EMBRACE PEACE!

Therefore . . .

THEY MUST BE REPLACED!  There has to be almost a clean sweep of Congress or the march to war and annihilation will continue.

THAT’S why we need 200 million people on our side.  It’s that simple.

Are you offended yet?  Are you still reading this?

SO . . . any speech, any strategy, any campaign on behalf of peace, which does not include, 1) a message for the masses, and 2) a decisive strategy for removing the warmongers from power, will fail.  As long as the peace movement continues to delude itself about this, it will continue to go backwards.

I’m exhausted trying to get you to look at my Peace Dividend idea.  Thank goodness, a brilliant, passionate activist just made the case for me.  Here’s John R. Hall’s very recent article at The Greanville Post:  http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/04/28/the-peace-dividend-a-time-to-take-dead-aim-and-attack/

Please read it.  Think about it.  I sincerely hope you want to talk more about this.  I’m still available.

You have my number.

John Rachel


The Peace Dividend: The Most Controversial Proposal in the History of the World is now available both as an ebook and deluxe paperback at many of the usual outlets . . .

Amazon (Kindle) / US . . . amzn.to/2cpIRfQ
Amazon (Print) / US . . . amzn.to/2cEhnCb
Amazon (Kindle) / Canada . . . amzn.to/2ciZKdl
Amazon (Kindle) / Japan . . . amzn.to/2cbf3TO
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/2cWxvzd
Kobo (Indigo) . . . bit.ly/2cI8cB6
Apple iTunes . . . apple.co/2cqw7an
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/2cb6Cse
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/2c3mJsl

Posted in Deconstruction, Democracy, Peace Dividend, Political Analysis, Revolution, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mobilization Without Method Is Meaningless

Everyone knows this expression:  There was method to his madness.

What does it mean?  It means that regardless of how crazy the person acted, no matter how much he appeared to be nuts, behind that facade there was a solid plan, and that plan presumably resulted in successfully achieving what he set out to achieve.

It is this sense of ‘method’ I’m referring to in the title of this essay.

If there is any doubt about my message, here it is:  To mobilize people behind any cause, regardless of how worthy that cause is, regardless of how intrinsically appealing it may be to get these folks marching, singing, chanting, shouting for that cause, if there is no clear strategy which targets an equally clear and obvious outcome, with a realistic expectation that the strategy will achieve that outcome, then the mobilization is a waste of time.

I didn’t say it wasn’t fun or satisfying.  I didn’t say it didn’t have notable and perhaps positive collateral effects.  But I am saying that anyone who thinks that mobilization is some guarantee of making substantial change and achieving desired reforms is surely kidding themselves.

This is why, despite being the biggest mass movement in recent history, OWS completely failed.  Spokespersons for OWS will say it didn’t fail at all, because it had no preconceived agenda or goals.  But that is a frivolous cop out.  By the time OWS went international and ‘occupy’ was attached to everything from towns to shopping malls, labor unions, and even Facebook, there was certainly a goal.  It may not have appeared on any official documents, but that was because as an experiment in unstructured, horizontal command-and-control, married to spontaneous democratic expression, any attempt at formalizing anything at all was discouraged and successfully thwarted.

Nevertheless, it was evident to everyone who watched the marches, read the protest signs, listened to the speeches, or was constantly bombarded by the most successful, ubiquitous meme to erupt in colloquial English in the last five decades — the 1% vs the 99% — exactly what all of the brouhaha was about.

In the broader sense, it was about the ruling class — the 1% — forcing its elitist world view and self-serving agenda on everyone else — the 99% — using their privilege and raw power to callously and ruthlessly turn everyday people into serfs.

In a more specific sense, it was about overwhelming, abusive, and anti-democratic wealth inequality.  It was hardly random that the movement was started in the heart of America’s financial district and the anger and vilification was directed at incomprehensibly wealthy investment bankers and Wall Street high-rollers.

Of course, any thoughtful exploration of these two parallel themes — monopoly on power and obscene accumulation of wealth — would naturally conclude that they are inextricably related and mutually reinforcing.  Not that there was much analysis going on.  The OWS protests were pretty much an ‘it’s-us-against-them’ affair, with lots of noise and bluster, but with absolutely nothing remotely resembling a grab for power anywhere in sight.

Thus, in terms of specific demands, it was quite common for news commentators to ask:  What do the protestors want?

This was a legitimate if mostly rhetorical question.  As a matter of record, there were no actual demands aired by the movement, much less tacit undercurrents of a coup d’etat.

There weren’t any coherent demands, no specific policy proposals, not even obvious ones.  It wouldn’t have been out of place, as an example, to at least talk about GBI — guaranteed basic income — as a conspicuous path to begin addressing the grotesque level of wealth inequality.

There were no hard and fast calls for student debt forgiveness, free college education, mortgage default relief, capping credit card interest rates, free access to universal health care, and a host of other palliatives which would have somewhat reduced the wealth gap.

This is not a criticism of OWS or anyone who bobbled up, even if temporarily, from the rank-and-file to take credit — or blame, depending on where you stand in judgment — for what happened.  OWS was an intriguing and inspiring new experiment in activism, which attempted to skirt the usual pitfalls of hierarchical, top-down organization.  It was what it was, and I believe should be respected for that.

But that doesn’t prevent us from learning from it, and taking every precaution to not make the same mistakes again.

If you’re going to assemble a mob, give them something to do.

Give them something which will make a substantial and decisive difference.

Camaraderie is a good thing.  It’s a social high.  Feeling like you’re part of something offers relief from a sense of isolation and helplessness.

But it’s only a feeling.  It’s not politics.  Politics is about power.  Only power can confront power.

After the marches are done, after the protest signs are put away, when we’re in our cars or on buses headed back home, we always need to ask ourselves:  Do we now have power to implement the changes we want?

If the answer is ‘no’, then we didn’t have an effective plan.

The best time for an effective plan is BEFORE we hit the streets, before we march and sing our songs, before we waste valuable time and energy in a frustrating and fruitless attempt to get those NOW IN POWER to do anything for us.  Asking the the ruling elite and their lapdogs in our governing institutions to listen to our demands and serve our interests is like asking a carjacker to be sure and wash our automobile and return it in the morning with a full tank.

Here comes my plug:  I have an end-to-end plan, a carefully-crafted strategy for engaging a broad base of U.S. citizens, uniting them into an overwhelming voting bloc, directed at stopping America’s out-of-control militarism and endless wars of aggression.

You can get a general idea here:  The Peace Dividend

Next time we march for peace, we’ll know where we’re headed and how to get there.

At least, that’s the hope that gets me from day to day in these insane times.


The Peace Dividend: The Most Controversial Proposal in the History of the World is now available both as an ebook and deluxe paperback at many of the usual outlets . . .

Amazon (Kindle) / US . . . amzn.to/2cpIRfQ
Amazon (Print) / US . . . amzn.to/2cEhnCb
Amazon (Kindle) / Canada . . . amzn.to/2ciZKdl
Amazon (Kindle) / Japan . . . amzn.to/2cbf3TO
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/2cWxvzd
Kobo (Indigo) . . . bit.ly/2cI8cB6
Apple iTunes . . . apple.co/2cqw7an
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/2cb6Cse
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/2c3mJsl

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Democracy, Economics, Political Analysis, Political Rant, Revolution, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment