Warren Buffett or Jimmy Buffett?

Here’s an URGENT APPEAL I received the other day on Facebook:

This is an idea that should be passed around.  The BUFFETT Rule!  Let’s see if these idiots understand what people pressure is all about.
Congressional Reform Act of 2017
1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.
2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 3/1/17.
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work.
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, then it will only take three days for most people in the U.S. to receive the message.
It’s time! THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS! If you agree, pass it on.

There’s a lot of confusion about this initiative.

According to several sources I looked at, Warren Buffett is not even officially behind the so-called Buffet Rule, that it was just a comment made in passing.

Moreover, he is not in any way responsible for the “Congressional Reform Act of 2017,” which is just the latest version of the dubious and rather flawed “Congressional Reform Act of 2011”.

Regardless, it absolutely astounds me that no one seems to see the ONE MAJOR DEFECT in this noble attempt to reform Congress.  This fatal error happens to apply to most of the ideas I’ve recently encountered, intended to fix America and get our country back on track.

This proposed act has to be passed by Congress.

Which begs the obvious question . . .

Why would they pass it?

This is like me challenging Roger Federer to a tennis match for a $1,000,000 prize, and then turning to him and saying:  “I have one simple request, Roger.  Please have both of your arms chopped off at the elbow before we meet on the court.” 

What are these folks thinking?  Do they actually think that the current crop of corporate pay-for-play lapdogs who sit in their comfy jobs in Washington DC are going to do anything to jeopardize their free ride with the rich and powerful of this country?

I just love it, for example, when people propose progressive constitutional amendments.  According to the Article V:  “The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures.” Apparently, these wild-eyed dreamers haven’t read the newspaper lately.  The Republicans own the White House, both chambers of Congress, most governorships, and the majority of state legislatures.  Even more shocking, we often see Democrats siding with the extreme right-wing legislative ideologues on a host of key issues — increasing defense spending, perpetuating war, advocating more tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy.

Consider this . . .

It’s impossible to get GMO labeling on food product legislated, something supported by 93% of all Americans, regardless of party affiliation.  Do progressive strategists actually believe they can get anything through Congress which genuinely serves the majority of Americans, with the current cutthroat mercenary puppets installed in the seats of power?  Here we have something 93% of Americans want and it gets killed by corporate greed and legislators who couldn’t spell ‘representation’ if a gun was pointed at their heads.

I’ve said this over and over.  But it bears repeating until folks get it.

There is ONLY ONE SOLUTION!

We have to have a CLEAN SWEEP OF CONGRESS.  Regime change in Washington DC!

Let’s stop kidding ourselves.

The people now in positions of power will not do anything for everyday U.S. citizens.  NOTHING!  They will do the bidding of their deep-pocketed financiers, their mega-rich and powerful masters . . . and that’s it.  End of story.  So let’s start doing some real work!  Let’s begin the daunting but absolutely necessary task of swapping out 33 senators and at least 400 of the traitors who are currently in the House of Representatives in 2018.

I have a method for accomplishing this.  It’s summarized in two of my books — Candidate Contracts: Taking Back our Democracy and Fighting For The Democracy We Deserve — and dozens of articles published here and all over the web.

In each congressional district, good decent citizens must choose four or five issues which are critical to them, things which are totally non-negotiable, things they are absolute and unswerving about.  For example:

1. Make no changes in Social Security and Medicare.
2. Raise the federal minimum wage to $12.50 per hour.
3. Eliminate corporate welfare and increase taxes on the rich.
4. Reverse by law the Citizens United decision.
5. Cut back on military spending.

The good news is that nationally there is already enormous support for these.

75% of Americans want a federal minimum wage of $12.50 per hour.
76% of voters want a cut back on military spending.
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.


Next step is to draw up a contract or set of contracts on those issues.  Such a contract will look and read like this, one I drew up for raising the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.

Then we simply put it to the candidates.  It’s up to them.  Will they sign the contract(s) and guarantee that they will go to Washington DC and hit the ground running, doing exactly what we want them to do?  Or not?

If they sign, we vote for them.

If they don’t, we vote for someone who will.

It’s that simple!  And it’s that clear.  Either they will decisively and unequivocally, with no excuses or double-talk, do the job we vote them in office to do . . .

Or we don’t vote for them!

In the event there is no major party candidate willing to sign the contract — and recognize that is a very distinct possibility — then we turn to a minor party candidate, or put one on the ballot ourselves.

THAT’S how you take back our democracy!

THAT’S how we take the guesswork out of voting!

THAT’S how you make sure the voice of the voice of the people is heard!

THAT’S how you put “people” back in the equation . . . government of the people, by the people, for the people.

It’s either that . . . or drink a lot of tequila and watch our country steadily descend into the sewer of economic medievalism and kleptocratic tyranny.

I like a good time as much as the next guy.

But maybe we should wait until we have good reason to celebrate.

 

Posted in Democracy, Political Analysis, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Nation of Relentless Savagery

You’ve been avoiding this for a long time.

You prefer to remember the times he took you to the park, that amazing camping vacation a few summers back, the funny things he often says at the dinner table, that beautiful dog he gave you on your 12th birthday.

But you can’t deny it any longer.  The truth is painful.  But . . .

Dad is an alcoholic and he beats mom.

Do you hate him?  Do you reject him as your father?

No . . . but things have to drastically change and very soon.

This is not actually the story I wish to tell.  I’m merely drawing a parallel.  I’m talking about dealing with denial, facing reality, accepting responsibility, taking action.

There are many situations in life for which the above scenario is a metaphor.

The parallel I’m making is the relationship between a citizen and a government gone mad.

We’ve avoided it for a long time.  We prefer to think of America as a beacon of hope in the world, the fountainhead of truth and justice, a purveyor of democratic values and human rights.

But we can’t deny it any longer.  The truth is painful.  But . . .

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his monumental, myth-shattering speech — the one that probably got him assassinated at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967:

“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world: My own government, I cannot be silent.”

I won’t go into the long history of American aggression.  Whole books have been written which detail our gruesome heritage of merciless wars, the most notable being Howard Zinn’s classics, A People’s History of the United States and the more recent A People’s History of American Empire.  Nor will I indict the U.S. foreign policy apparatus for its gross deceptions and hypocrisies, elucidated with unparalleled clarity and candor in William Blum’s excellent work, America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy.

I won’t talk about the millions of human carcasses piled on top of more carcasses, the result of countless war crimes and merciless military strategies which place no value on human life, whether the victims are in uniform or innocent civilians.  I’ve realized that the scale of the horror is such that its incomprehensible to most good decent citizens.  I myself when confronted by figures like 3 million Vietnamese killed, 1.5 Iraqis killed, on and on, find my eyes glazing over in the deluge of zeroes.  I literally cannot grasp these numbers and apply them meaningfully to the grief and physical suffering which they are supposed to somehow encapsulate.

Let’s instead look at a few simple very recent facts and try to put them in perspective.

Fact 1:  The U.S. is not officially at war with any other country at this time.

Fact 2:  The U.S. has not been attacked in any sense of the word in the last 16 years.

Fact 3:  Last year the U.S. military dropped 26,171 bombs on seven different countries.

Mind you, these are the official figures.  Who knows what the real totals are?

These were not water-filled balloons or July 4th fireworks.  At the end of every explosion, there were body parts strewn all over the surrounding area.  Survivors were being crushed in collapsed buildings, or crawling along the ground with limbs torn off, leaving a trail of blood squirting out of severed arteries.  Innocent people, men, women, and children just going about the everyday business of living, were mangled by a lethal mix of high-velocity shrapnel, and chunks of rubble created by ton after ton of high-yield explosives dropped anonymously from the sky.

Rigorous studies have made it very clear that well over half of the casualties of current warfare are civilians.  In what are called ‘internal conflicts’ — like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia — which now are by far the most prevalent form of military conflict, the percentages can be as high as 90% civilians.  These violent clashes are typically fought by proxies. In all of the countries just listed, the aggressors are mercenaries paid by the U.S. and its allies to enter and destroy a country in what is then deceptively characterized as a civil war or “people’s uprising”.  There is very disturbing recent evidence, for example, that the U.S. through CIA back channels has been funding ISIS, Al Nusra, as well as other extremely barbarous terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria.

By the way, that money they withhold from your paycheck?  Or that quarterly tax payment you regularly make?  Think about it.  This is where a big chunk of your tax dollars is going.  You’re paying for this.

Does any of this make my point a little more comprehensible?

26,171 bombs . . . funding terrorism . . . innocent civilians murdered . . . all in a days work.

America can say with great pride that what it does, it usually does very well.

When we put our minds to something, we pull out all the stops.

Now we can put cold-blooded killing right up there in the Top 10.

We kill efficiently.  We kill without remorse.  We kill without hesitation.

NOTICE TO THE WORLD . . .

Beware!  We are a nation of relentless savagery!

Then again, a lot of countries already know that.


I’ve said this many times before and I’ll keep saying it until people get it . . .

Peace will not come from the top.  There are too many incentives and rewards in our corrupt corporate kleptocracy to keep the wars going and the wheels of the defense industry churning out more mechanisms of death and destruction.

It is only when we everyday citizens finally have had enough of the carnage, enough of the military waste, enough of the chest-beating imperialism which makes us less safe, enough of the empty rhetoric which claims to embrace the noble virtues but is just more deception in the name of war and imperial conquest, it is only then that America will turn around.

Maybe there are detailed plans out there somewhere to mobilize the good decent citizens of this country.  I haven’t personally seen any.  So here is mine.  Yes, it is outside-the-box, some would say radical, extreme.  But if we are the nation we claim to be in the world and in the eyes of God, isn’t cruelly and senselessly dropping 26,171 bombs on mostly innocent people extreme and radical?

My plan demands very little of us individually.  We don’t have to march on the capital or mount a revolutionary insurrection.  Despite that, it could make all the difference in the future we leave to our children and our children’s children.  All that is really required is that we listen to the voice of reason and stand strong.

At least take a look.  Open your mind up to the possibility of a future without the madness.  Of a future without endless war.  Of a future when our hard-earned tax dollars don’t go to fund the relentless savagery of a military gone mad.

peace-dividend_cover_400x600The Peace Dividend: The Most Controversial Proposal in the History of the World is now available both as an ebook and deluxe paperback at all of the usual outlets . . .

Amazon (Kindle) / US . . . amzn.to/2cpIRfQ
Amazon (Print) / US . . . amzn.to/2cEhnCb
Amazon (Kindle) / UK . . . amzn.to/2cKXFsV
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
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Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/2c3mJsl

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

All boats rise in a rising tide? Really?

The haves want the have-nots to believe sharing wealth is not a zero-sum game.

The mantra:  All boats rise in a rising tide.

But that’s not the way things are working out, eh?  The wealthy get wealthier and the poor get poorer.  Certainly on a planetary scale, with human population increasing globally at about 1.11% annually, there is a rapidly swelling underclass who have no concept, much less any chance of sharing in the vast quantities of goods, services, opportunities, and resources churned out by our great engines of economic and technological development.

The same is also becoming more and more true here in America, with wealth inequality increasing astronomically over the past several decades, vastly accelerating after the crash of 2008 crippled the middle class, further sunk the lower class, decimated savings and home equity, destroyed jobs and job security, and plunged already indebted average citizens into even greater debt. True, the rich did same somewhat of a hit as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, but predictably bounced back with a vengeance. 95% of the wealth generated in the slow but steady economic recovery over the past eight years went to the top 1%. In 2016 alone, the world’s rich elite increased their wealth by $237 billion.

In terms of our boat analogy . . .

I suggest we regular folks buy life jackets.

Because as the luxury liners supported by the subservient ship of state rise to even greater heights of opulence for the already wealthy and privileged, our fragile boats will be swamped in the wake of their showy extravagance and wasteful wanton affluence.

The rich and powerful have never made much of a secret of their disdain for regular folks. But as long as America citizens remain incurably detached from the reality of their lot, when the ravenous kleptocrats of the Trump administration rev up their feeding frenzy beyond anything ever before witnessed in the history of the world, everyday Americans probably won’t have to worry about being put in cages or internment camps — of course, the prisons will be kept bulging in our for-profit prison system but that’s business as usual. In their callous indifference and Machiavellian marginalization of the less fortunate, the wealthy if nothing else are coldly efficient. Extermination by war or disease or relentless grinding poverty are the time-honored and road-tested methods for effortlessly “draining the swamp” of unwanted creatures like you and I.  The wealthy don’t need to ponder and won’t even flinch at the inevitable carnage.  They won’t even notice.  Their evening wear won’t even get soiled or their reputations sullied by the noxious clouds of incinerated souls and destroyed lives, families, communities, and even whole nations, as poverty, war, chaos and human neglect on every front stampedes the unprivileged — the slobbering masses — into the abyss of sociopathic excess.

There are no pangs of conscience for those who don’t have one.

Wealth is a zero-sum game.  That’s true regardless of how much wealth exists in the world. If someone has something, then everyone else does not have it.  We can make more of that something but capitalism — especially its grotesquely virulent current iteration, neoliberal capitalism — is built on want and shortage, thus quite by design there will never be enough of that something for everyone to benefit equitably.  Recent history is all the evidence we need for this: while it’s true that since the dawn of the industrial revolution the engines of progress have mounted bigger piles of everything, it is also apparent that those piles have ended up in fewer hands.

In what may be the most astonishing, outrageous and incomprehensible economic statistic I’ve experienced in my lifetime, Oxfam just released a study of global wealth distribution which offered this gem:  Eight individuals now own as much wealth as the bottom 3.7 billion people on the planet.  Or presented another way:  The top .000000107% of the world population have as much wealth as the bottom 50%.

Under these conditions, as the tide rises a handful of luxurious and unsinkable yachts inch closer to God and millions of sunken hulls rot at even greater depths in the dark void at the bottom.

Does any sane person really think it can continue to go on like this?

Are there enough sane people around to make a difference?

Posted in Banking, Corporatism, Deconstruction, Economics, Political Analysis, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Megaphonics

A lot of people want me to shut up.

They find me annoying, grating, shrill.

Some have even claimed I hate America.

I really have to wonder where these people are coming from.

I’m not claiming any heroics here, certainly not comparing myself to those courageous individuals who spoke out against Nazism or the persecutions in the Soviet Union under Stalin, in Cuba under Batista, in Iran under the Shah, on and on — sadly too many to enumerate here.

But I am saying I share with them a duty, as we all do.  I share with them as do all citizens of any country, to speak out against injustice, to criticize the country to which they belong.  We must all speak out and geography is not pertinent.  Whether one lives inside a country or has by circumstance or choice lives outside, oppression is still oppression.  Tyranny is still tyranny.  Villainy and genocide are still villainy and genocide.

Speaking out to praise or to criticize one’s own country is not just an option, it is a duty.  And the volume of that voice is not to be arbitrarily turned down or turned off.

Each of us is identified with a nation.  We both have the rights and privileges that are conferred by citizenship, and likewise have a stake in what that nation does in our name, hence a responsibility not just to be aware of those activities but to be discerning, and laudatory or critical when necessary.

So I won’t shut up.

On the other hand, there is a difference between caustic damnation and constructive criticism.

I see a lot of the former, little of the latter.

Frankly, it’s getting tedious.

There are a lot of people — apparently some 64% according to the polls — who object to Trump as president and what he represents.

This makes entire sense.  He is objectionable at best, foul and pestilent at worst.

But we have to recognize, it’s not just the man we are at loggerheads with here.  “What he represents” has been in the making for a long time.  Over forty years at least, many would argue much longer.  Maybe it was set in motion from the very beginning of our country, as America was founded by slave-holding elitists who were to one degree or another fearful of mob rule.  ‘Mob rule’ is of course just an ugly euphemism for government by the people — all of the people.

A nation run by an elite few is not a democracy by any stretch.  It is the exact opposite of a democracy.  That those elite few then guilefully brainwash the “mob” into thinking they actually have some say in the decisions which determine the direction of the nation and the future is an insult — a vile and patronizing form of manipulation.

Trump and his crew will attempt to rule by fiat.  As corporate businessmen this is all they know.  They will play the “enlightened patriarch” card the whole way.  Some will go along.  Most — at least 64% — will not and have every right to raise hell.

Recognize that raising hell is but one approach.

How about this?  What if we try raising heaven?

Ha ha ha!  Funny play on words, eh?

Not really. Here’s what it boils down to . . .

2017 and 2018 will present historical opportunities.  We will be presented dramatically and starkly contrasting visions for the future.  People who have never been interested in “politics” will start seriously paying attention, because everything that America allegedly stands for, its most noble and worthy values and dreams for all its citizens, will be under assault.

And it will then come down to this . . .

Certainly we know WHAT WE’RE AGAINST as enlightened progressives.

But more crucially we have to know WHAT WE’RE FOR as enlightened progressives.

It’s time to be decisive, clear, engaging, positive, thorough, meticulous, captivating.

And truly visionary!

Because within the next two years, American citizens will be hungry as never before for a truly genuine, positive and sweeping renewal.

With no irony here’s my take:  There is enormous opportunity which will spring out of the dark days ahead.  I hope we’re ready.  Alert, informed progressives know what’s going on.  The vast majority of the American public does not. They are distracted and misinformed, numb and preoccupied with daily life.  They are not to be vilified for this.  They are victims of a highly organized, well-orchestrated assault on the public consciousness, maybe more accurately, an inducement of a hypnotic public unconsciousness.  Trump is just the most effective recent embodiment of that assault.

Certainly there are some big bumps in the road coming soon.  The crash of the economy is inevitable, accelerated by Trump’s extremely inept and uninformed administration.  The neocons will get their war because some diseases are beyond any medical intervention.

When war and bankruptcy destroys any hope for improvement of living and working conditions under the orange autocrat, there will be at least 160 million new very angry Americans — many who voted for Trump — asking the questions we progressives have been asking ad nauseam for many years.

It will all come to a crescendo.  Progressives MUST BE READY with an agenda presented in the language of everyday Americans — not politico-jargon-speak — but BIG, CLEAR messaging which presents a POSITIVE PROGRESSIVE VISION for America. 

We can do it.  But we have to start now!

When it all starts to crumble, it’ll be too late to be brainstorming and formulating plans.

Posted in Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s a very special time of year!

As is now becoming a tradition, here is my holiday greeting card to all.  It comes from my heart, prompted by hope that we can find harmony and peace in our troubled world.

“Happy New Year!”

It’s a very special time of year
For family and friends holiday cheer
For those no longer with us
We shed a tear
A time to share
A time of feast
A time to care
And pray for peace
A time to give to those
Who have the least

(Chorus)
Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Peace be with us
Happy New Year

This is the time to start anew
Atheist Christian Muslim Jew
To reach within
And find the love inside of you
Discard the old seek out the new
Reject the false embrace the true
To look ahead decide
To bring out the best in you

(Chorus)
Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Peace be with us
Happy New Year

(Chorus – Japanese)
Akemashite
Omedetoo
Peace be with you
Happy New Year

(Chorus)
Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Peace be with you
Happy New Year

May the new year finally bring peace to the world.  May we discover and embrace the understanding needed to live together in genuine and lasting harmony.

Posted in Altruism, Creativity, Music, Spiritual, Video Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making AMERICANS Great Again!

“Make America Great Again!”

Pretty catchy, eh?

But let me be blunt . . . it doesn’t quite cut it.

In fact, lacking just two letters it is entirely wrong!

A wealthy America doesn’t come from a strong dollar, skyrocketing stock market, or how many billionaires it has.

A strong America doesn’t come from how many nuclear-tipped missiles or military bases it has across the globe.

A great America doesn’t magically emerge by stomping from one continent to another as a belligerent bully making every other country cower and kowtow.

As appealing as this facile notion of “American greatness” is, how about some perspective?

Here’s the way I think the meme should go . . .

“Make Americans Great Again!”

Mind you, the idea that every American can be great doesn’t mean every person will be famous, a billionaire, or become president. It does mean that every individual is supported and encouraged to realize their individual greatness.  You can be a great mother or father or sister or brother.  You can be a great teacher or bank clerk or mail deliverer.  You can be a great baseball coach or a great neighbor.  You can be a great friend.

Let’s be honest.  Maybe Americans were never really great.  Certainly, it has had its share of oppressed citizens, victims of racism, exploited underclasses, even desperately poor.  These folks never had a chance to be great on any terms.  The persecuted, disadvantaged and marginalized are forever scrambling, living on the edge of desperation.

But at least at one time most of us shared a belief that there was a potential for greatness in each of us, and we not only promoted that ideal but often actively encouraged it in our places of worship, neighborhoods, communities, schools, and among family and friends.

Values have shifted.  America is now perpetually at war and divided as never before by wealth inequality and class apartheid.

This is both sinister and entirely by design.  Thus . . .

We must rise above the 24/7 deluge of propaganda and manipulative and destructive narratives . . . and reconnect with where our personal strength and power comes from.

This is something we can do individually and personally.  This is how we free ourselves from the mind-numbing and dis-empowering nonsense, the resulting dysfunction and paralysis which has become the new normal.

When I say “mind-numbing and dis-empowering nonsense,” I am putting slogans like ‘Make America Great Again’ right at the top of the list.

Recognize . . .

It is faith in oneself and those significant others which we directly impact in our personal lives, not faith in the destructive power of America’s nuclear arsenal which is empowering.

It is confidence by each and every person in what they do — confidence in themselves — and that what they do will make a difference, that gives clarity and vigor to our individual and collective lives, not some misplaced confidence in leaders who clearly have their own agenda which rarely aligns with that of everyday citizens.

It is the belief held by each individual that he or she is significant and an indispensable member of our society — a belief in oneself — not a knee jerk belief that America is the indispensable nation just because it has declared itself so, which generates aspirations  and the energy and courage to move forward.

National pride is not about flags and military parades.  National pride grows out of the collective sense of self-worth of American citizens, each able to feel that their contribution to their families and communities embraces the personal ideals of a decent and moral life.  Patriotism is the natural result of each and every citizen giving their all to each and every other citizen, starting with their family, friends, and community.

These are the true and enduring sources of American greatness.

America will become great again when Americans are great again.

And crucially . . .

Americans will be great again when the impediments to individual potential are removed, when each person has the opportunity and resources available to them to participate and contribute as full and active citizens in an open, receptive, and appreciative society.

The impediments are certainly obvious:  It’s class division, wealth inequality, racism, and political paralysis, fostered by the ruling elites to maintain their privilege and undermine independence and individual potential. 

The mechanisms are also quite obvious:  The ruling elite uses their pay-for-play puppets in high echelons of government to keep us begging.  This is a proven, time-honored strategy that stretches back to the beginning of recorded history.  And we are again falling for it.

Thus “making America great again” is doomed to failure at the outset.  And any blather about making America great without making Americans great is just more hollow and manipulative sloganeering.

Have we had enough of the jingoism and self-congratulatory hype yet?

Isn’t it time to take our country back?

I think we owe it to ourselves and future generations.

There is no guess work here.  You either have power or you take it.

“Power concedes nothing without a demand.”  –  Frederick Douglas

Let the difficult but infinitely rewarding work begin.

Make AMERICANS great again!


Make no mistake about it.  We have an enormous struggle ahead of us.  But every journey begins with a few single steps.  Every action and all activism begins with ideas.  Here are my ideas for how we begin.

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

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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) / UK . . . amzn.to/2cKXFsV
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Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/2c3mJsl

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

What? Are You Crazy?

1775:  Declare our independence from England?  What?  Are you crazy?

1861:  Free the slaves?  What?  Are you crazy?

1919:  Give women the right to vote?  What?  Are you crazy?

1933:  Form strong labor unions, stand up for workers rights, and demand a livable minimum wage?  What?  Are you crazy?

1934:  Create a national retirement system called Social Security so that every American citizen can retire in basic comfort?  What?  Are you crazy?

1943:  Make the rich pay their fair share by raising the top income tax rate to 94%?  What?  Are you crazy?

1959:  Elect a Catholic as President of the United States?  What?  Are you crazy?

1963:  Outlaw discrimination, guarantee equal rights and protections under the law to African Americans?  What?  Are you crazy?

1968:  Stand up to the government, refuse to fight, and shut down the war in Vietnam?  What?  Are you crazy?

2016:  Require that our elected officials be completely accountable to voters by making them sign legally-binding contracts?  What?  Are you crazy?

2017:  Demand the government refund trillions of dollars of taxpayer money squandered fighting unnecessary wars and buying useless military junk?  What?  Are you crazy?

“So we should sit back and continue to suffer abuse of power by the rich and powerful and their pay-for-play puppets in government?  What?  Are YOU crazy?”


!!!FFTDWD_Cover_200x300Fighting for the Democracy We Deserve was published in 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

 

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) / UK . . . amzn.to/2cKXFsV
Amazon (Kindle) / Canada . . . amzn.to/2ciZKdl
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 Books, Deconstruction, Democracy, Economics, Political Analysis, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take it to the streets!

March on the capitol!

March in front of the White House!

Everyone loves a good rally or demonstration.

It’s exciting.  Sometimes we even get to see heads busted!

Yep!  Nothing like a whole bunch of people waving hand-drawn signs.

Except these days . . . no one notices.

It used to be the way the “voice” or the “concern” or even the “rage” of the masses could be heard.  We could make those folks at the top of the power pyramid listen to us . . . or else!  Rallies with hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of chanting, marching, yelling, fired up protestors appeared to portend big changes, or at least the potential for them.  These public events — some massive like the Million Man March in Washington DC on October 16, 1995 — represented “people power” and grass-roots democracy in its rawest, perhaps most effective, form.  Or so we believed at the time.

Modern mythology would have it that it was the campus protests of the late 60s and early 70s that stopped the Vietnam War.  That feminists burning their bras ushered in the era of equal rights for women.  That the Civil Rights marches beginning with Martin Luther King Jr. leading historic protest marches in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama created critical momentum for historic changes in civil rights laws and an end to persecution of African-Americans.  Even going back to the 30s, we credit demonstrations coupled with various other forms of political and personal activism, with monumental breakthroughs in the improvement of wages, job security and working conditions.

How important these highly visible street demonstrations were to ultimately changing the landscape of America is debatable.

The durability of their effects is not.  Everything went forward, then went in reverse.

Yes, things changed.  There were positive developments which came out of street protests.

But look at the state of things now!

The labor union movement has been all but destroyed.  Wages have been stagnant now for decades.  Union membership is pathetically low.  Worker benefits are being slashed.  Job security is measured in weeks, not years.

Yes, we’re out of Vietnam but we’re currently engaged in six other wars, have spread our military footprint to 147 nations with over 900 bases, have specials operations and proxy fighters in Africa, Asia, South America — everywhere! — doing under the cloak of secrecy whatever these “invisible” fighters do on behalf of the empire builders, using incidentally your tax dollars to wreak havoc across the globe and increase the threat of terrorism.

The assault on women’s rights is a 360º affair, with the juggernaut against choice ramping up, the struggle for equal pay going down the same road as the struggle for livable wages, a President-elect who is more known for articulating the advantages of pussy-grabbing than anything resembling coherent policies, females more and more rendered as sex objects in every form of media and entertainment.  Patriarchy is healthily ensconced in the agencies of government and the power centers of crony capitalism.

Set-backs in eliminating racism are prominent on many fronts these days.  Muslims are openly vilified, blacks marginalized, refugees of all shades of brown bartered as political pawns.  Racist slurs, vulgar stereotypes, xenophobic tirades, ultra-nationalistic and even White supremacist memes appear regularly with less salient blow back than we’ve seen in sixty years.  With our first African-American president we witnessed the fortunes of the African-American community go backwards.  Obama promised early in his presidency to have an adult conversation on race.  He apparently forgot.  Now we have an openly racist incoming administration, a frightening assembly of socially conservative autocrats, which promises to further divide and polarize a frustrated and angry citizenry.

All of these longstanding challenges and crises certainly were well-represented and each had in some forgotten past their 15 minutes of fame and expression in well-organized and highly visible street protests.  Even more recently, we witnessed the promise of the same in the Ferguson and Black Lives Matter marches.

But let’s bravely confront some new realities and draw some honest conclusions. 

Apparently, even the best attempts at facilitating reform by mass demonstrations might in the short run be effective, but whatever good comes of it will through steady attrition and relentless pressure by the rich and powerful eventually be undone, often leaving us worse off than when we started.

Look at our democracy.  Well . . . you can’t look at our democracy.  It doesn’t exist now.  This is our reward for attempting election cycle after election cycle to make adjustments and incremental improvements in the mechanisms of our electoral process.  We used the accepted, official, approved channels to try to make voter registration more efficient and accessible, make ballot counting more transparent and free of error, allegedly make real choice at the polls pervasive.  What we have is a rigged system where literally millions of citizens are denied their constitutional right to vote, electronic voting machines can be programmed to switch votes and leave no paper trail, and the two major parties taking turns gerrymandering any representative verisimilitude out of our local districts.  As a result, at least for now, our representative democracy is a representative sham.

What can we do?  Protest?  March on our state capitals and Washington DC?

The evidence is unambiguous.  It has recently become obvious that street demonstrations are pretty much a non-starter.  Any attempts at public assembly are so curtailed by police control, protestors are catalogued for future harassment, many are arrested and booked for no better reason than just being there, attempts to document police malfeasance and excessive brutality illegally but no less finally crushed.

Point in case:  Once the “establishment” realized that Occupy Wall Street was gaining serious momentum, it was just a matter of a couple weeks before it was completely taken apart.  The movement was infiltrated by the FBI and local undercover officers, all sorts of new health and safety regulations suddenly popped up, the protesters were intimidated, cleared out, and/or arrested.  This was coordinated from the top and took place nationally in a remarkably well-organized, perfectly-orchestrated eradication of the movement.

The suppression of free speech — the constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of expression and dissent — has been assured by corporate and state control of the media. “Perception management” is the new tool of choice — which is just a euphemism for creating official narratives which bear no relation to actual events but serve the purposes of the ruling class.  The latest assault has taken the form of a neo-McCarthyism, the heavy-handed maligning of dissenting views as fake news and smearing non-establishment journalists and protestors as anti-American thugs, just tools and agents of foreign governments.

The predictable result is that when people get out in the streets to make their voices heard, either they get no media coverage, or they are vilified as anti-patriotic, stray members of a lunatic fringe, or threats to national security.

Even one of the self-identified founders of Occupy Wall Street, Micah White, in a recent interview characterized the use of mass demonstrations as now being largely ineffective.

So what can we do?

Let me propose something which on the surface sounds ludicrous but I believe holds the key to our success.

We need to hide in plain sight!

No, I’m not joking.  In future articles, I’ll explain in detail exactly what I mean.  For now, here’s a preview of what I’m suggesting . . .

The corporate state now keeps us in check by perpetuating two illusions:  1) We are free, even encouraged to offer input into the system through a number of established channels; and 2) we ultimately express our will and affect the direction of the country by voting.

Thus, we can organize petitions because the powers will just ignore them.

We can conduct opinion polls because they can just discredit and ignore them.

We can organize community groups because that will keep us busy and distracted.

We can vote because ultimately the elite intend to install their own puppets anyway.

Fine!  If in order to prevent an insurrection and real revolution, the rich and powerful wish to continue promoting the myths that we are self-governing, that we have a voice, that our votes count, I say we call their bluff.  They can’t complain if we’re just being good citizens.  They can’t attack us if we appear to be following the rules.

We work within the official channels because . . .

I believe that all of these approved mechanisms can be used to organize the vast majority of Americans into an enormous voting bloc.  We have much more uniting us than dividing us.  But currently we do not control either the conversation, the narrative, or the agenda.  I believe that if we take control of the conversation and narrative, then create — or ‘discover’ might be the operating term — an agenda which aligns with our priorities and needs, not that of the rich and powerful ruling elite, we can mount a soft revolution in this country.

We can do this in plain sight, apparently just being good, obedient citizens.

This will require some creative thinking, thorough planning, and rigorous discipline.

We will definitely need to think way outside the box.  But trust me . . . it can be done!

What we’ve been doing thus far, street demonstrations being now high on the list, is not working.  Time for fresh thinking, exciting new tactics, innovative new strategies.


For a preview of where I’m heading with this:

!!!FFTDWD_Cover_200x300Fighting for the Democracy We Deserve was published in 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

 

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) / UK . . . amzn.to/2cKXFsV
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, Political Analysis, Revolution, Social Commentary, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Red White and Blue Color Revolution

Orange . . . Rose . . . Purple . . . Yellow . . . Saffron . . . Green . . .

The West, with of course America itself in the lead, loves color revolutions!

I say:  Game on!  Let’s go for it.

But instead of another color revolution posing as a victory for democracy but which in reality is more colonial subjugation by the Greater American Empire, let’s have a color revolution that will really make a difference.  Let’s install democracy in a country now truly desperate for real citizen empowerment and the vast saving graces of representative government, transparency, freedom of the press, respect for human rights — you know the list, since its trumpeted 24/7 by our propaganda machinery, whether these inspiring and noble ideals have any basis in reality or not.

Yes, we’ll call this one:  The Red White and Blue Color Revolution!

It will be regime change, of course, because that’s what color revolutions are all about.

But this one will take place in Washington DC, putative center of the Universe, the grand “decider” when it comes to all things global, the bright beacon of hope and freedom and enlightened leadership.

If it isn’t already obvious, U.S. citizens now live in a police state under the oppressive and ruthless rule of an authoritarian oligarchic elite.  Everyday citizens have no voice in their government, their most vital constitutionally-guaranteed rights have been nullified, their tax dollars are being used in service to a kleptocratic cartel of corporate/banking/energy industry/Wall Street/military-industrial-government-complex insiders, they are under constant surveillance by a sprawling Stasi-like security state.  Anything resembling basic social services are under siege and being slashed in the name of austerity, and promoting the general welfare as chartered by the Constitution is dismissed as socialist daydreaming. Our essential infrastructure is crumbling, the result of gross indifference and neglect.  The quality of our air, drinking water, schools, communities, even our daily life, continue their steady decline. While the rich immerse themselves in greater opulence and grandeur at the banquet table, the rest of us dumpster dive for what scraps we can scavenge in the alley in back.  They snidely reassure us:  “Buy a lottery ticket! You might win.”

So what about our elections?  How is hope and change holding up in the voting booth?

The simple truth is that the dismal array of prospects we are now forced to select from to “represent us” in their official capacities shows no prospect for any of this turning around.  Choice at the polls is an illusion.  It’s always between one corporate lapdog and another corporate lapdog, regardless of party affiliation.

This is intentional.  The major party duopoly is configured to maintain the status quo.

Those in power intend to stay in power and use that power to enrich themselves and their wealthy benefactors who will use their wealth to keep their minions in positions of power.  It’s an unforgiving closed-loop feedback system, the political engine of crony capitalism.

It keeps “them” in and “you and I” out.

There is only on solution . . .

Regime change in Washington DC.

Translation:  Replacing every elected representative who does not guarantee absolute, non-negotiable, unambiguous loyalty and service to those who elect him or her to office.

The Red White and Blue Color Revolution!

I’m dead serious.  Because America is in dead serious trouble.

We need a clean sweep.  We’ll “drain the swamp” . . . for real this time!

Let’s not fool ourselves any longer.  Anything less will doom America to further rapacious exploitation, and consign Americans to total enslavement under ruthless totalitarianism:  One nation under God . . . by the rich and for the rich.

As revolutions go, they can be peaceful or violent, responsible or bloody.

That will not be our choice to make.  It’ll be up to those in power.

Either they’ll go quietly, respectful of the democratic will of the people.

Or . . .

 

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Politics of Panic and Puerile Propaganda

Desperation creates a sickening stench.

At least that seems to be the case with dying empires.

As the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post become more and more indistinguishable from puerile and poisonous publications like the National Inquirer, Daily News, Globe, and Weekly World News, we see the symptoms of a nation whose auto-immune system has stopped working, and no barriers any longer stand in the way of fantastic lies and the opportunistic diseases of exceptionalist self-absorption and kleptocratic abuse. 

Much of what claims to be news puts spectacle and rumor ahead of fact and truth-telling.

Every day I scan the pages and websites of main stream media and nowhere can I find a discussion of truly critical issues, much less a serious attempt to address them with cogent, creative, promising solutions.

Yet, who am I to decide what is said and written.  Am I to tell a dying man that I find his death rattle annoying and counter-productive?

Having accepted the irrelevancy of my own opinion of the national conversation, we are still looking at a total retreat from journalistic integrity, an abandonment of responsibility vital to our survival as a nation, in fact, a complete surrender and servility to self-serving, corrupt leadership which acknowledges no allegiance or debt to those who put them into office, and driven by panic and desperation can only make excuses and offer distractions for its failure to serve the real interests of the country. 

There is no other verdict any sane, aware, concerned person can come to.

The rest of the world seems to have our number.  The U.S. pretends to be in charge but more and more we see one nation after another turning away.  And apparently citizens across our once-great country — regardless of whether they voted for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders or Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, or just stayed home out of disgust — will be the last to know that the U.S. is no longer a functioning democracy and has been completely taken over by fierce, ruthless, elitist, self-serving, corporate autocrats, and more fatefully we are being simultaneously prepared for major economic collapse and a global war which carries the ominous risk of extinction for the human race.

Moreover, the planet itself each day stands in silent but immutable judgment.

The Arctic is in crisis, evidence of catastrophic global heating.  The oceans are on their way to becoming vast sea creature graveyards.  Scientists have now concluded we are in the middle of another mass species extinction.  The world we now inhabit will go away and eventually become uninhabitable, both for humans and much of the life on the planet which we now take for granted.

Pathological levels of hubris, demagoguery, and megalomania have the major nations on hair-trigger alert, with the nuclear destructive power to destroy the world 25 to 50 times over, just a launch button away.  Most of this animosity stems from America’s inability to accept its place as one of a community of nations.  We will run things our way or destroy the entire world in a colossal temper tantrum.

With existential crises of an unprecedented and truly apocalyptic scale . . . let’s talk about hacking by the Russians.  Let’s talk about Trump’s potty mouth and dicey business deals.  Let’s form two massive groups — die-hard Hillary Clinton supporters and President-elect Donald Trump supporters — face off and scream at one another.  Let’s talk about Trump’s rumored man-love of Vladimir Putin and his pussy-grabbing — apparently he’s bisexual, since he can swing both ways.  Let’s spread the word!  After all . . .

Someone told someone else that when Putin and Trump aren’t butt-fucking, they’re scheming to take down the greatest country in the world.  Just as bad, when Hillary isn’t spreading state secrets across the world wide web like viral mannequin challenges, she’s running a child sex slave ring out of a DC pizzeria, to try to make a buck, while of course supplying fresh nubile flesh for Bill’s pedophilia parties.  We know this story is true, which is a big part of the reason many people didn’t vote for her, because someone mentioned it to Alex Jones and he subsequently devoted a lot of time to it on his show.  I love Alex’s voice, don’t you?

Of course, our whole electoral system is in crisis.  THANKS TO THE DAMN RUSSIANS!  Seventeen intel agencies told someone anonymously — or maybe someone told us that 17 intel agencies told them — the idea of hacking our elections is consistent with recognized priorities of Russia.  We don’t know which agencies suggested this.  It’s hard to know because at my last count there were 1,271 government organizations responsible for national security.  Out of these, 500 could easily be considered “intel agencies”.  Hmm . . . 17 out of 500.  That seems odd, eh?  Whatever.  Those Russians are always up to no good.  Especially the Bolshoi Ballet and Tchaikovsky.  And Tolstoy!

Then there’s the whole Electoral College mess.  Hard to believe that we didn’t notice.  But apparently the electoral college’s potential to not represent the express will of the voting public — sometimes referred to by the rich and powerful elite who occasionally take a break from plundering the Treasury and devising more effective means of maintaining full control over the machinery of government and even our pathetic personal lives to elbow each other in the ribs and snicker about the “slobbering masses” — has been secreted in Article II of our venerated Constitution now for over 227 years.  Sure, they’ll claim it was there the whole time.  But they put it in Article II, and let’s face it, most of us never got past reading the Preamble, much less Article I.  Anyway, better late than never.  Now we know that whether you love him or hate him, Trump was right!  Yes, the system is rigged!  Therefore it’s time for some real effective action.  Let’s start a petition!  No way can let that pussy-grabbing scumbag be president over some technicality in the Constitution probably put in there by the slimy Russians.  We should have our first female president, who despite having ovaries and a pussy — which Trump probably tried to grab! — is tough as nails and will hit the ground running by starting World War III with either Iran, Russia, or China.  Maybe all three!  Talk about macho!

Granted, a lot of this seems to miss the big picture questions, which are . . .

Why did we have to choose only between Hillary and Donald?

Or . . .

Why is it no matter who we elect, everything just gets worse?

Or . . .

What’s the point of representative government if the people we elect don’t represent us?

Or . . .

How can it be called choice when both of the two major political parties just put people up for election who serve the interests of the wealthy, who promote war, who can’t find it in their hearts or in our national budget to provide the basic services and necessities which many other nations across the globe take for granted?

Then again . . .

Those kinds of questions are really really difficult.

Solving those problems requires radical reform and profound systemic changes.

It would be very embarrassing to admit to the world that our democracy is in big trouble.

Addressing those challenges takes a lot of hard work and time which most of us don’t have.

Having a government which serves everyday citizens is sure to piss off the Koch brothers!

Isn’t it more convenient to ask questions which are more likely to get answered?

Like . . . is or was Dick Cheney ever a robot?

You know, folks, I suspected something like this all along.  I even wrote a blog about it.

Deep-State Doppelgängers

See?  I’m on top of the news!

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Democracy, Journalism, Political Analysis, Satire, Social Commentary, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment