Posts Tagged ‘citizens’

LIBERTY

March 7, 2010

Powerful and emotional vision of the future that looks uncannily like our present. A masterwork. Reproduction of public domain World War I Liberty Bond advertising poster.

OBAMA SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT:

It occurs to me – in a Homer Simpson “Doh!” moment – after a career in public process, facilitating, negotiating and mediating citizen concerns, that Obama is NOT “wimpy” or a “wuss.”  He’s a FACILITATOR, a COMMUNITY ORGANIZER. He took us completely through a model facilitation process on health care – in the model, the facilitator has no opinion and remains neutral (like a combination referee, coach), but guides the group toward a collective decision. Without describing a full process, it will:

  • Identify all potential stakeholders;
  • Allow time for getting acquainted;
  • “Storm” – settle personalities and emotions, and vent “noise” that impairs effective communication;
  • “Norm”-  get down to business (discuss and invent) – the process becomes “reality” rather than “ideologically” driven; and
  • Facilitate the decision.  Usually a vote – used when consent is not general – to adopt and implement the solution – majority rules. At this juncture, everyone (theoretically) who has taken ownership of the solution will support it.  Of course, there are always naysayers and a minority report, perhaps Republican, religionist, corporatist, and/or people in funny hats.

Obama hasn’t strayed from the model one jot, and if I’m right, he is one of the greatest facilitators I have ever seen in my life.  Hallelujah.

Tsun Tsu’s Art of War is about the strategy of indirection; one appears where the enemy is not, and so on. The best general is the one whose hand is unseen, who triumphs without a physical battle, who wins without destroying the enemy or the country, but wins the war conclusively.

Obama isn’t just sitting in that Whitehouse.

Per Tsun Tsu, Obama resisted the call for blood revenge on the retreating Republican Party of George W. Bush.  Per Tsun Tsu, he withdrew pressure from the troubled area, and got a breathing space to tackle more pressing matters of national survival.

As clever and worldly as that is, George W. Bush took down every single thing he ever touched: oil company, pro-football team; Texas (he cut taxes for the rich and bankrupted the state); and our national treasury.  He even ruined the Republican Party!  He’s not just a takedown artist, he’s a corporate raider and a sociopath akin to Ted Bundy, with a whole lot more blood on his hands.  Yet, he gets by with that little shuck and jive he does before he runs away.

“Georgie Porgie, puddin’ and pie,

kissed the girls and made them cry,

but when the boys came out to play,

Georgie Porgie ran away!”

Alan Greenspan used to run a lot too.  News clips show him, shoulders hunched, eyes furtive, out-running reporters and ducking into doorways. We must beware of stooped men burrowing into our government.  They know they’re up to mischief, they act guilty; they can also hardly believe we’re letting them do what they are doing, right in front of our eyes, right out in public! 

There oughta be a law, but the nation really needs a reckoning.

CONCLUSION LACKING:

While Obama led us through the process, there is yet to be a conclusion.  What are the results of the exercise?  The Pen – a global literary committee protecting free expression – has an  opinion worth considering.  Our facilitator may have led us to a foregone conclusion; one corporatist insurance CEOs wanted all along.  It happens that ardent faith in a cause makes one more easily manipulated by the unscrupulous.  Here’s an inside look.  Action links are included in the article, which is posted here verbatim:

Democratic Party’s Plan To THROW The Next Couple Elections.

Facing reality is a tough job but somebody’s got to do it. And we foretell for you the events of the future NOT because we want them to happen, but to get you to act to keep them from happening. But to do that you need an action page, so here it is.

Put The Public Option Up For A Vote: http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1038.php

And now we will explain why this action page is so critical. To understand the current political dynamic, first you must understand that the Democrats are PLANNING on losing the next couple election cycles. UNTIL you understand that, the events to unfold in the next couple years (unless you act to derail them) will make no sense to you.

You don’t have to believe us. Just listen to the way the Democrats themselves are talking. Nancy Pelosi concedes that they will likely suffer substantial losses in the House come November, though she still will not admit that they will lose their majority in the next round. Barack Obama says doesn’t “know” how his ever more determined push of the universally despised Senate health care scam will play politically. He doesn’t know??? Was the loss of the eternally Democratic senate seat in Massachusetts not enough of a wake up call?

Their original plan, which we told you about no later than last September (and we can point you to our published article at the time to prove it), was to lull the liberal/progressive base into thinking a “public option” was some kind of mumbling substitute for a single payer reform system (that would have represented REAL change), with the INTENTION of throwing even that option over the side before final passage. We saw it all coming, and we tried to warn you how important it was to keep speaking out to demand better.

For the corporate special interests controlling the whole legislative process (but only in the absence of your voices of course) this was a heads they win, tails the people lose, proposition. By getting the Democrats to squander their mandate and political capital for actual change, by getting them to meekly abandon their professed principles in favor of a bill that would benefit as a bottom line the insurance corporations only, the people en masse would justifiably conclude that the Democrats had completely betrayed them. And the Republicans, who by the tactic of enfeeblement of government in fact just empower the same ultimate corporate agenda, even as disliked as they are themselves, would be swept back into office in the next election. Net result … reform and change discredited, hopes dashed, defeatism rules, the corporations win again, one grand circular tag team.

That was the MASTER plan. But then it hit a bump in the road in Massachusetts. For you see, Scott Brown was not SUPPOSED to win. What he was supposed to do was to stir the pot of public anger as a prelude to November, to build a record of opposition, to fire a shot across the public bow of the Democrats, but he was not supposed to actually hit anything. It was strategically premature. Because having lost their shaky super majority, depending even as it was on regressive bad cops like Nelson and Lieberman, the Democrats could then no longer just waltz the fatally compromised health care bill through with a unilateral conference committee.

What to do? What were the corporate fascists to do? Now keep in mind that the EXCUSE the Democrats had been giving all along to their own base, as to why not only single payer, but in the end even a feeble public option, had to be taken off the table, was that they could not muster a full 60 votes for that in the Senate, that they could only manage something like 53-56. But now suddenly, the only way to force this destined to be hated bill through was have the Democrats in the House bend over for the worst case Senate bill as it was, and clench their noses long enough to pull some kind of corrective reconciliation shenanigans that would only require 51 votes. Why, the people would ask themselves, can’t we at least have a public option, since we were trying to get Congress to use reconciliation to make THAT happen all along?

And the inescapable answer is … that was not the plan. Suddenly people like Senator Rockefeller, who had PRETENDED to be for a public option before, dramatically reversed their position. Suddenly people like Senator Harkin, who declared himself to be at heart a “single payer guy” live on TV with Ed Shultz just the other day, would in the next breath not even ADMIT that he would support a public option IF a vote for it came up. Suddenly, people who were all for the public option when their vote did NOT count became equivocal, or against it, when they COULD possibly cast the deciding vote.

No, the plan was for the Democrats to pass a bill that would be so despised that they would be swept out of power again, that would cost them even their simple majorities. That was the PLAN. That was the plan of the corporations all along. There has never been any other plan. And that REMAINS the corporate plan with what can only be described as an obstinate and renewed determination.

Now, it would be one thing if Barack Obama and the Democratic party “leadership” were going to the wall for what the PEOPLE want. But they are not. They are bracing to go to the wall for what the corporations want. As perverse as George Bush was, at least he always had his most dedicated and delusional core base on his side when he thumbed his nose at the rest of us. The exact opposite is the case here. Barack Obama is standing in diametric opposition to his own base, and willfully so, displaying all the leadership qualities of a bull in a bull fight.

We can read from the last 25 messages function of our own action pages, just as you can. It breaks our heart to read people talking about how they worked so hard for Obama and now feel so betrayed. It breaks our heart to read independents write that they were willing to give the Democrats a chance, but will never vote for a Democrat again. It breaks our heart to read people declaring that they will never even turn out to vote again, for anyone. Because this is all nothing but surrender talk. But we fight on undeterred, even with our broken heart.

Put The Public Option Up For A Vote: http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1038.php

And we tell you now, that if this health care bill is rammed through without at least a semblance of a public option in it, the one we were promised at a MINIMUM, there will be massive hemorrhaging at the polls come November. The American people are out there right now asking themselves, “Was Massachusetts not enough … how big a 2×4 will we have to hit these mules in the head with before they finally get it?” The Republicans will not need to talk about any other issue to campaign on. They will get a total pass on a secret agenda that is, if anything, in every respect more hostile to the real public policy interests of the people whose anger they will arouse.

And if the Democrats DON’T lose their majorities in a single election, guess what? Same rallying war cry for 2012, “Got to vote out more Democrats so we can repeal the hated bill, including getting a getting a president who will sign the repeal bill.” Try to tell us you don’t hear it happening already. Even if the Democrats don’t lose their majorities in 2010, they will be so reduced that they will not be able to accomplish anything in the next two years, not that they have been able to accomplish anything with the majorities they had, meaning nothing to run on in 2012 either. Of course the latest promise never meant to be honored is that the Democrats will fight for a public option LATER. But if they can’t muster the votes to do it now, with the majorities they have now, only the most terminally gullible would believe they could do it with fewer votes in the future, even if they actually wanted to, which they do NOT!

And if there is a historic landslide in November and both houses of Congress go Republican, guess what the first bill from the new Congress will be … repeal the health care bill. And guess what happens if Obama tries to veto it, or the Democrats try to filibuster (after passing it on 51 votes in the first place)? In short, Obama becomes an instant lame duck, the people will be hell bent on getting rid of him too, and the entire Democratic party is just a dead man walking. Either way, pushing this bill now avails nothing, since it WILL be repealed before it ever goes into meaningful effect.

And when the repeal bill does become law there will be people celebrating and dancing in the streets, not even realizing that they are just dancing on their own graves. No pack of lemmings have ever hurtled so foolishly to their own demise as this Democratic Congress. No pod of whales have ever beached themselves so senselessly. We are talking about the biggest act of deliberate mass suicide in the history of the animal kingdom.

UNLESS, and we would concede that this is a big unless, we can somehow get enough people to speak out to DEMAND a vote on a public option, and not just the weak public option passed by the House, but instead the proposed Medicare expansion to 55 from December quashed putatively by Lieberman alone, and additionally for an option for ANYONE to buy in to Medicare, for the PURPOSE of calling the Democrats out, to at least demand something better. Democratic members of Congress are under corporate orders (including direct from the White House and being cajoled) to take a dive. The only thing that can countermand that order are your voices speaking out. Your voices … if you will use them while you still can. Please submit the action page now.

Put The Public Option Up For A Vote: http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1038.php .

Or folks can just keep lapping up the diminishingly persuasive happy face emails from the Obama never-ending campaign machine with ever more promises of ponies and rainbows, in which case all will transpire just as we have revealed it.

And here is the Facebook links for the action page further above.

[Facebook] Public Option Vote Action: http://apps.facebook.com/fb_voices/action.php?qnum=pnum1038

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.

Miss Liberty is blinded. Her arms are bound. She can no longer defend herself.  She is a captive of hate and shame.

America's Princess

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HARD LABOR II

February 26, 2010
 
 
CORPORATE GIVEAWAYS:

The federal government spends at least $180 billion per year on corporate tax breaks and handouts – an average of $1500 per taxpayer (not including subsidies from counties and cities, hazardous waste cleanup costs, or limits on corporate liability).  By contrast, as of September 2012, 47.7 million Americans were receiving on average $134.29 per month in food assistance, or $6.4 billion total.

Not many politicians talk about this.  A rare exception is former Labor Secretary Robert Reich who said to the Democratic Leadership Council in November 1995 that people are mad because “we are on the way to becoming a two-tiered society composed of a few winners and a larger group left behind.”  Then, he said, “Since we are committed to moving the disadvantaged from welfare to work, why not target corporate welfare as well?”

The White House quickly distanced itself from Reich’s speech, but activists of all kinds picked it up: Perot’s United We Stand-America made it a major target of angry-middle groups; the right-wing Heritage Foundation and libertarian Cato Institute joined Ralph Nader to present a list of corporate pork barrel reforms.  Yet, neither Congress nor the White House makes much of corporate giveaways in budget-balancing plans.

What are the giveaways?  The active variety includes agribusiness, military contractor subsidies, loan guarantees, and the bailout of the S&Ls, and computer databases.  The rights to lumber and minerals on federal lands are routinely granted for $5 per acre, making the United States the only country in the world that virtually gives away its depletable natural resources!  Drugs developed with taxpayer money are routinely given to drug companies for monopoly marketing with no restraint on price, or royalties returned to the people.  The major television networks get free broadcast licenses with minimal public responsibility or obligation.

Passive corporate giveaways come in the form of tax breaks and loopholes.  Private individuals pay taxes at higher rates than corporations.  The investment tax credit designed to increase economic activity is historically taken as a windfall.  Tax breaks granted to be put back into productive equipment, plants and jobs, are commonly used to buy out other companies, creating no new jobs or wealth.  Subsidies actually debilitate innovation and efficiency.

In the debate over budget deficits, many ask, “How can we take food out of poor kids’ mouths and continue to subsidize the rich?”  Scant legislation has been introduced to rid us of tax loopholes for the rich. There’s been no serious move to initiate cost-benefit analysis of corporate giveaways, in the same way they’ve meticulously reviewed health and safety regulation for years, and assaulted affirmative action and the minimum wage.

One problem is that connections are frequently not made between things that people don’t like and what causes them.  Well-funded corporate lobbies and toadies are too adept at directing people’s anger against government in a massive, daily, Rush Limbaugh-/Lars Larsen-esque hate-your-government drumbeat.  They work to keep the focus away from corporations, which are the dominant institution in our society.

Government has been only a minion, a simply willing agent, for transferring tax dollars to corporate coffers. We are the richest nation in the history of the world and our richest (corporate) citizens behave as if divine providence, rather than selfish market decisions doom the poorest (human) citizens.  However, if the corporate greed issue is connected with people’s deprivation – and we brand-name the greediest corporate kings in the United States – we can turn the tide against the self-interested, compassionless and undemocratic aspects of the corporate institution. Corporations should pay their fair share to the citizens and communities, which enable their success.  That can result in real tax reform, without creating unnecessary hardships for the poor and middle class.

WALL STREET LIES BLAME VICTIMS TO AVOID RESPONSIBILITY FOR FINANCIAL MELTDOWN by Nomi Prins, Wiley Press.

To hear it from the big financial companies, the big crash started when poor people bought homes they couldn’t afford. But that was at most 1% of the problem.  Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Nomi Prins’ new book, It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street.

The Second Great Bank Depression has spawned so many lies, it’s hard to keep track of which is the biggest. Possibly the most irksome class of lies, usually spouted by Wall Street hacks and conservative pundits, is that we’re all victims to a bunch of poor people who bought McMansions, or at least homes they had no business living in. If that was really what this crisis was all about, we could have solved it much more cheaply in a couple of days in late 2008, by simply providing borrowers with additional capital to reduce their loan principals. It would have cost about 3 percent of what the entire bailout wound up costing, with comparatively similar risk.

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/142944/wall_street_lies_blame_victims_to_avoid_responsibility_for_financial_meltdown

ORGANIZED IRRESPONSIBILITY

The Guardian/UK

US DOLLAR SET TO BE ECLIPSED World Bank President Predicts by Heather Stewart

The United States must brace itself for the dollar to be usurped as the world’s reserve currency as American dominance wanes in the wake of the financial crisis, the World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, warned yesterday. United States would be mistaken to take for granted the dollar’s place as the world’s predominant reserve currency, says Zoellick. Speaking ahead of the World Bank/IMF annual meetings in Istanbul, he said it was time for a “responsible globalisation”, in which decision-making was shared between the old powers and developing countries such as China and India.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/09/28-7

The Real News Network

CLEAN COAL IS FICTION says Jessy Tolkan: Washington saying coal industry can be “clean” is pure fiction.

Paul Jay speaks to Jessy Tolkan at the Tides Foundations’ Momentum conference in San Francisco. They speak about Tolkan’s coalition on climate change fighting Obama to establish a moratorium on all coal mining. Tolkan says that Washington’s push for “clean coal” is not enough because the coal industry’s and President Obama’s argument that the production of coal can be clean is “an absolute, 100% lie.” She also says that “the science is clear that if we don’t address coal head on, it’s almost “game over” for the planet.”

http://www.commondreams.org/video/2009/09/28

The New York Times

CASSANDRAS OF CLIMATE by Paul Krugman

Every once in a while I feel despair over the fate of the planet. If you’ve been following climate science, you know what I mean: the sense that we’re hurtling toward catastrophe but nobody wants to hear about it or do anything to avert it.

And here’s the thing: I’m not engaging in hyperbole. These days, dire warnings aren’t the delusional raving of cranks. They’re what come out of the most widely respected climate models, devised by the leading researchers. The prognosis for the planet has gotten much, much worse in just the last few years.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/09/28-3

ENVIRONMENT-POPULATION JUMBOPAK

POLLUTER BORN EVERY MINUTE

gonefishin'

Donna Edwards’ No Corporate Monopoly of Elections Amendment by John Nichols February 4, 2010 by The Nation

Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards turned to Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis for guidance in framing the Constitutional amendment she proposed Tuesday as the right and necessary response to the decision by Chief Justice John Roberts and a high court majority to abandon law and precedent with the purpose of permitting corporations to dominate the political discourse.

Brandeis knew that giving corporations monopoly power over our economic life or our politics would be deadly to democracy.

“The ruling reached by the Roberts’ Court overturned decades of legal precedent by allowing corporations unfettered spending in our political campaigns. Another law will not rectify this disastrous decision,” Edwards said Tuesday. “A Constitutional Amendment is necessary to undo what this Court has done. Justice Brandeis got it right: ‘We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.’ It is time we remove corporate influence from our policies and our politics. We cannot allow corporations to dominate our elections, to do so would be both undemocratic and unfair to ordinary citizens.”

Edwards explains the amendment in a powerful video

Edwards does not stand alone. In addition to an array of public interest groups including Public Citizen, Voter Action, The Center for Corporate Policy and the American Independent Business Alliance, the congresswoman’s proposed amendment is being backed by House Judiciary Committee chair John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who is the dean of civil libertarians in Congress.

Here is the text of the legislation proposed by Edwards and Conyers:

JOINT RESOLUTION:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

‘‘ARTICLE—

‘‘SECTION 1. The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds for political speech by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity.

‘‘SECTION 2. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.’

Edwards and Conyers may soon have a Senate sponsor for their amendment proposal.

Senator Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who chairs the Constitution subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee declared: “As legislators, we have a duty to carefully consider the constitutional questions raised by legislation.  I urge you to do your duty but not be dissuaded from acting by fear of the Court. This terrible decision deserves as robust a response as possible. Nothing less than the future of our democracy is at stake.”  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/02/04 

“He was the biggest asshole at Goldman Sachs!”

IT AIN’T OVER

December 16, 2009

Citizen Paine

VIDEO: Howard Dean Tells Dems to Kill Senate Health-Care Bill by AlterNet Staff, AlterNet.

With no public option and no Medicare buy-in, the Senate bill is not worth voting for, the former DNC chairman tells “Countdown.” Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean would rather see no health-care bill than a bad one. So he tells MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.

Are Americans a Broken People? Why We’ve Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression By Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet.

A psychologist asks: Have consumerism, suburbanization and a malevolent corporate-government partnership so beaten us down that we no longer have the will to save ourselves?

Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not “set them free” but instead further demoralize them? Has such demoralization happened in the United States? Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further? What forces have created a demoralized, passive, discouraged U.S. population? Can anything be done to turn this around?

Yes. It is called the “abuse syndrome.” Abusive pimps, spouses, bosses, corporations, and governments stay in control [by shoving] lies, emotional and physical abuses, and injustices in their victims’ faces, and when victims are afraid to exit from these relationships, they get weaker.

Does knowing the truth of their abuse set people free [from] abuse syndromes?

No. The truth of their passive submission to humiliating oppression is more than embarrassing; it can feel shameful — and there is nothing more painful. It is not likely that the truth of humiliating oppression [will] energize constructive actions.

Has such demoralization happened in the U.S.?

In the United States, 47 million people are without health insurance, many millions more are underinsured or a job layoff away from losing coverage. Despite the sellout by their elected officials to the insurance industry, there is no outpouring of millions of U.S. citizens protesting this betrayal.  And, the majority of Americans oppose U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the taxpayer bailout of the financial industry, yet only a handful has protested.

[In] the 2000 U.S. presidential election the Florida Supreme Court’s order for a recount of the disputed Florida vote was overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in a politicized 5-4 decision.  Justice John Paul Stevens remarked: “…the identity of the [loser] of this year’s presidential election…is perfectly clear. It is the nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.” Even this provoked few demonstrators.

When people become broken, they cannot act on truths of injustice. Furthermore, …truths about how they have been victimized can lead to shame about [allowing] it, …[and make them] even more psychologically broken.

U.S. citizens do not actively protest obvious injustices [because]…they feel helpless to effect change. The more we don’t act, the weaker we get [and]… move to shut-down mode and escape strategies such as depression, substance abuse, …which further keep us from acting. This is the vicious cycle of all abuse syndromes.

Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further?

Maybe.

Shortly before the 2000 U.S. presidential election, George W. Bush [joked] to a wealthy group, “What a crowd tonight: the haves and the haves-more. Some people call you the elite; I call you my base.” Yet, …citizens who had come to despise Bush and his arrogance remained passive in the face of the 2000 non-democratic presidential elections.  Perhaps the “political genius” of the Bush-Cheney regime was in their full realization that Americans were so broken that the regime could get away with damn near anything… [Even slamming] a boot on their faces.

What forces have created a demoralized, passive, discouraged U.S. population?

The U.S. government-corporate partnership has used its share of guns and terror to break Native Americans, labor union organizers, and other dissidents and activists. But today, most U.S. citizens are broken by financial fears.

The U.S. population is increasingly broken by the social isolation created by corporate-governmental policies. A 2006 American Sociological Review study (“Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades”) reported that, in 2004, 25 percent of Americans did not have a single confidant. Social connectedness is disappearing in virtually every aspect of U.S. life. There has been a significant decrease in face-to-face contact with neighbors and friends due to suburbanization, commuting, electronic entertainment, time and money pressures and other variables created by governmental-corporate policies. Union and other ways that people support each other to resist oppression also decreased.

We are also broken by a corporate-government partnership that has [taken] control [of] basic necessities of life, including our food supply. We are broken by socializing institutions that alienate us from our basic humanity. A few examples:

Schools and Universities: Do most schools teach young people to be action-oriented — or to be passive? Do most schools teach young people that they can affect their surroundings — or not to bother? Do schools provide examples of democratic institutions — or examples of authoritarian ones?  School is nothing less than a miniature society: what young people experience in schools is the chief means of creating our future society. Kids learn to comply with authorities for which they often have no respect, and to regurgitate material they often find meaningless. These are great ways of breaking someone.

Mental Health Institutions: Aldous Huxley predicted today’s pharmaceutical society “[I]t seems to me perfectly in the cards,” he said, “that there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude.”  Today, increasing numbers of people in the U.S. who do not comply with authority are being diagnosed with mental illnesses and medicated with psychiatric drugs that make them less pained about their boredom, resentments, and other negative emotions, thus rendering them more compliant and manageable.

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is an increasingly popular diagnosis for children and teenagers [who] “often actively defy or refuse to comply with adult requests or rules,” and “often argue with adults.” A more common reaction to oppressive authorities is passive defiance – e.g., attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Virtually all children diagnosed with ADHD will pay attention to activities that they actually enjoy or have chosen. The “disease” goes away when ADHD-labeled kids are having a good time and in control.

When human beings feel too terrified and broken, they may stage a “passive-aggressive revolution” by getting depressed, staying drunk, and not doing anything — one reason why the Soviet empire crumbled. But, diseasing or medicalizing rebellion and drug “treatments” even weaken this power.

Television: In Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1978), Jerry Mander compiled a list of the “Eight Ideal Conditions for the Flowering of Autocracy,” claiming that television helps create all eight conditions for breaking a population.

(1)   Occupies people so that they don’t know themselves — and what a human being is;

(2)   Separates people from one another;

(3)   Creates sensory deprivation;

(4)   Occupies the mind and fills the brain with prearranged experience and thought;

(5)   Encourages drug use to dampen dissatisfaction (while TV itself produces a drug-like effect, this was compounded in 1997 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration relaxing the rules of prescription-drug advertising);

(6)   Centralizes knowledge and information;

(7)   Eliminates or “museumize” other cultures to eliminate comparisons; and

(8)   Redefines happiness and the meaning of life.

Commercialism of Damn Near Everything: Gross commercialization of spirituality, music, and cinema deadens their capacity to energize rebellion. So now, damn near everything – not just religion – is an “opiate of the masses.”

The primary societal role of U.S. citizens is no longer “citizen” but “consumer.” Citizens know that buying and selling within community strengthens that community and that this strengthens democracy, consumers care only about the best deal. Citizens understand that dependency on an impersonal creditor is a kind of slavery, consumers get excited with credit cards with a temporarily low APR.

Consumerism breaks people by devaluing human connectedness, socializing self-absorption, obliterating self-reliance, alienating people from normal human emotional reactions, and by selling the idea that purchased products — not themselves and their community — are their salvation.

Can anything be done to turn this around?

When people get caught up in humiliating abuse syndromes, more truths about their oppressive humiliations don’t set them free. What sets them free is morale.

What gives people morale? Encouragement. Small victories. Models of courageous behaviors. Anything that helps them break the vicious cycle of pain, shut down, immobilization, shame over immobilization, more pain, and more shut down.

The last people to turn to are mental health professionals. Specifically required talents are a fearlessness around image, spontaneity, and definitely anti-authoritarianism, which are not traits medical or graduate schools encourage.

If you want to feel hopeless, there are a lot of things you could feel hopeless about. If you act on that assumption, then you’re guaranteeing that’ll happen. If you act on the assumption that things can change, maybe they will. The only rational choice, given those alternatives, is to forget pessimism.

A major component of the craft of maintaining morale is not taking the advertised reality too seriously.

An elitist assumption is that people don’t change because they are either ignorant of their problems or ignorant of solutions. An elitist who has never been broken by his or her circumstances does not know that people who have become demoralized do not need analyses and pontifications. They need a shot of morale.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/politics/144529/are_americans_a_broken_people_why_we%27ve_stopped_fighting_back_against_the_forces_of_oppression

SPECIAL BONUS: A Global Philosophy for Successful Living in Eight Aphorisms.

From the BUDDHA: Go forth in joyful participation in the sorrows of the world.

From JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Follow your bliss.

From CHRISTIAN TRADITION: Practice the Golden Rule.

From GHANDI: Act. “Without action there is no result. You may not see the result in your lifetime, but if you do not act, there will be no result at all.”

From JACQUES COUSTEAU: Hope for the best. “I hope for the best, although I can’t say why.”

From TOM PAINE: Use Common Sense. “Reason is the most reliable path to the truth.”

From his holiness the 14th DALI LAMA: “If you want the best idea of how the world was created, don’t pick the best mythology, consult the best science.”

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From FatLemon: “Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t forget to salute the man in the moon.”

LAST THOUGHT:  Don’t get mad, get even.  Fight harder.  Take back the Democratic Party and elect Progressives to all offices in the land.  Continue to fight the oppressive fascist powers.  Bill Hart stood for courtesy, courage, and justice.

HARD LABOR

September 29, 2009
Hard Labor 
 
CORPORATE GIVEAWAYS:

The federal government spent $167 billion in 1994 on corporate tax breaks and handouts – an average of $1400 per taxpayer (not including subsidies from counties and cities, hazardous waste cleanup costs, or limits on corporate liability).  By contrast, the total price tag for Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), food stamps and public housing came to $50 billion, or $400 per taxpayer.

Not many politicians talk about this.  A rare exception is former Labor Secretary Robert Reich who said to the Democratic Leadership Council in November 1995 that people are mad because “we are on the way to becoming a two-tiered society composed of a few winners and a larger group left behind.”  Then, he said, “Since we are committed to moving the disadvantaged from welfare to work, why not target corporate welfare as well?”

The White House quickly distanced itself from Reich’s speech, but activists of all kinds picked it up: Perot’s United We Stand-America made it a major target of angry-middle groups; the right-wing Heritage Foundation and libertarian Cato Institute joined Ralph Nader to present a list of corporate pork barrel reforms.  Yet, neither Congress nor the White House makes much of corporate giveaways in budget-balancing plans.

What are the giveaways?  The active variety includes agribusiness, military contractor subsidies, loan guarantees, and the bailout of the S&Ls, and computer databases.  The rights to lumber and minerals on federal lands are routinely granted for $5 per acre, making the United States the only country in the world that virtually gives away its depletable natural resources!  Drugs developed with taxpayer money are routinely given to drug companies for monopoly marketing with no restraint on price, or royalties returned to the people.  The major television networks get free broadcast licenses with minimal public responsibility or obligation.

Passive corporate giveaways come in the form of tax breaks and loopholes.  Private individuals pay taxes at higher rates than corporations.  The investment tax credit designed to increase economic activity is historically taken as a windfall.  Tax breaks granted to be put back into productive equipment, plants and jobs, are commonly used to buy out other companies, creating no new jobs or wealth.  Subsidies actually debilitate innovation and efficiency.

In the debate over budget deficits, many ask, “How can we take food out of poor kids’ mouths and continue to subsidize the rich?”  Scant legislation has been introduced to rid us of tax loopholes for the rich. There’s been no serious move to initiate cost-benefit analysis of corporate giveaways, in the same way they’ve meticulously reviewed health and safety regulation for years, and assaulted affirmative action and the minimum wage.

One problem is that connections are frequently not made between things that people don’t like and what causes them.  Well-funded corporate lobbies and toadies are too adept at directing people’s anger against government in a massive, daily, Rush Limbaugh-/Lars Larsen-esque hate-your-government drumbeat.  They work to keep the focus away from corporations, which are the dominant institution in our society.

Government has been only a minion, a simply willing agent, for transferring tax dollars to corporate coffers. We are the richest nation in the history of the world and our richest (corporate) citizens behave as if divine providence, rather than selfish market decisions doom the poorest (human) citizens.  However, if the corporate greed issue is connected with people’s deprivation – and we brand-name the greediest corporate kings in the United States – we can turn the tide against the self-interested, compassionless and undemocratic aspects of the corporate institution. Corporations should pay their fair share to the citizens and communities, which enable their success.  That can result in real tax reform, without creating unnecessary hardships for the poor and middle class.

WALL STREET LIES BLAME VICTIMS TO AVOID RESPONSIBILITY FOR FINANCIAL MELTDOWN by Nomi Prins, Wiley Press.

To hear it from the big financial companies, the big crash started when poor people bought homes they couldn’t afford. But that was at most 1% of the problem.  Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Nomi Prins’ new book, It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street.

The Second Great Bank Depression has spawned so many lies, it’s hard to keep track of which is the biggest. Possibly the most irksome class of lies, usually spouted by Wall Street hacks and conservative pundits, is that we’re all victims to a bunch of poor people who bought McMansions, or at least homes they had no business living in. If that was really what this crisis was all about, we could have solved it much more cheaply in a couple of days in late 2008, by simply providing borrowers with additional capital to reduce their loan principals. It would have cost about 3 percent of what the entire bailout wound up costing, with comparatively similar risk.

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/142944/wall_street_lies_blame_victims_to_avoid_responsibility_for_financial_meltdown

ORGANIZED IRRESPONSIBILITY

The Guardian/UK

US DOLLAR SET TO BE ECLIPSED World Bank President Predicts by Heather Stewart

The United States must brace itself for the dollar to be usurped as the world’s reserve currency as American dominance wanes in the wake of the financial crisis, the World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, warned yesterday. United States would be mistaken to take for granted the dollar’s place as the world’s predominant reserve currency, says Zoellick. Speaking ahead of the World Bank/IMF annual meetings in Istanbul, he said it was time for a “responsible globalisation”, in which decision-making was shared between the old powers and developing countries such as China and India.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/09/28-7

The Real News Network

CLEAN COAL IS FICTION says Jessy Tolkan: Washington saying coal industry can be “clean” is pure fiction.

Paul Jay speaks to Jessy Tolkan at the Tides Foundations’ Momentum conference in San Francisco. They speak about Tolkan’s coalition on climate change fighting Obama to establish a moratorium on all coal mining. Tolkan says that Washington’s push for “clean coal” is not enough because the coal industry’s and President Obama’s argument that the production of coal can be clean is “an absolute, 100% lie.” She also says that “the science is clear that if we don’t address coal head on, it’s almost “game over” for the planet.”

http://www.commondreams.org/video/2009/09/28

The New York Times

CASSANDRAS OF CLIMATE by Paul Krugman

Every once in a while I feel despair over the fate of the planet. If you’ve been following climate science, you know what I mean: the sense that we’re hurtling toward catastrophe but nobody wants to hear about it or do anything to avert it.

And here’s the thing: I’m not engaging in hyperbole. These days, dire warnings aren’t the delusional raving of cranks. They’re what come out of the most widely respected climate models, devised by the leading researchers. The prognosis for the planet has gotten much, much worse in just the last few years.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/09/28-3

ENVIRONMENT-POPULATION JUMBOPAK

POLLUTER BORN EVERY MINUTE

gonefishin'