April 30, 2011

Hey Progressives! The DNC is crowd-sourcing. This is a good time to make demands.

So the DNC is polling it's base to see where people's hearts and heads are at.

This is a really good time to make demands of the party. Here's what I wrote in. I encourage you to do likewise by clicking here.


No matter what you do, you will be called a socialist. Which is absurd, given the policies and staff of the Obama administration so far.

But you know what? A majority of Americans think that socialism is a good thing. So why not do socialist things, and win the votes of the majority?

Fight for the following:

* A minimum wage that is indexed to the cost of living

* Single Payer Healthcare

* Universal College Tuition

* Raising income taxes on the richest, and bringing back the inheritance tax.

* Ending the wars and bringing our troops home.

* Tobin Tax on Derivatives trades and hedges and naked short selling

* A new Works Progress Administration, for REAL Green Energy, not baloney like "Clean Coal" which still kills thousands of people during the mining process.

* Gov't loans for people who install solar panels or wind turbines, to be paid back via the difference in energy savings.

* Gov't grants for weatherizing homes- not tax credits (tax credits only go to those who have the money to spend to start with, and the poorest are the ones who most need to weatherize their homes).

* A ban on Mountaintop Removal mining.

* A constitutional amendment ending corporate personhood.

If you fight for this, and ask the people of the USA to elect a congress that will give this platform to you, you will win back the congress in 2012, and hold the white house, by a landslide.


You can do so by clicking here

States the allow Same-Sex Marriage vs States that Allow Marriage between 1st Cousins

h/t to @bytegoddess

Lee Camp: Moment of Clarity-- Is Wall Street set up to reward EVIL?



Lee Camp's moment of Clarity can be found on YouTube here Click thru and subscribe to this raving genius.

April 29, 2011

Lee Camp: Moment of Clarity-- Is a two party system really democracy?

Lee Camp's youtube channel is here.

Cock and Bull: Glenn Beck calls Alabama Tornadoes "God's Plan"



Oh dear lord, yes.

When the real news sucks, you can always make the news up. Maybe take a few quotes from randian regressive pundits that were said about Hurricane Katrina, and use them in a new context.

That's where the Cock and Bull comes in.

The Cock And Bull's YT channel is here.

Elizabeth Warren on the Daily Show: Extended Interview

Part 1:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Elizabeth Warren Extended Interview Pt. 1
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook





Part 2:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Elizabeth Warren Extended Interview Pt. 2
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook






Part 3:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Elizabeth Warren Extended Interview Pt. 3
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

April 28, 2011

Are we at war or not?



Are we at war -- or not?
The reason I ask this is this:

If we are at war, then there must be a pretty good fucking reason that we’re at war. We must be facing an existential threat so large, so well-organized, and so powerful, that it could wipe our entire nation off the map in an instant. If that is the case, then surely, we must be at war. War is something reserved only for the most extreme situations. War is our Tool of last resort. Because we’re America, and we’re a peace-loving nation.

And so, if this threat we’re facing is so massive, and so threatening, then we better get all hands on deck. We need to institute a draft and be at war for real. We need to tax all income at 90% and fund this thing and get it over with. We need every man, woman, and child to be part of the war effort. We need to institute rationing: No more coffee, no more sugar, donate your steel appliances to the war effort, grow a victory garden. Let’s be all in! Let’s win this thing!

But wait-- we’re not facing down any threat like that. There’s no invading army perched on our border. We’re facing down kids throwing rocks, and disgruntled teenagers with no economic future building bombs in their own backyards, who are a far greater threat to our soldiers stationed there, than to our national security.

Less than 1% of Americans serve in the military, and it’s not fair that we should be asking them alone to shoulder the burden of fighting our wars of convenience. Wars that are the pet projects of pencil pushers in DC, with abstract foreign policy agendas.

Some people complain about the constitutionality of these wars-- and they aren’t wars. But I actually don’t really care about the constitutionality of it. That to me, seems like an academic exercise in the face of the fact that people are dying for no goddamned reason.

Yes, while people bicker about the legality (which is important), back in the real world there are people dying for no goddamned reason (which is more important).

I work with so many women whose husbands are serving right now, who are on their umpteenth deployment, who haven’t been around to see their kids grow up. We, the 99% who do not serve, are far too willing to throw other people’s families through meat grinders. We are too willing to let 1% of the population bear all the burdens-- the heartache, the worry, the lost time with their family that they will never get back, the lost limbs, the vivid nightmares that never go away-- while we talk in the abstract about "Supporting the Troops." It's not fucking fair.

So-- are we at war or not? If we are-- let’s institute a draft and be at war for real. If we’re not at war then BRING THEM HOME.

April 27, 2011

Teacher Lindsy Floyd- "It's time to be human"



One of her students said, "You can't be our teacher right now, you have to be a human. You have to make the human decision. This is our future."

And so she made the human decision.

It's small acts of courage like this that build into social movements.

PowerShift storms the Dept of Interior



Environmental activists have heeded the call from 350.org leader Bill McKibben, that in regards to inaction on climate change, "we are playing with fire" and that "widespread civil disobedience" is needed, and law school student cum activist leader Tim DeChristopher, who was there to lead the march into the building, and was heard speaking at the end of the protest:

This action today wasn't put together by any big green group. It wasn't put together by any group that is corporate funded... or that has huge amounts of money. This was put together by small collectives that want a massive change in society. It's important that we keep this movement our own. It's important that we don't sell out to those big green groups that are after corporate money.


This sort of civil disobedience needs to be continuous, long term. Just as during the civil rights movement, where the jails were filled to capacity, every day, and the court system was clogged with minor charges for nonviolent civil disobedience.

KEEP IT UP.

More footage:

LOBBY FOR INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING IN MAINE- MAY 9th!

So Portland Rep, and friend of the show, Diane Russell, just received word that:

A public hearing for your bill, LD 1126 "An Act To Require That the Governor Be Elected by the Ranked-choice Voting Method" has been scheduled for Monday, May 9 2011 1:00PM, Room 437 State House.


So I'm asking you, are you gonna be there to lobby for it?




My interview with Rep Diane Russell:

FREE THE CORPORATIONS!



So there’s been a lot of noise recently about ending corporate personhood.
You can check out Public Citizen’s “Don’t get rolled” campaign for more info, or you can check out MoveToAmend.org.

The idea is, that since the Koch Brothers fought the legal case of Citizen’s United vs the FEC and won, and since the conservative majority on the supreme court said that Corporations should have unlimited free speech, laws limiting corporate influence in our elections that helped to slightly unfuck our elections system, going all the way back to President Teddy Roosevelt, has been overturned.

Now, Move To Amend wants to amend the constitution to state clearly, once and for all, that Corporations are NOT PEOLE. I think that this would be a great step forwards for progress, and an essential one as we move forwards through this next century. If we don’t end corporate personhood, our nation may not be around another century.

But I also think it’s not likely to happen without a hell of a lot more people getting off their ass and making a stink about it at town hall meetings with their congresspeople, challenging their congresspeople- both democrats and republicans- to either support this movement or face primary challengers, to support this movement or face electoral challengers.

But there’s a legalistic approach we can take while that movement is building. TAKE THINGS TO THEIR LOGICAL EXTREME.

Vaclav Havel would often, in his plays, take some nugget of absurdity thrown down my Czechoslovakia’s communist government, and using logic, take that absurdity to it’s logical ends, in which things would break down into surreality. I propose that we do exactly this.

If corporations are people, fine. They’re people. But let’s explore what that really means:
If a corporation is a person, it cannot be owned by anyone. Owning another person is slaveholding, which is specifically banned by the 13th amendment.

Just as we’ve decided that Corporations are protected by the 1st amendment, they must be protected by all the other amendments as well. Like the 13th amendment, which states:

“Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

Why are we allowing law abiding corporations to be sold into slavery? And who is doing this selling? WALL STREET. Every day... well, every weekday, people down on wall street sell shares of ownership in the corporate people we all know and love. Wall Street is nothing but a slave trading pit! It’s really time we put an end to the slave trade once and for all! Close down wall street!

If it’s illegal for a person to own another person, it’s certainly illegal for GE or Verizon to own so many other people. GE owns people like GE Electric, GE Energy, GE engineering, and Verizon owns people like MTV and Comedy Central. It’s time to set all of these slaves free! Nobody can own anybody else! End slavery! Free the corporations!

When executive boards dictate new business plans, spending a corporate person’s money for them, anti-slavery orgs should be suing on behalf of the poor corporation! This is akin to elder abuse! Where did GE sign over it’s power of Attorney to these people to start making financial decisions on his behalf? I want to see GE’s signature on the legal documents giving these people the power of attorney! If GE didn’t sign, then these people are fraudulently managing GE’s finances! It doesn’t matter that they do such a good job that GE actually makes money on it’s taxes. What matters is the LAW. And these people may be acting illegally.
Lastly, there’s the slaveowners themselves. Most CEOs are majority shareholders, I mean slaveowners. And thus they are the most guilty of slaveholding, and should be arrested and jailed.

FREE THE CORPORATIONS!

April 24, 2011

The Citizen's Filibuster by Peaceful Uprising



YES.

There's something magical about this. The idea that the simple act of a few people singing could bring things to a screeching halt. More proof that you don't need bombs or guns.

Art is the most effective tool in our arsenal.

9 young activists interrupted the proceedings in the US House by singing one at a time. As each activist was detained and taken out, another began and Congress was forced to pause their proceedings. They sang the following words to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner:

"Oh why can't you see
It's my life that's at stake
When you sell out our world
You are stealing my future
Can you look in my eyes
As you gamble our lives
When will you stop the lies
So that we can survive?
If you represent me
Not the fossil fuel industry
You must stop wasting time
Chasing your dollar signs
Oh, say will you listen to
Our generation
If you refuse to hear us now
Then we have to shut you down"

April 23, 2011

Texas Wildfire: Cock & Bull World News Update



Thank you very much to the Cock and Bull World News Update for picking up on this story, which I first published here.

*Note: Both the article I published and the Cock and Bull World News Update are parody. If you cannot tell the difference between reality and parody, please see Poe's Law for more details.

Dennis Kucinich running for President in 2007



So Google Video is shutting down, and I've moved the videos over from my Google Video account to my YouTube account. I had the opportunity to re-watch them, and one that stood out was this video that I uploaded (but did not shoot) while I was working for Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign back in 2007.

Listening to this speech, and seeing how Obama has courted Wall Street at the expense of working people, courted big energy companies at the expense of working people, and continued with the policies of spying on the American Public, and created a new policy of claiming the extra-judicial right to assassinate US citizens deemed to be terrorists, I just have to ask-- WHAT THE FUCK?

April 22, 2011

FULL VIDEO of DNC fundraiser singing protest



"White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said later that Obama thought the protest was funny and that it "perked up his morning," CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller tweeted. Knoller, aboard Air Force One with the president, also tweeted that protesters chose the wrong gig for their schtick: Press ground rules at the event called for no TV or radio coverage, only pen and pad."

--via TFD news

Yeah, Mr Knoller, but you forget that we live in the era of iPhones, FlipCams, vimeo, and YouTube, where people can share things with thousands of people via Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. You forgot about that. In fact, if the blogosphere picks this story up and runs with it, you're probably going to broadcast this very YouTube video on the nightly news. Oh cocky mainstream media reporters...

Bernie Sanders' Guide to Corporate Freeloaders

BrokeFix takes LePage to Court



nice.

April 20, 2011

Bill Whittle is a douchebag.*



Ignore that this douchebag* spouting ad hominem attack after ad hominem attack; against the British, Michael Moore, liberals, et al.

Ignore the fact that he calls Michael Moore a hypocrite for being a millionaire who says that millionaires should pay more in taxes. (And why is that hypocritical, exactly? Shouldn't he have MORE right to talk about how much millionaires should pay, being one himself? Seriously, wtf? Is Bill Whittles idea of an un-hypocritical person a poor person defending the rights of the rich to pay nothing in taxes by sheltering their income in offshore tax havens? Clearly logic is not a big part of this guys day-to-day life.)

IGNORE ALL THAT:
The meat of the video is this: In trying to "blow a hole" in Michael Moore's "money hoarder" argument, Bill Whittle proves Moore's point for him. This video illustrates quite well, even with the narrow scope that it presents it's evidence with, that most of the money is in the hands of the super-wealthy. That we're able to make it through 2/3rds of the year on the salaries of a few thousand people alone is striking.

What he leaves out is that right now they aren't paying their fair share. And at the end of his argument, we're still one day short, so the rest of us get stuck with a whopping $40 in annual federal taxes!

Dear me! I've already had $2,000 withheld from my paycheck, and I'll be lucky to make $16,000 this year. I'd gladly pay $40 in federal taxes as opposed to what I pay now. The elephant in the room here, is that since the ultra-rich aren't paying in, the burden of taxation is falling on working people.

And he doesn't even touch the "dark market" shit on wall street- naked shortselling, derivatives trading, etc.

A Tobin tax of 1% applied to these "dark market" trades would raise 1.7 trillion annually.

I'm skeptical of the numbers he has on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Eliminating these wars would reduce our spending every year after we end them from here to infinity, but they are portrayed in this video as being a one-time cost reduction-- which is a misleading error at best, and a deliberative deception at worst. No matter though, because either way, it's bullshit.

If we're spending $170 billion every year on killing people in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our budgeted discretionary pentagon spending is $815 billion, then that leaves an additional $645 billion (that's more than half a trillion) in discretionary pentagon spending we could free up. Keep in mind, this is discretionary spending, not mandated spending for soldier's wages, VA benefits, etc.

What would his little fiscal calendar look like if we shut down all those 737 military bases we have all over the Goddamn planet?

What would it look like if we reduced our nuclear weapon stores by 50%? Between 1940 and 1996, we spent more than 5 trillion on maintaining our nuclear weapons. Just by letting them sit around and making sure that they don't explode on us. And keep in mind, we currently have enough nuclear weapons to replicate Hiroshima 150,000 times over.

The issue here isn't that we want to take everything from the rich. The issue here is that they don't pay taxes, and working people do. If you're rich enough, you can hide your money in tax shelters in the maldives and not pay a goddamn cent.

The issue here is that the richest among us got that way because our society provided them with the means to do so. If they manufactured products, everybody who paid taxes provided them with the means to do so-- electricity, water, sewage, waste disposal, etc-- and if they sold those products, everybody who paid taxes provided them with the means to do so-- we paid for the roads, bridges, and rail-beds that they shipped their products on.

It isn't uncouth to expect that since the wealthiest amongst us became wealthy because of social spending, that they should give back accordingly-- the more wealthy they become, the more they should give back to the society that allowed them to become wealthy. Also, I think we can conclude soundly and firmly, that Bill Whittle is a contemptible douchebag.*

* Not an ad hominem attack-- I've presented solid evidence that this is the case

April 17, 2011

Current.com's Modern Lady on the Wal*Mart Descrimination Case



And on Women's unequal pay:

Tim DeChristopher at PowerShift 2011

Bill McKibben at PowerShift2011

How Socialists Built America

"If universal building codes and health protections for children can be successfully depicted by our debased media as assaults on American values and the rule of law, then the right has already won, no matter what the result is on election day."





by John Nichols
This article is adapted from The “S” Word: A Short History of an American Tradition… Socialism, published in March by Verso.

If there’s one constant in the elite national discourse of the moment, it is the claim that America was founded as a capitalist country and that socialism is a dangerous foreign import that, despite our unwarranted faith in free trade, must be barred at the border. This most conventional “wisdom”—increasingly accepted at least until the recent grassroots mobilizations in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Maine—has held that everything public is inferior to everything private, that corporations are always good and unions always bad, that progressive taxation is inherently evil and that the best economic model is the one that allows the wealthy to gobble up as much of the Republic as they choose before anything trickles down to the great mass of Americans. Rush Limbaugh informs us regularly that proposals to tax people as rich as he is for the purpose of providing healthcare for kids and jobs for the unemployed are “antithetical” to the nation’s original intent and that Barack Obama’s reforms are “destroying this country as it was founded."

When Obama offered tepid proposals to organize a private healthcare system in a more humane manner, Sean Hannity of Fox charged that “the Constitution was shredded, thwarted, the rule of law was passed aside.” Newt Gingrich said the Obama administration was “prepared to fundamentally violate the Constitution” and was playing to the “30 percent of the country [that] really is [in favor of] a left-wing secular socialist system.”

In 2009 Sarah Palin raised similar constitutional concerns, about Obama’s proposal to develop a system of “universal energy building codes” to promote energy efficiency. “Our country could evolve into something that we do not even recognize, certainly that is so far from what the founders of our country had in mind for us,” a gravely concerned Palin informed Hannity, who responded with a one-word question. “Socialism?”

“Well,” she said, “that is where we are headed.”

Actually, it’s not. Palin is wrong about the perils of energy efficiency, and she’s wrong about Obama. The president says he’s not a socialist, and the country’s most outspoken socialists heartily agree. Indeed, the only people who seem to think Obama displays even the slightest social democratic tendency are those who imagine that the very mention of the word “socialism” should inspire a reaction like that of a vampire confronted with the Host.

Unfortunately, Obama may be more frightened by the S-word than Palin. When a New York Times reporter asked the president in March 2009 whether his domestic policies suggested he was a socialist, a relaxed Obama replied, “The answer would be no.” He said he was being criticized simply because he was “making some very tough choices” on the budget. But after he talked with his hyper-cautious counselors, he began to worry. So he called the reporter back and said, “It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question.” Then, as if reading from talking points, Obama declared, “It wasn’t under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks. And it wasn’t on my watch that we passed a massive new entitlement, the prescription drug plan, without a source of funding.

“We’ve actually been operating in a way that has been entirely consistent with free-market principles,” said Obama, who concluded with the kicker, “Some of the same folks who are throwing the word ‘socialist’ around can’t say the same.”

There’s more than a kernel of truth to this statement. Obama really is avoiding consideration of socialist, or even mildly social democratic, responses to the problems that confront him. He took the single-payer option off the table at the start of the healthcare debate, rejecting the approach that in other countries has provided quality care to all citizens at lower cost. His supposedly “socialist” response to the collapse of the auto industry was to give tens of billions in bailout funding to GM and Chrysler, which used the money to lay off thousands of workers and then relocate several dozen plants abroad—an approach about as far as a country can get from the social democratic model of using public investment and industrial policy to promote job creation and community renewal. And when BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil well exploded, threatening the entire Gulf Coast, instead of putting the Army Corps of Engineers and other government agencies in charge of the crisis, Obama left it to the corporation that had lied about the extent of the spill, had made decisions based on its bottom line rather than environmental and human needs, and had failed at even the most basic tasks.

So we should take the president at his word when he says he’s acting on free-market principles. The problem, of course, is that Obama’s rigidity in this regard is leading him to dismiss ideas that are often sounder than private-sector fixes. Borrowing ideas and approaches from socialists would not make Obama any more of a socialist than Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt or Dwight Eisenhower. All these presidential predecessors sampled ideas from Marxist tracts or borrowed from Socialist Party platforms so frequently that the New York Times noted in a 1954 profile the faith of an aging Norman Thomas that he “had made a great contribution in pioneering ideas that have now won the support of both major parties”—ideas like “Social Security, public housing, public power developments, legal protection for collective bargaining and other attributes of the welfare state.” The fact is that many of the men who occupied the Oval Office before Obama knew that implementation of sound socialist or social democratic ideas did not put them at odds with the American experiment or the Constitution.

The point here is not to defend socialism. What we should be defending is history—American history, with its rich and vibrant hues, some of them red. The past should be consulted not merely for anecdotes or factoids but for perspective on the present. Such a perspective empowers Americans who seek a robust debate, one that samples from a broad ideological spectrum—an appropriate endeavor in a country where Tom Paine imagined citizens who, “by casting their eye over a large field, take in likewise a large intellectual circuit, and thus approaching nearer to an acquaintance with the universe, their atmosphere of thought is extended, and their liberality fills a wider space.”

America has always suffered fools who would have us dwindle the debate down to a range of opinions narrow enough to contain the edicts of a potentate, a priest or a plantation boss. But the real history of America tells us that the unique thing about our present situation is that we have suffered the fools so thoroughly that a good many Americans—not just Tea Partisans or Limbaugh Dittoheads but citizens of the great middle—actually take Sarah Palin seriously when she rants that socialism, in the form of building codes, is antithetical to Americanism.

* * *

Palin is not the first of her kind. There’s nothing new about the charge that a president who is guiding “big government” toward projects other than the invasion of distant lands is a socialist. In the spring of 2009, just months after Obama and a new Democratic Congress took office, twenty-three members of the opposition renewed an old project when they proposed that “we the members of the Republican National Committee call on the Democratic Party to be truthful and honest with the American people by acknowledging that they have evolved from a party of tax and spend to a party of tax and nationalize and, therefore, should agree to rename themselves the Democrat Socialist Party.”

Cooler heads prevailed. Sort of. At an emergency meeting of the committee—which traces its history to the first Republican convention in 1856, where followers of French socialist Charles Fourier, Karl Marx’s editor, and their abolitionist comrades initiated the most radical restructuring of political parties in American history—it was suggested that the proposal to impose a new name on the Democrats might make “the Republican party appear trite and overly partisan.” The plan was dropped, but a resolution decrying the “march towards socialism” was passed. Thus, the RNC members now officially “recognize that the Democratic Party is dedicated to restructuring American society along socialist ideals” and that the Democrats have as their “clear and obvious purpose…proposing, passing and implementing socialist programs through federal legislation.”

The Republican Party is currently firmer in its accusation that the Democrats are steering the nation “towards socialism” than it was during Joe McCarthy’s Red Scare of the 1950s, when the senator from Wisconsin was accusing Harry Truman of harboring Communist Party cells in the government. Truman had stirred conservative outrage by arguing that the government had the authority to impose anti-lynching laws on the states and by proposing a national healthcare plan. But what really bugged the Republicans was that Truman, who had been expected to lose in 1948, had not just won the election but restored Democratic control of Congress. To counter this ominous electoral trend, conservative Republicans, led by Ohio Senator Robert Taft, announced in 1950 that their campaign slogan in that year’s Congressional elections would be “Liberty Against Socialism.” They then produced an addendum to their national platform, much of which was devoted to a McCarthyite rant charging that Truman’s Fair Deal “is dictated by a small but powerful group of persons who believe in socialism, who have no concept of the true foundation of American progress, and whose proposals are wholly out of accord with the true interests and real wishes of the workers, farmers and businessmen."

Truman fought back, reminding Republicans that his policies were outlined in the 1948 Democratic platform, which had proven to be wildly popular with the electorate. “If our program was dictated, as the Republicans say, it was dictated at the polls in November 1948. It was dictated by a ‘small but powerful group’ of 24 million voters,” said the president, who added, “I think they knew more than the Republican National Committee about the real wishes of the workers, farmers and businessmen.”

Truman did not cower at the mention of the word “socialism,” which in those days was distinguished in the minds of most Americans from Soviet Stalinism, with which the president—a mean cold warrior—was wrangling. Nor did Truman, who counted among his essential allies trade unionists like David Dubinsky, Jacob Potofsky and Walter Reuther, all of whom had been connected with socialist causes and in many cases the Socialist Party of Eugene V. Debs and Norman Thomas, rave about the evils of social democracy. Rather, he joked that “Out of the great progress of this country, out of our great advances in achieving a better life for all, out of our rise to world leadership, the Republican leaders have learned nothing. Confronted by the great record of this country, and the tremendous promise of its future, all they do is croak, ‘socialism.’”

Savvy Republicans moved to abandon the campaign. The return to realism was led by Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who feared that her party was harming not just its electoral prospects but the country. That summer she would issue her “Declaration of Conscience”—the first serious challenge to McCarthyism from within the GOP—in which she rejected the anticommunist hysteria of the moment:

Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism—

The right to criticize;
The right to hold unpopular beliefs;
The right to protest;
The right of independent thought.
Republicans might be determined to end Democratic control of Congress, Smith suggested in her declaration:

Yet to displace it with a Republican regime embracing a philosophy that lacks political integrity or intellectual honesty would prove equally disastrous to this nation. The nation sorely needs a Republican victory. But I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny—Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.
   I doubt if the Republican Party could—simply because I don’t believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest.
Most Republicans lacked the courage to confront McCarthy so directly. But Smith’s wisdom prevailed among leaders of the RNC and the GOP chairs of Congressional committees, who ditched the Liberty Against Socialism slogan and reduced Taft’s 1,950-word manifesto to a 99-word digest that Washington reporters explained had been cobbled together to “soft pedal” the whole “showdown on ‘liberty against socialism’” thing. Representative James Fulton, who like many other GOP moderates of the day actually knew and worked with Socialist Party members and radicals of various stripes, was blunter. The cheap sloganeering, he argued, had steered the party away from the fundamental question for the GOP in the postwar era: “whether we go back to Methuselah or offer alternative programs for social progress within the framework of a balanced budget.”

Imagine if today a prominent Republican were to make a similar statement. The wrath of Limbaugh, Hannity, Palin and the Tea Party movement would rain down upon him. The Club for Growth would organize to defeat the “Republican in Name Only,” and the ideological cleansing of the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Margaret Chase Smith would accelerate. Some of my Democratic friends are quite pleased at the prospect; as today’s Republicans steer off the cliffs of extremism that they avoided even in the days of McCarthy, these Democrats suggest, the high ground will be cleared for candidates of their liking. But that neglects the damage done to democracy when discourse degenerates, when the only real fights are between a party on the fringe and another that assumes that the way to win is to move to the center-right and then hope that fears of a totalitarian right will keep everyone to the left of it voting the Democratic line.

* * *

If universal building codes and health protections for children can be successfully depicted by our debased media as assaults on American values and the rule of law, then the right has already won, no matter what the result is on election day. And a nation founded in revolt against empire, a nation that nurtured the radical Republican response to the sin of slavery, a nation that confronted economic collapse and injustice with a New Deal and a War on Poverty, a nation that spawned a civil rights movement and that still recites a Pledge of Allegiance (penned in 1892 by Christian socialist Francis Bellamy) to the ideal of an America “with liberty and justice for all” is bereft of what has so often in our history been the essential element of progress.

That element—a social democratic critique frequently combined with an active Socialist Party and more recently linked with independent socialist activism in labor and equal rights campaigns for women, racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, gays and lesbians, and people with disabilities—has from the first years of the nation been a part of our political life. This country would not be what it is today—indeed it might not even be—had it not been for the positive influence of revolutionaries, radicals, socialists, social democrats and their fellow travelers. The great political scientist Terence Ball reminds us that “at the height of the cold war a limited form of socialized medicine—Medicare—got through the Congress over the objections of the American Medical Association and the insurance industry, and made it to President Johnson’s desk.”

That did not just happen by chance. A young writer who had recognized that it was possible to reject Soviet totalitarianism while still learning from Marx and embracing democratic socialism left the fold of Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker movement to join the Young People’s Socialist League. Michael Harrington wanted to change the debate about poverty in America, and perhaps remarkably or perhaps presciently, he presumed that attaching himself to what was left of the once muscular but at that point ailing Socialist Party was the way to do so. In a 1959 article for the then-liberal Commentary magazine, Harrington sought, in the words of his biographer, Maurice Isserman, “to overturn the conventional wisdom that the United States had become an overwhelmingly middle-class society. Using the poverty-line benchmark of a $3,000 annual income for a family of four, he demonstrated that nearly a third of the population lived ‘below those standards which we have been taught to regard as the decent minimums for food, housing, clothing and health.’”

Harrington succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. The article led to a book, The Other America: Poverty in the United States, which became required reading for policy-makers, selling 70,000 copies in its first year. “Among the book’s readers, reputedly, was John F. Kennedy, who in the fall of 1963 began thinking about proposing antipoverty legislation,” recalls Isserman. “After Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson took up the issue, calling in his 1964 State of the Union address for an ‘unconditional war on poverty.’ Sargent Shriver headed the task force charged with drawing up the legislation and invited Harrington to Washington as a consultant.”

Harrington’s proposals for renewal of New Deal public works projects were never fully embraced. But his and others’ advocacy that government should intervene to address the suffering of those who couldn’t care for themselves or their families underpinned what the author described as “completing Social Security” by providing healthcare for the aged. It urged on the Johnson administration’s Great Society, including the Social Security Act of 1965—or Medicare. Johnson took his hits, but Americans agreed with their president when he argued that “the Social Security health insurance plan, which President Kennedy worked so hard to enact, is the American way; it is practical; it is sensible; it is fair; it is just.”

Could a plan decried as “socialized medicine” by the American Medical Association because it was, in fact, socialized medicine really be “the American way”? Of course. During the Medicare debate in the early ’60s, Texas Senate candidate George H.W. Bush condemned the proposal as “creeping socialism.” Ronald Reagan, then making the transition from TV pitchman for products to TV pitchman for Barry Goldwater, warned that if it passed citizens would find themselves “telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.” But Bush and Reagan managed the program during their presidencies, and Tea Party activists now show up at town hall meetings to threaten any legislator who would dare to tinker with their beloved Medicare.

Americans would not have gotten Medicare if Harrington and the socialists who came before him—from presidential candidates like Debs and Thomas to organizers like Mary Marcy and Margaret Sanger and the Communist Party’s Elizabeth Gurley Flynn—had not for decades been pushing the limits of the healthcare debate. No less a player than Senator Edward Kennedy would declare, “I see Michael Harrington as delivering the Sermon on the Mount to America.” The same was true in abolitionist days, when socialists—including friends of Marx who had immigrated to the United States after the 1848 revolutions in Europe were crushed—energized the movement against slavery and helped give it political expression in the form of the Republican Party. The same was true early in the twentieth century, when Socialist Party editors like Victor Berger battled attempts to destroy civil liberties and defined our modern understanding of freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right to petition for redress of grievances. The same was true when lifelong socialist A. Philip Randolph called the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and asked a young preacher named Martin Luther King Jr., who had many socialist counselors besides the venerable Randolph, to deliver what would come to be known as the “I Have a Dream” speech.

* * *

Again and again at critical junctures in our national journey, socialist thinkers and organizers, as well as candidates and officials, have prodded government in a progressive direction. It may be true, as historian Patrick Allitt suggests, that “millions of Americans, including many of these critics [of the Obama administration], are ardent supporters of socialism, even if they don’t realize it and even if they don’t actually use the word” to describe public services that are “organized along socialist lines,” like schools and highways. In fact, contemporary socialists and Tea Partiers might actually find common (if uncomfortable) ground with Allitt’s assertion that “socialism as an organizational principle is alive and well here just as it is throughout the industrialized world”—even as they would disagree on whether that’s a good thing. Programs “organized along socialist lines” do not make a country socialist. But America has always been and should continue to be informed by socialist ideals and a socialist critique of public policy.

We live in complex times, when profound economic, social and environmental challenges demand a range of responses. Socialists certainly don’t have all the answers, even if polling suggests that more Americans find appeal in the word “socialist” today than they have in decades. But without socialist ideas and advocacy, we will not have sufficient counterbalance to an anti-government impulse that has less to do with libertarianism than with manipulation of the debate by all-powerful corporations.

Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy were not socialists. But the nation benefited from their borrowing of socialist and social democratic ideas. Barack Obama is certainly not a socialist. But he, and the nation he leads, would be well served by a similar borrowing from the people who once imagined Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the War on Poverty.

© 2011 The Nation

Wikileaks Rap



This is from back in December, but I just came across it. Enjoy.


**For all you paranoid NWO folks- Did it ever occur to you that Alex Jones might be the actual double agent for NWO?


"If you have a laptop computer, or a smart phone or an iPad, you have on your person more and better computing power than the entire US government had when it put a man on the moon…Each and every one of you is a walking technological superpower. What will happen in America when you stop using these devices as toys, and start using them as tools to change America."

-Van Jones, Powershift 2011

April 16, 2011

So this is kind of awesome

You might recognize these images from these blog posts in which I asked you to "please distribute these images widely":

Maine Welcome Sign redux
I've Had The Wind Knocked Out of me, but never the hurricane

And then there's the Kill All Art piece which, I first found out about here (it's not by me, though I have permission from the artist to use it on t-shirts).

And lo and behold-- somebody did more than just reupload them to their own flickr/facebook/twitpic account, or sharing them on their friend's facebook walls. They "uploaded" them to an actual wall somewhere. That's kind of awesome!

PortlandPaste claims to be
...an anonymous collective of artists, activists, and troublemakers, nonviolently fighting a war of ideas inside your head, and on your walls.


I look forward to more from these folks! I'm really glad that they used my designs, I also hope they come up with some original stuff of their own.




Daily Show gives Dennis Kucinich a great interview



As a fan and former employee of Dennis Kucinich, I'm used to him being the butt of every joke.

But, now that the the entire world is in the shitter because of very policies that Dennis Kucinch has been opposing for decades, (for which people said he was crazy) it's harder to emasculate and deride him and his policies without just looking like a totally ignorant douchebag.

Dennis Kucinich gets Gov Scott Walker to Admit It

via NoCureForThat

Washington D.C. (April 14, 2011) — Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today scored an admission from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker that his decision to strip the rights of public workers to bargain collectively “doesn’t save any” money for the Wisconsin taxpayers.

April 13, 2011

In face of Wildfire, Texas disbands socialist fire departments

Texas Leadership says, "Let the free market work it out."




Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

More than 100,000 acres, have been scorched by wildfire in the state of Texas, and that number is climbing as time goes on. In the face of this widespread destruction, Texas leadership has called for the disbanding of local fire departments, decrying them as socialist.

"We really ought to let the free market forces decide whose homes should remain standing. This is no place for government intervention or socialism." said the spokesperson for Texas Governor Rick Perry.

In many rural areas that have already been subject to the disbanding of fire departments, homeowners were forced to use their own garden-hoses to fight back billowing flames.

At one Fort Davis home, mother, father and son picked up their garden hoses to douse approaching flames as they threatened their property and their neighbors' homes. Together, the Coffins managed to keep the fire from reaching their home and another nearby house. But to their left, their neighbor's property was a total loss.

"The sad thing is," John Coffin said, as he looked out at the smoking debris next door, "if we'd had a longer hose, and more water in our well, or higher water pressure, we could have saved that house. I'm confident though that the market will respond. Until then, it seems that the invisible hand has decided to knock our neighbor's house to the ground, into a smoldering heap. But I'm sure they'll understand-- the free market is never wrong."

The Adventures of Middle Man

by Tom Tomorrow


"People say that Obama is a socialist --not to discredit Obama-- but to discredit socialism." - Jason Read

Bernie Sanders, is a Democratic Socialist. For REALZ:



Also, Larry Kudlow is a wart on the asshole of humanity.

Taking Progressives For Granted

Why allowing the Democratic Party to take your vote for granted gives them impunity to act like GOP douche-bags.

Originally from Nader.org

Article by Ralph Nader

When liberals and progressives have nowhere to go, New York’s new Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo can move toward the corporatist-right of the political spectrum with impunity. Brandishing an inherited $10 billion state deficit, Cuomo has earned the following description in the April 7th edition of The New York Times:

“He has clashed with unions, who he believes have helped drive the state toward bankruptcy. He has been praised by prominent conservatives like Sarah Palin and Rudolph W. Giuliani. And he has taken thousands of dollars in campaign money from the New York billionaire David H. Koch, who with his family has helped finance the Tea Party movement….

“The man who began public life advocating for homeless people won passage of a state budget that makes steep cuts to schools, health care and social services. In a year when Wall Street posted record profits, Mr. Cuomo finally rejected a politically popular income tax surcharge on the wealthy.”

Praised by the Wall Street Journal and the republican raptor, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who calls Andrew Cuomo “my soul mate,” the son of moral vision orator, former Governor Mario Cuomo, is on a roll unchallenged by his fellow Democrats and the media. Using the deficit—which is far less per capita than Connecticut’s deficit—he revels in being “Cuomo the cutter”: “I am a realist… Forget the philosophy. Here are the numbers.”

Mr. Cuomo picks his numbers so that the cuts fall on the lower economic classes, the powerless along with the reviled public employee unions. Granted, there is waste fraud or ineffectiveness in many social service programs, but Governor Cuomo is cutting the programs indiscriminately without cutting them by squeezing out the waste and eliminating ineffective programs directly.

What results is that the wasteful practitioners know how to fight to preserve their programs better than the efficient ones do. The former have allies like well-connected corporate vendors with their procurement contracts.

But there is a more blatant misfocus by Cuomo. It is his fear of Wall Street whose crooks, speculators and self-enrichment pros collapsed the economy, looting or draining savings and pensions in 2008-2009 leading to much unemployment and many closed businesses that, through the loss of tax revenue, expanded the state deficit. He refuses even to speak about holding these spoiled, back-to-business-as-usual financial giants responsible.

On the contrary he is rejecting an extension of the tax surcharge on New Yorkers and residing foreigners who make over $200,000 dollars in income a year, which expires this December. It is so much easier to tax the faceless masses. Already, lower income New Yorkers pay a slightly higher percentage of their income in all taxes imposed than do the wealthy. Regressive!

It gets worse. During his campaign for Governor, Mr. Cuomo refused to even contemplate keeping the $14 billion (some estimate higher amounts) a year that the state collects from a century-old stock transfer tax, but instantly rebates, what is really a sales tax, back to the stock brokers. New York used to keep this tax revenue until the early Eighties, when Wall Street pressure finally prevailed. Green Party candidate for Governor, Howie Hawkins, during a public debate argued that keeping these revenues would eliminate the deficit and prevent the reduction of necessary programs. On that stage, Mr. Cuomo refused to engage. Mum’s the word on Wall Street’s fair share.

Cuomo calls himself “a progressive Democrat who’s broke.” A progressive Democrat would push for sacrifice at the wealthy top and work down if necessary. Many of the wealthy derived their billions and millions from many favored policies like tax leniency and other privileges and immunities including violation of the law (some of whom Cuomo pursued as Attorney General.)

After all corporate lobbyists work hard to produce many layers of favoritism, including selling products and services to the state government, that are as profitable as they are often wasteful. Consider, for example, the immense gouging in the outsourcing of CityTime—a large ongoing contract to computerize the New York City payroll (http://www.nyc.gov/html/opa/html/about/city_time.shtml).

The costs of health care reflect big time fraud in billing practices. Should a Governor just cut benefits across the board—stranding indigent patients to suffer or die—or should he crack down on the cheating and stealing that too many vendors have refined to perfection?

To be sure it is quicker to slice arbitrarily, but there is no indication that key cost-beneficial law enforcement budgets against business crime are going to increase on Governor Cuomo’s watch.

Mr. Cuomo did relent on one budget provision, which would have enriched the hospital and insurance lobbies placing a lifetime $250,000 cap on serious baby injuries from malpractice. That was too much to defend by this “progressive Democrat” in Albany. Credit the Center for Justice and Democracy for urging that good deed (www.centerjd.org).

How far will elected Democrats from the White House on down go in capitulating to the insatiable corporate dominators if their liberal/progressive base continues to signal that they politically have nowhere to go? These voters seem to have few visible breaking points on the dark horizon of over-reaching corporatism.

Senator Sanders: This Congress is stealing from the poor and giving to the rich

April 12, 2011

Corporations are dining and dashing



So one of the most douchebag things you can do, especially if you can afford it, is to skip out on paying for a meal. US corporations do this every year, skipping out on paying their taxes-- and they do it legally.

Obama 2012: ARE YOU IN?

via Progressive Review ( @prorev ):

April 9, 2011

Ranked Choice Voting Interview (no music)

The Mural Bandits STRIKE AGAIN!

This time they're displaying the comments you posted on their first video alongside the images of the mural:


Check it:


Plus, they've issued a challenge to you:



"
We remind you again that your voice is your own expression of freedom, as it always was. If you have forgotten this, we ask that you remember it now.

Opportunity lies all around you, should you choose to see it.

The methods we use to achieve our projects are crude, and our intentions sincere. You all possess these qualities. Again, if you have forgotten this, we ask you to remember now.

Every wall is a canvas, and many canvases hide where walls don't stand. Find your own. Share your expression. If this video inspires you, we urge that you respond in kind and produce your own achievements to inspire others in turn.

We are nothing more than a spark that already exists within you. The messenger is unimportant.

You possess the means to repeat, magnify and evolve what we have already done. If you wish, we will assist you in this process.
[...]

Go to http://keepvid.com/ and enter this youtube video address into the download box. Hit enter, then download and now you have the Mural Projection video to use for yourself.

Be smart, be aware, and go big. You have our support.
[...]
Tag. You're it.
"


Yeah dude. Tag. You're it!

Interview with Rep. Diane Russell on Ranked Choice Voting



I sat down for an interview with Diane Russell to talk about LD 1126, a bill to create a Ranked Choice voting system for the State of Maine.

Tax the Rich, Tax them now, before it's too late

So MarketWatch is saying what I've been saying for a while now:

If we don't start taxing the super-rich, the rest of us are going to have no other option but to eat them.

It's a gory, distasteful thought, I know. As a lazy vegetarian, and a person with an irrational fear of cannibalism, the idea disgusts and appauls me, and it was my thought. But the world works according to certain laws, and when the majority of people have nothing to eat, and the super-rich have more money than we could spend in our entire lives, somebody is going to get eaten, and it's going to be the person with the gym membership and the gasoline guzzling Cadillac Escalade in their driveway. That's just how these things work. Hungry people do terrible things.

Original article here: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tax-the-super-rich-now-or-face-a-revolution-2011-03-29?pagenumber=1


Tax the Super Rich now or face a revolution


by PAUL B. FARRELL

Revolutions build over long periods — to critical mass, a flash point. Then they ignite suddenly, unpredictably. Like Egypt, started on a young Google executive’s Facebook page. Then it goes viral, raging uncontrollably. Can’t be stopped. Here in America the set-up is our nation’s pervasive “Super-Rich Delusion.”



We know the Super Rich don’t care. Not about you. Nor the American public. They can’t see. Can’t hear. Stay trapped in their Forbes-400 bubble. An echo chamber that isolates them. They see the public as faceless workers, customers, taxpayers. See GOP power on the ascent. Reaganomics is back. Unions on the run. Clueless masses are easily manipulated.

Even Obama is secretly working with the GOP, will never touch his Super Rich donors. Yes, the Super-Rich Delusion is that powerful, infecting all America.

Here’s how one savvy insider who knows described this Super-Rich Delusion: “The top 1% live privileged lives, aren’t worried about much. Families vacation at the best resorts. Their big concerns are finding the best Pilates teacher, best masseuse, best surgeons, best private schools. They aren’t concerned with the underlying deterioration of America or the world, except in the abstract, because they aren’t directly affected by it. That’s not to say they aren’t sympathetic, aware, or don’t talk about the issues you bring up. They are largely concerned with protecting and enhancing their socio-economic positions, ensuring their families live well. And nothing you write about will change things.”


Super Rich replaying “Great Gatsby” age, won’t learn till it’s too late



Our top 1% honestly believe they’re immune, protected from the unintended consequences of beating down average Americans for three decades with the free-market, trickle-down Reaganomics doctrines that made them Super Rich.

They honestly believe those same doctrines will protect them in the next depression. Why? Because they have megabucks stashed away. Provisions for the long haul. Live in gated compounds with mercenaries guarding them.

They believe they’ll continue living just fine in a depression. But you won’t. Nor will your retirement. Neither will the rest of America. And still the Super Rich don’t care, “except in the abstract, because they aren’t directly affected.”

Warning: The Super-Rich Delusion has pushed us to the edge of a great precipice: Remember the Roaring Twenties? The Crash of 1929? Great Depression? Just days before the crash one leading economist, Irving Fisher, predicted that stocks had “reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”

Yes, he was trapped in the “Great Gatsby Syndrome,” an earlier version of today’s Super-Rich Delusion. It was so blinding in 1929 that the president, Wall Street, all America were sucked in … until the critical mass hit a mysterious flash point, triggering the crash.

Yes, we’re reliving that past — never learn, can’t hear. And oddly it’s not just the GOP’s overreach, the endlessly compromising Obama, too-greedy-to-fail Wall Street banksters, U.S. Chamber of Commerce billionaires and arrogant Forbes 400. America’s entire political, financial and economic psyche is infected, as if our DNA has been rewired.

The Collective American Brain is trapped in this Super-Rich Delusion, replaying the run-up to the ’29 Crash.

Nobody predicted 2011 revolutions in the oil-rich Arab world either



Warning: Mubarak, Gaddafi, Ali, Assad, even the Saudis also lived in the Super-Rich Delusion. Have for a long time. Were vulnerable. Ripe for a revolution. They, too, honestly believed they were divinely protected, chosen for great earthly wealth, enjoyed great armies.

Then, suddenly, out of the blue, a new “educated, unemployed and frustrated” generation turned on them, is now rebelling, demanding their share of economic benefits, opportunities, triggering revolutions, seeking retribution.

Still, you don’t believe there’s a depression ahead here in America? The third great market crash of the 21st century? A new economic revolution about to blow up in our faces? No, you don’t believe, can’t believe … you, me, we are all infected by the Super-Rich Delusion, just as Americans were in the Roaring Twenties.

Check the stats folks: The last time America’s wealth gap between the Super Rich and the other 99% was this big was just before the 1929 Crash and the Great Depression.

You can’t remember? Or you won’t? America is trapped in “terminal denial,” a setup for failure. Too many still live in the false hope of this Super-Rich Delusion. Do you believe government stats hyping a recovery? Believe Wall Street’s nonsense about a new bull market ahead? Believe Exxon-Mobile’s misleading ads about energy stocks. Believe Bill Gross’ when he says dump Treasurys, and buy his emerging country bonds? Dream on.

Start preparing for the third meltdown of the 21st Century, and depression



Denial and lies. Remember, 93% of what you hear about markets, finance and the economy are guesses, wishful thinking and lies intended to manipulate you into making decisions that suck money from your pockets into Wall Street. They get rich telling lies about securities. They hate any SEC fiduciary rules forcing them to tell the truth.

But the fact is, on an inflation-adjusted basis, Wall Street lost 20% of your retirement money in the decade from 2000 to 2010, over $10 trillion. And “Irrational Exuberance’s” Robert Shiller warns of a third meltdown coming. You better start preparing now.

Before you start betting any more at Wall Street’s rigged casinos, think long and hard about these six megatoxins lurking in America’s Super-Rich Delusion, a mind-altering pandemic infecting our nation’s leadership in Washington, Corporate America and Wall Street … but also “trickling down,” infecting many Americans. Listen:

1. Warning: Super Rich want tax cuts, creating youth unemployment

Bloomberg warns: “The Kids Are Not Alright.” Worldwide, youth unemployment is fueling the revolution. In a New York Times column, Matthew Klein, a 24-year-old Council on Foreign Relations researcher, draws a parallel between the 25% unemployment among Egypt’s young revolutionaries and the 21% for young American workers: “The young will bear the brunt of the pain” as governments rebalance budgets. Taxes on workers will be raised and spending on education will be cut while mortgage subsidies and entitlements for the elderly are untouchable,” as will tax cuts for the rich. Opportunities lost. “How much longer until the rest of the rich world” explodes like Egypt?

2. Warning: rich get richer on commodity prices, poor get angrier

USA Today’s John Waggoner warns: “Soaring food prices send millions into poverty, hunger: Corn up 52% in 12 months. Sugar 60%. Soybeans 41%. Wheat 24%. For 44 million the “rise in food prices means a descent into extreme poverty and hunger, warns the World Bank.” Many causes: Speculators. Soaring oil prices. Trade policies. Population explosion. But altogether they expose “the underlying inequalities and issues related to the standard of living that boil beneath the surface,” says a Pimco manager.

3. Warning: Global poor ticking time bomb targeting Super Rich

A Time special report, “Poor vs. Rich: A New Global Conflict” warned that a “conflict between two worlds — one rich, one poor — is developing, and the battlefield is the globe itself.” Just 25 developed nations of 750 million citizens consume most of the world’s resources, produce most of its manufactured goods and enjoy history’s highest standard of living.” But they’re now facing 100 underdeveloped poor nations with 2 billion people with hundreds of millions living in poverty all demanding “an ever larger share of that wealth.” Think Egypt. British leader calls this a “time bomb for the human race.”

4. Warning: Next revolution coming across ‘Third World America’

We are ripe for one: In “Third World America” Arianna Huffington warns: “Washington rushed to the rescue of Wall Street but forgot about Main Street … One in five Americans unemployed or underemployed. One in nine families unable to make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans on food stamps. Upward mobility has always been at the center of the American Dream … that promise has been broken… The American Dream is becoming a nightmare.” Soon it will implode. a meltdown, revolution, depression.

5. Warning: Super Rich must be detoxed of their greed addiction

In “Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You With the Bill),” David Cay Johnston, warns that the rich are like addicts, and to “the addicted, money is like cocaine, too much is never enough.” A few years ago an elite 300,000 Americans in “the top tenth of 1% of income had nearly as much income as all 150 million Americans who make up the economic lower half of our population.” The Super Rich Delusion is an addiction that requires a painful detox.

6. Warning: Politicians infected by Super-Rich Delusion, revolution

In “Washington’s Suicide Pact,” Newsweek’s Ezra Klein warns: “Congress is careening toward the worst of all worlds: massive job losses and an exploding deficit.” How bad? As many as 700,000 more jobs lost, says Moody’s chief economist, Mark Zandi. What a twist: Remember vice president Dick Cheney said “deficits don’t matter.” Today the GOP is so blinded by its obsession to destroy Obama’s presidency, deficits are now the only thing they say matters.

Wake up folks. The Super-Rich Delusion is destroying the American Dream for the rest of us. The Super Rich don’t care about you. They’re already stockpiling for the economic time bomb dead ahead. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Time for you to plan ahead for the coming revolution, for another depression.




Funny, this article seems to be saying exactly what Davis Fleetwood expressed in this video:


GET A SHIRT, SPREAD THE WORD:

MAINE is the most peaceful state in the USA!

US Peace Index from Vision of Humanity on Vimeo.



Maine: A paradise where peace is booming


by Bill Nemitz

It couldn't have come at a better time.

Just when it appears to the rest of the country that Maine is coming apart at the seams, along comes a national headline that portrays our humble state as the closest an American can get to heaven on earth:

"Maine ranked 'most peaceful state,'" reported USA Today, to name but one, on Wednesday.

Go figure.

One minute we and our shoot-from-the-hip governor are a cable-TV punch line, the next we're the Garden of Eden with pine trees. Goodbye, "Kiss my butt!" Hello, "Gimme a hug!"

"It certainly is a feather in Maine's cap and something the state should be proud of," Steve Killelea, founder and executive chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace, said in a telephone interview.

Something Maine can be proud of? Quick, Fed Ex that man a whoopie pie!

A little background:

For the past four years, the Australian-based institute has produced the Global Peace Index -- a statistically-driven survey that ranks 149 nations by their peacefulness and, at the same time, seeks to explain why some corners of the planet tend to be more tranquil than others.

This year, for the first time, the institute went one step further with the United States -- in large part because we as a nation are very good at counting things -- to produce a state-by-state United States Peace Index.

The results: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota and North Dakota scored first through fifth, respectively. In descending order, on the other hand, the least peaceful states were Alabama, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee and Louisiana.

No, it's not that fresh Canadian air that keeps us northerners in perfect harmony -- although Canada (14th) did score way above the United States (85th) in the global index.

Rather, it's how well Maine matches up with the institute's definition of peace, which Killelea describes as "the absence of violence and the absence of fear of violence."

Specifically, the index uses five easy-to-quantify markers to rank each state: homicides, violent crimes, jailed population, police officers and the availability of small arms.

We'll get to that last one in a second. But in the first four (all per 100,000 people), Maine scored lowest nationwide in violent crimes (118), lowest in jailed population (150), lowest in total number of police officers (217) and ninth-lowest in homicides (2). (New Hampshire scored lowest in homicides with 0.8.)

As for the availability of small arms, Maine ranks a middling 29th among the 50 states. But that indicator, based only on the percentage of suicides involving firearms, is given significantly less weight than the others.

So what's it all mean?

Well, for starters, we're a heckuva lot more peaceful than Louisiana, which endures more than five times as many murders (11.8), violent crimes (608) and prison inmates (886) per 100,000 residents than Maine -- and dispatches only 58 percent more police (344) to keep everyone in line.

Still, according to Killelea, the violence-based statistics tell only part of the story.

Equally important, he said, are an array of underlying "potential determinants" of peace that can be grouped into three basic categories -- economic opportunity, education (particularly high school graduation rates) and health.

Get a handle on those, Killelea said, "and we can now start to describe the environment which creates peace."

Or not.

Peel back the institute's 15 specific indicators (health insurance coverage, Internet access, infant mortality, to name a few) that help foster a peaceful environment and you'll see that Maine, unlike the other most peaceful states, cracks the top 10 in only two -- teen pregnancy rate and lowest percentage of people without health insurance.

In other words, the welcome news that we Mainers are the most nonviolent populace in the nation cannot be traced directly to our economic or educational opportunities or to our general state of health. (We're a ho-hum 26th nationally, for example, in our rate of diabetes.)

"So there's something else happening in Maine," mused Killelea. "It's certainly worth more study."

It's also worth big bucks, at least according to the Institute for Economics and Peace.

If the United States had similar "levels of peacefulness" to Canada (again, that arctic air), according to the institute, the positive impact on the U.S. economy would be a whopping $361 billion per year -- $89 billion in direct savings (i.e., fewer prisoners to feed) and $272 billion from additional economic activity (i.e., more people earning a paycheck rather than sitting idle in the slammer).

Telescope that down to Maine and the economic uptick would be just under $865 million -- $656 per Mainer -- each year.

So how is headline-weary Maine reacting to this much-needed piece of good news?

Jacqui Devoneau, outreach coordinator for Peace Action Maine, said Thursday that the state's top ranking, while welcome, only begins to tell the story. Not found in the institute's statistics, she noted, are the many peace organizations that have thrived here for years.

"I think Maine is different from a lot of states," Devoneau said. "But I think it needs to be noted that if you're going to say we're the number one peace state, the peace activism within our state is also right up there with being number one in the United States."

Killelea said he fully expects such reactions -- there are, he readily concedes, "many, many definitions of peace."

In crafting this study, however, the institute deliberately steered clear of the Great Political Divide and instead focused on "something which is highly quantifiable and something most people can agree on," Killelea said.

Translation: Mainers, especially in these divided times, can still disagree with the best of them.

But much to our credit, nobody does it more peacefully.

Columnist Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at:

bnemitz@mainetoday.com

April 8, 2011

KILL ALL ART



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US UnCut Graphic

Gov't Shutdown over Planned Parenthood

Dennis Trainor Jr over at ncftTV has a new video out about the gov't shutdown, and what's really behind it:



And I have a two-year-old video out about the same thing:



Funny. Not like, "funny ha ha" but funny, like... "I can't believe this bullshit is still relevant."

DIY Democracy



Some say that the mural in Maine is a non-issue, a distraction from the actual policy-based war on the working person.

I disagree that this is a distraction. I see this as the poetic embodiment of exactly what is wrong with our country today.

When the fascist Roman empire invaded and occupied another nation, the first thing they do is tear down symbols of national identity and replace them-- with their own. They do this to say "we've won, stop fighting."

When the nazi's invaded and occupied another nation, the first thing they did was tear down symbols of national identity and replace them with their own. They did this to say, "we've won, stop fighting."

When the USA invaded and occupied Iraq, the first thing we did was tear down symbols of national identity and replace them with american flags. We did this to say, "we've won. Stop fighting."

In the war on the working class, that is exactly what Paul LePage has done, whether he realizes it or not.

One must realize, however, that Paul LePage isn't a calculating psychological tactician. He isn't thinking about ways to crush the will and injure the psyche of the working class. He is nothing more than an obedient attack dog for the Koch Brothers. He is a useful idiot, who has found his way to the seat of power through a broken winner-take-all electoral system that gives a person with 38% of the vote, the seat of power.

We must be careful not to let this vitriol for the GOP turn into pro-democrat sentiment by default. They are just as guilty, and have just as much blood on their hands in this perpetual war against working people. Here in Maine, it wasn’t even a year ago that we fought against the Democratic Party leadership for their attempt to push through a bill that would restructure taxes to accelerate wealth upwards, and subsidize cuts to the rich by taking even more from poor and working class people.

What’s more, we have, by assuming that political parties offer alternatives, put ourselves in the infantile position of begging the political parties for our dignity, to give us social justice, to give us our rights. These are not things that are theirs to give to begin with. These are things we own, and must realize ourselves. If we want them to be realized in policy, we need to stop begging, and start running for office and making it happen.

It was not Democratic Party who gave us women’s sufferage, it was women.
It was not Democratic Party who gave us civil rights, it was civil libertarians.
It was not Democratic Party who gave us the right to organize, it was unions.
It was not the Democratic Party who gave us the worker’s rights, it was working people.
If we want something, we must do it ourselves.
It’s not that we’re left without any other option, it’s that there never has been any other option. If we want to live in a better country, we must do it ourselves. If you want to get rid of laissez-faire economic policies, where corporations run roughshod over human beings and we do nothing to stop it, then you need to get rid of laissez-faire politics, where corporations run roughshod over human beings and we do nothing to stop it. Stop voting for Wall Street’s candidates!

Right now Obama is appointing Wall Street goon after Wall Street good to his cabinet. He has kept most of George W Bush's staff. Obama, with the difference of a few talking points, has been a seamless continuation of George W Bush's administration.

So long as we keep bouncing alternating between two heads of a Wall Street monster, we are doomed to continue, by our own compliance, the economic violence against ourselves and others, both here at home, and around the world, at the hands of the monied elite of Wall Street. When we continue to vote for the alternative faces of Wall Street, and we are doing nothing but pressing the knife more tightly against our own throat.

A better world is possible. We must make it real.

Do it yourself! I’m the punk patriot: to life, liberty, and pursuit of a less fucked up government.

We're Going to Netroots Nation!

Maine Welcome Sign Redux

So some activists have made this graphic:



Into honest to-god reality! FUCK YES!