While protests are useful, Nader does not see any possibility for reform until there is a widespread effort to organize a sustained and radical opposition movement. This will come by building a movement that offers an alternative ideology and vision to that of unfettered capitalism, consumerism, empire and globalization. It is something Nader tried and failed to do during his own presidential campaigns.
We must follow the path Nader forged, attempting to sway enough people with conscience to sever themselves permanently and unequivocally from the mainstream and especially the Democratic Party. This defiance will again be dismissed as counterproductive and ineffectual.
...But time is not on our side. The impending disasters that await us, ecological and economic, are already visible on the horizon...
...In 1995, a highly secretive umbrella group of America's right-wing leaders, the little known Council for National Policy Action, circulated a confidential memo urging members to push for a governmental shutdown in order to force President Clinton to cave to their budget demands. Rep. Mark Souder (R-Indiana) was quoted: "This is our maximum point of leverage to insist that parts of the revolution are executed." The brief government shutdown that followed failed to achieve their goals. Republicans have willingly upped the ante, holding the country hostage to the threat of economic catastrophe in order to achieve their long-time goal of gutting all New Deal and Great Society programs, while codifying tax cuts for the wealthy. Americans are again being held for ransom in a naked high-stakes grab for total wealth and power...
...The president could have prevented this “crisis” by passing a debt ceiling when he had a 50 vote majority in Congress for all of 2009 and 2010. He could have avoided it again by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. Instead the president renewed the Bush tax cuts when he had a 50 vote majority in Congress. The president could have defused it in the last month by any of a number of means, including simply calling it fake. But giving away the game is not what actors in a con do.
...With all the players acting their parts, the rigged game produced its expected outcome. Contrived in the imaginary universe where trickle down economics are the accepted norm, The Deal contains no new taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
President Obama announced that he has averted a crisis with more than a trillion dollars in immediate spending cuts, a number much higher than the value of the stimulus package passed at the beginning of his administration. A bipartisan “super-committee” of perhaps only a dozen Senate and House members will earmark a further $3 trillion in near term budget cuts, which will be submitted to Congress as up-or-down no-amendment, take-it-or-leave-it votes. And should Congress reject them, a round of automatic budget cuts dictated by some unknown formula will ensue. Medicare, Medicaid, social security, environmental protection and much more will inevitably fall.
Thus on the strength of a single vote in Congress drummed up by this fake crisis, the will of the American people has been subverted. Medicare, Medicaid and social security, if put up for popular votes would all win. If Congress had to debate them under scrutiny and take votes in public on them, Wall Street and the corporations would lose and the people would win. But that's the purpose of a modern political “crisis:” to engineer the enactment of measures on behalf of elites that normal political processes would not allow.
Welcome to the future, where a black president has been the indispensable anchor player in the con game that ended the New Deal and Great Society.
Some stood up once, and sat down
Some walked a mile, and walked away
Some stood up twice, then sat down, "I've had it" they said,
Some walked two miles,
then walked away
"It's too much," they cried.
Some stood and stood and stood
They were taken for fools
They were taken for being taken in
Some walked and walked and walked
They walked the earth,
They walked the waters,
They walked the air
"Why do you stand," they were asked,
"and why do you walk?"
"Because of the children," they said,
"And because of the heart,
"And because of the bread,"
"Because the cause is the heart's beat,
And the children born
And the risen bread"
Transcribed from a talk by Howard Zinn, which Zinn concluded with this poem and this introduction to it: "Daniel Berrigan..wrote this poem And the Risen Bread, after a friend of his, Mitchel Snyder, who worked for the homeless in Washington, for years and years, Michel Snyder, became despondent, as anybody might become despondent, working for the homeless, and seeing the callousness of the government in relation to people without homes, and he became despondent and took his life, you see, and Dan Berrigan wrote this poem in memory, in loving memory, of Mitchel Snyder."
Our political system is broken. From every direction, there are calls for reform. So the question must be asked: How is it possible to affect wholesale change of the federal government? How can the people have enough power to drive out the old guard?
The truth is that most Democratic and Republican constituents alike have a common foe - the corruption that has overtaken our government. The needs of the people have been cast aside in favor of corporate interests.
There is a way that we can take our government back, and that is through a large, unified grass roots movement to vote out a majority of the corrupt politicians who sell us out.
This suggests that we MUST, by definition, unify in our common interest, behind a common platform.
Our Huge Majority
Our goals can only be met through coming together in support of a common agenda that serves the masses. As a minimum, we can unify the tens of millions who see the flagrant corruption, the devastation of our sustainability, and all those who live the gross inequalities and feel the squeeze of the corporate muscle wrestling their last dollar from them.
There are tens of thousands of environmental, social, and politically left organizations that also share a common adversary - the corruption in our government that sells all of us out. If these thousands of organizations can come together in support of this essential endeavor rather than fighting their own David and Goliath battles against such corruption and power, all else that is important will follow once this one bad seed is eliminated. Through the backing of these thousands of organizations, along with their millions of respective supporters, we can have the unified strength to succeed.
We need a vehicle to unify those of us on the Left to create a voting block powerful enough to vote out most of the incumbents in Congress. We also need to vote in a president of our own choosing; someone like Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader who has a solid track record of being beyond reproach, and can be trusted. (Obviously, there are important lessons to be learned from the Obama experience. We must resist the temptation of voting in another star who comes out of nowhere politically as Obama did. We will call on those who have a long-time track record of working for a better tomorrow to step forward and serve our country.)
How We Can Organize
Our goals can be achieved through calling on a few trusted organizations, such as Amnesty International, American Civil Liberties Union, Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, and The Union of Concerned Scientists to join their resources and personnel to form the board of directors of a new organization. I’ll propose that this new organization be called VOTER, for Voice Of Thoughtful and Ethical Reform. VOTER will support initiatives and candidates who will work together for a very narrow agenda:
The VOTER Platform
1) Substantially increase taxes on individuals who make more than $1 million per year and corporations making more than $10 million per year and substantially reduce taxes on everyone else to bring real tax relief to those who need it most. Eliminate the offshore tax loopholes for corporations and other loopholes for the wealthy. Ad a minimum trading tax that applies to all stocks, bonds, derivities,, etc. Outlaw electronic trades. Raise the minimum wage to a living wage.
2) Limit all loans, including payday loans, home mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, etc, to 9% or lower interest so people stand a chance for a better tomorrow rather than living out their days enslaved by the bankers.
Demand that the companies who sold the subprime mortgages refinance those who are now under water so their total debt does not exceed the current value of their house plus, perhaps, 25% higher to account for the economy coming back. Cap the interest on mortgages at 6% and put a freeze on foreclosures until the rules can be made fair for homeowners.
3) Make all elections - federal, state, and local - funded by the new higher taxes on the rich and on wealthy corporations so all candidates will have the same air time, with no one being allowed to outspend anyone else. The average American must be on an equal footing with the wealthy so our government is not overtaken by the wealthy. The first amendment gives everyone an equal voice - not the wealthy having total exposure while the common man and woman has none. It should be evident by now that it is in the interest of the 99 percent to put one of their own in office.
4) Corporations are not people. Eliminate "corporate personhood". This would be accomplished by new laws that would, in effect, reverse the Supreme Court decision of January 2010, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, so domestic and foreign corporations no longer have undue influence on our elections.
5) Inform corporations that provide essential goods and services, (such as water, electricity, home heating oil, food, health, and auto fuel,) that they cannot charge such high prices that they are making billions of dollars in profit while people are freezing in the winter, and becoming homeless. If it is unconscionable, then it should have reasonable limits. It’s simple - when huge numbers of people are starving, then the corporations and government are taking too much. Businesses that sell non-essentials and luxury items can charge what they choose.
6) Time has proven that allowing for-profit corporations to run nuclear power plants does not work. They find ways to cut corners thereby risking the future for thousands of people while creating a ten thousand year contamination of lands. They should once again be state-owned with oversight from the NRC. The NRC must be cleaned up, too. No more revolving door with people from the industry that they supposedly oversee. Having the fox guard the henhouse must end. Nationalizing nuclear plants is how the revolving door will cease.
7) Protect small family farms, the organic standard, and health supplements to protect American’s rights to decent and healthy foods and health freedom of choice. Demand both labeling and reasonable testing on Genetically Engineered food plants and animals. Suspend sales and contamination of the ecosystem by suspending sales of such products until valid test data can be vouched safe. Outlaw Codex Alimentarius and the fake Food Safety Modernization Act before they cause any more harm to small and organic family farms.
8) Subsidize clean energy technologies, such as wind and solar, instead of the coal, nuclear, oil and gas industries. Outlaw fracking before it causes any more damage and harm.
9) Eliminate as much corporate and elite influence on our government as possible. Corporate needs should be considered when drafting legislation - just not with undue influence. All meetings with lobbyists or the wealthy will be shown on CSPAN and on a public record. No more partying and gifting the Senators or secret meetings. No more vacations paid for by special interests. No more quitting Congress to become a wealthy lobbyist, and no more of Congressional leaders being able to play the stock market for personal gain while being excluded from insider trading laws AND while legislating in a way that benefits their own companies or those they are invested in. These practices cause deep and wide corruption, and must end.
Industry can have their scientists and lawyers meet with Congress to express their needs and concerns when relevant legislation is to be drafted. But their voice, their access, will be equal to or less than that of the citizenry, as it should be.
10) Eliminate the ability for derivatives to be used to make bets on commodities, driving up food and fuel prices. Only small and medium size farms should be able to use a derivative-type vehicle to hedge against adverse weather conditions and natural disasters that can threaten their crops.
11) Hands off Social Security and Medicare. Rather, boost the amounts paid out to an amount in keeping with real cost of living increases and inflation so people can afford to live in their homes and not end up on the street homeless.
12) Extend Medicare to all. It is a program that works, and is very cost effective. Provide a public option that people or companies can choose if they want to. Tell the truth about the dangers of Genetically Modified foods, microwave ovens, cell phones, MSG, and other dangerous chemicals in our diets. Tell the truth about healing cancer. It’s right here: www.CancerTutor.com Tell people the truth about how to stay healthy. These are the obvious answer to our health care crisis.
13) Eliminate the Patriot Act and the gross levels of invasiveness. Destroy the existing databases of information collected on average Americans. Stop the militarization of the United States. Hold police or those who gave the orders responsible for flagrant brutality.
14) Bring the troops home. Stop the waging of aggressive wars. Become a friend to foreign nations so there is no reason to use weapons of mass destruction. Stop U.S. weapons manufacturers from selling Depleted Uranium weapons and munitions, and WMD's to other countries.
15) Take care of our troops. Give them the benefits they deserve to live a decent life. Provide proper health care and vocational training programs, psychological counseling where needed, and other assistance, as appropriate.
16) NAFTA, GATT, and all agreements with the World Trade Organization (WTO) result in a race to the bottom - to sweatshop conditions globally. They were international treaties and therefore, had to be voted for by two-thirds of Congress. But they were fast-tracked and signed into law only by the president. Hence, they are illegal and should be nullified. Tariffs worked to protect American workers for many years and can work again.
17) The constitution states that Congress and Congress alone has the ability to print our currency. There should be no interest associated with our money, except a reasonable rate when borrowing from a bank, for instance. The Federal Reserve is a privately held bank our country is paying trillions of dollars of interest to. It should be nationalized, and the debt found to be "odious", as used by the United States several times to avoid paying the debt of a country it had invaded. See article directly to the right on this topic.
Without the false debt to the elite bankers, our several trillion dollar debt gone, suddenly there is more money for everything important, such as helping the homeless; major tax relief for everyone who makes less than a million dollars in income each year; new jobs while building on green technologies to be the leader in those fields in the future; substantially more money for schools, the elderly, Social Security, etc..
End the fractional banking system.
18) Time has shown that where people are given peace and the ability to feed their families and have a decent roof over their heads, there is no "terrorism". We create enemies by attacking foreign countries and by leaving them devastated and/or war-torn. We should seek earnestly to promote international peace. Host international summits on the dangers to our environment, food supply, health… essentially, it comes down to how we are threatening our own sustainability. We should press for international standards on environmental care so we do not destroy the world of our children and our children’s children. We must be stewards of the world because it is the only one we have, and we each have the debt to our descendants to be good stewards.
19) Electronic voting machines that lack a solid audit trail are too easy to manipulate. They can only result in our elections continuing to be stolen. Having a paper audit trail is an obvious first step on the road back to democracy. (See www.OpenVoting.org for more on this crucial issue.)
There's been too much heartlessness. It is time to fix the mess that the corrupt politicians have created. We must unify. Then anything is possible.
This plan is, thus far, one man's brainstorming - seeking the common ground that the masses share so we can find a way to minimize the corrupting influences in our government. This is simply a starting point. If not this, then what? We must discuss how to achieve our ends. We must unify or we will continue to be powerless. The politics in D.C. are now totally controlled by special interests. The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations can donate as much as they want to political candidates. Our democracy is gone unless we take it back now, while there is still a chance.
And that is also why I suggest the coming together of many left organizations in support of one new organization. Because these organizations would have the resources to each donate staff, office space and equipment. If they join us in this endeavor instead of fighting their own battles, then everyone’s needs are met by a unified and focused effort to address the corruption in our government.
One Way to Form a VOTER Organization
VOTER will form an organization whose job it is to give us a unified voice and provide a platform that we can vote on. VOTER can put surveys on the internet to let us vote on issues that we care about. VOTER will ask the questions that no one else is asking. “Do we want all special interest money out of politics?” “Do we want federally-funded elections?” “Should we fund these elections through a new tax on wealthy corporations?” “Should we have a national voting box standard that always has a paper audit trail?”
People will be able to vote on a VOTER website for potential candidates of who we on the left want to run in the actual general election. Whether that person runs as a Democrat or Independent should be up to the Board of Directors or Delegates to The VOTER Plan Board - not me. They will be in a better position than I to make the determination of which would be best.
VOTER can also do the work for us of sorting through thousands of pages of history to find Congressional candidates who have a proven track record of reform for a better government, or a cleaner environment, or improved food safety; people who have been working on social issues to help the masses; anyone who can prove that they’ve been fighting the good fight for a while - these are the people that we should be voting for.
Many will ask how we can limit the vote to just those who are in agreement with the VOTER Plan platform. The simple answer is that those who have donated money to one of the member organizations in the past 15 years are the automatic members who can vote. Through donating money to social justice causes or environmental issues or to any of the other member organizations, a person has earned the right to vote on the VOTER website.
Obviously this is only for voting to form the VOTER platform and voting on the candidates. After the candidates and platform are set, then it moves into the public arena where anyone that is registered to vote can vote for the VOTER candidates, or the Democrat or Republican candidates.
Remember, VOTER would be composed of people who are donated from Left organizations with a long-time track record of fighting the good fight. With our support, they would have the resources to help us take our government back. It is in everyone’s interest - except the entrenched powers that be, of course, to support these organizations. This is every man and woman’s fight for our very government and for a better tomorrow. This is an achievable path to a better tomorrow for us all, except perhaps, those who have been stealing too much of the pie.
VOTER can enable those of us on the Left (and those on the Right who have donated to one of the member organizations,) to have our own primaries where the third party candidates are not excluded, but invited. VOTER will let us vote among several candidates seeking a specific seat. And these candidates cannot advertise on mainstream media. VOTER’s members will need to read up on them and/or see them speak in equal-length video presentations that will be hosted by VOTER. VOTER can also host debates for the Left. Thus, money will not be able to buy these elections. VOTER’s candidates will have to provide a financial disclosure of net worth and any corporate affiliations of any kind.
To be successful in this endeavor, we must vote out most of the incumbents in Washington because they have demonstrated their allegiance to everyone but the people who they are supposed to be serving.
VOTER candidates will be asked to answer survey questions that will help people know where each candidate stands on pertinent issues. Attention will be drawn to politically expedient answers or answers that are vague or lacking in specific details. Candidates will be asked if they are willing to commit to the VOTER platform.
This is just a starting point. Historically, people on the Left have been less involved in Washington politics. Yet, left to its own devices, the corruption in our government has become a cancer. We must stop the madness before it destroys all that we hold dear. If we wish to put our government back in the hands of the people, then the time has come for those on the Left to get involved and to stay involved. It is time to clean house. We are 100 million and the power brokers are few in number. If we come together, it can be done. If not, I fear for our future.
The People are Too Big to Fail!
Join the Peaceful Revolution:
Cole Simonson is one of the 99 percent with an idea that can be developed further. He can be reached at Cole@TheVoterPlan.com
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Consistent with this notice you are welcome to make 'fair use' of anything you find on this web site. However, if you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. As to my ideas associated with The VOTER Plan, I would love for the right organization or group to come along with the resources to take this and help it fly. I seek nothing in this other than a better tomorrow for us all. Let's talk! Cole@TheVoterPlan.com
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by Noemi Klein
...In New York State, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and Washingtonsblog.com reported that the mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on "how to suppress" Occupy protests. ...Our system of government prohibits of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping.
...In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces - pumpted up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS - to make war on peaceful citizens.
...So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.
Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.
Please read this very important article here: http://www.informationclearinghouse.
By James Clay Fuller
May 22, 2011 "Information Clearing House" ---Count me among the growing number of people who believe support of the Democratic Party, as such, is not merely a waste of time but, worse, a deeply negative activity.
Support for the Democratic Party leads to continued degradation of the United States and great harm to all citizens who are not wealthy.
The same has to be said about support for the Republican Party, but that does not mean rational people must therefore throw in with the Democrats. In plain language, they’re about equally bad for America and its people.
We desperately need a new party, and there is a logical place to begin forming one: With the long list of genuine liberal organizations that were given birth by the Internet. More of that shortly.
Barack Obama should not be re-elected. At any time before the mid 1990s, his actions in office would have identified him clearly as a Republican who leans dangerously to the right. What he claims to believe in while campaigning and what he has done while in office have almost no positive connection. He has capitulated on major issues before any “negotiations” have begun; he has, whenever possible, given the money elite what it wants on everything of importance...
This video demonstrates how a few simple changes to the tax code to make the wealthy and multinational corporations pay their fair share would yield 441 billion dollars per year. The 'austerity measures' being imposed on us are fiction in light of those gains. However, it should be obvious that our government would never implement these changes without the people implementing The VOTER Plan first.
This article suggests a savings of $100 billion dollars per year if corporations paid their fair share of taxes. Unlike the article immediately above, this one does not mention the issue of wealthy individuals paying their fair share, perhaps accounting for some portion of the differing estimates.
17) The constitution states that Congress and Congress alone has the ability to print our currency. There should be no interest associated with our money, except a reasonable rate when borrowing from a bank, for instance. The Federal Reserve is a privately held bank our country is paying trillions of dollars of interest to. It should be nationalized. etc..
To clarify how it is reasonable to terminate the debt with the bankers of the Federal Reserve, for instance, I refer to the following extract from this video:
As this video discusses Greece, try substituting the United States, and perhaps you will feel, as I do, that it is completely accurate, and an important message for us all:
From Debtocracy by Kryfos Okosmo:
This film describes how the United States used the idea of an odious debt in 1898 at the close of the Spanish American war and annexed Cuba along with its debt. The United States decided that Cuba’s debt was odious and did not pay it. In the late 19, early 20th century, most instances of odious debt concerned underdeveloped countries on the American continent. The United States was involved in all of those.
And the same concept of odious debt was used again with Iraq’s debt when the United States was about to attack Iraq, it was formulated that the United States would claim Iraq’s debt as odious. Then they realized that the same concept could be used by other countries against the interests of the United States, so they decided they must stop using that method. Here are quotes from the latter half of the film:
An odious debt has three points:
...Only the people have the authority and the right to request an audit [of supposed debt.] Because they suffer the consequences, all Greeks must become involved. All social organizations must protest and demand an audit. The Greek political parties ND and PASOK, who benefited from the creation of debt are very negative towards an audit, as their responsibility will be revealed.
People, organizations, unions, judges, intellectuals, artists – everybody must act. They must express their views and exert pressure on political authority. ...Academics, writers, artists, union representatives from all over the world supported this initiative willingly. The Audit Committee will find which parts of the debt are odious or illegitimate and will prove that, as provided by Greek and International Law, the Greek are not obliged to pay such debt.
However, the decision is basically political, not financial. Even if the debt was legitimate, no government has the right to kill its people in order to satisfy its lenders. Even if the entire Greek national debt of 350 billion proves legitimate, which is clearly not going to be the case, Greece can never pay back. It will have to be cancelled. If honoring the debt and making it sustainable involves dismantling health care, dismantling education, dismantling the transport system, then the debt is socially unsustainable.
...There is only one single option in the coming case, which is not to pay this debt because it was based on neoliberalism. And neoliberalism endeavor was a crime against humanity.
No one is obliged to pay this debt since it was accrued because of corruption in the financial markets. It’s immoral to pay an immoral debt.
The formation of an Audit Committee is ultimately just a valuable weapon in a broader battle. This battle will follow the traditional rules by which battles have been fought for centuries. Without this battle, even if we repudiate the debt repeatedly, it will always rise from its ashes
This means that a field for ideological, political and class struggle will form. The debt is a result of class struggle.
Don’t hesitate to stand up for your rights against the Greek government. Respect is gained through struggle, not by obeying one’s creditors. Only when the people take action can the situation really change.
We have to shake off submissiveness, liberate ourselves from the IMF, liberate ourselves from the ECB, and liberate ourselves from the EU because all three mean the economic slavery of Greece.
Now is the crucial moment.
Quotes for These Times...
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act"
-- George Orwell
"People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome."
-- George Orwell
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe