Sep 28, 2012
Aug 20, 2012
There has been much ink spilled on news, editorial, and op-ed pages, not to mention the virtual oceans spilled on the Internet, since Paul Ryan was chosen to be Mitt Romney’s running mate (I don’t say Mitt Romney chose him, because I don’t think he did).
Ryan’s fiscal plan, 14 years in the making, unmaking, remaking,1 has captured the imagination of the lunatic right (those who, like Ryan, have Ayn Rand on their required reading lists). Speaker Boehner, knowing a bear trap when he sees one, has almost crippled himself in contortions aimed at distancing himself from the plan without alienating too many of his constituents.
The left meanwhile, to which no one any longer pays even nominal attention, is nevertheless having a field day with it. Krugman calls Ryan “an unserious man,”2 and Steve Nelson, head of the progressive Calhoun School in Manhattan and writer of the biweekly “Sensibilities” column in my local rag, the Valley News, characterizes the society Ryan’s plan aims to forge as one “committed to rugged individualism.” I agree with Krugman, but respectfully disagree with Nelson.
What has been developing over the past thirty years and more (since the Reagan Revolution—a real revolution and one which is ongoing) is not some nostalgic return to a Jeffersonian vision of hardy agrarian individuals going about their business in an egalitarian society with minimal governmental interference. Far from it. What we are witnessing rather is the largest transfer of wealth, enabled and abetted by a co-opted and corrupted central government, in the history of mankind.
No Republican is looking for smaller government. The national debt ballooned between 1981 and 2008 from less than a trillion dollars to over 10 trillion entirely during the administrations of Republicans.3 The five to six trillion added during the Obama administration4 has accrued primarily because of a combination of circumstances Obama was essentially powerless to affect: the downward momentum caused by the Great Recession, the bailouts committed during the last Bush administration, the continuation of the Bush tax cuts, the prosecution of multiple unwinnable but very expensive wars, and Congressional obstreperousness which has scotched every attempt by Democrat or Republican alike to contain our exploding debt.
No one in power today wants less government. The ones in control, and this includes Obama, want something else altogether. They want your money. They want government to be devoted entirely to enriching the already superrich at the expense of anyone who isn’t. Show me a single significant pending legislative initiative, or a single piece of significant legislation passed in the last thirty years which doesn’t advance this agenda and I’ll eat it.
This isn’t, in Nelson’s words, “a society committed to rugged individualism.” It is a society committed to brigandage.
I predict a Romney win in November, because I believe our country is ripe for a bloodless coup. The radical right is poised to take over our hapless land, by hook or by crook, and if they can’t buy the election, they are ready, willing, and able to steal it. And the sad fact is, they probably won’t have to put themselves out to too great an extent to do it. As Gore Vidal noted over fifty years ago, “Persuading the people to vote against their best interest has been the awesome genius of the American political elite from the beginning.”5
1 See, e.g., “Fussbudget: How Paul Ryan Captured the G.O.P.,” by Ryan Lizza, from The New Yorker, August 6, 2012.
2 An Unserious Man, by Paul Krugman, from the New York Times, August 19, 2012.
3 National Debt Chart
4 The US Debt Clock
5 “Homage to Daniel Shays,” The New York Review of Books, August 10, 1972.
Jun 02, 2012
Norman Solomon is running in the second congressional district of California, and has been endorsed by Dennis Kucinich, Glenn Greenwald, Mike Farrell, Raul Grijalva, and many other well-known progressives.
His primary is coming up on June 5, so I am rushing this notice to ATN to encourage you to give a last-minute contribution to his campaign, and watch for the results on Tuesday. Solomon is one of the strongest candidates in the progressive field, and certainly one of the most popular. How he does on Tuesday will provide a good indication of our chances in November.
And while we are election watching, don't miss Tuesday's results on the move to recall Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. Walker, you will remember, attempted to single-handedly end collective bargaining at the state level, essentially killing union representation for public employees. Wisconsin is polarized over the issue, millions of dollars in state and out-of-state money have poured in to Walker's coffers, and Tuesday's election is going to be a close one.
May 15, 2012
Here is what Rocky Anderson’s campaign stands for. If you take issue with any item here, I would like to hear what you think is wrong with it:
Apr 28, 2012
Ralph Nader has endorsed Ross "Rocky" Anderson for president and that is more than good enough for me.
Anderson, a two-term mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, has a biography that reveals a lifetime devoted to fighting for social justice and a political system in keeping with the progressive, egalitarian principles which I believe were intended by our Founding Fathers, and from which we have strayed dangerously over the past thirty years. (But I needn't rehash what I have been writing about on this site for four years.)
Now I have someone to vote for for president in 2012. I confess to having voted for Obama in 2008 and I have regretted ever since not giving my vote to Nader, who represented my views far more closely than Obama. The latter talked a good game, and talked me into it, but his subsequent actions have appalled me. I fully expect him to win re-election, running as he is against an idiot who will probably scuttle his own campaign long before November.
So why vote for someone who is going to lose? Well, number one, Anderson doesn’t necessarily have to lose. The majority of Americans support the majority of his positions, believe it or not. And if you don’t believe it, then go to PollingReport.com and find out.
And number two, the lesser of two evils is still evil. Obama has clearly shown he is in the camp of the corporatocracy. Furthermore, he has extended presidential powers well beyond the framework of the Constitution; scrapped due process as it is generally understood (by everyone but his toadying AG); killed, imprisoned, and stifled more American citizens than we know of solely by personal fiat; and betrayed (by omission and commission) his race, his party, and his country. You don’t vote for someone who has done to us what he has done.
Americans are ready to demand a change. The U.S. has never been quite the beacon of decency and hope we have attempted to appear to be before the world. And today our escutcheon is particularly banged up. But we are still in a position to lead the world to a new level of democracy and freedom, if we can only retrieve from the forces of greed and oligarchy our tarnished American soul.
Mar 24, 2012
You don’t have to guess where Jeanne van den Hurk stands on the issues. This grassroots candidate for the 3rd Congressional district of South Carolina lays it all out for you at BeYourGovernment.org. This web site aggregates information on a variety of Independents and what I might call new-age Democrats, that is, Democrats not under the sway of the corporatocracy.
Van den Hurk supports universal health care, an end to the misbegotten war on drugs as well as our other militaristic misadventures, a green energy policy, restoration of Constitutional rights, and other issues of increasing importance to an increasingly alarmed electorate. As with the other candidate I have written about in this series, David Levitt, van den Hurk pays less attention than I think she should to employment issues. In time, I hope she will develop and deliver progressive positions toward alleviating the inequality which has exploded over the past thirty years and to the crisis in employment which is not going away soon. In that regard, I recommend she read over the entries I have posted here under the tag New Political Party.
[All the information about van den Hurk in this piece is taken from the above-referenced web page. If you are able to refute anything there or here, citing reliable sources, please email us with that information and we will post corrections to this piece.]
Van den Hurk accepts no corporate money and is therefore dependent on small and medium-sized contributions from—you. Yes, you, if you are reading this and are of the same mind as so many today who know we must find a means of wresting our country back from runaway capitalism and a bought-and-paid-for Congress. If continuous war isn’t to be the legacy we hand down to the next generation; if we are not to consign them to a standard of living significantly below that of our parents; if we are not to condemn them to a crippled planet and one in which the coming water wars will make the current oil wars seem like peace rallies: if this is not the world we are handing on to our children, then something needs to be done now, because this is the world where we are headed, as all the empirical evidence indicates.
Van den Hurk, like many of the doughty candidates who are stepping out of peaceful, private, middle-class lives to expose themselves to the cauldron of partisan politics, is married with children and is an entrepreneur with a jewelry design and antique business. I am a long way from South Carolina and only follow van den Hurk in her Twitter and Facebook capacities. I hope more is going on in her campaign than is evident in this social media. You can bet the Mainstream Media will avoid providing her with much coverage until and unless she makes dramatic inroads into the territory of the first-term Republican incumbent. And BeYourGovernment provides the minimum of campaign exposure.
So how are van den Hurk and these other candidates going to be elected? They will be elected by you. Your dollars, your word-of-mouth, your volunteer efforts, your votes. And if, come November, we find ourselves once again with a neo-liberal Democrat in the White House, a far-right Republican majority in the House, and a lame, old-age Democratic majority in the Senate—or worse, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.
I contributed to van den Hurk’s campaign, and I will do so again if it maintains its viability. This is the very least you can do, and it is something you can do it right now.
Mar 06, 2012
David Levitt is opposing California Senator Dianne Feinstein, and will run in the non-partisan primary there on June 5. According to his web page, http://www.levitt2012.org, he has a doctorate degree from MIT and was a researcher at the MIT Media Lab before becoming a Silicon Valley scientist, engineer, and entrepreneur. This is his first foray into politics.
[All the information in this piece is taken from Levitt’s web page. If you are able to refute anything there or here, citing reliable sources, please email us with that information and we will post corrections to this piece.]
In California’s “non-partisan” primary, the top two vote getters will appear on the ballot in November, even if both are from the same party. Since Feinstein’s leading Republican contender is one Orly Taitz, known as “Queen of the Birthers,” it is not at all unreasonable to hope Levitt may face Feinstein in the fall.
Levitt’s major gamble—and innovation—is the Free Campaign. He intends to establish a credible candidacy with a tiny fraction of the money typically poured into Senate races. He will do so by exploiting the Intranet and its social networking tools. Of course, no campaign can be entirely free, and Levitt, like other progressive candidates coming forth, solicits small contributions from individuals and does not accept corporate money.
Levitt’s Issues and Solutions section of his web site is heavily weighted—perhaps too heavily—toward social issues (pro-choice, marijuana legalization, marriage equality), and is less attentive to economic issues. In time, I hope he will develop and deliver progressive positions toward alleviating the inequality which has exploded over the past thirty years. In that regard, I recommend he read over the entries I have posted here under the tag New Political Party.
Our country is on the cusp of becoming a police state inside of a banana republic. Mlitarism is rampant. The rule of law has been set aside. We are distracted by divisiveness over social issues that have nothing whatever to do with our well-being or our common interests. If we are to regain our greatness as the moral leader of the world, we must defeat a corporatocracy which has kidnapped our body politic. The only way I can see our doing that, short of armed rebellion, is by supporting a new “citizen congress.” Occupy Wall Street has shown us that we still have the ability to muster a widespread, grassroots social movement in this country, similar to the ones that brought about a measure of racial justice in the 50s and 60s and the end of a futile, illegal, and immoral conflict in the 70s. Such a social movement is needed more than ever today.
David Levitt, and others I will be writing about in this series, have stepped forth into the light—and the cross-hairs of an establishment that will stop at nothing to stop them—to offer themselves as a first generation of candidates for that citizen congress. We owe them our attention and, if their candidacy proves to our satisfaction to be a worthy effort, our financial support, our voices, and our votes.
Feb 27, 2012
I have often on this site urged us to find, fund, and elect1,2 a new brand of politician that will wrest our country from the grasp of the corporatocracy. I have proposed a third party, naming it the New Century Party, and provided it with a platform with ten planks that should appeal to rational individuals across the political spectrum, from conservative to progressive, from Tea Party to Occupy Wall Street.
With the 2012 election coming up, a grassroots groundswell of sorts is developing, with several candidates coming forth to challenge the incumbent Republican and Democratic minions of the corporatocracy. They share an agenda which puts the people first, and promises to reverse the disastrous trends of the last 30 years. They share an awareness of the dangers of gross inequality in income and opportunity among Americans; of the disasters we are facing from global climate change; of the evils of militarism and unregulated capitalism. They support a publicly funded health care program; a revitalized, green economy; and a return to the principles of open government, the rule of law, and adherence to due process.
These candidates are not going to be slick; they are not going to be air-brushed; they are not going to have $400 haircuts. They may sound more like your next door neighbor (if you are lucky in your neighbors) and less like the snake oil salesmen currently spending tens of millions of dollars attempting to manipulate the less worthy instincts of an undereducated and frightened electorate.
They deserve and demand our attention. If we find them credible and their campaigns viable, we should support them with our dollars, our word-of-mouth, our letters to the editor, our volunteer labor gathering signatures, our Tweets, and any other assistance we can bring to bear.
I will introduce them here, as they come to my attention. Please EMAIL ME with additional ones you would like to see featured here, providing me with at least the URL to their web page.
1 Birthers and Death Panels, from All Together Now, Aug 14, 2009.
2 Up From Slavery, from All Together Now, Sep 6, 2009.
Copyright © 2008 All Together Now.