Sunday, May 29, 2011

What is "Middle-Class"?

I've asked before... why aren't people marching in the streets? What does it take for people to rise up and challenge the corporate masters? Perhaps, it takes knowledge...

Trickle Down or Trickle On?

It's amazing how ingrained trickle down economics is... on the one hand conservatives argue that we're broke and busted, on the other Governor's and State Legislatures would fall all over themselves to offer huge "incentives" for any new major manufacturer to open in their State. The idea being, if we just grease the palms of these corporate masters enough, they will take care of us. Add into it, their own pet projects and politics and you've got to ask, are we really broke? Or are they trying to "shrink government to the size that can drowned in the bathtub" as Grover Norquist dreamed.

From Alternet - 4 Fantastically Stupid Projects Pushed by Republicans...

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm still Sarah from the block ...

"Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got / I'm still I'm still Jenny from the block ..." - Jennifer Lopez,

Don't be fooled by the house I got / I'm still Sarah from the block... A tour of Sarah Palin's new house. Click here.

Regular ole' Sarah Palin, a tea party favorite, with a passion for hunting and fishing in her Alaska (evidence that she doesn't actually hunt or fish when the camera's aren't running notwithstanding), is leaving Alaska for a $1.75M, 8,000 sq. ft. home in Arizona...

Sadly, Sarah Palin is the new American Dream - her life is a reality series - small town mayor becomes Governor, then VP nominee, then quits a job with actual responsibility and makes millions selling the Sarah Palin myth across America. To keep the momentum going, and sell more books (ala, Donald Trump), she may make a run for President... what a country we've become.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Confronting Corporatocracy

Good piece from Bruce Levine - entitled "10 Steps to Defeat the Corporatocracy" -

"The only way to overcome the power of money is regain our courage and solidarity. Here's how to do that.
1. Create the Cultural and Psychological "Building Blocks" for Democratic Movements
2. Confront and Transform ALL Institutions that Have Destroyed Individual Self-Respect and Collective Self-Confidence
3. Side Each Day in Every Way With Anti-Authoritarians
4. Regain Morale by Thinking More Critically About Our Critical Thinking
5. Restore Courage in Young People
6. Focus on Democracy Battlefields Where the Corporate Elite Don't Have Such a Large Financial Advantage
7. Heal from "Corporatocracy Abuse" and "Battered People's Syndrome" to Gain Strength
8. Unite Populists by Rejecting Corporate Media's Political Divisions
9. Unite "Comfortable Anti-Authoritarians" and "Afflicted Anti-Authoritarians"
10. Do Not Let Debate Divide Anti-Authoritarians"

"To summarize, democracy will not be won without guts and solidarity. Risk-free green actions - such as shopping from independents, buying local, recycling, composting, consuming less, not watching television and so on - can certainly help counter a dehumanizing world. However, revolutions that truly transform fundamental power inequities and enable us to feel like men and women rather than children and slaves require risk, guts and solidarity."

Read the details by clicking here
Buy Bruce's latest book, "Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite", by clicking below -

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Morris Berman - Dark Ages America

Let me recommend another blog to you - this one by Professor Morris Berman. I found his blog, Dark Ages America, because of his latest post about the late Joe Bageant. Here's what you'll find when you go to his blog - great post on many of the same topics I write about - in fact, in his last three post he highlights Joe Bageant, Chris Hedges: “Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System", Joe Stiglitz, “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%", and "Losing Our Way," the last NYTimes column from Bob Herbert - all of which I've highlighted here. But, Professor Berman does a much better job than I of analyzing the pieces and the comments section on each of the post are very thoughtful.

Can't wait to read some of his other work -

Friday, May 20, 2011

Grow or Cut? Why not both?

I've suggested that the Republican's focus on deficit reduction was both a political move, which they would tread out when convenient for them, (here) and not smart (here)...

AlterNet highlights a piece by Ezra Klein that makes the argument better than I have - Why the Republican's have shifted the conversation... -

An excerpt:

"A little bit of stimulus could buy you a lot of deficit reduction. Imagine if Republicans offered Democrats a 4:1:1 deal: For every $4 of specific spending cuts over the next 12 years, they’d back $1 of tax increases and $1 of stimulus. A deficit-reduction deal that cut $3 trillion would carry $1 trillion in tax increases — so, $4 trillion in total deficit reduction — and $1 trillion in stimulus. Who’s the liberal who’d say no? And yet, that’s a big deficit reduction package. Among the biggest in our history, actually."...

"And even fiscal conservatives should be able to appreciate the fact that the surest way to cut the deficit in a hurry is to grow the economy and put more Americans back to work.

But none of this is even open to consideration, and no one has made any effort to put it on the negotiating table. Part of this is because Republicans are actively opposed to any measures intended to create jobs, and part of it is the result of a political establishment stuck in the wrong conversation."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Brother West - continued

Cornell West was on the Ed Shultz show to discuss this interview with Chris Hedges -

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

All covered at AlterNet here

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

President in the Middle -

A fascinating article by Chris Hedges about Cornell West's and his opinion of our President -

The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic

“I was thinking maybe he has at least some progressive populist instincts that could become more manifest after the cautious policies of being a senator and working with [Sen. Joe] Lieberman as his mentor,” he says. “But it became very clear when I looked at the neoliberal economic team. The first announcement of Summers and Geithner I went ballistic. I said, ‘Oh, my God, I have really been misled at a very deep level.’ And the same is true for Dennis Ross and the other neo-imperial elites. I said, ‘I have been thoroughly misled, all this populist language is just a facade. I was under the impression that he might bring in the voices of brother Joseph Stiglitz and brother Paul Krugman. I figured, OK, given the structure of constraints of the capitalist democratic procedure that’s probably the best he could do. But at least he would have some voices concerned about working people, dealing with issues of jobs and downsizing and banks, some semblance of democratic accountability for Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who are just running amuck. I was completely wrong.”

I'm a big fan of Brother West. He, and other liberals, are really pissed off at the President. To a person they will assert that the President is a middle of the road, conservative leaning, corporate Democrat. Thoughtful conservatives would almost agree. Media star conservatives, who are only interested in ratings and advertising dollars like those at Fox News, Limbaugh, etc., would disagree. In fact, they call the President a left-wing, socialist. No reasonable person could agree.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Freedom Riders -

A very good documentary on PBS tonight about the Freedom Riders - simply a group of young people who banded together to change our country's history -

More information at the PBS website - click here

Click here for a powerful story on CNN about one of the men featured in the documentary – James Zwerg

I wonder if part of what brought a tear to my eye, in both the documentary and Mr. Zwerg's story, is a longing for that energy in our country today. What if, What if young people today stood up to the money changers, the pickle vendors, the plutocracy, and the oligarchs, and demanded they release their grip on our economy?

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead

For more information on the Freedom Riders -

Still Giving -

More tributes to Joe Bageant at his website

Remembering Joe, a redneck revolutionary
"It is a class thing. If your high school drop-out daddy busted his ass for small bucks and never read a book and your mama was a waitress, chances are you are not going to grow up to be president of the United States, regardless of what your teacher told you. You are going to be pulling down eight bucks an hour at shift work someplace and praying for overtime to pay the heating bill."

"It’s no wonder the rural poor mistrust the government, it was government policies, forced by the Corporatocracy, that drove them off the land in the first place, only to be victimized by the deliberate destruction of the unions that kept wages high, again by government policies, forced by the same Corporatocracy.

Rainbow Pie should be required reading
Growing-up in the 50’s, I experienced the America Joe writes about, an America that’s unfortunately gone forever. When I graduated from high school, even the “D” students could read, and most could write a coherent paragraph. Companies had “personnel departments,” jobs were plentiful and well-paying, and you could buy things that lasted for a long time. Globalization, unfettered capitalism, and good old-fashioned greed and corruption has changed all that, and given us the America we have now."

Champion of the forgotten underclass
"They don't all look like Farmer Green Jeans. They don't even live in the country, necessarily, they're not all working in chicken plants and they certainly don't all work below the poverty level - although there are 40 million people below that now and I think they're well represented.

They've got their Wal-Mart stuff and a new truck, but they don't have health insurance or full-time jobs. They are very hard to measure demographically. Nobody says, "Do they have an education? Does the family get proper nutrition?" The misery in their life can be masked by commodities very easily."

Have you bought Bageant's Rainbow Pie yet? Click below to do so -

Friday, May 13, 2011

Well, this is a shock - Koch Brother's buy another Economics Dept.

Add Florida State to the other campus trophies (George Mason for example) that those benevolent benefactors of capitalism own...

Story at this link -

Not much evidence that boycott's make a difference, but you'll sleep better, if you boycott these guy's businesses... list here

This is a very good post by Liz Berry about what the Koch's are doing... Understanding how the Plutocrats maintain control

The Chart That Should Accompany Every Discussion of Deficits

Thanks to JD for sharing this piece in the National Journal -

I've written about the deficit hysteria previously- in short, I think the entire conversation is nuts, but if you're going to talk about it, at least be intellectually honest about where it came from.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Home Ownership as a Virtue

Recognizing that this video has been viewed one million times many of you have already seen it, I'm a little late to the game. Nevertheless, it is a remarkable video from RSA and David Harvey - click here

One of the points made in this video is especially relevant to one of the themes of this blog. He mentions, briefly, the percent of home ownership in the United States versus the rest of the world. Ever wonder how the "American Dream" of owning your own home became a cultural norm in the United States? Well, I hadn't either. Growing up it was just part of what we were taught to aspire... a "good, steady" job and owning your own home (white picket fence optional). But, apparently that's not part of the dream anywhere else but here. Look at the home ownership rates in the the U.S. versus Switzerland - 68% in U.S., 22% in Switzerland.

Then the question becomes, why is this? Who decided this was a virtue for us? Mr. Harvey offers one answer on the video - People with a mortgage are much less likely to strike...

Here's an interesting exercise - Google home ownership rates by State - see a pattern?

Harvey's most recent book is on my to read list - click below to order -

Friday, May 6, 2011

Again, what's the real objection?

Etan Thomas, poet and NBA player, draws a great analogy between his treatment as an African-American ball player at Syracuse and much of the criticism we hear from Republicans towards our President -

Trump's disrespect for President Obama

An excerpt:
"It is a sad situation that a man who has earned a degree from Columbia University, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, has been elected as president of the United States and received a Nobel Peace Prize has to continuously prove himself as a man worthy of respect. He simply shouldn't have to."

Monday, May 2, 2011

What are the real grievances?

"It's not unfair to say that such grievances are purely and simply imaginary, which in turn leads one to ask what the real ones can be." Christopher Hitchens

The stock market is way up, corporations are making record profit, Osama Bin Laden is dead, Obama signed the largest tax cut in the history of the United States,created more private sector jobs in 2010 than during entire Bush years , but, they scream, he needs to cut spending!, so in 2010 the President signed the largest spending cut since 1955 and does another massive cut in 2011.

Just imagine for a second that the economy turns over the next year... I argue elsewhere that we're in the middle of one of the great economic transformations in history, but that doesn't mean that the economy isn't cyclical... and we are still going to see ups and downs... imagine it goes up, gas prices decline, unemployment drops, housing sales increase... what the hell will FoxNews and Limbaugh, do? To modify slightly the Hitchen's quote above - if their grievances are purely and simply imaginary, it does indeed, lead one to ask what the real ones can be.