Enact the Full Employment Program which will directly provide 25 million green jobs in sustainable energy, mass transit, sustainable organic agriculture, and clean manufacturing, as well as social work, teaching, and and other service jobs.
Provide grants and low-interest loans to green businesses and cooperatives, with an emphasis on small, locally-based companies that keep the wealth created by local labor circulating in the community, rather than being drained off to enrich absentee investors.
Renegotiate NAFTA and other "free trade'' agreements that export American jobs, depress wages, and undermine the sovereign right of Americans and citizens of other countries to control their own economy.
Provide full protection for workplace rights, including the right to a safe workplace and the right to organize a union without fear of firing or reprisal by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.
Support the formation of worker-owned cooperatives to provide alternatives to exploitative business models.
Make the minimum wage a living wage.
Oppose two-tier wage systems.
Ensure equal pay for equal work, ending discrimination based on race, gender, or generation.
BUDGET AND TAXES
Reduce the budget deficit by restoring full employment, cutting the bloated military budget, and cutting private health insurance waste.
Eliminate needless tax giveaways that increase the deficit.
Require full disclosure of corporate subsidies in the budget and stop hiding subsidies in complicated tax code.
Rewrite the entire tax code to be truly progressive with tax cuts for working families, the poor and middle class, and higher taxes for the richest Americans.
Reject cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Stop draining the non-profit sectors of our economy in order to give tax cuts to the for-profit sectors.
Relieve the debt overhang holding back the economy by reducing homeowner and student debt burdens.
Ensure the right to accessible and affordable utilities – heat, electricity, phone, internet, and public transportation – through democratically run, publicly owned utilities that operate at cost, not for profit.
Maintain and upgrade our nation's essential public infrastructure, including highways, railways, electrical grids, water systems, schools, libraries, and the Internet, resisting privatization or policy manipulation by for-profit interests.
Establish a 90% tax on bonuses for bailed out bankers.
Break up the oversized banks that are “too big to fail,” starting with Bank of America.
Create a Corporation for Economic Democracy, a new federal corporation (like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) to provide publicity, training, education, and direct financing for cooperative development and for democratic reforms to make government agencies, private associations, and business enterprises more participatory.
End bailouts for the financial elite and use the FDIC resolution process for failed banks to reopen them as public banks where possible after failed loans and underlying assets are auctioned off.
Bring monetary policy under democratic control by prohibiting private banks from creating money, thus restoring government's Constitutional authority.
Let pension funds be managed by boards controlled by workers, not corporate managers.
Regulate all financial derivatives and require them to be traded on open exchanges.
Require banks to use honest bookkeeping so that toxic assets cannot be hidden or sold to unsuspecting persons.
Restore the Glass-Steagall separation of depository commercial banks from speculative investment banks.
Democratize monetary policy to bring about public control of the money supply and credit creation. This means nationalizing the private bank-dominated Federal Reserve Banks and placing them under a Federal Monetary Authority within the Treasury Department.
Establish federal, state, and municipal publicly-owned banks that function as non-profit utilities and focus on helping people, not enriching themselves.
Provide tuition-free education from kindergarten through college, thus eliminating the student debt crisis.
Forgive existing student debt.
Protect our public school systems from privatization
End high-stakes testing and stop punishing students and teachers for failures of the system in which they work.
Stop denying students diplomas based on tests.
Stop using merit pay to punish teachers.
Provide complete, affordable, quality health care for every American through an improved Medicare-for-all insurance program.
Allow full access to all medically justified contraceptive and reproductive care.
Expand women's access to the "morning after" contraception by lifting the Obama Administration's ban.
Roll back the community drivers of chronic disease, including poor nutrition, health-damaging pollution, and passive dirty transportation.
Avoid chronic diseases by investing in essential community health infrastructure such as local, fresh, organic food systems, pollution-free renewable energy, phasing out toxic chemicals, and active transportation such as bike paths and safe sidewalks that dovetail with public transit.
End overcharging for prescription drugs by using bulk purchasing negotiations.
Ensure that consumers have essential information for making informed food choices by expanding product labeling requirements for country of origin, GMO content, toxic chemical ingredients, fair trade practices, etc.
Impose an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.
Offer capital grants to non-profit developers of affordable housing until all people can obtain decent housing at no more than 25% of their income.
Create a federal bank with local branches to take over homes with distressed mortgages, and either restructure the mortgages to affordable levels, or if the occupants cannot afford a mortgage, rent homes to the occupants.
Expand rental and home ownership assistance and create ample public housing.
Create a binding international treaty to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to levels deemed safe by scientific analysis to reduce global warming.
Phase out coal power plants to end their unacceptable harm to the climate, health and the economy.
End mountaintop removal in Appalachia.
Redirect research funds from fossil fuels and other dead-end industries toward research in renewable energy and conservation.
Build a nationwide smart electricity grid that can pool and store power from a diversity of renewable sources, giving the nation clean, democratically-controlled, terrorist-proof energy.
Phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies.
Stop hydrofracking to prevent devastating pollution of groundwater, destruction of roads from the transport of millions of tons of toxic water, and the threats of earthquakes recently determined to be caused by drilling and disposal of fracking water in seismically unstable regions.
End Federal subsidies for "clean coal" -- an expensive, carbon intensive, unproven technology promoted by the coal industry public relations campaign.
Halt all drilling that poses a threat to public lands or water resources.
Halt the Keystone XL pipeline and bring the tar sand oils under a comprehensive climate protection treaty.
Issue an Executive Order prohibiting Federal agencies from conspiring with local police to infringe upon right of assembly and peaceful protest.
Repeal the Patriot Act that violates our constitutional right to privacy and protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
Repeal the unconstitutional provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that gives the president the power to indefinitely imprison and even assassinate American citizens without due process.
Oppose the Online Piracy Act and all other legislation that would undermine freedom and equality on the Internet.
Pass the Equal Rights Amendment to forever end discrimination based on gender.
Eliminate the doctrine of corporate personhood with a constitutional amendment to clarify that only human beings have constitutional rights.
Implement marriage equality nationwide to end discrimination against same-sex couples.
Expand federal support for locally-owned broadcast media and local print media.
VOTING RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
Enact the full Voter's Bill of Rights guaranteeing each person's right to vote, the right to have our votes counted on hand-marked paper ballots, and the right to vote within systems that give each vote meaning.
Abolish the electoral college and directly elect the President.
Get the big money payoffs out of politics by implementing public funding of election campaigns.
Reverse the Citizens United ruling to revoke corporate personhood, and amend our Constitution to make clear that corporations are not persons and money is not speech.
Restore the right to run for office and eliminate unopposed races by removing ballot access barriers.
Require the use of auditable, hand-counted paper ballots in all local, state, and federal elections.
Guarantee equal access to the ballot and to the debates to all qualified candidates
Eliminate “winner take all” elections in which the “winner” does not have the support of most of the voters, and replace that system with instant runoff voting and proportional representation.
Provide equal and free access to the airways for all candidates, not just those with big campaign warchests.
Enact statehood for the District of Columbia to ensure the region has full representation in Congress, and full powers of self-rule.
Restore voting rights to ex-offenders who’ve paid their debt to society.
Require that all votes are counted before election results are released.
Replace partisan oversight of elections with non-partisan election commissions.
Celebrate our democratic aspirations by making Election Day a national holiday.
Bring simplified, safe same-day voter registration to the nation so that no qualified voter is barred from the polls.
Protect our right to vote by supporting Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s proposed “Right to Vote Amendment,” to clarify to the Supreme Court that yes, we do have a constitutional right to vote.
Protect the legitimate exercise of local democracy by making clear that acts of Congress establish a floor, and not a ceiling, on laws relating to economic regulation, workers rights, human rights, and the environment.
PEACE AND FOREIGN POLICY
Cut the bloated Pentagon budget by 50%.
End use of assassination as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy, including collaborative assassination through intermediaries.
Increase our energy security by reducing our nation's dependence on oil.
Demilitarize U.S. foreign policy to emphasize human rights, international law, multinational diplomatic initiatives and support for democratic movements across the world.
Restore the National Guard as the centerpiece of our defense.
Create a nuclear free zone in the Middle East region and require all nations in area to join.
Oppose attacks on nuclear facilities.
Ban use of drone aircraft for assassination, bombing, and other offensive purposes.
End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, withdrawing both troops and military contractors.
Make human rights and international law the basis of our policy in the Middle East.
Join 159 other nations in signing the Ottawa treaty banning the use of anti-personnel land mines.
Close some 140 U.S. military bases abroad.
Initiate a new round of nuclear disarmament initiatives.
Create millions of green jobs in areas such as weatherization, recycling, public transportation, worker and community owned cooperatives, and energy-efficient infrastructure.
Adopt the EPA's new tougher standards on ozone pollution.
Promote conversion to sustainable, nontoxic materials.
Promote use of closed-loop, zero waste processes.
Promote organic agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry.
Grant undocumented immigrants who are already residing and working in the United States a legal status which includes the chance to become U.S. citizens.
Halt deportations of law-abiding undocumented immigrants.
Repeal the deceptively named Secure Communities Act.
Improve economic conditions abroad to reduce flow of immigrants, in part by repealing NAFTA.
Demilitarize border crossings throughout North America.
End the war on immigrants, including the cruel, so-called “secure communities” program.
Repair our communities rather than dump resources into the prison-industrial complex.
Work to eliminate laws tying judge’s hands with mandatory sentencing requirements.
Immediately legalize medical use of marijuana and move to permit general legal sales under suitable regulatory framework.
End the ineffective and costly War on Drugs and begin to treat drug use as a public health problem, not a criminal problem.
Mises Daily: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 by Wendy McElroy
“Your papers!” In old movies, the demand is barked at trembling travelers by a Nazi with a guttural accent. If the demand is made in the opening scene, then the audience knows immediately that they watching a totalitarian state in which travelers are in danger.
“Your papers!” now rings out at every American airport and border crossing. The accent is different but travelers need to recognize with equal immediacy that a totalitarian state is playing out in front of their eyes, and they must be careful.
A passport is where the security theater begins. Indeed, without a passport those who wish to fly or cross a border are not “allowed” to be scanned, searched, interrogated, or undergo a plethora of other indignities imposed by uniformed thugs. The hoops through which passport carriers jump are all prelude to “permitting” them to exercise a right belonging to every freeborn person: the right to travel.
America and the world were not always this way. It is important to remember that there once was a world in which people traveled freely across borders without paperwork to visit families, pursue education, conduct business, and mingle. Freedom worked once. It enriched the world economically, culturally, and psychologically.
War Converts Convenience into Blatant Abuse
The modern “passport” is commonly defined as, “an official document issued by a government, certifying the holder’s identity and citizenship and entitling them to travel under its protection to and from foreign countries.” But are passport privileges to be conferred or denied by government, or are they mere conveniences that cannot be properly required for people to exercise the natural right to freedom of movement? Do they protect peaceful travelers or merely facilitate the state’s grip on the flow of people and property?
The foregoing descriptions of passports have all been true at some point in history.
Travel papers date back to antiquity and were generally intended to protect the bearer as he passed through foreign territory. The King James Bible (Nehemiah 2:7) states,
I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah.
In some areas, the issuance of letters also served as social control. According to Wikipedia, “In the medieval Islamic Caliphate, a form of passport was used in the form of a bara’a, a receipt for taxes paid”. Those in arrears could not travel even within the Caliphate.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://oathkeepers.org/oath/2011/09/09/wendy-mcelroy-passport-to-the-total-state/
Review: END: CIV Posted on January 26, 2011 by Joe B When Frank Lopez first was promoting Derrick Jensen, I have to admit that I was skeptical. Actually, skeptical may have been too light of a term. I didn’t like Derrick Jensen, and I still don’t like Derrick Jensen. To me, Derrick Jensen sounds too much like a con man, who is looking to sell his books. He tells people, the converted, things that he wants them to hear.
Now, those of you who are familiar with Franklin Lopez and Submedia may be familiar with the show “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine”, which features commentary from “The Stimulator”, who uses foul language and goes over various news throughout the world. Below is one of the year-end specials, “Riot 2010, Part 1″: The difference between “It’s the End of the World as We Know it and I feel fine” and END: CIV is the tone.
While ITEOTWAWKIAIFF is optimistic, but barely scratches the surface of various issues, END:CIV on the other hand, gets deep to the heart of the matter. The movie is based on 4 premises of Derrick Jensen’s Book ENDGAME, and while I think that Primtivism and END:CIV are themselves also death cults that don’t appear to provide anything new or constructive to the conversation, I have to say that I don’t totally disagree with this movie, most likely because of the way it deals with Violence, the State and its Monopoly of Force.
One thing that is really frustrating about talking to people who are pacifists is that they use what Derrick Jensen calls the Ghandi Shield. They repeat the names of Ghandi and Martin Luther King over and over again. However, the fact is that without the more radical elements in the civil rights movement, and the Indian Independence Movement, neither of these people would matter as much as they do.
This is a discussion that radical movements need to seriously have in the world right now. Personally, I agree with Derrick Jensen when he says that we need it all, however I think that people lack basic strategy and don’t realize that the certain opportunities for change only come once in a lifetime. The thing that I find interesting about the concept of END:CIV is the fact that I expect to be dead in the world after Civilization.
I’m clearly part of the old world, and most other people who are on the Internet are. The Internet is an interesting thing, but it’s a product of civilization and without the Internet, and without the ability to get food from the Supermarket, combined with the fact that the only weapons in my apartment is probably my multi-tool and maybe a hammer, I’m pretty fucked. Most people that aren’t super rich, or armed or are already able to cope outside of this society are going to be fucked! However, I’m OK with that, because I’ll either be totally fucked and die when the Civilization ends, or I’ll die before it ends. However, If there was a nice Post-Civ solution, one where we’re NOT fucked, I’m all ears.
Right now there isn’t anything substantial, and that’s because people believe that things are fine. The purpose of films like END: CIV are to highlight that things aren’t fine and that these are things that we should be thinking about. However, the world is NOT black and white, and you’re going to have to help people as well as the animals, because nothing is more dangerous than corporate leaders with people cornered like scared animals during the collapse, which is what we see in disaster situations. Anyway, I highly recommend seeing this film, and not only because I’m friends with Frank, and a lot of the other people who put this film together. The film is going on tour, and I recommend checking it out at the dates on the website.
The ISO (Internationalist Socialist Organization) is having a discussion about the BP oil spill and how Capitalism is destroying the planet. They are saying that Socialism would be better and if oil production was state controlled then we would not have these disasters happen. I don't agree an here is why.
Socilaism is a moral philosophy as is capitalism. Today we tend to think of them both as sciences but they started as moral philosophies and remain so today. Socialism shares with captalism as far as I can tell, and I am not the only one saying this a economic growth worldview. Which is to say Industrialization is inevitable and we can and must continue to grow the economy. The big problem that I see with this is that we live on a finite planet and that there is only so much stuff that we can chew up and spitt out. A lot of people believe that science is going to save us, and I think that not only is this not possible it is foolish. This is coming from someone who has been studying peak oil for the last six years and believe it to be resl snd believe that we have already past it. What are your thaughts on the matter? And does anyone want to go with me on the 29th to debate tgis with the ISO? Thanks
In Marx' understanding, persons are commodified and degraded under the fetishism of market, capital and money where the market or profit are made central. Reductionism and alienation occur when life is reduced to the market economy, CEOs are stylized "job creators" and workers degraded as "cost factors."
In the 50s, we had a guns-and-butter economy without limits. Pushing the workers and increasing productivity was the panacea. In the 80s with the neoliberal counter-revolution, Reagan reduced the top tax rate from 71% to 24% and gave capital all freedom in the "trickle down" mythology. In the current financial crisis, pyromaniacs are called fire-fighters and speculators "investors." Trust will be more distant than a star until the financial sector is shriveled, working hours are reduced and redistribution occurs from top to bottom.
As the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, the economy should be a part of life, not a steamroller crushing creativity and self-determination.
Here is a link to an essay on Erich Fromm. The future will be brighter when we overcome our estrangement and send the architects of crisis back to the golf course!
I don't currently have the time to type the book that it takes to properly get into the subjects raised here, but let me point you to an excellent talk that addresses why socialism is necessary to save humanity and the planet.
How to solve the growth problem. Some of you said that I was wrong and then went on to say that Socialism would be like sipping oil from a glass rather than gorging at an all you can eat buffet. Then still others tried to make yourselves sound very intelligent and used a lot of big words.
The bottom line is this oil and fossil fuels ot finite and will run out this is an undisputed fact which we have known for a long time. Today most of out energy is made using fossil fuels. So with demand rising "growth" and this would happen in a socialist country as much as a capitalist country which is why the Soviet Union fell. The Soviet Union could not provide for the basic demands of it's population furthermore the educated class demanded more materials and a higher standard of living. Not to mention what happened to tha Arial Sea which is one of the worst enviromental disasters in history.
I don't believe science will save us so I refuse to believe in any political idialiogy thst believes in growth as the answer to societies proplems, and thank you Steve I totally agree.
The socialists seem to be forgetting or denying that BURNING OIL by itself is a global catastrophe. No leaking needed. A socialist economy could run a completely leak-proof, worker safe, even egalitarian etc., oil economy and the environment would still fall apart around us. Burning any fossil fuels IS JUST OUT OF THE QUESTION. Hydroelectric dams will destroy all of the global salmon runs if global warming doesn't. Dammed up rivers also produce huge amounts of greenhouse gasses by creating big anaerobic decaying pits of organic matter. Sometimes more greenhouse gasses than coal burning power plants. Look it up.
But let's be clear here, producing and maintaining solar panels, or windmills, or thermal generators, or whatever is also needlessly polutive, wasteful and harmful. Metal mining requires the destruction of huge tracts of land and poisons streams and rivers. It increasingly requires the use of large quantities of cyanide and other toxic chemicals. The production of plastic releases Dioxins (some of the most deadly compounds known), and then the plastics that we use continue to leak dioxins and other harmful chemicals into the general environment (wherever it is that they happen to be, in your home, outside, wherever). Recycling is also a chemical and energy intensive industrial process that harms the environment and is wasteful to the degree that eventually, as a system, it will run out of raw materials to circulate. Any way you cut it, fossil fuel and electric infrastructures are not sustainable. And by "not sustainable" I do not mean just mean "dirty and regrettable but still an option, if only a not so good one" that's not what "not sustainable" means! It doesn't mean "yucky, but workable." It means that IT PHYSICALLY CANNOT CONTINUE. A non-sustainable practice will stop itself from continuing either by completely depleting the resources it needs to continue OR by destroying the environment to the degree that human life cannot be sustained- whichever comes first. Heck, even a steam industry is not sustainable... most of the U.S. was deforested during or even before the early industrial revolution alone. Early Middle Eastern, African and European civilizations that practiced intensive grain agriculture were not sustainable (while it would appear on the other hand that indigenous milpa -maize, squash, beans, etc.- farming is rather sustainable). Most of the lifestyles that we have come to think of as "civilized" are just not sustainable.
But don't sweat it. Biologically modern humans have been around for 200,000 years. Large-scale industrial energy infrastructures have been around for roughly 100 years. That's less than 0.1% of the time that humans have been around. Meaning that I'm sure we'll be able to figure out how to live just fine again without that utterly frivolous, completely unnecessary crap. The ghosts of essentially all of your ancestors going back to the earliest humans would probably laugh in your face if you tried to tell them that "I can't imagine living without electricity! Certainly it can't be done!"
Whoa whoa whoa. Slowdown there. The person asking this question - who I assume to be you - asked for clarification, from a Socialist standpoint, about industrialization. Not the use of Fossil Fuels. The consumption of natural resources is an inevitability but the consumption of Fossil Fuels is not. Throughout this discussion I have maintain the orthodox Marxist view (which is not sustained by Leninist organizations) that Socialism is not possible without Capitalism first reaching a particular level of development. It is from the Capitalist's mindless industrialization that the peoples of the world become members of the Proletariat and in turn the conditions for a Socialist revolution are eventually made possible.
In Marx's time the issue of environmentalism wasn't nearly as pronounced and so it wasn't really an element of his work. But considering the fact that Marx did believe Capitalism would produce a set of conditions so terrible that it would cause a global class movement, its rational to say he would have included environmental degradation in his theory had he been living today. consumerism, global warming denial, and general complacency towards our environment are deeply ingrained in the Capitalist system. It is these characteristics, necessary to sustain the demand for consumer goods that fuel growth of the Capitalist system, that will invariably prevent the ruling class from acting in a manner that prevents some sort of catastrophe down the road. When this catastrophe occurs, it WILL indisputably demonstrate that Capitalist development is at the heart of the declining integrity of our planetary ecosystem. When this catastrophe occurs, Capitalism will be unable to cope with the massive, destabilizing strain it places on Global Markets. When this catastrophe occurs, it will compact with all the other insidious tyrannies that exist to maintain the system and burden the working class - political, social, intellectual, economic, etc.
It figures that such a culmination of events would be the spark that lights the proverbial fuse - causing that global awakening that precedes the true Socialist revolution predicted in Marx's work. This environmental catastrophe will inevitability be a crucial element and focus of the democratic, non-hierarchial reorganization of our planet; as the masses will seek to establish a system which will not repeat the disaster that was so horrific that it helped cause a historically unequaled paradigm shift the world over.
Because we are unavoidably moving towards a totally industrialized world today, by the time such an event occurs its logical to assume that industrialization will be even more prevalent. On a planet with a human population of billions - all of whom who are trained to operate and dependent on industry - it would be impossible to immediately abandon industry without causing starvation that in unlike any of our most horrible nightmares. But because these industries will be operated to SUSTAIN humanity rather than to simply perpetuate growth for profit, immediate steps - such as the abolition of Fossil Fuels and the mass adoption of Alternative Energies - will be immediately possible. As the jump in awareness that is necessary to operate a democratic, non-hierarchal society spurs on infinitely greater and more socially-mindful education, as the prosperity inherent to operating industry for need affords the masses more time to develop other skills, the process of slowly reducing the need for industrial dependency will steadily alter our economies and in turn the size/composition of the human race as whole. Conversely the depletion of the Earth's resources - slowed but ever present - will never allow a global society of collectively-orientated people to simply ignore the state of the Earth - thus insuring energies will be consistently dedicated to mitigating humanity's impact on the Earth.
Although all of the aforementioned is quite complicated (and will be even more so in practice), the fact that such a future is possible and well within the operating confines of SOME socialist thought I hope I have successfully helped you understand how it is simply not realistic to put Socialism on the same level as Capitalism. And to reiterate my emphasis on the world "some" large elements of what I've outlined here are simply structurally impossible under some forms of Socialist thought - primarily Leninist ones. As you have correctly stated the Soviet Union unilaterally failed to distinguish itself much less the "greatness" of Capitalism despite its barbarity. Leninist thought retains one of the most crucial and powerful elements of the Capitalist system - the necessity of hierarchal power structures due to what the perceive as the incompetency of the masses. When you keep hierarchy, you keep an unequal distribution of power. When you keep an unequal distribution of power, you establish the basis of a class system and when you have a class system you have class interests which compel some to control and exploit the people. It is this basic principle that has rendered all attempts at Leninist Socialism miserable failures with unforgivable loses of life. The ruling class of the Soviet Union - the beloved "professional revolutionaries" and "People's Party" worshiped by the Leninists - never care about the people just like their Capitalist counterparts; only the perpetuation and defense of their power and wealth. When these inherently selfish elements are steering the ships of our nations, they cannot be convinced to avoid the icebergs of ecological devastation that threaten to hurt everyone but them.
Marc 20 Anti Aer Protesters go to court - 3 Convictions and 3 Acquitals Mood:
bright Now Playing: Ant War March - Peace of the Action - John Gold, Cindy Sheehan, and Jim Veeder Topic: POLITICS
March 20 White House Arrest Trial Ends with 3 Convictions, 3 Acquittals
Monday, I spent a day in DC Superior Court supporting six anti-war activists on charges that arose from March 20 arrests at the White House while protesting the 7th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. Elaine Brower and Matthis Chiroux were found guilty in a bench trial of "failure to obey a police order." LeFlora Cunningham-Walsh was found guilty of "crossing a police line." John Gold, Cindy Sheehan, and Jim Veeder were found not guilty of crossing the police line.
There are legal questions involved in the convictions which will likely be appealed. In the course of a permitted, peaceful march, at which symbolic cardboard coffins were left in front of buildings of the Veterans Affairs Offices and Halliburton, marchers dropped about a dozen of the coffins in front of the White House, in the designated "picture postcard" zone where tourists are always allowed, but political protest is not.
The prosecution produced a US Park Police video of the S.W.A.T. team leader Lieutenant Beck announcing, on a barely-audible bullhorn that the protest permit was revoked, and that everyone inside of an arbitrary police line of yellow tape and bike racks had to move. Police already had a continuous line of these bike racks and cops directly in front of the White House fence with plenty of safe space for them to "protect persons and property", that no one was attempting to challenge.
Where was the emergency or dangerous situation that the prosecution referred to which allegedly gave the park police the right to declare the "permit revoked?" Where was the threat to the area? Elaine Brower, who testified in her own defense, talked of years of opposition to the wars in which her son was deployed. She explained that she lay down on the sidewalk next to the symbolic coffins demanding an end to these illegitimate wars that have so adversely affected those military family members who stood beside her that day crying over the death of their sons. She argued that if tourists can be there at one moment taking photos unimpeded, why can't a permitted political protest be there at another?
Cindy Sheehan choked up on the stand, recounting her efforts after her son Casey was killed to stop the wars -- many miles of marching, thousands of speeches and interviews, her radio show, and even a run for Congress -- only to have a new, Democratic Congress and president expand the war in Afghanistan.
These activists all did the right thing in making visible non-violent protest, stepping beyond the bounds of what the government arbitrarily permits, and also refusing to accept any offer of a "plea bargain" in the process leading up to and on the day of the trial. All six defendants stood together in solidarity to demand their right to be heard and that all bogus charges are dismissed. Unfortunately, the end result was that three were ultimately convicted, and three were able to walk away with an acquittal.
That Saturday afternoon in March, Elaine and Matthis were calling on many more of the protesters standing there to join their impromptu action of lying on the sidewalk in front of the White House. If hundreds would have joined in, there likely would have been no arrests and no situation where the six arrested for basically a "traffic violation" were roughed up and held on cement floors in torturous conditions for 50+ hours. Given the max penalty for the infractions were fines, and no jail time, the government clearly was delivering a message that such protest will be riskier and more dangerous. None of them should have been convicted!
Dissent, truth-telling, and daring to speak about why these wars continue, through the Bush regime, escalating into the "change" we should be resisting, has to be our mission. While the Peace of the Action events attracted very few people last week, I applaud Cindy and those who came to protest. I also applaud those that were convicted who could have accepted the plea bargain from the government which ultimately allowed three others to have their charges dismissed.
Oil Spill - Iran Offers to Help - Wait we are Sanctioning You? Mood:
mischievious Now Playing: Iran offers to help contain US oil spill Topic: POLITICS
Iran offers to help contain US oil spill
Mon, 03 May 2010 13:29:49 GMT
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A dead fish is seen on the Mississippi beach on May 2, 2010. While the death has not been linked to the vast oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, concerns over wildlife continue.
The National Iranian Drilling Company (NIDC) has offered to assist the US in efforts to prevent an ecological disaster caused by the spreading oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Following an explosion on a BP-operated oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico last month, at least 210,000 gallons (5,000 barrels) of crude oil are thought to be spilling into the water every day.
NIDC managing director Heidar Bahmani announced the firm's readiness to use its decades-long expertise to fight the oil slick, the company's public relations office told Press TV.
"Our oil industry experts in the field of drilling can contain the rig leakage in the Gulf of Mexico and prevent an ecological disaster in that part of the world," Bahmani said.
Overlooking the new US drive for slapping more UN sanctions on Iran over its civilian nuclear program, the company said that there is an urgent need for action to protect the nearby coasts from the advancing oil spill.
The governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Florida have reportedly called a state of emergency for fear of the oil slick's environmental and economic damages.
The disaster has also prompted the White House to ban oil drillings in new areas of the US coast until the British company explains the cause of the explosion that killed 11 employees and resulted in the oil spill.
Are you a Democrat? Well, if you are, I have some questions for you. It occurs to me that somewhere in the last decade (maybe longer),the differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have been blurred. I'm going to try to
break down why I believe the two political parties find themselves not only similar to each other, but in all actuality, mirror images. Let me begin by bringing up a few points about our touted two-party system.
There are those that seem to believe that the two party system is exactly what our founding fathers envisioned when they crafted our republic. The fact is that many of the founding fathers were opposed to political parties altogether. In fact, the two
political parties that are now dominant didn't exist until the mid nineteenth century. In our history, political parties have come and gone, and the republic continued to thrive. In fact, according to a recent show on the History channel;
“The framers of the Constitution of the United States made no provision in the governmental structure for the functioning of political parties because they believed that parties were a source of corruption and an impediment to the freedom of people to judge issues on their merits. James Madison argued in his “Federalist Paper #10” against a system in which “factions” (his word for parties) might be able to seize control of the government). George Washington, in accordance with the thinking of his fellow Founding Fathers, included in his cabinet men of diverse political philosophies and policies”
The problem with using the words of our founding fathers to justify anything political in this country is that politicians are adept at taking portions of what’s been said and using the words of great Americans completely out of context. One only has to look at Barack Obama’s speech the other day when he accepted the Nobel Prize for Peace. In that speech he said;
“We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.”
Barack Obama then attempted to justify his actions by invoking what had been said by Martin Luther King, a man he tries to emulate, but apparently doesn’t understand.
“I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King said in this same ceremony years ago – “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.” As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King’s life’s work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there is nothing weak –nothing passive – nothing naïve – in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.”
I’m not at all surprised that Barack Obama invokes MLK to justify his actions. Some will see this as an attempt to bring reason and idealism to his recent decisions. People will see what they want to see. Sadly, there is nothing idealistic in what Obama is doing in Afghanistan or the rhetoric he uses against Iran. There is nothing altruistic about occupying seven new military bases in Columbia, just as there is nothing commendable about supporting the rigged elections in Honduras that installed a right-wing illegitimate regime.
As we close out another year, I am reminded of the promises that Senator Obama made when he campaigned for the presidency. When, during the campaign, I wrote about the corporations that spent millions to support Obama through “bundling” (Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and other investment houses), I was told in comments that this was just politics as usual and that Obama was just “playing the game” to get elected and that I was a Republican troll that was trying to put him in a bad light. When I mentioned that he refused to take nuclear weapons “off the table” and that he wanted to expand the war in Afghanistan, I was called a liar.
I remember blasting him for failing to vote against the FISA bill that would give the telecom’s immunity for providing wiretaps to the Federal government. Still, I was told over and over again in comments that he was better than McCain.
Sometimes I wonder if he is indeed better than McCain. At least if McCain had won the election the American people would understand what kind of man was running the country. The most troubling thing about Obama is that there are people out there that still believe that behind the decisions to expand the war in Afghanistan while rattling the saber’s against Iran and reviving the 5th Fleet for duty in Latin America and propping up right wing governments there, that deep inside of Obama, there is this liberal, moral man that we have yet to see.
During the campaign, Obama promised that military commissions would cease, that Guantanamo would be closed within the year, that secret CIA prisons would be closed and extraordinary renditions would cease. Guantanamo is still open, the CIA prisons are still operating at Bhagram Airbase and other locations are still open and people are still spirited away to foreign prisons. People are still dying in Iraq; we have just allocated 1.4 Trillion dollars for the defense budget which includes the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan and the 16 intelligence agencies that the military operates. We have military bases in 177 countries with more opening every day.
Make no mistake, Obama is counting on military means to insure the continuing supply of oil and to keep China and Russia encircled. One may ask why NATO still exists and keeps expanding long after the Warsaw Pact has become a footnote in the history books. You may like to believe that in the 21st Century the world would be a more civilized place, but peace will continue to be an elusive thing as long as we rely on brute force to implement our foreign policy.
Our War/Peace President and his administration refused to sign the Land Mine Treaty that has been signed by 157 other nations . This is a very interesting development in that landmines are responsible for thousands of innocents being injured every year. From nuclear weapons, depleted uranium, cluster bombs and landmines, there seems to be no weapon that the United States won’t embrace.
For those that believe we are better off with the “progressive” Obama in office, it’s time to think again. The sad part of this charade is that in 2012, if we survive until then, the Republicans will run a candidate that will be more unacceptable than Obama. The Congressional critters will continue to be funded by corporate America, and there will be no change on the horizon. I could say that the Republicans and Democrat have long outlived their usefulness, but that will be met with skepticism and disbelief by a majority of Americans that believe these two co-opted political parties still represent real democracy, if indeed they ever did.
Maybe in the near future enough people will take the time out of their busy lives and envision a future where the Democrats and Republicans have been relegated to the dust bin of history. Think of a time when we can vote for individuals with vision instead of voting for a political brand. Change will not be broadcast through our media that has a deep working relationship with the two major political parties and their corporate overlords. Real change will come from the voices of reason found in communities. If ever this country needed to listen for answers, it’s now.