MAKE GOVERNMENT WORK
MAKE GOVERNMENT WORK
It can be an instrument of good. It can’t be ignored. It can’t be replaced.
Do the work. Make it work!
I truly believe that, when all is said and done, these Wall Street protests will prove fruitless. Also, it’s the lazy way out. Do you want to see change? Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to clean up Wall Street? Then hold your elected representatives accountable. Pay attention to what is going on in both houses of Congress. And I mean every vote that Congress makes. The majority in both houses is re-elected, on a regular basis, with the helping hand of corporate America. The Banking Lobby. The Tobacco Lobby. The Oil Lobby. The Mining Lobby. Big Pharma. They fund the Congressional campaigns of these clowns, and when an important vote happens, they want payback – and they get it, at the expense of the American consumer, and the American taxpayer. General Electric pays less in tax than the average fire fighter in your home town. That ought to piss you off. America isn’t easy.
Stop making useless noise. Get up off your ass. Roll up your sleeves. Put in the time. Pay attention to what is going on in Washington. These idiots work for you – or have you forgotten? Morons put flags on their cars, and think they’re patriots. They’re just lazy. Do you want to practice good citizenship? Then make sure you are registered to vote, and when Election Day rolls around, know the issues. Find a candidate whose goals and values resemble your own, and vote for him/her. Then make damn sure that every campaign promise made is kept. And if not, then never vote for that person again. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Then, why are Americans letting this mess continue? For God’s sake, people – HOLD CONGRESS ACCOUNTABLE – AND I MEAN BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
© 2011 Shaun Costello
Hold all their feet to the fire!
October 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm
Shaun Costello’s comment does not address the primary reason that our government no longer works for most citizens and that is the method we use to elect our representatives at all levels of government. I think,if we had publically funded elections the average voter would have better representation. Every other first world free country does this. No outside money allowed,small or large donations. The other group that needs to go is lobbiests. Anyone can get all the information on any subject they need with a stroke of the keypad,so to speak. As far as the Wall St. demonstrations are concerned, I do not think they are a waste of time. People take to the streets when the normal avenues to effect change no longer function,like our government. People feel they are being ignored and the needs of the many are being are neglected to meet the needs of the few. I’ll be showing my age but the ant-war deminstrations of the late sixties did bring about the end of the Viet Nam War.( You know,the war that was never officially declared,yet claimed the lives of 58,000+ American soldiers who were mostly drafted not the all volunteer military of today. A whole generation of lives were lost and ruined by this war.) Demonstrations that began on college campuses moved an entire country to put pressure on our government to end the war.My father-in-law,a WWII combat veteran,was opposed to the war by 1970,after supporting it for a number of years. This same process was used to bring about all types of civil rights legislation for minorities,women,gay people,etc. When the government becomes unresponsive to the people,the people must force it to respond.
October 6, 2011 at 9:57 am
Joan, thanks to our extraordinarily right of center Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year, Americans have no shot whatsoever at campaign reform in the next decade. Publically funded elections? Sure, a nice idea. Go tell it to the Supremes. Not only is Congress in bed with the corporate colossus, but the Federal Bench climbed in, as well. And that bed is getting pretty crowded. Comparing these Wall Street demonstrations to Vietnam era unrest is not only naive, but patently untrue. Instead of rolling up their sleeves and making Congress accountable, thousands of well intentioned, albeit naively so, Americans are camped out in tent cities in urban parks, participating in a preposterous re-enactment of Woodstock. Young people are being maced, while the Wall Street brokerage community spends weekends sipping pina colada’s at their beach houses in the Hamptons. The individual citizen has NO capability to impact the Banking Community, but we DO have the power to hold Congress, which sanctions the Banking Community, accountable, if only Americans could understand that and act on it. The source of America’s plight is the malignant curruption in Washington. Do you know your Senator’s voting record for the last year? I’ll bet you don’t, even though that voting record is readily available over the internet. I guarantee you that that voting record will surprise you. Even the ‘good guys’ in Congress vote against the welfare of their constituents from time to time, because that’s how the system functions. HOLDING CONGRESS ACCOUNTABLE! Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? Nowhere near as entertaining as holding sings, shouting protest rhetoric, getting maced, singing folk songs, squatting in urban Tent Cities, and experiencing a sense of communal righteousness in the re-enactment of the political upheaval of a long-gone era. And what exactly do these protesters think will come of their exhausting, and well-intentioned efforts? Do they actually think that, way up there in the air conditioned forty third floor offices of Goldman Sachs, brokerage executives are looking down at the spirited upheaval of sign-waving demonstrators, and having second thoughts? Do you really think that the CEO of Goldman is calling the CEO of Bank of America Securities to tell hem, “You know, maybe these people are right? Maybe we should clean up our act. Change the way we do business”. Do you really think that’s happening? Yeah, right. That phone call will be made on one condition, and one condition only – that Congress finally listens to the American electorate, and votes to sanction the Banking Industry into compliance with the law. Then, and only then will Amerca find its economic balance again. So, it’s up to you, people. You’re getting maced, and you’re getting hosed, and you’re getting nowhere. It all starts on the Hill – with Congress, You people voted those people into office. Don’t you think it’s about time you held them accountable?
October 6, 2011 at 10:53 am
Shaun, I have been politically active for years. Yes, I do know the voting records of my Congressman and Senators as well as my state and local officials. I have worked within the system for years. Unfortunately,the system is rigged. We need a Constitutional Ammendment to make sure that our elections are publicly funded. No outside money,period,the end,just like every other first world country that allows elections.
October 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm
Joan, I commend you for paying attention to Congress. I agree that it would be nice to have publically funded elections. But the Supreme Court’s ruling, earlier this year, on campaign reform precludes any such reform for years and years. We are working within difficult guidlines, and need to keep at it. Wall Street is laughing at these demonstrations, because they don’t effect the Banking Sector one iota. Do you know what does? The Senate Banking Committee.
October 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm
Shaun, are you against demonstrations? Many have attempted to hold their rep accountable but did you know that any Congressman can alter the congressional record to say what he “meant’ to say instead of what he/she actually said? Our government is broken, voting does work in some instances but the Electoral college needs to go, the option of redrawing voting districts at a whim to insure incumbent wins needs to go, lobbyists need to go, and yes, the business leaders and investors need to realize a more true bottom line: The public will only “Eat Cake” for so long as a historical figure found out.
I am not a libertarian nor an anarchist but we need to wake up our government and business leaders. The populace can only support so much. The middle is so strained it is hard to not to become “complacent” so we can keep our job (a $10/hr job after I was making 60K a year, glad I have it but it is not the correct pay even for entry level in my Profession but that is another thread), insure that we can take care of our kids ( I have none as it made more sense in an ever growing populated world (yes Soylent Green had a big impact on me as a kid I am 47)), and try to have some symbolical representation of a Dream. I spent my time in the service and earned honorable discharge, I played in the war that never was (The Cold War) even been told that I wasn’t a real vet, you know how many soldiers died in “training” accidents, these guys are not given medals (they can’t be, they were never there) nor truly recognized for their duty. Do you know that we still have body bags with American soldiers in them coming from the DMZ in Korea, not as many as when I was in but it still happens. Training accidents.
All this for the good of the Nation? Now it is unpatriotic to protest? Yes we need to hold our Congress in check and they in turn hold our Business leaders in check so unbridled greed does not destroy us; but this is not occurring.
The problem is there is no accountability, there is always some minion to blame, some voting machine malfunction, intelligence was ‘misleading’, and most of all No Transparency to the People. We expect some corruption but expect that our Nation leaders will police themselves, but they police us so we do not know what is really going on, follow the money.
Socroties was asked to drink hemlock because he was “Corrupting the Youth,” do you know what that corruption was? Some would have us believe it was sexual in nature but no, it was a concept of a Ruling Class called Philosopher Kings. The ruling class would be chosen at birth, raised to be dependent on the State for the wants of a human and in turn their whole life is given to the benevolent governance of a population. Some of his students took it upon themselves to try and start this form of government as they thought they were the Philosopher Kings and that is the down fall of the premise, we all think we could be that Philosopher King but we are only human and can be tempted much more easily than we like to admit even to ourselves.
I have been in upper management meetings in the past as an Operations Planning Analyst to hear how the work force is nothing but widgets to be turned out as soon as the need is gone and replaced when the need is back. The team I was on helped develop a means to real time monitor work flow and the work force schedule. We were able to make the payroll efficient without any layoffs. Another wonderful practice is the 80/20 or 70/30, run 80 percent as Full time employees and 20 percent as part time as to not have to pay out benefits and a reduce hourly wage for part time. Benefits I understand not paying, but reduced wages because you don’t work as many hours? You do the same work but because you are not full time you get less for your work? Where is the common sense in that, I am sure it makes sense to you in the upper echelons but to the revenue generators this makes no sense nor to me other than to keep a profit margin and make your balance sheet look good.
The plumbers bob is out of kilter and I and others want to do nothing but to have it back in the middle so every one can make a living. to get things back on track it will take more than just Voter Reform, a change of Congress, it is going to take a Society to wake up the self appointed holders of the purse strings.
Gandhi stated that he was not a communist and he did not believe in taking wealth away from those who have earned it, but that those who have wealth need to understand that they are Stewards of that wealth and it belongs to the whole of the world.
This is where peaceful disobedience has a role to play in today’s current Governmental and Financial issues, not just for us in the US but world wide. If our leaders do not care to address the root causes and keep feathering their bed they may find out that the Populace will go to the next stage.
Perhaps I am a dissident but I believe in our form of government but it is not working with the current set of guidelines. Change must occur and only a population can do that, peaceful or not.
October 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm
Trade everybody out! NO INCUMBENTS should win, regardless of party in 2012. Big business interests can’t influence the system if we show congress we can and WILL yank representative out if they don’t listen to the VOTERS. Give up your partisan interests, maybe vote in a few libertarians for a nice mix, but whatever you do, this time DON’T re-elect an incumbent, that will scare the HELL out of them, and really make a statement. If we stick to this, “MY congressperson is OK – its those other guys”, and “I need to look out for my interests”, then they have us where they want us. We can fight over policy later, but now we need to take back what is ours! NO INCUMBENTS.
October 4, 2011 at 9:26 am
A “no incumbents” proposal is public policy suicide – the equivalent of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Many of the members of Congress have spent years developing detailed knowledge of the inner workings of our Government and how to finance it. The nation cannot afford to sacrifice that institutional knowledge.
October 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm
Many of the members of Congress have spent years developing detailed knowledge of the inner workings of our Government and how to finance it.
Mostly what they have done is develop a detailed knowledge of how to keep the inner workings of the government WORKING FOR THEMSELVES.
October 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm
True Jim, but you can go to: opencongress.org and monitor every vote, and every deal they make. The internet has caught up with politicians. Keep an eye on yours.
October 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm
I’ve been saying that for weeks. All politicians should have a 2 term limit, just like the President. There is no need to keep these guys in for their lifetime living off the taxpayer, getting free health insurance and free pensions when they do nothing to help the taxpayer. They take from the poor/low income taxpayer to give to the rich. This government is absolutely sickening. They are all for themselves, no one else and something really needs to be done. If the President is only given 2 terms politicians should have the same. I am from the state of PA which on Feb 28th we were kicked of a government supplied health insurance program which was covered by the Tobacco Settlement reached in the late 90’s. It was for those who were too young for Medicaid/Medicare/SS. This fund brought in $350 million per year for the next 25 or so years yet corbett saw fit to kick everyone off and left them with a program which allows 4 DR visits per year, how can older people especially sick ones get by on that, it also has a raise of 300/400% increase in premiums. This man refuses to tax the drillers who are making millions from the Marcellus Shale going on now in PA. Tell me what does a person who has cancer, uses up his 4 Dr visits per year in January but still has to pay $168.00 premiums for the rest of the year and also pay for all his medical bills, prescriptions, and Dr visits do? He dies, that’s what happens, but tom corbitch does not give a dam about people in this kind of trouble. He only cares about catering to the big companies who supported and funded his campaign. People like him WE DO NOT NEED. Now how do u get rid of someone like this? I would love to know.
October 9, 2011 at 12:55 am
I know, Bev. I’m sure you remember the audience at one of the GOP debates applauded the death of the underinsured. That’s who we’re fighting against.
October 9, 2011 at 7:51 am
Paying attention and holding elected officials accountable is useless. What do you think you are going to accomplish? Are you going to quit your job and walk around with them in DC and be there at every vote? Behind closed doors is where America is run, not in front of you. We could vote out every single politician in DC in 2012, and the entire new crop will be bought and paid for by corporate america before you even have a chance to breath. DC is like a black hole and anyone who enters it, no matter his or her intentions, will still be controlled by the people who have the money, i.e. the corporations.
Dismissing the protests is the WRONG attitude. They need to be doing what they are doing. You need to be doing what you are doing. Everyone has a roll to play. It’s not a black and white situation, my way or the highway. The protests are waking people up. Hopefully it translates into more people taking action like you suggest.
October 4, 2011 at 9:50 am
I’m not suggesting that anyone quit their jobs and make Congressional supervion their life’s work. Follow the Congressional voting records on the internet. It’s public information. Monitor your elected represetative’s voting record. It’s easy to do. And come election time – HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE! Demonstrators are being maced, while the Wall Street Brockerage Community sips pina colada’s at their beach houses in the Hamptons. Demonstating is mostly drama, and cops enjoy macing demontrators. Do the work that matters. Keep closer tabs on Congress.
October 4, 2011 at 10:48 am
You seem to be part of the do as you’re told and play by the rules generation. Sometimes the rules need to be broken. People in the civil rights movement,labor movement and many others protested and in some cases died for their cause,but we all benefited. Do you think they also wasted their time and lives? The problem now is that people are much to complacent. Instead of shaping their own destiny,they keep waiting for a leader to do all the work for them and save them. I think what is forgotten about President Obama’s 2008 campaign is that the slogan was “Yes WE Can.” In all the whining and sniveling about how he hasn’t fixed an extremely complicated problem instantly and all by himself, what happened to all of his supporters after the election? Why didn’t they actually help or support him? Everyone went home and waited to be saved.
October 6, 2011 at 10:11 am
What disturbs me most is that the so called “bailouts” were not properly disbursed. The first bailout (under George W. Bush) could have been distributed equally to each American family instead of the Big Banks. That’s like as if every family won the lottery for a small fortune. Each family would then have either saved the money (thereby the banks would have replenished their deposit base and avoided potential failure).or invested the money (thereby keeping the market afloat), or, purchase goods and products (thereby increasing production, jobs, tax revenues) – and last but not least, paid off all or part of their debts. But NO! The money went to bail out the “Mr. Moneybags of America” – the big banks that STILL MADE A PROFIT AND GAVE THEIR CEOs 6 or 7 DIGIT BONUSES while they foreclosed on many hard working and hoodwinked people. Is that fair To whom and for what purpose? To line the already gold inlaid pockets of greedy individuals who were crying with a loaf of bread under their arms, while the rest of us ate crumbs?
October 4, 2011 at 10:27 am
If you don’t agree with the methodology of the bailouts, then find out how your representatives voted on these issues. If you disagree with their voting, then never vote for them again. You cant erase of replace the system. You can only try to make it work a lot better.
October 4, 2011 at 10:39 am
You have hit on one point of two that need to happen before the poor and vanishing middle class have any chance at real representation in this Country.
(1) NO corporate money can be allowed to fund campaigns. Solution- ALL campaigns are funded by the tax payer. 60% of the time our “elected” officials spend while in office is on raising money for the next election. That would end. The money spent from our tax dollars would be compensated in so many obvious ways by the simple fact that we would have legislators representing us instead of the corporate fascists that funnel everything into their pockets instead of small business, infrastructure, education, etc .
(2)End the current way of performing and recording elections and their results. It is totally corrupt. Our votes are routinely changed. The computer based machines were designed to be altered from remote locations. I personally know of voting machines being sent to the precinct with hundreds of votes already on it as well as hearing the testimony of a State employee who worked on election night (OHIO -Cary/Bush) state that two men entered the computer room with brief cases on Election night (Federal crime) for 15 minutes, then leave with out being questioned. She reported it to her supervisor and was told that they were authorized. She continued to seek an explanation in the ensuing weeks and was terminated. During the same election dumpsters of provisional ballots were found uncounted in Cuyahoga Falls. This is not to mention the ridiculous and seemingly endless efforts to keep people from voting. Solution – Legislation has to be created and passed that creates a fair and impartial voting system.
Unfortunately this is a catch 22- In order for one to occur the other has to happen first. Solution – They have to happen at the same time. That means cataclysmic change. It has never been easy if you want real freedom. The fake stuff is a piece of cake until the powers-that-be pull the chair out from under you. There are a lot of people sitting, bruised on the floor with chocolate smeared lips these days.
October 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm
Excellent input, Robin – but I don’t see the House or Senate making these changes – they must come from the bottom up. This issue, in effect, is at the root of all of our problems – and they are becoming worse every day as the system is further manipulated and being destroyed. Our whole election process is in crisis. I would like to think we could accomplish your #1 and #2 goals – and if we could – we also need to eliminate the electoral college (it is not longer viable in a highly populated, technological society) and have direct election of the President. There is a move afoot through Dylan Radigan at MSNBC to initiate a Constitutional Amendment that would take the money out of the election process. I have signed on to that movement – have you?
October 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, will put the kibosh on any meaningful campaign reform for the next decade. It seems that not only is Congress in bed with the corporate collosus, but the Supremes have jumped in there as well. That bed’s getting pretty crowded.
October 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm
That is why there is a need for a constituional ammendment. When 18 year olds actually got out in the streets and protested,they gained the right to vote,through constitutional ammendment,in a year and a half. Lightning speed in terms of a constitutional ammendment.
October 6, 2011 at 10:15 am
vote everyone out for the next two elections, that will wake all of them wake up
October 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm
But then, who would run the government? Like it or not, government is necessary.
October 4, 2011 at 1:22 pm
You are correct when you say that corporate America owns and runs congress but incorrect when you say we should vote them all out. By owning congress, they also “own” the voting process which has been taken from us. Voting is suppressed but worst of all the voting machines are beyond the control of the electorate and to say they are suspect misses the point that there is a perfectly clear reason the machines are beyond any reasonable check and balance. Therefore, it seems that the only way to have any hope of getting it back is precisely what is happening at the Wall street protests. Good for them!
October 4, 2011 at 1:07 pm
Where I truly believe and agree with your statements here it is wrong to dismiss the protests as useless. The writers and organizers of our Constitution created a peaceful “Revolution” process called Voting. Yes if the Citizenry holds up it’s end and Government is transparent then all things work and the People (mob) get representation of their needs. This is not happening due to both the Citizenry has lacked the foresight and has become a bit lackadaisical in it’s voting as the Voting process is more of a Popularity Contest now than what really matters as well as the “Professional” politicians have become more concerned with keeping a life style which in my opinion they have done anything to deserve other than keep the Citizenry (mob) complacent. perhaps this is there now perceived job?
We have come at another crossroads in our National history. It is time for us to stand up and say I am a Citizen and what you are doing is not right nor good for the Country. If things were working we would not have the Legislation branches come to logger heads about keeping our Government working, we wouldn’t have so much true greed rewarded by our Government officials. It is time to rise up and be counted not just for our Vote but as a Citizen. We forget the preamble of the Declaration of Independence: “WE THE PEOPLE.”
I applaud these individuals who take the time and protest, it is not easy to risk ones well being for an idea in a protest so please do not make lite of the actions of your fellow Citizens. We all have to let our government and business leaders understand that We Are The Government and no amount of money can change that. Social and Governmental changes happen when ideas can be exchanged to create logical socially beneficial compromises. THIS IS NOT HAPPENING in our current state of elected officials. Voting districts are being redrawn to help keep incumbents in office. Check out political news for Florida and Texas as well as some other states re-orging the voting district lines.
Peaceful protesting by a Democracy’s Citizenry is expected when voting doesn’t seem to be working as it really isn’t or we wouldn’t have the broken communications between the two different sides of the isle (then again perhaps it’s not so broken because they still have their retirement and medical). Protesting is a tool that a population needs to use when other peaceful means are not working, the next level is one I hope not to see in our country but the middle can only carry the two extremes for so long.
October 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm
I didn’t say they were useless, Dennis. I said they accomplish nothing. Congress sanctions Wall Street. Congress is the villain here. Wall Street is merely a willing accomplice.
October 4, 2011 at 2:18 pm
Agree but the protests do accomplish something; the country is now having a dialogue about things that have been known and been glossed over as to not rock the boat or throw rocks in our Glass House.
The root cause is Greed from both our Business leaders in Wall Street as well as the countless CEO’s who lay off, pay bonuses which would have paid for the wages of the now “pink slip” employees (case and point was HP during Carly’s captaining). We (congress and investors) reward knee jerk reactions to systemic issues instead of looking at a larger picture and see the solution is not the same ol’ same ol’ of ‘lay em’ off, re-hire when it gets better.
It is not just government which is causing this issue, it started with: the pass the blame on, instant gratification no matter the consequences down the road, and hey it’s not my responsibility, and the concept they are too big to let fail.
You have brought out things I have been saying since the 80’s about voting and that the government is the People’s responsibility. I applaud you as well Sir and thank you for having a blog such as this to discuss the broken state we are in, but more to the point how to fix it.
October 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm
I agree with: Watch ALL votes of the officials you elected. Take the money out of the campaigns giving equal time to those who raised the required and verified number of signed supporters – then televise or internet there positions and debates. Lastly, every vote counts – no electoral college!!!
October 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm
APATHY! APATHY! If the majority of the citizens of this great nation don’t get involved and vote their conscience then a small minority will tell them what, where, when and how to conduct their lives. Witness a great nation Germany and the total control that HITLER and the Nazi party used to totally destroy that nation and the millions of lives that were lost in the process, because the common German citizen wouldn’t take time to vote his conscience and speak out in the very beginning of the Nazi movement. APATHY is the beginning of the end to free will.
To illustrate how apathic citizens have become I will relate my experience: I worked with a man that was in his fifties and bragged that he had never voted and wasn’t even registered to vote–that his vote wouldn’t affect any election.–APATHY!!! If his view of how to be a US citizen is adopted by several million–guess what –remember Nazi Germany!!!
Question?? HOW MAHY OF YOU ARE VOTERS??? Do you read, watch and question the motives of a candidate, his policies and the affiliations that he really has. Or do you get caught up in the hype and the spin and not look deeper? Why do most politicians leave office as millionaires???? Power corrupts people and total power totally corrupts people. The greed and power that is now inherent in local, state and federal political institutions and corporations is destroying this great nation. The politicians have allowed the big banks, wall street and the big corporations to move their manufacturing and even record keeping to overseas countries. This is killing the “middle class” of citizens that are the backbone and marrow of this great nation. The AMERICAN DREAM is being killed!! The “BOTTOM LINE” philosophy of the big corporations, wall street and most of the elected officials is a giant precipice that this country is racing toward.
When the United States was first brought into being by the “PEOPLE” (the citizens of the states united) there were no ‘POLITICIANS” as such!! Each
represenative and senator was a citizen first and was basically requested by his fellow citizens to leave his city, county, state and go to the newly formed congress to speak for the citizens of his town, city, county, state. This request for each citizen’s service was NOT!! a job for life!!
Thomas Jefferson was quoted as having said that any goverment that is founded with the best intentions will overtime become unresponsive to the very people that had brought it into being and a true patriot will put his blood in the streets to change the way it functions (I have paraphrased his actual words which were “A TRUE PATRIOT WILL SHED HIS BLOOD IN THE STREETS TO CHANGE THE GOVERNMENT”. Jefferson was a true patriot and one heck of a firebrand. He could not have envisioned how really bad the situation would become!
We are now standing on the edge of the great precipice that I mentioned above. True citizens and patriots will protest and let the politicians and special interest groups know that the so-called silent majority is watching their actions and that there will be an accounting!!
October 4, 2011 at 6:12 pm
Robert Lee – Please refer to my earlier post for an illustration of why people are so apathetic with the voting process. I will add a quote from Tony Binn (British Parliamentarian labor party retired) You control a “Free” society with three main objectives. Keep them ignorant, keep them in dept, and keep them in fear. I would add that if that does not keep them in line keep them in jail. Notice that the US is now the largest prison state to ever have existed in all of history. We are also the largest Empire while ironically cringing at the very thought that we are in the business of empire building at all(Please refer to the book “Economic Hit Men” for some enlightening facts on this subject). These tools are being used and are extremely effective these days in America. Examples are glaringly obvious. i would suggest that we take the opposite approach and organize a movement to get everyone to NOT vote in order to send a message to all who are watching that the American people have woken and are refusing to buy into the lie that our votes count, that our elections are not fixed, and that our two party system is nothing but a sham to lead us into believing that we realty are a functional democratic Republic.
On the subject at hand I should say that protest in the form of peaceful revolution is the ONLY thing that has relieved our subjugation by the Oligarchy to any substantial degree or length of time. I refer to Ghandi’s movement that successfully ran off the British from India, The labor party in Czechoslovakia. The civil rights movement led by MLK, The recent Egyptian spring etc. These movements are not permanent, but it makes things better for a while. Unfortunately throughout all of Agrarian culture we have been subjugated by the worst of us. Thugs, cheats, murderers, psychopaths, and the like. They have the advantage of being ruthless and taking of taking advantage of others without remorse. Therefore they have risen to the top, collected the wealth/control and learned how to keep it. They are very good at this. The ONLY tool we have is to realize that we outnumber them and that their whole system is based on the premise that we will not realize it and simply stop agreeing with them. That is what happens when we protest. We quit agreeing with their lies. For example “money has real value.” No it does not. You can’t eat it and you can’t grow food from it. It is simply an agreement with which we barter. Another- you have to go to work – nope! just another agreement. If things get bad enough you simply do what these protesters on Wall street are doing. you stop participating in what is enslaving you until change comes. If you want the attention of the wealthy stop their flow of money for a minute and see how fast they make concessions.
October 5, 2011 at 2:09 am
I’m afraid that opting out is not really an option. If you leave a vacuum it will be filled with even more of the same problems and they may well be much worse. To walk away from a situation only tends to make it worse. For example: When Nazi Germany demanded concessions during the late thirties from Britain, France and the League of Nations what happened? The concessions were granted and Nazi Germany looked upon the ease with which they had gotten what they wanted and determined that the League of Nations , Franch and Britain along with the US were weak and Hitler decided to proceed into WW2 by invading Poland. What do you think might have happened if the League of Nations and its allies said NO!! We’ll never know for sure, but I believe that the Nazi’s might have drawn back and reconsidered what to do. Don’t get me wrong –Hitler was a madman bent on enslaving the world for his master race. We will never know what would have happened had the allies stood up to Hitler the outcome would probably have been far less bloody than what we got.
Another example: When WW2 was winding down in 1945, General Patton told President Truman that the US and USSR instead of being allies were in fact enenies and that the American army was allready there so why not attack the USSR before they could enslave most of the world. He was willing to attack immediately!! Truman was amazed and repulsed and told him no. The result was a 30″ + year cold war with over 20+ million soviet citizens being shipped to Siberia to starve to death because Stalin (another dictator) determined that that was a good way to get rid of his political enemies and to dcrease the demand for food in the USSR. If there is not enough food, get rid of the mouths demanding food–good solution wasn’t it!!
The only way to defeat a bad system of government or financial dictatorships is to get informed , vote and elect a citizen (not a lifetime politician) that is honest and will represent his constituents and report back to his constitutents what is actually happening and what they need to do to help. Now this will not be easy because the wealthy, empowered and ruthless politicos will smear your honest citizen with all kinds of heresay and innuendo and will try to disgrace him and his family and destroy him financially. The old saying of “where there is smoke there is bound to be a fire” will be used to undermine his support and financial backing. This has happened many times during the life of our nation. The backers of such a man must stand with him and be willing to put their families and fortunes at risk by continuing to support him. Are you strong enough to do this? This can and has been done in the past –witness the downfall of the infamous Tammany Hall in New York City. Many good citizens were murdered or financially ruined by the corrupt city officials but they were eventually brought to justice. This took many years and untold expenditures of time and money and good honest people fighting for what they believed was right!! Being a true American citizen is not easy.
Before the Civil War this was a nation of independent states joined in a common union. The central government only existed to provide a common defense for this union of independent states. The “federal government” did not exist as it does today. The states took care of their citizenery on their own. This was rather unweildly but it worked. The Civil war was fought over the states having the right to self govern or it was commonly known as STATES RIGHTS. Slavery was one of the southern states rights (rightly or wrongly). The northern states had developed the manufacturing and financial (banks) institutions while the south had remained mainly farmers and ship builders. The south had lots of open land while the north had big cities. The northern states decided to band together in the Congress and pass burdensome tariffs on the raw goods produced by the south and shipped to the Northern states to be made into clothing, furniture and other goods. Then the northern states decided to inflate the prices of the manufactured goods that were shipped and sold to the southerners. The south was not happy and threatened to recall their representatives to the Congress. So the morthern states decided to pacify the southern states by letting them choose which of the new territories in the west would have slaves and which wouldn’t. This agreement fell apart immediately when agreement on slavery or free couldn’t be achieved. Lincoln was not in favor of slavery nor was he totally against it. But the political pundits in Washington put out the word that Lincoln would abolish slavery when he took office
and this inuendo and heresay was the match that set off the conflagaration known as the Civil War. See what can happen with the old saying “where there is smoke there is bound to be fire” is used to further political agendas !! Lincoln did abolish slavery 2 years into the Civil War because he rreally believed (in my opinion) that freeing the southern slaves would help to bring the Civil War to an end by depriving the south of a way to continue bringing their crops to market thus depriving the south of much needed money for the war effort.
The citizens of this great country have seen more that their share of bad times and bad situations. The great generation that came through the great depression , the dust bowl and World War 2 seems to have raised a generation that believes that being honest and doing the right thing are cuss words. These “citizens” seem to be everywhere. The days are long gone where a handshake was a binding agreement between honest citizens.
I fortunately was raised by good honest people and I still would like to believe that there are good honest people still. However I am disappointed by what I see every day. I almost vomit when I see college educated men and women that don’t know even the basics of why and how and who founded this country. Oh! they can wire you up on a computer, and tweet and converse socially over the I-Pads and blackberrys, but when push comes to shove they will be the first to run and save their precious hides. Maybe we are reaping what we have sown!! Sorry about that!!!
October 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm
So,you’re a “states rights” believer. You know,this is well known code for leaving the civil rights of African Americans up to the individual states. Too much revisionist history for you. Oh,by the way,the so called greatest generation raised the generation that was conscripted to fight the Viet Nam war which was illegal and never actually declared by Congress. The young people of that generation lost 58,000+ and for their trouble were spat upon and neglected by their government.Young people of that generation participated and effected a huge amount of positive social and political change. As a boomer myself,I’m tired of being told how selfish,lazy and self-absorbed I am. The boomer generation,as they begin to retire,are also volunteering in unprecedented numbers.
October 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm
The Vietnam demonstrations, over time, were enormously effective, and cost LBJ his Presidency. But they were against the Government. Protesting against the behavior of the Banking Sector does not impact the Banking Sector. Do you know what does? The Senate Banking Committee. To accomplish change, we need to start with the source of the problem.
October 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm
Look who is attacking Wall Street! Granted there is need for change and control over the traders who make millions off our backs regardless of which direction the economy goes, but there is a bigger threat to our country and that is unions like UAW which are causing companies to move off shore and are driving our three remaining auto manufacturers out of business. This same group of thugs have tried to prevent Boeing form making business decisions and if they keep at it our airplane business will also end up in another country where work rules and hourly wages are in line with the worth of the labor provided.
Talk about politics and politicians being owned! Look at our Democratic party presently owned by Unions and policed by the NLRB and our current administration. We need to clean up both sides of the Isle and we are running out of time and money. Wake up America!
October 4, 2011 at 8:38 pm
Al,I take issue with your opinion regarding unions. You are entitled to your opinion but not your own facts. Unions are responsible for most of the laws that protect the well being,salaries,benefits(whats left of them),pensions,job security and safety of all workers,not just union workers. The big three American auto makers have made a come back and are hiring more workers and selling more cars than they have in years. Unions all over the country have given back plenty on wages and benefits,now it’s time for corporations to do their share. You talk about overseas labor but do you really expect Americans to work for a dollar a day as they do in many countries overseas. Why would you want to participate in this giant race to the bottom?
October 6, 2011 at 11:26 pm
Anything else? Maybe all American families giving their first born to China to pay off the debt? I think you need to go back on your meds, Harry
October 5, 2011 at 4:03 pm
Sorry but no health insurance…maybe we all need to be on meds…oh thats right!!! the insurance companies are for the wealthy…this that right Shaun? I’m sure that’s nothing you need to worry about…sorry to bother you…I was mistaken that you for someone that cares…I do not see anything you suggest that get their attention…or do you want to?
October 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm
Harry, your suggestions can’t be taken seriously. You sound like a libertarian on amphetamines. Basically, you are suggesting anarchy, and I can not take that seriously. We need workable solutions, and for voters to pay more attention to the candidates they elect. And I DO care, but only about workable solutions.
October 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm
Shaun I agree with you to a point. I pay attention to the candidates…I heard nothing but how Obama is doing it wrong…nothing on how they would fix it or how they would do it different. Look at Mitch McConnell ( there is a poster child for term limits) from day one he has made it clear that they will not agree with anything Obama wants to do. Remember the “Party of NO”. I truly believe the GOP will sink a ship full of passengers just to make the captain look bad. They do not care about the middle class nor do not want them..; What these yoyos do not understand without the middle class there is no economy…no GDP. The country will crash…and then what??? Can you spell…anarchy?
I grew up in Texas. My mother still lives there. Rick Perry is not the person you think he is. He has everyone in that state snowed. Of course, it helps when you have a friends that controls the media… But I can write a book on that idiot.
The GOP candidates…what a joke! And it looks like one of these clowns will be our next president. If that happens, we are all screwed. The election is about greed and nothing else. None of them have a clue how to fix anything. I do not believe they want to…”Status quo the GOP way to go”. At least Obama tries to do something instead of sitting on his ranch and letting big money run the country.
The GOP talks about jobs. Yet they will not repel the Outsourcing act…DC pays companies to send jobs off shore. In 2004 the GOP said that its good for our economy to send these jobs overseas. Bush even wanted to have a outsourcing czar on his cabinet. The title was later changed to Manufacturing Czar. It was not passed by the House. George was upset about that. I think he went back to the ranch and cried to mommy.
GOP didn’t mind spending $9T and another $4.8 B from other countries…but when Obama wants money to try to fix things…Its Obama that spent $14T and is putting the country in debt. Please!!!????
So pay attention to the candidates? Why… their not going to tell you the truth. It sound bites and nothing else. What they say?…Obama is bad…they are good. If you believe that…I have some land to sell you…what a deal it is…
October 6, 2011 at 11:50 am
Shaun, It serves no purpose to denigrate the efforts of obvious allies in an effort of common interest. This is a battle that can (and NEEDS to be) fought on EVERY front in order to make the desired difference. What makes you think that protestors are not ALSO aware of and actively participating in the avenue(s) you see as effective?
I have a similar complaint about possible tunnel vision on the part of all people seeking to make a positive difference in their lives and the nation. I have not had time to read your entire blog, but my initial impression is that you may have “legislative” tunnel vision, as if that were the ONLY avenue to change, as if we are restricted to depending upon Congress to be our voice, to make a difference. I think you are acknowledging that they are all bought, that they are corrupted by money and cronyism, that they are not currently capable of making systemic change, so it makes sense to put some effort in that direction,
BUT we are not restricted in communicating to the enemy only via intermediaries. DIRECT ACTION is possible. Speak directly to Wall Street, Bankers and Multi-National Corporations IN THE ONLY LANGUAGE THEY UNDERSTAND about THE ONLY THING THEY CARE ABOUT. THAT would be MONEY. It is so incredibly easy to remove our money from their economy. That BofA has not lost at least 25% of consumer deposits in the last week just amazes me. Their arrogance is overwhelming, and the stupidity and inertia of their customers is nothing less than stunning. Does anyone honestly think that this simple action will not get their attention? MOVE YOUR MONEY to a depositor-owned Credit Union or stick it in a plastic bag under a tree (It’s not like your gonna lose any interest on it) and see what happens. See what happens when other banks start advertising that they have changed their corporate rules to ban political donations from the corporation and the hiring of lobbyists and make it a firing offense for corporate officers to donate more than $500 per year to political interests and are happy to operate under the regulation of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. You can make a difference this way and it is totally consistent with free-market capitalism.
October 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm
Don, we agree on way more that we disagree. We both see a country in trouble, and greed sustaining power. You seem to feel that the Wall street Demonstrations are like opening a second front in the war against curruption, with the hope to divide and conquer. I see the demonstrations as a waste of money and energy that could be better spent elsewhere. I think that, when the dust settles, the Banking Sector will be unemcumbered by the current demonstrations, and it will all be business as usual.
October 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm
Most of the replies and arguments posted on the internet seem to come from people that are very naive about how big business and big goverment operate. Labor movements have overtime improved the wages and lifestyle of the working class citizens of the world. I agree that many of the unions have become corrupted by organized crime and out right greed. But, in the long run the union movement gives a voice to the individual citizen and helps him deal with the big corrporations and the governments that seek to basically “inslave” him. Without a union to back the average citizen wages go down and the “company store” comes into existence. This “store” always guarrentees that the citizen never gets out of debt.
Today anyone that protests and makes corporations and government uneasy is marked as UNAMERICAN and is put on a watch list. I know this to be a fact!! This is especially true when one of the political parties is in power and contols both the house and the senate of any state or the federal government.
Public protests get the news media’s attention because there is somthing to show and tell! But, along with the protests, the citizens that want REAL changes to be made must write-call and attend town meetings to voice their concerns along with getting the local neighborhoods and organizations to commit to the long road to change. Several organizations exist that appear to be attempting to make changes for instance AARP, THE NRA, ACLU AND THE CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE in each city and state just to mention a few. Being a true CITIZEN is not a one time thing and is hard to do. The citizen must be informed and not buy into the propaganda issued by the rich.
Most of the populace does not pay attention to who is in power, where is the taxpayer’s money going and who is speaking out with a true common sense voice. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of common sense in the majority of the American people these days!!
During the Vietnam war many college students that had wealthy parents that could keep them in school to avoid the draft were very cruel and disrespectfull toward the common soldier who was drafted and sent to fight in an unpopular war. They greeted returning soldiers by urinating on them, spitting on them, throwing human waste in their faces and bombing them with projectiles laced with human blood. Many of these soldiers were permanently scarred by this unjust treatment. These actions by the “so-called rich kids” were in turn supported by the uninformed American citizens during this time. I was horrified by their actions!! How could they not suport the soldier that had no choice about serving (he was drafted) and why did they not turn their anger toward the government leaders ie: the US CONGRESS?? Was there an agenda to show how wealth controlled the world??I believe that it was indeed a slap in the face of the working, middle class and poor citizens. The implication was that the rich did not have to sacrifice their sons and daughters, but the middle, working class and the poor did. Shame on the rich!! The wealthy of the world don’t seem to understand that beating down the common man is a dangerous proposition!! The American revoluion, the French revolution and the Russian revolution should have shown them that the results can be devasting to their haughty indifferent way of life. Are we coming to such a crossroad??
History (the class that most young people sleep through) is important to know. What caused major changes in the world? Who were the participants? Why did they do what they did? What did the changes mean to the future generations? Jay Leno asks people on the street about historical and current events. I saw his interview with a recent college graduate where he asked the question –“Who were some of the people that wrote the Declaration of Independence and when was it written?” The recent college graduate thought that John Hancock was the author and that Abraham Lincoln was one of the signees along with Hubert Hoover and Andrew Jackson, Also that he believed that the declaration was signed in 1901. This shows how ignorant the majority of the American populace is and they don’t seem to know and don’t seem to care that they don’t know!!Ignorance and not staying informed is a very dangerous condition to be in!! The very wealthy, the big corporations and most politicians slap their collective hands is glee when they see how ignorant and uninformed citizens are in this country. They know that they can charge us, tax us and deceive us easily into their way of living– Where we give them everything they want without question. A huge example of this deception was the bailout of the big banks and wall street engineered by the Republican President Bush. We the American taxpayer were told that our tax dollars were given to the big banks and wall street with no strings attached and no pay back required because if we didn’t a great depression would insue (FEAR!!)
Bush’s administration took the surpluses left over from the previous administration and turned them into trillions of dollars in debt. His administration gutted FEMA and put political cronies in charge, him and his people forced the EPA and the Coast Guard to relax safety regulations for oil exploration and production performed in our coastal waters (remenber the oil spill in the gulf?) They used the terrorist threat to pass the patriot act
which does away with a boatload of our freedoms(if you don’t know what these are get informed) Who is Bush? Well, he is a wealthy son from a wealthy family!! See the trend here? He didn’t have to serve in Vietnam!!
I honestly don’t see any easy solutions to rectify this situation. Our so-called politicians when they are elected seem to totally forget who elected them! All they seem to want is the power and the money that their office brings to them. The philosophy of “I’VE GOT MINE” seems to prevail. A
truly honest representative of his constituents that tries his best to actually represent his constiuents doesn’t seem possible in todays lie, cheat and deceive environment. SORRY ABOUT THAT!!!
October 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm
Don you hit the nail right on the head. kudos some people would call that “anarchy” that simple action would shake up the banking world…the only way for it to work loudly would to get a lot of people to do it at the same time…that my friend is the problem….everyone stepping with the right foot at the same time nice post
October 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm
thank you for all of this intelligent information..it is mosy helpful
October 6, 2011 at 5:44 pm
You’re welcome Kate
October 6, 2011 at 5:48 pm
Robertlee…wow great post!!! I was one of the soldiers. I didn’t see combat ( thank you god) but I saw the damage to our boys first hand. even in the mid 70s, almost 3 years after the fighting stopped, I was walking in the Chicago Airport and was called a baby killer. I’m so thankful that our soldiers do not have to put up with that kind of crap. I still have a problem with jane fonda today…but that is an issue I have to bare.
When Ronald Reagan ( bless his soul) passed the “Trickle-down economics” some 30 years ago. The Corp executives pay has risen 400%,the average wage for middle-class during this same time, has gone up $600. The world has chastise us for the way we fondle our corporations and their executives. And we do not learn…
You are so right about history. Has George Santayana has been misquoted so many times “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” But the most popular version is “He who does not know history is doomed to repeat it”…that is one thing our GOP candidates needs to remember or should I say learn. Thanks Robertlee
October 6, 2011 at 7:12 pm
I guess it’s pretty obvious that I’m an old fart (I’m 69). I joined the national guard in Kansas before I was to be drafted in 1966. I was discharged from the active reserve in 1972. Thank God I did not have to see combat. Luckily I transferred to the Texas Guard in early 1968 amd my Kansas Guard unit was mobilized in mid 1968 and went to Vietnam right at the start of the TET offensive. Out of 210 enlisted men in my old unit only 70 came home
on their own two feet. Two of my very closest freinds didn’t survive.
I went to basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana (if the world ever gets an enema, this is the place to stick it) where I was fortunate enough to actually wade through the spray (agent orange) that the government claims was never used stateside and I’ve been living with the phantom chemical effects ever since.
I joined the guard because I had a wife and young child with the corresponding bills and obligations . The government paid me the stupendous stipend of $91.00 dollars a month every month–Wow!! If my wife hadn’t been working we would not have survived!
Most young men today don’t even realize how fortunate they are to not have the draft hanging over their heads. I think that the young men and women serving in the volunteer armed forces should be thanked for their service. I believe it is unfortunate that they had to have a commander in chief that sent them into the war in Iraq. I still believe that this military action was to satisfy the son and finish what the dad had started and for no other reason–Where are the WMD’s?
I mentioned the treatment of the Vietnam returning soldiers but they were not the only ones that were spit on and had bottles of urine thrown at them.
My Texas guard unit was in convoy to Fort Hood in June late sixties. Our column was approx. 4 miles long with 2-!/2 ton, 5 ton tucks, jeeps and tanks on flatbed trucks. We stopped outside of Waco, Texas to relieve ourselves and were greeted by a large group of young people in BMWs and Mercedes Benz cars that yelled out cuss words, called us baby killers and threw glass bottles of urine at us and our equipment. This could have been a disaster had we been issued live rounds. Thank goodness we didn’t have ammunition because we were more that a little agitated.
Nothing was officially published in any paper about this incident, but we found out that these were college students from the local university. Of course
they didn’t have to be in the military because their daddies had enough money to help them dodge the draft by being supported in the university.
Incidents like these have convinced me that the wealthy don’t care about this country except when it’s convienent and profitable for them!!
October 6, 2011 at 9:51 pm
We are not happy with the bad rap President Obama has been getting. Any intelligent, thoughtful and informed American would agree. Our Government Representatives have sold their souls to Big Business at the expense of 85% of the people in this country. They all need to be fired.
October 6, 2011 at 11:08 pm
We can’t really fire them, Mary. But we can watch them a lot closer than we have in the past, and if we find their performance lacking – then we should not re-elect them.
October 7, 2011 at 8:03 am
As I told Harry, I’m an old fart but I do care about the fate of this country. Right now the situation that we find ourselves in has come about over the past 30+ years. The things that must be done are huge. Somehow we had better get the attention of the Congress, state Assemblies and big business to make them understand that the low approval rating (which I heard was less than 4% of the population) is totally unacceptable. I don’t know when the party of Lincoln became the NO! party, but stalling the passage of the American Jobs Act and the funding of the federal government are political craziness. The so-called Tea Party movement has totally missunderstood what WE THE PEOPLE want and deserve. We expect our elected representatives to represent us, the citizens of this nation. We do not want to see the political bickering that seems to halt the intelligent dialogue/compromise that is desperately needed. I don’t like labeling anyone, but if something walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it probably is a duck. I am an independent voter, but I can’t in good conscience view the NO party as anthing but traitors. Their actions speak volumns about who and what they have become. One of the ways out of this crisis, I believe, is for these ingrates to resign from office and let newly elected people take their seats in Congress. These new seat holders must understand that if they don’t fix the problems WE THE PEOPLE will remove them from office immediately. WE THE PEOPLE are fedup with their political double-speak and not insisting that the wealthy citizens pay their fair share of taxes.
The IRS doesn’t allow the common citizen to hide income, move money off shore and relocate corporate headquarters in post office boxes in foreign countries. The IRS will prosecute the average citizen if he even attempts to try such tax dodges .
How about making the big banks and brokerage houses that were given billions of taxpayer dollars PAY the money back with INTEREST. The car manufacturers have to pay the “loans” back, don’t they–I do believe they are!! They understand that their actions are being watched and they cannot be labeled as moochers and ingrates. I don’t believe that I have read or heard anything about multi-million dollar bonuses that the car companies paid their executives. Why did the bank, brokerage house and wall street in general receive these bonuses when they had just caused a financial crisis for our country. These theives (traitors) should be brought into the courts to stand trial and be forced to pay back the millions/billions of dollars to the US of WE THE PEOPLE.
I don’t think they who have been taking citizens homes, jobs and self respect should be shown any mercy whatsoever!! I believe that they think that they and their political party are better and more exalted than the average citizen and above the law and courts of this great nation. Ufortunately they have the politicos in their pockets which they know(because they have paid off these hacks) have spared them from all accountalility.
I don’t like seeing the people of this nation enslaved by these despicable individuals and having our freedom and self worth totally stripped away.
I have read and observed many instances of what can happen over the past 200+ years of history when the government of any nation chooses to not respond to it’s citizen’s needs and rights. I truly hope that the inevitable doesn’t happen!
I truly believe that massive peaceful demonstrations are this nations last viable hope. The political parties, big business and the Congress must respond with meaningfull and immediate changes before all is lost. These are dangerous times.
October 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm
I know I’m coming very late to the fair, but thank you, Shaun, for your well-reasoned and brave comments. Anyone on the political left who criticizes the “Occupy” movement is going to catch a lot of flak. But I agree with you that instead of acting out, we the people need to _learn_. You are quite right to say that we should all take the time and trouble to learn what our elected representatives are doing to help — or harm — us.
I will go further. The American people need to _learn_ about economics. These college students “occupying” the dens of the rich and powerful fascists who have done their best to destroy our economy and the world economy would do much better to give up acting out, and instead take some serious economics courses. Courses taught by professors on the political left. The students should be smart enough to avoid econ courses given by laissez-faire Friedmanites. Currently, I myself am a double major — history and economics. I have taken a number of econ courses already, from good liberal or left-wing professors, and as a result I am fairly well-informed about our current economic mess.
For instance, just from talking with my professors, I know that the reason that Hank Paulson decided that we should do the really free-market thing this time and let Lehman Brothers fail was not because Paulson was being a good libertarian conservative or anything like that. The truth is that Hank Paulson used to run Goldman Sachs. And there had long been a bitter rivalry between Goldman and its traditional rival Lehman. Hank Paulson was thinking with his balls. He wasn’t thinking about what was the good conservative thing to do; he wasn’t thinking about what the best course of action to strengthen the U.S. and world economies would be. No! He was rubbing his hands together with glee over the chance to forever get rid of his beloved Goldman’s fiercest enemy. And so he _did_ rid the world of Lehman. And the world, all of a sudden, teetered on the brink of a second world-wide Great Depression.
BTW, an econ professor also told me that when the head of Lehman, Dick Fuld, was told that the U.S. government, which earlier that year had bailed out Bear Stearns (that bad financial citizen), would _not_ bail out Lehman, but instead let it die, he immediately suffered a nervous breakdown. They had to take him out on a stretcher.
_That_ is the sort of stuff one learns if one takes some undergraduate econ courses at any reasonably good school that makes sure to have the econ department staffed by Keynesians instead of Friedmanites. (So _don’t_ go to the University of Chicago.) _I_ know something about finance, because i took a course on it, from a brilliant young Indian-American professor who has worked with Joe Stiglitz at Columbia and been praised by Paul Krugman in his blog. And I got an A, as I have gotten in _all_ my econ courses. And as a result of my knowledge of economics, I have been able to teach some people some good Keynesian economics.
For instance, my school has a Socialist organization. I view socialism with some distaste, being just a New Deal liberal myself. But hey, Orwell was a socialist: ’nuff said. So when the Socialists advertised a meeting that would be all about how some of their members traveled to Wisconsin to fight Governor Scott Walker’s anti-labor outrages, I said to myself, “I’ve got to hear this.” So I went. But imagine my horror when the Socialists giving the talk on Wisconsin started repeating _conservative_ economic talking points like they were great pearls of wisdom. Stuff like “The Democrats are addicted to social spending”! The guy — the Socialist — really believed that over the past few decades, the Democrats have been _addicted to social spending_! Well, I couldn’t stand for that! I spoke up and challenged him. I denied that the Democrats had been addicted to social spending after the Sixties and the Great Society. And I especially made the point that any good Keynesian economist will always let you know that the roughly $800 billion Obama stimulus bill of early 2009 was _far_ too small to solve the horrible economic problems George W. Bush and Hank Paulson had left the Democrats with. The Socialists thanked me for my information. They were genuinely, naively happy that someone speaking in an authoritative tone of voice was letting them know that the Democrats had _not_ been addicted to social spending and that we could and should have _more_ social spending right now.
This is how the whole meeting went. The Socialists kept spouting conservative economic talking points, and I, the mere New Deal liberal, kept correcting them and letting them know that the truth favored liberal economics (“liberal” in the American sense of the word, not the European sense), and they kept on happily thanking me, obviously glad that someone who seemed to actually _know_ economics knew that the truth has a liberal bias. I, the mere despicable New Deal liberal, had to teach the big, bad, bold Socialists some actual left-wing economics!
And Shaun, a lot of the students in the “Occupy” movement are just like those college Socialists. They may think they’re left-wing economically, but they know nothing about economics. So they are easy prey for predatory conservatives. In fact, I’m sure that a good many of the people at that Socialist meeting and a good number of the people in the “Occupy” movement are going to wind up working on Wall Street themselves. They’re going to take M.B.A.s, because they want _good_ jobs when they graduate, especially in this terrible economy. I know. My sister is a professor, specializing in the history of mathematics and astronomy in India over the past three thousand years or so. She’s taught at some very fine universities, and she’s got a job at another such one now. She would love to get her undergraduates to take courses on the history of Indian mathematics. But the students don’t want to, even the students with mathematical ability. She would dearly love to get some graduate students to become scholars of the history of Indian mathematics. But the grad students don’t want to do that. All her students with mathematical ability want to join Goldman Sachs and get rich trading derivatives. Still. They’ve read Matt Taibbi’s _Rolling Stone_ articles about how Goldman is the great horrible vampire squid, destroying the U.S. and world economies. But they don’t care. They just come away from those articles with the idea that Goldman is tremendously rich and successful, and they want some of that money for themselves.
So you’re right, Shaun. All we people of good will need to learn, not sloganeer. We need to know what our “betters” are doing in Washington. But we also need to know what our “betters” are doing on Wall Street. And in the City (Great Britain is the nexus of finance for Europe.) And wherever else the rich and powerful fascists are running things. We need to be at least as smart about the economy as the fascists are, so we can beat them. People power alone will not beat them. A _well-informed_ citizenry, on the other hand, will beat them every time. Take economics courses, people. That will do far more than banging drums on Park Avenue will ever do.
October 12, 2011 at 11:00 am
I agree, Andrew. I actually hope I’m wrong, and that the Occupy mocement might grow into something meaningful, in terms of influencing Congress, but I doubt it. So I’ve gotten on my soapbox. and said my piece. Keeping an eye on Cogress is easier than people think. Just go to: opencongress.org and you’ll find out everything you need to know to make informed decisions about re-electin incumbents, or replacing them.
October 12, 2011 at 11:09 am