Debate Showdown Special! Complete Update and Preview, Americans Say They Have Had Enough
You don’t really need to find out whats going on
You don’t really want to know just how far its gone
Just leave well enough alone
Eat your dirty laundry
We can do the innuendo
We can dance and sing
When its said and done we haven’t told you a thing
We all know that crap is king
Give us dirty laundry!
Don Henley, 1982
Campaign 2012 and The New Ultra Media
A snoozer election becomes a dog-fight, heading towards the wire. The Citizen's debate performance, associated with quick poll ascendancy, is said to be the game changer. So-called Conservative blogosphere rejoices. The campaign basks in a new, heavy infusion of large donor cash. NY Times
The Prez, inveterate compromiser that he is - the exact opposite of the political caricature drawn by his critics – seems ready to take the gloves off, sort of. His main critique of Citizen Romney revolves around Big Bird. It sounds slightly out of step. It may make a better sound-bite though than “rips people off before heading for the exists.” Hey now, come to think of it...
Mainly he unleashes Veep to do his dirty work in the latter's debate. Veep is one of the last remaining liberal blow and diehards. But his moral indignation over the fate of ordinary American workers seems genuine. Onstage, he looks and sounds a bit shocked, even, that things have gotten this far. Years of compromise with the Reaganites were supposed to lead to something better, so he thought. Working stiffs from Scranton across America feel acknowledged, and for the moment, cheer (more below).
Credibility remains Citizen Romney's – and by extension, Veep Pick's - main stumbling block. The campaign's MO : when questioned, retreat to well-rehearsed talking points – or outright prevarication. Complex issues are thus reduced to sound-bites and slogans. But the Citizen's poll bump comes at a cost : his credibility. Who will call him on it? Not the electorate, he gambles, and not in time.
Post debate, the citizen accuses the Prez of being like “a 7 year old that loses at Checkers and sweeps the board off the table.” Putting himself in the position of attacking Big Bird, and the 7 year olds who watch him. Others note the symbolism of defending Wall Street, while insulting Main St, then attacking Sesame St., fertile ground for punsters abcnews.go.com
With new life breathed into what was previously a stumbling campaign, since no one liked him - the Citizen, encouraged, tests the water as a moderate. Pollsters devote hours to researching the question as to how well-liked the candidate is. There's a distinction between being liked vs. being well-liked See : Arthur Miller's Death of A Salesman
While SNL sends up the Prez' poor debate performance ( blog.sanantonio.com), others see deeper cracks in the facade of traditional US liberalism and the Democratic Party itself, 30 years in the making In These Times
At the same time, someone over at RNC passes good advice. The Citizen realizes that to get elected you should stop insulting people. Especially working stiffs. Putting them down is now officially trending among the one percenters.
The Citizen admits he was “completely wrong” about the 47%. It's an accurate statement that almost rises to outright apology. Americans like apologies and occasionally, sincerity. That is, when we can handle the truth. Such is the delicate dance – or tangled web - the Citizen does/weaves in the last days of the campaign : come about and appeal to voters, while placating his one percent sponsors.
With his strategy of non-truth telling, the Citizen takes it on the chin from establishment media for adding to their workload. Every statement, no matter how trivial, must be verified, since it could be...well... a lie! It becomes a problem for establishment media. Too many lies risk their credibility as well. Checking facts takes time, and time is money, doncha know. Especially in the nano-second world of internet publishing. Forbes
Facts generally are harder to come by these days. Bertrand Russell believed in them but when you get right down to to it what is a fact?
Raw government data, formerly thought to be the province of non-descript bureaucrats, takes its place center stage and becomes controversial with the latest jobs report. It's treated as news - so long as by news you mean “stuff that fills space.” firedoglake.com
Establishment media, perhaps too close to the game, ascribe novelty to the tactic. Issuing un-truths (mistruths?) while calling into questioning previously accepted ones, is heralded as a revolution in political communications.
However, discerning readers will detect the unmistakable presence of the master, Boss Man Rove, whose techniques and tactics were used previously, with dramatic success, by the the eventual winner of the 2000 and 2004 elections.
Readers and writers still interested in distinction between fact and fiction – and the loss of relevance of such – are encouraged to view, in its entirety, the epic 2006 White House Press Correspondents Dinner, this century's high water mark for American Satire. In which reality is shown to have a well-known liberal bias. A laugh line thus becomes the campaign strategy for the new millennium. Also See : “Truthiness”
Ultra-media send the half-truths and misinformation all the way 'round the world, faster than ever. This allows campaigns to make impressions on specific, targeted demographics - leveraging the data traces left by unsuspecting Americans online - well before the truth gets out. That comes later, maybe much later, in the form of the fact check - the meme for 2012. Fact checkers themselves become a cottage industry – like baseball statisticians of yore.
Jaded observers yawn. Truth is to politics as spats are to friendship on the Real Housewives of New York. For the ad-men and women that run the campaigns, it all works : confused buyers are impressionable buyers.
Speaking of which, more debate/election big winners :
Exxon Mobil, whose TV spots feature diligent engineers – or actors playing them - enthusing about America's energy future. Perhaps they're sponsoring the non-discussion of climate control.
United Healthcare, diligently contributes to discussions on health, supplying flashy bar graphs and that show the need to “contain Medicare.” That's the program that reimburses physicians who care for the poor and elderly, by whom we mean : “people they won't insure. “
Readers are encouraged to send us other Campaign 2012 winners. We will print your submission with your name and town next to it. Don't be shy.
A close race is therefore good for business, and business these days for establishment media is good, mostly. A blow out sends the audience for the exits. Draw your own conclusions. Cnn money
Debate Central :
Political spectators and the Prez' supporters took issue with his laid back, I-don't-want-to-be here approach to his first debate. Veep is a well-known political brawler – all offense, no defense.
Veep's performance – while typically self-indulgent – offers a rare look at the body politic flirting with reality on a national stage.
Veep's gambit is to forfeit any air of statesmanship through relentless attack and (largely unnecessary) histrionics. He speaks from the heart, an ancient head from a bygone era when American workers earned livable wages, offering a sage rebuke to the greed of the current age. William Rivers Pitt for one cheers the rare Democratic counter-punch.
Specifically, Veep leans in to defend the 47% saying that's my people you're talking about. He grows eloquent, even nostalgic, as he describes most Americans :
“These people are my mom and dad - the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Governor Romney pays in his federal income tax. They are elderly people who in fact are living off of Social Security. They are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan right now who are, quote, "not paying any tax." says the Veep truthout
Still, his histrionics lead some to head scratching. Atlantic Senior Editor Clive Cook about sums it up :“Most of what Ryan said did merit a serious response (at least, undecided voters presumably thought so); laughing at him was therefore not just rude but also tactically inept.” theatlantic.com
American Institutions and the New Politics :
Let's start with this premise : everyone wants to be elected, few wish to govern.
These days, being elected means a nice salary, access to the world's best healthcare, being around impressionable young people more attractive than you are, and the reasonable presumption that your children will not risk being killed in the wars you vote for. Veep's son being a notable exception.
In a further twist, democratic government – perceived by the colonists as the liberator from the tyranny of arbitrary, excessive rule - of the people, by the people, and for the people - is now systematically identified as the enemy.
It's a curious notion. Sort of like telling someone whose house has been broken into that the problem is they own a home.
The Sons of Liberty were tradesmen, working professionals, fire wardens, and (believe it or not) a few journalists - along with notable dandies like financier John Hancock, who added social panache, money, and his fancy signature. To these early founders and advocates of American independence, participation in government required a person to subordinate their “private interests and passions” to the public interest.
But serious questions now arise : is politics losing all relevance and efficacy in a world governed by increasingly complex technology and high-finance? And if not– what is the new politics?
The American post war boom emphasized safety and security – endless contentment through endless consumption. And with it, the various health conditions that go with such a lifestyle.
Rousseau not only provided some of the intellectual and philosophical underpinnings for the American Revolution. He also described the burdens imposed by “civilized society” writing that “ most of our ailments are of our own making...the excessive idleness of some, the excessive labor of others, the ease of exciting and satisfying our appetites and our sensual desires, the overly refined foods of the rich, which nourish them with constipating sauces and prostrate them with indigestion, the bad food of the poor, which they more often lack than not."
The alleged comforts of excessive wealth and consumption not only created dietary and health imbalances but according to the Frenchman also cause important psychological effects :
As he becomes sociable and a slave, [man] becomes weak, timid, and servile; his soft and effeminate manner of living completely exhausts both his strength and his courage.
We wonder what he would say about the American addiction to iPhones.
We're not recommending a return to the Noble Savage. And after years of gut-wrenching sacrifice, the long economic depression followed by World War II – we can see why easier looked better. Better than going off to France to fight Nazis at the Battle of the Bulge.
Security then looked like a regular job with a stable company. Livable wages – in addition to taxes, which used to be a lot higher - were basically guaranteed. There were wealthy people, of course, but billionaires - America's consistently fastest growing income class under the Republican-Democratic governments - basically did not exist - unless your last name was Vanderbilt or Rockefeller.
Then the good-paying jobs dried up and moved overseas. The security was gone.
American government - its institutions - used to function, more or less, in tandem. Now they are either paralyzed, or completely overwhelm each other. Separation of church and state is a favorite debate topic. Particularly as candidates increasingly wear their faith on their sleeve. (Their way of “cornering the market” on faith; in the new millennial campaigns, candidates proclaim how everyday experiences, like raising children, nursing a parent or spouse, making charitable donations, render them exceptionally qualified for high office.)
Less attention is paid to the constitutional separation of government powers. It's another non-topic in the debates. Yet it's an essential component of the US Constitution and a core argument contained in the Federalist Papers – which made the original case for the Federal government (and the Constitution) –and another political casualty of our age.
In the current epoch, the Supreme Court enshrines corporations with the rights of individuals, the very same rights alluded to by Rousseau and held by the Declaration of Independence to be sacred, inviolable, and “unalienable.” The founding fathers probably weren't thinking of Westgate Resorts at the time they wrote that line – but more on that later.
Citizen's United thus freed companies, and the billionaires running them, to donate unlimited funds and determine electoral outcomes– as opposed to being ordinary citizens with one vote. Leaving men like David A. Siegel with a disproportionate degree of influence over the lives of US citizens.
At the exact same time, the judicial branch is wholly unable to constrain the executive branch. Within hours of a US District Court Judge ruling the law unconstitutional, The Obama Administration files an appeal for, essentially, the right to detain Americans without habeus corpus. In other words, to lock them up indefinitely. It's called NDAA 2012. The notion of habeus corpus dates as far back as the Magna Carta, a legal check and cornerstone that deprived monarchs of the right to lock up their critics and opponents without charges. It's also the basis of the Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights Reason.com
Occupy and the New Activism :
Talking heads dominate establishment media-driven election cycles, but below the radar, and outside the system, a tidal wave of renewed action arrives on the heels of recent occupy obits. It retains the same principles and resonance of Occupy 2011.
When citizen activists - the kids in Zuccotti - can't deliver change on a silver platter, they get criticized for trying – and not understanding how things are. Occupy was slapped for not engaging in the electoral process, as the Tea Party had done. You should do what we did. It's the oldest generational critique in the book. Each generation thinks the latest's music is “just noise.” Frank Sinatra and the bobby-soxers were the same threat to Western civilization as, in their turn, the Beatles and still Rolling Stones who are now deemed quaint old Englishmen, if they are thought of at all by Gen Y. northjersey.com
The original 2011 Zuccotti Occupation endures, however.
Nowadays it doesn't come from any “official” Occupy group. The spirit of occupy, as it arose in Zuccotti Park, transcended social and class distinctions. Which is what made it so scary to the Lords of Finance. Now it occurs any time, any where, wherever and whenever conditions are right.
The actions vary, as do the names of the groups, but they're all occupiers – in the truest sense of the word : ordinary citizens attempting to make sense of their personal situation and solve it. No one has a monopoly on the Occupy brand – not Jay-Z, not Ben Cohen, not even OWS. Tactics evolve. If you're honoring the original spirit of Zuccotti, you're Occupying.
This space wrote previously about the courage demonstrated by some Libyan activists, who, fed up with un-regulated militias implicated in the tragic death of US Ambassador Christopher Stephens and 3 US embassy personnel, marched purposefully, one foot in front of the other, toward a fortified militia stronghold, ultimately evicting them. It's called courage. The difference between facing live grenades vs. lobbing political ones to get elected.
For Occupiers, the new politics is not simply about re-taking the levers of government but extending the original principles of American democracy to the economic/financial world, which has completely overrun government institutions.
According to the rules of the new citizen activism, the severity of the current crisis demands movement from all sides, and action from everyone. It is no longer enough to merely think globally while being disengaged locally, nor to act on a solely provincial, self-interested basis.
Everywhere, the message is the same : we are not powerless, regardless of the issue.
On the march as well is Codepink. An organization of older women unafraid to stand and stare – well, okay, shout - down the powerful. By whom we mean the likes of Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld and Nancy Pelosi. A woman's initiated organization – men are free to join - Code pink focuses on demilitarization of US foreign policy and protecting civilians. The group's most recent campaign is stopping the Drone Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The origins of the campaign are described by Code Pink activist and co-founder Medea Benjamin
Codepink doesn't mince words, and their approach is anything but subtle. They like to greet US officials who they feel are, shall we say, less than candid with the public. Their goal is to ensure that such characters cannot run from their actions, which history will be the judge of. Their tactics are loud, disruptive, and abrupt.
Given their outrage over the US Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's not much of a leap when their delegation shows up in Pakistan, and joins an anti-drone march with the former Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan to register their solidarity to the victims. The group emphasizes they were asked to join the marchers. csmonitor
Are their tactics extreme? Or does the citizen critique – and tactics - merely articulate what legislators long to say, but can't? Politicians from America's ruling parties have made similar critiques of US policy, though dressed in more formal terms :
Direct citizen action thus announces the death of American politics as a spectator sport. It's no longer enough to ratify candidates chosen by the same monied interests. A near complete list of the Prez' large bundlers is provided here, Citizen Romney refuses to provide the names of his. The list of sponsors are remarkably similar : Open Secrets
Leading the new wave of citizen action are the “least among us” - who often have the least to lose – since nearly everything has been taken from them. It's the difference between demonstrating for the sake of it and heeding Gandhi's dictum to “be the change you want to see.” Organized labor pitches in to these efforts, offering resources and some tactical guidance, but they're riding the wave as much as anyone.
Labor is often painted as stodgy and behind the curve, but given the change in the tenor of the times, the new movements appear to shake up traditional organizations. Some back away from throwing money at candidates and begin their own initiatives, Such as the Second American Bill of Rights. Labor, itself under sustained attack by those seeking its outright abolition, is forced to adapt, if it wishes to survive.
Regardless of ideology, the current state of affairs can be boiled down to a single statement : Americans gradually are coming together and saying the same thing : we have had enough.
Occupy Update : Underground, Not Dead
The one year anniversaries of occupy nation-wide featured general similarities :
-Fewer people show
-Cops are present to prevent further encampments
-It is a time of re-uniting with previous occupiers and reflexion
“These were issues behind the scenes for a very long time,” says Joe Gerteis, a sociology associate professor at the University of Minnesota who’s not involved with the movement. “They never broke into public discourse.”
The the word is out : Occupy as a separate “brand” largely disappears - or goes underground.
Sam Jeweler should know. Inspired by Zuccotti, he quit his job and slept in a tent for three months at Occupy DC. Jeweler sees the group – both in form and spirit - solidifying networks that aligned around local and global causes. What's left, in the demise of the camps and the occupation of physical space, is something more elemental - and amorphous.
"Occupy D.C. was never an organization," says longtime DC participant/organizer Rob Wohl, "It was a space in which people could act politically in a way that typically we can't...we still have the mental space. For me, that's the legacy." huffpost
Long-time occupiers Codepink tweet a succinct analysis: “Hey Money, it's me, Politics. We've got to break up." The group will join 2,000 citizens on Ocean Beach to spell the words “Dump Citizens United.” Humanbannersf.com
Occupy's spiritual rejuvenation coincides with the disconcerting surrender of public space. Not to say much could have been done about it. Cameras and Drones are the new normal, recording Americans' every move – now reporters like Tim Pool use them as well.
Still, there's a sense that something has been lost. You can only do so much behind the keyboard, which is fundamentally isolating, as netheads well know. If public space goes first, which space goes next? The intensely private becomes instantly public at the moment all that was public is privatized. A topic of much concern for occupy.
More Strands of the New Citizen Activism :
Cops and Occupiers typically don't get on so well. But some have sided with protesters, such as Occupy Police, a law enforcement group who urge fellow officers not to needlessly get into emotionally-charged confrontations with protesters.
When US Bank tries to evict retired Police Detective Jaqueline Barber, whose house goes into foreclosure as she suffers from cancer, cops close ranks with the occupiers and join them in defending the home from eviction. Boston.com
Demonstrators in Austin attempt to launch several “re-occupations,” 3 are arrested at Highland Park Hall. The demonstrators say they will be back for world homeless action day. Woai.com
Occupy Portland assembles 300 in anniversary of their first get together – but examiner says that the group's message remains murky and their tactics need reprising. The writer offers them a checklist for getting their points heard and being able to deliver meaningful change.
Across the Sea and Down under, occupiers form a political lobby group to place further pressure on authorities and legislators. The group - Real Democracy Australia - has urged and gotten some candidates for high office to support an independent inquiry into the eviction of Occupy Melbourne from City Square. Theage.com.au
'Real Democracy” could easily be the two word mission statement for the occupy movement world-wide, regardless of the forms it takes.
In the US, citizen action has taken place around issues like foreclosure and demystifying the complexities of high-finance.
Occupy Homes does much work in these areas while retaining openness and acceptance of anyone at their meetings. The open door policy has led to problems but it remains fully in force with regular Saturday meetings where everyone from the community is invited. The group's web site has improved and reflects their continued growth Mndaily.com
Marches and encampments get downgraded to junk status, tactically speaking. With the strong authoritarian response, they don't appear to accomplish much except keep city hall and its attorneys humming.
One such confrontation takes place in San Francisco , where protesters allege cops jump an unplanned march and violate protester rights by getting too tough. Still others, including the cops themselves, say demonstrators threw projectiles at police and vandalized local property - including the ubiquitous broken Starbucks window. It's a strange chronic target, given that most of the 99 percent congregate there to work or find jobs Ktvu.com
Across the bay, as Occupy Oakland again accused of vandalizing and wreaking general havoc as and city hall's and bank windows get smashed. 200 gather at Frank Ogawa Plaza to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the start of the Afghan War, still in full swing after initially beginning as the “hunt for Bin Laden.” Occupy Oakland has been the scene the some of the most volatile and violent demonstrations, including one in which former marine Scott Olsen was injured with a flying projectile. Sfgate
Update on the Lords of Finance :
Former Occupiers are right to be frustrated. Still, historian Richard White says not to despair. The previous Gilded Age yielded to the progressive movement, he says, leading to the New Deal and substantive reform - and this one will too.
According to historian White, C.K.G. Billings, a Gilded Age plutocrat, rented the grand ballroom of the celebrated restaurant Sherry’s for an elaborate dinner on March 28, 1903. He had the floor covered with turf so that he and his 36 guests could sit on their horses, which had been taken up to the fourth-floor ballroom by elevator. reuters
White describes the Gilded Age as, essentially, a glossy patina covering a decaying structure. It's a description that seems apt when considering recent remarks by one CEO David A. Siegel, who threatens his workers with job loss if his sponsored candidate, Citizen Romney, is not elected. vibe
Siegel – who once took credit in an interview for “personally getting George Bush elected” - tends toward the grandiose. He also exhibits a striking lack of gratitude for the workers who make his operations so immensely prosperous. Such comments are made without any irony – or sense of shame. Freakoutnation
Siegel apparently owns the largest house ever built in US history – a 90,000 square foot mansion. To say he's done well the last few years would be an epic understatement. The only problem for Siegel, like many of his ilk, are the pesky workers that staff his hotels. Unfortunately for the one percent, living human beings are still required to implement their revenue plans. They are a constant threat who may one day vote their own interests – so long as they can. Or strike on Black Friday. Gawker.com
Like Citizen Romney, Mark Cuban, Sheldon Adelson, and many other one percenters, it is not enough for Siegel to simply run his business, take his vast sums of money, and frankly shut the f—k up and go home. (Seriously, if we had billions in the bank we can think of a lot better ways to spend it than controlling elections and coaching up Citizen Romney and Veep Pick. )
But Siegel views his control over his workers – and other Americans – with the missionary zeal of a benevolent tyrant – or a loving but dutifully disciplining parent. Like a tough-loving responsible parent, he controls workers access to resources, threatens punishment – and ensures they do what he wants them to do – vote for the one percent. Siegel refers to this as making them “eat their spinach.” Such are the ludicrous excesses of the current age, which will undoubtedly render readers a hundred years from now incredulous. Huffpost
It all begs the question of how long American workers will take the abuse.
The Lords of the Finances' precipitous gambles with the American economy for self-gain continue to pay off handsomely. JP Morgan Chase (JPMC) for one laughs all the way to bank, which may be hard, given they are the bank.
Even on the heels of multiple allegations of wrong-doing and lawsuits, JPMC does a quarterly profit of $5 Billion – Staying profitable – at least nominally – while scandal and allegations of wrong-doing swirl is a unique talent of the Lords of Finance and one they are compensated magnificently for.
It also creates potential head-aches for the Prez heading into his next debate – in which he plans to attack the Citizen for being an out of touch one percenter.
The on-again, off-again bromance between the Prez and Wall Street top cat Jamie Dimon has seen peaks and valleys, which partially mirror the emergence of Occupy Wall Street, not to mention Dimon's bank's own wrong-doing, now under investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Politico.com
JPMC's mortgage division contributes heavily to the firm's latest profits – and Lord Dimon's compensation of $23 million annually. Said to be the largest of any banker in the United States
Still, the campaign may may decide to keep outward appearances frosty, if only for the election. Huffpost
Lord Dimon has been the fair, er, silver, haired boy of finance. JPMC prospered while fellow financial firms melted down and went begging. Dimon helped clean up the mess, by putting his firm's vast capital reserves behind toxic assets assumed in the hastily arranged and Fed orchestrated shot-gun wedding to the former Bear Stearns.
Readers interested in evaluating the full roster of potentially prosecutable JP Morgan misdeeds may peruse the list at Wsws.org
Such levels of criminality are increasingly too complex for the American body-politic – and the legal and regulatory systems tasked with policing and prosecuting them.
Matt Taibi chronicles the absolute lack of balls displayed by the Prez' top cop Eric Holder, who refuses all but the most slam dunk cases – leading to few prosecutions, or settlements of pennies on the dollar. Holder and the Feds' shying from banker confrontations means the suits brought by state AGs frequently lack bite. NY Times
“Unless and until federal prosecutors and regulators are willing to follow up Mr. Schneiderman’s actions with broad suits based on violation of federal laws, the full range of potential wrongdoing by banks will go unaddressed. And the rule of law, as well as the opportunity for redress, will suffer irreparable harm.” NY Times
It gives Americans the sinking sense that anything goes in the Wild West of Wall Street, if you can hire the legal guns to get away with it. Which these guys all can.
A certain New England quarterback – having his own struggles - is apparently also a buddy, telling Dimon to “hang in there.” Translation: “coming from him [it] may mean stay in the pocket, take the hit and advance the ball down field.” wsj
The Bill of Rights was specifically placed in the Constitution to protect the individual rights of US Citizens – in essence, to guarantee in essence those inalienable rights refereed by the Declaration Of Independence. But neither the founding fathers, nor Nostradamus or anyone else - except James Cameron – could have foreseen the rise of the machines, and their influence on the process of governing.
The same technology that gave rise to the runaway financial industry and its lightening speed transactions allows endless war carried out by technicians.
The new technology renders former political debates moot. Killing from afar obliterates not only its victims, but also considerations of Declarations of War against other nations. As such, any threat may be made, by any candidate, at any time. Debate-wise, expect a lot of big-time threats from men who will never see the field of battle. Or men who spent their years eligible for the Vietnam War Draft living comfortably in France, proselytizing
Money, moving instantly through it's fiber-optic micro pathways, easily overtakes the most fundamental and – to the one percent – cumbersome aspects of democratic process. While government shrinks from prosecuting criminal behavior, it resorts to massive investments in surveillance technology, and constant legal reformulations to police – and de facto – criminalize – its own citizens.
First amendment rights as such wither. Of the Bill of Rights, apparently only the Second Amendment – politically leveraged to allow the spread of weapons everywhere, even into the hands of sickos and psychos – matters. It's another topic that will go unaddressed in debates, much to the chagrin of the victims and survivors of the madness. Voters in swing states count too much and neither party wants to bring it up.
It all leads to a disturbing trend for the Prez' and his followers as he struggles in the first debate to draw distinctions between his own administration and the plans of the Citizen.
The Campaign for Worker Dignity :
Meanwhile, Establishment reels at the prospect of ordinary, non-unionized workers, backed by the resources of organized labor, impacting revenues during the holiday season.
The spontaneity of the plan – and its originality – recall the earlier days of Occupy when each day saw a new approach to age old problems. New alliances appear to form.
The campaign for worker dignity has nothing, particularly, to do with national or debate politics. At least not the kind sponsored by corporate money and analyzed in the situation room. Or brought up in a debate, the ultimate political spectator sport. But candidates and campaigns are deaf to it at their own risk.
Also unspoken : the simultaneous erosion of earning potential and a livable wage, occurring under both parties for the last forty years. For a complete account of both parties' redistribution of tax burdens to the middle class – which created today's massive – readers need look no further than Barlett and Steele's America What Went Wrong
To call Citizen Romney's Veep Pick carefully coached is like suggesting Jason Bourne had some training. He's an exuberant kind of guy who is young (in a game dominated by older men), unfailingly polite and well-spoken. Something is made of the fact he likes to work out. Facts like these being somehow less difficult to come by.
As such, he gets carried away talking up his boss, citing the Citizen's job creation and his plan to create 4 million jobs (for some reason, he lays off the 12 million number). Most of which will be in companies where low wage retail workers subsidize exorbitant returns for investors. Who will, you know, sell the company once they get bored with it.
(Maybe the 4 million is the number of jobs out of 12 million that will pay a livable wage.)
This is the area the citizen has truly excelled in. But it doesn't make for good political copy. The details of Citizen Romney's pyramid approach to setting up successful companies discussed here.
But now workers in the new pyramid economy – stuck at the base and working there daily – suddenly take matters into their own hands. Organized labor has been shut out of these companies for years; each time they try to gain access they're out-litigated.
Workers at Sensata Technologies - one of the firms owned by Bain, the firm that still kicks the Citizen low-taxed royalties, stage a demonstration to protest their plant's doors being shuddered. They attempt to block removal of the plant's machinery – to prevent it from reaching its ultimate destination : China. Getting tough with China is one of the Citizen's key themes. If by getting tough you mean relocating American jobs there for big-time investor pay outs. Cnbc.com
The workers set up an encampment they call Bainport and urge the Citizen to come discuss the situation with them- so they can plead for their jobs. Try to reach him on a human level, as it were. Given the citizen's response in similar, previous situations, it's unlikely he'll show. He's made a career of running from this kind of stuff. No doubt the plant closure will provide some sort of tax benefit to its investors. Provided one could see the return. Huffpost
More winners : Wal-Mart workers at the mega-company's warehouse facilities in Joliet, IL who are hired with full back pay after delivering a petition that contains 100,000 signatures from community supporters. The strike enjoyed extensive “99 percent support” including clergy, labor, and the Chicago Teachers Union, who join in since the Walton Family has offers significant support for the school reform program, Save Our Children. A front for privatizing education that has been covered in this space.
Making public business private, while making your private business public : the slogan of the one percent. The Waltons themselves, including extended family, enjoy wealth that by itself totals 41% of all other Americans combined.
When the workers go back to work, sympathy strikes erupt at Wal-Mart stores and supply chains in at least 12 other states. The movement, in both its spontaneity, and diversity, evokes Zuccotti 2011. Salon
According to Curtis Black “Now, by forming nonunion associations modeled on the workers’ center movement, Walmart workers seem to have found a strategy for advancing their interest and protecting their rights. In a period when union rights are under wide attack, it’s a development with dramatic potential.” newstips
The renewed, occupy-like collaboration between ordinary workers, the community, and organized labor is sure to send shivers down the collective spine of the one percent.
Americans have been told, time and again, not to expect their government to redress every grievance. The lesson and message of the new Occupy is that government has failed to do so, and other avenues exist. Direct citizen activism and engagement in 21st century America merely attempts to replace the word “political” with “economic.”
The notion that bankers work for the benefit of the American economy has become quaint. Maybe in the post-War boom, but not today. Those who advocated for the greatest freedom from all citizen control and regulation, demanded the greatest bail-out in history. The demand was made in the name of the people. And then turned into ever greater profits and bigger compensation packages. thinkprogress
What Americans now propose – and are beginning to demand- is an economic bill of rights, with a renewed adherence to the existing Bill of Rights. The demands are made in the same spirit as the Declaration of Independence.
Ordinary citizens eager for such a campaign will need to consider its implications and value. They may be achieved, but the trade off will be endless, mindless consumption.
Using the words of the Declaration of Independence , here's what it looks like if we switch the words “political” with the word “economic” :
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the economic bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
These words are the preamble for what follows. The preamble states that it is right for such grievances to be named, and if they have not been redressed, then they imply bounds for “separation.” In this case political separation is not called for, nor necessary – in spite of what the most rabid cynics say or may dream up. Just economic interdependence and a renewing of American democracy.
Most American citizens want dignity in life and work – without messing over their fellow citizens- with an element of control over the forces that shape their lives. Campaigns feature platitudes to the individual. The reality is individual freedoms take the shape of the economic climate in which they exist – the law in its magnanimity prohibits both rich and poor from sleeping under a bridge.
Finally, Americans note with pride the daring and initiative of one Felix Baumgartner, who embodies the spirit that took men to the moon and evokes the scientific and technical revolution that created one the most economically rich and diverse societies in history.
With a team of 300 scientists and researchers, he elevates himself via balloon to the heights of the atmosphere (stratosphere?) then in a near reprieve of the 1969 moon walk, in front of an internet audience of millions ( and the Discovery Channel) to drop himself, in free fall, some 128,000 feet, breaking the speed of sound and setting numerous other records in the process.
Dismissed by some as a thrill-seeking daredevil, the jump heralds advances in space travel and emergency procedures for such. The initiative is put together by the Red Bull Stratos engineering team, while the US government's Space Shuttle is only weeks ago placed in storage. Some don't like the corporate ties to the event, but its scientific achievement and sheer courage is undeniable and displays the spirit of initiative that made America. NY Times