"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not
the only one...."
(--John Lennon, "Imagine")
Published on Sunday, October 30, 2011 by CommonDreams.org
the Media: The ABCs of Occupy
would be comical if it werent so pathetic, watching the
media desperately trying not to understand what the Occupy
movement is all about. So, for the aid of the occupationally
obtuse bobble-headed bloviators, Ill spell it out in
SYSTEM ISNT WORKING!
economy is rigged so that all of its fruits go to those at the
very top. The political system is repulsively corrupt, odious
with the stench of dirty money sluicing through it to buy
gutter-dwelling politicians and their votes. And the media
itself, for all of its pontifical posturing, does nothing to
clarify the situation and empower the people. Nor can it.
is owned by the very corporations that are the source of the
breakdown of the American dream. So, it is no surprise that
instead of clarifying and empowering it does exactly the
opposite: it occludes and mystifies. It prevents accountability
and change, and works to divert, divide and pacify tens of
millions of people who have had it and hopefully wont take
it any more.
the simple, three paragraph executive summary of our current
of both parties (though mainly Republicans) ran up trillions of
dollars of debt, selling the American people into lifetimes of
debt bondage. To cover their tracks, they inflated a massive
housing bubble. But laden with exploding debt and illusory
wealth, and triggered by massive criminality in the mortgage
banking business, the economy collapsed. It was wrecked by big
banks pursuing sociopathically greedy profits. Since they control
the government, from the president on down, they got the
government to cover their losses with $16 trillion of transfers
from the Federal Reserve. They, who wrecked the economy, stuck
the rest of ustheir victimswith the bill to make them
whole. Even a Tea-Partier can understand this part.
$8 trillion of middle class wealth has been destroyed even as 77
million Baby Boomers stand on the threshold of retirement. 7
million jobs have been shipped overseas so corporations can make
more and more and more profits. Theyre sitting on $2
trillion of past profits but that is still not enough. Another $1
trillion is parked in offshore tax havens so they dont have
to pay American taxes on it. The richest 1% want to dismantle
Social Security, Medicare, public pensions, and unions so that
they can get their hands on the money and remove the last shred
of income security that protects people against destitution.
Destitute people are docile people, and that is what they want.
Their job is almost done and the only thing standing between
dignity and destitution for 300 million Americans is Occupy.
Consider how close we already are:
out of eight Americans are on food stamps. 25 million workers
cannot find enough work. 50 million people are living in poverty.
One out of three children are raised in poverty. 10 million homes
have been lost in foreclosure. Another 20 million are underwater
on their mortgage. 47 million people have no access to health
care. The share of equity that Americans own in their homes is
the lowest its been since the Great Depression, even as
income inequality is the highest its been since before the
Depression. Theres just not enough money to educate our
children but theres always enough for endless wars. Theres
just not enough for a Depression era-type WPA jobs program, but
funny thing, theres always enough for more tax breaks for
those Megalomaniacal Media Morons out there who cant quite
manage to get it, this is what Occupy is about. Only
the willfully ignorant, criminally complicit, and pathologically
naive cannot understand this.
for solutions, I dont expect the kids in the city squares
to come up with them. I am thankful that they have the courage to
simply proclaim what everybody who is sane, sober, and honest
already knows: that the Social Contract has been broken; that
hard work, playing by the rules, and keeping your nose clean does
not lead any more to economic security for ourselves and
expanding opportunity for our children. It leads to the
slaughterhouse, and that is NOT the deal we signed up for.
change will take time, certainly years, maybe decades. It will
require a substantial re-arrangement of political and economic
power. That is up to the rest of us to carry out, and the
political avenue is the only one available to most of us. It will
require scrupulous attention that we are not suckered again by
phony liberals mouthing cheesy slogans about hope and
change, all the while selling the country and its
people down the river. We need a genuinely progressive Congress
to act as a reliable counterweight to the irretrievably
compromised, cowardly President. And every one of you reading
this can help further that end.
need to get to work so that the clarity of this moment and the
courage of this movement are not lost. We need to be vigilant
against the massive efforts that will be mounted to divide us,
one from another. There will be relentless campaigns to divert
our attentions and dissipate our energies. There will be a deluge
of demonizing, scads of scapegoating, and boatloads of bogus
blame. But through all the medias professional obfuscation,
studied amnesia, and cultivated cluelessness, we must remember
the truth and the power in these four simple words:
SYSTEM ISNT WORKING!
is both our political right and our economic imperative to demand
that this be changed. It will probably get more violent before it
gets less. I hope we can remain peaceful when it does, for I am
chastened by John Kennedys comment about third-world
uprisings at the height of the Cold War: When peaceful
change becomes impossible, violent revolution becomes inevitable.
Lets hope that we dont end up there.
to the fray.
Freeman writes on economics, history and education. He teaches
history and economics at Los Altos High School in Los Altos, CA.
and is the founder of One Dollar For Life, a national non-profit
that helps American students build schools in the developing
world through contributions of one dollar. He can reached email@example.com.
Published on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 by Robert
Seven Biggest Economic Lies
Presidents Jobs Bill doesnt have a chance in Congress
and the Occupiers on Wall Street and elsewhere cant
become a national movement for a more equitable society
unless more Americans know the truth about the
a short (2 minute 30 second) effort to rebut the seven biggest
whoppers now being told by those who want to take America
backwards. The major points:
cuts for the rich trickle down to everyone else. Baloney.
Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both sliced taxes on the rich
and what happened? Most Americans wages (measured by the
real median wage) began flattening under Reagan and have dropped
since George W. Bush. Trickle-down economics is a cruel
taxes on the rich would hurt the economy and slow job growth.
False. From the end of World War II until 1981, the richest
Americans faced a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent or above.
Under Dwight Eisenhower it was 91 percent. Even after all
deductions and credits, the top taxes on the very rich were far
higher than theyve been since. Yet the economy grew faster
during those years than it has since. (Dont believe small
businesses would be hurt by a higher marginal tax; fewer than 2
percent of small business owners are in the highest tax
government generates more jobs. Wrong again. It means fewer
government workers everyone from teachers, fire fighters,
police officers, and social workers at the state and local levels
to safety inspectors and military personnel at the federal. And
fewer government contractors, who would employ fewer
private-sector workers. According to Moodys economist Mark
Zandi (a campaign advisor to John McCain), the $61 billion in
spending cuts proposed by the House GOP will cost the economy
700,000 jobs this year and next.
the budget deficit now is more important than boosting the
economy. Untrue. With so many Americans out of work, budget
cuts now will shrink the economy. Theyll increase
unemployment and reduce tax revenues. That will worsen the ratio
of the debt to the total economy. The first priority must be
getting jobs and growth back by boosting the economy. Only then,
when jobs and growth are returning vigorously, should we turn to
cutting the deficit.
and Medicaid are the major drivers of budget deficits.
Wrong. Medicare and Medicaid spending is rising quickly, to be
sure. But thats because the nations health-care costs
are rising so fast. One of the best ways of slowing these costs
is to use Medicare and Medicaids bargaining power over drug
companies and hospitals to reduce costs, and to move from a
fee-for-service system to a fee-for-healthy outcomes system. And
since Medicare has far lower administrative costs than private
health insurers, we should make Medicare available to everyone.
Security is a Ponzi scheme. Dont believe it. Social
Security is solvent for the next 26 years. It could be solvent
for the next century if we raised the ceiling on income subject
to the Social Security payroll tax. That ceiling is now
unfair that lower-income Americans dont pay income tax.
Wrong. Theres nothing unfair about it. Lower-income
Americans pay out a larger share of their paychecks in payroll
taxes, sales taxes, user fees, and tolls than everyone else.
through history have known that big lies, repeated often enough,
start being believed unless theyre rebutted.
These seven economic whoppers are just plain wrong. Make sure you
know the truth and spread it on.
© 2011 Robert Reich
Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the
University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three
national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor
under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books,
Work of Nations, Locked
in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism.
His "Marketplace" commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.
Den changes at unpredictable intervals.
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Excess Homicide, and Head
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