Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Awaken Dorothies!

Isn't it funny how the right always seems to have the "right" answers for everything... and it never involves the right? Nope, the banking troubles... caused by the left, the war, the deficit the decline of our society and all its ills... yep, liberals... the disgusting state of our union with its unregulated and unprecedented power and wealth-grab by the aristocracy, the systematic deconstruction of our rights and freedoms... caused by socialists.

Do they really think they can just will away reality and truth? Did they watch the Wizard of Oz so many times they think they can just click their heels and wish themselves back to Oz? Well you'd certainly think so round here.

They've fabricated a world that makes the yellow brick road of Oz, with its flying monkeys, talking scarecrows and witches from the four directions, seem par for the course. But even so, they seem as spellbound as the wicked witches minions when it comes to following commands... O wee O, oh waaay oh...

The financial troubles we face today had nothing to do with 8 years of right-wing ideology and their regulators asleep at the wheel... O wee O

Extolling a vibrant fiction of scary trees throwing apples, flying monkeys and goons, they forget the fact that it was right wing leadership who passed the bankruptcy act for the credit industry and has emptied our nation's pockets to pay off the very crooks who stole our nation... oh waaay oh

Or that their privatization policies and consolidation principles allow multinational corporations to hold us hostage for more ransom daily... or face millions of jobs lost... their foreign policy of imperialism has helped corporations expand to middle eastern oil fields, chinese labor pools, latin american resources and simply condoned diabolic chaos and genocide throughout the world and even within our secret "detention centers". O wee O, Oh way Oh!

Not even a wizard behind a curtain serving up their style of sensationalism and grandeur seems to be able to break the spell cast on these "fiscal con-servant-ives". They handily regurgitate hate-speak and lies while forming a fabric of conviction to justify every ill that befalls their little world of make-believe.

As our nation crashes into the very chaos that I and so many "rational lefties" have been warning about for years, these right-wing minions have assumed the costumes and garish colors of Oz and seem to prefer them.

They no longer cling to their true fiscal conservative (black and white tv) roots... they've traded them in for technicolor HDTV realities of consumption and consent. Ignoring the harshness of a desperate truth, they are content with their lazy-boys and surround sound, they enjoy visions of munchkins, and lollypops with occasional visits from witches and wizards.

Well we grayscale farmhands have tried again and again to awaken our "dorothy" friends who fell in with a pen full of pigs and their slop. Awaken them to the reality of the world they truly live in... which ain't no technicolor fantasy. Its troubled, suffering and in dire straits. But even in the darkest moments, our community -our nation- has proven we can, not only seek that sliver-lining in those dark clouds, but we can sew together a world of cooperation and community if only we can all learn to face the truth; that we're not lions, scarecrows, tin men and wizards, but people struggling together to make a just and sustainable future. And that in that struggle, we build tighter bonds and stronger communities than anything in make-believe.

I pray that our Right-wing Dorothies realize there's no place like home... and no benefit to clinging to their technicolor lifestyles of consumption and greed. For it is but a dream, and no wizard or witch can can keep them from realizing there's no place like hope... and no better time than now to awaken to it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Time for Action is Now

To understand the meaning of the U.S. election results, it is worth looking back to the moment when everything changed for the Obama campaign. It was, without question, the moment when the economic crisis hit Wall Street.

Up to that point, things weren’t looking all that decisive for Barack Obama. The Democratic National Convention barely delivered a bump, while the appointment of Sarah Palin seemed to have shifted the momentum decisively over to John McCain.

Then, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed, followed by insurance giant AIG, then Lehman Brothers. It was in this moment of economic vertigo that Obama found a new language. With tremendous clarity, he turned his campaign into a referendum into the deregulation and trickle down policies that have dominated mainstream economic discourse since Ronald Reagan. He said his opponent represented more of the same while he stood for a new direction, one that would rebuild the economy from the ground up, rather than the top down. Obama stayed on this message for the rest of the campaign and, as we just saw, it worked.

The question now is whether Obama will have the courage to take the ideas that won him this election and turn them into policy. Or, alternately, whether he will use the financial crisis to rationalize a move to what pundits call “the middle” (if there is one thing this election has proved, it is that the "peoples" middle is far to the left of its previously advertised address). Predictably, Obama is already coming under enormous pressure to break his election promises, particularly those relating to raising taxes on the wealthy and imposing real environmental regulations on polluters. All day on the business networks, we hear that, in light of the economic crisis, corporations need lower taxes, and fewer regulations—in other words, more of the same.

The new president’s only hope of resisting this campaign being waged by the elites is if the remarkable grassroots movement that carried him to victory can somehow stay energized, networked, mobilized—and most of all, critical. Now that the election has been won, this movement's new missions should be clear: loudly holding Obama to his campaign promises, and letting the Democrats know that there will be consequences for betrayal.

The first order of business—and one that cannot wait until inauguration—must be halting the robbery-in-progress known as the “economic bailout.” Author, Activist, Journalist, Naomi Klein, has spent the past month examining the loopholes and conflicts of interest embedded in the U.S. Treasury Department’s plans. She's just published feature articles in Rolling Stone, The New Trough, and her column in The Nation, Bush’s Final Pillage.

Both these pieces argue that the $700-billion “rescue plan” should be regarded as the Bush Administration’s final heist. Not only does it transfer billions of dollars of public wealth into the hands of politically connected corporations (a Bush specialty), but it passes on such an enormous debt burden to the next administration that it will make real investments in green infrastructure and universal health care close to impossible. If this final looting is not stopped (and yes, there is still time), we can forget about Obama making good on the more progressive aspects of his campaign platform, let alone the hope that he will offer the country some kind of grand Green New Deal.

Klein's best selling book, The Shock Doctrine details how terrible thefts have a habit of taking place during periods of dramatic political transition. When societies are changing quickly, the media and the people are naturally focused on big “P” politics—who gets the top appointments, what was said in the most recent speech. Meanwhile, safe from public scrutiny, far reaching pro-corporate policies are locked into place, dramatically restricting future possibilities for real change. Wonder where Cheney's been since the "collapse"... busy busy busy...

But it’s not too late to halt the robbery in progress, though it cannot wait until inauguration. Several great initiatives to shift the nature of the bailout are already underway, including I added my name to the “Call to Action: Time for a 21st Century Green America” and invite you to do the same.

Stopping the bailout profiteers is about more than money. It is about democracy. Specifically, it is about whether Americans will be able to afford the change they have just voted for so conclusively.

(lifted from Naomi Klein)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Track the Vote

Live updates to the 08 election. MSNBC has an interactive map showing the results.