Tag Archive | "Republicans"

The most important issue this presidential election? It’s not a single “issue” at all

In the streets of Manhattan, during a weekend in late September, the faces of steel and concrete behemoths staring down at me, I quickly weaved my way through stopped cars.  I moved with several thousand others.  A collective elation filled the air, surrounding us as we sped forward.  Cars honked in support, cab drivers flashed peace signs.  Our signs read, “I can’t afford a lobbyist,” and, “We are the 99 percent.”  We chanted, “How do you end the deficit?  End the wars, tax the rich,” and, “Whose streets?  Our streets!”  And with genuine surprise and delight I knew, I saw, I felt that we really had taken – for that moment of that day – these streets in New York City.

That day in late September I was among the participants in one of Occupy Wall Street’s early marches.  It was the first I know of during which, even with an absurdly large police presence, we walked and ran and danced off from the sidewalks onto the streets.  Now, after being apprehended in a mass arrest later that day and sleeping on Wall Street and organizing at my college and watching hundreds of camps get evicted and truly feeling and knowing and acting on solidarity, everyone is wondering where the Occupy movement will go from here.  As just a single person in the infinitely large mosaic of people and ideas and creations and action that makes up the movement, of course I can’t answer that anywhere close to fully.  But there exists an undeniable reality of heightened awareness and vocalization among the American public of one issue which affects everyone here and all people around the world:  the seizure of political and economic power by a tiny elite.

This will be the most important issue in the upcoming presidential election.  It will be the most important issue of this generation.  It is the most important issue currently facing humanity, precisely because it is not just another “issue.”  There is no place where a separation can be made between the top-heavy accumulation of power in our society and industry’s destruction of the environment or poverty in the United States and abroad or immigration or unemployment.  When several hundred people control as much of the resources and political representation of a nation as several hundred million, decisions in places ranging from the boardroom to local government to the White House to the classroom to the police department will inevitably favor that small, powerful group.  Nearly every decision a president must make is affected by this corporate hijacking of our society.  Whether it’s Barack Obama or Mitt Romney or Ron Paul or Rocky Anderson or Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or whoever in office, they will all face incredible pressure at every turn from powerful interests pushing them to make decisions not for the public good, but for the good of the profits of corporations, profits which will undoubtedly go into the pockets of executives rather than workers.

How will each of these candidates react to the opposing forces of calcification of corporate, wealth-driven power and organized popular resistance to the gutting of American society?  As more people wake up and react to their position in the eyes of an increasingly powerful elite as disposable units in the globalized capitalist machine, how will presidential candidates react to being part of this dynamic which is so much greater than any one of them?  Popular opposition to a top-down society is already influencing the presidential election.

Barack Obama’s rhetoric certainly has a populist tone to it these days, but words are cheap.  At the same time that he invoked Teddy Roosevelt, Obama sought to undermine Social Security, one of the fundamental social safety net programs in this country.  Ron Paul and the newly Libertarian Gary Johnson, on the other hand, provide adequate solutions to some of the symptoms of this greater problem.  Both are opposed to the race-driven drug war and the military-industrial complex and the empire which sustains it.  They are even opposed to our modern “crony capitalism,” and in my eyes they are certainly better choices than any of the offerings of the major parties, yet their libertarian ideologies encourage corporate greed and power in some nasty ways.  Actual solutions, or at least the first steps toward actual solutions, to our systematic socioeconomic inequality are present in the campaigns of the Green Party’s Jill Stein and the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson.  Stein’s campaign is centered on the idea of a “Green New Deal,” providing employment and a fair, democratic redistribution of wealth while jump-starting American environmental efforts.  Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, recently formed the Justice Party and the central theme of his candidacy is, in his words, “to change the system and get the corrupting influence of corporate and other concentrated wealth out of our electoral system and out of our system of governance.”

It is truly exciting to see candidates so adamantly opposed to the corrupt status quo.  Yet no single candidacy and no single presidency and no government at all can sufficiently address this issue of power and wealth inequality.  I’m coming to believe that the only way to work out all of these problems is the messy, exhausting, unpolished democratic processes we’ve seen at work in the Occupy movement.  As they continue to flourish in the various situations where they’ve been tried so far, ideas will grow into organizing which will bloom into action which will ripen into sustained democratic solutions to our problems.  And as those continue, as they affect many people in countless places, the seeds of new ideas to sustain and reinvigorate this process when it falters will be planted.  At Liberty Plaza in Manhattan, as well as in many other cities, food and information distribution systems were designed and implemented in a highly democratic fashion as they were needed.  Similar systems were established so that the Occupy community could use monetary and other resources, and consensus-based general assemblies are used to plan actions and make innumerable other decisions.  Any person who so desires can address an assembly, and anyone who feels it necessary can block a group decision.  It is a radical experiment in democracy and empowerment of the majority, rather than an elite few.  The spirit of collective will and mutual responsibility and communal fulfillment embodied in this process offers more hope in the face of a bleak future dominated by globalized corporate power, war, and ecological collapse than any candidate ever could.

This blog entry is part of a scholarship contest:  “This is an official blog entry for the YourLocalSecurity.com Blogging Scholarship. If selected, I’ll receive $1000 towards my college expenses in 2012. This scholarship is sponsored by YourLocalSecurity.com

Posted in corporatism, Politics

Conservatives Turn Against Afghanistan War, Max Boot Goes Insane

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on Firedoglake or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

Something very interesting has been happening with conservatives lately. They’re turning against the war in Afghanistan.

Sure, the majority of Americans have been opposed to the war for some time now, predominantly made up of Democrats and progressives.  But there was always that nagging little problem of the Republican base, specifically their ferocious pro-war attitude.

They carry a lot of weight in the public discourse, so their powerful vocal support for the war would often drown out the (vastly more popular) critical voices. But not anymore. Continue Reading

Posted in Anti-war

Does an Afghanistan exit strategy hurt our allies?

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

Uh oh, looks like you are starting to have an effect on the war. Congress is freaking out, calling hearings, holding up so-called emergency funding, and demanding to know why it is that the longest war in US history has to go on even longer. All of this has led some to question the President’s leadership altogether. Is he an effective, or even competent, Commander-in-Chief? Serious concerns about Obama’s escalation policy are being raised, and it’s likely to severely damage his presidency. Well, rather than using this opportunity to their advantage, the opposition party has opted instead to say something stupid:

Senate Republicans on Wednesday attacked President Obama’s plan to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan in July of next year, saying that the United States was sending a self-defeating message to its allies in the region. [...]

“Right now, we’re sounding an uncertain trumpet,” [Republican John] McCain said. “Our allies in the region are convinced that we’re leaving.” [...]

Ah yes, the old “exit strategy = defeat” meme. This is one of those annoying war myths that just won’t go away, no matter how stupid it looks in the face of facts. Weirdly enough, it’s often the argument made by people who claim to be “strong” on national security, when in reality it should call into question their grasp of even the mild complexities of war. This argument isn’t just wrong, it’s plainly stupid, and you only to have pay a little bit of attention to see why. Continue Reading

Posted in Anti-war

Why our political system is dysfunctional

The two major parties spend inordinate amounts of time blaming each other. Which conveniently means they never have to do much because the Other Side is always mucking things up. Plus, such an approach lends itself well to constant fund-raising while demonizing the opposition.

Consider the following two cases;

Little Green Footballs

A lot of people seem to believe that because I parted ways with the GOP and the right wing, that automatically makes me a left winger or a Democrat now.

So here’s an article that shows why I concluded long ago that both parties are full of opportunistic weasels: RNC rejects joint “civility” statement.

If they sign, it’s an acknowledgment that they’ve been uncivil. (Which they have.) If they don’t sign, the Dems will say they refuse to denounce extremism. So, since there’s no political benefit either way, it makes no sense to sign it.

Bleh.

DJ on Facebook

I find myself amused that though I have installed alternative energy at home, support (and produce) local food, and spent years working to end a war, because I criticize Obama I must be a Fox-watching redneck teabagger. The words used today were “conservative cookie cutter Feller.” Uh-huh.

However, when it comes to bailing out the banksters and siphoning money from us to the banksters, both parties are in complete agreement.

Posted in News

Remedial constitutional law for Republicans

Not sayin’ all of them need it but…

Clearly some of them do:

Ya think? Some of them may need some work on The Pledge of
Allegiance, as well:

Continue Reading

Posted in News


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