The Spirit of '76

Brand-new book from author interviewed on "Fresh Air"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Socialism Revisited

Socialism is a term fraught with controversy and contradiction. In its clearest meaning, it is a way of organizing society in order to preserve and protect the rights and needs of people. It is under this definition that some even opposed the
Revolutionary War. That is, they were more desirous of protecting their own interests tied to the British crown.

We see this same line of reasoning today: I have to protect my own interests even if that means others must suffer. It is an old story.

The question is whether the major alternative to socialism, capitalism, can any longer be made to work. That is, can the social costs of preserving capitalism be ameliorated to the extent that the profit system can survive.

Those who have studied the matter doubt capitalism can survive. At a minimum, the kind of market-driven capitalism we have had for the last many years simply cannot garner the kind of political support necessary.

What we are getting instead is a very minimal increase in the regulatory regime in Washington. And the proposal to give watch-dog authority to the Federal Reserve seems, at the least, a matter of letting the fox guard the hen house. These things do in fact need to be said. Congress has not effectively dealt with the problem due to inherent conflicts of interest having to do with the financing of elections (which includes the heavy use of corporate media).

The article referenced below advocates for socialism. While I am not an advocate of state-run socialism, a la the former Soviet Union, I do value a new approach. Call it progressivism, communitarianism, or simply Christianity-put-into-practice, it is clear our current system is not only unethical but unsustainable. I will attempt to present more evidence for this bold assertion in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lest We Forget

Because of a short-sighted media, Americans are essentially deprived of context in news reporting. To counter this a bit, I present this video clip from one of the Presidential debates in 2004. Remember how everyone thought John Kerry was the true president on the stage? This clip shows why. Readers of this blog and books by Greg Palast and articles on the Free Press web site and many other places, know that John Kerry won the vote in 2004, but was bamboozled due to a variety of dirty tricks, directed by Karl Rove in the White House.

Watch and see what America could have had with John Kerry as President.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Impeach Chief Justice John Roberts? Yes!

At the link above you can read an opinion piece advocating the impeachment of John Roberts. I certainly agree with this demand! Whether it can happen in the current culture of Washington is questionable to say the least. But with the financial system once again in crisis, public anger toward big corporations will only increase. Having an impeachment effort already underway makes terrific sense.

Left Parties Gain in German Election

Left parties gained in elections today in Germany's industrial heartland, cheering members of both the Green and Left Parties. At the same time a coalition of center-right parties suffered losses compared with the election of 2005. While this can be seen as a backlash against incumbents, it also represents the first time the Left Party has gained an official place at the center of government in this part of Germany.

Important New Senate Bill Seeks to Restore Measure of Financial Accountability

Three days ago, a bi-partisan group of Senators announced the filing of a bill to restore a measure of sanity in financial markets. This bill seeks to restore the firewall erected in 1933 with the Glass-Steagall Act which prohibited financial institutions from being both banks and stock investment agents. This much-needed and long-overdue bill would restore a measure of stability to our beleaguered financial system. While not a true fix or cure for the profit system, at least average bank customers would be protected from the kind of wild speculation which has caused so much damage. This reform along with others would go a long way toward restoring citizen confidence.

Unfortunately, such efforts do not go far enough. For instance, we still have standing an opinion from the Supreme Court that corporations can give unlimited amounts of cash to sway elections. Many other such outrages would remain.

But the coalition of Senators deserves high marks for this important step to try to restore some rationality to our financial and civic life.

To see the press statement from Senator Cantwell, one of the bill's sponsors follow this link or click on the blog post title above.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

What the New Arizona Immigration Law Is Really About -- Greg Palast Reports

In an extremely helpful article investigative reporter Greg Palast reveals what is really behind the new Arizona immigration law. Arizona politics has always had a strong anti-immigrant flavor. What is new is the number of legal immigrants who have had the audacity to properly register to vote and then actually vote. These new voters have been voting Democratic two-to-one. What is a beleaguered Republican party to do? Call in Karl Rove, that's what! Greg Palast tells the whole story here:

Monday, May 03, 2010

Our Nemesis: He (She) Is Us

This past week-end I finally finished Nemesis by Chalmers Johnson. This important book details the American network of bases around the world which amount to outposts of empire.

In the closing pages of the book, Johnson makes clear the price Americans pay for what is known as hegemony -- the unyielding domination of one nation over others. I hope to have more to say about this wonderful book soon. For now, I can say this book is well worth reading. In fact I would say it is essentially must-reading for any responsible American or world citizen.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Beginnings of a New, Powerful Coalition Set to Take on Wall Street

My preamble tonight will be brief so I can get this information to my readers. It is unusual in our time to hear references to the populists of the 1880s and '90s. The article linked here not only contains such references, but shows how a new partnership among workers, political activists, and social reformers is taking shape with the goal of reforming Wall Street in a major way.

I disagree that anything like a Wall Street group is necessary for the proper functioning of an economy in a democracy. My thesis is Wall Street is so corrupt, there is no saving that system. We need a new, progressive, democratically- controlled financial system, featuring something like a national bank (with relatively small, private banks allowed), abolition of the privatized Federal Reserve, and a return to money controlled by Congress, with mechanics maintained by a cadre of professionals.

But this article is a start. Let us be about the task of beginning this new journey.

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism