What to do now?

(9AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Nick Egnatz, is a VietNam vet, who has written an essay and is someone with whom I have rallied with, from time to time, here and there.  I am showing the entire essay, because the “thought content” may become lost were I not to do so!  

I reserve my personal comments or thoughts (and, frankly, I’m still mesmerizing over the thoughts he portrays in his diary)!  

I must say, up-front, I do not disagree with the accuracy of the circumstances, as he portrays them to be!  Nor, do I think his solutions absurd, but . . . . . !  We all search for remedies — maybe, Nick’s right and maybe, he’s wrong!  What do you think?

The Progressive Dilemna

The Progressive DilemmaSubmitted by Nick Egnatz on Wed, 2010-09-29 19:49

A self described representative democracy in which the only two political parties are both funded and controlled by elite corporate interests is a contradiction in terms. Control of the population through government propaganda and a monopoly corporate media have made the domination of the American working class and poor by the wealthy corporate elite consensual. The enormity of the crime against true democratic values is so complete that substantive reform of the present system is an impossibility.

A dilemma is a situation in which one is forced to choose between equally distasteful options. That has always been our consignment as Americans when we venture to the polls (either vote for a wishy/washy Democrat or let the even worse Republican win). Every two years we are told that the fate of our democracy rests on our decision. Well it doesn’t because we don’t have a democracy, representative or otherwise. We have a plutocracy (rule by the wealthy). Our two political parties answer out of necessity to the corporate world. No one represents the people and the monopoly corporate media will not allow for a discussion of democratic alternatives.

The chickens have come home to roost from the last 30 years of economic neoliberal globalization policies championed by both political parties. Supply side economics of massive tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation of the very modest checks on American capitalism necessitated by the Great Depression have made us the most unequal industrial democracy on earth. Imperial wars of aggression and massive bailouts of the very speculators who engineered the financial collapse leading to the Great Recession have allowed both corporate parties to take the stance that there is no money left for the people’s needs. This is poppycock. How can a consumer driven economy recover if the working class and poor have no jobs or money?

To cut spending on social programs with political cover, Obama came up with the brilliant idea of a Budget Deficit Commission made up of bipartisan hacks from both our two corporate parties, representatives from the corporate world of greed and a single union president. Green Party and socialists need not apply and in fact there are no even mildly progressive Democrats (an oxymoron if there ever was one) on the commission. The Commission is not a result of legislation from our Congress. It was formed by Executive Order. This is the way dictators govern, but that’s another issue. The Commission is charged to cut the Budget Deficit by cutting social programs only and leaving the military spending intact. If and when 14 of the Commission’s 18 members agree on policy it will go straight to Congress for a vote with no amendments allowed.

Co-chairman of the Commission Alan Simpson, former Republican Senator from Wyoming received some notoriety recently by referring to seniors on Social Security as “lesser people”, calling Social Security a “cow with 310 million tits” and asking the question of Vietnam veterans “what have they done for us lately?’ None of this bothered our President enough to ask for Simpson’s resignation. Their recommendation is due in December, after the election.

We are expected to accept the government propaganda that the unemployment rate is 9.6%, when that figure does not include those no longer receiving or who never received unemployment compensation, part time workers desiring full time work or workers disdainfully referred to as having given up looking for work. Including all these would bring the unemployment figure to 22%. But that still doesn’t count those working for less than a livable wage, this would easily bring the figure well beyond the 30% range. This assault on the working class has been the goal of the neoliberal globalization policy accepted as gospel by both corporate political parties since Ronald Reagan started selling it in the 70s and 80s when he set out to save the country from the scourge of a prosperous working class. The Great Communicator pushed his dogma of bad government/good corporations with the same smile he used to push Twenty Mule Team Borax soap to TV viewers years earlier.

More than three million families have already been foreclosed and torn from their homes. Another 11 million families are “underwater” (owing more that the home is worth). Research firm First American Core Logic reports that Nevada with 65% of home mortgages underwater, Arizona with 48%, Florida with 45%, Michigan with 37% and California with 35% lead the nation in this foreboding statistic.

The Republicans propose fiscal austerity for the poor and working class and continued tax cuts for the wealthy corporate class to find our way our of the Great Recession. Obama and the Democrats say that economic growth will do the trick. Both so called solutions are illogical. We are expected to believe that if the big bad bankers would just pretty please start loaning money to businesses, the economy will start humming and everything will be hunky dory?

I’m not an economist, but I have been a small businessman and I have been told on more than one occasion that I have half a brain. The road to recovery is both simple and difficult. For businesses to thrive, for the economy to hum, the business owners simply need customers with money in their pockets. The first step is to put our citizens back to work at a livable wage and the economy will flourish. It will be difficult, to the point of impossibility, for corporate politicians to consider the people at the bottom first, but that is what needs to be done.

We are told that the fall elections are for the control of our country. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are told that we cannot allow the Republican Party of No to win Congress, yet the Democrats have controlled Congress for four years, the White House for two and there has been no challenge to the draconian policies of social spending cuts, endless imperial war and progressively greater and greater inequality. All now completely part and parcel of the fabric of a nation once founded on the single statement that “all men are created equal.” Regardless of which party wins and controls Congress, elite domination of the poor and working class will continue.

Understand that the system is beyond redemption. Recognize that we have exported the cancer of elite domination through globalization across the globe and that the struggle belongs to all the poor and working people of the world. Boycott elections that give credibility to this monstrous system of inequality and class domination. Organize on the basis of class and struggle for the equality that was promised in 1776.

Or you can support the Democratic Party and continue to see more of the same; continued wars, huge military budgets, depressed home prices, foreclosures, abandoned underwater mortgages, progressively greater and greater inequality and Depression Era unemployment. All done while the Democrats complain that they would like to change things, but that they just don’t have the votes or the heart or the balls. The last two they won’t admit to, but we all know better.

I’m not painting a pretty picture, because it isn’t pretty and wishing it was better won’t make it so. Voting for third party candidates, independents or so called progressive Democrats only serves to give legitimacy to an undemocratic system. The first step toward a true participatory democracy is to vocally and publicly boycott elections and renounce the American system of money controlled policies and politics through the two corporate political parties.

Right wingers and liberal Democrats both love to say that I advocate for some kind of nebulous utopian dream. If you want nebulous from the right tune in to Glen Beck and Sarah Palin’s call for restoring America’s honor. If you want equivalent from the Democratic Party listen to Obama’s calls for hope and change. Both appeals are long on rhetoric and bereft of specific steps to alleviate the misery corporate America and their two lackey political parties have trickled down on the poor and working class.

This socialist utopian will instead give specific plans for a new birth of democracy in America:

• 100% federal funding for all national elections. Under the proposal below this figure will become miniscule.

• No election commercials allowed. This just allows money to pollute politics. Instead require all media outlets to publish and broadcast periodic side by side statements of all the candidates positions on the various issues. Mandate debates in which all the candidates get a chance to state their positions on the issues.

• Require run-off elections if no candidate polls more than 50% of vote. This will facilitate the growth of alternative parties.

• Either eliminate the anti democratic U.S. Senate or require it to do away with the filibuster rule which allows 41 Senators from the smallest states, representing only 11% of the U.S. population to halt all legislation with the exception of certain budget votes.

• Return U.S. income tax rate on the most wealthy Americans to 90% for their excess income over $1 million. For 45 years (1935-1980) the top tax rate was between 70-94%. It is now 35% and the ever widening gap between rich and poor has made the U.S. the equivalent of a banana republic.

• Institute a financial transaction tax on all financial transactions such as stock sales.

• Cancel all free trade agreements and renegotiate into fair trade agreements in which tariffs are reinstituted to even the playing field when dealing with nations with substandard wages and environmental regulations. This is in line with the policy instituted by the first Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, done at the behest of George Washington and carried forward for almost two centuries. That is until the neo liberal globalization crowd made their first appearance after WWII and in the last three decades especially have managed to lower tariffs to an average of 2%. The rationale behind tariffs is to level the playing field for our workers. If country A has the same wage rate and basic environmental safeguards as we do a free trade agreement with them is in order. But if country B has a wage rate much lower than ours and pays little attention to environmental safeguards, then we should have tariffs reflecting these differences. Free trade is fine with equal trading partners, but not with countries paying slave wages and polluting the environment like China.

• Give workers a seat at the table on all corporate boards with veto privileges as a protection for the American people from corporate dominance.

• Do away with the minimum wage and institute a living wage guaranteeing all workers a wage allowing for basic necessities. This will vary with the cost of living in different areas and individual family commitments, but for a single worker with no other dependents in an average area it would presently be about $15/hour.

• Institute a massive program similar to the WPA to put all the unemployed to work at a living wage. There is much work to do, let us do it. Our cities need rebuilding, seniors need care, single parents need parenting help, homes need to be made energy efficient, infrastructure needs repair.

• For small businesses that show through their tax returns an inability to pay their workers the living wage, have the federal government make up the difference until such time as the small business can support its workers on its own.

• Abolish the Federal Reserve Bank and institute a national bank with the power to create money presently given to the Federal Reserve. As the population and economy grows their is a need to create money. If this is not done it causes deflation and things get progressively cheaper. While that might sound nice at first glance, not creating money would be every bit the disaster that high inflation can be. Imagine buying a home with a mortgage and watching the price drop every year. That’s deflation. We now have that with home prices, but for other reasons. Anyway, the new national bank will have the power to create money and the profit from creating this money will benefit all the people instead of the present banking class.

• The mortgage crisis must be addressed. The megabanks and Wall Street brought it on and should be required to adjust all mortgage balances down by the local percentage that home prices have dropped. The federal government might then consider not prosecuting those responsible for the crisis.

• Capitalism requires continual growth. This is at odds with the earth’s environment. We need to create a sustainable economy which does not wreak havoc with the earth’s delicate ecosystems. Economic growth is good only when it is environmentally sustainable.

• Just as the poor and working class are required to pay social security tax on all their income, require the wealthy to do the same.

• Recognize that healthcare is a human right and immediately institute either 100% government single payer healthcare for all or have government take over the healthcare apparatus and be both the employer and the payer of all healthcare bills. I was fortunate enough to have such socialized government healthcare for my four years spent in the U.S. military. I found it top notch and my care included an emergency appendectomy and later a prolonged hospitalization upon returning from Vietnam.

• End the wars for U.S. Empire overseas. Close our 700 overseas military bases. Cut the total military budget (now in excess of $1 trillion) in half and then half again.

• Disband the Central Intelligence Agency and apologize to the people of all the countries in which our CIA engineered coups to overthrow democratically elected governments. A partial list would include Chile, Brazil, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela, Greece, Congo and Iran.

• End military aid to Israel and break off diplomatic relations with them until such time as they agree to abandon all the illegal settlements in the West Bank, tear down the apartheid wall, end the criminal blockade of Gaza and finally allow the Palestinian people a free and independent state based on the 1967 borders that are recognized by the international community of nations.

• The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Democratic Minority Report in 2005 declared that there was a prima facie case that the Bush Administration broke at least seven federal and international laws in taking us into war in Iraq. If we are to be a country of laws, Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell etc. must be investigated and prosecuted.

• Those responsible at the highest level for our policy of torture must be prosecuted.

• Equal diligence should be given to investigating and prosecuting the financial machinations behind the mortgage derivative bundling and trading scams. If they agree to reduce all mortgages by the local percentage drop in value, rework terms for those facing foreclosure, put already foreclosed families back in their homes and donate the rest of their ill gotten gain to charity, we might want to consider not prosecuting.

• The 9/11 Commission Investigation and Report was a complete whitewash. How can there be independence in the investigation when the President is allowed to appoint all the members of the commission? The American people are owed the truth and an independent investigation is absolutely necessary if we are to call ourselves a nation of laws.

• A democracy cannot exist without an informed citizenry. Media purveyors must be required to present the full spectrum of news and opinion.

Politicians from both political parties will avoid these issues like the plague. The question is, should you? Or are you content to support politicians who use soaring rhetoric in describing the plight of our people and then line up in support of corporate friendly legislation that continues the race to the bottom for the poor and working class of America? Will your vote for Congress and the U.S. Senate go to a Democratic candidate who supports not a single one of the above proposals? If the answer is yes and you consider yourself a progressive or liberal, what exactly does that mean?

We can’t fix this system by voting, petitioning, marching or lobbying. We have to change the system. The first step is to call the system what it is; monstrous, criminal and undemocratic. The next step is to refuse to participate in elections and to not be bashful in telling others why. This won’t save the world now, but it’s the only hope for the future.

Nick Egnatz

This article first appeared in OnlineJournal.com


Nick Egnatz is a Vietnam veteran. He has been actively protesting our government’s crimes of empire in both person and print for some years now and was named “Citizen of the Year” for Northwest Indiana in 2006 for his peace activism by the National Association of Social Workers.

Contact Nick at [email protected]

We are ALL searching for answers to circumstances that have been foisted upon us, without any consideration of us, the PEOPLE!  



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  1. diary for your consideration and, most of all, your thoughts!

  2. got me going (even though I don’t have the time (reality))  Holder’s DOJ Attorneys Behaving Badly, File Objection on DADT Overturn

    • Edger on September 30, 2010 at 05:01

    Walk the walk, and ripple.

    Follow the leader…

  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  4. 1.  I believe he is absolutely correct.

    Control of the population through government propaganda and a monopoly corporate media have made the domination of the American working class and poor by the wealthy corporate elite consensual. The enormity of the crime against true democratic values is so complete that substantive reform of the present system is an impossibility.

    There is no electing more better Democrats, more better progressives, etc. There must be a “New Constitutional Convention”. We need to revisit “What went wrong” and then propose a new updated constitution with the “fixes” in place for state ratification.

    2.  He forgot to include the unwarranted domestic spying issue and the collection and monitoring of huge amounts of private personal information into a single database.

    3. This statement was in the Executive Summary portion of the original draft (of which I have a PDF copy of on my hard drive), but the words “prima facie” were deleted from the final published version.

    The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Democratic Minority Report in 2005 declared that there was a prima facie case that the Bush Administration broke at least seven federal and international laws in taking us into war in Iraq.

    Both versions here.

  5. …with his analysis of the totally dysfunctional system.

    …with the list of things which need to be changed.

    But, to list these changes after he states the system to be totally dysfunctional is a non-starter.  First he tells us the system doesn’t work.  Then he tells us the changes which need to be made so the system can work.  But how?  This he does not discuss, other than telling us we should not vote, that we should boycott elections.

    This is the dog chasing his own tail and getting nowhere.

    I think we need to return to the principles upon which this nation was founded.  We need a Constitutional Convention.  We need a 2nd American Revolution.  (Hey, Activist Guy) how about outlining your thoughts on why this won’t work.

    But all I really know is that there is no time.  Our backs are against the wall.  Global Warming/Climate Change comes rushing upon us.

    Therefore, there is not enough time to try to change this incrementally.  

    Somehow, either we take it back, and we take it back now; or we sit back and watch the destruction of the planet and the multitudes of the life forms upon it.


  6. is nothing short of amazing but not.  You see “we can’t handle the truth” meaning we have 60 years of suppressed advanced science we have not dealt with.

    Regular people are asking me about the significance of ET stories in regular news media.

    • Xanthe on September 30, 2010 at 14:05

    and of course, I agree with it on first read.  However, this is Docudharma and we know our audience – this wouldn’t sell in my suburb.  People are so afraid of the word “socialist” or anything that smacks thereof and our betters know this.

    As an instruction manual – there’s too much going on.  As a manifesto to a country now sunk in ennui – it’s right on.

    If we are to take one broad issue first – it’s election funding.  And that’s where our initial efforts must lie.

    As a start, I suppose we could ask for paper ballots and write in peoples election funding now or something like that.  And that’s all we write – no choices and hand it in —

    We’re prisoners of a smokedream – that American Dream.  so it’s a long haul.  But if it doesn’t begin now, when? –  Apparently, we need more suffering out here.  

    When Obama walked back on his funding promise, and began to take in the big bucks – I pretty much got the picture.  

    Yes, I fully expect hard times for any protestors – that’s why the marches have to be huge and well disciplined – people with tape over their mouths for instance.

    Thanks Basha.

    • jamess on September 30, 2010 at 14:54

    end/change the Filibuster

    perhaps only 1 out of every 3 Bills

    should be subject to it.

    alternately —

    make the Senate — get paid by “piecework”

    No Bills passed — No Paychecks!

    ie. Pass One Bill per Pay period.

    that would do it.

    • banger on September 30, 2010 at 14:59

    There’s no chance in the current social/political atmosphere that any kind of sane choice with almost any issue is possible. The only choice is which segment of the oligarchy gets to loot what. End of story.

    Our job, in my view, is to remain consistent in our analysis of  situation and transmit it in the simplest way possible to as many people as possible. Our role is education. We need to create a counter-cultural university that will be of service to people of all ages and actually do three things: 1) provide credible information, where known, about major public issues of all kinds (in short create portals to the vast resources available so any BS argument presented at DKOS or anywhere else can be refuted easily and quickly rather than having to try to find the evidence every time we get in a written conversation); and 2) actually move to educate people in how to be more aware, more alive, more authentic, more themselves, and better able to use their power, intellectual, emotional and spiritual–there are a number of tried and true techniques in doing this; and  there could also be a way to get this stuff accredited so people can have cheap educations and, at the same time, do valuable research.

    I’ll diary about this, unless I get caught up in “stuff” today.

  7. The heads of the very wealthiest .01% have to roll.  It will take a French Revolution in America.

    Without it, you can kiss these ideas good-bye.

    Now, are you ready and willing, and most importantly, desperate enough?

  8. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in this vid, but he gives a generally accurate view, IMO, of how populations are currently being controlled.

  9. Blood and ashes!!

    Hate to say it but the only thing I see that’s gonna change the system in which we live and which we leave to the future is revolution.  Bloody, violent evil revolution.  I don’t know that the writer has the right answers or not I think for the most part hes on the mark but dropping out of the electoral process wont change squat as long as somebody runs as a Rep. or Dem. and somebody votes for em control will not be relinquished peacefully. The praetorian guard (Xe) is ready , the armies are sworn and mobilized, cops are brainwashed and our civil liberties are already gone.  Lists are compiled, protesters are being accosted, whistle blowers are being tried, free media is being hemmed in.

    I don’t normally do conspiracy theory but to me this is glaringly obvious and scary as hell.

    Thanks for posting the piece Basha

  10. I think we all agree that Nick’s assessments of our reality is accurate.  

    Having ideas is important, which is why I posted them — they are ideas about which the writer feels need to be done and, and whether or not you agree with every single one of them wasn’t at issue.

    All ideas, big or small, are worth taking a gander at, IMO.  But, then, they should be broken down as to which is the MOST important, which is realistically based, in terms of being achievable, and how does any of it get implemented?  

    But, I, myself, while I didn’t really quibble with most of the ideas, something gave me an uneasy feeling at the same time.  Maybe, it was the not voting part.  I don’t know.  In a way, Nick’s right, by voting we continue to support the system as is.  But, there’s the Supreme Court ruling and our votes may not mean diddly anyway, but is not voting the way to go?

    But, the real problem is, as dharmasyd and others point out, that we really, really don’t have time to perform these steps to “final surgery!”  Time has run out.  Global warming is in our faces!  Which, also reminds me that BP stills uses its own product Coexit freely in the Gulf.  Coexit becomes comingled with minute oil particles and moisture sucks these particles into the air and comes down to our midsts with the rain — and NOTHING is done to stop the use.

    Return to the Bill of Declaration and the Constitution?  That could have been done were the right things done in the beginning of 2009, or as far back as 2005-6.  Impeachment — removed from our grasps!  Investigations and prosecution of war crimes — no, we need to look forward.  But here is where our nation’s foundation became lost.

    And now!  Revolution does seem the only alternative left.  Civil, non-violent, yes, absolutely.  But are revolutions ever non-violent in Western civilizations?

    More ideas?

  11. Fuck the US Federal Government!


  12. “uplift.”  

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