Feb 08 2014
This will be very short.
I don’t know how many of you are aware or are not aware . . . EDWARD SNOWDEN has been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize! “Two Norwegian politicians have nominated NSA leaker Edward Snowden for that same prize [referencing Obama]. Bard Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen of Norway’s Socialist Left Party announced Wednesday that they had nominated Snowden for the award. They praised his leaks for raising the curtain on modern surveillance techniques.”
Hysterically enough, within the same article, is a question:
Related: Is Edward Snowden Working with the Russians?
But the Nobel Peace Prize nomination is also a reminder of the hypocrisy Snowden’s actions have exposed. Norway was an active participant in NSA surveillance, collecting some 33 million mobile phone records for the agency. Snowden is also being protected by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a leader with a human rights record that rivals a third world dictator.
Snowden’s been nominated for other prizes before, and has even won one – the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, given by a group of retired CIA officers. Being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize isn’t likely to change opinions on his actions; those who believe he’s hurting national security are likely to continue to do so, while those who think he did the world a great service would view the prize as evidence that they were right-at least until the next terror attack.
Snowden’s leaks have made him famous. A Nobel would make him immortal.
A DuckDuckGo search will beg the question, “Where is the MSM on this subject?” See for yourselves: Snowden
O.K., a little more about the nomination, itself!
A Norwegian member of parliament nominated former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Wednesday, arguing that his release of classified documents made the world a safer place.
Baard Vegar Solhjell, a former education and environment minister for the Socialist Left party, said Snowden’s revelations deepened the public’s understanding of the extent to which states spy on their own citizens.
“There is no doubt that the actions of Edward Snowden may have damaged the security interests of several nations in the short term,” Solhjell and fellow MP Snorre Valen said in a joint statement.
“We are, however, convinced that the public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden’s whistle blowing has contributed to a more peaceful, stable and peaceful world order,” they said.
“His actions have in effect led to the reintroduction of trust and transparency as a leading principle in global security policies.” . . . . .
And from the The Daily Mail UK A sociology professor in Sweden has recommended NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In a letter addressed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee and published in Swedish newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren, Professor Stefan Svallfors nominated Snowden for his ‘heroic effort at great personal cost’ shedding light on the expansive cyber-spying conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency.
Because of his bravery, Snowden ‘helped to make the world a little bit better and safer,’ Svallfors wrote.
Scroll down for full letter:
I must say that once I learned of this nomination of Snowden, I’ve chuckled to myself a lot . . . . Karma really can be a “beech.”
Sep 05 2013
Despite the fact that people have been signing Petitions left and right, calling their Representatives all day long and days prior, sending e-mails, doing everything possible to avert an intervention in Syria, and despite the fact that the percentages against any intervention, ranging between 83% against and 17% for and, some at 74% against and 24% for, I fear it’s probably a done deal. And, once again, the American peoples’ responses have been/are being ignored . . . . .!
As you know, TMC has informed you that Senate Committee passed an authorization to strike Syria.
Here is an article you may want to keep (contains a graph showing how members have voted so far — we need to remember these people). Will Congress Support Military Action In Syria?
A ThinkProgress Whip Count [UPDATED]
By Igor Volsky, Judd Legum and Rebecca Leber on September 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm
As you will note within the article, Think Progress is keeping an Excel accounting of each Congressperson and his or her vote.
But, next, you will understand my REAL reasons for believing it’s a done deal! It’s all about what we don’t know and, essentially, the only way you can learn or find out about what’s REALLY GOING ON is to go outside the country for information.
While the first article I’m showing is alarming, to say the least, it is probably not that surprising to so many of us.
First Syria rebels armed and trained by CIA ‘on way to battlefield’
The first cell of Syrian rebels trained and armed by the CIA is making its way to the battlefield, President Barack Obama has reportedly told senators.
by: Raf Sanchez in Washington
3:15PM BST 03 Sep 2013
During a meeting at the White House, the president assured Senator John McCain that after months of delay the US was meeting its commitment to back moderate elements of the opposition.
Mr Obama said that a 50-man cell, believed to have been trained by US special forces in Jordan, was making its way across the border into Syria, according to the New York Times.
The deployment of the rebel unit seems to be the first tangible measure of support since Mr Obama announced in June that the US would begin providing the opposition with small arms. . . . …
Strange, I’ve read a number of articles saying that there was absolutely no proof that Assad was gassing his own people and most speculated it was the “rebels” that were doing the gassing. But, as you know, we are not supposed to know who’s doing what to who . . . . only to blindly accept whatever is being “force-fed” us to believe!
Please follow . . . ..
Jun 18 2013
I have just finished reading questions and answers that were put forth to Edward Snowden. Snowden’s answers are intelligent, most articulate and totally understandable/logical.
I urge you to do a read, as well.
Edward Snowden Q and A: “The US Government Destroyed Any Possibility of a Fair Trial at Home”
The whistleblower behind the biggest intelligence leak in NSA history answered questions about the NSA surveillance revelations.
June 17, 2013
It is the interview the world’s media organisations have been chasing for more than a week, but instead Edward Snowden is giving Guardian readers the exclusive.
The 29-year-old former NSA contractor and source of the Guardian’s NSA files coverage will – with the help of Glenn Greenwald – take your questions today on why he revealed the NSA’s top-secret surveillance of US citizens, the international storm that has ensued, and the uncertain future he now faces. Ask him anything.
Snowden, who has fled the US, told the Guardian he “does not expect to see home again”, but where he’ll end up has yet to be determined.
He will be online today from 11am ET/4pm BST today. An important caveat: the live chat is subject to Snowden’s security concerns and also his access to a secure internet connection. It is possible that he will appear and disappear intermittently, so if it takes him a while to get through the questions, please be patient.
To participate, post your question below and recommend your favorites. As he makes his way through the thread, we’ll embed his replies as posts in the live blog. You can also follow along on Twitter using the hashtag # AskSnowden.
We expect the site to experience high demand so we’ll re-publish the Q&A in full after the live chat has finished.
17 June 2013 2:11pm
Let’s begin with these:
1) Why did you choose Hong Kong to go to and then tell them about US hacking on their research facilities and universities?
2) How many sets of the documents you disclosed did you make, and how many different people have them? If anything happens to you, do they still exist?
1) First, the US Government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal, and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime. That’s not justice, and it would be foolish to volunteer yourself to it if you can do more good outside of prison than in it. . . .
I cannot see Snowden as anything but a man with a “nagging conscience,” such that steered him to his decision to reveal certain of his knowledges concerning the NSA activities.
Mar 20 2013
Chris Hedges visited a soldier in his home.
I flew to Kansas City last week to see Tomas Young. Young was paralyzed in Iraq in 2004. He is now receiving hospice care at his home. I knew him by reputation and the movie documentary “Body of War.” He was one of the first veterans to publicly oppose the war in Iraq. He fought as long and as hard as he could against the war that crippled him, until his physical deterioration caught up with him. . . .
This “telling of a soldier” is very sensitive and I think should simply be read without “pieces” so to speak.
Here, then is his (Chris’) article: “One of First Iraq Veterans to Publicly Oppose War Will Die for Our Sins” Monday, 11 March 2013 09:44 By Chris Hedges, Truthdig | Op-Ed
Chris’ article so gripped author, William River Pitts, that he responded in
“Waking From My Moral Coma,” Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:07, Truthout | Op-Ed
In this article, Pitts questions his own moral fibre:
I’ve been having trouble with mirrors lately. When I look these days, I see a bastard staring back, a stranger, a guy who should be ashamed of himself.
A long, long time ago, I wrote this: “America is an idea, a dream. You can take away our cities, our roads, our crops, our armies, you can take all of that away, and the idea that is America will still be there, as pure and great as anything conceived by the human mind.”
I still believe that, and therein lies the problem. I am a sucker for that dream, that idea, and for the last few years I allowed it to seduce me. . .. .
But Pitts takes it much further from there:
and when I look in the mirror, I cannot meet my own eyes. I spent all those years fighting against everything that is ending Tomas Young’s life, I made documenting their serial crimes my life’s work…and then I let it slide, because Bush was gone, and I couldn’t summon the necessary energy to remain outraged over the fact that they all got away with the crime of the millennium scot-free.
It is enough.
I am finished with the moral geometry that says this is better than that, which makes this good. This is not good; this is, in fact, intolerable. Allowing the perpetrators of war crimes – widely televised ones at that – to retain their good name and go on Sunday talk shows as if they had anything to offer besides their ideology of murder and carnage is intolerable. Entertaining the idea that the billions we spend preparing for war cannot be touched, and so the elderly and the infirm and the young and the weak and the voiceless must pay the freight instead, is intolerable.
Every single American should be compelled to read the foregoing article by Chris Hedges, as well as William Rivers Pitt commenting on the article and himself.
Mar 18 2013
It seems that he’s already not even a memory in this part of the hemisphere. But Venezuela is well remembered . . . . “Venezuela boasts the world’s largest oil reserves.”
And so, I guess, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to read:
CARACAS, March 17, 2013 (Reuters) – Venezuela’s acting president urged U.S. President Barack Obama to stop what he called a plot by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency to kill his opposition rival and trigger a coup ahead of an April 14 election.
Nicolas Maduro said the plan was to blame his opponent’s murder on the OPEC nation’s government and to “fill Venezuelans with hate” as they prepare to vote following the death of socialist leader Hugo Chavez.
Maduro first mentioned a plot against his rival, Henrique Capriles, last week. He blamed it on former Bush administration officials Roger Noriega and Otto Reich. Both rejected the claim as untrue, outrageous and defamatory.
“I call on President Obama – Roger Noriega, Otto Reich, officials at the Pentagon and at the CIA are behind a plan to assassinate the right-wing presidential candidate to create chaos,” Maduro said in a TV interview broadcast on Sunday. . . . .
Of course, the United States State Department denied those charges as to a plot to cause harm to anyone in Venezuela.
Maduro, a 50-year-old former bus driver and union leader who is Chavez’s preferred successor as president, said the aim of the plan was to set off a coup and that his information came from “a very good source.” . . . .
During his [Chavez] 14 years in power, the former soldier often denounced U.S. plots against him and his “revolution.” Critics dismissed those claims as a smokescreen to keep voters focused on a sense of “imperialist” threat. . . . . .
Capriles, who kicked off the opposition’s bid to drum up support with big rallies in the provinces over the weekend, said Maduro would be to blame if anything happened to him.(emphasis mine)
Jan 10 2013
Although, the Petition to nominate Paul Krugman for Treasury Secretary continues to circulate and continues to grow in numbers of signatures, President Obama, apparently, had his sights on someone else. Maybe, he just didn’t know about the Krugman Petition . . . . uh hum!
At any rate, President Obama has chosen Jack Lew, for varying reasons:
President Barack Obama is expected, as early as Thursday, to announce that he has picked White House chief of staff Jack Lew to succeed departing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
In doing so, according to a source close to the process, Obama is drafting a trusted confidant who played a key role in crafting popular Clinton-era economic policies.
If confirmed by the Senate, Lew, 57, would take the reins from Geithner just in time for a series of confrontations with congressional Republicans on everything from raising the debt ceiling to averting automatic domestic and defense spending cuts to deciding how much to fund government agencies after a stopgap measure expires in late March.
So why pick Lew? The source, who strongly supports the president and Lew-and who declined to confirm published news reports that Obama had settled on the soft-spoken economic policy wonk-laid out a three-part “Why Obama would pick Lew” argument to Yahoo News.
Be sure to read, including “another reason” listed toward the end of the article!
Jan 08 2013
See end for UPDATE!
Why not Paul Krugman then?
Robert Naiman, of Just Foreign Policy, thinks it would be an excellent idea if Paul Krugman were appointed Treasury Secretary:
Why not Paul Krugman?
He has a Nobel prize in Economics. He’s proven his ability to communicate economic knowledge to the multitude. And he’s a fierce opponent of cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits and the austerity dogma more generally, which as economic policy has a track record of spectacular failure around the world. As Treasury secretary, Krugman would make job creation his top priority.
The Treasury secretary doesn’t just oversee domestic US economic policy. The Treasury secretary also oversees international US economic policy. The United States executive directors at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank report to the secretary of the Treasury. As Treasury secretary, if Paul Krugman decides that the United States isn’t going to tolerate IMF support for cruel and destructive economic austerity policies in Europe and elsewhere, he’ll have the power to bring that about. Since the United States is far and away the most powerful country in the IMF and the World Bank, that would be a world-historic change. . . . . Save Social Security: Paul Krugman for Treasury Secretary.
Mark Weisbrot, of guardian.co.uk, seems to feel quite the same:
Why Paul Krugman should be President Obama’s pick for US treasury secretary. Not only is he the world’s best-known economist, Krugman has the intellect and integrity to resist Wall Street’s calls for austerity.
President Obama hasn’t picked a treasury secretary yet for his second term, so he has a chance to do something different.
He could ignore what Wall Street and conservative media interests want and pick somebody who would represent what the electorate voted for. And not even just the people who voted for him: there are a lot of Republican voters out there who are also unemployed.
I know what you are thinking: this is impossible. There is too much money and power on the other side of this idea. Well, maybe.
And, Actor Danny Glover, thinks Paul Krugman is a good choice, too, and worked with Just Foreign Policy to create a Petition, on SignOn.org, which states, in part:
We want President Obama to nominate Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who opposes austerity and wants the government to focus on creating jobs.
That’s why I created a petition on SignOn.org to President Barack Obama, which says:
We urge you to nominate Paul Krugman for Treasury Secretary. Krugman will
protect Social Security and Medicare from benefit cuts, promote policies
to create jobs, and help defeat the austerity dogma in Washington and around
(P.S. As of this moment, there are already 215543 signatures in just 2 days!)
Oct 14 2011
Urgent — tomorrow at 7 am, the New York City police plan to evict the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
The only way to stop the eviction is a roaring outcry to New York’s billionaire mayor, Mike Bloomberg, and to the owners of the protest park. We must show them that their global reputations are on the line.
Let’s flood their offices with phone calls! Avaaz will tell the media about the numbers of calls made, multiplying their impact on the public image of Bloomberg and Richard B. Clark — the CEO of the company that owns the park. If enough of us call now, we could turn the tide and stop the eviction–but only hours are left!
Call the Mayor and Brookfield Properties Here:
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg: +1-212-NEW-YORK (639-9675)
Brookfield CEO Richard Clark: +1-212-417-7063
Brookfield US headquarters: +1-212-417-7000
Brookfield Canada headquarters: +1-416-369-2300
Brookfield Australia headquarters: +61-2-9322-2000
After calling, post a message about how the call went — to help Avaaz count the number of calls made, and demonstrate the wave of worldwide support for the protesters.
Suggestions for your call:
–Say that you have a message for Brookfield CEO Richard Clark or NYC Mayor Bloomberg –(depending on who you are calling)
–Stop the eviction of Zuccotti Park
–We have a constitutional right to protest.
–This is one of the biggest shows of public outrage in decades and these people represent hundreds of thousands across the world who stand with the protesters and the movement for real democracy.
–The protesters are cleaning up the park, keeping it clean and safe
We can help make sure the thousands of protesters rights to freedom of speech and assembly are respected by calling Billionare Bloomberg and Brookfield. Forward to everyone!
Emma, Morgan, Maria Paz, Alice, Ben, Rewan and the whole Avaaz team
Occupy Wall Street protesters fear eviction from park
Update: Occupy Wall Street Responds to Bloomberg’s Cleaning ‘Eviction Notice’
AND, in case you have not seen RiaD’s current OWS diary, she has these listings for action!
EMERGENCY CALL TO ACTION
EMERGENCY CALL TO ACTION:
Prevent the forcible closure of Occupy Wall Street!
1) Call 311 and tell Bloomberg to support our right to assemble and to not interfere with #OWS. If you are calling from outside NY use this number 212-NEW-YORK.
2) Come to #OWS on FRIDAY AT 6AM to defend the occupation from eviction.
SIGN PETITION: MoveOn.org CIVIC ACTION: DEFEND OCCUPY WALL STREET
At 7 a.m. tomorrow Mayor Bloomberg will effectively evict the Occupy Wall Street protesters from their home in Zuccotti Park.
We have less than 24 hours to stop it.
We need a national groundswell immediately in defense of the protesters, so we can deliver a massive petition to City Hall and Zuccotti Park tonight.
Sign the petition in defense of the protesters and their First Amendment rights and then spread the word to everyone you know.
A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
come firefly-dreaming with me..&..do no harm
by: RiaD @ Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 13:09:12 PDT
Consider also the following posts-
Liberally Independent: The Electeds are Getting Nervous
By Joyce Arnold, Taylor Marsh, on 13 October 2011
URGENT: OccupyWallStreet to be evicted from Zuccotti Park on Friday. Action needed
Posted on October 13, 2011 by riverdaughter, The Confluence
Both repeat the call for activists to arrive by midnight et
Oct 10 2011
Ministry of Truth has been very busy since his blockbuster responses to a Fox News-TV reporter of earlier this past week.
MoT a/k/a Jesse LaGreca’s appearance on Fox News has been circulating all over the place – yet, Fox News didn’t show it. LOL! He’s also been busy with videos and appearances since then, such as Al Jazeera, PCCC, a Japanese News Network and several others.
This morning, I caught MoT on ABC News, with Christiane Amanpour. Her guests were: George Will, Matthew Doubt, Peggy Noonan and Donna Brazile. Such a line-up!!!!
The video may be seen here.
The intro commercial is long, but bear with it – it’s worth it. Jesse LaGreca (MoT) fielded questions from Amanpour and the self-righteous most smug of guests, George Will, with aplomb, IMV. When questioned about the core issue, Jesse stated that the Occupy Wall Street movement was about economic justice, social rights and social justice. He was unwaivering in his excellent responses and was calm in doing so. When Christiane Amanpour broached the subject of party, Jesse responded:
What I find amusing, it that now people are looking to us to solve the political problems, and they should. But I’m not going to support one party or the other. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but I will encourage you to be a voter.
Here is the transcript:
Sep 11 2011
I was sitting on a train headed for the loop at Randolph Station, in Chicago, going to work. I remarked to myself what an absolutely beautiful day it was — the sky was clear, a bit of crispness in the air and sunny. A more beautiful day one could not have asked for.
The train was late. No explanations.
I arrived at my office and was greeted by my “boss!” “Barbara, something awful, terrible, the world has gone crazy, I’m so glad you’re here — go watch the TV!” I had never seen Alan emote this way ever. I ran to the conference room where the TV was on — I watched, as the second tower was being hit. I viewed that and some re-runs — I think, in my mind, it was so surreal that I believed I was watching an episode from a movie, not something real.
The 2nd Prudential Building, where I worked, advised us ALL to leave and go home — this was across the street from the building that formerly housed the Amoco Corporation, which later became the Aon Group Building (insurance). Why? Because, according to so-called threat knowledges, that building was also a targeted building.
Alan’s son called! “Tell my dad I want to go home.” I did, “Alan, you must go home and so must I.”
I waited an hour and a half for a train to take me home. There were so many nights that I didn’t sleep, couldn’t eat — as though someone had shot a bullet through my heart, but I was still somehow breathing.
Then, as I tried to sleep so many nights, I thought of the brave, brave New Yorkers, who witnessed the horrors right in their faces and I could not stop the tears — for weeks on end.
One such individual, Randgrither, a New Yorker and one who worked in one of the towers, who no longer posts here, wrote a most poignant individual accounting:
I can haz cheeseburger
More by: randgrithr
Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 15:20:53 PDT
Eight years ago today, my husband arrived home early from work. As he walked into the room, I rose from my bed and announced that I wanted to get something to eat.
This was a big deal because I hadn’t eaten anything for three days. I’d spent most of that time laying in bed, not wanting to be alive, not wanting to be awake, trying to wish the nightmare away. Sometimes I would get up out of bed and wander around the house. I’d drink some water and see if anything new was on TV. It wasn’t. I’d stand there for a few minutes watching on the idiot box what I’d already seen with my own two eyes, turn it off, and go back to bed. I slept a lot. I cried more than I care to remember. I’d reassure the cats, who were all expressing the worry and concern of communication-challenged but emotionally astute children.
Most television channels still had footage of the crumbling towers on eternal repeat, but a few were starting to show other coverage. The TV coverage didn’t come anywhere close to the chilling, thunderous sound of the collapses as I experienced them from only a mile away. It was very lost on me, and therefore very easy to walk away from or turn off.
The worst of my horror was the certain knowledge that there was no way the US intelligence community hadn’t seen this coming. I tried to push what I knew to the back of my mind, denying it, unable to deny it, unable to forget it, and unable to share it with anyone. The knowledge of this was kind of like the sound of the towers coming down – it was something you’d never understand unless you’d been there. It wasn’t going to be on TV. Trying to talk about it would get one looked at with the level of sympathy reserved for the insane. That didn’t make it any less real or any less horrifying.
My husband gently asked me what I wanted to eat, fully planning to make it for me. I said I wanted something that we wouldn’t have to cook ourselves. I’m not really a junk food fiend, but for whatever reason I settled on Burger King.
We went to the “Bravo Kilo” as we used to call it in the military, and I ordered my usual, which was a whopper with cheese, no tomato. While we were sitting and waiting for my first meal in three days, a fire broke out in the kitchen. The fire alarm began incessantly shrieking and strobing. Shortly a hook and ladder company came barrel-assing into the parking lot. The other people in the restaurant glanced uncomfortably and sadly at the firemen, still feeling the shock themselves from 9/11. I was quietly laughing like a crazy woman – the last damned time I’d been outside the house there had been the same scene… smoke and incessant sirens. Just what I needed, another overload of adrenaline. Nobody there except my husband would understand why I was laughing, but it wasn’t like anyone could hear me over the siren anyway. Eventually after what felt like an eternity tied to a mast, the husband returned bearing my food.
Three days of not eating won out over the adrenaline. I took my burger to go and we got the heck out of there. I ate it in the car.
Every year on September 14th, rich or poor, sick or well, at home or a hundred miles away from home, I go to my local “Bravo Kilo” and order a whopper with cheese, no tomato.
Now you know why.
Aug 07 2011
(cross-posted at firefly-dreaming)
Michael Moore puts his money where his mouth is! He was one of the first to go to Wisconsin, and do some major screaming! Here’s an excellent letter he has just written.
“30 Years Ago Today: The Day the Middle Class Died”
…a letter from Michael Moore
Friday, August 5th, 2011
From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, “When did this all begin, America’s downward slide?” They say they’ve heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent’s income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer. That many jobs were union jobs, from baggers at the grocery store to the guy painting your house, and this meant that no matter how “lowly” your job was you had guarantees of a pension, occasional raises, health insurance and someone to stick up for you if you were unfairly treated.
Young people have heard of this mythical time — but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, “When did this all end?”, I say, “It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981.”
Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to “go for it” — to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.
And they’ve succeeded.
On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who’d defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.
It was a bold and brash move. No one had ever tried it. What made it even bolder was that PATCO was one of only three unions that had endorsed Reagan for president! It sent a shock wave through workers across the country. If he would do this to the people who were with him, what would he do to us?
Reagan had been backed by Wall Street in his run for the White House and they, along with right-wing Christians, wanted to restructure America and turn back the tide that President Franklin D. Roosevelt started — a tide that was intended to make life better for the average working person. The rich hated paying better wages and providing benefits. They hated paying taxes even more. And they despised unions. The right-wing Christians hated anything that sounded like socialism or holding out a helping hand to minorities or women.
Reagan promised to end all that. So when the air traffic controllers went on strike, he seized the moment. In getting rid of every single last one of them and outlawing their union, he sent a clear and strong message: The days of everyone having a comfortable middle class life were over. America, from now on, would be run this way:
* The super-rich will make more, much much more, and the rest of you will scramble for the crumbs that are left.
* Everyone must work! Mom, Dad, the teenagers in the house! Dad, you work a second job! Kids, here’s your latch-key! Your parents might be home in time to put you to bed.
* 50 million of you must go without health insurance! And health insurance companies: you go ahead and decide who you want to help — or not.
* Unions are evil! You will not belong to a union! You do not need an advocate! Shut up and get back to work! No, you can’t leave now, we’re not done. Your kids can make their own dinner.
* You want to go to college? No problem — just sign here and be in hock to a bank for the next 20 years!
* What’s “a raise”? Get back to work and shut up!
And so it went. But Reagan could not have pulled this off by himself in 1981. He had some big help: the AFL-CIO.
The biggest organization of unions in America told its members to cross the picket lines of the air traffic controllers and go to work. And that’s just what these union members did. Union pilots, flight attendants, delivery truck drivers, baggage handlers — they all crossed the line and helped to break the strike. And union members of all stripes crossed the picket lines and continued to fly.
Reagan and Wall Street could not believe their eyes! Hundreds of thousands of working people and union members endorsing the firing of fellow union members. It was Christmas in August for Corporate America.
And that was the beginning of the end. Reagan and the Republicans knew they could get away with anything — and they did. They slashed taxes on the rich. They made it harder for you to start a union at your workplace. They eliminated safety regulations on the job. They ignored the monopoly laws and allowed thousands of companies to merge or be bought out and closed down. Corporations froze wages and threatened to move overseas if the workers didn’t accept lower pay and less benefits. And when the workers agreed to work for less, they moved the jobs overseas anyway.
And at every step along the way, the majority of Americans went along with this. There was little opposition or fight-back. The “masses” did not rise up and protect their jobs, their homes, their schools (which used to be the best in the world). They just accepted their fate and took the beating.
I have often wondered what would have happened had we all just stopped flying, period, back in 1981. What if all the unions had said to Reagan, “Give those controllers their jobs back or we’re shutting the country down!”? You know what would have happened. The corporate elite and their boy Reagan would have buckled.
But we didn’t do it. And so, bit by bit, piece by piece, in the ensuing 30 years, those in power have destroyed the middle class of our country and, in turn, have wrecked the future for our young people. Wages have remained stagnant for 30 years. Take a look at the statistics and you can see that every decline we’re now suffering with had its beginning in 1981 (here’s a little scene to illustrate that from my last movie).
It all began on this day, 30 years ago. One of the darkest days in American history. And we let it happen to us. Yes, they had the money, and the media and the cops. But we had 200 million of us. Ever wonder what it would look like if 200 million got truly upset and wanted their country, their life, their job, their weekend, their time with their kids back?
Have we all just given up? What are we waiting for? Forget about the 20% who support the Tea Party — we are the other 80%! This decline will only end when we demand it. And not through an online petition or a tweet. We are going to have to turn the TV and the computer and the video games off and get out in the streets (like they’ve done in Wisconsin). Some of you need to run for local office next year. We need to demand that the Democrats either get a spine and stop taking corporate money — or step aside.
When is enough, enough? The middle class dream will not just magically reappear. Wall Street’s plan is clear: America is to be a nation of Haves and Have Nothings. Is that OK for you?
Why not use today to pause and think about the little steps you can take to turn this around in your neighborhood, at your workplace, in your school? Is there any better day to start than today?
P.S. Here are a few places you can connect with to get the ball rolling:
Main Street Contract for America
Showdown in America
Occupy Wall Street
How to Join a Union, from the AFL-CIO (They’ve learned their lesson and have a good president now) or UE
Change to Win
High School Newspaper (Just because you’re under 18 doesn’t mean you can’t do anything!)
Join Mike’s Mailing List | Follow Mike on Twitter | Join Mike’s Facebook Group | Become Mike’s MySpace Friend (emphasis mine)
Want to quibble with Michael Moore and his advice?
Aug 07 2011
(Cross-posted at Firefly-Dreaming.com)
RUGER is coming out with a new and intimidating pistol in honor of Senators and Congressmen.
It will be named the “Politician!”
AND, you also don’t need it [sic]! Afterall, all you have to do is appoint a “Super Congress” — 12 people, in all. That’ll do it! WOW! You want real debt deficit reduction?