Overweening Generalist

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Occupy Wall Street/the 99%ers/ Missing Public Discussions/A Broad 10-Point Plan!

Buncha hippies? NOT! Check out this.

So far, the mainstream corporate media doesn't seem to know how to spin this story. They tried the They're a Bunch of Hippies thing. They tried Some of Them Have Legit Gripes, But Others Seem to Have Been Misinformed Radiohead Was Going to Appear. Oh, there have been a few other spins. If you're a talking head at CNN or ABC News, someone who flunked out of acting school and are reading what's on the teleprompter, what would you say?

You wouldn't be reading this blog, that's for sure.

The "gotcha" criticism seems to be that there's no coherent reason behind the massively growing protest. Which is bullshit. There are more and more coherent manifestoes flowing out of the movement. The two major themes are: hopelessness and rampant corporate unaccountability. And a third: everyone wants hopelessness to stop and they want banks and corporations to answer for what they've done.

True, many of the protesters have specific issues and grievances for which they seek redress. The truth is: things are so fucked up in the world's richest country that a lot of us have wondered most about not why the massive protests, but why did it take so long to get going?

And I'm with them. The 99ers, that is.

Here are a few items which I consider No-Brainers which should be done Yesterday, or Decades Ago, if not Tomorrow or Next Tuesday After Lunch or ASAP:

1.) Get rid of the Bush Tax Cuts. Are you fucking KIDDING ME? The economy is getting worse and worse, every REAL economic look shows that if you get rid of the Bush cuts and make the rich pay what they did under neo-liberal Bill Clinton - about a 4-6% "raise" in rate - then you start to heal, albeit slowly. But the Republicans, who never met a billionaire they didn't love and want to go to the barricades for (figuratively speaking) can't even do that. No: they think the Poor should pay more! And Obama has been relatively invertebrate on this, considering the stakes, the justice in the situation...And it's NOT a "raise" of taxes on the rich, either! The NeoCons said cutting taxes on the wealthy would create jobs. It didn't. It never has. It never will. It's exactly what Dumya's  daddy (AKA Bush 41) called Reagan's idea for cutting taxes on the rich: "voodoo economics." That's the only thing a guy named Bush ever said that made sense to me. When you hear a talking head say that making the rich pay more taxes will "hurt the economy," it has about the same philosophical status now as the question from the medieval period: How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? In other words: it's like Church dogma. To put it plainly, it's unadulterated bullshit.

On second thought, the Angel question seems far more interesting. The tax cuts for the rich is just stale, dead, moronic. It's for morons. The only rich people who create jobs are that tiny minority who gamble and fund start-ups. Read more HERE.

Letting corporations pay next to nothing (after taking advantage of loopholes) was a very popular idea in Europe between 1922 and 1945, which is a polite way of saying it's a fascist idea.

2.) Cut war spending in half. At least! Unistat has let the "Military Industrial Complex" that Eisenhower warned us about get completely out of control. We spend as much if not more on war than all other countries of the world COMBINED. And there is a company in almost every single congressional district, and many have guaranteed cost-overrun contracts, and political sway in their district. No politician, Democrat or Republican, wants to be on the local branch of the Pentagon-tentacle's bad side. We must let these technicians keep their jobs, but there must be far less spending on junk and weaponry and killingry and illth, and more on wealth: better materials, more efficient energy systems, better mass transit systems, smarter ways to ephemeralize (i.e, doing more with less) the use of natural resources, especially in our cities. Use the massive cuts to fund rebuilding of the infrastructure (roads, bridges, hospitals).

The Pentagon system and its massive waste was mostly a way to subsidize high-tech industry; this was always very inefficient. (How did Japan recover after 1945, and by 1965 become a serious competitor? They gave massive amounts to the corporations/zaibatsu to make things humans actually wanted to buy. They didn't first scare their citizenry that a Russian bear was gonna get 'em and stare at them long enough until they turned into horrendous zombie commies, and then went on to build weapons for megadeath/trash in an effort to keep the economy afloat!) And we're seeing the results of that, now. No intercontinental ballistic missile is going to save us from some dedicated nutjobs with a dirty bomb that works in downtown NYC, Chicago, LA. We need to be smarter.

This one's going to be difficult, because it's an elephant in the room problem.

3.) This goes along with number two above: government, in conjunction with universities, our allies in other countries, private industry, and those former defense contractors need to wage a Manhattan Project for renewable energy. I have too much to say on this, so will save it for a future post, but let this suffice.

4.) Publicly financed elections. If you get enough signatures to qualify, you're on the ballot and will receive equal time on TV and radio as all the other candidates. Also: every candidate gets to appear in the debates. We want to hear as many ideas as possible, even if they're "crazy" ideas. The airwaves are owned by We, the People. Not corporations. Basically, we must get money out of politics as much as possible. The rich will always be there, trying for special favors, buying their way in. We can lessen this greatly.

4a.) It may need a Constitutional amendment, but we must get rid of corporate personhood.

5.) Fer crissakes and in the name of anything and everything that one would consider "holy": End the War on Certain People Who Use Certain Drugs. It's a waste in every sense.

6.) Medicare For All. I've read many studies that indicate we will pay less per person and have healthcare at least as good as those who are insured now have it. But it will be for everyone, and it's in line with what we say we hold as a value.

7.) Big bankers go to jail. You want me to name names, and why they should be behind bars? There are a few guys who really ought not be too big to fail.

8.) The NeoCons who lied their way into a $3 trillion war in Iraq, and tortured, etc: need to be tried for Crimes Against Humanity. None of these people are too big to jail. Or let's see them have their day in court.

9.) Expose the Bush-Cheney Halliburton/Blackwater/gargantuanly bloated Dept.of Homeland Security and their privateering offshoots. Those should be government jobs, held by Americans, beholden to the American people. "Of" and "by" the people, remember? You don't take my taxes, give it to private corporations, and have them spy on me in the name of "national security." And there are so many of these little spy agencies now that none of them know what the others are doing. That's fucking sick and wrong in so many ways...Read William Arkin and  Dana Priest on this.

10.) We need to start a long, serious discussion about the future and jobs. Collectively, we have developed a world in which drudgery in work has increasingly been eliminated by cybernetic automation. There will be no jobs, even for healthy, young, very-well-educated people. Are jobs a way of life? Or is "life" about something other than working a job, any job? We need to talk about Negative Income Taxes, Guaranteed Annual Wages, Government-Subsidized Low-Wage Jobs, Universal Basic Incomes, etc.

Okay, there's a Magical, Mythical Ten. One for each finger. If you don't like me for bringing up one of these ideas - or all of them - I have a special finger, just for you.

And oh yea: I've been a low or no-paid intellectual drone for a long time, but I do read in an exceedingly high number of corners of social "reality." With the 99%ers on the streets and growing, I think I know enough of that part of the corporate American Mind that is fascist to predict that we will in time find out there are/were at least one group who sought to round up every one of the Bad People who protest, because they are "leeches" or "un-American," this last epithet being one of the most ironic terms I see widely used. In fact, I'm not waiting so much to see who it was that wanted these people/me and my wider circle of friends eliminated; I want to see how much money and traction they had. And who was bankrolling 'em...Let us now reflect on Joe Hill, not mourning, but organizing.

Who knows? Maybe the fascists will succeed. If so, I hope you've enjoyed the OG, and I'll see you in the camps!

Have a pleasant day.


Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...


A quick reaction to your 10-point plan:

1. Getting rid of the tax cuts will only happen if its coupled with spending cuts. For me, the question is which kinds of cuts. If the plan is to slash Medicare and Social Security in return for raising taxes, forget about it. If defense spending and other obviously wasteful spending is cut, then I would support moderate tax hikes as part of a larger deal.

2. Yes, yes, yes, cut defense spending and spend the money in the U.S.

3. I would favor a carbon tax with money earmarked for research, but it's also important to avoid wasteful spending on boondoggles, e.g. Solyndra. Not sure yet how to achieve this.

4. Tax dollars should be used for legitimate expenditures. Giving money to politicians doesn't count as one of them, particularly in a two party system that offers little real choice. A much better reform would be to switch to a parliamentary system that allows third parties a real chance.

5. Yes, of course. Ending the war on drugs could also raise government revenues by putting a reasonable tax on pot, etc.

6. I support medical care for all, though I'd rather we embrace the universal health care system in Germany or Switzerland rather than importing the Canadian or British system.

7. Real fraud should be prosecuted, but I think it's simplistic to find a few people to blame and hold show trials. I'd rather have a national discussion on the causes and "cures" of the Great Recession.

8. I would support war crimes trials. Let's make it a little harder to lead the nation into illegal wars, as opposed to legitimate wars of defense.

9. Much of the national security apparatus should be dismantled, but I'd like to fire a lot of government workers, too, such as the TSA folks who grope travelers for a living.

10. Amen to this, which loops back to my comment No. 7.

Sue Howard said...

Great piece, and I think a British version wouldn't look too different. Gets my vote...

christucker said...

"Getting rid of the tax cuts will only happen if its coupled with spending cuts" ??? Isn't it the opposite? If we get rid of tax cuts isn't that more tax dollars so we can then fund the very programs you were concerned about losing?

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Hi Chris,

Apparently I didn't make myself clear, so let me try again:

Given the current balance of power between the two parties in the United States Congress, getting rid of the Bush tax cuts is only likely to happen in the near term if the increase in tax revenue is coupled with spending cuts.

michael said...

@Tom: Yes, yes, yes! All good ideas. The details are the problem when we get into this stuff, and I could've written a post 4X longer on just ONE of these ideas, but the main thrust of the post was the claims from corporate media that the protesters are just clueless disgruntled Gen Yers, etc. You and Sue and others here have a voice in delineating some of the major issues for which we all seek redress.

@Sue: Thanks for the support. I mean that in more ways than one. Talk about anxiety culture! We got it, and I have a telescope that can't see the end of it. We're in this for the Long Haul, eh?

@Chris Tucker: I think you and Tom both have good pts; Tom is coming from a more specific Real Politik-ishness, I think.

It strikes me that over and over again, when I listen to political talk, sombunall people - on any part of the political spectrum - seem lacking in If-Then-Not-But systems thinking. For example, ending the War on Certain People Who Use Certain Drugs the Ruling Class has decided to persecute: the prison industry LIKES their spaces crammed to the gills, even though I think it's un-constitutional, cruel and unusual, etc: more pot dealers given clemency means more people looking for work. But: less public money going to non-private prisons. The private prison industry should be combatted, in my view. the more I look into it it's disgusting and encourages judicial and police corruption down the line.

My point is: once we get into any depth, once we start to try and get at the "brass tacks" of any of the 10 Points I pulled up, we are quickly forced to think about the flow of systems and complexity.

And I LIKE that. I greatly DISLIKE too-simple solutions, which my 10 items seem to be.

I just wanted to disgorge 10 big items that I believe, as of this date, need to be seriously addressed. Entire 900-page books on any one of the items could be written...and HAVE been written.

ARW23 said...

The first collective statement of Occupy Wall Street: