The progressive dilemma
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 (National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform) 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 midterm election.
We are expected to accept the government propaganda that the unemployment rate is 9.6 percent, 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 percent. But that still doesn’t count those working for less than a livable wage, this would easily bring the figure well beyond the 30 percent 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 70’s and 80’s 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 3 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 percent of home mortgages underwater, Arizona with 48 percent, Florida with 45 percent, Michigan with 37 percent and California with 35 percent 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 the 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 percent federal funding for all national elections. Under the proposal below this figure will become minuscule.
- 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent for their excess income over $1 million. For 45 years (1935-1980) the top tax rate was between 70-94 percent. It is now 35 percent 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 re-instituted 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 percent. 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 there 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 percent 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.
- 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.
4 Comments »
or go to
From the Archives
McClatchy, the Sacramento Bee, Darrell Steinberg and Islamophobia
In an inversion of journalistic ethics, the Sacramento Bee reported on opposition to an event before and after it took place, but didn’t cover the event itself.
It featured an entire report on accusations against a flier, but didn’t include a response from the flier’s authors.
It printed claims by powerful local figures that the flier was “an outrageous lie,” but refused to print information showing that the flier’s statements were factual.
Its headline about the allegedly offensive flier emphasized a Muslim connection, even though there was virtually no Muslim connection to the flier.
It neglected to report that one of those attacking the flier had previously attempted to use his official position to prevent the event at which the flier was distributed from taking place.
And finally, the Bee’s parent company, McClatchy, one of the nation’s largest newspaper chains, then sent out the Bee’s deficient story about a flier nation-wide, also emphasizing a (largely non-existent) Muslim connection in its headline, which then appeared on newspaper websites in Florida, Texas, Idaho, Mississippi, Alaska, and elsewhere, generating anti-Muslim comments.
The event in question was part of a national speaking tour that featured an Auschwitz survivor speaking about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Called “Never Again For Anyone,” it was sponsored by a diverse array of eight national organizations and nine local ones, secular, Jewish and Muslim, who reserved a hall owned by the local Islamic Center as the venue for the event. Also speaking was Dr. Hatem Bazian, a prominent academic from UC Berkeley. … continue
Aletho News Exclusive Content
This article will examine some of the connections between the US and UK National Security apparatus and the appearance of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory beginning after the accident at Three Mile Island. … continue
Also by Aletho News:
September 19, 2011
March 8, 2011
January 2, 2011
October 10, 2010
July 5, 2010
February 25, 2010
February 7, 2010
January 5, 2010
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 4, 2009
May 9, 2009
- Israeli forces attack weekly protests in the West Bank May 2, 2016
- Closing of 7th annual Open Shuhada Street campaign April 28, 2016
- Photo story: Living under occupation in Jerusalem April 28, 2016
- Apologists for Israel, Touted in The NY Times April 26, 2016
- President Obama: The Race for the Imperial Legacy April 29, 2016
TagsAfghanistan Africa AIPAC Al-Manar al-Qaeda American Civil Liberties Union Argentina Bashar al-Assad Benjamin Netanyahu Brazil Canada Central Intelligence Agency China CIA Colombia Cuba Da’esh Egypt EU European Union FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation France Gaza Germany Hamas Hebron Hezbollah Hillary Clinton Honduras Human rights India International Atomic Energy Agency International Solidarity Movement Iran Iraq Iraq War ISIL ISIS Israel Israeli settlement Japan Jerusalem John Kerry Latin America Lebanon Libya Mexico Middle East Military National Security Agency NATO New York Times NSA Obama Pakistan Palestine Police Press TV Qatar Russia Sanctions against Iran Saudi Arabia Syria Turkey UK Ukraine United Nations United States USA Venezuela Washington Post West Bank Yemen Zionism
Visits Since December 2009
- 2,563,150 hits
Contact:atheonews (at) gmail.com
- NGOs, the Pentagon, and the Human Rights – Industrial Complex May 3, 2016
- Get Corbyn! May 2, 2016
- Climate Hustle, Are they trying to control the climate . . . or you? May 2, 2016
- Ukraine Bans Eight Reporters From Covering Odessa Massacre Anniversary May 2, 2016
- Massive May Day rallies show support for Brazil’s Rousseff May 2, 2016
- UK Labour leader refuses to denounce Hamas, Hezbollah May 2, 2016
- The Pregnant Woman: An Everyday Story from Palestine May 2, 2016
- Drafting Women Means Equality in Slavery May 2, 2016
- Israeli Justice Ministry drops probe after report that contractor behind Qalandiya killings May 1, 2016
- The man who killed Billie Holiday May 1, 2016
- Historic Ruling Opens Discovery Phase for CIA Torture Victims’ Lawsuit May 1, 2016
- NATO Prepares Four Battalions for Russian Border May 1, 2016
- Neocons Make Trump Sound Like Peacenik on Foreign Policy May 1, 2016
- ALEPPO, SYRIA: Remember Benghazi Before You Buy the Latest Propaganda… May 1, 2016
- Israeli police refuse to release video of Qalandiya murder May 1, 2016
- Guardian’s Peter Beaumont “Piles on” Ken Livingstone, Mangles Nazi-Era and Zionist History May 1, 2016
- The Observer Calls on the Benign Empire to Fix Syria May 1, 2016
- Zionism and the Third Reich May 1, 2016
Looking for something?
Categories"Hope and Change" Aletho News Civil Liberties Corruption Deception Economics Environmentalism Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism False Flag Terrorism Full Spectrum Dominance Illegal Occupation Islamophobia Mainstream Media, Warmongering Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity Militarism Nuclear Power Science and Pseudo-Science Solidarity and Activism Subjugation - Torture Supremacism, Social Darwinism Timeless or most popular Video War Crimes Wars for Israel
This site is provided as a research and reference tool. Although we make every reasonable effort to ensure that the information and data provided at this site are useful, accurate, and current, we cannot guarantee that the information and data provided here will be error-free. By using this site, you assume all responsibility for and risk arising from your use of and reliance upon the contents of this site.
This site and the information available through it do not, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Should you require legal advice, you should consult your own attorney.
Nothing within this site or linked to by this site constitutes investment advice or medical advice.
Materials accessible from or added to this site by third parties, such as comments posted, are strictly the responsibility of the third party who added such materials or made them accessible and we neither endorse nor undertake to control, monitor, edit or assume responsibility for any such third-party material.
The posting of stories, commentaries, reports, documents and links (embedded or otherwise) on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such posted material or parts therein.
The word "alleged" is deemed to occur before the word "fraud." Since the rule of law still applies. To peasants, at least.
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more info go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
This is information for anyone that wishes to challenge our “fair use” of copyrighted material.
If you are a legal copyright holder or a designated agent for such and you believe that content residing on or accessible through our website infringes a copyright and falls outside the boundaries of “Fair Use”, please send a notice of infringement by contacting email@example.com.
We will respond and take necessary action immediately.
If notice is given of an alleged copyright violation we will act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material(s) in question.
All 3rd party material posted on this website is copyright the respective owners / authors. Aletho News makes no claim of copyright on such material.