Saturday, November 13, 2010

Savage Austerity by Cindy Sheehan

"Yes, friends, governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class."
James Connolly, Irish Freedom Fighter and founder of the Irish Labor Party
“We’re all in this together,” is the chorus the ruling class loves to sing while it simultaneously bestows  “quantitative easing” upon banks after imposing “savage austerity” measures on the working class.
I have been worried about Obama’s Bowles-Simpson “Cat Food Commission” (CFC) on reducing the deficit since it was announced, and it turns out my worries were well founded.
Besides suggesting raising the retirement age to an ungodly 69, savage cuts to Social Security and Medicare are proposed. Who needs Social Security and Medicare? Not the elite, but they are not forgotten in the CFC plan, the CFC also proposes to REDUCE taxes on the top earners from an already too low 35%, to an absolutely obscene 23%! Obama is following the international sport of the ruling class of forcing the least advantaged in society to pay for the crimes and excess of the One-Percent Club—those who sit at the top of the economic food chain controlling at least 50 percent of the nation’s wealth.
One thing we must understand, especially in the U.S, is that Capitalism creates these crises to be able to “capitalize” on them. The bubbles of the past were generated for gross profit on the expansion, and economic vampirism on the contraction. We who are not in the One-Percent Club may feel some temporary prosperity on the expansion, but each contraction squeezes us tighter and tighter.
In the CFC, there are also modest cuts proposed to defense, but, if any do go through, (very doubtful) it will just be a symbolic gesture meant to prove to us that the parasites really are “in it” with us.
Why do we in the 99 Percent Guild just take it for granted that we will slave our lives away for the elite class? It not only will exploit our labor to make itself grow fatter, but it will also flood the banks with billions of counterfeit dollars to drive up prices of necessities and drive down the purchasing power of our hard-earned federal reserve notes. However, we are supposed to suffer through all this with the Protestant rectitude of our forebears.
Instead of asking the working class to sacrifice even more “savagely,” there are some obvious solutions to this threat of “savage austerity” and hyperinflation. One solution that would feed two birds with one worm would be to bring our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and then close at least 2/3rds of our bases around the world. The Pentagon budget is around 750 bn for 2011 and education gets a paltry 1/10th of that! The symbolic proposed cuts to defense are not satisfactory, nor will they stop the murder.
Alternative and renewable sources of energy must be enhanced and put into practice. When we bailed out the auto industries last year that would have been a perfect time to put people back to work to retool and move forward with more high-speed rail and public transportation. A massive public works program to move our nation from all fossil fuel to a completely renewable and sustainable future would put untold amounts of people to work doing meaningful labor at a living wage and it would make that future look brighter.
There must be an excess profit tax put on corporations and big oil’s most favored status must change to pariah and the revenue we receive from the immoral profiteering can go to help pay for our new, clean energy and meaningful work policies. The One-Percent Club must pay “savage” tax on any income over a certain amount—the median household income in this country would be a good starting point. Conversely, Americans in the middle and lower income class should have their taxes dramatically cut to stimulate the economy. Tax cuts for the wealthy only stimulate the living standards of the wealthy. The CFC would end the only two meaningful deductions still left to the 99 Percent Club: health costs and mortgage interest.
Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship between organisms of different species where one organism, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the host. Well, the Capitalists are definitely a species of creature that benefits at the expense of its host—the workers and our prosperity. The intriguing thing about the parasitic behavior of the One Percent Club, though, is in its very name: One Percent. One percent of the economic parasites in the U.S. are benefiting off of the rest of us. 

Here though, it’s almost as if we have invited our parasites to suck the life out of us, and we not only give them our comfy beds, we cook them a delicious breakfast, too, and compose a lovely Thank You note to them to add insult to injury.
I have spent the last 10 days in three European countries listening to how the people here are responding to the Savages and the cuts that are being proposed in their services, jobs and ways of life. The experience has been educational and inspirational.
Recently, in England, students took to the streets in a massive display of protest against the huge increase in University tuition, and some of them occupied offices of Tory politicians. I met with leaders of unions that will not co-operate with the government or their union leaders who have been co-opted by the Labour Party that does not do anything to alleviate the suffering of labor.
In Dublin, tens of thousands have taken to the streets to protest perhaps the harshest austerity measures anywhere. The descendants of James Connolly will not take more oppression by the ruling class lying down.
Greece is a great example as reaction to the upcoming austerity in the U.S. They have had five general strikes since May and as I was leaving my hotel in Athens to go to a meeting, there were about 300 riot police beginning to cordon off the area around my hotel which was also close to an office of the Labor Ministry. Turning the corner, I ran into about 75 dock-workers who were carrying flags attached to three-inch dowels—instead of cowering under such an overwhelmingly potentially brutal reaction by the Police State, the dock workers were banging their flag poles on the ground. I wish I could have stayed around to watch as the workers were going to try to get into the ministry to protest their firings.
This global crisis of Capitalism gives us the golden opportunity to drive the final nail in the coffin of this oppressive and violent system. According to the UN Gini report, the U.S. has the greatest income disparity of any so-called developed nation and implementing the recommendations of the CFC will make this fact even worse.
When Congress begins to debate the bill that will arise from the CFC report, we need to have a massive response: the Teamsters need to shut down ports and block roads; we need to boycott banking and credit; we need to boycott paying our federal income taxes; oil workers need to strike; we need to be in DC to occupy the offices of our Congressional Representatives (how about an across the board pay and benefit’s cut for Congress and the president?) we just need to get out into the streets to do our part following in the footsteps of, not only our brothers and sisters in other countries, but giants in our own who sacrificed so much to win the hard earned concessions we have—or used to have.
An organized response that is committed, intelligent, militant and courageous will take the U.S. oligarchy by surprise and it’s past time the USAians take part in the global struggle against savage austerity in a more meaningful way.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

See George Write by Cindy Sheehan

So George Bush wrote a book—if you believe that, you probably also believe he actually won the elections in 2000 and 2004.
Yes, I am sure, George, who couldn’t string two coherent words together without the help of a team of speech-writers and policy makers, wrote a 512 page book all by his widdle self. Whatever! Can you even imagine George at a computer keyboard, with a full ashtray next to him and a half finished scotch within easy reach, pounding away at his “book?” That image makes me giggle.
I have written five books, it’s hard work and “Junior” has never had to do a spot of hard work in his entire life and has been constantly bailed out of bad judgment (Decisions?) and the military draft by George Senior and his friends.
George calls his book Decision Points. What a title for the ol’ Decider himself! George’s “Decisions” rank near the very top in U.S. history for heartache and despair, and reportedly, in the book, he says that his biggest “failure” as POTUS was not privatizing Social Security. Not the deaths, or displacement of millions of people from his phony War on Terror, or the torture and false imprisonment of thousands, or the near total collapse of the global economy, or the fact that his administration ignored many warnings of an impending attack in the US before 9/11, or the gutting of public education, or the continuing destruction of the environment, or his non-response to Katrina, or (fill in the blank).
I am not going to write a review of Decision Points because I would rather read the Manhattan white pages than read whatever garbage emanates from the mind of Puppet-Liar-Bush and his ghost-writer(s). I have about, oh, say—10,000 other things I would rather spend $35 U.S.D. on, for sure. Besides all that, I am sure there’s about as much truth in Bush’s book as the piece of fiction that came out of the 9/11 Commission. However, George and his “book” are not really the subject of this piece, anyway.
I have been to George and Laura’s new neighborhood in Dallas to protest the fact that a self-acknowledged war criminal is allowed to live in peace and quiet when the world is far worse off because of him, and like mentioned before, so many people are dead for his lies. Even though I get that he’s not the president any more, we somehow need to recall the pain his administration inflicted as most of us forgot the pain from Vietnam in a way that doesn’t detract from the fact that we still have innocents in harms way.
Next week, on November 16th, George will be breaking ground on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas for his presidential lie-bury, and I know many people who fought that decision. Even though George is a Methodist and Laura sits on the board of trustees for the college, so many Methodists reject his wars and lies. Nevertheless, the library will go forward and some of us will be there to protest.
I will be there, but I will be there to finally say: “Hello! George Bush is not president anymore and it’s time to let go of hatred for him as our raison d’ĂȘtre.” Of course, I can’t stand him, I can’t stand Cheney, I can’t stand Rice who is out on her own book tour, I can’t stand John Yoo, and I believe most of the Bush mob need to be in some deep, dark hole for life. Except, with the Obama regime, that’s not happening. Obama and his DOJ are doing everything in their power to protect these criminals as Nancy Pelosi and her Congress did!
Do you know why Obama and the Democrats are protecting the Bush scandal? It’s really simple. If you start pulling skeletons out of Bush’s closet, they are going to start coming out with a lot of D’s behind their names, too.
Prominent Democratic co-conspirators would be people like Hillary Clinton who went on the war-offensive for the White House Iraq Group, like a Democratic Condoleezza Rice, who warned of “mushroom” clouds and the threat of WMD and Saddam Hussein. There’s Nancy Pelosi who was fully briefed on torture tactics in 2002 as ranking member of the House “Intelligence” Committee.
Then there’s the stain of uber-Zionist Joe Lieberman who never, ever met a war to protect his beloved Israel, as a Democrat or Independent, which he didn’t absolutely adore.
How can we ever forget Council of Foreign Relations member, Madeleine Albright and her support of the deaths of about 1.5 million Iraqi children, and her boss, War President, Bill Clinton’s, killing of those children and others in Iraq with weekly bombing raids and savage sanctions that broke the back of the people of that country while Saddam and his family still flourished?
There have been scores of Democratic warmongers, and in fact, a Democrat, no matter how much Republicans are feared, dropped the only two nukes that have ever been used (that’s why we have the “moral” high ground as the World Police?)
Since Obama has been president, the antiwar row has been a tough one to hoe. I have organized protests that drew less than one-dozen people, when we used to be able to gather hundreds or even thousands in backwater, difficult to reach, Crawford, Texas, because of the white-hot, burning-Bush abhorrence. We should have the same intense distaste and disgust for war no matter who is president.
Now, we will gather again in Dallas to protest Bush, and hate him if you must, but the wars he began are still being vigorously prosecuted by the current War President—and the lives and well being of our troops and the innocent are still very precarious.
The Empire is the scourge of the world and it’s time that we here in the U.S. did our part to try and stop it—not just ½ of the problem, but the whole enchilada.
There’s no danger in being an antiwar activist now, because the Republicans have made the predictable, cyclical electoral resurgence, and the Democrats really can’t lose much more for a couple of years!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

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Remember, Remember by Cindy Sheehan

“Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.”

“V” from the Movie: V for Vendetta

I arrived in London on November 5th, tired and cranky from 12 hours on a cramped and crowded airplane with flight attendants calling everyone “darling” with a smiling mask that hid the fact that all they really wanted to do was slap the passenger that asked for another cup of tea; and sick from a virus my grandbabies gave me which was exacerbated by the dry airplane re-circulated stale air.

As soon as I got to my closet called a hotel room in Paddington Square in the afternoon, I collapsed. A few hours later, I was awakened by what sounded like explosions. As my mind cleared, I tried to sort out what the sounds might be—could it be fireworks? I dressed and went out in the light drizzle to find food, and sure enough, I saw fireworks! I went back to my hotel and asked the desk attendant who has a thick Middle Eastern accent what the fireworks were for and he said: “I think it’s about some guy who came from Ireland to blow up Parliament.” Oh! Duh—then it struck me that I had arrived in London on the 5th of November: Guy Fawkes Day (the only man to enter Parliament with honest intentions—old British “joke”).

From the movie, V for Vendetta, we in the US know Guy Fawkes (well, we can at least recognize the mask, now) as the man who conspired to blow up the House of Lords on November 5th, 1605, but his plot was discovered and Fawkes was tortured to give the names of his co-conspirators and he and they were executed in January of 1606. The group also had plans to execute King James the 6th (or 1st) to install a Catholic monarch on the throne. Every November 5th, (Fawkes was not Irish, contrary to what the desk person told me), Guy Fawkes is burned in effigy and fireworks accompany the day that Fawkes and his cronies wanted to really show some fireworks by blowing up the House of Lords with a large cache of gunpowder.

Guy Fawkes wanted to re-align power in the British government by the use of gun powder to wreak carnage, but something just as earth shattering occurred this past week in the US, without bloodshed. I, of course, am talking about the recent mid-term elections where a mere four billion dollars were spent to see Republicans back in power after a scant four-year absence.

To see my nemesis, Nancy Pelosi be knocked off of her perch after just a few years being up there was personally satisfying, because I have been trying really hard to pull her along to a more peaceful and progressive side. But as much as I loathe her and the Robber Class she belongs to, Nancy was only this year’s patsy, and it looks like she will be rewarded for being the fall "guy" of her class this term by retaining a leadership role in the House despite presiding over a 60 seat loss on the 2nd of November.

What do I mean that Nancy was the fall-“guy” for the establishment this time?

With a Democratic landslide in 2008, expectations were high for some real change: change we could sink our teeth into. Young people and people of color who have felt disfranchised by the system went out to vote in droves, and after nearly two years of economic plunder, the bloom was off that lily, so they didn’t come back. Nancy Pelosi’s House could have easily taken steps to hold the Republicans accountable for the Bush years, but instead blamed them for the horrid state of affairs.

People are tired and frightened and see the government as not only the disease, but as a cure to that disease. When has it ever been healing to cure a disease with more of the same disease?

House Democrats everywhere complained that not only did they have a Republican rival, but they also had to run against Pelosi, Reid, and Obama and when your own caucus starts to abandon you, you know you’re in trouble.

So, Miss Nancy took one for the team, and according to a report in her hometown paper, and biggest fan, the SF Chronicle, she is not only NOT going to resign, but she is seeking the position of House Minority Leader with no opposition. No wonder, all the reports about Nancy's demeanor during the final days of the election season stated that she was calm, cool and collected: the mob rewards it's most loyal and obedient members.

This all begs another question, too—why did the Republicans have to take back control of the House in a very convincing fashion?

Iran? Yemen? Harsher austerity measures? Privatization of Social Security? Extensions of Robber Class tax cuts? The further dismantling of public education? Further police state controls? Further demonization of immigrants?

Our electoral system is jury-rigged so the elites always win, and the rest of us always lose; and we are propagandized to near death by the psychological terror of Madison Avenue. I am afraid that the only way out of this is through a workers' (or those desperately seeking employment) revolution to overthrow the system.

How long are we going to allow the Robber Class to prosper and murder without an organized and effective response?

I am here in Europe at the invitation of the Socialist Alternative to meet with the leaders of these European working-class responses to the oppression of the Robber Class and I am hoping to come home laden with inspiration and ideas to help organize in America for a peaceful, yet determined uprising for us.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Slack Jawed Corporate Tools by Cindy Sheehan

I am laid up today with a virus that I picked up from my grandbabies, so I finally took the opportunity to watch a movie I have been wanting to watch forever: 2004’s Iron Jawed Angels, starring Hillary Swank as badass woman’s suffragist, Alice Paul.

Alice Paul and her friend, Lucy Burns, were two educated, young, and modern women who moved to Washington, DC to lobby for a constitutional amendment giving the women the right to vote, over six-score years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified, extending the right to vote to only propertied white men, and 50 years after black men received that right.

While we still live in a chauvinistic nation that hasn’t ratified an Equal Rights’ Amendment, the sacrifices and commitment that our early sisters made has advanced the female cause here in the U.S. dramatically. They were arrested protesting in front of the White House during a Democratic Wilson administration, imprisoned, tortured and force-fed while on hunger strike (this stuff didn’t just start under Bush/Cheney).

Even though I opposed Nancy “Impeachment off the Table” Pelosi when she ran for Congress in 2006 in the election that propelled her to the gavel of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, I couldn’t help but being a little emotional for the political cause that women have struggled for mightily. Then in 2008, I was honored to support the candidacy of a courageous black woman with integrity, Cynthia McKinney.

However, my brief innate pride quickly turned to anger as I saw Nancy Pelosi’s House support George Bush’s war crimes in the Middle East by supporting his surge in Iraq and fully funding the wars. Not only was impeachment “off the table,” but so has been peace.

During my campaign against Nancy Pelosi for Congress in 2008, the news was released that as House Minority Leader, she was fully briefed by the security establishment on the use of torture in such places as Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, in particular, she was briefed on water-boarding, and although another Democrat on the committee did lodge a written protest against the procedure—Nancy did nothing. She reportedly wanted the measures to be harsher. When confronted about it, she couldn’t really recall, but that info was “classified” anyway. In my opinion, in a so-called Republic, justice should be transparent, not “even” in time of war—but ESPECIALLY in time of war!

Then, not only did Nancy's Democratic Congress pass the FISA Moderniztion Act and refused to repeal the USA PATRIOT ACT, she un-Constitutionally pushed through the bankster bailout at the end of the election season in 2008, and contrary to what the establishment wants you to believe, the bill, which was supported by the Junior Senator and Dem Presidential candidate, Barack Obama, did not “rescue” the economy.

It may have saved Goldman Sachs, but unemployment and foreclosures are higher than back then, while home value is reported to go down by 8% this month.

Nancy Pelosi has been such a failure for the people, but such a success for her corporate masters. Her list of donors on reads like a directory for DC lobbyists.

Unlike the present U.S. antiwar movement, Alice Paul’s National Woman’s Party (NWP) refused to co-operate with the Democratic Party that was working in opposition to their goals of universal suffrage as the present Democratic Party is working against our cause for peace.

The House is going to fall on the Wicked Witch of the West because she did nothing to follow in the audacious footsteps of giants like Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. Pelosi has done nothing to help the cause of feminist politics, and, in fact, her willing complicity with the elite class has set our cause back.

The lives of our sister-suffragists are inspirational—to think that so many sacrificed so much when the few in Pelosi’s elite class have sacrificed way too little, if anything.

Despite Pelosi’s liberal use of plastic surgery, she is not an Iron Jawed Angel, she is a Slack Jawed Corporate Tool and no matter what happens on Election Day this year, her leadership is compromised and she will probably have to slink home in defeat (to her mansion on Broadway and her estate in wine country, to be sure).

I don’t want to pick on Pelosi just because she is a female with no integrity, but that’s the system that Alice Paul fought so hard to join—99% of our politicians are Slack Jawed Corporate Tools and it is up to us to hold them accountable.

The DC suffragists grew frustrated with the system even before they could fully participate in it and they formed the NWP to have more political power—well, we females have had political power for quite awhile and it is mostly misused to be able to play the game with the white guys—well, now it’s past time to form a Working Class Party to, not reform, but overthrow the present system in favor of one that works for us and against the Slack Jawed Corporate Tools.

Let's get to work