Tuesday, February 28, 2012

ATL Media Group Occupy Atlanta Rallies to Save Freedom of Speech in Georgia

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Press @occupyAtlanta <Press@occupyatlanta.org>
Date: Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 8:51 PM
Subject: ATL Media Group Occupy Atlanta Rallies to Save Freedom of Speech in Georgia

For immediate release

Occupy Atlanta Media

February 29, 2012

Shabnam Bashiri 770-356-0577

Tim Franzen 404-414-5521

Occupy Atlanta Rallies to Save Freedom of Speech in Georgia

With at least one American Legislative Exchange Council lobbyist in attendance, Georgia Senate Bill 469 which would impose hefty fines on pickets and turn planning a protest into a crime, was passed in committee today despite testimony that it was unconstitutional and unenforceable. The room, packed mainly with union members erupted in a chant of "KILL THE BILL!" and one Occupy Atlanta protester was arrested while others were escorted out.

AT$T is on the board of ALEC, and this legislation has their clear stamp on it. Tomorrow, February 29, Occupy Atlanta will rally in front of the Capitol at 10 am, followed by a march back to AT$T at noon to address the source of this attack on the First Amendment and labor rights in Georgia.

For more information on how corporations are pushing "model legislation" through state legislatures nation-wide, see




Sunday, February 26, 2012

25% of super PAC money coming from just 5 rich donors

Memo to FoxNews audience... there is no "Government spending crisis"

Caught this tweet earlier today...

Obama and the Republicans are arguing about who to tax. They're debating the wrong side of the equation. It's the spending, stupid.

This is classic #handToForehead moment.

The U.S. hasn't seen some massive increase in domestic spending via Obama.

government spending, excluding interest on the debt, is barely rising. In 1980, it was 19.8 percent of GDP. Non-interest spending is projected to be 21.1 percent of GDP in 2020. An increase of 1.3 percentage points over 40 years doesn't fit most people's definition of "out of control."

There are scary projections of large long-term deficits for the more distant future, but these are attributable to our broken health caresystem. We currently spend more than twice as much per person on health care as countries with longer life expectancies. This ratio is projected to rise to three or four times as much in the decades ahead. 

If health care costs do follow this path, it will lead to enormous economic problems, including budget problems, since we pay for more than half of our health care through government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. However, if we get our costs in line with the rest of the world, we would be looking at huge budget surpluses, not deficits. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Occupy Our Food Supply - Monday, Feb. 27


Occupy Our Food Supply!

11 AM on Monday, February 27:
 March 3.9 miles from the AT&T Occupation @ 675 Peachtree Street
to Whole Foods @ 650 Ponce De Leon Ave
 to demand they respect our rights to know about GMOs. 

Rally at Whole Foods is 12ish if you want to meet us there.

2:00 - 3:00 PM Market/potluck meal back at AT&T occupation.

Read more about this national event:
“Occupy Our Food Supply!": A Day of Global Action. Monday, February 27 


Contact for more info:
Jaye Crawford



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cuts to unemployment benefits likely to hurt economic growth in Georgia

The impacts of State Senate Bill 447 Via Better Georgia:

Senate Bill 447 would be a sharp increase in the number of Georgians living in poverty.

The bill would cut unemployment insurance in two ways:

  1. The state would impose a waiting week which eliminates one week benefits for half of all recipients; and
  2. Reduce the number of weeks a person could receive unemployment insurance benefits.

If passed, the maximum length of unemployment benefits would change to a sliding scale of 12 to 20 weeks from 26 weeks.

This would be less than any other state in the country. This is terrible for the families who will now lose their safety net. It’s also terrible for Georgia’s economic growth.

As the unemployed spend their relatively meager unemployment benefits, that money ripples through the economy, supporting other workers and businesses. Taking that demand away will lead to drops in consumer spending.

It’s shame that our lawmakers don’t know that the most of Georgia’s 500,000 unemployed adults aren’t sitting at home collecting government checks by choice.

Granted the GOP in Georgia don't even grasp the most basic reasons the economy crashed to begin with; not to mention why its been slow to revive, so its no surprise they are pushing policies that will undermine our long term growth.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Does this woman belong in prison?

This is Darlene Jones-Owens

She joined 12 other activists in a direct-action occupation of AT&T.

Here is an interview I did with her the next day about why she got arrested.

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]It appears AT&T has bought them some powerful friends in the Georgia Legislature because there was a bill introduced today at the Gold Dome that would make what Darlene did a felony:

 Georgia Senate Bill 469 (SB469), introduced today, attempts to effectively bankrupt labor organizations in our state and prevent our movements from 'mass picketing' outside of a business or private residence we 'target' with penalties up to $10,000 per day of violation. But there's more....perhaps the most blatant and outrageous assault on our movements, coming right on the heels of our historic direct action at Occupy AT&T is Section 5- which will make it a FELONY to 'conspire' to commit criminal trespass while engaged in a political direct action- the act that 12 of us led last Monday at AT&T. There is no coincidence that the anti-worker, corporate funded, sponsors of SB 469 have set their targets on ALL progressive social forces in Georgia and thus require our immediate and unified response. This bill poses an absolute attack on basic worker rights and on all of our movements- but should also be viewed as a historic opportunity for us to mobilize a response in kind with even more united, bold series of actions to defeat it. 

Some in the Georgia Legislature want to stand with the 1%.  They want to throw these people in prison...


Its up to us to stop them.

Full-scale assault on the labor movement in Georgia...

This just crossed my path:

ALERT:: here comes the full on assault on BOTH the labor movement, Occupy, and all social justice organizations in Georgia. : Georgia Senate Bill 469 (SB469), introduced today, attempts to effectively bankrupt labor organizations in our state and prevent our movements from 'mass picketing' outside of a business or private residence we 'target' with penalties up to $10,000 per day of violation. But there's more....perhaps the most blatant and outrageous assault on our movements, coming right on the heels of our historic direct action at Occupy AT&T is Section 5- which will make it a FELONY to 'conspire' to commit criminal trespass while engaged in a political direct action- the act that 12 of us led last Monday at AT&T. There is no coincidence that the anti-worker, corporate funded, sponsors of SB 469 have set their targets on ALL progressive social forces in Georgia and thus require our immediate and unified response. This bill poses an absolute attack on basic worker rights and on all of our movements- but should also be viewed as a historic opportunity for us to mobilize a response in kind with even more united, bold series of actions to defeat it. Read the bill in its entirety here: http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2011_12/versions/sb469_As_introduced_LC_37_1386ER_2.htm

It looks like the corporations want Georgia to be for right-to-work states what Wisconsin was for union states....

Our efforts here in Georgia are a threat to the 1% and they want to stop it before we traction. 

This isn't just about Georgia.  The reality is this is Occupy vs. the Global Race to the Bottom 

This is about the fact that our movement is a global movement.   The BBC's Paul Mason talked to Democracy Now about "The New Global Revolutions" over Austerity, Inequality 

But this hits home for me because their are powerful people in the Georgia General Assembly who want to charge my friends with felony's.  People like Ben are a threat because they are smart, articulate, and willing to sacrifice a lot-- through nonviolent direct action.  

 I need your help in making this a national effort to stop this bill in its tracks.

Mortgage Settlement Fails to Address Banking Criminal Enterprise

John O’Brien via Naked Capitalism:

Just this past week the Attorney Generals of this country said they will enter into a deal with the 5 largest banks who have agreed to stop robo-signing, provide principal reductions of between 20 to 25 thousand dollars to a million underwater homeowners. This amount will in no way solve the housing crisis that we are faced with nor even begin to turn our economy around. In addition, the settlement suggests that approximately 750,000 people who have had their homes taken by foreclosure using fraudulent documents will receive a check for $2,000. As Yves Smith has said, “that amount is the new penalty for forgery.” This is merely a slap on the wrists to these lenders. It is my opinion that this deal has been crafted for the banks and by the banks. It is not in the best interest of the consumer, the homeowner, or the taxpayer. Simply put, I do not trust these lenders who have flooded my registry with over 32,000 fraudulent documents to do the right thing. Those homeowners who now have a corrupted title are looking for answers. This deal gives them none. The illegal activity by the banks is nothing shy of a criminal enterprise, where they crossed state lines using the United States Postal Service to deliver the instruments that were fraudulent and contained forgeries.

Hey AT&T... This union worker won't let you undermine his local community

Most of the important decisions that impact people lives are made in boardrooms and back rooms where the subordinate classes are never allowed to have input.

Occupy Atlanta, Jobs with Justice, and other unions have joined together to support CWA in their efforts to demand that AT&T end the recently announced layoffs of 740 people throughout the southeast.  On Fed. 13th Occupy Atlanta and labor activist occupied AT&T    

AT&T is trying to squeeze "efficiency gains" out of fewer and fewer workers.  To translate this, its also known as giving some of the workers a pink slip while forcing other employees to work overtime; which means kids throughout the southeast won't have Dad around to help do their homework because Dad has to work extra hours or lose his job.   This means the small business owner in your community won't have that Mom shopping in their store buying things for her family of four, because that Mom is now on the unemployment line.  

These decisions made in boardrooms and back rooms have an impact on everyone in the community.

AT&T has decided to shift profits away from those who create it and in doing so undermine the quality of service their customers receive and undermine the quality of life for everyone in the local communities who are impacted by these layoffs.  

As Bruce Bartlett pointed out yesterday, "a tax system that lightly taxes capital and heavily taxes labor is necessarily going to benefit the wealthy."  It also creates incentives for those in the boardrooms and backrooms to make decisions that undermine the quality of their products, undermine the working conditions of their employees, and undermine the communities they service because they get a better tax rate on the wealth the company is producing rather than the paycheck from the service they provide. This is a perfect example of how a poorly structured tax code can create incentives that undermine the quality of life for everyone.

Those in the boardrooms and backrooms of AT&T see these layoffs as a win for the companies bottom line. But what about the workers within the company? The customers the company provides service to? The local economies who are connected to these people whose lives are being undermined?

If you live in the southeast I promise you the 1% who own the bulk of company won't be spending their hard "earned" [sic] money shopping in your community, won't come over to spend the extra time with the kids who's parents are forced to work overtime.  AT&T has plenty of work to go around but they are choosing to cut jobs and shift to low wage workers so that the profits can go to those who aren't earning them, shifting them to those who sit in boardrooms and backrooms.

AT&T can choose to make the right call for their customers, who will have shorter wait times; their employees, who won't be forced to work overtime; and the communities they service, who will see fewer foreclosures and will instead see hard earned dollars going into the local economy.

Until AT&T makes the right call I'll be joining the occupation on Tuesday and Thursday nights--since i'm already at GA State for class those evenings.  

Many people have asked how they can help.  Donations to Occupy Atlanta would be great.  Also I could use personal donation for supplies (I need to buy a tent) and an extra sleeping bag and cold weather gear so that when friends come join me for a night they have as comfortable a night as one can have in Feb/March in Atlanta.  Email me at Jim.Nichols@gmail.com for my paypal info.  

I'm bringing friends to join me each night so that they can learn more about how these decisions made in backrooms and boardrooms undermine the community and how we can join together to stop the erosion of the middle class in its tracks through direct actions and community organizing.  

Tomorrow night a friend from work and a friend from class will take a night out of their busy lives to show their solidarity with our efforts.  If you'd like to come spend a night out or if you'd like to donate money or supplies drop me a line...

AT&T make the right call--- the people that produce the value your customers depend on should share in the profits they create.  End the layoffs and the occupation ends... 

This union member isn't going to let you make your profits on the backs of people in his community.  As Dorrien Warren recenly noted in his excellent article on the subject, a strong labor movement is Americas last hope.  Together we are starting to build that movement from the ground up.

Hey, AT&T... We will take you down...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gasoline Price Hysteria

Gasoline Price Hysteria: With unemployment declining, Republican politicians in the U.S. have seized upon the recent modest increase in retail gasoline prices to talk up the possibility of $5 gas this Summer. Despite the ever present danger of a Middle East crisis that could cause prices to spike, the markets that these politicians trust so much do not support their alarms. Market-based analysis projects gasoline retail prices to average $3.55 per gallon in 2012, compared with $3.53 cents per gallon last year, and then average $3.59 per gallon in 2013. During the April through September peak driving season each year, prices are forecast to average about 7 cents per gallon higher than the annual average, i.e about $3.62 this Summer. Recent options and futures price data imply that the market believes that there is about a one-in-four chance that the U.S. average pump price of regular gasoline could exceed $4 in June of this year.

I always hate fixation over gas prices because it forces the uncomfortable conversation about how drivers are already having their gas prices subsidized by the governments failure to insert externalities into the equation.  Sadly if we expect market forces to create incentive's for people to decrease usage prices will have to go up a whole lot more.  The failure of government to do its job means the working class is getting swallowed whole by those costs.... (but then again the failure of the working class to organize and hold politicians accountable for poor transit options....I digress...) 

Together we can save 740 jobs across the Southeast. Won't you join me?

Corey Robin in his excellent book, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin, noted that conservatism is "the theoretical voice of... animus against the agency of the subordinate classes.  It provides the most consistent and profound argument as to why the lower orders should not be allowed to exercise their independent will, why they should not be allowed to govern themselves or the polity.  Submission is their first duty, agency, the prerogative of the elite."

From the very beginning one of the things that excited me about the #occupy movement was the potential it had to create spaces to empower disempowered individuals and give them room to develop and nurture their own voice, join together with others, and organize around their own issues rather than around issues or actions given to them from on high.  

As someone who has run for public office I can tell you that the majority of people I came across were either completely detached from the political process all-together (a conservatives dream come true) or dissatisfied with the status quo-- where their only option is to ratify decisions made by others and choose from doctrines chosen by superiors and elites far off in think tanks and law firms in Washington DC.  Most of the important decisions that impact people lives are made in boardrooms and back rooms where the subordinate classes are never allowed and people across the political spectrum realize this. People are desperate for some actual democracy and the explosion of energy all across this country with occupations and direct actions popping up-- even in the least expected of places-- speaks to that.

Rudolph Rocker reflected that "the art of ruling men has never been the art of educating men and inspiring them to a new shaping of their lives."  Occupy, the general assembly process, feeds the flames of autonomy and self-rule--the art of educating and inspiring, if you will--in the minds of working class Americans and it feels wonderful to be smack dab in the middle of it. 

From the very beginning I struggled with explaining to people what camping out in a park had to do with Wall Street, improving the economy, or improving the political process.  

I remember rushing back to the suburbs late for a dinner date with friends because I hung around an extra hour at the General Assembly the week before Occupy Atlanta occupied Woodruff (soon to be renamed Troy Davis) Park wondering how I'd explain to my friends what we were doing and why it was so damn inspirational.  

As someone, who because of untreated mental health issues, woke up in parks on park benches from time to time; whose entire political involvement (as a legislative aide, campaign manager, candidate for State Senate) has been energized around building the political will to get people out of sleeping in parks and into treatment and the health care they need and deserve; the very idea of sleeping in a park seems as anathema as it does to most people.

But I knew over time I'd get opportunities to connect the dots for my friends.  Occupy AT&T is one of those dots i'd like to connect.

I want you to take a moment to listen to this statement from a man named Ed Barlow...

Conservatives will tell you to trust the boss, trust the corporation (at this point i'm not sure why anyone would, but I digress...).  I'm asking you to consider something truly radical, put your trust in a worker within the company--who actually does the job and sees the challenges his company faces on ground--rather than the CEO and his top notch Public Relations staff.

Right now, Occupy Atlanta has joined to stand in solidarity with the Communication Workers of America Local to fight the layoff of 740 workers in the Southeast and we need you to join us in voicing your support for their efforts.

There is no inherent reason why the general public should believe the CEO-- who isn't on the ground seeing the inefficiencies and rooms for improvement that could make AT&T a better, more vibrant company--over the voices of the employees themselves.  In fact, when the average wait time is 10 days for repair services, when AT&T consistently ranks last in customer service, the general public actually has an incentive to take the word of the workers on the ground who say there is work to be done. 

So my question to you is this--do you want better customer services and shorter wait times?  Right now the CEO of AT&T is pulling in $27 million a year.  He's making more by lunch then you'll make in a year and as a thank you he's going to add to your wait time and give you worse customer service so that you won't even have time to call AT&T during your lunch break.

If you live in Georgia or anywhere throughout the southeast do you want to see more foreclosures, layoffs, and people on unemployment?  Or do you want to see small businesses in your community with your local AT&T employees spending their hard earned money?   

That's the bigger picture, 740 people in the southeast are saying they want to work, they want to earn a living and not sit on unemployment.  They aren't looking for a handout and we need to show them some support because in the end we all pay the cost in longer wait times and weaker local economies--believe me, the top brass at AT&T aren't going to come into your local communities to spend their hard earned [sic] money or the bonuses they'll receive from increasing "profitability".  

I'll be going out to join the occupation next Thursday night in support.  But all you need to do is show support by posting news and updates on Facebook and Twitter to let people know you support the efforts of CWA and Occupy Atlanta.  Let people know you want AT&T to show the love and keep 740 of their employees on the job--cause there is work to be done!

Here are a few links you might choose to share...

Together we can raise our voices to save 740 jobs across the Southeast.   Won't you join me?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Public statement on increasing the minimum wage in Georgia

Just found out that there is a hearing tonight on increasing the minimum wage.  So I jumped in the shower and have thrown this statement together and am headed up to see if there is a chance for public comment.... pardon the typos/verbage... i'm on the fly...


In 2010 I had the privilege to run for State Senate in what was formerly SD 17 which covered Henry, Newton, Rockdale, Walton, and Spalding counties.   One of the most prevalent comments I heard from people across the political spectrum—liberal or conservative; Democrat, Republican, or “Independent”—was “what has happened to this country”? 

The post WWII economy, for most people I met, was remembered as one where hard work and playing by rules provided a decent wage and the opportunity to provide a better future for your children; it was both a quite popular economic model and one that people are demanding that their elected officials revive again.

Far too many of our elected officials ignore the basic fact that the dramatic decline in wages and quality of life over the past 30 years didn’t just happen because of market forces in action.  These transfers of wealth and prosperity up the economic ladder occurred from deliberate and conscious decision by policymakers  to pick winners and losers; as well as policies that transferred risk to those least responsible for economic outcomes who also happened to be most vulnerable to market forces.

The minimum wage and the erosion of its value is a perfect example; it’s a small sliver of responsibility but the impacts are very real to the working class and local economies across this nation.  When I made the case for a high minimum wage in response to these questions of “what happened” I consistently found citizens across district 17 willing to support such an effort. 

Higher minimum wages are simple and effective mechanisms for helping low wage workers.  Following World War II the minimum wage was higher that it is today, when you adjust for inflation.  The minimum wage would have to rise to around $9 an hour to reach its peak level in 1968.  If the minimum wage had kept pace with the productivity growth we’ve seen in our economy over the last 3 decades the rate would be over $15 today.  Imagine what those dollars in the hands of consumers rather than in the hands of investors playing monopoly game for the 1% could have done for our local economies over the past 5 years could have done to reduce the strain of the recession?

Our economy faces an aggregate demand problem.  Go ask a small businesses owner in your district what they need and they’ll tell you point blank: consumers.  The fact of the matter is low income citizens of this state already face a disproportionate tax burden as a percentage of their income its time low income Georgians got some “umph” from their electeds up at the Gold Dome.

Opponents of increases to the minimum wage will argue that it will decrease the number of jobs in the state and will increase teenage unemployment.  But the fact is that there is a large body of research at the national, state, and local level that runs contrary to this simplistic Economics 101 argument.

There are two main reasons why economist have found that modest increases to the minimum wage do not increase unemployment.  First is the occurrence of what economists call an “efficiency wage” effect.  By paying workers more those workers often times are found to become more productive because employees take the job more seriously.  Secondly, higher minimum wages reduce turnover.  By decreasing job turnover employees stay on the job longer reducing the cost of reviewing new applicants and training new workers.

What the research shows is that what often happens is simply a reduction in the number of jobs available meaning workers spend more time between jobs.  Critics tend to argue that a 10% increase in the minimum wage is likely to reduce employee of minimum wage workers around 1 to 2%.  But even accepting these numbers another way to approach their frame is to think about it from the eyes of the minimum wage workers themselves—by working 1 to 2% few hours over the course of the year you still received around 8-9% more in their paycheck that year.   70% of workers who were impacted by federal increases to minimum wage were over the age of 20.  So, arguments about reduction to teen unemployment, neither fits the data nor the demographics of who actually receives minimum wages.

Voters are demanding action on the economy and increasing the states minimum wage would be a substantive policy change with marginal cost; one that will shift us back in the direction of an economy that workers for everyone and one that will directly increase $’s in the hands of consumers across the state.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Friedrich Nietzsche Human, All Too Human chapter nine aphorism 638 The Wanderer

Aphorism 638.doc Download this file

 Chapter 9 Aphorism 638

Chapter nine of Friedrich Nietzsche’s book Human, All Too Human is entitled “Man Alone with Himself,” and the title of the concluding aphorism of this chapter is entitled—The Wanderer.  This paper will argue that The Wanderer is the paradigmatic case of a free spirit come to fruition and that this aphorism is not only the conclusion to Volume One but is also the conclusion of the “convalescence” of spirit which Nietzsche has been thinking us through in earlier chapters of the book.

            Richard Schacht, in his introduction to the 1996 Cambridge University Press edition of the R.J. Hollingdale translation, of Human, All Too Human, opens by reflecting on Nietzsche’s statement in Ecce Homo that “Human, All Too Human is the monument of a crisis.”[i]  During this crisis, Nietzsche is coming to terms with his need to sever attachments to many of the key drivers and inspirations of his earlier thought.  Nietzsche realizes that he must cure himself from Schopenhauer’s “blind will to morality,” as well as move beyond his vision of Wagner’s romanticism as a beginning and not an end (“likewise over the Greeks, likewise over the Germans and their future”). [ii]   These deceptions he had “lived on” must now be replaced, or at least his “tenacious will to health” is pushing him to do so in order to become unfettered and able to hear, see, think, (and dare one say, feel?) clearly.[iii]

            For most of Human, All Too Human Nietzsche has provided prescriptions, warnings, helpful hints—seemingly providing for us a highlighted path to becoming a free spirit; or at the very least the path a free spirit would take; and the human, all too human  barriers that keep most of us from achieving such a form of engagement with the world.[1]   But in chapter nine Nietzsche in a way, begins anew to discuss the resolution of this “crisis” he has undergone in an all-together different manner.  The resolution to the crisis Nietzsche had to endure—and all who desire to become unfettered--is to engage the world as a “man alone with himself” and sustain a resolve to continue “wandering”.  Specifically, Nietzsche finds this “living alone with oneself” to mean that one is engaged with the world in a way which adherers both to a certain methodological approach which Nietzsche provides for us in the first chapter—a “historical philosophy” of identifying and collecting the little unpretentious truths—and doing so in a way that is neither mere resignation of ones place in the world, nor indulgent of metaphysical illusions and self-sustaining vanities which hinder clear insight and thoughtful understanding of the world and ones place in it. 

A strong case can be made that in chapter nine Nietzsche is describing free spirits in action and that health is no longer sought out, rather it is something to sustain.  What then, is this free spirit in action?  It is one who has attained, “some degree of freedom of mind,” who can only be described as feeling a sense of wandering the earth.  The sense of wandering comes from living a life which lacks destination; and the free spirit must endure the ups and downs, the triumphs, alienation, and loneliness of such a journey.  The free spirit must engage a world of “strong winds”, “dreadful nights”, and a heart which will grow weary of wandering through such climate.  In this way chapter nine can be read as providing examples of such strong winds and moments of weariness.  But the key to this kind of engagement with the world is that “as recompense, there will come the joyful mornings of other days and climes, when he shall see, even before the light has broken, the Muses come dancing by him in the mist of the mountains…”[iv]

A distinct aspect of the wanderer—the free spirit—is that the struggles one faces are not self-inflicted illnesses or confusions but are simply normal ups and downs up engaging the world openly and honestly and this is laid out quite clearly in the concluding aphorism leading to the argument that The Wanderer aphorism provides the paradigmatic example of the free spirit.  There is nothing to cure in oneself when bad nights appear, or one is forced to dwell in deserts alone, because “joyful mornings of other days and climes” are just around the corner and one cannot cure oneself from such a world but merely stay “cheerful and transfigured” wandering towards a “philosophy of the morning”.

[1] I hesitate to use the word perspective because of the many interpretations of, “Nietzsche-ian perspectivism”, I neither am using here nor claim to understand and have therefore used the word engagement.

[i] pg. vii

[ii] Preface Sec. 1 Pg 6

[iii] Preface Sec 4 pg 8

[iv] Aphorism 638 p. 203

10th Annual Suicide Prevention Day at the Capitol

This morning after work, I'm swinging by the Gold Dome to join the Suicide Prevention Action Network of Georgia for their 10th Annual Suicide Prevention Day at the Capitol.  As one of an estimated 4.5 million survivors of suicide attempts in this country I want to remind my elected officials about the urgency of the mental health crisis that we face in this state and the human potential that is currently being wasted, and all too often lost, due to our states negligence in funding available treatment and support systems... 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The plutocrats care what you think...

Michael Parenti --Occupy America

Do not for one moment think that the top policymakers and plutocrats don't care what you think. That is the only thing about you that wins their concern. They don't care about the quality of the air you breathe or the water you drink, or how happy or unhappy or stressed and unhealthy or poor you might be. But they do want to know your thoughts about public affairs, if only to get a handle on your mind. Every day they launch waves of disinformation to bloat your brains, from the Pentagon to Fox News without stint.

When the people liberate their own minds and take a hard clear look at what the 1% is doing and what the 99% should be doing, then serious stuff begins to happen. It is already happening. It may eventually fade away or it may create a new chapter in our history. Even if it does not achieve its major goals, the Occupy movement has already registered upon our rulers the anger and unhappiness of a populace betrayed.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Atlanta Labor History -- Wildcat strike at Mead Packaging Corp.

Wildcat at Mead by SolidarityUS 1972 documentary about a seven-week wildcat strike at Mead Packaging Corp. in Atlanta, during which almost all of the majority-Black workforce stayed out and won significant community support.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Romney, Conservatism, and the poor

So I discussed earlier this morning about the fact that Mitt Romney not being concerned about poor people should not be shocking to liberals-- tactically speaking.  But, I also think the most important aspect of this recent flub is that it highlights a key misunderstanding liberals have about conservative philosophy.


I think the response over the past day to Romney's statement from Democrats and liberals; not to mention the nonplussed response from conservatives to their liberal friend’s reaction speaks very clearly to one aspect of conservatism that liberals do not understand--conservatism speaks to and for people who have lost something.  


Oh course Romney doesn't care about the truly poor, they haven't lost anything; they never had anything to begin with!  


I'm stealing this point straight out of Cory Robin's excellent new book The Reactionary Mind so I’ll let Cory jump right in to explain:


The conservative, to be sure, speaks for a special type of victim: one who has lost something of value, as opposed to the wretched of the earth, whose chief complaint is that they never had anything to lose.  His constituency is the contingently disposed--William Graham Sumner's "forgotten man"--rather than the preternaturally oppressed.  Far from diminishing his appeal, this brand of victim-hood endows the conservative complaint with a more universal significance.  It connects his disinheritance to an experience we all share--namely, loss--and threads the strings of that experience into an ideology promising that that loss, or at least some portion of it, can be made whole.


People on the left often fail to realize this, but conservatism really does speak to and for people who have lost something.  It may be a landed estate or the privileges of white skin, the unquestioned authority of a husband or the untrammeled rights of a factory owner.  The loss may be as material as money or as ethereal as a sense of standing.  It may be a loss of something that was never legitimately owned in the first place; it may, when compared with what the conservative retains, be small.  Even so, it is a loss, and nothing is ever so cherished as that which we no longer possess.  It used to be one of the great virtues of the left that it alone understood the often zero-sum nature of politics, where the gains of one class necessarily entail the losses of another.  But as that sense of conflict diminishes on the left, it has fallen to the right to remind voters that there really are losers in politics and that it is they--and only they--who speak for them.


Uber-rich Mitt--"I didn't lift a finger to make 99.999% of this wealth"--Romney is not going to win a lot of acting awards as he tries, as hard as he can, to identify with the hoi polloi.  But poor acting or not, conservatives aren't concerned about Romney's nonchalance about poverty--its not going to pick at their heart strings and we shouldn't be surprised as to why not.

Hopefully Democrats can use Romney’s reel of “campaign flubs from the 1%” to elect us a pro-choice, center-right, business friendly Eisenhower Republican (if only because it will provide Occupy and the (actual) left another 4 years to point out to progressives and liberals how short sighted the progressives compromise with the Goldman Sachs wing of the Democratic Party truly has been over the past 30 years).


But personally,  I also hope we can learn to better appreciate conservative philosophy, what makes it tick, why it appeals to voters, and why no one should be shocked that a Republican candidate for President doesn't care about poor people. 


I think it would do the political discourse of this nation a world of good if that happened.

Quelle surprise! Mitt Romney doesn't care about poor people.

Election night in Florida, Mitt Romney gave the Democrats another gem--in what will certainly be a jewelry collection fit for the 1% by Election Day this November. 


If you missed it....  Mitt isn't concerned about poor people.  

No one should be shocked that a politician--who is scratching for the votes of conservatives--casually writes off poor people.  

I've got a couple of things to say on this front but for my pre-work post let me stick to a simple one on the tactical front.

When I ran for State Senate here in Georgia 2010 I never once came across a truly poor voter when I attended events.  


I met a lot of struggling working class voters, I met some middle class—and terrified because they were one illness away from working class—voters; I even met some successful small business owners terrified about the fact that the fall in aggregate demand and ungodly slow economic recovery was going to shut them down for good because the stimulus was too small to make up for the decline in consumer spending hitting the economy (okay they didn’t phrase it that way but I digress…).  

But I never once met a poor person on the campaign trail.  Politics is not an environment they travel in that much.


So the idea that Mitt Romney isn't concerned about poor people isn't shocking tactically speaking.  I also think we need to realize that it is not shocking philosophically speaking either and it may speak to an important confusion liberals have conservatism-- I'll fill in those details latter today.

For now i'm headed to work.  The trucks won't load themselves...