Sunday, November 24, 2013

Excellent Bill Moyers interview of Henry Giroux on Zombie Politics

Check out some of Henry Giroux's work.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Its time to Expand Social Security!

Be sure to sign here in support.


And somehow no one has started up an Expand Social Security Facebook Page.  So I did.  Go "Like" it and lets build a movement.

Krugman in the NYT's today on expanding Social Security:
When you look at today’s older Americans, you are in large part looking at the legacy of an economy that is no more. Many workers used to have defined-benefit retirement plans, plans in which their employers guaranteed a steady income after retirement. And a fair number of seniors (like my father, until he passed away a few months ago) are still collecting benefits from such plans. 
Today, however, workers who have any retirement plan at all generally have defined-contribution plans — basically, 401(k)’s — in which employers put money into a tax-sheltered account that’s supposed to end up big enough to retire on. The trouble is that at this point it’s clear that the shift to 401(k)’s was a gigantic failure. Employers took advantage of the switch to surreptitiously cut benefits; investment returns have been far lower than workers were told to expect; and, to be fair, many people haven’t managed their money wisely. 
As a result, we’re looking at a looming retirement crisis, with tens of millions of Americans facing a sharp decline in living standards at the end of their working lives. For many, the only thing protecting them from abject penury will be Social Security. Aren’t you glad we didn’t privatize the program? 
So there’s a strong case for expanding, not contracting, Social Security. Yes, this would cost money, and it would require additional taxes — a suggestion that will horrify the fiscal scolds, who have been insisting that if we raise taxes at all, the proceeds must go to deficit reduction, not to making our lives better. But the fiscal scolds have been wrong about everything, and it’s time to start thinking outside their box.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Chris Hayes and Sheldon Wolin present a picture of Chris Christie that should scare you

Sheldon Wolinin his expose of modern Authoritarian forms of Empire and global capital, the book Democracy Inc.: Managed Democracy and the Spectre of Inverted Totalitarianism, notes that, "the crucial political issue of our times concerns the incompatibility between the culture of everyday reality to which political democracy should be attuned and the culture of virtual reality on which corporate capitalism thrives."  Those capable of exploiting modern communication, who aspire for the power of Empire, are the type of people we should fear and organize against in Wolin's mind.

Those who are masters of exploiting reality--via the tools of Public Relations, and propaganda spin machines (often called "conservative think tanks")--have awesome power at their finger tips to do whatever they damn well please.  As was proved to devastating consequence during the GW Bush first term of office.  It appears that Governor Chris Christie is the next master of media manipulation and virtual reality.  Not only are the elite media failing to do their job in holding a check on Chris Christie's power--by fact checking his spin--they are feeding the flames with the gushes and accolades; Hurricane Sandy has become Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will in far too many ways for the Christie political machine.

Governor Chris Christie, his failure to help Sandy victims, and the Media Spectacle that is catapulting Christie into the spotlight as the "Sandy savior" was elucidated quite nicely by Chris Hayes the other night in his segment: The Real 'spirit of Sandy'.

Again I must turn to Sheldon Wolin's excellent book Democracy Inc.
Lying is more than deception; the liar wants the unreal to be accepted as actuality, so he sets about to establish as true what is not actually the case, not really real.  A lie by a public  authority is meant to be accepted by the public as an "official" truth concerning the "real world." At bottom, lying is the expression of a will power.  My power is increased if you accept "a picture of the world which is a product of my will."
 Chris Christie appears to be a master manipulator of reality.  If there is one "name to fear" in 2016 for Democrats I'd argue that rather than the flat earth society Ted Cruz who seems to only have the trust of a small faction of dying off Dixiecrats and Libertarian curmudgeons, Chris Christie is the true Republican to fear.  Christie has a capacity to enthrall in the way that Reagan did--the herd of Nietzsche's "Last Man" who blink.  Wolin speaks of this "performance president"
The roles Reagan played in her earlier career were an apprenticeship for his original contribution to American government, the creation of "performance president" who fashioned illusion (a tough leader who had learned to throw a crisp salute) from inauthenticity (almost persuading himself that he had been present when inmates were freed from concentration camps). With little or no interest in policy and the details of governance he took on the task of evoking nostalgia, overlaying the present with an idealized past, warmer, believing, guileless, "a shining city on the hill" that provided an illusion of national continuity while obscuring the radical changes at work.  The other element characterizing his administration was a presidential entourage that included hard-nosed, ideological zealots and operatives from the corporate world and the public opinion industry. These agents were intent on expanding the power of the president,reducing governmental oversight of the economy, overriding environmental safegaurds, and dismantling welfare programs; simultaneously they expanded vast sums in order to build up a military sufficiently intimidating to stare down an "evil empire," causing it to collapse, exhauste, unable to compete, its power spent from being outspent.
Wolin then goes on to note in the next few paragaphs the damage wrought by our next Master of Performace GWBush.  Christie, I would argue, is the next "Master" waiting in the wings.  Nietzsche reminds us  the Performance President has one role and one role only--inspire the herd to blink, so that the corporate raiding of social wealth can go unchecked.
alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star. Alas, the time of the most despicable man is coming, he that is no longer able to despise himself. Behold, I show you the last man.
     'What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?' thus asks the last man, and blinks.
     The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small. His race is as ineradicable as the flea; the last man lives longest.
     'We have invented happiness,'say the last men, and they blink. They have left the regions where it was hard to live, for one needs warmth. One still loves one's neighbor and rubs against him, for one needs warmth...
     One still works, for work is a form of entertainment. But one is careful lest the entertainment be too harrowing. One no longer becomes poor or rich: both require too much exertion. Who still wants to rule? Who obey? Both require too much exertion.
     No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.
     'Formerly, all the world was mad,' say the most refined, and they blink...
     One has one's little pleasure for the day and one's little pleasure for the night: but one has a regard for health.
     'We have invented happiness,' say the last men, and they blink."
from Nietzsche's Thus spoke Zarathustra

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Knowledge is Power. I read some things this week.. so should you.

Special Investigation: How Insurers Are Hiding Obamacare Benefits From Customers

If the GOP Repeals Obamacare, 137 Million Americans Could Get Cancellation Notices | Mother Jones 

Quote: David Cutler on ACA implementation | The Incidental Economist

Robert Reich--The Democrat's Version of Health Insurance Would Have Been Cheaper, Simpler, and More Popular (So Why Did We Enact the Republican Version and Why Are They So Upset?)

The Legislative Attack on American Wages and Labor Standards, 2011–2012 | Economic Policy Institute

US public investment falls to lowest level since war -

 The Crippling Politics of Public Investment | New Economic Perspectives 

The Great Recession may have crushed America’s economic potential

Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt 

Social Democracy in the South - In These Times

Reclaiming Comrade Orwell | Jacobin

 Daily Kos: Ga Sen : Branko Radulovacki seeks Dem Nomination to replace Ga. Senator Chambliss in US Senate

 BBC News - NSA leaks helping India become 'Big Brother' state? 

Here's Audio of Managers Scolding Employees for Wanting to Unionize

 New Poverty Data Underscore Effectiveness of Nutrition Assistance as Congress Considers Cuts to Food Aid | Center for American Progress

How Washington Is Wrecking the Future, in 2 Charts - Matthew O'Brien - The Atlantic 

A Full-Frontal Assault on Democracy in Europe and the United States | Alternet 

Beethoven: man, composer and revolutionary

Plantations, Prisons and Profits -

The twisted mind of “Ender’s Game” - 

My favorite author, my worst interview - 

Noam Chomsky - The Relevance of Anarcho-syndicalism

Was asked by a friend to explain non Marxist Left Wing Anarchy to them. I told them I was still trying to figure that out myself, but I sent them this as a good place to start.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Olof Palme: Why I am a democratic Socialist

[Be sure to have the closed caption turned on for this.]

If you'd like to learn more about Democratic Socialism check out the Democratic Socialists of America website and also follow them on twitter.

Also check out Jacobin magazine for some good reads and tweets.

As the famous Theologian (and democratic Socialist) Paul Tillich noted, "Man is asked to make of himself what he is supposed to become to fulfill his destiny."

Democratic Socialism provides a systematic analysis of the economic crisis facing Americans and a praxis towards which individuals can participate in building (and rebuilding) their own lives for a better tomorrow.

The Michelle Nunn Campaign ---How the 1% say 'Yes We Can"

As soon as anyone who understands policy checks out Michelle Nunn's neoliberal screed they start worrying about having to defend Social Security from Democrats in the US Senate come November of 2014.  That is, if Dr Rad doesn't win the primary down here in Georgia.

The labor movement is starting to raise its voice across the country against Michelle Nunn; since her passionate and "fiscally responsible" defense of the 1% is a quiet but powerful effort to cut the hard earned Social Security benefits of Americans across the country.  Michelle Nunn is nothing short of a textbook profile of the Death of the Liberal Class in action.

I'm not kidding check out this response from Labor in New Hampshire (no bastion of radical Socialism)
The austerity wing of the Democratic Party has played a key role in devastating millions of lives; citizens who will never recover from the policy intransigence of these "fiscally responsible" defenders of the 1%.  Nunn wants to ignore reality and sell austerity on the campaign trail--this is just a glimpse of the damage she would do in DC.

Opposition to Michelle Nunn is not only necessary, but the only moral action a Democrat in Georgia can take in 2014 (and those not in Georgia need to open up their wallets).
 The facts speak for themselves. Nunn wants to go to Washington to continue the austerity shell game.  We have more important things to focus on; but Nunn wants us to focus on austerity--her campaign donors in the 1% insit on it!.  The Michelle Nunn campaign is showing you how the 1% say "Yes We Can".

I'm glad to see people across the country raising their voices in opposition to her campaign to hand the car keys back to the people who crashed the economy.

We do have a choice on election day in the Democratic Primary here in Georgia so be sure to follow Dr Rad on twitter (and give him lots of RT love) to keep up with his campaign. He, unlike Nunn is actually busy on the campaign trail talking to voters. She's busy raising money from the 1%--when she's not in the media making the case that we need to comrpomise with the hostage takers who shutdown Government this past fall.
I'm trying to get Chris Hayes to have a segment where Nunn and Dr Rad debate austerity economics.  If you want to help me inspire Chris to have them on to talk policy be sure to give this tweet an RT
At a time when the much needed efforts to expand Social Security are starting up in the US Senate; the last thing we need to do is send Neoliberal Nunn to Washington DC to fight on behalf of the 1% to cut your Social Security.  No matter if you live in Georgia or not this primary may well decide if we see cuts to your Social Security or not.
The 1% are the ones who crashed the economy and destroyed your 401k--why should we send Michelle Nunn to Washinton DC to defend their interests at the expense of our own?

Its up to the readers of this blog to take actions to undermine the viability of the Michelle Nunn so that she doesn't make it through the primary.  She won't defend us when she's in DC; why should we defend her now?  In fact we have a moral obligation to stop Neoliberal Nunn in her tracks.

For my own part I've set up a political action committee that will be working to get on TV to defend Social Security from the hands of Nunn and her 1% buddies on Wall Street.  I hope you join us in our fight here in Georgia as we occupy the US Senate race and let the 1% know we have not gone away.

Together we our stronger--so go like us on Facebook, follow us on twitter, and tell your friends to do the same!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dean Baker and Yves Smith talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

Yves Smith and Dean Baker on Secrets in Trade from on Vimeo.

One of the goals of Working Class Georgia, the Political Action Committe I've set up is to increase the profile of these kinds of backroom deals that harm working families here in Georgia and across the nation.

If you are on twitter be sure to follow us here.  If you are on Facebook "Like" us here.  We will have an Act Blue account up soon for your small $ contributions!

Also be sure to tell your friends and family to do the same--so that our efforts get magnified.  The only way we fight back against the 1% is to network, then work to expand our networks some more.

Together we can leverage our power in numbers to educate and empower working people in this country on issues like the TPP and help shine a light on how working people can play a role in fighting back against the 1% efforts to use Government policies to redistribute wealth upwards.

Chris Hedges on the "Death of the Liberal Class"