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AdLib On March - 6 - 2011

There’s an old saying, “If you don’t know you’re in a war, you’ve already lost.”

Americans seem to know that corporations and the wealthy are accumulating the power and wealth of this nation for themselves. They seem to be aware that politicians are bought off and serve their corporate backers’ wishes, doing all they can to pass laws that enrich the wealthy and blocking legislation that doesn’t (ie, benefit 99.5% of Americans).

And yet, this awareness seems totally disconnected for many Americans from the concept of class warfare. Somehow, through the onslaught of conditioning we’ve been subjected to since childhood, hyping materialism, capitalism, the American Dream and “You too will be a millionaire one day!”, many Americans still seem to stop short of recognizing that they are in the midst of a war that they are losing. Yet, it is the case and the proof is in the news every single day.

It is not difficult to understand for some who are living in crisis and have to be most concerned with the immediate, trying to cope with paying their rent or mortgage this month, finding a job, buying food for the week, paying for health care they can’t afford, or scraping up enough to send their children to a local college. They don’t necessarily have the luxury of time to reflect on and recognize the systematic assault over the last 30 years and see that the most recent events are actually a part of a long term battle plan to rob and subjugate the American People.

And to be frank, many people just take life as it comes, taking each incident on it’s own and not looking for patterns of behavior or how the latest incident fits in with past ones. The problem with that is that when powerful and wealthy entities want something, they create an overall strategy. They work with and pay professionals to design and develop “war plans” that identify the desired goals, the projected obstacles and how to overcome those obstacles. They recognize the power of media and public opinion and have over the years bought up the media and put a facade of “personal responsibility” and “freedom for all Americans” over their true motivations of greed and dominance.

They have sown social conflict and discontent among Americans, both to profit off of it financially and polarize Americans. As long as people are lured into playing their game of division, the “peasants” can be fooled into going at each others’ throats while the wealthy quietly steal their homes, jobs and futures right out from under them. Divide and conquer, especially when the armies are 306 million vs. 1 million. As long as The American people continue to see the enemy as other Americans, who do not have a great share of wealth or power in this nation, the wealthy who do have that wealth and power (and are increasing that) remain safe.

The only fear that the wealthy and corporations have…is of Americans acting in their own best interests.  The one vulnerability they have is that they are less than half of a percent of America’s population and we still hold elections where majority rules. It only takes 51% of Americans in 51% of districts to say, “We will only elect someone who will tax the wealthy their fair share and prevent laws from passing that only benefit the wealthy!” and things could change dramatically. That is the power of a democracy, that is the power of a united people.

We don’t have to live with diminished expectations, we don’t have to give up on handing our children a better standard of living than we had. We don’t have to give up on good schools, unpolluted air and water,  peace, equality for all or economic justice. We can have all of these things but only if we are willing to throw off our Snuggies and open the door and get into the streets to stand up for The American People.

As I said at the outset, Step One in winning this war is to say loud and clear and accept in your heart, “There is class warfare going on right now against us.”  The advancing armies of the wealthy have invaded and annexed our Media, our Politics, our economy and they are marching on our public services and safety nets now. They can’t be appeased, they live only to conquer and pillage. We have the numbers, we muct join together and go to the streets to defend our democracy and nation.

One aspect of this class war is so Orwellian. As the wealthy conduct their assaults on the American People, anyone who stands up to complain is pilloried by them and their MSM cronies as “calling for class warfare”. They have redefined the term “class warfare” as applying only to those who try to defend themselves from the class warfare being marshaled by the wealthy against 99.5% of Americans. And to their discredit, politicians and talking heads are often cowed by this label, quickly backpedaling from taking on the wealthy’s war on America and retrenching to say, “I just want fairness.”

That’s bullshit and needs to stop. IMO, the correct response, when asserting that the wealthy are at war with Americans and being asked by an MSM drone, “Are you advocating class warfare?” , is, “Hell no, I’m trying to fight against it as all Americans should! The wealthy have been conducting class warfare against The American People for 30 years and that’s long enough! Americans have to come together to win this war because we are indeed in the midst of class warfare and if we don’t unite and fight back, we’ll lose!”

War was officially declared on 99.5% of Americans when Trickle Down/Supply Side economics was promoted and implemented under Ronald Reagan. One need not be an economist to understand the basic theory here: Wealthy people should get money from the rest of us because they are more powerful and wiser and will spend it in a way that will bring a fraction of it back to us after they have taken a share for themselves. From there, the destruction of our infrastructure and the middle class and class warfare was intentionally begun by the wealthy and Republicans.

As an example, let’s consider tax cuts for the wealthy. It is a simple see-saw. Sitting on one side are the social services and commitments of the federal government that benefit nearly all Americans. On the other side are tax revenues. When a huge chunk of tax revenues are removed from one side of the see saw, the other side comes crashing down unless one of two things happen, more tax revenue is placed down or services are removed.

What needs to be understood is that the wealthy’s goal is different than 99.5% of Americans. They do not want the see-saw balanced, their goal is to get rid of it, removing every penny of theirs from the tax revenue side and fuck everything else. They don’t need public schools, they don’t need aid for the poor, they don’t need Medicare of Social Security. If it all collapses, so what? More opportunity for private industry to pretend to be the answer and suck even more money out of Americans’ pockets while delivering worse and corrupt services.

They profited from the destruction of our economy. They will profit from the destruction of our standard of living. They want to see effective government that benefits the majority destroyed. This has been a long term strategy, demonizing government and unions which stand in the way of their plutocratic utopia. Each crisis that results from a previous crisis they created, they use to carve off rights, freedom and finances from the majority that they then shove in their own pocket.

What’s happening in WI makes this crystal clear. The same people who profited from and caused the economic collapse, are now saying that because the economy is troubled for some unknown reason, the solution is giving them more tax money and taking it from working Americans (from whom they’ve already robbed of home equity and retirement money).

Meanwhile, most Americans can’t afford not to have government and a fully funded social system, public schools, Medicare, SS, etc.

There is not a morally  acceptable argument for Exxon and Bank of America to take advantage of this nation’s infrastructure and all of its citizens (i.e., heavy Exxon tanker trucks use and destroy our federally funded highways) while paying $o in taxes but there is a rational one. Greed, camouflaged as “capitalism”.

So, using the issue of taxes just to illustrate, we are in a mercenary war with the wealthy. They want to horde and build greater piles of money for themselves and have planned to accommodate that by crushing social funding such as education. Meanwhile, they want to bleed “the peasants” by making them pay a greater and greater share of total tax revenues to fund everything while also forcing them to subsidize their wealth and that of their corporations through tax cuts just for them.

And consider the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries. This works two-fold in their war against Americans.  First, the wealthy slash their expense of manufacturing and greatly increase their profit margin, then have all of this subsidized by the workers they’ve fired because on unemployment income, they can only afford to buy cheaper things made in China and sold at Walmart. Secondly, the exporting of jobs has created a huge pool of available workers which allows the wealthy to offer lower wages and worse or no benefits for jobs that can require twice the work as before (“Hey, if you don’t want this job, there are plenty of people out there who would.”)

So, in this aspect of the Class War the wealthy are engaged in, they have weakened unions, made their workers more compliant and desperate to work at lower wages for providing more labor. Shrinking wages have also forced people to bury themselves in debt so by buying things on credit cards, they end up giving more and more of what pay they do get back to the wealthy in the form of interest and fees. And the kicker is that by becoming buried in debt, they become even more willing to be treated and paid poorly to keep their job and pay their ever-growing bills. A vicious cycle indeed, created by some very vicious people.

This is a war and we have been losing it. Now, it has reached a new and more dangerous phase. The wealthy now have control in many states and in the House. They are now totally free to spend unlimited billions to fight and win this war and though some Americans are stepping up, the American People by and large are just looking around bewildered as their wealth and power in this democracy are being annexed by the wealthy.

The attacks on our society by the wealthy can’t be stopped by individuals acting alone, the wealthy have too many resources as well as the whole commercial and much of the political infrastructure to use against Americans. We MUST come together to push them back, on the internet through this site and others, through social networking like Facebook and Twitter but ultimately as we witnessed, Egypt only overthrew their domination by taking physical action and getting in the streets. We need to do it all.

Our fellow citizens in WI, OH and elsewhere are fighting this war with limited resources, they need us to join their ranks because they ARE us. This same attack on working Americans is coming to your state soon and if the wealthy get momentum from crushing The American People in WI and OH, they will come to your state with even more confidence, energy and force.

Previous generations had their moments to put aside what divided them and come together to fight for this nation and it’s future. Now is our time to make the decision and make the commitment, to accept our duty to past generations of Americans who fought for the freedoms and the benefits we stand to lose now. It’s time for us to do the same as they did for our future generations, to invest our time and energy in protecting what America is, spending a day joining a protest here and there, reaching out in person or over the internet to others to inform them and encourage them to become involved, communicating with our elected officials about what we expect of them if they want to continue representing us and much more.

Though it was not of our choosing, we are in a war with a force that seeks to destroy the America that has been and that we believe in. This war is real and being fought each and every day. If we choose at this moment in history to step up and confront this threat together as fellow Americans, there is no question that we will prevail and so will all the aspirations and values we all share.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

303 Responses so far.

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  1. biznesschic says:

    I am less optimistic. What is going to end class warfare is the death from old age of southern white baby boomers, who long for the good ole days.

    History teaches us that the rich can sucker the poor in just about anything. White slave owners convinced poor southerns to fight a civil war, in which these same poor whites would have benefited from paid labor. By convincing them that they were at least better than slaves, these people fought against their own economic interest.

    Huckabee knows what he is saying. By reassuring them that something must be “wrong” with our president being black and intelligent, speaks to their core assumptions, that they are indeed better than those “liberal” who embrace diversity. Our president represents an assault against themselves, or more importantly, the superiority in which they believe.

    • Buddy McCue says:

      Not all of us Southern whites have to die, you know.

      I was born and raised in the rural South, solidly working-class, but I’ve managed to become a liberal who embraces diversity. I am not one of those people who gaze into Thomas Kinkade paintings, longing for the “good ol’ days.”

      It IS possible to grow and change, and I’m living proof. Ignorance is not an untreatable condition. The medicine is experience and education.

      • Artist50 says:

        It’s not all Southern, it’s amazing at the ignorance and the racism in the Midwest. It’s partly because the job market is so bad -- I think someone has to be the bad guy and the Tea Party has touched a note with a lot of people who will vote against their best interests.

      • choicelady says:

        Oh God -- I’m soooo glad. Kincaide has sold out to the Dominionist Christians who just loooove his work because it is freaking ‘heavenly’ and white.

        Of course people in the South grow and change. US Uncut started in Mississippi. “Alabama Arise”, a movement to make their tax system more progressive, had widespread support (and the Christian Coalition in OPPOSITION 0 can’t win ’em all) and things ARE changing as more Yankees move there.

        I don’t think the big enemy today is the pure race baiter but it is a combo -- the racism of yore coupled with Christian Dominionism that justifies slavery even as it pitches to Black audiences.

        That said -- I see a lot of rumblings nationwide against the ultra right, and I am not confident but AM hopeful that we will keep the momentum rolling right into 2012. But it’s on us to do that! If we don’t work, the trolls win. We cannot let that happen.

    • chazmania says:

      That may be a piece of it but by far not the biggest problem…The copofacists now running the show did not and do not care if the president was any color at all as long as they can control him and the system.. The systemic corruption of government by the corporatist is so deep now i wonder how it will be possible to crow bar them out of it..We are basically being run by A Mafia in the form of people like the kotch’s Murdocks Rothmorgans etc etc etc…the government has been turned into the henchmen for these rich old money families that have been at the manipulation of this country for years and years now…its only NOW starting to become apparent to some and still off the radar for most..they have the power they have the guns..But we have the numbers..And they live off us…if we stop letting them they will wither…
      Undo the massive systematic deep seated brain washing of the American culture and we may have a chance..Otherwise welcome to your corporate serfdome…

      • biznesschic says:

        But it gets worse, because the president is African American, it is easier to rally the base against a black man.

        The “greatest” generation, who were depression era babies, were able to keep these people in check, however, that ended with the civil rights movement, which turned the once populace south, into republicans.

    • KQuark says:

      True identity politics always trumps economic interests which I believe you are describing.

      I have to admit I’m pessimistic too. There simply is no consensus that things are the way Adlib describes beyond the progressive blogsphere. That would require a well educated and involved electorate. Even within the progressive movement their is no consensus on how to act and what the resulting system should look like.

      If it comes down to any kind of war that fundamentally changes the system I’m afraid it’s much more probable we would end up with something more akin to absolute fascism instead of a progressive Utopia.

      Remember folks if it comes down to real war the other side has all the guns. The White Army would win in America not the Red Army.

      • AdLib says:

        With you and Cher on the environment thing. Folks in WI, OH, here in CA and other states that are purple or blue are seeing momentum grow against the RW, Kochs and Repubs.

        In red states, I don’t think much would be appearing to change with Repubs digging in their heels.

        I can say that the same coalition that created the Uncloak the Kochs rally is continuing to grow and collaborate on upcoming actions.

        So, even though it may not be as visible in the red states (with no help from the MSM trying to keep it out of the news), things are changing and brewing.

        • choicelady says:

          Remember that US Uncut started in MISSISSIPPI! What we will see is pockets around the country, red, blue, purple states, where people are just plain fed up. During every era, especially the Progressive, we had massive movements around the nation. MN’s Farmer-LAbor party is the holdover of that fusion (and about to become visible again in WI!) The Tenant Farmers’ strike UNITED white and Black sharecroppers in the 1920s. (Part of why the KKK arose again, so we need to be mindful of that.) Matewan was the mining strike that did the same in W. Virginia. During the Depression unified action among people with nothing more to lose became commonplace. Post-war unionization integrated and fused Black and white workers.

          We lose our sense of society when we let capital distract us with Bright Shiny Objects (cf. our discussion about HGTV and its play to snobbery). It became easier to segment us after WWII when we stopped living in communities and began living in suburbs. We still do, but our defenses are down -- our FENCES are down as neighbors band together in blocks to make gardens out of backyards and open urban spaces.

          We are building back the sense of community. Will it happen quickly? Nope, and there will be strong pushback of course, always has been. But we have some strong foundations laid especially within lower income, more diverse, urban neighborhoods, and some suburban places are following suit.

          Desperation makes for renewed bonds of mutual interaction. When you don’t have a choice, you begin making NEW choices. That’s what we’re seeing. It’s up to us to keep it moving.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        KQ your post made me realize how living where one does effects out views. You live in Red State hell; I live in Blue State…well, not Paradise, but better!

        I don’t know where Bizz lives, but probably not California. As do AdLib and ChoiceLady. That may have someting to do with optimism/pessimism. Maybe we (from the Red state and the Blue state) are both equally wearing blinders.

        EDIT! PatsyT and SueInCA live here too! So sorry, fellow Californians. 😳

        • choicelady says:

          Some of the BEST WORK is being done in Ohio which is red. Some of the BEST WORK is being done in New Jersey -- red. Good stuff is being raised everywhere. What CA has is a better political climate -- but that also makes us less energetic about finding non-governmental solutions (or did before this year’s budget. We may not be so able to be indifferent after the 10th when we see if the GOP works with us to put tax measures on the ballot.) Anyway -- it’s NOT about red and blue STATES per se; it’s about communities because that’s where it begins.

          I know those for whom religion makes your flesh crawl, this suggestion might creep you out -- but start with some progressive churches in your area: United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist, etc. -- you’ll have to check them out because with the exception of those two, it’s hard to say who’s doing what. Some Black churches -- AME especially -- have amazing projects going on. Beware of Pentecostal and Evangelical churches though (save Evangelical Lutherans -- that was George Tiller’s church) because they focus on personal salvation ONLY, and “good works” don’t enter in much. And they will want to ‘harvest’ you -- eeeuuuwww.

          Find out which churches are “open and affirming” or “welcoming” because that means they are LGBT friendly, and if you’re there, you’re no enemy to social justice. Then work on something simple -- community gardens, human rights, justice for the homeless etc. Don’t discount activist Catholics either -- this is not about sex. It’s about justice for those in need, and that point many Catholic churches are amazingly good. Building circles where people are united on justice issues means higher probability of wading in on justice for ALL people and questioning of the existing power. Look for Community of Christ churches -- their central focuses are PEACE and immigration rights.

          Will you find a lot of churches so dedicated? Depends on where you are. United Methodists are boffo nationally on every issue -- the SOUTHERN Methodists are NOT. I could not work without my UMC folks -- but that’s here, not there.

          No easy answers. Just a lot of work. But if you don’t ask, you will never find out. BEgin with web sites -- many reveal a lot about what a local church does and what it believes. They are and can be amazing in their progressive social values. And they have willing hands and often amazingly open minds.

          Good luck.

        • KQuark says:

          Absolutely Cher we are all influenced by our environment.

          I also read what both sides say just to see what the “enemy” is thinking. I don’t read as much because it’s hard to stomach but I think it’s still valuable to get perspective. Because you can be stuck in a virtual bubble as well if you just read articles posted in the “progressive” blogsphere.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            Absolutely, KQ. But it’s not just the bubbles from the Left or from the Right. What has been so helpful to me is that in the process of writing the DP every day, I find myself reading actual plain reporting. There really is a vast middle. There really are people who are not bombarded by my type of partisanship. And the news is not that bleak. (Not that great either!)

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Hi Bizz! From you comment, it appears that you think most of the country has Southern attitudes and that they are like Baggers. I think that’s awfully skewed. Have you read the latest polls about Wisconsin? 65% support the unions against Walker. Have you read the polls about rejecting DOMA and DADT? Both of those show major shift.

      Beck’s viewership is down by 1/3 this year. I could go on and on. I think you need to look around a bit more. I know that if we only read the news from HP, and even the sites I visit--all Progressive-- all we hear is how disgusting the Repubs are, and they ARE! But I think we can’t see the forest for the trees. There is more actual good news than you might be aware of.

      • biznesschic says:

        However, look to see what states Obama did not win, mostly in the south, and center of our country. Mississippi has the most concentration of African Americans, yet, it is still in the red column. Out of 77 counties in Oklahoma, he failed to win one. Until a certain segment of our population want to take us back to the good ole days, when blacks, and women, knew their place, the rich will be able to manipulate them.

  2. Truth says:

    AdLib, I just discovered the GROW info, after CL was mentioning it. Sounds good, but I have to read it thoroughly before getting back to you with more questions.

    http://planetpov.com/2010/05/27/draft-of-grow-state-proposition-tica/

  3. ParadisePlacebo74 says:

    Excellent post, AdLib! And an excellent thread to go with it.

    You guys rock! ” alt=”Smiley” border=”0″ />

  4. choicelady says:

    I want to put this at the top in response to the discussion below about homeless folks.

    My organization once did a 3-year program 2002-2005 to help CA low income people get signed up for energy assistance programs. Apparently it’s still on the web, because I get calls from people hoping I can help them pay their utility bills. I used to get 2-3 calls a YEAR and now it’s more like 2-3 calls a DAY. We never did give out money, so we’re not a big help.

    What I AM doing, since the low income programs are running out (cut out of this federal budget among other things) is directing people who earned ANYTHING -- no matter how small, just something on which they paid taxes -- to file their income tax, including amended returns for past years -- to get IMMEDIATE help from Earned Income Tax Credits. They can file at the IRS with the VITA -- volunteers in taxpayer assistance -- so they won’t get audited (of course they are the low hanging fruit) OR get ripped off by H&R Block etc. -- and they can get back up to $5600 per family depending on size. It’s basically $1300 per person. For anyone who has back taxes unclaimed or forms filed without that, they CAN go back and get several years amended. Think what this means -- for a family of 4-5 that could be nearly $20,000 RIGHT NOW!!!

    So I urge you to spread the word. People think it’s something you have to pay BACK -- and it’s NOT. Everyone who worked and paid taxes but were low income is entitled. If you got laid off and earned over the year too little, you’re entitled. It’s about $12K maximum for one person to be eligible, but it goes up from there depending on how many are in the family.

    This is LIFE transforming!

    Richard Nixon started this as a way to subsidize low wages and keep the low wage workers off his neck. If it was good enough for Tricky Dick, it ought to be something we encourage.

    So let people at homeless shelters KNOW this -- if they earned ANYTHING upon which they paid taxes, and if their income is low enough (and if they’re IN a shelter it probably will be) then they qualify. And check with IRS to see if they can claim it for back years. Even if only for 2010, it might help them transition to an apartment with enough for first month and security. Worth spreading the word!!!

    I have become an EITC evangelist. (And on that issue ONLY, BTW.)

    • coffeegod says:

      Single working mom with one dependent here. I rely on EIC. TurboTax automatically checks for it, thank the gods.

      This year my water heater is being replaced as is the backyard fence. I live in a modest house and pay less in a mortgage than I would in rent for an apartment of smaller square footage. EIC gives me a small cushion where I would otherwise have none.

      I tell everybody.

      • choicelady says:

        That is SO great -- and I’m so glad you are also a voice for it! Life is hard -- this helps so many people, and so many MORE don’t even know about it or think it has to be paid back. Good for you for speaking up about it! Thank you!

    • ghsts says:

      Choice, I am so with you on EITC if only I hadn’t gone back to school racked up another $15k in debt I would be all over that like white on white rice.

      • choicelady says:

        Ouch! That’s heavy debt, my friend! May you live long and prosper if ONLY to get out from under! But kudos to you for going back.

        I think EITC is simply amazing, and the folks here in CA are definitely the “white on rice” advocates and now I am, too. I do public policy, but when people are in need and call I damned well better have something to offer them -- and this is IT. Of the last five people who called for energy assistance we don’t have, five of the five qualified for EITC. Wow.

        So this year, get some crappy job that pays nothing, keep earnings under $12K, and bingo -- $1300 in your pocket next year. More if you have dependents. I think you can Google the earnings tables.

        But good luck with your education!!!

  5. KQuark says:

    I don’t think Americans seem to agree on anything quite honestly. You still have about 50% blaming “big” government and 50% blaming big corporations, less than 50% really blame big corporations in my estimation.

    The fact is big societies need both big government and big corporations to serve the current needs of so many “peasants”.

    Adlib do you really feel like a “peasant”?

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Yes, K7 it was posted yesterday on a couple of threads and I re-Tweeted it as Moore asked.

    • ghsts says:

      Awesome speech, had to listen to it a second time. “Please tell this story correctly …the pundits were caught by surprise by Egypt and they don’t still understand after nearly three weeks what’s going on in Madison.” What’s going on here, is it a revolt against the gop or imo a revolt on the policy of placating the gop? Wake the fuck up Democrats in Washington D.C.!

      • KQuark says:

        Nobody in Washington ever gets what happens in other parts of the country.

        Republicans in Washington never got the Teabaggers the difference is the Teabaggers have Fox News to promote them. No left leaning organization has such a large and consistent voice in the media.

        • ghsts says:

          I’m not going to pick a fight, but…the dems had this same decision a few months back. They should have packed up in force, let the gw cuts expire and shit like walker wouldn’t have even made it to committee. More importantly the media doesn’t own us and like I’ve said before more people were watching sheen for the past two years than becko.

          It’s like everyone was waiting for MLK or FDR, got sold that then the DNC went awol. Grass roots activists don’t make the front page, so front page people have to step up(see HP{{spit}} themed threads here for the anger against those who twist the knife.)

          • choicelady says:

            ghsts -- the tax deal was actually VERY cool for ordinary people. Obama and then the lame duck Dems got an agreement that yes, the rich would continue their cuts, but it was only 14% of what got passed, and the other 86% was for us, for low income working families, for people trying to hire but who did not benefit from the tax cuts in personal wealth (they aren’t wealthy business people), the unemployment benefit extensions,m etc., etc., etc. The Center for Budget & Policy Priorities got on it, got totally trashed for it (as did I in some quarters for supporting it) because NO ONE KNEW that the deal was so good for lower income people. I think Obama is a shrewd horse trader and did a fantastic job and a LOUSY job of telling Americans what they GOT out of it.

            One of my fave photos is a parakeet pecking the tail of a cat that is watching the bird intently.

            Caption:

            “For one bright, shining moment, Parakeet thought he’d won.”

            The rich are the parakeet. WE are the cat.

          • KQuark says:

            Huh why so defensive?

            • AdLib says:

              ghsts -- It’s helpful for folks here to keep in mind that The Planet is member run and administrated, we don’t have a 24/7 full time staff so there will be times, especially on weekends and late at night, when it may take a bit longer for posts to be edited and published.

              Considering the work of administrating this site is all volunteered, I’m indebted to my fellow Admins, they do an incredible job and The Planet couldn’t be The Planet without all they do.

              Taking the opportunity to share well-deserved props publicly, Kalima, Bito and KQuark, you rock!

              BTW, as KQ mentioned, he published your post early this morning, it’s on the front page with comments responding to it.

              Thanks for contributing to The Planet and sharing your POV, ghsts!

            • bito says:

              Yeah, but that bito fellow seems to be taking a lot of vacation days lately. Has he been abusing the use of the corporate jet? 😉

            • KQuark says:

              I published it. Honestly I don’t usually look at pending posts this late at night or I should say early in the morning.

              I might be opinionated and argue passionately but on my watch anyway I have never rejected a main post.

            • ghsts says:

              Hello my name is ghsts.” alt=”Smiley” border=”0″ />

              Fear of rejection? I submitted an article for proposal and was really proud, til I read it then panicked that it might be offense to some here, hasn’t been approve yet. I don’t translate well without smileys but it’s a humor thing, that is lost in the ether on the internet. Read me like you would Carlin.

  6. choicelady says:

    Brilliant post, AdLib. All the additions from everybody add to the weight of this fundamental issue that has been the war nobody saw since at least the Carter years.

    We have some major choices in front of us, and the farmers driving in to support government employees says the time is right, the time is NOW to start proposing something new.

    Almost two years ago I went to the Campaign for America’s Future conference in DC to present a small panel on ‘taking back our economy’ with a young man, David Ferris, who works with Gar Alperovitz at the U. of MD. We were a ‘self selected’ panel that attracted almost nobody, but who DID show up were people thinking we wanted to discuss a new “new deal”. We did NOT. Of course that’s important, but it’s NOT a solution.

    Soros et al. who propose government’s intervention in jobs or raising workers’ standards are helping, but there’s a hidden cost. There is a hidden cost to unions getting better wages and benefits -- and that is reverting to the powerlessness of the past 200 years. Especially after Taft-Hartley, the RW counter to unions’ growing strength, working people have been allowed to bargain on ONLY their “quantitative benefits”, meaning bottom line calculations of wages and benefits -- and forbidden by law to discuss the terms of investment, the impact of corporate policies and practices on their communities, states, nations, or any other QUALITATIVE issue at all.

    ESOPs can and have been a way -- it has obtained legal voting power on bboards of directors with a union person present -- but too often they’ve been excuses NOT to pay well: “you own this company, now sacrifice!” That is United Airlines. All power to management, nothing to employees. Southwest Airlines? Owned and MANAGED by employees -- who are also unionized.

    Now is the time to start asserting not just that working people did NOT make this disaster but that working people make BETTER decisions because they actually understand how their division, department, job should be run. A good friend said to me, “The wisdom of the company lies under the workman’s cap.” That is the absolute truth.

    Workers are lazy and indifferent ONLY when their intrinsic worth is not valued. When they have to help create solutions, even to crises, they are the most innovative people in the company.

    This is not new. It was the fundamental principle behind Upton Sinclair’s EPIC program -- End Poverty In California. Revival would be based on worker and consumer cooperatives where communities and employees would create their own economic solutions. It worked surprisingly well.

    More contemporarily, Lucas Aerospace in the UK became the test ground for worker innovation. Engineer Mike Cooley documented the “Lucas Plan” in which an aerospace company’s employees unleashed their knowledge of their machinery, work, suppliers, and potential markets to create brand new product lines to avoid the plant being shut down totally as “redundant” (the famous British word for “we don’t want this anymore, never mind that it works.”) You can get the gist of the effort at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Cooley. The book about the “Lucas Plan” that Cooley wrote is “Architect or Bee?” meaning are people creative or just mindless shift workers to be used as commodities?

    Eastern Airlines was a case in point in the US. It had not earned a dime in nearly 20 years and survived on Wall Street merely through stock gambling. The union, exercising its significant stock control, got a seat on the Eastern Board AND persuaded then-CEO Frank Borman to unleash the creativity of the IAM machinists. They began doing a number of things including taking in machining from other airlines with small shops, and Eastern turned a profit the first year. What did Eastern do with that marvel? Ashcanned it. Dumped the entire project. Borman hated blue collar people and was enraged they’d shown him up. He sold Eastern to virulently anti-union Frank Lorenzo in order to destroy either the union or the airline, and Borman did not care which.

    Buffalo Brass, a company started in 1907 in Buffalo, NY was owned by ARCO that decided it just did not make enough money and in the mid-1980s were going to close it. Of course ARCO had let a number of critical contracts lapse, but they blamed unions (that was during the time the dollar was so high wages and prices on US goods were totally non-competitive.) Five local financiers bought the plant but did not want to run it so they told the crews -- you do it. And they did! They put into practice everything ARCO had refused to do, and in one year generated over $1 million in profits after a couple of totally dismal years of losses. No supervisors, no front office, just the men and women on the floor. They did that.

    Worker ownership -- companies where at least 50% of the stock is worker owned -- are huge to small. They are NOT just artisanal bakeries with people schlepping around in Birkenstocks.

    For a list of the top 100, go to: http://www.nceo.org/main/article.php/id/11/ (The list does not include Southwest, but despite employee ownership being smaller than half the company, management stands by them, and they carry on their successful strategies.)

    There are over 11,000 worker owned companies in America -- and they are the top most profitable companies in the nation. Another similar center is at Kent State in Ohio. You can read more here:
    dept.kent.edu/oeoc/BuyoutAssistance/WhenEOMakesSense.htm

    So let’s begin a new mantra -- trust the people who work for America. Trust public workers, too -- in Palo Alto when the recession hit, the city trusted each department to find a plan to cut huge amounts from their budgets. They did -- through consolidation, efficiencies, smart practices. They protected jobs, yes, but not a dime was wasted. They did make sacrifices, but they kept services moving, people working.

    Trust the people who work for America.

    Or something else. I’m not wedded to that!

    I AM wedded to a Third Way -- where those who produce the goods and services are the folks who also plan policies and make decisions. It is not ‘socialism’ since government isn’t in the mix, and it’s not rapacious capitalism since workers are not made into commodities. It is an antidote to corporatism on both sides.

    It is workplace democracy, and we need it, we need it NOW, and it’s what can keep America working and, more to the point, regain democracy both in the workplace AND in our society. It’s past time for us to take back America. Now let’s see the Tea Party refute THAT?

    • ghsts says:

      It is a resurgence of Social Anarchism or as the English call it Libertarianism. End the wage slave meme of this country and soon we will be right there with Cooley. I’m beaming with the self satisfaction of calling it before WI, wake up and stop pandering to the right, stand up for the LEFTIST movements that fight back and the people will rally to support change.

      • choicelady says:

        I am a social anarchist with a warm and fuzzy personality. I think Schumacher called it on technological alternatives -- Small is Beautiful -- largely because it relocates authority.

        I support socialization of things that are common to us all -- Social Security, health care payments, etc. -- but decentralization of things where thee are differences. I think local control is vastly more important at the community and plant/economic activity levels and where absentee oversight is not only harmful but un-democratic and counterproductive. How can anyone oversee a business from afar, whether it’s private or governmental? Giving voice to those whose lives depend upon the economic, social, and political action is critical.

        We have all been saying these things for years -- now at the Planet a LOT of us are saying them with one voice and the synergy from our different experiences. I’ve not said to anyone I tend toward social anarchism (and NOT toward anarchy which is totally different or individualistic anarchism which is narcissistic) so I appreciate your raising that issue. Couched in terms Americans can buy, it’s simply local control and participatory democracy.

        Don’t let Glenn Beck hear this -- he’ll plotz. He chooses not to understand.

      • KQuark says:

        I know you are talking about real living wages and good benefits I would add instead of the low wages corporations are forcing people to take now but it reminded me of how people use to be paid.

        It’s interesting how the concept of wages has changed. When unions replace most paid for piece work compensation to wage compensation that was seen a huge progress. Of course before wages there was no compensation for breaks, lunch, sick days, holidays, vacation etc… It just was not possible in a piece work compensation structure.

        Child labor in countries like India still get paid for piece work. I saw a good piece on how child labor was used to make FIFA regulation futbols and they were paid some ridiculously low amount to make one ball that took hours to sew.

        Modern Day Slavery In Soccer Ball Production in India

        http://laborrightsblog.typepad.com/international_labor_right/2008/10/modern-day-slav.html

        I would say today’s version of piece work would be the increase of contract and temp workers today which are both regressive.

        • ghsts says:

          The world is a viscous dangerous place, always has been. Reading that story now, thanks for the link.

          You won’t be surprised when I tell you no, I DON’T mean a living wage, I mean part ownership in the company. Same compensation for same effort, same risk, capitol is just bullocks. I want to see one cuban VC, corporate CEO try to make a dime in the US. Risk should be tied to privilege-access to the market not corporate socialism.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_anarchism

          • KQuark says:

            I totally disagree paying a doctor and janitor the same.

            You would never get enough people to go through all the training required to become doctors just to make the same amount as janitors.

            I’m not a fan of any one economic system. I think all economic systems have advantages and disadvantages and the optimum lies in a hybrid system.

          • KQuark says:

            Sorry I characterized what you were saying about wages incorrectly.

            I think real worker ownership of companies is a great solution and have talked about it many times. I would not go so far as the description of Social Anarchism in the wiki link you provided because I think some service and manufacturing needs need large amounts of capital to function.

            I also think there is a necessity for wage jobs based on other criteria.

            For one thing public jobs just don’t fit since the government is not a traditional business so teachers, fire fighters, etc… would have to work for wages.

            • choicelady says:

              ghsts -- I have to reply to you below here. The issue of “community standard” needs to be carefully reviewed. Take a look at my “Race to the Bottom” post.

              Those standards work IF and ONLY IF the private sector pays decently and does not shut down its plants. We have to STOP community standard pay when it’s a way of saving money for corporations. THEN yes, public sector “benchmarks” will work. Until then -- it’s the race to the bottom.

            • choicelady says:

              Hi KQ -- yes, the enterprises do need capital, but worker decentralized ownership has not stopped the influx of capital at all. Sometimes you get screwed -- higher interest rates -- and most times the banks treat it as a going concern, never mind the ownership. And we are slowly building an ALTERNATIVE finance capital sector, mostly for smaller businesses, but building it nonetheless.

              We WILL get pushback -- remember how the banks squawked over credit unions and tried to limit the memberships? That FAILED so that now you have municipal and broad based membership standards. We will have to keep our eyes wide open as we move -- we all know how powerful are the conventional lobbies. But it will be hard to shut this down. Too many people see the benefits of it all.

            • ghsts says:

              We run schools like a local corporation most are referred to as such, there is no national standard for funding in public institutions. It is based on land, property taxes and why the debate is a local one for IN and WI. Urban and rural communities pitted against each other. Few even address this core discrepancy. Small changes, boggling legislation is proposed as a start to the fix, it is not a fix it is a band-aid, it is a deflection. It is why the libertarian argument today is fractionally true.

              I roll your critique in my head and try to address things like service industry, firefighters, police, hospitals etc., and think that when banking and corporate structures are reset to a new goal…then this is where public service picks up not a living wage but equal compensation. Trickle down reform. I don’t have all the answers because like many we get jammed up on how to get there from here, without loosing a significant portion of the population. Start by busting the money men, then make sure any solution starts with the premise 100% inclusion(like civil rights and SS did No one left behind) and eventually you can get to non-profit schools, police, fire, and service industry in general.

              eg- I’m a janitor for a hospital, what is my wage? Community average, same as the doc, nurse and CEO of the MRI manufacturing plant.

    • AdLib says:

      CL, you are simply amazing!

      I think what’s needed is a multi-pronged approach. Building ESOPs just makes sense and your recounting of how they have repeatedly proven themselves…even if sabotaged later by spiteful people…affirms this.

      Yet, we still will have these massive corporations controlling so much wealth and commerce. This too needs to be undone. Along with eliminating “Too Big To Fail” corporations, we need to strip them of personhood, require a socially responsible aspect, enforce anti-competitive and anti-monopoly laws and reform the tax code so that they can’t evade paying taxes and pay at least 50% on profits over $10 million or so.

      Not to mention reversing the impact of Citizens United.

      • choicelady says:

        Well, AdLib -- you and I and our GROW group are working on the latter! I remain optimistic!!!

        When you have over 1300 farmers rolling in to support public employees, you KNOW we have passed a tipping point! Time to reverse the past 40 years. And it’s happening all over America!

        Except Montana, maybe -- keep pushing Pepe!

    • chazmania says:

      Excellent….I have a bit of inside info and can attest to Southwest and how the management are very much on the side of employees..They work together with mutual respect for the most part…of course the mental shift necessary is still a way off to undo some ingrained beliefs as to roles of boss and employee.. I quit jobs because of the disrespect and abuse of boss’s that believe they are entitled and seem to hang the pink slip over everyone’s head to get away with it.
      I always end up telling them wile they have the shocked look how dare i quite that this is a reciprocal agreement, i work you pay on equal terms or go get stuffed, i don’t tolerate any of that arrogant Boss nonsense most people have seemingly sold their soul to…

      Oh and every time Mr Bossy was not around to muck up the works being bossy things seemed to go quite smooth till he showed up again..

      • choicelady says:

        It never ceases to amaze me that individuals believe they and they alone have ALL the answers to ALL problems, and that you, the mere employee, couldn’t POSSIBLY know more or even as much. I’m impressed as all get out you laid it ON them! The creation of a class system is reproduced at every level including these petty hierarchies.

        Wouldn’t we be better off if we honored the people who knew things and could be self directed to DO them? I think you’re boffo to have the courage to quit rather than “take it” -- if enough people had had the courage just to tell stupid bosses to take the job and shove it, maybe we’d not BE in the mess we’re in.

        I’ve walked out on jobs, once without a clue in the world where I was headed, and I’ve not regretted it. It’s scary, but sleeping well at night matters. Good for YOU!

        • chazmania says:

          Thanks. Yes every time i have had to quite that way (not that i have a whole lot) and was a bit scared at first i never regretted it latter…Mater of fact it always led to better things…These days i don’t need to or would tolerate many fools..
          Its the subservient brain washing that corporate America has done to people that is creating the self perpetuating wage slave.

          Oh and this one….A known A hole of a Boss came over to me once giving me his usual rash of crap and i looked straight at him and stopped his rant by saying LOOK this is a stupid job get someone stupid to do it, i quite.. And i walked out listening to him yell YOU COME BACK HEAR IM NOT THROUGH WITH YOU…You cant quite I FIRE YOU…I put my hand up behind me and gave him the one figure salute and never looked back…
          people said he was so furious that they really thought they saw smoke coming out his ears…
          Ah fond memories….And you know what? I still did fine as always becasue i never ever buy the hype…

      • AdLib says:

        Isn’t it too often the case that everything runs smoothly until management gets involved?

        Southwest seems like an ideal example of how employee owned and managed companies can succeed and prosper.

        The hedge fund model is destructive. They hollowed out much of our economy from the other side before the economic crash. Buying up companies, slashing jobs and expenses to where the business looked on paper as having a high profit margin then flipping it for a lot of money…only later would the buyer discover that the company was manipulated to teeter on viability just long enough to sell.

        So many businesses were sabotaged in this way, where their future existence and job creation was sacrificed for juicing up its apparent selling value in the near term.

        Where would we be today with all of those businesses that were collapsed by hedge funds, still in existence and providing employment?

        And at the same time, these hedge funds were financing the derivatives market that led to the collapse.

        So they destroyed our economy from two directions.

        • choicelady says:

          There was a cartoon recently of two fat bankers sitting in their exclusive club smoking and drinking. One says -- “Well, maybe we COULD do with only 50 times what the ordinary person makes instead of 500?” Second panel -- they look at each other, “Nahhhhhh.”

          We keep asking “how much is enough?” and we keep finding out -- there is NO limit.

          If you can’t make more and more and more money in traditional ways, then you invent the Tulip Craze or the South Sea Bubble or some other damn fool paper shuffle -- and becausse YOU made it up, YOU get the money, and YOU know when YOU should get out -- leaving the rest of us to clean up the disaster behind you.

          It is not essential that we run this way. It’s a choice.

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      @choicelady…in all seriousness…how would one go about starting an employee owned company? Do you know? I have an idea, that has been in my head for quite some time…BUT I wasn’t sure how to actually go about creating such an entity from scratch.

      I know how to start a traditional corporation…but not an employee owned one. Do you have any further research on the topic?

      • ghsts says:

        AR-I’m not sure on CA laws, every state is slightly different. Unless you have started a trust with over 20 people, are seeking to buy out an large existing manufacturing plant with massive physical assets, or where you are going to pool more than $2mm you should avoid “traditional” incorporation like the plague. It’s a legal, tax and semantics game or should I say trap.

        I will make an assumption that you don’t want to start a corp but a partnership or LLC. CL’s links are a great start but unless you want to be a kind despot starting with Venture Capitol, ie investor money, you want no employees only partners. When your initial start up is running successfully and you hit your first or second expansion of new partners to the point where you stress the credulity of the tax laws you can easily reorganize to form the more complex corp structures with only slight back tax penalties.

        You’ve got such a great heart, smart as a whip, not afraid to learn, so jump into the net for real business advice cause we need more businesses started by women like yourself. Unless you’ve been squeaking, I doubt your sitting on a personal pile of tens of millions, in that case first buy a hired legal gun.

        **EDIT- For female first time business owners there is tons of govt sponsored startup and matching funds programs that require a traditional incorporation to qualify. Like I said I think it’s a trap but then DC wants to encourage your inner demons, sometimes a benevolent despot is the only way they will let you play the game.

      • choicelady says:

        Hi-

        Abby -- I don’t recall where you physically are, but either of the two sites I cited above will link you to good advice, National Center for Employee Ownership in Oakland, the other the one at Kent State in OH. For either group, the scope is national, so don’t worry where you’re thinking of doing this.

        Essentially it’s no different from starting a regular C corporation if what you’re after is an Employee Stock Option Plan of some kind.

        Another simple way to start is:
        http://www.ehow.com/how_15347_start-employee-owned.html

        Just google “starting and employee owned company” -- there are several sites to consult.

        What matters is --

        a. is this a fully employee owned company in which case your alternatives are incorporating as a cooperative or,

        if there is less than 100% employee control, then incorporations as a traditional corporation with
        a. major control by employees or
        b. minority shares by employees.

        The reason these do make a difference is the degree to which you are linking employees to decision making via their stock ownership. It can make a financial difference to banks, etc. (it should be a GOOD thing, but hey…they’re BANKS) so you do need advice.

        Cooperatives in some states also have a whole separate body of law about how they operate. I know that’s true in NY. Don’t know about other states.
        If you’re going the cooperative route, where everyone is equal, and there is no over-arching separate owner, there is funding help from leaffund.org (Boston) and the National Cooperative Bank. They can direct you to technical advice, too, and I think the Oakland folks can as well. Kent state is looking at some more traditional forms of ESOP ownership but has added a program on starting cooperatives. If you go to their site, on the “contact us” link it takes you to various program people with their contact info. Most of their work is still moving traditional C corporation ownership into ESOPs. I don’t find a specific person doing cooperatives, but they can tell you more.

        That said, I refer you to a quick and simple guide to employee ownership in last FAll’s issue of “Justice Rising”, the Alliance for Democracy’s periodical. They have several articles on Mondragon, a huge cooperative in Spain that now has links to the US Steelworkers Union. But the article that interests you is the one by Gar Alperovitz, Ted Howard, and Thad Williamson on work being done in Cleveland, OH and a second, unauthored piece. Go to:
        http://www.thealliancefordemocracy.org/html/eng/2592-AA.shtml
        Any of the three authors might be helpful -- Alperovitz is at the U. of MD. I think the other two are at Cleveland State.

        You might want to become a B corporation, that’s a new form of incorporation that allows “benefits” (hence B Corp -- get it? Clever!) to workers and environment and communities that now are OUTLAWED by existing C Corporation law (which is what everyone else is.) Several states are looking at this. MD definitely has it, but the web site for B corporations does not list limitations. We should be pressing for ALL corporations to be permitted to consider the people whom they affect, but that’s a huge issues. Still- you can look up B corporations under bcorporation.net. There’s a lot of stuff there. I’m just not sure where it is and is not legal on state levels to incorporate that way. Worth asking them though!

        One last link that may or may not be useful, but would be more general than specific is the New America Foundation. The CA director, Lief Haas, is fascinated by this issue. He and I are supposed to talk about it, but life has intruded. I think I could get him to agree to talk to you, but I do NOT think he has as much technical info as the other sources above. His is more support in theory I suspect. That said, NAF is the best think tank on progressive issues around, bar none. Beats a lot of the so called progressives by a country mile. They are very influential, so if you run into difficulty, I will try to pair you up with Lief.

        I hope these links are helpful? I’m OVER THE MOON that you’re interested in doing this, Abby!!!!! This is beyond wonderful. It’s the wave of the future! Please do keep me posted. AdLib will link us up if you’d want to do that. You ROCK, Abby!

        • Abbyrose86 says:

          Choicelady…thank you so much!

          I was thinking more of a cooperative venture. I’m in NY.

          What I want to do, is create an employee owned, international freight forwarding, customs brokerage operation. I really want it 100% employee owned and operated.

          I’ve had this idea for a few years…but no idea HOW to do it, every time I talked to someone they pointed me to the traditional routes of doing a typical business operation…which IS NOT what I want to do, and sadly everyone I spoke to…couldn’t understand what I wanted to design. It was frustrating. AND then I read your post last night and was like…YES…that’s it!!!!!

          I have some research to do…thank you.

          Would you mind if I did contact you, after I do my research for some advice?

          Thank you!!!

          • choicelady says:

            Hi Abby -- please do, and NY law has a specific cooperative aspect to its incorporation articles.

            Capital usually is an issue -- but look into the National Cooperative Bank that is set up precisely for this. I’d still start the whole ball rolling with the NCEO folks in Oakland. They should have the best technical advice.

            AdLib will put you in touch with me -- I will write to let him know.

            This is SO exciting -- and such a cool idea! Thank you for being a leader in what I think is a novel industry within the cooperative movement! Wonderful!

        • ghsts says:

          Well put Choice, everything you said is sound advice.

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      I think I love you! I’m not kidding! Everytime I read one of your posts ChoiceLady, I’m in absolute AWE!

      • choicelady says:

        WEll Abby -- I’m in awe of your practical skills and knowledge of business. Your posts on many, many issues are fascinating, and I would have NO idea how to do what you do. That’s why we have partnerships!

  7. whatsthatsound says:

    Michael J. Fox is to blame! I know he’s a good guy who’s struggling with an illness, but he, we must remember, was also the Poster Child of Reaganism and Yuppie aspirants. First there was his sitcom, “Family Ties”. This was supposed to be a humorous pairing of a Young Republican yuppie son with hippie former flower children parents. But he was so darned charismatic, and his parents were so darn boring (who even remembers the actors?) that the show practically became a commercial for Trickle Down! Then, he made a movie called “The Secret of My Succe$$” that was not only mind numbingly awful, it was, yet again, a celebration of yupppiedom. Finally, we have the first “Back to the Future”. Impeccably entertaining, yes, but look at the last scene. Marty McFly comes back to his family, and he has “saved” them by turning them into Yuppies! Now they have all the right toys and shiny objects, and Dad gets to lord it over Biff as a result. Michael J. Fox, J’accuse! You made slimeball greed cute! What say you?

    • Sabreen60 says:

      But if the uptight Reaganists had only known that “mom” on Family Ties was actually gay.

    • KQuark says:

      I blame the Huxtables myself.

    • AdLib says:

      Is it a coincidence that his last name is Fox? I think not!

      And you left out what is literally the vehicle that takes him to his ideal life…what was at the time the car of the wealthy, a DeLorean.

      And what destroyed DeLorean? The Government (taping his coke deal to finance his company).

      It’s all a conspiracy! And don’t get me started on The Money Pit!

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Adlib, you need to go to TOOT and take a look at the comments Cher and I exchanged about Nabisco. Taken with this, we could have the Conspiracy Theory to End All Conspiracy Theories!!

    • PatsyT says:

      WTS, I remember that era well but I could not be bothered with the T V back then.
      I was working and going to school and just way to busy
      with friends so maybe my life saved me from that kind off influence.
      I do seem to remember my Mom being bothered by that show.
      So I think you are on to something.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        I’m thinking I may just do one of my visual essays on this subject, because it will be fun to draw Michael J. Fox. He IS adorable after all, even if he ruined life as we know it.

    • choicelady says:

      I don’t blame Michael. I blame a jaded public that decided, about five minutes after the draft ended, that now they’d devote themselves to getting rich. After all -- had they not sacrificed to fight the war? On to success! I also blame the empty headed liberals who decided that they could’t be bothered to vote in 1980. That gave us Reagan. I blame everyone who preferred to sit around sipping white wine (French, of course) from long-stemmed glasses to fighting for social justice.

      We tend, in America, NOT to pay attention to anything that does not affect us directly. This is the FIRST time in 70 years that I’ve seen people turn out for someone ELSE’s issue. It’s amazing and shows how powerful we can be when we DO work together, even if it’s not benefitting us directly.

      Time to take back America -- the REAL America.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        c-lady, I agree with you, of course. Don’t read too much into my Michael J. Fox tirade. I’m only half (make that less than a third, perhaps) serious.

        • choicelady says:

          I know -- but I feel for Michael now. I agree though -- I HATED his character on that show, the name of which I can’t recall either. Meredith Birney was his mom. Forget the male lead -- though I like him. He played a RW gun freak in “Tremors” -- much funnier in that role!

          You know, of the three kids, I can’t think any of them was much of a person -- the sister was played as an air head, and the little brother was just kind of a loser. What’s up with THAT?

          You know -- you may be on to something. Who wrote and produced and funded that show, huh? Maybe you’re on to a conspiracy we’d all ignored!!!!

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      Excellent analysis. Seriously. I was bitching about this a few weeks ago. The images from Hollywood, as well as Madison Avenue, COMBINED with the pure propaganda on the MSM…have ALL contributed to the indoctrination of our society into this disgusting thing we have today.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      I say you nailed that whats. And if we put our Borg minds to it, I bet we could find several more example from that era.

      AdLib once wrote a piece pointing out how the current TV show “Undercover Boss” is designed to make our overlords seem cute. And what about all those rich “Housewives?” They are supposed to make us all see how even with all their money, they have so many problems--just like us! See? Money can’t buy happiness. (Um, it really helps though.)

      I have even seen a show on a big cable channel that glorifies car-repossesors!!

      • chazmania says:

        You know i always loved its a wonderfull life..that quintessential Hollywood movie..But even as a kid something never sat well with me and always irked me..That George baily never went and saw the world never built great big sky scrapers never advanced beyond the little town even though all that is really beautiful too.. but i always felt it was some subliminal propaganda message to keep me home raise a family work a menial job…Be a drone

        Well i ran like hell!!!!!!!!
        I saw the world..I did things most people dream about..
        I could tell story after story but people would think i am lying and bragging..Maybe it was my travels that opened my eyes wide to people and places and the real beauty of culture and diversity..
        Most people never leave the small community they are born in and inadvertently have a very narrow skewed warped perspective and a lot of seemingly arrogant insistent on that point of view…

        Still Zue zuez peddles….who cant get all smosshy over that!

        • Chernynkaya says:

          @ chaz-- it’s even worse than that!

          “It’s a Wonderful Life”: The most terrifying movie ever

          Underneath the warm fuzzies, Frank Capra’s holiday classic is a tale of hunger, greed and a troubled America

          http://www.salon.com/entertainment/movies/film_salon/2010/12/24/its_wonderful_life_terrifying_movie_ever

          • chazmania says:

            It did reflect that side…I remember as a kid being near horrified that people like potter could even exist. Then as i got older i was more horrified to actually run into them..
            The one boss i wrote about earlier was one..
            He had the chairs in his office lower so you sat way down from him. And when i shook his hand i wanted to wipe it off on my shirt the same way. i remember leaving his office and thinking OMG its potter…I just met a potter!

            • Chernynkaya says:

              All I can say is, the essay agrees with you. It proposes that George Baily was living in Pottersville all along --where we all live now--and that Bedford Falls was the fantasy.

              Take a look at the Salon piece. :-)

          • choicelady says:

            But it’s NOT -- it’s a tale of how capitalism CAN work to the betterment of people and their lives. The message was underneath the story -- principles matter, and they are NOT inimical to what is good about capitalism. George did have a purpose in life, and the entire town was that purpose. If you think about HUAC and the anti-commie craze after WW II, that was a damned radical story, flying in the face of what was going on with capital consolidation, the move to curtail labor, etc. I think Capra did an amazing thing talking about the evils of giant corporations and finance capital by placing it in the context of a sweet story about finding “meaning” in your life. At Christmas! Freaking brilliant, it was -- and courageous, too.

            • chazmania says:

              I agree CL…
              It does show the value of whats right in front of you and how community can come together as it should to solve a crisis…
              I think the ending scene Is great because George Bailys decency got him the kindness and help and love of a whole group of people that gave of themselves to help someone that had tried to help them…The KEY words DECENCY…HONESTY..INTEGRITY…
              Something our corporate masters abandoned and seemingly disdain.
              A socially conscious person has got to poses those things if the idea is to advance the whole group..The modern corporate model we have now is that of a parasite..

      • AdLib says:

        Thanks for remembering, Cher! And if you think that’s bad, you won’t want to watch “Secret Millionaire” now on ABC.

        You see, we’re wrong about millionaires. They’re really like angels that, if we pray to them enough and make them have to suffer living like the rest of us for a week or two, they might look kindly on us peasants and give us some money!

        All hail millionaires! I just can’t wait until we’re all millionaires! But until them, I will see them as the superior beings they are and hope one day, one may smile on me.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Repo-Men? Yuck -- what’s next?

        • Chernynkaya says:

          Yes, that POS. And what about HGTV? Remodel! Redecorate! IF you have a home.

          • choicelady says:

            I know -- I claim it’s the source of my “kitchen envy”. I have a fully functional but not very attractive kitchen, and I hate stainless -- fingerprints and all -- but it all LOOKS so cool! Seriously though it began to make me gag when a young couple would walk into a kitchen I’d KILL for, and they’d immediately sneer and say, well that’s ALL got to be redone. And these are KIDS! I did not own a home until three days before my 40th birthday -- and it had decorating issues, but I LOVED it. I love where I am now, warts and all. Greed is NOT good!

          • PatsyT says:

            Cher, how about a real “reality” show
            instead of House Hunters or Selling New York
            http://www.frontdoor.com/Sell/Selling-New-York/55530

            Car Hunters,
            Selling the New Yorker
            1990 Chrysler New Yorker
            you can sleep a family of four in here- easy!

            [img][/img]

            • choicelady says:

              Wow -- a door for every family member. What’s the matter with that? You think you deserve a HOUSE?

            • PatsyT says:

              I am not that young Cher, I remember that pompous guy with the over the top accent.
              So they were priming us back then hun?
              That does fit.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Are you too young to remember the beginnings of all this in the Reagan era: “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?” Nauseating.

          • ParadisePlacebo74 says:

            I can’t stand most of that horrible channel! “You have to spend money redecorating your home in order to sell it.” WTF! Since when? What ever happened to moving all of your stuff out and letting people use their own imaginations? And the way they do stuff on the cheap — if I saw that kind of crap in a house I was serious about, I’d take it off the top of my offer!

            The best of the worst is the international real estate propaganda. My dad would truly love to escape this country (when and if my mom is willing to move away from the grandkids), so he keeps up with the markets from several different sources — including friends that have already become expats. He laughs his ass off at the hugely inflated prices they come with in Central America and southeast Asia. What a giant scam!

  8. PatsyT says:

    This is inspiring ~ Tractors!

    Thousands of farmers from across the dairyland are about to descend on Wisconsin’s capitol to show their solidarity with unions fighting to keep collective bargaining rights.

    In fact, they’re not coming alone — they’re bring their tractors. This is in response to the new radical bill that Governor Walker is trying to enact on the unions, clearly attempting to neuter them altogether.

    On Saturday, March 12 · 12:00pm – 2:00pm, over 1100 1300 2020 (and climbing each time I refresh the page) farmers will be attending the protests at the Capitol.

    http://freakoutnation.com/2011/03/05/thousands-of-farmers-to-descend-on-wi-capitol-with-their-tractors/

    • AdLib says:

      Very cool and very visual, important when trying to get the MSM cover something they don’t want to…but if it will increase viewership, they’d sell their own mothers and children for higher ad revenue.

      This is great!

    • JackRusselTerrier says:

      Hopefully the tipping point has been reached where the true majority will rise up and take back our democracy from the robber barons.

  9. PatsyT says:

    Did anyone see this evenings 60 minutes?
    Homeless kids
    Please share
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7358670n

    • chazmania says:

      Im weary of 60 minutes….They have done a bit of propaganda themselves…Maybe not intentional but they operate out of a very similar corporate model as the MSM. they repeat corporate speak far to much for my taste… But im glad to see this story even though its hart wrenching.. One thing that angers me the most is children suffering for the ills of adults..

      The Real news network i think is an excellent source of more honest journalism…i contribute to them as well as the POV now..

      http://therealnews.com/t2/

      • choicelady says:

        60 Minutes with Morley Safer nearly KILLED the National Council of Churches in the ’70s with a huge propaganda piece because the then Secretary had done a World Council trip with a woman from -- GASP -- East Germany in the group. She noted, while in Lima, Peru, that the poverty they were seeing reflected what Marx noted. The NCC Secretary was flayed alive on TV for not denouncing her and what she said -- and he SHOULD have told Safer -- she was RIGHT. Get real -- if you can’t apply the observations of class in LIMA, you are an idiot. I know the Secretary was a wuss, but Safer went after him hammer and tongs as if he’d publicly crapped on the livingroom rug. It was disgusting. I’ve not watched 60 Minutes since. They were and are just a notch up from FOX on too many issues. Where were these stories when BUSH caused the homelessness forn kids to soar??????? I fear they are subliminally trying to blame Obama for the plight of these children. Bah!

    • AdLib says:

      Tivoed it to watch tomorrow, thanks for sharing the link here.

    • choicelady says:

      I was out and did not see it, but I’ve yet to recover from the fact that there is a SCHOOL BUS STOP on 5th Street in downtown LA. That’s SKID ROW where all the homeless people are dumped.

      We freaking HAVE to stop mewling about our precious children and actually CARE about them!

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      I saw the promo…but I couldn’t watch it…it’s SO heartbreaking. I volunteer at a shelter and it BREAKS my heart how many young one’s we see….:(

      • PatsyT says:

        Abby, I have seen at my kids school and some of our neighbors.
        One of our neighbors had giant thugs banging at their door and then at our door looking for the neighbor. They did not look “official” so I asked -Are you the sheriff?
        They left and one of them was carrying a crowbar !
        I called her on the cell phone and thankfully she was out walking her baby in a stroller.
        So she just stayed out longer and asked me to call when they left.

        What a heartbreak!
        I never figured who those thugs were, the family had to leave in a hurry.
        They had to give away their little doggy and their little kids
        were sobbing about that the most.
        Then of all things, after the bank took position of the house,
        it sat empty for nearly a year.
        That family could have been there making payments the whole time.

        • Abbyrose86 says:

          Patsy…it’s shameful what has been allowed to become of our country. And while the material loss is bad, the emotional and psychological toll is 100% worse.

          I truly have come to hate those who perpetrated this mess.

          What I see at that shelter is utterly unacceptable. The reasons people end up there is shameful in a supposedly civilized society.

          • PatsyT says:

            Abby,
            We often donate can goods to a local food pantry
            and they have never been so busy.
            When you see the families come and go
            you have to say, that could be anyone.
            This has not singled out just the “lazy”
            as the RW’s would like you to think
            but so many that by no fault get caught up in the system.

            • chazmania says:

              Once i lost a job and got simultaneously screwed out of a whole lot of money by a well known corporation that nearly put me in the road…
              It can happen to anyone..
              And that is the thing,, these corpopyrates do this to the whole country and then if you fall victim they say its becasue you are to blame… Some of us just cant find it in us to be a corpofacist that parasites off of others..Some ethics maybe, so we fall from the system…the system steam roles over us..Some get lucky and regroup others never do.. and the KIDS! they are the ones that do not deserve it.. they are the ones that will be the next Jerad longner’s… But the Plutocrats don’t care they will make good future soldiers to play war games with…

    • KB723 says:

      PatsyT I saw it… Sadly it reminded me of the Reagan Days… Powdered Milk and gov’t cheese… Man the Good Ol’ Days. 😎

  10. Truth says:

    Excellent article, AdLib. As an observer from the outside I noticed the same as you did, and that’s why I think the article from J. Hari about the “Progressive Tea Party” that was built in the UK is so very important.
    http://www.thenation.com/article/158282/how-build-progressive-tea-party?page=full
    For normally just about everybody understands it is wrong that those who have the most money pay little or no taxes at all. It angers those on the left as well as those on the right, and thus is an excellent starting point to unite. And yes, stoking division is very much part of the plan of those in power.

    Yet there is one really big problem in the States: the media here is more corrupt than in other democracies. America has literally NO rules concerning the media. I was just STUNNED when I observed in 2008 that a Sarah Palin, who lied from the onset, was not even called out on it! Instead she got treated like a viable candidate and soon after the election she was promoted as a serious contender to become President! This is just so incredibly, incredibly ridiculous, and I was utterly shocked about the American media. Moreover there seems to be a massive lack of understanding about this problem as I see folks even up to today citing “first amendment rights” not to take action against that. Sorry, but lying, misinforming and inciting hatred are not free speech.

    Now if there are proper laws and lying on air is sued, things like that can not happen. It is only due to some utterly misleading media that in America the “peasants” did not take more to the streets. The conservative “peasants” even defend the tax breaks for the rich!!!
    And this is the most egregious of all: those who earn the most of and contribute the least to the society are those who pretend to defend the morality and values in the society!

    If the UK had the same media laws, or lack thereof, as the US, Tax Uncut would have been quickly demonized by the rich and powerful. But, the Murdoch empire was stopped very soon due to the sheer existence of a Press Complaints Commission:

    The only part of the media that attacked UK Uncut outright was, predictably, Rupert Murdoch’s empire. This isn’t surprising given that his company, News International, is one of the world’s most egregious tax dodgers, contributing almost nothing to the US or UK treasuries. His tabloid the Sun accused UK Uncut of being a “group of up to 30,000 anarchists” scheming “to bring misery to millions of Christmas shoppers,” with plans to “set off stink bombs, leave mouldy cheese in clothes and rack up huge sales at tills and then refuse to pay.” After one of the people named in the article reported the Sun to the Press Complaints Commission, the newspaper was forced to retract the article by removing it from its website.

    • chazmania says:

      One of the effective gaming strategy’s is to put out the lie and by the time you retract it its effect has been done.. and your apology gets buried on page 20….I cant remember the great quote on this but its a lawyer maneuver…
      Once when i was in court all i did was say i have this and that evidence right hear on my desk., i said what it was and the judge never asked for it..the whole court knew what i had but really never knew for certain i never had to prove it.. but the idea was placed in everyone’s mind and i think swayed the outcome…
      that is how these plutocrats operate…they only have to get it in the popular psyche and they win…

      • Truth says:

        chazmania, yes, but I think this practice might change if they get really high fines and have to pay massive compensation even for putting out the lies in the first place.

        • chazmania says:

          Exactly….I want to see the REAL reform happen not this word manipulation version that only benefits the corps…Maybe real truth in advertising..Like..

          OK people hear it comes bend over..

    • AdLib says:

      The thing is, The 1st Amendment is specifically written to bar government from being able to make laws limiting what can be said in the press.

      The Founders had no idea that corporations might one day own the press, their goal was just the opposite, to keep the powerful from controlling the press.

      That said, if Murdoch did the same thing to an organization in the U.S., they could be sued for defamation.

      No law could be Constitutionally upheld that prevented the MSM from lying (though lawsuits for libel, slander and defamation could be pursued if committed). Lies are regarded as free speech too.

      As I’ve mentioned, one thing we could do is build up an information network independently and informally. Through websites like The Planet connecting with others, Facebook and Twitter, setting up an alternative ad-hoc network where we would enjoy the same freedom of expression as the MSM under the 1st Amendment.

      • Truth says:

        AdLib, what you suggest is certainly good and necessary. But in my opinion it is not enough! See how fast they smashed Murdoch down in the UK, while the media in the US actively ERODE democracy from within on a daily basis. Media are one of the most powerful weapons of the corporations, and therefore the population needs to get a real and strong handle on them!
        There could and should be at least something like a Press Complaints Commission to deal with crude lies and misinformation.
        I see this as one of the main issues in America and I really hope that some of those brilliant planeteer-minds catch on this issue……[img][/img]

    • choicelady says:

      I just enlisted several hundred thousand in the US Uncut movement. We have to get every single group that understands how corporations and the rich are screwing America to stand up against B of A and every other non tax paying company.

      First step in CA -- supporting a bill offered by Sen. DeLeon to STOP letting corporations determine HOW they are figuring their own tax base. They use “transfer pricing” to pretend they made every penny in Ohio that has no corporate income tax. So they pay almost nothing in CA where they actually EARNED it. DeLeon’s bill will demand the SALES tax paid is the INCOME proof the state needs. No more hocus-pocus with cookin’ the books. Truth in tax disclosure, thank you! For all you mad as hell folks in CA -- this is SB 116, and it’s HUGELY important! It will require a 2/3 vote, and we have to step up and DEMAND that Republicans repeal this egregious give away.

      This could have been repealed last Fall with Prop. 24. Voters were too stupid -- and here is where we need Truth in Political Advertising -- because this formula applied to ONLY multi-state corporations, NOT to local small businesses, but of course the ads all made whimpering noises about destroying local businesses. Now we have a whisper of a chance of getting it passed -- or blowing the GOP out of the water for their favoritism for giant corporations that shovel money into their pockets and swagger off.

      Time to take back the real America!

      • Truth says:

        CL, that sounds very good!

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Important info, C’Lady! Thanks! I’m also incensed at what’s going in here in LA with Villaraigosa give-aways to developers. Tax breaks, no traffic remediation, low cost housing units not built as required. Unbelievable. I’ve been doing just a little--too little about that.

  11. JackRusselTerrier says:


    • ghsts says:

      Worth every visit, should be viral or at least be a reoccuring short and a political add prologue.

    • chazmania says:

      Wow what a great piece….One problem that struck me right off is we have to account for the fact that WAR and trauma have the effect of erasing empathy..brain scan studies also showed that as a person develops fear and empathy can not exist in the same region of the brain one tends to push out the other this can even happen in adults but is less hard wired…Abuse in all forms creates a deficit of empathy…We have to solve a lot of historical trauma to regain the empathy we are loosing..
      Look at the helicopter massacre That the USA military targeted at journalists…we hear about it and ….crickets….
      Or torture….now its accepted? as our norm? Hati has a swell of empathy but we tortured the first three basically innocent victims in quantonimo to death and again …Crickets…..

      Maybe what needs to be done is figure out why if its OFFICIAL abuse and suffering its OK and ignored but if its oh well an act of nature well oh all right well i can have empathy there no one will fault me..
      The mindsets and belief systems around all of this needs serious examination as well as the tendency of humans to worship so called authority figures…or who can shout the loudest and meanest in our societies..
      Its one thing to have a great leader and another thing to have a psychopath that spouts off like one.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      That’s been posted but bears a second look.

  12. Redemption Song says:

    Very well done, AdLib; forwarding left, right and center. (Well, mostly left, but you know what I mean. ;0)

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks and thanks Redemption!

    • Truth says:

      Redemption Song, hi! Are you still on board with the HuffPost project? I left you a message on the “Invite For Collaboration Part 3” thread http://planetpov.com/2011/02/26/invite-for-collaboration-part-3/
      some time ago. Please contact me at [email protected] if you still want to contribute to the article (which you hopefully do…)

      • Redemption Song says:

        Greetings Truth,

        I’m sorry…I didn’t see your previous message (as I sign only every so often), but I did just send you an e-mail. Do let me know what you have in mind.

        Scratch that--I just noticed you linked “Collaboration Part 3”: are you asking me to collect links from HuffPo pseudo-science articles, or are you asking about polling/interviewing previous HuffPo commenters? If the first, I could gather an imperfect set of URLS to HuffPo articles, say a dozen or so, as examples; if the second, I have to admit to not being a social scientist of any stripe, and so I don’t know how to either correctly compose an interview or compile/interpret data, but I’d be more than happy to be interviewed by someone who does.

        My quick email message should have reached you by now; if not, it’s [email protected] (which I check once or twice a week…alas it’s not my work email wich I check more often out of necessity). (I compartmentalize most aspects of my life. :0)

        Warm regards,
        --Redemption


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