By Jack Jodell, Dec. 27, 2011
JUST A REMINDER: We are in the closing days of LINK TV’s year-end fundraiser to provide us with commercial-free, corporate-free programming, and they are very near their goal. If you are truly sick of the same-old corporate-owned media bombarding us with unending commercials, worthless celebrity gossip, sick “reality” TV shows, and incomplete, biased news, you are ready for an alternative. Why not phone in a modest pledge toll-free to 1-866-485-8848, or mail them your check at LINK TV, P.O. Box 2008, San Francisco, CA 94126, or go to their website at http://www.linktv.org/contribute ? Perhaps YOUR tax-deductible donation will be the one to put them over the top!
What an unbelievable year this has been!After decades of seeming slumber, the spirit of leftist protest against injustice caused by the corporatist far-right has awakened and come roaring back to life! First came the Arab Spring, which toppled long-steady de facto dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and made its rumblings felt all around the volatile Middle East, most notably in Syria, where anti-government demonstrations still threaten to bring an early end to its repressive amd murderous regime. Next came the American Autumn, which spawned thousands of #OCCUPY movements across the globe amd led to the important reawakening of the American labor and progressive movements. Then came student upheavals in Chile. Finally, in recent days, we have seen many thousands angrily protesting rigged Russian elections, a clear rallying cry for change and relief from the overbearing arm of Vladimir Putin’s control. These are heady and exciting times to be alive. If you thought 2011 represented a big change, you have seen nothing compared to what will be in store for 2012, which I believe will end up being the real year of huge global progressive change. For this world MUST change if it is to continue in any sort of cohesive, reasoned, or FAIR manner! I have outlined a number of changes below which are crucial to the restoration of fairness and sanity to the world’s political and economic systems. To some, particularly those who have been complacently skating along profiting through ignorance and/or exploitation, they will seem radical and threatening. To others, the overwhelming majority of earth’s inhabitants, they will represent long-needed deliverance fom the maddness which has gripped most of the world for much of the past many decades. You, readers, will have to decide for yourselves whether what I present is true and needs to be acted upon and changed, or whether it needs to be ignored. I tend to think a huge number of you will prefer action to stasis. Here is the way I see it:
1). Money MUST be REMOVED ENTIRELY from the political process! Wealthy candidates, as well as their companies and political action committees, must be forbidden from essentially buying into or controlling the political parties or the issues of the day. In ever-increasing amounts, we have been buffeted with less than factual TV and radio ads which are outright lies and tell us little or nothing about what a candidate will do once elected. Political campaigns have become economic bonanzas for greedy advertising agencies and media outlets. This must stop. Consider this: you would never hire a mechanic to fix cars for you and then keep him employed if he spent 3/4 of his time doing other things (like fundraising), would you? Of course not, and so must it also be with our elected officials, who are our employees! Candidates must be given FREE or publicly-funded equal airtime to present their views and positions on issues, and the era of massive special interest funding of election campaigns must come to a screeching halt! Special interest lobbying must also be permanently forbidden, as well as the practice of special interest authorship of specific bills or measures to be put up for a vote. ALL lobbyists’ gifts of cash or special perks for legislators must come to an immediate end. ALL lobbying efforts must be made completely transparent by restricting them to fully public appearances before congressional committees, rather than the private behind-the-scenes cocktail party, political dinner, or backdoor methodology currently used today.
2). CONGRESS MUST IMMEDIATELY REFORM ITSELF! If an election can be settled by a one-vote plurality, so must it be also with votes taken in the Senate. This ridiculous nonsense of requiring a 60 vote total to pass a bill instead of a mere 51, in a body pf only 100 members, is absolutely preposterous and must be permanently abolished! MAJORITY WINS IN THIS COUNTRY, NOT MAJORITY PLUS 10! On ALL but the impeachment of a President, or measures proposing to amend the Constitution in some way, a mere 51 votes must ALWAYS carry the day! Also in the Senate, the practice of one or more members engaging in constant filibusters must be severely curtailed, as must be the ability of a small handful or even one Senator to block the debate and voting on presidential appointees. In the House, representatives MUST submit a Federal budget each and every fiscal year, and this budget must be voted on and approved by a simple majority before they can go into recess for any reason. Above all else, congressional earmarks should no longer be able to be snuck into complex bills near the end of legislative sessions, and the sponsors of such efforts should be fined at least $50,000 for each attempt! THAT would be an excellent way to eliminate frivolous pork-barrel spending!
3). REPEAL THE GRAMM-LEACH-BILLEY ABOMINATION AND RESTORE THE GLASS-STEAGALL ACT! We can never forgive the passage of this abomination, and we MUST restore its predecessor, which effectively prevented Wall Street banks from reckless speculation and kept the economy depression-proof for 66 years. Both the Congress and President Bill Clinton share the blame for enabling our economy to crumble 9 years after it was signed into law in the height of the anti-regulation folly, through the elimination of this ALWAYS needed, common sense bank regulation!
4). THE REPUBLICAN PARTY MUST CHANGE AND DIVEST ITSELF COMPLETELY OF THE TEA PARTY! This party, once the party of liberals and progressives like Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft, has cascaded further and further to the ultra-conservative far right. What was once crackpot, racist, and/or extreme has now become mainstream Republican. In the process, this miserable party has adopted un-American values by becoming anti-government, anti-education, anti-truth, anti-consumer, anti-civil liberties,anti-worker, anti-regulation, and overly anti-tax. Concurrently, it has also become hideously pro-corporation, pro-obstruction, pro-deception, bigoted, and militaristic. It no longer is representative of the vast majority of the country, as it is really only representing the wants of the upper 1 to 2 % of the income scale. THIS PARTY IS SERIOUSLY ILL AND MUST RETURN TO ITS FAIRER, COMMON SENSE ORIGINS OR DESERVEDLY FACE POLITICAL OBLIVION!
5). THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY MUST CHANGE AND REASSUME ITS TRADITIONAL ROLE AS THE CHAMPION OF THE POOR, WORKING PEOPLE, AND THE MIDDLE CLASS! During the last great economic upheaval, the Great Depression, this party proudly bore the mantle of the true party of the people. It developed innovative programs to reduce unemployment and distribute more fairly the benefits of the country’s economic system. It provided valuable safety-nets for those with physical afflictions and the elderly and economically disadvantaged. It promoted a real voice and leverage for working people through its strong support of labor unions. It didn’t create nirvana, but it DID provide greater opportunity and a more fair and level economic playing field for all by producing legislation which held the selfish and bloated interests of corporations and big money in check. Regrettably, in recent decades, it has allowed itself to become corrupted by cozying up to Wall Street and big business. By eovermbracing the concept of globalization, it has aided the destruction of millions of good-paying jobs here in America and has forced our labor force to have to compete with cheaper, oftentimes slave-labor markets from abroad. In the process, it has strengthened the power and influence of corporations and big money rather than keeping them at bay. The net result has been an astoundingly unacceptable decline in the country’s living standards. It, too, is no longer representing the wants and NEEDS of the overwhelming majority of the country. By bending to the wishes of selfish and greedy corporations and special interests, it has given far more power to the reactionary forces within the Republican Party than they deserve and has dangerously and needlessly circumvented its own original goals. It has become Republican-lite, and that is precisely why it has lost so much political favor among voters. It MUST rescue itself from this madness, or it will also become deservedly marginalized and totally impotent politically!
6). THE PRESIDENT MUST CHANGE AND DELIVER MORE OF WHAT HE PROMISED IN THE 2008 CAMPAIGN! President Obama has either soft-pedaled or outright abandoned much of what he promised in his wildly successful first-term run. He has NOT effectively used his bully pulpit and because of his more wimpy approach to the issues, he has emboldened the opposition and deservedly jeopardized his re-election prospects. The proof is his less-than-desirable and pathetic 47% job approval rating. This rating should be at least 10-15 points higher, especially when one considers he has killed Osama Bin Laden, deposed Moammar Gadhafi and Hosni Munarak, gotten U.S. troops out of Iraq, and has had steady (albeit mild) growth in private sector jobs for a very long time, and has already outperformed his predecessor’s two full terms of anemic job growth and decline. Yet his opponents loudly proclaim his presidency a failed one, and the only one he can blame for this is himself. First of all, he needs to quit trying to placate the damned Republicans! Instead, he cshould be constantly villifying their attempts to destroy Soxial Sevurity and Medicare; their constant obstruction and noncooperation; and their opposition to any tax increases for the wealthy. Second, he needs to quit this failed bipartisan pretense and realize that, to a person, the Republicans HATE him and all he stands for. With that in mind, he needs to permanently and meaningly take bold stances on behalf of America’s poor, dowmtrodden, workers, and middle class, and completely isolate his far-right opponents in the GOP from the majority of the electorate. Third, he needs to quit vplaying up to Wall Street and start focusing, for the entire remainder of his term (whether it expires in 2013 OR 2017), on MAIN Street! Wall Street was bailed out and is doing just fine. The time has come to focus on important job-producing infrastructure and environmental projects. He must relentlessly promote such projects, for doing so will create a longlasting and enduring legacy. Obama CANNOT let the Republicans steal the White House back in 3012! If he does, they will permanently doom it and the entire country to a drastic period of an even stronger pro-corporate, pro-authoritarian, anti-worker and anti-consumer bias than it already has. And, lastly,
7). WE, AS A PEOPLE, MUST CHANGE! That’s right, everyone: we, TOO, must change! We can no longer rely on our government or business leaders to simply perform as they should – we must MAKE them do so! We cannot just cast a vote and complacently sit by and think that we have done our job. For voting is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Once elected, we have to DEMAND, through phone calls to officials, emails or direct letters to them, or letters to the editor of major newspapers and magazines, that they do what they are supposed to do and write legislation themselves for the benefit of the country as a whole, not merely for special interests! We must relentlessly act as their overseers, and they must be well aware that we are observing their every move. Business leaders and investors must abandon their short-sighted easy-way-out, profits now and to hell with the future mentality, for it is a certain recipe for failure! Think about it: such was NOT the attitude of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, or even Bill Gates: such complacency and downright laziness has never been the way of the successful American entrepreneurial spirit, nor must it be so now! For we must realize this is not merely MY economy or MY government. It is OURS! We must recognize this and realize that ALL segments of our economy and government are vitally important, necessary, and that each has its specific purpose. We must develop the spirit of WE and cast aside forever the mentality of ME. Then, and only then, will we find the fairness, cooperation, progress, and greatness that we, as a people, once had can and MUST again achieve!
Are you ready, people? Then LET’S GO!!!