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I find myself crying a great deal lately. I have always suffered from anxiety and panic attacks…. Just not so many crying attacks. My former psychoanalyst, Dr. Perlowitz, always said that ‘ Crying ventilates the system’. Well, I must be pretty well ventilated by now. The main reason for my tears is the terrible state of affairs in our nation. They create phony wars and occupations, at the cost of almost one trillion tax dollars. Then they go ahead and bail out greedy and corrupt Wall Street firms ( another one trillion ) who conned millions of low income 9 to 5 Americans to ‘buy buy buy‘ homes they could not afford. On top of that, via their tightly controlled neo fascist talk radio and cable ( so called ) news shows, they have the nerve to condemn the victims of these schemes. It’s like having slum neighborhoods inundated with bars and liquor stores and then blaming those who drink too much! On the last day of June the Republicans in Congress killed an extension of unemployment benefits for millions of unemployed. Why? Well, if you want to get folks who are used to earning $ 12, $ 15 or $ 20 dollars per hour into accepting $ 7 and $ 8 dollar low wage jobs….. Just force them by cutting off their unemployment. Get it ? And how about the oil spill disaster that most progressive minded folks warned both political parties about?. How did our newest Commander In Grief handle those warnings? In April , he made a complete jackass of himself by lauding the ‘ Safety of off shore drilling ‘ . As far as this latest broo hah hah with General McChrystal – the same guy who was knee deep in the Pat Tillman friendly fire cover-up- guess what? I don’t care! To me, it’s another example of an American empire Family Feud. Bottom line: We have NO business being in both Afghanistan or Iraq….. Ever! So, to continue this charade of who should be doing what there and who believes in what policy….. Hogwash! We are occupying two sovereign nations that never posed a threat to our security…. Until now! Now we have to continually worry about the Blow back that author Chalmers Johnson warned us about.
Another reason for crying is the apathy and or denial of so many working stiffs…… Where is their impassioned dissent? The Reagan gang succeeded ( with help from the Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2 ) in gutting most of the trade union movement in our country. Today, we are looking at perhaps 14% of all workers belonging to a union. Modern American corporate capitalism is on par with that of any Banana Republic. In my parent’s day, one bread winner was sufficient for many American families. Today, two jobs for one or both parents is the norm, because this brutal economic terrorism is so criminal and dastardly. Yet, few 9 to 5 Americans say or do anything. Many of us have just given up, succumbing to either too much alcohol, tobacco, narcotics, junk food, gadgets and games of chance…. Or all of the above.
What America needs now are bold and honest ideas…. A way out of the abyss that these 2 party corporate political scam artists have ‘ pied pipered us ‘ into. It can be accomplished:
LOCAL COMMUNITIES OPENING UP NON PROFIT MORTGAGE BANKS. Matter of fact, if only actual overhead was charged for a mortgage, the rate would be, by today’s standards, around 2 to 3 % ! With such attractive savings, community mortgage banks could even charge a 1 % fee on top of that. That 1 % fee could be placed in a fund for local services like police, fire or public works. Bottom line: Lower mortgage rates translate into more demand for single family housing, as renters would become owners. That means more construction, more jobs, more products sold……economic stimulus! Under such a system, current homeowners could refinance mortgages at lower rates. With the hundreds of dollars each month in savings, homeowners could use that extra money for retail purchases, home improvements or investments. Once again, more …. Economic stimulus! Wall Street actually would love this . Why? Well, with hundreds of dollars each month in savings, the public could invest more in stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Everyone makes out…. Except the Fat Cats at the top of this current’ for profit ‘ mortgage banking system. Oh , one more cogent point. With community owned mortgage banks, NO selling of mortgage paper. The community holds onto the paper on each mortgage….. The way it always was … Until the Wall Street sharks entered our waters.
MUNICIPALLY OWNED AND OPERATED UTILITIES. A few years back, the CEO of Florida Power and Light retired with a compensation package of…… 36 million dollars! That was almost 10 years ago. Now, these Fat Cats make even more on your power bills each month. Why do we need private corporations to juice our homes? With municipally run power plants, no CEOs or top management earning those obscene salaries and bonuses…. Or expense accounts! . No need for shareholders to earn dividends etc. Just send the juice into our homes and do it at cost. The savings would be tremendous! Can anyone out there argue with paying LESS each month? How could this be done, you ask? Well, if the government can use eminent domain to buy a home from someone so as to build a road through that property, then it can buy a utility at a fair price for the public good.
* Instead of Mr. Obama and his party sucking up to the private insurers with this current sellout called Health Care Reform….. SIMPLY HAVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OFFER MEDICARE COVERAGE FOR ANY AMERICAN WHO WANTS IT! If you want to be covered, you pay into the plan as we do now with our FICA taxes. Whatever the costs, it has to be LESS than what the private for profit companies charge, Period! If Obama and the Democrats would have approached things in this manner, he would have A) rallied tremendous public support and B) could have simply left the private sharks to fend for themselves! No need for laws and mandates etc…… Just allowing the American public to have a free choice of options. Let the privatized health insurance industry either lower rates to compete or……. Ah, who cares!?
* PUBLIC FUNDING OF ALL ELECTIONS! Now, we cannot currently achieve that goal without a constitutional amendment, a terribly long and difficult process. You see, the Supreme Court ruled in 1976 ( Buckley vs. Valeo ) that ‘ Money is free speech ‘ …. An oxymoron if ever there was one. OK, so how do we reach such a lofty and truly democratic goal? Well, how about this: DO NOT VOTE FOR ANY CANDIDATE WHO WILL NOT COMMIT TO ONLY TAKING UP TO $ 100 DOLLARS FROM ANY SINGLE DONOR….. AND WILL NOT SPEND HIS OR HER OWN MONEY….. AND WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY CORPORATE DONATIONS. We the public are the ones who vote, yes? Well, tell your elected officials, and those running in elections against them, what you intend to do. Seek out candidates who will honor such a commitment or….. Run yourselves! Just don’t acquiesce and recapitulate for the ‘ Lesser of two evils ‘ . Remember, the lesser of evil is still…….EVIL!
* DEMAND AN END TO THE OCCUPATIONS OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN…… AND THE CLOSING OF OUR 800 MILITARY BASES WORLDWIDE ( CURRENTLY IN OVER 100 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES ) Once again, refuse to vote for any politician who will not vote for the above. Join with others where you live and bombard your congressional representative’s offices with your A) bodies B) signs and C) letters, phone calls and e mails. Don’t you realize that if even 5 % of the populace in a congressional district showed up once a week, for but one hour, at those elected official’s offices…… Things would change fast! As far as our ( millionaire , in most cases ) Senators…… A monthly demonstration of tens of thousands of constituents inside and outside of their state wide offices would do the trick. To all those Tea party folks out there who are so worried about government deficits and government spending etc……. THOSE 800 PLUS BASES COST YOU HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS! THOSE OCCUPATIONS JUST COST YOU ANOTHER 30 PLUS BILLION THIS PAST WEEK! FOR WHAT? WHO PROFITS FROM ALL THIS? FOLLOW THE MONEY…… NOT THE TEA!
On July 4th, perhaps we who care should announce our own Independence Day. Forget the fireworks and rallying around the flag……. It’s our flag too, and don’t forget that. Wrapping it around misinformation and outright lies does an injustice to all our brave soldiers, from those occupying Iraq and Afghanistan straight back to the Indian Wars of the 1800s. The one common denominator in most of our government’s use of force and coercion upon indigenous peoples is the sacrifice of our young ‘ troops in the field ‘ . They are ordered to kill in the name of empire, regardless of what the propaganda mills may spew out. During Vietnam, according to historian Howard Zinn, upwards of 100,000 American military personnel deserted. The mainstream media and the history books never focused on this fact. Half a million young men resisted the draft ( imagine if we had one now ) and 200,000 were prosecuted….. Much of the remainder of those other cases had to be dropped, due to the sheer numbers involved. Mass demonstrations by regular citizens were the norm. It may have begun with the student movement, but by 1970 middle aged 9 to 5 American working folks took to the street corners and the city centers……. In peaceful dissent. One hopes that we can once again see such a movement and a mindset by the majority of we who oil the machine of this empire….. To just say Enough Is Enough!
“Now is the time for all good men ( and women ) to come to the aid of their country.”
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen. He is an activist leader and free lance columnist. Since the 2000 elections, he has written over 150 columns, many posted on various sites worldwide. Recently, he is finding a home at www.dandelionsalad.wordpress.com, or at his own blog at www.opensalon.com. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.