Although it’s difficult to remember those days eight years ago when Democrats seemed to represent something idealistic and hopeful and brave, let’s take a moment and try to recall the stand Barack Obama once took against lobbyists. Those were the days when the nation was learning that George W. Bush’s Washington was, essentially, just a big playground for those lobbyists and that every government operation had been opened to the power of money. Righteous disgust filled the air. “Special interests” were much denounced. And a certain inspiring senator from Illinois promised that, should he be elected president, his administration would contain no lobbyists at all. The revolving door between government and K Street, he assured us, would turn no more. Instead, the nation got a lesson in all the other ways that “special interests” can get what they want — like simple class solidarity between the Ivy Leaguers who advise the president and the Ivy Leaguers who sell derivative securities to unsuspecting foreigners. As that inspiring young president filled his administration with Wall Street personnel, we learned that the revolving door still works, even if the people passing through it aren’t registered lobbyists. But whatever became of lobbying itself, which once seemed to exemplify
Updates on injustice of Argentina's default settlement, on Pope Francis's rejection of "exploiters," and on stagnating real median incomes in US. Major discussions of (1) what Sanders's support proves about Occupy Wall Street, and (2) economics of fascism.
One of the charms of the future is its powerful element of unpredictability, its ability to ambush us in lovely ways or bite us unexpectedly in the ass. Most of the futures I imagined as a boy have, for instance, come up deeply short, or else I would now be flying my individual jet pack through the spired cityscape of New York and vacationing on the moon. And who, honestly, could have imagined the Internet, no less social media and cyberspace (unless, of course, you had readWilliam Gibson’s novel Neuromancer 30 years ago)? Who could have dreamed that a single country’s intelligence outfits would be able to listen in on or otherwise intercept and review not just the conversations and messages of its own citizens — imagine the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century — but those of just about anyone on the planet, from peasants in the backlands of Pakistan to at least 35 leaders of major and minor countries around the world? This is, of course, our dystopian present, based on technological breakthroughs that even sci-fi writers somehow didn’t imagine. And who thought that the Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street were coming down the pike or, for
The angriest and most pessimistic people in America aren’t the hipster protesters who flitted in and out of Occupy Wall Street. They aren’t the hashtavists of #BlackLivesMatter. They aren’t the remnants of the American labor movement or the savvy young dreamers who confront politicians with their American accents and un-American legal status. The angriest and most pessimistic people in America are the people we used to call Middle Americans. Middle-class and middle-aged; not rich and not poor; people who are irked when asked to press 1 for English, and who wonder howwhite male became an accusation rather than a description. Read
Laquan McDonald Killing: Protest, Yes, But Political Punishment Is Needed
Prosecuting Egregious Police Crimes: When the Law Is Out of Order
The indictment last week of Chicago Policer Jason Van Dyke on first-degree-murder charges for shooting to death 17-year-old Laquan McDonald on Oct. 20 last year has ignited a renewed groundswell of grassroots protest against police brutality and the double standard of justice that favors rogue cops when prosecuting such cases. Leid Stories in a commentary explains why vigorous protest not only is appropriate, it should include organized political punishment—of the Democratic Party in particular.
Jury selection begins today in Baltimore City Circuit Court in the trial of Officer William Porter, the first of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, 26, who died on April 19, a week after suffering traumatic injuries while being transported to a stationhouse in a police van. “Attorney at War” Alton H. Maddox Jr., who has litigated several precedent-setting police-brutality cases in New York, discusses key issues with the prosecution of Porter and Gray’s other alleged killers.
Violence has become the problem of the 21st century. This claim is indebted to W. E. B. Dubois’ much quoted notion that “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of color line.” For Du Bois, racism was one of the most pressing problems of the time and could not be understood outside of the gross inequities of wealth, power, opportunity and access. What he did not anticipate was the degree to which the violent character of racism would come to define the 21st century on a national and global level. What he described as a ruthless ideology and attitude of racist hostility would later mutate in the new millennium into a raw display of police brutality and state terrorism, camouflaged under the guise of an alleged post-racial society. Read
A worldwide revolution is about to begin. It is too early to tell whether it will be sudden and painfully crushing or gradual and peaceful, but it will come. It will be a battle between the dispossessed and the very rich. We saw one of the early signs in the US with the Wall Street protests. Since then the societal uneasiness fueled by a disparity between wealth and opportunity that sparked that protest has continued to grow in America. We also see it now throughout the world in the restiveness of ISIS and other such religiously fanatical groups. Recently we are seeing it in the Middle Eastern and African migration pressures. Millions of people are angry. They have been cut out of the system. Read
Liberalism’s Death Bell Tolls, Part 3: J’accuse la gauche liberale Richard Gale and Gary Null Progressive Radio Network, March 6, 2013 It is past the time for liberalism to continue to function without a human face. It is time for it to stand accused alongside the conservative and religious right as an ideology dedicated to disaster capitalism, ecological demolition, environmental collapse and unending warfare. Progressive ideals and values, which today are nowhere to be found in our halls of power, need to frame the discussion for solutions. These values will not be found in corporate America, Wall Street, and Washington DC. It is a gross perversion to associate Obama with anything that is vaguely
As the sun set on the Occupy Seattle encampment in December 2011, the question “What next?” hung in the air, as it did over Zuccotti Park in New York City. The tents were gone, our spirits were dampened, but an awakened sense of empowerment prevailed. The movement had given voice to a widespread fury at big business and a recognition of the gaping class divide. Key to Occupy’s success were the thousands of young people who had helped elect President Obama and had completed their own first steps toward achieving the American Dream, only to see their college degrees translate into crushing student debt and poverty wages. Inside and outside the encampments, discussions about the moral bankruptcy of Wall Street began to evolve into questions about the viability of capitalism itself. A revived search for an alternative had begun. Socialism has been declared dead many times. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ensuing collapse of the “communist” regimes in Eastern Europe, the global capitalist elite launched an unprecedented ideological offensive. The obituary was written not only for socialism, but for the basic ideas of collective struggle by the working class. Read