Comments of the Week: Getting Down to Business
The national mood is charged with tension and anticipation, and this latest roundup of notable and quotable comments certainly picked up on it.
But instead of just analyzing what’s not working — which, it should be said, is useful in and of itself — some contributors to Truthdig’s comment boards offered ideas and solutions.
We’ll kick off this week’s review with one of the latter kind, posted in helpful list format by Wolfenotes as a response to this report about Jill Stein’s nomination speech at last weekend’s Green Party convention in Houston:
Outstanding, in content, delivery, message and political strategy.
I especially like the idea of declaring a climate emergency, ban on new fossil, and Green New Deal jobs program, with 20 million jobs created by the public sector
I realize that Stein can’t address everything, but I would add the following to the policy agenda (which I didn’t hear) and recommend that messages be woven into the political delivery:
1) Economic policy – break up the banks, restore Glass-[Steagall], and enforce anti-trust laws
2) money out of politics – public campaign finance, repeal Citizens United, end corporate personhood
3) develop an urban policy – this is the overarching umbrella and bridge to a truth and justice commission, reparations, public education, housing, environmental justice, transportation and jobs agendas
4) national transportation policy – inter-city rail; urban trolleys, bicycles, electric vehicles – no more roads
5) wealth tax – redistribute wealth from the 1% downward to the bottom 50%
6) Wall Street financial transaction tax – restore finance to supporting the real economy
7) Dismantle empire – close the 700+ foreign military bases, reinvest all that money in US community development
8) Restore a public housing policy – stop foreclosures – squatters Homesteading Act for vacant properties – end homelessness
9) Dismantle NSA and Homeland Security
10) End the militarization of local police, dismantle SWAT, et al as part of termination of “broken windows” policy
11) Legalization of pot and other drugs – end the drug war.
12) restore the fairness doctrine – break up the corporate media
13) Follow [Bruce] Dixon’s strategic recommendations on party building
Good with the details.
Next comes MrRedwoodGuy, cutting to the chase with an unsparing take on American foreign policy. This one appeared under a report about the U.S.’ rebooted bombing campaign in Libya:
Americans have accepted and embraced unlimited never ending war on brown populations anywhere in world. There is no questioning, no accountability, no concern for these populations. Killing these people is business as usual.
The two political conventions confirmed to the public that “the USA is the greatest nation on earth” and therefore a carte blanche can be given to whomever is in charge of the government to do as they will. Interesting, isn’t it?
The laughable media doesn’t even raise an eyebrow when new target countries are added to the bombing lists. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, who cares? Americans can’t even find these odd places on a map.
To get the population to this level of ambivalence has been a major achievement in propaganda.
We’ll let that one sink in while we turn to another systemic critique, this time of the U.S. prison-industrial complex, by Charlotte Ruse. The inciting article was Alexander Reed Kelly’s latest Truthdigger of the Week piece.
Warehousing people in prison is an easy and profitable way of dealing with complex sociological issues. So we dump the “lumpen proletariat:” drug dealers, drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally unstable, physically abused, prostitutes, petty nonviolent criminals, etc…into prison. It costs more than $30,000 a year to incarcerate each inmate. And we are warehousing more than two million men and women. The private prison industry, houses close to 20 percent of federal inmates and makes $5 billion a year.
“Corporations, in partnership with the United States government, are forcing prisoners to work for wages as low as .25 and $1.15 per hour. It’s called “insourcing.” If you are a CEO or a stockholder in one of these companies it’s great! You get your products made by prison slaves for practically nothing, or you get your products made in third world countries for practically nothing—either way, you reap the profits.”
The government allows private corporations to further exploit victims, who represent the manifestation of a dysfunctional culture, resulting from the effects of predatory capitalism. NOW THAT’S A DOUBLE WHAMMY!
IT CERTAINLY IS — and we like the enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, Cloudchopper was onto some patterns in the ways the American political system operates — more specifically, how presidents are picked and backed. This one appeared under an Ear to the Ground item about the emergence of the “crazy Trump” trope in the media last week:
That’s a perfect example of how America elects presidents – at least for the last several decades.
After vetting various people very early the real rulers pick those they want to see on top. Others can join in but are quickly eliminated. Then the endless show of polls and propaganda begins which keeps on lasting longer and longer.
Trump did mess up a bit this time around. It was supposed to be Jeb and Hillary with Hillary to win from the get go. Then the media had fun and made lots of money on Trump. Their ratings soared. Trump’s ratings went up as well instead of down.
Bernie Sanders was easily eliminated because he was part of the entire game and said so in the beginning. Trump’s ego did not allow him to go over to the other side quite so willingly, so now the corporate media – helped by the president himself – have to make sure that no mistake happens and that he might actually win. Whatever the media covers they always use the same buzz words. Changing channels makes no difference any more. All are on the same page.
It’s Hillary, Hillary, full steam ahead.
Finally, a bit of good news. Though commenters posted insightful concerns about the Olympics, how the mass media makes heroes, and other related threads, the story of Syrian refugee and Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini struck some, like Megan Crawford, as hopeful:
She is a beautiful example of someone living up to their name. The name Yusra comes from “in adversity comes yusra. . .” — a kind of divinely given peace and strength, a blessing of sorts. Even in scary moments or in times of suffering, God gives “yusra” to get you through.
We’ll take it. More comments on comments next week.
–Posted by Kasia AndersonWait, before you go…
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