May 31, 2012

Obama, Wilson, and the Fascist State

I am sorry that Joel Tyner could not call in, but we finally got to play some of Chris Hedges, recorded at Bard College. Each time I listen to him, I understand more of what he is saying to the people of America. The usurpation of democracy by the wealthy and powerful has been a long time coming, and Hedges loves talking about President Wilson and the First World War.

What I learned in history class about Wilson has slowly unravelled over the decades. He is always presented as an "idealist" who loved peace but was forced into war. The reality is that Wilson talked incessantly about peace before he was elected, but then pushed the US into war for the benefit of Wall Street. His fascist laws about those speaking out against the war were a new low for freedom of speech in America and resulted in hundreds of people locked up for expressing their views in public. He also fought child labor reforms and the Suffrage movement.

Hedges makes the argument that Obama will harm this country much like Wilson did. A Democrat advocating for war, the destruction of labor rights, and the protection of Wall Street can do much more damage than a Republican with the same views. I believe that if Obama is elected again, he will finally destroy Social Security, giving a bonanza to his Wall Street funders. Bush tried to do this but was opposed by too many Democrats. The beauty for Wall Street of owning a Democratic president is that there will be no resistance.

With this ascendency of corporate control, our country will again risk becoming a fascist state.

May 24, 2012

Report Back From Chicago

 I was honored to be part of the Vets for Peace contingent that escorted Iraq and Afghan vets to the final stage of their Anti-NATO march. We then gathered below the stage and listened to them denounce the war, one by one, and throw their medals to the street behind.

How they struggled with what they had done in the Middle East. How they fought to recover their basic humanity. They denounced the patriotic lies that they had been taught. One said simply, "I didn't do my homework."

Some ended in fury, grabbing at the medals pinned to their chests and throwing them as far as they could. The most moving of all, however, were those who said their were sorry for what they had done. Many in the audience simply cried through these parts, especially those older vets who have spent a lifetime seeking forgiveness. Killing another removes one from the human race, and many war vets spend their lives trying recover. That is the infinite sadness of war; it is heartbreaking.

I have included a few shots of Amy Goodman, on stage and walking with the young vets. She was the only journalist whom they trusted to be with them the whole way, right up to the stage at the end. Of course, Jesse Jackson was also there, having walked with them too.

I must say that Amy is also the only nationally known American journalist whom I trust. Her show, Democracy Now!, is an inspiration to anyone trying to report what is really happening in the empire.

May 17, 2012

The story of the the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a troubling one. Our guest, Brendan Fischer, walked us through the process corporations use in buying influence and writing legislation.

But is it ALEC and the Republican Party that is to blame for our loss of representational democracy? Where is the media when it comes to legislation written by ALEC? Is one to believe that only one party is in on the take? There must be many organizations like ALEC; it is just a piece of the puzzle.

Our current president is one of the most corrupted politicians that has ever held that office. No organization like ALEC is behind his cynical betrayal of the American worker to Wall Street interests. Exposing Obama as a sham is the only way to liberate ourselves from the two party, corporate grip on our democracy. How the corporations manipulate politicians is interesting enough. However, we need a way to finally free ourselves from this corrupt system.

May 10, 2012

Listening to Jo Salas describe the playback requests made by the Palestinian children of Jenin was itself a moving experience. I could see the children in the audience. I could imagine their lives being played out before them by the actors. Their suffering was suddenly real to me, and I could see that the telling of the story was affecting Jo as well.

It is hard to open yourself up to the suffering that you read about in occupied Palestine. So many robbed of their homes, so many waiting in the checkpoint lines, so many young people in prison. But understanding them through their stories somehow restores one's faith in all humanity. Palestine will one day be free.

May 3, 2012

We interviewed Laurie Arbeiter this week and had a little difficulty describing all the aspects of the  May 26 event. It is certainly an ambitious walk, twenty two miles. I would have liked to get into the use of the term human rights. Are they legal rights that have been fought over and won in the past? Are they rights that each one of us can demand that others recognize? Too bad we only had about 15 minutes.

Here is the event description:

Saturday, May 26 from 8:00 am to 11 pm
The Village Green
12 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY 12498
Twenty two mile walk for Human Rights and Social & Economic Justice. Wall Street to Occupy Main Street in Catskill, NY. A collaboration between Masters on Main Street and Occupy With Art. The Walk will raise money for the WGXC Community Radio & Greene County Council on the Arts. Participants will gather pledges for every mile they walk. See us off in Woodstock at 8:00 am, meet us in Saugerties, greet us at the finish, or join us for a Community Dinner in Catskill, NY at 7:00 pm. Walk or Pledge...every step we take together counts.

Facebook event page: OCCUPY THE LANDSCAPE
917 915-6115