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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/30/11

The Summer of our Discontent

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Americans are facing their summer of discontent - a triple crisis of economic stress,  climatic terror, and unresponsive politicians.  This summer a flood of foreclosures has failed to ebb; the number of homeless has increased; a record number of Americans have applied for food stamps; and our unemployment rate is anyone's guess.

Thousands of middle class Americans are facing foreclosures, drowning in underwater mortgages, and/or  suffering from unemployment; our politicians respond by offering more tax breaks to corporate polluters, out-sourcers, and tax evaders.  More corporate welfare and entitlements  - that's the ticket!  How could corruption  be avoided when our politicians must almost necessarily accept corporate bribes (aka campaign donations) if they are going to manage effective national election campaigns costing millions of dollars now?   Perhaps worse than their corruption is our political leadership's lack of both the vision and the motivation to initiate programs which could wean us from our fossil fuel addiction and/or to prioritize the development of sustainable energy sources. 

Our democracy is in obvious crisis when our politicians ignore a clear majority of Americans who want our troops home from Afghanistan.  It seems past the obvious that our politicians don't answer to us when the vast majority of Americans would prefer higher taxes levied on the wealthy and on corporations:
   "Several polls ask people if taxes should be increased on people who make more than $250,000. Polls show substantial majorities support the idea. We found majorities of 72 percent, 64 percent, and 59 percent. (Those are from April polls by ABC News/Washington Post, McClatchy-Marist, and USA Today/Gallup, respectively.) On whether corporations pay enough in taxes, Gallup found that 67 percent said they pay too little. A CBS News/New York Times  poll found that 62 percent favored increasing taxes before Medicare benefits are cut."

So how have the Supreme Slugs (aka the Supreme Court) responded to the corruption of our political system?  By opening the floodgates to more corruption via its recent Citizens United vs. the FEC!  Is it any wonder then that our politicians ignore their constituents?  Why shouldn't our politicians ignore us when our corporate media was allowed to preselect our slate of candidates in 2008 and a big private corporation now counts our votes? 

On top of America's current economic chaos and insecurity, a massive heat wave, tornadoes, wildfires, destructive hailstorms, and floods will
soon and inevitably mean a sharp increase in the cost of groceries, insurance rates, and gasoline.  In the next few decades I expect the cost of our oil addiction will continue to exact steeper and steeper costs, not all of them economic and environmental, as the effects of climate change intensify. My operating theory leaves me convinced that violence will be inevitable - even if we remain passive, sit  on our hands within our homes  and avoid activism of any kind.

When people become desperate and their children go hungry I expect that violence will become more frequent - if sporadic and unpredictable. Because frightened desperate people will be reduced to fighting over crumbs, I expect racial violence. I have noticed that fierce competition over a scarce resource often induces some people to eliminate their competition by any means necessary, which, IMO, explains various forms of discrimination. Perhaps racism and discrimination are not  specifically American traits, but I think our particularly ruthless  unregulated system  explains why, for instance, the U.S. has been particularly slow among western countries to repeal its sodomy laws.

Environmentalists and scientists tell us that droughts, tornadoes, and floods can only increase in severity as mother nature's temper tantrums become ever more violent and erratic. I expect migration from the gulf states, from areas where drought has become chronic, and from tornado alley, and I don't know how hospitably climate migrants will be received elsewhere. 

Given the American triple crises of climate change, democratic system failure and economic insecurity, I don't think we Americans can afford passivity if we are: 1.)to escape corporate serfdom - or even corporate slavery in our already over-populated prison system.  2.) to save the worlds' ecosystems from biocide (the extinction of all life on this planet).

Don't get me wrong. I do NOT mean to advocate in favor of violence. I
know that violence will victimize the poor, the minority, the old, and the very young first and worst. I believe local control of our economic and political systems could provide the best means of resolving our political, economic, and environmental crises TO MINIMIZE what I perceive as otherwise inevitable violence. The tactics I advocate are 1.) boycotting all big corporations; 2.)buying from locally owned stores, or buying second-hand; 3.)banking with locally owned credit unions. 4.) I also advocate that the bravest among us refuse to pay our federal taxes. 
This last tactic I'll admit will only work if large numbers of us engage in
a tax protest. Large numbers of Americans who refused to pay taxes
would mean prosecuting us all would become an almost insurmountable difficulty. We Americans could regain our freedom by simply refusing to participate in the transnational corporate economy.

If we Americans also localized our political systems, the average American citizen could enjoy many immediate benefits; among others we could enjoy peace dividends by ending the futile and costly Drug War and the middle east Resource Wars.   Corporate personhood could be nullified; the estimated 1000+ U.S. military bases would not be necessary; the Prison Industrial Complex could be put out of business, eliminating the need to imprison more and more of our fellow citizens for the sake of corporate profit; free trade agreements with countries which have  poor records of labor standards, human rights violations and/or poor environmental regulations could also be nullified.  States or bio-regions could impose strong environmental standards and ensure that the media is legally defined as a national resource which must do business as non-profits.  To ensure that our nation-states don't carry
the virus of political corruption, new laws could specify that no
candidate could accept campaign donations - not from individuals -
much less PACs.  Every politician could be limited to an equal amount
of public funds.   I admit that this "solution" to our federal system's political corruption has the potential of a violent reaction on the part of our present government - even if a secession movement were organized around pacifist ideals employing Gandhian methods.  I do not have a crystal ball. I can only hope that the ideal of progressive states' rights movement could move so swiftly from one state to the next, that our federal government couldn't respond effectively given the fact that the middle east war front is over-extended now.
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I am a progressive,& an Oregon Progressive Party member who has become convinced we Americans have only ONE 2 faced War Party which typically offers us the choice of two mediocre candidates from which to choose. We Americans who supposedly (more...)

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