"The wealthy, not only by private fraud but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the people some part of their daily living. Therefore, when I consider and weigh in my mind these commonwealths which nowadays do flourish, I perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men in procuring their own commodities under the name and authority of the commonwealth.

They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely without fear of losing that which they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labor of the people for as little money and effort as possible."

Thomas More, Utopia

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Paul Street answers a silly question

At a recent debate here in Chicago with John Wilson, a former student of Barack Obama at the University of Chicago Law school, left historian Paul Street explored the question of whether or not Obama is actually progressive:

Is Barack Obama a progressive? John Wilson says "yes," I say "no." But how much does the question really matter at the end of the day? Obama wasn't selected to head the United Way or the White Sox. He's chief executive of the American Empire. He is a politician above all - one who was selected to sit atop and, I think, to re-brand what the left-liberal political scientist Sheldon Wolin rightly calls "Democracy, Incorporated."

Every four years millions of American voters are induced to put their political hats on, to hope a bit, and then to go back to sleep. To hope that a savior or at least a more effective manager can be installed in the White House to raise wages, roll back war and militarism, provide universal and adequate health care, rebuild infrastructure, fix the environmental crisis, reduce inequality, and generally make life more livable.
-the rest...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Future

In tomorrow's America, the "free-trade" Nirvana in which the republic's last native industry has finally bitten the dust (along with the last unionized workforce) and where the concept of value added labor and the production of things of public utility are as passe as the dodo bird one cannot but marvel at the inextinguishable American ingenuity that manages to bubble to surface and exploit the silver lining in bad situation:

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Just a reminder

Do read Ladypoverty...

In the event you'd forgotten...

Given for what passes for journalism in the US you can be forgiven. In any event there's a place in the world where the population reacts to the usurpation of their rights with more than a shrug of the shoulders and a yawn [sound like someplace familiar?]. Hondurans and those throughout the region who support them in their struggle against the US-backed coup continue to demonstrate what fighting for democracy actually looks like.

[Hat tip to American Leftist]

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Flailing, Failing, and Wailing

It's not easy these uphill battles. I'm certainly not the only one around trying to keep a positive outlook in the face of overwhelming odds but there are times (given how atomized we are) where you begin to wonder. Does anyone else notice how fucked we are? I'm not just talking about the mindless droning one finds in the mainstream media since mass distraction is its primary function. No, I'm referring to those whom I encounter during the course of a day, a week, over the last 9 months. Few seem to have a fucking clue that the party of credit-fueled mass consumerism is over. I cannot bear to count the number of conversations I've had with people in which they conclude that "recovery is around the corner" or "things will turn around". Really? Turn around to what? Can a return to the previous status quo of "free trade" madness in which the rapid deindustrialization of the US (and thus living-wage jobs) coupled with massive trade deficits with trade rivals continue unabated be really considered a "recovery" by thinking people? Recovery is the return to consumerism as 70% of GDP while producing virtually nothing of social utility? I'm stumped.

The one great "innovation" of the last thirty years, essentially the financialization of the US economy, leading directly to the unregulated alphabet soup derivative market (MBS, CDS, SIV...) has been revealed in all of its naked glory as a world-encompassing fraud while its engineers are bailed out and STILL motherfuckers believe "recovery" is just around the corner!

None grasp that their new hero in the White House works tirelessly to ensure that the war criminals of the Bush administration who made a mockery of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the UN Charter in route to looting Iraq at the cost of over a million lives as well as tens of thousands more in decimated Afghanistan never stand before a grand jury. It's the apathy I'm having trouble dealing with these days though given the fact that Americans are perhaps the most de-politicized population in the world I shouldn't be surprised and yet there it is. The bastards seem to be winning and I don't see anywhere near enough people irritated enough to give a damn much less take collective action against the fact. About those bastards who rule us Joe Bageant had this to say...

Monday, August 03, 2009

Choices, Choices

What's the O-Bomb gonna do? Folks are hurting everywhere but folks aren't all the same you see. On the one hand are millions of Americans who have been or soon will be tossed out of their places of residence but on the other hand there's the folks who rule the roost and now find themselves short of cash. Oh the agony of command!