Letters 11-23-11

  • Max R.'s picture
    Max R.
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Here are some of the thoughtful and passionate letters you sent us recently. Feel free to comment on any of these letters below. If you wrote one of these and want to take credit, don't be shy - we're all friends here!

Emily writes:

Why is it that we don’t see many Christian fundamentalists or Tea Partiers taking part in the 99% Movement? Because of an alliance that began in the 70s, which began when corporations wanted more voice and religious Americans needed more cash. The result was the “Moral Majority” and it explains why religious right wingers, who claim to be moral and pro-family, vote with Tea Partiers against help for families and the middle class – after all, we can’t afford all that and letting corporations get away with not paying taxes.

The tolerance we’ve shown toward the Religious Right has only encouraged them to become more extreme. Their emergence as the Tea Party and continued access to corporate coffers has corrupted our democracy by depriving us of our rights. Americans now work more and have less vacation and sick leave than workers in most industrialized countries. Seniors and the poor are constantly facing cuts, abortions are more difficult to get and the gap between rich and poor, by which we once judged the stability of “third-world” nations, is now higher in the US than any other industrialized country.

At the same time, corporations have become scary-powerful. The Supreme Court’s bizarre Citizens United decision (thanks to a vote by five Supreme Court Justices – all appointed by Republican presidents), the sky’s the limit when it comes to big business (now considered people) heaving money into election campaigns.

Republicans fight on other fronts to allow their benefactors to influence elections. Consumer advocacy group Public Citizen noted last year the number of lobbyists fighting financial reform outnumbered those representing pro-consumer reforms 11 to 1. Other strategies involve fighting against measures that would end corporate tax havens and subsidies, close tax loopholes and promote environmental regulation. At the same time they rally against any bills that would help union workers.

Luckily the number of fed-up people has grown about as fast as a CEO’s annual bonus and we now have the power to put a stop to the corporate influence that has infested our politics. But without all the facts we can’t make proper voting decisions. Since six mega-corporations now control much of our prime time news flow (see Who Owns the Media?), mainstream media hasn’t been too accurate in covering a movement striving to reign in the power of corporations.

And it’s not just FOX. The rest of corporate media and local network affiliates minimize the corporate accountability message by painting the 99% Movement in socially unpalatable terms, utilizing words like “chaotic,” “anarchistic” and having “no common purpose,” although all you have to do is glance at the sea of signs to notice that the message is calling on corporations to pay their taxes and take responsibility for the environment.

Other ways the message is diminished is by lowballing. Many local news channels claimed NYC had only a 1,500-2,000 protesters, while non-corporate news sources gave figures of over 20,000.

Then there’s unabashed neglect. The night of the Oakland fiasco, ABC first ran a story about Bernie Madoff’s wife. Only after did they show footage of tear gas flashing through a rose-colored fog, a symphony of yells, shouts, cries and screams in accompaniment. ABC punctuated its coverage by citing an unidentified poll showing the Movement’s “unpopularity.” A fact check, however, revealed the opposite.

A Fairness and Accuracy in Media report noted that during the initial protests only CNN briefly mentioned it. On his TV show (9/21/11), Keith Olberman said: “So five days … protesting corporate control of the economy, and you haven't heard a word about it on the news?” He later remarked, "If that's a Tea Party protest in front of Wall Street ... it's the lead story on every network newscast."

That’s why conservatives calling the media liberal is like Madoff calling his investors savvy. To get the whole story on the corporate responsibility movement, supplement your news with non-corporate sources like AlterNet, truthout, OpEdNews, NPR or foreign news.

Independent sites like People for the American Way or OpenSecrets.org will also help you keep an eye on the religious right, Tea Partiers, Republicans and their big corporate sponsors. This is not to say Democrats aren’t also corrupted by the country-sized wallets of big business, but when faced with a choice between helping corporations or the middle class, you’ll find that it’s Republicans who typically vote against the middle class.

This country was not founded of, by and for the corporations. Since religious right wingers/Tea Partiers get their power in large part through corporate campaign financing of right wing legislators, allying ourselves with the 99% by rolling back corporate political influence as well as helping to restore the Bush-era tax cuts to big business (that helped thrust our economy into the dumps) will help bring back prosperity to the middle class.

John writes:

As much as reasonable individuals may not wish it to be so, the history of social progress has been written in blood.

That, as we have amply witnessed, is not changed because this is the 21st century, or depending upon where we live.

The police are the sworn guardians of the prevailing social order ─ that is their function, and those "in power" will use them to deter or suppress any willful human manifestation of an attempt to alter that status quo through popular compulsion ─ the force of numbers of people on the streets.

This we know is the paradigm everywhere. We've seen it in country after country in our own lifetime, and we are seeing it here. There's nothing new in this dynamic. It is what it is, and we should just take it as a given, a starting point, not an end to effort and struggle.

Progress is an overriding of what is no longer acceptable, and the degree and speed of its success depends on a critical mass of individuals who have reached the point where the status quo cannot be endured any further without challenge.

This is the crucible of change, and perhaps it is more difficult for Americans than for anyone else because our nation is as diffuse geographically and diverse in its perspectives as it is. Indeed, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to hammer out the "unum" from the "pluribus."

But the election of 2008 provided evidence that a massive popular groundswell can propel to the heights of political power a candidate nominally representing popular aspirations for change. That's a lesson none of us should forget or dismiss.

To evolve our society we must evolve ourselves and that is how that social evolution is accomplished. If the status quo thrives because of popular neglect, then that should make us realize that social/political engagement is the antidote. And that can only occur at the level of the individual and communities of individuals.

It takes years of personal effort to convert an individual from a high school grad into a college grad. It is a strenuous and worthwhile effort requiring time, and so is the effort to convert someone from being a passive, apolitical individual into an engaged political agent and force for change.

We have to understand, be patient and continue to make efforts that incrementally make the difference. We know that brute force is not an option, whether for change or for the status quo.

Sean writes:

In addition to the words below of American patriot and hero Bernie Sanders* it needs to be emphasized over and over (just like the false propaganda promoted on the hundreds of local and cable NewsCorp channels, CNN channels, ABC channels, Clear Water Radio channels and magazine/newspapers owned by those multi-nationals) that:

1: If the "donation" or tax cap of $106,400 was removed on social security allowing the rich above that amount to pay into SS to be taxed as well (after all they receive SS) it would be solvent forever and I'm not admitting it's in immediate trouble to begin with but they are so they need to pay their share.

2: The "poison pill" language that was put into Bush's medicare prescription plan needs to be removed so that we can start negotiating discount prices for the huge volumes of drugs we put under that mega plan instead of buying them at retail (obviously the Republicans aren't the fantastic businessmen they always claim to be or they are extremely corrupt by putting this in). Inept or corrupt great choices in Republicans or Dems.

3: We need to get rid of the "poison pill" language put in to destroy the post office by requiring to pay health care costs into their retirement plan for employees that aren't even born yet again a business decision that would bankrupt ANY business. Ineptitude or corruption.

Democrats need to get MESSAGING out there in the public regarding these subjects as well as pushing hard to change to change them. We need to show that the Republicans are INEPT AND CORRUPT and we are not. Otherwise we will be seen as the same.

Thank you in advance for you time and get on the page with the people or lose our support and respect.

[Ed. note -- *"The deficit was caused by two wars not paid for, huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country, and a recession as a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And if those are the causes of the deficit and the national debt I will be damned if we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children, and the poor. That's wrong."]

Gayle writes:

Two things I never hear mentioned:

The rich have had their tax cuts for years. They say that they can hire more people if they keep the tax cuts and even get more. If that were true, why hasn't it made that difference all the years they have had them. Why did the economy slow and unemployment rise?

The most important reason I can see is SALARIES FOR THE MIDDLE AND LOWER CLASS ARE TOO LOW!! And salaries and bonuses for the top are waaaaaaay TOO HIGH.

People can't live on what they are paid. The price of everything is jacked up and it takes two working people to be able to live.

Trickle down, my eye. It's been suck up, and suck up, and suck up some more. And all that nonsense about shareholders and company value is nutz. It's all part of the Wall Street Game. The market is a casino, played by millionaires. And by the way, CNBC has got to be held at least partly responsible. Their cheer-leading stance and personality cult drivel is stupid.

It's greed, my friends.

Joseph writes:

It is fairly clear that unpaid for military actions is one of the most significant budget buster. Instead of a "Balanced Budget Amendment" why not offer an alternate amendment? An "amendment" that kicks in when ever we have Military [or even other unforeseen budget busters] action - An automatic Surtax on Gross UNADJUSTED ALL INCOME [this means including stocks, bonds, etc] above $100,000 for the time of the Budget busting action. I would guess that most of the folks who fight in these wars earn less than $100,000 thus they have paid with blood. In this way we would not have unfunded wars and the deficit would be easier to address.

Comments

Corporate Media Mischief, Part Deux

  • EmilyPaine's picture
    EmilyPaine
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More news re Tahrir Square protests in Cairo.

By the way, anybody hear anything about the Occupy protests in THIS COUNTRY lately?