Tuesday, March 29, 2011


REVOLUTION NOW! Venceremos! We Will Win!
Sacramento, California
Email: peter.lopez51@yahoo.com
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F.Kennedy ~ c/s

From: CharlesM <MejiaRANGER8221@aol.com>
To: NetworkAztlan_News@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tue, March 29, 2011 9:49:51 AM


March 26, 2011
So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home.   Welcome to America in the second decade of the 21st century. An army of long-term unemployed workers is spread across the land, the human fallout from the Great Recession and long years of misguided economic policies. Optimism is in short supply. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living.  Arthur Miller, echoing the poet Archibald MacLeish, liked to say that the essence of America was its promises. That was a long time ago. Limitless greed, unrestrained corporate power and a ferocious addiction to foreign oil have led us to an era of perpetual war and economic decline. Young people today are staring at a future in which they will be less well off than their elders, a reversal of fortune that should send a shudder through everyone.  The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities.

When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young,  it has lost its way entirely.  Nearly 14 million Americans are jobless and the outlook for many of them is grim. Since there is just one job available for every five individuals looking for work, four of the five are out of luck. Instead of a land of opportunity, the U.S. is increasingly becoming a place of limited expectations. A college professor in Washington told me this week that graduates from his program were finding jobs, but they were not making very much money, certainly not enough to think about raising a family. There is plenty of economic activity in the U.S., and plenty of wealth. But like greedy children, the folks at the top are seizing virtually all the marbles. Income and wealth inequality in the U.S. have reached stages that would make the third world blush. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported,

the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.   Americans behave as if this is somehow normal or acceptable. It shouldn't be, and didn't used to be. Through much of the post-World War II era, income distribution was far more equitable, with the top 10 percent of families accounting for just a third of average income growth, and the bottom 90 percent receiving two-thirds. That seems like ancient history now.  The current maldistribution of wealth is also scandalous. In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation's wealth. The overwhelming majority, the bottom 80 percent, collectively held just 12.8 percent.  This inequality, in which an enormous segment of the population struggles while the fortunate few ride the gravy train, is a world-class recipe for social unrest. Downward mobility is an ever-shortening fuse leading to profound consequences. 

A stark example of the fundamental unfairness that is now so widespread was in The New York Times on Friday under the headline: "G.E.'s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether." Despite profits of $14.2 billion — $5.1 billion from its operations in the United States — General Electric did not have to pay any U.S. taxes last year.  As The Times's David Kocieniewski reported, "Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore."  G.E. is the nation's largest corporation. Its chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, is the leader of President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.  You can understand how ordinary workers might look at this cozy corporate-government arrangement and conclude that it is not fully committed to the best interests of working people. 

G.E. is the nation's largest corporation. Its chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, is the leader of President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. You can understand how ordinary workers might look at this cozy corporate-government arrangement and conclude that it is not fully committed to the best interests of working people.  Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous imbalances of political power. So the corporations and the very wealthy continue to do well. The employment crisis never gets addressed. The wars never end. And nation-building never gets a foothold here at home.  New ideas and new leadership have seldom been more urgently needed.   This is my last column for The New York Times after an exhilarating, nearly 18-year run. I'm off to write a book and expand my efforts on behalf of working people, the poor and others who are struggling in our society. My thanks to all the readers who have been so kind to me over the years. I can be reached going forward at bobherbert88@gmail.com.

Anonymous Wrote -
Bob, I have valued your insights and your writings here at the Times. I'll keep an eye out for you going forward. Thanks very much for your wonderful work here.  Despite its basic sadness, this re-run of Iraq, now repeating in Libya as farce, and the whole tragedy of our broken energy politics, have had their surreal moments these past few days: --the U.S.-armed Saudi army pouring across the border into neighboring Bahrain to protect the despotic "king" and scatter the Bahraini people who were peacefully demonstrating for freedom at Pearl Square just days before our military intervention to "protect freedom demonstrators" in Libya;  --our bosom friend and ally the dictator of Yemen ordering his sharpshooters posted on rooftops to massacre over 40 Yemini citizens demonstrating peacefully for freedom in front of his palace while we were running our spin-op about "protecting Libyan citizens from being massacred" by the Libyan dictator;

--Gen. Petraeus and Sec. of Defense Gates being caught by an NBC boom-microphone in their March 7th tarmac exchange: Petraeus "You going to launch some attacks on Libya or something?'', Gates "Yeah, exactly.'', back when Gates and Obama were denying any such intention;  -- British Prime Minister David Cameron, famous so far for slashing the budget and his country's social safety net, and sending hundreds of thousands more to the unemployment lines, suddenly finding lots of new money for a new war;  -- President of the Republic Sarkozy rebounding so quickly, cannily staging photo-ops with Cameron and Clinton next to his presidential color guard, dressed in uniforms harking back to the era of Napoleon, just days after being shamed for offering military support to Tunisia's dictator as he was stealing bars of gold from his central bank and fleeing the country in his private jet;

--savvy-sounding, empty-suit pundits at CNN and Fox News giving animated presentations, just like in the old days with Iraq, but now with more colorful, even wall-sized graphics, describing the latest military hardware on display over Libya, in reports again completely devoid of any information on the real nature of this war; Pres. Obama and Energy Sec. Chu, and Interior Sec. Salazar were also busy providing us with comic relief this week: -- you may recall how Pres. Obama slashed new construction credits for renewable energy projects in half this past fall (from $6 to $3 billion); -- for balance, this week he repeated his desire to triple federal credit guarantees for new nuclear plant construction (from $18.5 billion to $54.5 billion!) just as we were witnessing the disaster of multiple G.E.-designed nuclear reactors in Japan overheating, exploding, burning, and spewing out massive amounts of radioactive materials over the region (we've got some 23 of that model here in the U.S.); -- to round things out, the Obama administration this week first opened the door for 2.35 billion tons of new coal mining;

--then he signed off on 4 new deepwater oil drilling permits to multinational oil giants Shell and Exxon in Gulf of Mexico just two days before a report became public showing that the blowout preventers now in use are flawed and won't work in an emergency (like the one that resulted in the BP Gulf oil disaster). Funny how history sometimes does seem to repeat itself as farce, isn't it? KDoan Wrote -  First, I wish you the very best in your new endeavors in life. What we are experiencing in America is the same other empires fell from grace over. (a) a military that consumes the majority of taxes collected (b)the power and infuence of the few that eventually outweighs everyone else. The only difference is , multi-national corporations then did not have the ability to transfer wealth at the press of a botton. As in the case of G.E. X Pres, Ike, said,
beware of the military industrial complex. Well today it's beware of multi-national energy companies conbined with the military to help each other. Simple, oil company exploits, military sends poor inter-city kid to fight war. At the end of the day, no one really knows whats it's about, or for the life of me can anyone tell me how long and how much money the united states has spent in the middle east, now in africa. Does anyone really keep account. Maybe it's what Murdock wanted in the United States, a tabloid society, like in England. Then, should we blame ourselves, we make it more important to concern ourselves with Kobe's or JayZ, than the issues on hand. Former IRS Staffer Wrote -  In any given year at least 59% of US corporations paid no federal income tax liability for 1998 to 2009 (the years studied).
That statistic includes corporations of varied sizes.Nearly one quarter of large US corporations don't pay any federal income tax at least half of the time. So how do so many corporation escape taxation? Deductions and credits. Corporations wipe out their tax liability by using tax credits or net operating losses (NOLs) from excess deductions. NOLs allow a company to deduct losses generated in previous years in a current year. In contrast, individuals, unless reporting business losses on their personal returns, are not allowed to carry forward federal income tax losses. In other words, if a company has a good year, it can offset taxable income from losses it faced in a bad year. If an individual has a bad year, the loss is wiped clean.
Corporate tax issues have been on the political agenda even before the report was released. Amid rising profits for companies and rising costs to taxpayers, Senator McCain have vowed to close corporate tax loopholes.  Scorpio Wrote -  re: "When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare..."

This was foreseen by many as the inevitable result of what President Eisenhower warned us was "the total influence – economic, political, even spiritual" of what he termed "the military-industrial complex".  As a Pulitzer Prize winning writer sadly (and correctly) foresaw: "America is going to become a mega-banana republic where the army will have more and more importance in Americans' lives. It will be an ever greater and greater overlay on the American system. And before it is all over, democracy, noble and delicate as it is, may give way. My long experience with human nature - I'm 80 years old now - suggests that it is possible that fascism, not democracy, is the natural state. Indeed, democracy is the special condition - a condition we will be called upon to defend in the coming years. That will be enormously difficult because the combination of the corporation, the military and the complete investiture of the flag with mass spectator sports has set up a pre-fascistic atmosphere in America already."
-Norman Mailer, 'Gaining an Empire, Losing Democracy?'
Chas Simmons Wrote -  What I find particularly fearful is the sizable fraction of Americans who find the outrages Herbert describes as not merely "normal and acceptable", but correct and just. Millions of our countrymen now call any effort of the government -- except, perhaps, those that benefit themselves -- as evil "socialism" or "statism". Whatever result the "free" market produces is valid and right, and any effort to change it is nothing more than "theft". In reality, many of these "free market" results have been skewed by pro-corporate laws and government policies, but few of these "libertarians" look closely enough to see that.
It is not merely that these people vote against decent politicians. Their presence also provides a cadre of minions to carry out the policies of the corporations that produce these results. Suppose we actually got some real liberals into high office, and they passed laws that would force GE, for example, to pay their share of the taxes. The company's efforts to resist, even by breaking those laws,
will be aided by the large availability of middle-level employees who will help cheat not merely for the money, but in some way, actually thinking that helping the wealthy evade their civil duties is just in the eyes of God.
Such voluntary support of elitist policies is the result of decades of extreme right-wing propaganda. Just notice one example: these folk have so succeeded in changing the meaning of the word 'elitist' that many Americans will object to the correct way I used it in the last sentence. To them, 'elitism' no longer means policies that serve the elite, it now refers to attempts to base one's reasoning on facts and educated understanding. "There you go again", would exclaim President Reagan when any journalist tried to do that in his presence. Reagan certainly deserves much of the blame for the fix we find ourselves in.It's good that we still have some responsible journalists and writers like Bob Herbert who fight against the forces of elitism (correctly defined). But will they win?
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