Questions Media Won’t Ask Romney and Ryan

Yeah Baby!

Related post. –President Obama, Why Should I Really Vote FOR You?

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I came up with a list of questions that I think media — big media, corporate media, multinational media, mentor media — should ask Romney and Ryan. But I have a feeling they won’t do it.

So, I guess the onus is on us. Let’s do it ourselves.

(Update on September 18: Especially after today’s breaking news that progressive publication Mother Jones exposed Romney’s gravely disparaging comments that 47% Americans love to live on government entitlements and don’t pay any taxes, mainstream media such as New York Times are jumping all over it, and conveniently ignoring many other issues. Hence, it’s even more important to address these issues now. The political debate is getting shifted from economy to race, etc., and while race is extremely important, this election should be primarily about the economy and the 1%. We must not let vested interests to shift the debate from the economy.)

American media’s coverage of the Republican National Convention was as usual shallow, superficial and sentimental. Just like the previous conventions I’ve seen since Reagan, corporate media didn’t provide any serious analysis on any serious subjects. Its big-name journalists and experts did not show any critical thinking at all. It was all glossing over, spinning, twisting and distorting.

Question: Why is it always that way? Answer: Either they are stupid or they’re not doing their job on purpose. I think it’s the latter because these otherwise well-dressed and articulate (and definitely well-paid) people and their [very well-paid] bosses do not want to lose their tons of ad dollars and traditional viewers that might switch channels once real debates, controversies or unpopular, unpleasant narratives are brought in. It’s like, if someone on TV presents serious research data that among ALL the developed countries, USA has the highest income inequality and also highest social and health problems because of the grotesque divide (these are all facts — look it up here), most people would not like to hear it. They have been brainwashed for decades. They would switch channels.

It’s pathetic to see how American media have totally degenerated especially since Reagan. There is no hard-hitting journalism at all! There is no real analysis that matters to real people and their real lives. The whole RNC 24/7 coverage was, just like before, done almost in a vacuum — as if, it was a fantasy world out there! I have a feeling the Democratic convention will be this way too.

I also have a feeling we’ll see another pathetic repeat of the above when time comes for the so-called presidential debate with similar hoopla and meaningless moderation. I have a feeling it’s going to be another exercise of naiveté, glossing over, window dressing and scratching the surface — with exclusion of critically important issues.

The Real Puppet Master? Is that you, Karl?

Maybe, Karl Rove and Koch Brothers, among others, are watching over these media establishments. That’s why they’re so afraid to ask the right questions!

However, if I were one of these big-name media personalities with big privilege to work with these politicians, I’d ask them some straight-shoot questions. But because I do not have that privilege and I have no other power than writing them down in this blog for my friends, readers and sympathizers — now surprisingly from many near and far corners of the world — I’m writing them down here. My hope is that you find these questions worthy of asking; and in case you are one of those privileged journalists with access to these big-name politicians, please see if you can ask some of these questions — and get some meaningful answers that everybody can understand.

So, without further ado, here’s my short wish list. I know, Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan, you are extremely important and busy. Therefore, I’ll only ask you about a handful of topics. I’ll save the others for later.

Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, either of you can answer them. Considering you are planning to be commanders in charge of not just America, but de facto of the world, consider people like me all over the world are eagerly waiting for your honest, thoughtful and straightforward answers. Don’t haze it. Don’t faze it.

Thank you for your time, Honorable Sirs.

This is Reaganomics. It never worked for us. It never will.

Question 1. Trickle-down economic policies have failed us the middle majority, working people. Giving tons of money and power to the rich at the top of the pyramid didn’t work. It has caused enormous income inequality, and the middle class has suffered greatly. What is your plan to change the course of our economic policy and actions?

Question 2. You propose more tax cuts for the rich — individuals and corporations. And, in fact, richest corporations now Supreme Court-validated as individuals — such as General Electric — do not pay any taxes. Don’t you think it’s unfair that we the ordinary, low-income people are paying about 33% federal income taxes (some say, to pay back to Federal Reserve which is a private, all-powerful entity that nobody really knows); yet, the richest corporations are not paying any taxes? For that matter, you said you paid only 15% income taxes yourself. Isn’t that outrageous discrimination against us who make so little?

Question 3. You propose cutting taxes for the very wealthy such as Koch Brothers, the Bush family, Bill Gates or Rupert Murdoch; yet at the same time, you want us to believe you’re going to reduce the enormous debt Bush govt. left for us and our children (thanks to the wars, tax cuts for the rich and bank bailouts). You also want us to believe that your no-taxes-for-the-rich economic policies will spur growth. Don’t you think by default it’s impossible to do both at the same time?

Question 4. Bush-Cheney’s brutal genocide in Iraq and Afghanistan has destroyed world peace, bled American taxpayers (i.e., us) to death, caused a catastrophic budget deficit, and tarnished the American image (whatever was left) worldwide. Now you’re drum beating another war as soon as you come to power — perhaps against Iran (or is it Syria?). How do you think that would promote either peace or economic prosperity — two things you frequently talk about?

Gandhi and Tagore taught us exactly that: to stand tall and protest.

Question 5. Rachel Corrie, a young American woman, in 2003 stood in front of an Israeli bulldozer to protest against Israeli government’s demolition of houses of Palestinian civilians. The bulldozer crushed her to death. You blasted Chinese government’s human rights violation when its tanks threatened to kill Chinese protesters at Tienanmen Square a few years ago. Do you think you can show the same resolution to protest against the action of the Israeli government when they killed Rachel Corrie?

Question 6. At the RNC in Tampa, you and your party’s top leaders such as Chris Christie have championed the cause of the American workers and families who are going through a horrendous time because of high unemployment that some compares with the situation during the Great Depression. Especially younger people, according to some research, have 30 percent joblessness, which is a record in American history. The economic situation our young people are in is simply horrible — check these facts. Are you going to create new jobs within America by supporting traditional job bases such as manufacturing and construction, and stop U.S. corporations’ massive outsourcing of these jobs to China, India and other countries? Are you going to take on Wal-Mart or Apple and their massive outsourcing?

Question 7. Multinational, U.S.-based companies such as Monsanto, Union Carbide, Coca Cola, Chevron and Disney (among many

2000-2012: Monsanto caused largest in human history farmer suicides in India!

others) have caused havoc in many other countries because of their ways of doing business. For example, over the past decade, 200,000 Indian farmers (yes, you’ve heard it right!) have committed suicide — the largest in human history — because of Monsanto’s permanent seed replacement with their own genetically engineered products and false promises of crop yield. Union Carbide’s infamous toxic gas leak in Bhopal in 1984 had killed thousand of poor workers and their families; women who suffered are still delivering crippled babies. Are you going to bring these companies to justice and compensate the victims for the disasters they went through?

Question 8. It seems both of you and your colleagues such as Chris Christie, Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal — and of course, Scott Walker — have fiercely anti-labor-union position. Can you please tell us if you’re in power, are you going to destroy organized labor once and for all? Are you going to take away their non-violent weapons such as collective bargaining?

Question 9. Are you going to overturn Roe vs. Wade and bring American women back to the coat-hanger alley days, with help from a partisan Supreme Court?

Question 10. Are you going to follow the dictates of your party’s “mainstream voice” Tea Party and abolish the separation between the church and state? Are you going to mandate Biblical prayers in U.S. public schools?

Question 11. Are you going to destroy Social Security and Medicare? Yes or no?

Question 12. Have you ever visited an agricultural or industrial farm in California, Tennessee, Arizona, Florida or Texas where owners work immigrant workers like slaves in a toxic situation — with zero human rights? Many of them die of cancer, tuberculosis and such diseases — because of their inhumane work conditions. Do you see any difference between their condition and that of the black workers and their families in a cotton plantation during the Jim Crow days?

Again, thank you for your time and honest, thoughtful, straightforward answers.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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Women fought for generations, and are still fighting, for their rights.

An Urgent (Renewed) Call to Occupy Wall Street

Re-posted on May Day, 2012. Watch NY1 TV report on today’s OWS rally at Union Square.

Apologies. This blog is not the place where I post hardcore political stuff.

However, given the urgent nature of it, I’m taking the liberty to digress from the “personal” and “apolitical” focus of my blog, to invite you to be a part of this critically important conversation — both here in the U.S. and worldwide.

I shall try to analyze some relevant social and economic scenarios that might prove useful in this conversation.

I hope you take a couple of minutes to go through this note, and think about it.

IF you find it useful, please share it.

Thank you.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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AN URGENT CALL to Occupy Wall Street Protesters

By

Partha Banerjee

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First, this. You might find it very relevant to the discussion below. Let me know if you need clarification. I’d be happy to speak or write more. Thank you for taking the time to go over this paper and workshop I presented last June in Granada, Spain.

Peer-reviewed paper on political alliance building at  

http://ijh.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.26/prod.2020

The Second Circle

Second Circle – Middle Majority of the Working People: A Simple Spin Wheel Model to Build Alliance and Power across the Soft “Left and Right”

Working people who consider themselves moderate “left” or ‘right” have more overlaps than differences. Below are a few examples – the moderate working people feel similarly and strongly about the following:

1. Economic disparity and frustrations on social mobility: living wages, unpredictable workplace, loss of health care, education costs for children, loss of home and savings, and consequent psychological trauma and depression are major issues.

2. Feeling of being left out: not being a part of the election-time promises to be included in democratic processes.

3. Discontent on lack of peace, right, justice and human dignity issues: state repression, global warfare and poverty issues hit the average home.

4. Helplessness on destruction of the earth and environment: the BP disaster, Hurricane Katrina, Afghanistan and Iraq wars are examples.

5. Fast-worsening stability and security situation for the children: terrorism and violence are all-time high.

Can the poor, working man and woman strengthen themselves to a position of power? Can we empower the Middle Majority – which I call the Second Circle – driven by coalition building across the working class, political education, and will power, in a non-violent way? What are the obstacles?

I propose a simple “spin wheel” model to create cooperation and collaboration across the moderate left and right working class spectrum, eventually empowering the Second Circle middle majority, and through the process, disempowering the iron-walled elite center and separatist and violent far right and far left. I believe that with evolving action plans (including but not limited to elections), moderate working people will win and assume power.

The artificial left-right divide is deliberately created by the forces in power aided by corporate media; it’s been detrimental for the working class people and families. It’s time we go beyond the archaic box and come together.

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Then, the main discussion on Occupy Wall Street.

I’m writing my two little cents with hope that somebody at the OWS camp will notice it. The developments since November 15, when Bloomberg and NYPD violated the democratic rights of us the ordinary people to protest peacefully, have been greatly troubling. It is obvious — to me and a number of my friends who worked with me over the years as a grassroots political activist and peace and justice advocate – that with overt and covert support from the political establishment and corporate media, Wall Street crooks and their cronies are now preparing for major onslaughts on the movement. It is also quite likely that there will be violence traps to exploit.

And even though there was no violence from the OWS protesters’ side, there was violence from the suppressors’ side. Yet, media has largely overlooked it. That’s not surprising either. (However, today, May Day 2012, a local popular media report from New York City has covered some of the police action — as narrated by a little girl. Watch report at http://manhattan.ny1.com/content/top_stories/160369/may-day-protesters-join-for-large-union-square-rally.)

Next time, the “radical” protesters might be taken in prison, and strip searched — courtesy U.S. Supreme Court’s newest ruling earlier this week (April 2012).

Maybe, none of the above will happen; without a serious leadership with pragmatic goals and achievable benchmarks, the movement might fizzle. There are already unfortunate signs of it. Street protests have become increasingly unsustainable. (But the May Day rallies across the U.S. today showed that the movement is still strong and perhaps coming back in full force. That is very reassuring.)


Upon this backdrop, this is my brief thought. This is what I urge you to do.

For heaven’s sake, find political support from the pro-people sections of Democratic and other political parties (Kucinich, Feingold, Sanders, Waxman, Levine…you know who I’m talking about; definitely not the Schumer or Clinton Democrats). More importantly, find support from parallel peace and justice groups. Find support from the labor movement.

Without that support, even sane Americans (and onlookers worldwide) will slowly get tired of the prolonged protests “without a clear goal” (I know you have solid demands), and both corporate America and elite-centrist Reps and Dems with their military and police and media will crush you.

Find that critical political support and find a clear time line to achieve certain goals. Have meetings. Talk about it. Call us.

Ideally, OWS with help from all rights, justice and peace groups (and special support from labor) should have their own candidates for the upcoming elections; however, I don’t believe it is anymore possible in 2012. It needs focused energy to achieve election goals; I am yet to see the movement contemplating that goal.

Some of us believe that Obama-Biden Democrats will eventually call. They’ll never call. Most of them do not want to lose their campaign contribution money anyways. Obama is one of them. It’s up to the protesters to show that they have political pragmatism and acumen; they need to show to the world that they know how to find political support from sane, influential people from all walks of life. The documentary Inside Job (Sony, 2010, directed by Charles Ferguson) has interviewed some of these people. Talk to them. Make up a winning strategy.

The other side is WAY too powerful. Plus they have New York Times and CNN, PBS, etc. on their side. (I’m not even talking about Fox or the Murdoch media empire and far right wing nuts like Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.)

During a Facebook conversation, one committed OWS friend said this in response to the above: “Trying to work within this corrupted, benighted system is a losing proposition. The protesters are righteous and an important part of this process. Screw both parties. Time to change it all.”

I told her that it’s not so easy (i.e., to “screw both parties” and work without them). I did not hear from her ever again.

This is the real "Change We Can Believe In."

I’m trying to articulate my bullet-points here very briefly; if you want, you can circulate them among the OWS leaders, and let me know if they need me in any future conversations.

(1)  Obama was elected with bankers’ money. He never did and never will come out strongly against the crooks who stole the U.S. economy. His so-called Wall Street reform has been laughably inadequate. (However, Republicans, Wall Street and their media will use that reform ploy in 2012 as if enough has been done already to reform Wall Street and therefore, now it is old news — to divert peoples’ attention from that subject, moving their spotlight to the so-called tax and deficit questions. They and their corporate media alike will again conveniently not analyze Reaganomics and the deficits ballooned during Bush. See illustration below.)

See for yourself: Bush-era Reaganomics tax cuts for the rich created huge deficit.

(2) Democratic Party establishment is no different than the Republican Party establishment when it comes to their campaign contribution money and allegiance; in fact, I always say that right wing is easier to read because they have no pretense. (Yet, it is true that 2012 is already seeing signs that billionaires and big corporations are heavily contributing to Republicans, especially through their PAC’s.)

(3) The financial sector, after Reagan, got the maximum boost and the stock market bubble happened during Bill Clinton. Remember Clinton had Greenspan as the Federal Reserve chairman, in spite of Greenspan’s well-known connections with Charles Keating of the S&L Scandal. Clinton also recruited Rubin and Summers — the two biggest names behind deregulation of derivatives and illegal-made-legal Wall Street mergers.

(4) The biggest crooks completely deregulated and destroyed the economy with blessings from Clinton, W. Bush and now Obama; nothing changed (Greenspan has Ayn Rand ideological agenda; Summers has Harvard and Columbia Business School support. All of them made millions in these eras).

(5) Neither Republicans nor Democrats jailed a single individual crook such as Paulson or Fuld even though all their wrongdoings are established and beyond belief. (Senator Carl Levine of Michigan, a few-and-far-between Democrat, grilled Goldman Sachs operatives; Waxman grilled Fuld of Lehman Brothers who made a personal income of half a billion dollars off the now-bankrupt company. The hearings are available online. There are more such public exposés. Paulson would be a test case to expose now.)

(6) We are working under this system; therefore, there is NO reason to believe mainstream Democrats would come out to support OWS. Levine and Waxman hearings, although strong and commendable, failed to jail either the GS operatives or Fuld. Note the notable absence of the two big NY senators Hillary and Schumer from these events; I have not heard a single word of support for OWS from them.

(7) As I said before, and as I emphasized in my paper cited above, work with labor unions, peace and justice groups, and civil and immigrant rights groups. This is the time to mend fences and build broad-based alliance of moderate working people and families — both from the so-called left and right (read my new paper for this model).

(8) Therefore, find other politicians who either lost elections in 2010 because of their pro-people positions or are traditionally known for their pro-people politics — there are many both at the national and state levels. Spitzer is one of them (he was set up because he worked against these Wall Street crooks); then there are cleaner images within and outside the Democratic Party.

(9) Work with Volcker and others who do not like the way Glass-Stegall was repealed by Rubin, Summers and Paulson. Work with Elizabeth Warren, et al. too. Warren must win.

(10) Find international support especially from Europe — a whole bunch of leaders — market capitalists — know how to run a capitalist economy without crooks. Iceland has already fixed its colossal problems that precipitated exactly the U.S. way just before October 2008. (Watch the documentary Inside Job: it begins with the Iceland episode.)

(11) Challenge Obama on these economic and political platforms, and also the major Democratic candidates running in 2012. Find shadow candidates who can put pressure on them whether or not they actually run.

(12) Find friends in corporate media who can put out the OWS platform. It does not matter if for various reasons, the street rallies dwindle; people will come back in various ways to rally across the U.S. and beyond if there is a serious action plan based on pragmatic politics.

I do hope the OWS leaders have time to read my two cents.

BTW, it’s much better to have known evils in political power than hypocrites. The peace and justice movement both in the U.S. and worldwide got stronger during Dubya. Egypt and the entire Middle Eastern revolution keep happening because of that solidarity, not because of Obama’s Cairo speech.

NOTE: If you’re more interested to know about my grassroots, empirical model on political alliance building that invites and includes the sane and moderate working people and families from both the so-called left and right – to disempower the elite center and marginalize the extreme right and left – read my new paper Second Circle: Middle Majority of the Working People (International Journal of the Humanities, October 2010). I’m including the link to the abstract here. I’ve already put the text of the abstract above.

Again, the link is at http://ijh.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.26/prod.2020.

Thank you and in solidarity,

Partha Banerjee

(Note: I work with labor unions professionally. However, I wrote the above in my personal capacity.)

Email: banerjee2000@hotmail.com

Blog: https://onefinalblog.wordpress.com

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One of my recent talks in New Delhi, India