Obama vs. Romney: Seriously, What the Heck is Going On?

One face or two faces? That is the question.

Over the last few weeks, I asked some hard questions I thought we should all ask Romney, Ryan and the Republicans. I did the same with Obama and the Democrats.

Because the so-called mainstream media is not asking them, I thought the onus is on us.

Even though it’s an American election where U.S. citizens vote to elect their president this November, actually it’s an election that has serious impact for the entire world. In a way, it’s a global election. Therefore, politically enlightened people from all over the world need to understand the various aspects of the election as clearly as possible. For the entire world, the stake is too high.

I was happy to see the level of reaction to my posts. A surprisingly high number of readers of this blog — now from near and far corners of the world — read the questions I asked to the Democratic and Republican candidates. Some wrote their comments directly on the blog, and some others sent me their feedback personally. Some of these friends had a strong disagreement with my position on Obama; they were also unhappy to see how a super-excited 2008 me turned into a less than enthusiastic 2012 me. These friends challenged my political acumen when I asked some critical questions to the Obama campaign. When I said I was not feeling excited at all for Obama, they warned me not to pop their excitement balloon. They said my wet blanket to douse their party bonfire might hurt Obama’s chances.

I felt delighted — by the thought that my little, no-name blog had so much power!

Of course, this is almost an academic discussion. Neither Romney nor Obama is going to read my blog, let alone answer my questions. But this is all I can do. I have said it many times before: other than my writing that I use to make my readers, friends and sympathizers think, I have no power. I have no money, no pedigree, no political connection and no real hope for publishing my thoughts for a wide mainstream audience. Therefore, this is really the extent of my political activism. This is the best use of my experience, analysis and energy.

Ronald Reagan pushed french fries and ketchup for vegetable for school lunch programs. Did McDonald’s serve?

I try to make people think. I try to challenge their minds. This is my only non-violent weapon.

Now, for the sake of time, let’s select only a few issues that are critically important both for an U.S. and global audiences. Food, clothes and shelter: these three have always, historically, been the most primary for the ordinary people across the world. In today’s globally-connected society, some other issues have become critical: I could perhaps select war and violence, energy, environment, education and health for the list. Then, we could perhaps include the subject of labor, immigration and society. I’m sure you quickly see a few other issues that you would want to include in your first list. I am sure I myself would later reflect on it and include a few more that I might have missed this time around.

But at least for the time being, not to make this post unnecessarily long, let’s put together our first list of issues and compare the two big parties and their two big candidates on these issues. It might help us to understand the nature of the electioneering process as it is heating up here in the U.S., and determine objectively what exactly is going on. Often, these critical issues do not surface our way — the ordinary, powerless people’s way — in the 24/7 conversation on big media done by their big experts. I call it Journalism of Exclusion.

Therefore, again, the onus is on us to do it. We must do it. Questioning is democracy. Analyzing is too.

So far, we have identified the following issues to be critical to compare the positions of Obama and Romney and their two big parties.

(1) Food

(2) Clothes

(3) Shelter

(4) War and violence

(5) Energy

(6) Environment

(7) Education

(8) Health

(9) Labor

(10) Immigration

(11) Society

Of course, the all-encompassing, all-pervasive, overarching factor would be economics and money. Given its overlapping nature, I decided not to itemize economics as a separate point. The discussion of money would feature quite prominently when we take up these points — one point at a time. Foreign policy would be another such aspect: it’s going to be interwoven in the discussion of all the other points — one way or the other. And obviously, jobs, wages and unemployment would be another — if not the most important — all-pervasive subject. It brings us to the question of poverty, exploitation and injustice.

Millions of Americans seriously believe even in 2012 that global warming is a hoax and even if it’s true, God who created this earth in seven days will take care of all the problems. Can we include this topic in the presidential debate?

But in this intricately-connected world society of the new millennium, where political boundaries have become almost meaningless, especially when we consider how economics and money (and work) can move from one part of the globe to the opposite part — with a speed of light, and considering how the people in power are using the global connectedness to their advantage, I believe that perhaps we could add one more item on our list. And that item would be:

(12) Globalization.

There! I believe we have come up with a good list, at least for the time being. Now let’s see if we can briefly discuss and compare the positions of the two candidates and their parties on these issues. I’ll try to do it as simply as possible, without making it sound too academic. I’ll try to do it with a language most of us — including myself — would understand. You tell me, please, if this language works for you.

If we think carefully, there is practically no way we can discuss one of the above twelve topics exclusively: they are all overlapping. What role does food and water play in today’s politics? Food prices, food quality, water sources, water quality — and the politics of U.S. government and its two big parties — one that media hardly talks about? Coca Cola’s capturing of natural water displacing millions of poor people from their land (and putting a famous movie celebrity as their PR)? U.S. seed company Monsanto’s forced replacement of Indian farmers’ traditional seed banks with their one-crop, genetically engineered seeds forcing those farmers to go bankrupt and commit suicides in hundreds of thousands every year? McDonald’s food colonization with substandard, unhygienic food that caused obesity and serious harmful effects in the U.S. and throughout the world?

What about the foreign policy around the clothes we wear — where and how are they made? How many of us know how Wal-Mart manufactures its imported textiles from China and Bangladesh, Disney manufactures its fancy DisneyWorld costumes from Haiti or Dominican Republic, driving poor laborers like slaves and depriving child workers of their childhood and education? What about those cool i-Phones manufactured at China’s Foxconn where a large number of desperate, young Chinese workers have killed themselves — because of the horrendously oppressive work conditions and toxic environment?

Where is the discussion either at the huge, confetti-covered RNC or DNC? Is there going to be any discussion at the presidential debates? Will New York Times, NPR, PBS or CNN talk about them between now and November?

Anybody want to talk to Obama or Romney about Orwell and Newspeak?

Now, let’s see. war and violence are two subjects where the two parties’ positions are different, they say. Okay, it is true that Romney, Ryan and Rush Limbaugh’s Republican Party openly talk about a new, imminent war on Iran (or Syria, or Yemen…it doesn’t matter); on the other hand, Obama and Hillary Clinton talk about how they have finished the Iraq war and how they’re going to withdraw from Afghanistan in two years. And then of course comes Joe Biden and gives a war-drumbeat speech at DNC…as if John McCain or Joe Lieberman (remember him?) was speaking. And there is rousing chants all around at the convention…USA…USA…USA…

But let’s see: was there any reason for U.S. to be in Iraq in the first place after six or seven years of destroying an ancient civilization, killing hundreds of thousands of people, and looting their oil, gold and other treasures? It’s almost like the British colony withdrawing from India after total plundering, brutalizing and partitioning a once-prosperous civilization, putting their handpicked, subservient, “Gandhian” feudals in power. The aggressors were going to leave sooner or later anyways: there was no more reason either for the British to stay in India or for the U.S. to stay in Iraq. Where is that perspective?

Can we talk about it in a straightforward way? Oh yes, can we also include the politics Israel has always played and has been playing in this incredible mess? Isn’t Iran or Syria or Egypt or Libya or Saudi cards used in the same game?

And then come Obama’s hit list and the drones and the relentless bombing…the war is over?

And then comes Julian Assange and Wikileaks and Bradley Manning…didn’t they say whistle blowing was actually patriotic?

Would New York Times, NPR, PBS or CNN talk about them? Would anyone throw these questions — this straightforward way — in the presidential debate?

We’ll now talk about globalization, immigration, labor and the economy — and their interconnectedness. We need to know how these two parties and their candidates are different on these issues.

I hope you come back to participate in that discussion. I need you in that discussion.

(To be continued…)

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Who will talk about the globally-imposed cultural conformity? Mr. Obama? Mr. Romney? Mr. Limbaugh?

President Obama, Why Should I Really Vote FOR You?

Change? Really?

Related post. (Click on this link) — Questions Media Won’t Ask Romney and Ryan.

Related post. (Click on this link)– Occupy Wall Street: Ordinary, Working People — Moderate Left and Moderate Right — Must Come Together, Empower and Fight Back Against Both the Elite Center and Far Right and Far Left. Because there’s way too many overlaps as opposed to differences. Believe me: this is where the real strength is.

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NOTE: I wrote this blog using my personal time and resources.

Recently, I wrote two articles on this blog — both on the subject of the U.S. presidential elections. They were both popular — beyond my expectation. I want to thank all the readers — practically from all over the world — for their kind interest. It’s been a gratifying experience.

In the first article (click on the link here), I expressed my fear that Romney and Ryan — the Republican ticket — would win (that was before the Mother Jones “47%” expose broke out). In the more recent article I posted just a few days ago during the Republican National Convention, I challenged and asked some questions to the R&R ticket. You can read it here too.

Readers visited both articles with surprisingly high interest; particularly, the newest post where I challenged Romney, Ryan and Republicans to answer my questions got a very high number of readers. I was delighted. Of course, I never got any response from the Republicans at all; my doubt is that they never even heard my name, let alone read my questions. I wish they did.

But it was reassuring that so many readers took a moment out of their busy life to think about what I had to say on the political and economic scenario — of USA and almost by default, of the entire world. Given that my readership — especially my American readership — has a more liberal tilt, and that too, perhaps with a Democratic affiliation, I felt happy that my questions reached them and that they had the opportunity to use and share those twelve bullet points in their own circles. Who knows, maybe, some of these people are going to attend the Democratic National Convention that’s happening in North Carolina this week; chances are, at least a few of them who perhaps heard my name and about my OneFinalBlog through grapevine, Facebook and Twitter would talk about the issues I addressed in my articles, and have some productive, positive discussion.

At least, that is my hope. With that hope in mind, I’m now going to ask a few questions to President Obama and his Democratic Party — again, on the current political and economic scenario of America, and almost by default, of the entire world.

Republicans are now asking the American voters, borrowing the famous line from Ronald Reagan: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Actually, even though I have absolutely no soft spot for the Republicans and I said it loud and clear that I would never vote for Romney and Ryan, I believe the question they’re asking is not irrelevant at all. In fact, that is a perfect ask any voters should ask themselves: are we now better off or worse off? And, what is the measure of being better off or worse off? Is it economic, is it the war and violence situation, is it domestic repression, is it the elitist status quo, or is it something else?

Remember them? No? No wonder media makes so much money making you forget stuff so quickly!

The only problem is, Republican leaders are asking the question disingenuously, and cheating their ordinary Republican (or undecided) voters who may or may not remember the whole story. If these leaders — most of them affluent and powerful and with deep ties with Corporate America and its powerful lobbyists — were not so dishonest and if they didn’t have an equally disingenuous media on their side, they would rather phrase the question this way:

“We know eight years of Bush completely destroyed the American economy, created an astronomical budget deficit, gave obnoxious tax breaks to the super wealthy, bailed out billionaire bank executives and corporate criminals, waged catastrophic genocides in Iraq and Afghanistan killing millions, looting oil and destroying history of ancient civilizations and bleeding us the U.S. taxpayers here to death, and tarnished the American superpower image once and for all across the world, but still, we believe that we are better than the Democrats to run this country. So, would you not vote for us? Please?”

Neither the Republicans nor the disingenuous, gloss-over U.S. mainstream media would frame their question to the voters this way. They don’t have the guts or honesty to do it.

(And Bill Clinton, in spite of his jackpot speech at the DNC, forgot to tell us how he destroyed age-old American welfare especially for poor women, imposed NAFTA with majority help from Republicans drastically cutting U.S. manufacturing jobs in the U.S., overturned landmark Glass-Stegall, rehired Greenspan to destroy the economy even more, and deregulated financial derivatives with help from Rubin and Summers. He also forgot to tell us how he and war criminal W. Bush have been great buddies ever since. Maybe, he’s preparing us for a Hillary 2016 and a Jeb Bush 2020. Who knows? Nobody but the elite knows anything: it’s all elitist secret. And they call it a democracy!)

Too disturbing to digest!

In any case, we can never believe that Obama-Biden and the Democrats did a wonderful job in these four years and should be able to put all the blame on those eight years of a Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Ashcroft presidency; hence, we should all be happy and happily vote for another four years of Obama-Biden. Not so easy. We have some serious questions for President Obama and his Democratic Party, and here they are. Again, for the sake of time — both of my esteemed readers and Obama and the Democratic leaders who are busy and important people, I’m going to ask only a handful. I’ll save the rest for later.

You know what? I like Barack Obama as a person. I like Michelle Obama too. They are two of the smartest and modernest first couple America has seen for the first time in generations. And I know for sure that just because they are black, a large number of Americans (and Indians — from India) hate them. It’s unbelievable that even in 2012, millions of people especially in USA, Europe and India believe blacks are inferior to whites (and to browns and red and yellows and olives and purples and grays…) and a black president is a disgrace for this God’s Country called USA.

Well, let me tell you this. I think these people are pure racists and sexists and bigots and jerks too; and just because I know them so well from my own long experience to be with racists and sexists and bigots and jerks, I think at the end of the day, I’ll come out and vote for Obama, even though I think his Democratic administration has cheated me of my hope, expectation and enthusiasm for a change. But that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to vote FOR a presidential candidate FOR him, and not AGAINST his racist and bigoted and sexist and lying opponents.

So, at this point, without annoying my patient readers to death, I’ll ask a few questions to Barack. Mr. President, Sir, would you please be kind enough to respond, or at least ask one of your colleagues to do it? It would be much appreciated. My questions are not prioritized in any particular fashion.

Question 1. (I asked this to Romey and Ryan too). — 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. Your Democratic Party leaders such as Hillary and Bill Clinton had 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 your Democratic Party can show the same resolution to protest against the action of the Israeli government when they killed Rachel Corrie? (You might also add here the drama of including Jerusalem as the Israel’s capital in the Democratic election platform.)

Question 2. (I asked this to Romey and Ryan too). — Multinational, U.S.-based companies such as Monsanto, Union Carbide, Coca Cola, Chevron and Disney (among many 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 3. (I asked this to Romey and Ryan too). — 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 slavery days? Your government has detained and deported more undocumented immigrants — many of such poor workers — than even Bush and Ashcroft government did.

Question 4. — Why did your administration let Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest corporate criminals in the history of modern human civilization, off the hook even after their criminal activities were exposed beyond doubt at bipartisan Congressional hearings?

Question 5. — Why did you include people such as Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, Jeff Immelt, et al.  — some of the worst-known corporate elements responsible behind the financial disaster — in your administration and would not purge them in spite of repeated pressure even from the pro-people sections of your own party? Why did you not stand behind the Overturn Citizen United campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders — 100 percent?

Question 6. — Why did you not take up, let alone pass, the Employee Free Choice Act when labor unions have always been such an ardently faithful ally? Isn’t that one of the worst examples of not keeping your 2008 campaign promises?

Question 7. — President Jimmy Carter has condemned your drone attacks and hit lists that killed thousands of innocent civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan (and recently in Yemen too). Isn’t that one of the grossest violations of international peace treaties and human rights laws? (And we all know you also backtracked on closing down Guantanamo.)

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Post Script. — This is from New York Times tonight (click for the news story here). Obama’s top strategist, David Axelrod, said, “We’re in a better position than we were four years ago in our economy.” But Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, a Democrat, answered “no” on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” though he blamed Republicans. Other aides equivocated.

I’ll tell you this. Martin O’Malley and the other aides are honest. David Axelrod is dishonest and arrogant with his answer. And that is my problem with this Democratic Party and its top people who run the show. If you tell me we’re better off than four years ago, you’re kidding me. If you tell that to an ordinary American voter — Democrat or Republican or undecided — you’re going to lose their vote. Remember, many of these people didn’t watch Bill Clinton last night: they were working a late-evening shift to make ends meet.

We, the ordinary people who live and work in the U.S., who lost their jobs, health care, life’s savings and houses, and who can’t afford to play the stock market, are not better off. People like us do not see light at the end of the tunnel. President Obama and Mr. Axelrod, you must face the truth. You must tell the truth.

Most importantly, tell us why should we vote FOR you, and not just against your bigoted, lying, racist, sexist opponents?

Thank you, Sir, for your valuable time and kind response.
Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

Youth Unemployment Hit a Record 30%.

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