Greetings, fellow freedom fighters! I hope everyone has enjoyed Labor Day, the day honoring the American worker and the institution he/she has formed, the Trade Union movement, for the empowerment of workers and other low-income people. I am also active in the movement to revitalize May Day as a workers' holiday in this country. We can have both May Day AND Labor Day, we deserve it!
There are efforts by Republican state governors in to keep unfavorable voters from voting. Wisconsin's chief idiot Scott Walker signed a voter ID bill prohibiting people who don't have state ID cards or driver's licenses from voting--and VERY conveniently closed ten Department of Motor Vehicles offices where people could get their IDs. This is a deliberate attempt to prevent African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, college students, and seniors from voting, or making it inconvenient to apply for a form of ID. Similar laws have been introduced in Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Colorado, Montana, and Texas; there has also been cases of "voter caging," where voting officials challenge a voter's qualification to vote, thus intimidating the potential voter.
All this has been done in the name of "voter integrity" and "fair elections;" this, from the party of 2000, the party of voter fraud in Florida, of voters who would have voted against George DUH Bush purged from the rolls, where voters were intimidated by police, where the votes of the Supreme Court mattered-voter integrity, indeed! The idea is to prevent low-income, poor and working people-the same people-from voting and seeking their empowerment, thus skewing the state in favor of the wealthy and corporations.
The cat popped out of the bag when conservative writer Matthew Vadum wrote, "Why are left-wing activist groups so keen on registering the poor to vote?...Because they know the poor can be counted on to vote themselves more benefits by electing redistributionist politicians. Welfare recipients are particularly open to demagoguery and bribery." And here's the kicker-"Registering them to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals...It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country-- which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote. ... Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn't about helping the poor. It's about helping the poor to help themselves to others' money."
SO--Wealthy people and corporations, that allowed this economic catastrophe to occur due to their ignorance and greed, that get trillions of dollars of federal money because they're "too big to fail", are productive, while working and low-income people, who work for money and spend it at local stores, thus boosting the economy, and leeches? Wonderful logic! And it's worded so that the villain is "some one else, not you nice people".
In the ‘seventies, the New Right movement, through the direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie, concocted the line of “producers,” working people and corporations, as opposed to “non-producers,” government, universities, welfare recipients, etc., to give a “populist” look to the movement; fascist movements in Europe also tried to look “revolutionary,” to appeal to the masses. Now the “populist” facade has fallen off the plutocratic edifice that is contemporary conservativism. If the conservatives are such populists, why are they trying to keep people from voting?
Forty years ago, President Richard Nixon declared a "war on drugs," mainly as a way of fighting the cultural changes of the 'sixties, like the anti-war and civil rights movements, and the general realization that the nation's political and economic elite is NOT perfect, that we don't have to look up to them. (Anyway...) Nixon's formed a commission, headed by former Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer, to look into the effects of marijuana and other drugs, and the appropriate measures to take towards them. The commission, after serious research, told Nixon what he did not want to hear -- "No significant physical, biochemical, or mental abnormalities could be attributed solely to their marihuana smoking," and, "No verification is found of a causal relationship between marihuana use and subsequent heroin use." Thus, "The Commission feels that the criminalization of possession of marihuana for personal [use] is socially self-defeating as a means of achieving this objective . . ." The commission, obviously, did not want to encourage marijuana or drug use, but neither did they want to make it a crime.
But Nixon wanted to create a scare among the American people about minorities and anti-war activists, and he rejected his own commission's report. Forty years-the War on Drugs goes on. A war that lasts forty years? What are the casualties and the costs? As a propaganda move, Nixon must have thought this was a stroke of genius--have an enemy that has no nationality, no physical form, that is an abstraction, like drugs; and history shows that when you have a war, anyone who doesn't go along with the "war" is a traitor or a coward, and thus can be smacked down, either by public opinion or police terror.
(By the way, I recommend the biography of Nixon, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon, by Anthony Summers, which goes through Nixon's own issues with drugs and alcohol; was Nixon projecting his own addictions on others, so that he didn't have to face his own? He would neither be the firstor the last person to do so.)
A forty year war; and the drugs keep coming into the country, and people still keep taking them, after all the arrests and propaganda. What's wrong with this picture? Is the government serious about stopping drugs? Are officials taking bribes to let the drugs in? Doesn't this remind us about the "noble experiment of Prohibition, where liquor was banned from legal sale, so criminal cartels made money from illegally selling the stuff, abetted by paid-off public officials? People's hypocrisy added to this, taking the booze while opposing repeal of Prohibition, because that was what nice respectable people believed.
Back in 2009, the "tea party movement"--founded with corporate money, in the manner of an "Astroturf" movement founded by public relations firms--made its debut by sitting in the front rows at congressional town hall meetings and threatening congress-members over the debate on health insurance; typical of totalitarian thugs, which the right-wing has degenerated into!
Now, the tables are turned; the Republican congress-members elected through the tea parties have faced criticism from constituents for their attempts to end such popular programs as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and the failure to create jobs--the preposterous political game playing about the raising of the debt ceiling, I‘m sure, didn‘t help things. Paul Ryan (Wisconsin), Ben Quayle (Arizona), and Chip Cravaack (Minnesota) had to hold meeting that people paid to see them; Jim Renacci and Steve Chabot of Ohio prevented cameras at their own town meetings; Dan Lungren of California was criticized for supporting the Bush tax cuts for the rich; Dan Webster of Florida threatened to kick out a constituent for calling for tax increases on corporations, and has put out a “watch list“ of activists who would DARE to question their elected officials; and Herrera Beutler of Washington had NO town meetings at all.
Whether or not the Democratic party leadership, from the President on down, is willing to take on the Republican-corporate-conservative onslaught is another matter; are WE willing to do so? That’s the key, and I believe we’re starting to do so. Let’s keep up our fight, and we’ll keep on winning, and we’ll have the confidence in ourselves to fight for our freedom. Bye!