Saturday, April 27, 2013
Greetings! At this present time I'm working on my relaxation skills; I have spent a LOT of time on my job and outside activities, I have to take time for ME, for MY benefit and health. This advice comes from my counselor at the Council For Relationships (councilforrelationships.org), and I'm following up on it. we all deserve downtime; we can't keep pushing ourselves like pack mules, we can be our own worst taskmasters. I have been, with my wonderful congregation, Leyv Ha-Ir (leyvhair.org), celebrating Purim, the wild and crazy holiday where we commemorate the downfall of the tyrant Haman (boo!), prime minister of the Persian king Ahashueras (eh!), at the hands of Mordechai (yay!) and his niece, the beautiful queen Esther (woo hoo!). The Megillah of Esther reads like a weird, comedy-soap opera, with the most implausible situations that just happen to work together, but the point is the downfall of a tyrant and the raising-up of those the tyrant would kill. I have also been celebrating Pesach, or (Passover), the celebration of the liberation of our ancestors, the ancient Israelites, from slavery in Egypt. The crossing the Red Sea symbolizes, to me, the point of no return back to slavery; but the Hebrews, to the constant grief of Moses, maintain a slave mentality, fearing the unknown, having no faith in themselves due to their former slave masters telling them they were nothing but dumb cattle to be worked to death, whining about returning to Egypt where at least they had SOME food. Both holidays represent, to me, the overthrow of tyrants, internal and external: external, meaning tyrants and dictators, be they large scale despots like Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, the apartheid regime of South Africa, Marcos in the Philippines, Battista in Cuba, or Somoza in Nicaragua-or an abusive spouse or insulting boss at work; internal, the voices in our minds that tell us we’re not smart enough, or pretty enough, or worthy for any good thing to come our way. The external tyrants use the internal tyrants-fear, low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, the feeling of powerlessness-to control us, to make us believe they’ll never get out of our bad situation, that they’ll always have power over us, that oppression is our fate. We must challenge that every day. Here is one challenge we are facing now-the march to plutocracy in this country, and the inability of the democratic state to enforce laws for the benefit of people. Attorney-General Eric Holder has spoken of the hesitancy of the government to prosecute the big banks-such as HSBC, found to have laundered money for terrorist organizations and drug cartels. The government, he said, finds these big banks "difficult for us to prosecute" because "some of these institutions have become too large...If you bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy." SO, the federal government is afraid that if the banks were prosecuted, it would create further damage to the economy and undermine whatever recovery there is. It has come to this, that the corporations are more powerful that the civil state. The slogan is the banks are “too big to fail” so they received huge funds for bailout-cal it the WELFARE program for corporations it is!- and now they are “too big to jail” due to their power in the economy. They act like John Galt and his billionaire buddies in the Ayn Rand rag of a novel Atlas Shrugged; they go into Galt’s Gulch and the economy goes to hell until they have their way. We must either nationalize the banks, or the banks and other corporations will privatize the government, to their benefit. How far will our capitalist class go to preserve their hold on our government? At the start of the Franklin Roosevelt administration in 1933, leaders of industry and finance opposed to the New Deal-and were fans of the Fascist regimes of Germany and Italy- organized the American Liberty League, a forerunner to Americans for Prosperity; they plotted to organize a coup d'etat against FDR, using a private army of military veterans as a gun to the head of the government. The plotters, who led such conglomerates as Du Pont, Bethlehem Steel, Goodyear, and JP Morgan, contacted Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, a legendary Marine Corps officer, to lead the military force. But Butler, remembering his oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, turned against the plotters and reported them to the McCormack-Dickstein committee of the House of Representatives-but alas, the same kid gloves with which our contemporary capitalists are treated were used on the plotters against the government back then; the committee report on the plot was suppressed, and the plotters were never prosecuted. All of this is in the book The Plots Against The President: FDR, A Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of the American Right, by Sally Denton. It is this opposition to FDR and the New Deal that is the basis of the contemporary right-wing movement, a denial that their precious “free enterprise” failed the nation, and that the corporations’ power had to be curtailed, for THEIR good and the good of the general public. Could they try something like that again? I would NOT put it past them; they have been shown to have no morals, no sense of responsibility to the society or the public, and no scruples about keeping and maintaining their power. And what ARE the results of allowing the capitalist class to do what EVER it wants? We can see it in the tragedies of West, Texas, where chemicals in an unregulated fertilizer plant exploded, killing and injuring workers and leaving a town devastated; and in the building in Bangladesh, which held garment factories and collapsed on workers earning pocket change for an hour’s work, killing and injuring many. Tragedies like these come from the idea that corporations are always right and the government MUST follow instructions from them, or there will BE no economic prosperity. We the working and low-income people of America must continue to educate and organize ourselves to what is really going on in the country, to use our own minds and talents to defend our rights. WE are the ones who, by our work and talent, bring the economy into being, and so make the capitalists look good. WE must organize for OUR benefit, and the benefit of our children and our communities. Bye!