Turkeys Voting for Christmas

January 31, 2010

A good friend of mine forwarded this article from the BBC about Americans voting against their best interests.  AGAIN!!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8474611.stm

The phenomenon continues.  A quote from the article states that:

“Thomas Frank, the author of the best-selling book What’s The Matter with Kansas, is an even more exasperated Democrat and he goes further than Mr Westen.

He believes that the voters’ preference for emotional engagement over reasonable argument has allowed the Republican Party to blind them to their own real interests.”

I would go even farther to say that even the emotional engagement itself is a premeditated tactic.  We are ALL upset.  But, those who can afford such projects, are using the pain and frustration that they created by cutting taxes for the rich and leaving everyone else to make up the loss in revenue to keep people angry and not listening or asking questions.

In truth Progressives have more of a right to be upset than anyone because all of our warnings for the past 20 – 30 years about our planet, our health, and our economic system were ignored and here we are.  No, there is a little bit more to this than meets the eye.  I, as well as many other Americans have participated in massive demonstrations and many a town meeting and we NEVER got the kind of media coverage and ECHOING of our message like the Conservatives did in just a few months of organizing?  No, that’s money talking.  No doubt.

I believe that we are on a moving train.  Each day more and more wealth is concentrated into fewer and fewer hands.  Each day there is less and less truth to be found anywhere.  Self imposed lack of knowledge is encouraged, of course! This  coupled with a national version of the agent provocateur.  You know: get people mad, encourage their anger, blame it on your enemy and let them do your dirty work for you.  America is not the first government that Big Business has manipulated for its own gain.

Ironically, but not surprisingly, the Conservatives are acting just like Communist or Fascist.  The first group that  is always eliminated, (sent to work camps or shot) is the intelligentsia.   You know, the people who have actually been paying attention to what’s going on,  for a long time.  The Yahoo mass media called them the “over educated”.   What the @#$%  does that mean?  FOX may be blatant  but other media outlets are just more subtle.  What remains true is the actual Opposition Voice to the Big Business Agenda is kept out of the media.  Completely.

Self imposed lack of knowledge  is not  happening among angry working folks.   When you have to work so many hours just to keep food on the table you are strongly discouraged from finding out anything on your own.  No time for turkeys to even find out what Christmas is!  This circumstance is exploited.
People’s egos are plucked to resist facts or reading and people like Palin deliberately give the impression of not being intelligent because, well, that’s the message- smart is bad.  What you are seeing here is the above mentioned government destabilizing, marketing tactics of  wealthy special interests.   It happens all the time and now it is happening here.  This is not ALL the wealthy mind you.  I will talk about that in another post.

The press, has other reasons for falling in line.  I think the press needs to keep working on figuring that out for themselves.   I am saying this in honest support of members of the press who are questioning their corporate interest and their responsiblity to informing a Democracy.  I do not envy them and I send much love and encouragement.   Save your money!  I think we need to start  a real free press.  Consolidate our resources and let’s have some high-profile defections.  Now that’s a story that would be apparently way more important than facts.

The war in Afghanistan

December 3, 2009

Every once in a while, on a regular basis, I hear mentioned in the press that some of President Obama’s supporters are disappointed in him. That always causes me to wonder, as I do on a regular basis, just who is the press talking to? Or I suppose, now a days I should say, just whose blog are they reading? I am a Progressive. You know, “on the left” and I am NOT disappointed!! I am very pleased with what our President has been able to accomplish as I am very aware of the forces that he is up against and I am very pleased with his aims, which are in the right direction. I am also very aware that these are life and death decisons for people. Soldiers and civilians. There are family members everywhere who need for the killing to stop. Now, as for what people are dying for, that requires every citizen to do their due dilligance and understand what is going on, what has been going on for generations. How America has “done business” and the price that so many people have paid for our “success”. Instead of just blowing up people we don’t like, now we have a chance to start building a healthy relationship, on our initiative and our dime of course. After all, we are the invading force in the Middle East. This includes all the money in military support that we provide Israel so they can keep killing Palestinians. Obama is a Democrat and I do not expect him to act like anything but a Democrat. So, I am not disappointed. I am proud. Our leadership today is doing what needed to be done a long time ago. Putting thought into problem solving. What a concept! So, in expectation of opposition to our Government Leadership’s Plan I have a few points to make.What if we had done this in the beginning? When Bush first “declared war” on Afghanistan and Iraq? But no one ever stopped to think it through then. There was a lot of opposition for a lot of very good reasons. But, who knows what they are, even today? Yes, you have homework to do. Everyone, except a progressive few, just went along with the spending of trillions of tax dollars that we did not have, to put 1,000’s of people to death, which only increases the hate. The only ones to benefit have been companies that make a living off of war and debt. Now, the dictatorial tactics of President Bush are over. Now, I see people asking questions, asking for proof and reassurance that a plan based on consensus and discussion will work. We will see, but I say thank you Obama for bringing back REAL Democratic process to America. That is one reason why we elected him. Everytime the press or the Republicans frame this as Obama “doing stuff”, you have to REMEMBER, ALL HE HAS DONE IS REESTABLISH DEMOCRATIC PROCESS and improve its use in policy making. It is what is supposed to happen. This country is everyone’s responsibility. What goes on in the world is not just some maniacal, homicidal business decision. Where was this in depth coverage and deep questioning when millions of people were in the streets in America and abroad, demanding we not start this war? I strongly suggest that readers take the time to visit some antiwar sites so you can see what the opposing view points are. They still stand and they will keep causing war across the world until we understand and talk about them. There are real issues that must be understood! The press could do a really good job for the nation of they were to take the time to do a little research and help lead a real discussion about war in the Middle East. It is not just about fighting between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. If that is the focus then America will not learn anything and we will be condemned to go bankrupt as a nation while a handful of the population grows rich and consolidates power over ALL OF US. Here is a sample article on the financial crisis http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/18963 Here is an on line teach-in on US Foreign Relations http://www.zmag.org/zmi/zinstruc1.htm The idea is to learn, not blindly accept, so take your time. Look things up. Honestly, that is what a progressive is; somebody who looks things up. Not sooo radical an idea!

My first post is a copy of a letter I wrote for the NAACP

December 3, 2009

NOTE: This is the long version.  They did a really good job of editing this letter for me!

November 13, 2009

I just gave my first Green Jobs workshop to my local branch of the NAACP.  The workshop was held in a beautiful little church in the farm country of southern Ohio.  We are on the border with West Virginia and Kentucky.  This area is the gateway to  Appalachia.  This area is filled with contrasts.  There are beautiful rolling hills and nuclear power plant just outside of Charleston.  There is a Dow Chemical plant just down the road.  It is surrounded by corn fields.  The railroad runs coal along the Ohio River and at night you can see the flaming stacks of the oil refinery just across the river.  In this area we are all greatly concerned about our long term job and economic prospects.  First there was the agricultural revolution, then the industrial revolution and now the environmental revolution.  This area is full to the brim with industries that need to change or be replaced.

When we depend on big capital to drive our economies lots of people can get hurt.  When the profit margin gets too small for coal Massey energy can just pack up and go.  That’s the free market.  I am hoping that teaching the community about Green Jobs and the Green economy with its triple bottom line of people, planet and profit will help us to realize that we can have a say in how our local economies function.  We should  not wait for big capital to come or go.  There is work to be done right now in every community in our nation. There is weatherization, green building construction and renovation, recycling and food production.  We should be taking the time now to map our economies and make some choices about what we want.  There are resources and networks available to help communities do this.  I  connect people with these resources.

On the one hand my talk  was very successful in laying out the path for getting green jobs in our community.  On the other hand it was difficult to explain that the jobs are not just out there to sign up for.  We are going to have to do some foot work, some collaboration and advocate for what we want.     My local NAACP chapter works really hard to connect people in the community with available jobs. But like a lot of community groups there are only so many active members and most of them are not getting any younger.  These circumstances are not unique.  Over the last 50 years or so people have had to work more and more hours just to maintain the same income level.  We have precious little time for volunteering.  Secondly, the electronic age has changed the way we socialize.  It has even changed, or at least broadened the definition of socializing!  The result is, younger folk are just not coming to these meetings.

Well, every challenge is an opportunity and there are so many opportunities with this work!  Wow!

  1. Bringing in new members by working on a timely project that involves younger working people.
  2. Publicizing the NAACP.  Getting our name out there.
  3. Countering mass media and filling the information gap about Green Jobs and the Green Economy.
  4. Instilling hope and inspiring creativity by providing critical and useful information
  5. Doing Democracy-  learning and leading

Most important is regaining  impact and control over our economies.  We have devolved into a system where a very small percentage of the population owns a highly disproportionate amount of the assets.  The Green Economy and Green Jobs have the potential to change the asset ratios to something more sustainable and supportive to all economic groups.

I am a Gap Worker.  .  Out here in the field I help everybody with my work.  I utilize all the really great resources that NGO’s  put together.   I give them out to the community, to new people not the same old folks who already get your newsletter.    I help municipalities, I help local community organizations.  I educate individuals face to face.  I empower them with the information they need and I develop a language of change as I go.  Language is really very important, especially here on the front lines

Most rural communities don’t have the infrastructure for creating green anything.  I provide the critical staffing power needed to translate policy into actual change.  It is a big job but it is what I do, naturally.  So, I can never seem to stop doing it even though it does not pay.  I think it should.  I think we are missing an important opportunity if we don’t support gap workers. I could happily do this full time

I create positive epidemics.

Sylvia Arthur started out as an Environmental Studies major with a specialty in Economics in 1977.  Since then she has played an active role in the anti nuclear movement and most recently, low income self advocacy as Chair of the Statewide Poverty Action Network in Seattle, WA.  Her initial reason for moving to Ohio was to be closer to family.  But now we can add that it is also an opportunity for her to fulfill a life long commitment of NOT preaching to the choir.