Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Worcester City Council approves tax deals for 2 hotels

Two comments on

Worcester City Council approves tax deals for 2 hotels

This TIF deal was rushed through the Council with dizzying haste, without a full public hearing, without the 30-day window for public scrutiny and consideration of its terms that most of the Councilors publicly committed to just a few short weeks ago.  And it utterly fails to meet the terms they committed to for tax giveaways. 

If there is a case that the tax relief is financially necessary to build this or a similar project, that was not made public. 

The broader community benefits would reach to a few downtown merchants and the hoped-for new downtown tenants, but a case was not made that it would benefit anyone else. 

The developer has a long history of hiring sub-contractors who commit outrageous health, safety, wage-theft, record-keeping and shoddy work violations, with no controls put in place to hold them to a higher standard. 

Little provision was included to monitor compliance, and no "clawback" clause to recover tax money if the terms of the agreement are violated. 

Despite the constant refrain on Monday of "Good Jobs for Worcester", there is no requirement or likelihood that the permanent jobs created be any such thing. 

It was rushed to a vote one day after the Economic Development Committee heard it, then rushed to a special Finance Committee meet and vote so it could be brought back to the Council and passed in the same session! 

This rush to judgment was apparently so urgent that they all met on a night when no sane person would be on the road. The audience section was nearly empty. 

A few weeks ago Konni Lukes demonstrated her power to slow down a process she disagreed with - the Foreclosure Mediation Bill (which had been before the Council for over a year) by exercising her absolute privilege to hold it for another week without a reason. Neither she nor anyone else saw fit (or dared?) to use that tool to slow down this disgraceful rush to give away almost $5 million in City tax revenue before the public could react. 

This needs a serious looking at. 
Is any job a good job? Are there jobs not worth putting up public money to bring to Worcester? 

This past week the Transitional Assistance offices in Worcester and around the state have been jammed with desperate Food Stamp recipients whose cards were deactivated due to a systems failure. Many are terrified of facing the holidays with no food for their families. 

Most heartbreaking were the ones who had to walk away from the long wait to get their card problem straightened out - because they would lose their job if they waited! Collecting public assistance and dealing with the bureaucracy and paperwork of all the different systems can be a full-time job. Collecting while holding a job can be nearly impossible. 

Now before all you knee-jerk welfare-haters take off on this, let me get to my point. 

Which is that these people at the welfare office making the gut-wrenching choice between the job that pays the rent and the card that puts food on the table have precisely the kind of jobs this TIF giveaway will get us more of! 

Without an agreement on wage standards, most of the jobs we just bought will be standard hotel-staff jobs. Which is to say, at or near minimum wage, with no security, no respect, little or no benefits, often part time, temporary and irregular hours, and for most no hope of a future. Jobs that are notorious for their rapid turnover due to a pace that wears workers out in 5 years. 

Worse than WalMart jobs! 

Our City Council just put up almost $5 million of city tax revenue to get more of them! 

Speakers from the audience talked about this, but I heard no sign from the councillors that they understood or cared. No one challenged the stuffed suits repeating the mantra "Good Jobs for Worcester!" 

I have never felt so disgusted or ashamed of our Council. What a disgraceful display of servility and bad faith with the people! But at least they gave City Manager Mike O'Brien a final gift as he leaves us for his new life swimming openly among the sharks!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Musings on a train wreck

The wreck of a MetroNorth commuter train this past week, and the revelation that it could have been prevented if New York State had spent the money on a signal system upgrade that was ordered by a court, got me to thinking about the state of our country's public goods.

The US I grew up in had the world's most advanced infrastructure.  We had the world's best highway system.  The world's best railroad system - passenger and freight.  The best bus and transit systems. Our electrical transmission system, oil and gas delivery system, telephones, dams, inland waterways were the best. 

Our schools, colleges and universities were the envy of the world, our literacy and graduation rates the highest, and our well-funded scientists dominated the Nobel Prize lists. 

We had the most doctors and hospital beds per person, the lowest infant mortality, the lowest maternal death rate, the highest life expectancy in the history of the world. 

My young heart swelled with pride when I looked at maps of who made what. We were number one in steel, concrete, machinery, textiles, garments, electronics, just about everything. 

American rockets were certainly going to lead the world into the heavens. 

And we led the world in sports. Apart from the Soviet Union - and they had to be cheating somehow - US athletes absolutely dominated the Olympics.  We excelled because our youth were the healthiest and most self-confident,  but most importantly I'm sure because tens of millions were participating in well-funded school gym and sports programs and college 
inter-mural and inter-collegiate sports programs. 

When I first heard the fans chanting "USA Number One!" the US was already losing its world pre-eminence. It was a cry of defiance from a people who really had been #1 and despite growing anxiety still believed we were. 

Today it just rings hollow.  

The US still controls the Internet. We have the biggest and baddest military and spy network, and our banks and corporations, our billionaires, still dominate the world, but our land is going to ruin, our people are declining in health, and a mood of hopelessness and depression is gripping the land.

What does that have to do with the Bronx rail tragedy? 

Everything that made us great came from investing in our own country, putting our money, work and resources into all the common goods that we share together.  Our infrastructure.  And it's going to pot.  The interstate highway system, one of the wonders of the world, is falling into disrepair. Thousands of dams, tens of thousands of bridges are  unsafe.  Our passenger rail system is nearly gone, along with the inter-city, suburban and rural bus systems. 

Our electrical power transmission system is obsolete and terribly vulnerable, and our nuclear power industry has become a ticking time bomb.  Our gas and oil lines and gas mains are leaking, our fresh water reserves are becoming irreversibly polluted and our internet and cellular access outside the major cities is far behind world standards.  Rural hospitals and those serving poor neighborhoods have been going out of business for forty years, and in many parts of the US infant mortality, maternal death rates and life expectancy are falling behind much of the "third world".

The bold adventure into space, spurred by embarrassment at the hands of the Soviet Union, has withered to a chronically-starved unmanned space-exploration effort, while the NASA budget has shifted massively to surveillance and preparations for space warfare.

For thirty years now, desperate school systems have been eliminating mandatory gym programs and colleges have slashed intramural sports budgets, and the health and fitness of our youth is in decline.  The doctrines of scarcity, blaming, self-blame, doom and powerlessness have robbed us of our joy, our bravado, our self-confidence, while our leadership in sports narrows to a class of often fantastically overpaid professional athletes.

And the great Empire State can't even find the money to upgrade a railroad signal system, under a court order with a 10-year deadline. 

40, maybe 50 million people can't find real work, while our once-great country goes to ruin, and we're told there's no money to fix and upgrade it. 

How is that possible? 

Our prostitute mass media paints this collapse of the public sector as normal and inevitable, like the working out of some law of nature, while our lobotomized economists prove with charts, graphs and equations that any attempt to reverse this state of affairs will just make things worse.

From the perspective of any regular person, it makes absolutely no rational sense.   

It's heartbreaking. 

It's outrageous.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Kennedy - 50th anniversary of death

I was in a lunch line in Chicago when I heard John Kennedy had been shot. I had not liked him much, better than Nixon was the best I'd been able to say about him when he ran for office, so I was surprised by how upset I was to hear this.  Evidently he had been growing on me.

I detested Kennedy's rich playboy style and perfect socialite wife. I was well aware of "his" FBI failing to protect civil rights workers, and his rank hypocrisy in defending the Bay of Pigs invasion.  I blamed him for the Cuban Missile Crisis, when we all stared our personal death in the face, for provoking it with his promise to the returning of the Bay of Pigs veterans to invade Cuba - little suspecting how critical his leadership had been in preventing World War III.

But over the year following the Missile Crisis I saw that something was changing.  Kennedy's stand on civil rights stiffened.  He negotiated the Test Ban Treaty.  And then there was his amazing, totally unexpected commencement address at American University on June 10 1963, proposing an end to the Cold War and the nuclear arms race.  

Take a listen:   

I heard this speech for the first time today, but read it in the newspaper then and was deeply impressed. It gave me hope. Despite the standard Cold War rhetoric it still rings true.  Even his repeating of the "lies of the Soviet leaders" was audacious - no doubt many in his audience were actually hearing for the first, last and only time of the Soviet charges that the US generals had plans to launch a nuclear war of aggression on the Soviet Union, charges we now know - and now know that Kennedy well knew - were true.

Some say that this was the speech that sealed his doom. Others that it was his 1963 executive order (now confirmed) pulling the US troops out of VietNam, or that he had already crossed the line by twice failing to order an invasion of Cuba.  Whatever its place in motivating his brutal removal, this hugely important speech lives on, a testament not only to his wisdom but to his courage.  It's message is one we still need to hear and heed. 

Yes the Kennedys were and are a wealthy, powerful and well-connected family, but no one can listen to this speech and deny that such a person can sometimes rise above his background and "pass through the eye of the needle." 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Why the Gold Standard won't fix the system

   Submitted as a comment to an article from the Gold Standard Institute
    Theory of Interest and Prices in Practice

I loved the “not even wrong” adage attributed to the physicist Wolfgang Pauli, and appreciated the review and application of market theory to the dollar and gold markets.

Missing from this essay, as many readers of Zero Hedge no doubt spotted, was consideration of manipulation of markets, including the gold/paper-gold market, by large players other than the Fed, which makes market analysis so difficult, and which always renders suspect the phrase "The Market decides..." or "The Market dictates..." 

There are deeper problems here however, to which the Gold Standard true believers can be expected to be blind but which many readers of Zero Hedge may recognize.  

Step by step, since the late '60's, the US Government and regulators, with the encouragement of the bankers and large investors and the other world financial capitals and banks, has moved away from a gold-anchored, well-protected and regulated financial system and economy to today's financial "fantazamagora" resting on a foundation of "transmogrification".   

The entire Economics Faculty at Wisconsin in the late '60's - and apparently most of the profession - were united in their commitment that a Great Depression would never again be allowed.  Yet step by step the dollar was cast loose from its foundations and all the checks and balances established for this purpose were dismantled.  

Was this driven just by greed, amnesia and short-sightedness?  Perhaps not; each of the major "wrong moves" since then, starting with abandoning the Gold Standard, was in the context of a crisis that threatened the stability of the economy.  

Had the US stayed on something like the Gold Standard, it seemed to me at the time that it have been inexorably driven into another deflationary spiral and depression.  At that moment of history, with the threat of communism still very real in people's minds and the New Deal still a fresh and living memory, it is easy to see how politically unacceptable such an outcome would have been, no matter how healthy for the system for "clearing the deadwood", liquidating excess capital and debt (to the advantage of the bigger fish) and restoring "labor discipline".  

Two underlying dynamics of the past 70 years that I would direct your attention to: 

1)  the inexorable buildup of debt, as lending creates money to cover the principal but not the interest, even in a gold standard financial system.  Ellen Brown and many others here have written extensively about this. 

2)  the inexorable depression of the wages of those actually engaging in production of real goods and services as a share of revenue as owners strive to lower costs, generating today's situation where consumer demand for goods and services can no longer justify further investment for profit in the real economy.  

With the advances in computer design and control, robots and 3-D printing we may even have entered a "black hole" where additional investment in the real economy almost immediately results in a net decrease in consumer purchasing power, and in which further expansion of credit can no longer generate increased demand because borrowers are tapped out.

The Gold Standard, as a formula for a stable market-driven economy emerging from the impending financial Armageddon, would then only be a temporarily fix.  Yet perhaps this cycle could repeat?  

My suspicion is that the present crisis marks the end of the road for economies driven by the pursuit of profit.  While the capitalist economy could perhaps be preserved through the crisis with massive government repression and re-started following a massive liquidation of paper and perhaps physical capital - and perhaps the mass-scale "die-off" of "useless mouths" of which some here speak - the costs would include civilization as we know it and probably destruction of the very biosphere.   

This moment rather calls for a much more profound paradigm shift, one that will no doubt be difficult for many readers of Zero Hedge to accept.  And millions understand this.  See: How Science is Telling Us All to Revolt, by Naomi Klein, NewStatesman (UK), October 29, 2013

There's an adage that roughly fits, which goes something like "they can't be expected to understand what their paychecks depend on their not understanding." (who said this?) 

The best of times? A perspective for the rest of us

Charles Dickens began one of his novels with the words "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."  That could describe America today.

If you're unemployed in Worcester, if your unemployment benefits have run out or aren't coming through, if you're struggling to survive and hold a family together on temporary and part time jobs - or homeless in the streets - you might well ask: 

*  "How could anyone say it's the best of times?"  

The nightmare of high unemployment and declining wages, job insecurity and cutbacks in government help continues with no end in sight. So who would say this is "the best of times"?.  

It's now five years since the economic collapse began. Yet the economists, politicians and decision makers keep talking about "the recovery" like it's something that's happening, like it's real.  But we haven't seen that recovery, out here in our neighborhoods and on the streets!  So what on earth are they talking about?!?

  It shows corporate profits in green (in inflation-adjusted dollars) and the BLS "Employment Population Ratio" - the percent of the population age 16 and over that's working - in red, since 1956.

Notice how, beginning about 2002, corporate profits started to take off through the roof.  Then notice how the Employment Population Ratio was slowly declining since 2000, dropped sharply in 2008-2009 and has never recovered.

For the wealthy, who live in their own world, mostly talk to each other and know nothing first-hand about ours, this really is "the best of times".  See that sharp dip in profits in 2008?  For the super rich that was the recession and it lasted less than a year.  Since then profits have rebounded and are setting new records.

For us, the millions, it's a depression with no end in sight - with probably worse to come. 

The greed of the corporate rich knows no bounds.  They want lower taxes and less regulations. They hide their billions overseas to avoid taxes, and scour the earth looking for places where they can get work done for starvation wages, and where they can poison the air and the rivers with no penalty. Everywhere they scheme to take public resources and turn them into private property to milk or sell off.  

They call themselves the "job creators", but they could care less whether their investments create jobs, so long as they return more money.  

It's hard for regular folk to understand how someone who could buy anything they wanted or really needed could have such a vast, bottomless hunger for more money.  To us, greed looks like wanting fancier cars and clothes, a fancier home, access to fancy night-spots and vacations.  The super-rich already have all that, more than we can even imagine.  So why isn't it enough for them?

As Grace Ross points out in her book Main Street Smarts, for the super-rich, money isn't for the things they can buy with it.  It's about power. It's pieces on the board.  It's about mighty families building empires and struggling with each other in a great game of power. Like a giant Monopoly game, where the losers aren't allowed to quit and start over.  

Their big problem - and ours - is that the game can't go on like this.  They've already won, big time, and we've already lost.  If they aren't willing to allow a new deal and a fresh start, the game has to collapse.   When we land on Park Place now, or even on Vermont Avenue, we can't pay the rent and we've nothing left to sell to get it!  Only for us it's not just a game, not just a bad feeling, it's about survival.  

The crisis of 2008-9 was a big downward step in the collapse.  The next downward plunge in the economy is close, probably already happening, and it could be really big.  

For the super-rich, controlling the government and its resources is really important: 

*  to keep us fit and ready for work;
*  to keep us under control;  
*  to support their world-wide empire, 700 foreign military bases, three foreign wars and their ability to control the wealthy families of other lands with the threat of war;
*  to funnel ever more money into their pockets with contracts and interest payments; and recently
*  to keep their economy from collapsing by endlessly printing money and pumping it into the banks and the stock market.

As the crisis sharpens the super-rich care less and less about keeping us fit for work, more and more about what they can get out of us right now.  And they are plundering the government to fatten themselves and keep their game going.  Their view of the problem is that if they have no jobs for us, it's because there's too many people!  In private they call us "useless mouths".  They imagine if they could get rid of some of us, it would solve the problem, but they can never get rid of enough of us to stop their markets from collapsing!

In one way or another we - the millions - have to take control of the government back from them.  We're a very long way from being ready to do that, but it may be possible to get enough people acting together to change government policies, to turn it away for preparations for war and bailing out the rich and back toward taking care of our needs and creating jobs doing useful work. 

This is possible, because just about everyone out here in the world of regular folk - and even the world of professionals and small business folk - is being hurt or threatened by the hard times and government cutbacks to almost everything useful the government does. And we outnumber the wealthy by 95 to 5, or 99 to 1, or 999 to 1 depending on how you slice it. 

Can we take the government away from the billionaires, the corporate wealthy who, as Bob Dylan put it, "play with us like we're their little toys," and return control over it to the people? Not now. Probably not very soon.  We're far from ready for that.

But the effort to build a great pro-jobs anti-cutbacks anti-war coalition is what we have to do right now to survive.  And the day may come - nay, will come - when taking control is exactly what we will need to do to survive.  

Can we decide what the world will look like when the smoke clears?  Events, the choices of hundreds of millions of people, and the unfolding of the dimly-perceived logic of the situation will shape the outcome in ways we can hardly imagine; but it helps to talk about how we would want it to turn out - our vision will help guide our actions!

What we are learning and building now will help prepare us for that day when it comes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Freedom Road" is back, after 34 years!

I missed the Made-for-TV movie Freedom Road, based on Howard Fast's powerful novel by the same name and starring Muhammad Ali and Kris Kristofferson, when it aired on HBO in 1979, and I've been looking for it ever since. Now, finally, after 34 years, it's been resurrected and posted to YouTube at:

To my knowledge this is the only serious fictional movie ever made about the vast, rich, complex, inspiring and ultimately tragic revolution and counter-revolution that enveloped the entire South during and after the Civil War, events that profoundly shaped modern America, though most of us know little about them. 

Ali's wooden performance does not justify the obscurity to which this otherwise well-cast, well-acted, well-filmed and gripping movie was consigned, nor justify the silencing of a great story that needs to be told. Perhaps the story lay so far outside the standard narrative about Emancipation and Reconstruction that critics and movie distributors didn't know what to make of it, or even felt repulsed?

Two generations of Americans have grown up without this movie. It tells a story that has much to say to us about our own way forward. 
Let's take it viral, now, while the window of a free Internet is still open to us.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Grace Ross: Should Lauren Be Homeless?

Grace Ross: Should Lauren Be Homeless?
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
She came over to us during our protest demanding an end to the shutdown of the Federal Government.
What had grabbed Lauren’s attention were the words “shelter” and “homeless”. She had very meekly asked me if she could pick up a sign and then stood with me through the rest of the protest - occasionally tapping my hand to get my attention so that she could talk with me a little bit.
Lauren was brave and was willing to share with me (with tears in her eyes) what is a very painful and difficult situation.
Clothed from head to toe in a purple outfit and so thrilled to stand with us at our protest, Lauren is 3 years and some months old.
How she understood the words “shelter” and “homeless”, how she understood the injustice of a family not being able to have a place of their own at the age of 3.5 is stunning.

Worcester: take a stand on Foreclosure Mediation!

Comment posted to
Worcester manager asks for delay on foreclosure measure until Springfield settles suit



Some here are arguing from one side or the other of the Liberal-Conservative split: individual vs. social responsibility. 

It's like asking "Are you on the side of hot or cold?" Which looks better depends on where you'e standing, but the issue can never be resolved. It's just endless distraction and entertainment. 

Yes some people abuse the law. Yes people should take contracts seriously. Yes some people bought houses they couldn't handle. We go to every door listed for foreclosure in Worcester. We see it all, and we judge no one. We invite all to join us in fighting for their homes. 

We choose a side, not because we're against individual responsibility or want a "nanny state", but because homeowners and communities face a huge imbalance of power, power that is being abused wholesale, and it's only through mutual support, building commitment to each other and engaging the whole community that we can win. 

The giant "too big to fail" banks, their "too big to jail" owners and officers, the corporations they control and the Congress and politicians they own are running rough-shod over us in so many ways. The homeowners they're dispossessing are facing the brunt of the attacks. 

Deserving or undeserving, the banks make no distinction, and neither should we. We ask only "will you stand and fight with us?" - and let them sort themselves out. 

We still have the power to beat the "banksters" in state and local courts, city councils and state legislatures. Step by step, homeowners and community defenders have been beating them back. Our City Councilors stand with the homeowners, ready to pass a well-crafted Mediation Ordinance that will help restore the balance. 

The City Manager is again telling them not to pass it, not to challenge the power of the banks until other cities can prove it's safe. Let Springfield, Lynn and Brockton fight our battles for us! 

In the meantime, hundreds of Worcester homes are being lost, and new storm clouds are gathering. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Homeowner's fight for right to buy home back from Freddie Mac

My comment on article in T&G:
   Freddie Mac stalls on family re-purchase of home in foreclosure

       By Paula J. Owen, TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

Juan Alvares is a great speaker and sharp as a tack in his native Spanish, but has had a hard time due to his very limited skill with English. Translators have sometimes failed to communicate the meaning of what bank lawyers, judges and even his own lawyers said to him. He's been an inspiration to all of us with his willingness to bounce back from every setback and keep on fighting, and his standing up for other homeowners and tenants fighting to stay in their homes after foreclosure. 

In the original move against him, three different entities filed competing foreclosures at the same time. A good legal defense coupled with a media strategy could have made a laughing-stock of them and forced a fair loan modification settlement, but this is not the kind of standard move that charity lawyers are generally willing or able to make. 

Those standard moves, designed for a time when mortgage and foreclosure law was well established and the motives of the parties involved were reasonably transparent, now generally only get the homeowner a delay and a better "cash for keys" deal. Every law on the books is being flouted by these vast entities masquerading as banks, and nothing is what it seems. Juan's story shows the need for creative and aggressive strategies, and for lawyers seeing themselves as partners in a movement alongside their clients. 

The fact that Juan is now dealing with Freddie Mac is a case in point. The original confusion may have been caused by Freddie already being involved as the real owner behind the scenes. And Freddie, like the big private banks, has not been honestly negotiating loan modifications. We can only guess at their real motives. 

Jon Marien is right in calling the unlawful refusal of Freddie Mac to sell to BCC or anyone else who might sell back to the borrower an effort to punish them. I'd use the word "terrorize". 

Fannie and Freddie are owned by us, the American people. We have a right to demand and expect better! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Clueless winner of phony Nobel Prize pins tail on donkey

A comment on:

   Nobel-winning economist warns: Rising inequality a problem

         By John Christoffersen, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Alfred Nobel specified that no new categories of prizes would be added to the ones he established. One field set up a prize named after Nobel anyway, Economics. After firing large numbers of economics professors in the '50's, just about everyone that made any sense, the survivors and their patrons urgently needed to do something to make themselves and their profession look smart and important.

This article about Robert Shiller caught my attention with its headlining of Schiller's claim that rising inequality is a problem. Does he mean that it's not just a moral or political problem but an economic one? Reading this article I see no indication that he has a clue as to why that would be so or how he came to that conclusion.

Worse, it appears that Shiller is clueless about pretty much everything - except maybe "empirical analysis of asset prices" - and honestly, I'd take a good look under the hood before I bought even that from him. Perhaps this article misrepresents him, but from it he seems blissfully unaware that our financial system and the dollar itself are teetering at the edge of the abyss, discounting the danger posed by the US flirting with a default on the debt.  He suggests the stock market (being kept alive by the Fed openly pumping a trillion dollars a year of funny money into it) is "moderately overpriced" but "no big deal".

And he can say - apparently with a straight face - that "regulated properly, finance is 'at the core of our civilization'."

But now he can make inane and ignorant pronouncements like this and get taken seriously - because he is a Nobel Laureate, just like President Obama! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Letter to a Patriot: New World Order

I found this - a real turning point:

China's NOT TALKING ABOUT THE NEW WORLD ORDER YOU FEAR - THE NEW WORLD ORDER OF NSA SPYING, DETENTION CAMPS, BLACK HELICOPTERS AND BIG BROTHER.  That one is already here, organized and ready.  It's centered in Washington, New York, London and Zurich and has its tentacles all over the world.  It's in the process of shedding its disguises.  

The '"New World Order" China's calling for is a currency and economy that's beyond the control of the giant US, British and Swiss banks.  Calling on the rest of the world to escape of the rule of the Rockefellers and Mellons, Rothschilds and Morgans.  

It's really a call for an "Anti-New World Order"'  

China's calling for this now because a collapse of the dollar is inevitable - and close. Actually, it's already happening. 

It's been coming on for a long time, driven by the logic of greed that's built into the very heart and guts of our system. 

And it leaves us behind in "the belly of the beast", to survive, to break free from its power, to save ourselves, and perhaps to save the world from its death throes.

My prediction:  The False Patriots will try to conflate China's call for a New World Order with Big Brother, and will try to lead us back into line, unite against the foreign "threat" of China, Russia, Iran and Brazil - and against the internal "threats" of undocumented immigrants and unions.  

Maybe they'll have their pet terrorists fly some airplanes into skyscrapers to scare us back into line, or worse.

The True Patriots will be the ones who remember where our real enemy lies.  Here.  In America.  Not in the cities, the immigrant ghettos, the union halls and community groups, but at the top, in the Boardrooms of the Great Banks and Corporations.  

They understand in their guts that the true face of our enemy is not Republican or Democrat, black or immigrant, but Plutocrat - the rule of the rich and powerful. The billionaires that have no loyalty to any nation or people, who have far more in common with Saudi princes and Swiss bankers than with us. Who "play with us ... like we're their little toys." 

The True Patriots will be the ones who are organizing the people for survival and defense - all the regular people.  Know them by their instinct for unity and solidarity.  

The greatest fear of the False Patriots is that we won't believe their lies anymore. Know them by who they call traitors.  

A good touchstone: where do they stand on Edward Snowden?  If they call him a traitor, or even suggest he might be, get away from them!

The greatest weapon of the False Patriots is to get us fighting and hating each other.  Know them by who they call enemies.

A good touchstone: they may come from an anti-immigrant, anti-union tradition, but are they offering to lead us in battle against the immigrants and unions now? 

We see a lot of organized groups, good people pledging to stand together.  But the sad fact is that most of our people are not organized, and many of our groups are fighting each other.  

This is no time for spectators, no time for fighting over who will get which piece of the carcass.

Our real power lies in the unity and solidarity of all the regular people.  

We have a lot of work to do, a lot of learning and a lot of teaching.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Rally in Daily Worcesteria

Activists rally to end government shutdown

by Walter Bird Jr., Daily Worcesteria Blog  ·  10/10/2013

"[This rally and march has] quite a list of demands," Horton acknowledges, "and we could go on. But it's no longer working to pick one issue, like job creation or food stamps, and just fight for that. With everything, everyone's needs and issues on the block at once, the only thing that makes sense is for all the groups and people fighting on each of these issues separately to come together to demand a complete change in government priorities."

Rally today: End the Shutdown, No Cutbacks, End the Wars, Jobs for All!

The dollar is in real trouble, not just because of the games in Washington. It's been coming on for a long time. But in the political circus in Washington, everything of real value - including Social Security - is on the block. 

The people most at risk, the regular people of America, don't really have a seat at the table. Our brave Congressman Jim McGovern is a voice in the wilderness there. 

So what's their game? In 2009 Newt Gingrich declared a goal of destroying the Obama Presidency, and they've done a pretty good job. Now they're playing chicken with the whole world economy, demanding the dismantling of Obama's only real win, the misbegotten Republican-designed healthcare law dubbed Obamacare, which is a done deal, all the contracts signed - an absurd, unworkable demand. Why? 

The Obama Administration, whatever its other failings, has single-mindedly pursued wars and preparations for wars and the building of a huge Security State, as revealed by whisleblowers like Snowden who he has hounded and pursued around the globe. And they've made advanced preparations for dealing with an emergency by imposing martial law. 

Now the Tea Party seems to be deliberately driving the economy to the brink of the next disaster, one which could cause suffering, even starvation, on a global scale, and the militias are preparing for war and "revolution". 

Is this some kind of terrible high-stakes game? Are they trying to provoke disorder and riots, as an excuse to mobilize their militias? Are they trying to push Obama to declare martial law? 

Or to give him the excuse he needs? 

What part are we supposed to play? Designated victim? Wait until we're desperate, then give them the riots they expect? 

We need instead to present non-violent united mass protest movement, so large and broad they can't ignore us, demanding solutions that work for us all. 

We're calling for everyone who wants this swindle stopped - no more cuts and no more wars - to meet on the Worcester Commons at Noon today.