by bill gilbert
Rise Up Citizens! It is time to Alter the present Political System/Government because it has become Destructive of the Stated Self-evident Truths of the Declaration of Independence, those of Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness.
The majority of the Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress who claim to represent us do not represent us but represent corporate and other wealthy special interests based primarily in Wall Street. Those congresspersons do not represent the People because they are beholding primarily to those corporate and wealthy special interests that financed their election campaigns.
This all came about because of the Supreme Court case decisions of Santa Clara v. Southern Railroad 1886, Buckley v. Valeo 1976, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 2010, and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission 2014 that essentially handed the political system over to corporate and wealthy special interests by allowing unlimited amounts of money to flow, even in secrecy, from corporations and wealthy special interests to support or oppose candidates and/or members of Congress.
This has amounted to a Supreme Court Coup d’e-tat handing the reins of power over to corporate and wealthy special interests that now control the legislative and executive branches of government.
Legalized bribery now dominates the political system/government. Obviously, when money is ‘speech’ which can buy candidate elections, or defeat others, corruption of democratic government is guaranteed. This corruption has given us the existing Corporate-Congressional-Security-State, (CCSS).
The CCSS is being supported by the Koch brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), well-funded conservative think tanks i.e., Cato Institute , The Heritage Foundation, Project for the New American Century, Hoover Institute, etc., and Grover Norquist’s ‘Americans for Tax Reform’s anti-tax pledge that nearly every Republican in Congress and many Democrats have signed. These tactics have created ‘gridlock’ in Congress, crippling the people’s ability to intelligently debate, legislate, and solve the persistent social, economic and environmental problems that seriously confront us. The Congress’ approval rating hovers near an all-time low of 15 percent.
The Goal of Grover Norquist and his organization is to reduce government to a size he can, “drown it in a bathtub,” so every service can be de-funded, declared non-functional, and then privatized, transferring more wealth to the Gang on Wall Street. The attacks on schools and public lands are good examples.
Clearly we have corporatism. The corporate news media call it ‘oligarchy.’ Benito Mussolini said, “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” The real possibility of authoritarianism exists and we must prevent this from happening!
- The CCSS is preventing us, the People of the United States, from attaining our unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness as set forth in the U. S. Declaration of Independence adopted July 4, 1776.
I interpret ‘Life’ as living in safety, having good health care, sufficient shelter, good nutrition, a meaningful job and maintaining ourselves within the human family in a sustainable way in a clean and healthy environment.
‘Liberty’ means to be able to live without being confined or in servitude, having freedom of movement without undue restrictions and to be able to exercise free choices for actions as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others or damage to the natural environment.
‘Pursuit of Happiness’ means having a good education, formal and/or vocational; the availability of jobs, that could be created by the repairing of our cities infrastructure; having health care for all; adequate housing for all; and the ability to pursue interests without jeopardizing the common good that includes the natural environment.
- Furthermore, the CCSS is preventing us, the People of the United States, from implementing the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution , adopted March 4, 1789, that tells us to be pro-active in our republic’s political system/government to establish specific goals. Notice the action words to achieve these goals. “We the People of the United States, in Order to ‘form’ a more perfect Union, ‘establish’ Justice, ‘insure’ domestic Tranquility, ‘provide’ for the common defense, ‘promote’ the general Welfare, and ‘secure’ the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
- To implement the above our founding fathers had in mind our government was of, by, and for the People. People elected to Congress take an oath to, “defend the Constitution,’ and, ‘faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter; So help me God.”
The Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 states, “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.”
- The Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government are in direct violation of not providing for the general Welfare of the U.S. Our reality is to clearly observe what exists.
— The U.S. has the worst social record of any developed country in the world and many developing countries. We are number one in prison population with 2.3 million people incarcerated. First in teen birth rates and some of the highest rates of STDs. First in drug use, child hunger, poverty, illiteracy, obesity, diabetes, use of anti-depressants, income disparity, violence, and firearms death.
— The U.S. leads the industrial world in the percentage of its jobs that are low-wage. There is no, ‘trickle down economic policy.’ For the last 30 years over 90% of the total growth in income in the U.S. went to the top 10% earners – leaving 9% of all income to be shared by the bottom 90%. This is blatant worker exploitation.
— The U.S. has the highest percentage of its population locked up in jails. Our incarceration rate is 8 times more than Russia. Little or nothing is reported by the government, about the annual totals of crime in the business suites – corporate price-fixing, tax and consumer fraud, employee safety violation, pollution and other rip-offs, including Medicare and Medicaid profiteering. It is essential that we take the profit motive out of prison management.
— The U.S. has lost hundreds of companies and millions of jobs to overseas locations because of the corporate dominated Democratic and Republican political parties. Factory employment peaked in the U.S. in 1979. The Democrat Party under President Bill Clinton brought us NAFTA. The Gramn-Leach-Biley Act of 1999 weakened provisions of the Glass-Steagull Act of 1933 that gave us banking reforms to control speculation. Under the Republican Party of George Bush corporate investments, factories, and jobs make a dash for overseas locations while creating some part-time jobs at home amid thousands of ruined towns and cities with broken institutions and demoralized populations. Globalization, automation, and recession destroyed nearly 6 million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2009. The ‘service economy’ was created – like everyone doing each other’s laundry. Now a Democratic President wants Congress to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership that will be, if passed, like NAFTA on steroids.
— The U.S. has the highest number of poor people in 52 years. According to the Census Bureau during 2012, 49.7 millions of Americans live in poverty. Millions live near poverty. The poverty rate is higher for Blacks (27%) and Latinos (26%) than for whites (10%). Poverty rates have been three times higher than rates in most European societies.
The Libertarian view of the world or, ‘free market’ capitalism, is now soundly rejected. The current economic system is built around organized theft—the theft of the value of what workers produce by the people who employ them.
— “No other country takes as large a portion of its revenue from working people at the lower ends of the spectrum and as little from persons who have property or high incomes,” said the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. For years socialists and other social critics have called this exploitation. We need a progressive tax structure whereby the wealthy; including corporations, pay their fair share.
In 1971, corporate tax revenue constituted over 25% of the federal budget. Today it brings in only 10% of government revenue. Two-thirds of all corporations pay no taxes. We need an equitable tax policy. This re-shifting of the tax burden to the middle class and defunding of government started under Ronald Reagan continued through the Clinton and Bush years.
— Education in the U.S. is ranked 17th of 50 nations by the United Nations. Our two tiered (one for the rich and one for the poor) education system must end. For too many African-Americans, the education system has been a pipeline to the corporate prison system. We need an equitable funding source for public education which is NOT based primarily on the local property tax. While some European nations have free education pre-school through college, thousands of Americans are strapped with 1.3 billion dollar debt.
— The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or ‘Obamacare’ will leave 30 million people uninsured and it is estimated the administrative costs will be about 30%. Alternatively, under the ‘Expanded and Improved Medicare For All’ Act (H.R. 676) everyone is covered. Medicare makes sense because it is efficient, and its administrative costs would be only 3%. It would be funded by small increases in payroll taxes. No premiums. Health care will be recognized as a human right and not a commodity. Medicare is the health care program that serves Democrat and Republican politicians in Congress.
— Global warming/climate change is our reality. Because of our inability to act, the climate crisis will very soon overshadow all other problems that now confront us. The corrupting influence of fossil fuel companies gives huge amounts of money to lobbyists and congressional representatives in Washington to prevent action that would stop this growing climate disaster.
Within the next 15 years we must stop pouring carbon into the atmosphere. If we do not, the temperature will keep rising right past the point where any kind of adaption will prove impossible.
— Militarism is the largest subsidy to corporate America and is the military industrial complex President Eisenhower warned us about. Without wars, the capitalist economy falls apart. The manufacture and sale of armaments is a gigantic welfare system for corporations at the huge expense to the people of the United States.
The size of the behemoth military budget is absurd. Without a declaration of war by Congress we have an annual national security budget of over $1trillion and is more than the rest of the world’s combined military budget. To perpetuate this gigantic corporate subsidy, or welfare program, the Pentagon or Department of Defense has wisely, for its own interests, obtained military procurement contracts within most of the federal congressional districts of key states to facilitate and to perpetuate public pressure to continue military spending. We must take the profit away from war and its preparation.
With over 900 military installations around the world in 130 nations the image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.
Since 2001 Congress has allowed the president to “use all necessary and appropriate force” against anyone and since then Presidents Bush and Obama have invoked the law more than 30 times to justify war, armed drone attacks, indefinite detention at Guantanamo, warrantless wiretapping and other military interventions around the world. Congress should take back its authority to oversee the president’s use of military force by repealing the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
We must limit our military forces to the strong defense of the United States.
If we really wanted peace we would actively endorse and support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948.
Rise Up Citizens . . . We Need a System Change!
To secure our rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed — “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing the powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness. . . “
Problem: Our existing political and economic system is based on exploitation, poverty, consumerism, and militarism.
We must change this system to a democratic and equitable political and economic system guided by social and environmental values – NOT by exploitation, greed and hatred. Making change is not a spectator’s sport.
We must realize that personal change doesn’t equal social or environmental change. It takes community in solidarity to affect change.
The present toxic systemic problems of economic and racial inequality will require systemic solutions. The changes we need to make must go beyond corporate competition and state socialism.
“Ecological restoration is extraordinary simple: remove whatever prevents the system from healing itself. Social restoration is no different. We have the heart, knowledge, money, and sense to optimize our social and ecological fabric. It is time for all that is harmful to leave. . . . “We” means all us, everyone. There can be no green movement unless there is also a black, brown, and copper movement . . . .the only way to put out the fire is [for all us including environmentalists] to get on the social justice bus.” From, ‘Spirituality and Social Action: A Holistic Approach,’ Vimala Thakar.
How can we, the 99%, best respond to what is happening to us? First consider our values. Take a look at the Ten Key Values of the Green Party of the United States. www.gp.org/what-we-believe/10-key-values/
We Must Have true Representative Democracy.
People of all political persuasions must come together to amplify our voices through city, country, and state institutions to demand that . . . We, the people, must be able to govern ourselves or, to have a representative democracy in our republic. We must organize from the bottom up and challenge corporate rule by the Congressional-Corporate-Security-State.
- We must pass a Constitutional Amendment, the ‘We the People Amendment.’ Section 1 states that artificial entities (corporations) are not persons and can be regulated. Section 2 states that money is not speech and can be regulated. Contact: www.wethepeopleamendment.org/ The results of a Novermber, 2014 Alachua County, Florida ballot referendum showed 72 percent of the voters passed a non-binding straw poll in favor of amending the U.S. Constitution.
We must hold all, who hold political office and political candidates, accountable for their support of the ‘We the People Amendment.’ Support for this amendment should be a ‘qualification’ for holding public office.
- We need a constitutionally defined and protected right to vote—a new Voting Rights Act.
- Let us acquire the democracy we have never had by implementing: public funding of elections, instant run-off voting, and proportional representation. www.fairvote.org/
- Establish the democratic popular vote. Abolish the Electoral College. Implement equitable congressional districts.
We must Democratize the Workplace
- Organizations that produce goods and services could be owned by their own employees, by private pension funds, and by local governments. They do not have to be privately owned.
- We should have public banking. Revenue could be used to pay for social services and NOT sent out of the area to Wall Street.
- There should be a combination of cooperatives, state-owned companies, and private companies, or a mixed enterprise system, based on an economic system that primarily benefits the welfare of children and families. This is being done in Europe for the benefit of the general citizenry and not for the ‘few.’
To learn more about cooperatives we should look to Europe, especially the Mondragon cooperatives in Spain. Practices unfamiliar to Americans, such as ‘co-determination,’ ‘supervisory boards,’ and ‘works councils’ have been crucial in helping to harness capitalism’s tremendous wealth-creating capacity so that its prosperity is broadly shared.
All industrialized economic systems are subsidized in some way; however the European economies, as well as those of Canada and New Zealand are subsidized via the public sector (education, health etc.) rather than the private sector like the U.S. (Pentagon’s D.O.D. budget) supporting the wealthy special interests. The European model is a mixed bag of democratic socialism and capitalism.
Important: “Sweden’s policy of collective capital formation which links growth to efficiency and Democratic management, and solidaristic wage demands show what can be done when pressure is brought to bear on capital in the interests of social justice and democratic participation.” From Cornel West Reader.
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Please visit: www.launch.Thenextsystem.org/
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“If we see the world as a living organism of which we are a part—not the owner, nor the tenant; not even a passenger—we could have a long time ahead of us and our species might survive for its “allotted span.” It is up to us to act personally in a way that is constructive.” From, ‘The Ages of Gaia,’ by James Lovelock.
“It all depends on you and me.”
Orange Creek Basin,
16 June 2015