The Watering Hole, November 29 – The Next Step

I think we have had the possibility of living in democracies. What does it mean? It means places where the privileged are not the one to make the decisions, but that the underprivileged are going to rise to a status where they are normal human beings and human citizens with their freedoms and their rights. Stéphane Hessel

I am following the actions of the world wide Occupy Movement as much as I can. Their activism is a necessary and valuable contribution to spotlight  the inequality that is rampant in most industrialized countries. An inequality which is, by all standards, a huge threat for Democracy itself.

Increasingly there are voices that want to take things one step further. How to introduce the ideas and actions of a movement into the political process in order to bring about the necessary legislation to reinstitute the rule by the people as opposed to the rule of a chosen few?

Well, if you want to go places, you have to define the place to go. The Occupy movement is a rather amorphous entity. Students are protesting fees, OWS is protesting the power of Wall Street and the lack of regulation, OccupyParadeplatz in Zurich is voicing a general discomfort with things as they are, but can’t bring themselves to go for any kind of specific political demands.

So what exactly needs to be done? Can we change the legislation through existing political channels? Who could we support? How do we avoid being sucked into the machinery of a totally corrupted political class? Do we have to run for office ourselves? What would our platform be? What’s the starting point?

Stéphane Hessel  in the interview quoted above has called for the youth to voice their outrage. They are doing it. But he calls for political action, too. How can we help ?

Tell me in the comments section.

This is our open thread, let us know your thoughts on this and don’t hesitate to comment, if you have other things on your mind.

157 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, November 29 – The Next Step

  1. It wasn’t very long ago Ann Coulter was saying: ”If you don’t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and we’ll lose.”

    Today she is on Morning Joke, and the chyron reads: “If not Romney, who? If not now, when?”

    Well, Christie isn’t running…and now she says: “…conservatives ought to start rallying around Romney as the only Republican who has a shot at beating Obama.”

    Gotta scram. See y’all!

  2. Political semantics:
    The “Sunshine Law” states that all local goverment meetings must be open to the public and available for public comment.
    To circumnavigate the awkward presence of citizens that would attend these meetings, they have changed the wording to “workshops”
    This enables them to restrict public presence and public comment.
    Because, this is a “Workshop” and not an open public meeting.

  3. I have long thought that we need to completely change the way people run for office. As I contemplate retirement in a few years, I would love to run on one premise.
    I won’t spend a nickel for anything other than transportation and flyers with my platform printed on them. (Recycled paper of course).
    I would walk each neighborhood knocking on doors, introducing myself and asking people what their chief concerns are. I’d ask them to take one dollar and divide it up among the various things tax dollars should pay for. I’d record that and let that be my guiding principle if elected to office. Pie in the sky, perhaps, but I’d probably be amazed at the number of votes I’d get, just because I’d refuse all private donations. My main plank would be publicly financed political campaigns, with zero allowable contributions. Public websites for posting platforms, public debates (remember the League of Women Voters?) and a ten week campaign timeframe.

    Maybe if enough citizen legislators take control back, and knew where their constituents stood on how their tax dollars should be spent, we could shove the lobbyists back into the holes they crawled from and take our government back.

    • My cousin would happily explain to you all the ways in which you’re violating the US Constitution by disallowing (and disavowing) the “free speech” implicit in the very contributions which you are refusing to take. He would explain how that makes you far less than a loyal Amurkan because it’s compelling evidence that you hate and despise the segment of the American population of which he is, by virtue of his birthright (read: inherited wealth), a charter member. Finally, he’d explain the fallacy in your means of assessment on how to best spend tax dollars by making asking ordinary people. He’d make sure you understand that ordinary citizens, esp. lower and middle class citizens, really have no way of having any level of realistic notion as to how and why tax dollars are best invested in corporations — particularly the MIC — and in Wall Street. He would point out that the non-rich always want entitlement programs to help them out with medical care, with retirement income, and worst of all to help out the lazy whites and all people with brown skin, and how doing so is ALWAYS and invariably a complete and tragic waste of funds, that there is no reason whatsoever to contribute to non-contributors.

      Last but not least, he’d explain that why you’re so screwed up is probably because you don’t watch enough of Fox News. As he told me once,

      “I like [Fox] for news. It is the only … station I trust to be somewhat objectively slanted toward my political views. I really don’t care what the Dems think or say. As for Dan Rather, I’d rather shoot the ASS HOLE than look at him. Republicans forever. Democrats, never!”

      He also noted, in all seriousness, that

      “There should be only republicans [in] this country. Democrats should march themselves into the sea and disappear forever.”

      There. Hope I’ve helped. 😀 😀 😀

      • With an attitude like that, he certainly must agree with Rush Limbaugh that it is “…the Republicans trying to keep the Union together, not the Democrat party.”

        I would just wonder, once teh liberuls (Democrats) were “marched into the sea and disappeared”, how long it would be before they started turning on each other and killing each other off?

        How long it would take until each of them required a castle to protect their kingdoms and wealth? And who would build that castle for them? Who would protect it?

        That could get expensive. Especially since Republicans would insist on a livable salary and the goons they would have to hire to protect the walls would insist on mercenary pay. And who would police these people? Oh wait, they would police themselves. Right?

        Imagine such a world. It isn’t pretty.

        • Reminds me, for some odd reason, of Nottingham and its notorious sheriff. Cousin would fit right in back there … he’d consider Robin Hood to be a traitor because he stole from the rich and gave to the poor rather than the other way around.

          Hmmm. These days, Republicans are trying to steal from the poor in order to give more to the rich. Interesting! And perhaps more than a bit ironic? 😯

    • Knocking on doors and asking for votes is the BEST way to gather voters. People love candidates that take the time, and it does take a lot of time, to speak with them personally. Good luck! I’ve worked many campaigns and the face to face with a good handshake, no whimpy dishrag shake, builds trust and gets votes.

          • Ahh, thanks for the correction…The point is well made that the richest few could have their bracket raised back to 39%, and not even feel it…And have their capital gains ratcheted up there as well. and still not feel it.

  4. Personally, I think education should be free Kindergarten through College to those who choose to continue their education. It is an investment in the future of our country. Why are we suppressing it by insisting that people go into debt to get a degree? Not everyone will choose a higher education, but for those that do, why not provide it for them?

    And if a foreign person wants to come to the US for an education, they can have it, but they must sign a pledge to give back to the US in some way before returning to their own country.

    • Absolutely, I agree 100%. In fact, prior to Reagan and the conservative movement’s assault on education, the cost of attending state colleges and universities was almost laughably minimal compared with today. When I attended Arizona State U. back in the early sixties, resident fees were approx. $100 per semester for AZ residents taking a full load. Non-resident tuition added, iirc, about $350 per semester to the local fee.

      Times have changed dramatically to the point where today it’s impossible for many educationally-inclined young folks to go to college, and that is, imco, a travesty of unmentionable proportion, one that will have an increasingly deadly effect on the intellectual capacity of the United States.

      • NPR discussion this AM. The single most important factor in reducing income inequality and encouraging social mobility is access to free and/or inexpensive education to degree level.

        We’re heading for the Middle Ages again….

  5. For the F1 fans, Kimi Raikkonen is coming back next year with the Lotus Renault team. Should be interesting to see if he can out dual Schumacher in the middle of the pack!

  6. Fox and Friends is looking for a new writer. Applicants must “understand fair and balanced journalism” but not ever practice it. They must be able to write “creative and edgy stories” which, to those of us who recognize the fiction that passes for “news”, comes as no surprise. Actually, I can’t past the fact that someone is writing the insane and inane things the F&Fers say. It makes me wonder if the writers don’t get together with friends and brag about the stupid shit they can make the hosts say.

    • Mayhaps Newt and Joe Scabrous ought to find out personally if waterboarding is ‘torture’…

      Newt is to historian as Goebbels was to reporter.

  7. Another pRick gaffe:

    At a town hall meeting at the Institute of Politics at New Hampshire’s Saint Anselm’s College Tuesday, Rick Perry asked that all of the college students in the crowd who will be 21 by Nov. 12 support his bid for the presidency.

    The voting age in the United States is, of course, 18. And the 2012 election will be held on Nov. 6, 2012.

  8. A little paroditty, to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane”

    This is the story of the Herman Cain
    The man that all those ladies came to blame
    For stuff he says he never done
    Drove out of politics
    But one time he could’ve been
    The President of the World

    Thank you. That is all.

      • I have to tell you that yesterday there was a dragonfly whizzing about.
        Above the 45th parallel, at the end of November…

        • Here in Southern Minnesota we finally have a thin skin of ice on the smallest ponds and potholes. 20 years ago we could count on the ice fishing season starting during Thanksgiving weekend. We also still have green grass (except where the drought has browned it up), robins, and even a couple bees as recently as last week. Virtually all of the local ducks and geese are still around while I have yet to see any loons, grebes, or mergansers that should all be well to the south by now.

  9. Have the Democrats begun to realize that rolling over is a terrible strategy? I’m trying to be optimistic here in thinking the Repubs won’t make ridiculous demands about this, but at least it is obvious even to those mutton heads that being the party of the fat cat has some serious problems.

    Republicans in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday threw their support behind a payroll tax cut extension, trying to blunt charges ahead of 2012 elections of favoring wealthy Americans over middle-class workers.

    Until Tuesday, Republicans had been lukewarm on extending President Barack Obama’s payroll tax cut for workers, indicating they were open to negotiating it but never explicitly backing a measure, which the White House says will boost the country’s sputtering economic recovery.

    We shall see. They’re still focused on protecting the fat cats, but half a loaf probably won’t work for them this time.

    • It’s simple, really. As soon as a Democrat says he/she is in favor of something? The GOoPers will fight it tooth and nail even if it was, originally, their idea. They know that, to their riled up base of freaks, even a lukewarm agreement with the black guy in the white House is political death.

      • I would love to see Gut-boy try to keep up with me on a hunting trip or even on a gun range. If I were so inclined I could put a hole through any chosen part of his anatomy from 500 yards, long before he knew I was there, but that wouldn’t be necessary because I could just walk him to death. If he even owns a gun I bet it’s some high-capacity semiautomatic pistol that I wouldn’t trust in combat much less to fill the cooking pot.

          • Well? Head shots and heart shots would be problematic but even a worm like Gutboy wouldn’t live long with a big ass hole in his lung or liver.

            (NOTE: I have no desire to actually shoot him, or anyone else, unless he’s in the act of killing someone. Still, sometimes it’s healthy to externalize dark thoughts rather than letting them fester inside.)

    • I like how he includes “brand value” in his wealth. $3 billion in “brand value.”

      Why aren’t you paid $3 billion for your stupid tv show, Donald? Apparently not all clowns are underpaid.

    • I’m not going to jump to the obvious conclusion that he’s just delusional. After all, he’s not Mittens so he has as good a chance as anyone of winning the GOP nomination. Heck! If I could find a combination of meds that would allow me to lie without severe depression and self-loathing I could win the GOP nomination against the circus running around at this time. Alas, my conscience would require that I proclaim Reagan a supporter of terrorism and Bush a full-fledged war criminal.

    • Oh, I’m so damn tired of he and Gohmert (and any other Repugnant Ones who deny healthcare to those in need)

      Neither has any idea how the average person lives let alone gets medical attention when needed. I say take away Gohmert’s and pRick’s healthcare and let them at the maze that is – attempting to find a federal a/o state program that would cover a chronic condition or just routine care…

      I detest those who deny healthcare to anyone.

    • Intriguing! Amazing what humans think of as ‘entertainment’ at various times in history.
      The bigotry – that’s all I can label it – of staging those thought to be ‘inferior’ in humiliating poses/cages/exhibits in the late 19th and early 20th century.

      Grateful for your posting that link.

  10. Today, I spilled an entire latte on the floor of my car.
    I pulled the carpet thingy out and hosed it down.
    I put the carpet thingy over the recycling bin to dry.
    Now it’s raining.


  11. Hmmm. I take Mike Malloy with a grain of salt because he lets his passion override his reason from time to time. That being said, he took a call from an Occupy L.A. protestor who claimed that media and clergy are being turned away by police. He also claims that cell phones are being jammed. Assuming that the report is accurate I guess that the 1st Amendment has been suspended. Again.

  12. Sorry I’m so late to the party. To reply to the above:

    So what exactly needs to be done?
    Non-violent protest.

    Can we change the legislation through existing political channels?
    Yes, but not too much.

    Who could we support?
    Those who risk all for hope.

    How do we avoid being sucked into the machinery of a totally corrupted political class?
    Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Therefore do not assume power for one’s self. Be in this world, but not of this world. Know that you will be attacked, derided, lied about, but remain steadfast as a beacon – a lighthouse on a stormy shore.

    Do we have to run for office ourselves?
    Yes, if so moved.

    What would our platform be?
    Balance. It must be restored.

    What’s the starting point?

    Another Traveler parable is coming tomorrow.

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