Archive for September, 2008

It’s the economy, stupid, 
It’s about economy

A victory sign

A mantra

An explanation

A reminder

A warning

An omen

An onus

A threat

It’s the economy, stupid…


We grow what we cannot use

Purchase what we used to raise

Spend what we used to save

Sell what we used to treasure

Mock what we used to revere

Hate what we used to love

It’s the economy, stupid…


 I am not a nostalgist

I am a most pragmatic man

I look at what naturally occurs

In the living world…

And see diversity

Not specialization.

I look at

Hometown banks


Hardware stores

Where your name

Is your credit

And decisions are rendered

By people who know you

Where you are more than

The five banks

And the four airlines

And the three newspaper chains

And the two big box stores

And the one-and-a-half political parties

And the one retort:

It’s the economy stupid…

The economy that looks

For the maximum return

For the quick turnaround

For the short term gain

For the unearned income

For the Big Lotto

It’s the economy, stupid


And the economy

Is impatient

It has a short attention span

It is easily bored

It is hungry

It is late for its next appointment

It puts you on hold

It does not return your call

It’s the economy, stupid


The economy

Has you working two jobs

It is mandatory overtime

It is expensive sneakers

Made by sweating children

It is cheap food

Picked by landless hands

It is good paying jobs

Disappearing from American towns

And reappearing


It is your closed up main street

And it is your boarded up mill

And it is your condo-minimized factory

And it is your cookie cutter mall

And it is not accountable

It is not America

It’s the economy, stupid


The economy now has no borders

Or horizons

Or faces

Or hands

The economy has only one rule:

More. …

And the government is the economy’s

Biggest cheerleader.

It plays by the same rules:

The quick fix

The stronger army

The bigger bomb

The dependence on machinery

To do work

That can only effectively be done

By humans.

It consolidates

When diversity is required. …


It’s about economy

It’s about small towns with


And baseball teams

A general store


Family cemeteries

A schoolhouse

A lumberyard

A radio station

A newspaper…

Open space

Open opportunity

Open eyes

Open hearts





                    -John McCutcheon


I‘ve been recommending Naomi Klein‘s “The Shock Doctrine” for some time now. It’s one of the seminal books of our time; scarey as hell, but important. Until I read Klein’s book, I was dumbfounded as to why the Bush administration and their Wall Street cronies were allowing the dollar to tank and seemed unconcerned. I even talked to Naomi Klein about it at the “Take Back America” conference in DC before I had read enough of her book to understand what was really going on. It did seem to me, however, that it was a deliberate policy along with all the other deliberate policies… crony hires in all government agencies extracting any value while allowing them to (deliberately) fail, response to crises that allowed taxpayers to bear the brunt while capitalizing on the crisis to make money for the wealthy… the most visible crack in the curtain was the response to Hurricane Katrina – disaster capitalism at it’s most obvious. Many people who lost their properties and life savings were forced out with nothing, scattered far and wide and forbidden to come back to try and salvage their possessions, while the developers rolled into town to sanitize and develop luxury hotels and businesses. “It’s going to clean this place up!” said one of my New Orleans’ artist/craft colleagues, much to my distaste and horror (I would have thought better of him). 

When friends were talking about the Bush administration failures, I was thinking, failures? Not to them! They’ve ramrodded through much of their agenda while masking the agenda in a smokescreen, pretending to be bumbling idiots. It’s still not clear if the average person AND EVEN the Democrats in Congress see the deliberate strategies behind it all. Make every government agency so corrupt and so inept that the public is behind the ordinarily extreme policy to privatize everything à la Grover Norquist; load the courts (not just the Supreme Court) with right-wing idealogues, most of them from The Federalist Society (there’s been an obvious strategy in place since at least the Clinton years where the Republican Congress took the calculated risk of deliberately refusing to confirm Clinton’s appointees, leaving many positions empty with the hope that if they could eventually control both houses of Congress and the Presidency they could push through all of their own appointments); gut all regulations from every department… remember the “Clear Skies” & “Healthy Forest” initiatives? the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act disaster? Chip away at Roe v. Wade, chip away at Social Security by raiding the funds and renaming it “socialist.”  The Republicans have tried this path before… during the Reagan administration the Laffer “trickle down” & “supply-side” policies were such dismal failures that they were temporarily forced to give up on them. They have learned from their “failures” and have shrewdly learned to reframe the language to advance their ideas. The list of their accomplishments is long and the last eight years have been an exhausting nightmare. We all have “Bush fatigue.”

Exactly how is bailing out all of these banking & lending institutions “free market?” Oh, I see, following the IOKIYAR rule, “Privatize the profits and socialize the losses” [Randi Rhodes]. Progressive movements generally have had the most impetus and ability to create change during these kinds of shocks and disasters (“the Great Depression” is probably the most memorable), but the neocon- corporatists have learned how to coopt them, ready to push through their own free-market, privatization agendas at the drop of a hat. Meanwhile, the Fed, the Treasury & the Bush Administration are pushing a huge $700 billion bailout without any oversight and without any help to the American consumer, in particular those who have homes in foreclosure. For the moment, the Democrats are fighting to add in requirements behind closed doors. Let’s hope they don’t cave again and in particular, let’s hope that Obama doesn’t cave or equivocate on the issue. This really is his moment. Let’s hope he takes it!


Rachel Maddow interviews Michael Isikoff re: McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis’ links to Freddie Mac.

More reading on the subject:


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[9/19/08 UPDATE: Saint Paul has dropped all charges against journalists arrested during the RNC after receiving a freepress.net letter signed by more than 60,000 people]


Amy Goodman, and two of her producers/videographers were illegally arrested while covering police brutality and preemptive crackdowns on demonstrators and journalists at the Republican National Convention this week. Other journalists and in particular, videographers, were also targeted. For relevant articles, see the media links page where I have posted approx. 20 links including videos [9/6/08 Update: now more than 30 links] of some of the arrests (including Amy Goodman’s arrest). It seems obvious that having “learned” from the 2004 sweeps of demonstrators, journalists and videographers at the RNC in NYC, the police and Republican operatives mean to intimidate and suppress any attempt to get eyewitness videos of police extraordinary force. Apparently, many of the videos from 2004 were used in court to disprove police accounts of the arrests. 

9/8/08 Update: freepress.net delivered more than 60,000 letters (collected in less than 48 hours) demanding that St. Paul authorities drop charges against all journalists arrested during last week’sRepublican National Convention.

The charges have not yet been dropped, but they want to keep up the the pressure until they are. If you have not already, please send this email to your friends and ask them to help join the call.

This country is becoming increasingly more like a police state every day! It is up to us to push back before it becomes even more the norm (see below for actions you can take). I was first made aware of these overzealous tactics by the arrest of a man in Albany, NY for wearing a Peace T-shirt in a shopping Mall at the start of the Iraq War and again, when a (very peaceable) friend of mine from Point Reyes, California was suddenly arrested for falling off a curb (I kid you not!) at a peaceful vigil against the Iraq War in 2003. My friend was eventually cleared of the charges, but had to lawyer up, and had major aggravation to clear the record.  Four years ago, my friends’ son was arrested in the bicycle protest sweeps in NYC during the RNC [Brutal police arrests NYC, RNC critical mass 2004 & Videos expose false arrests at 2004 Republican Convention protests in New York ]. The charges against him were eventually dropped. See his own current blog entry on the subject: The Party Crashers. I’m happy to say that his arrest only strengthened his resolve to remain a political organizer.  

Naomi Klein talks about how America is increasingly more and more authoritarian in the mold of China or Russia, and how media repression and the suspension of civil liberties work hand in hand with global corporate interests in this RealNews.com interview.

As expected, the mainstream media is failing to report this story. E-mail CNN President Jonathan Klein and NBC News President Steve Capus today (NBC News controls MSNBC) to demand coverage of this important story! A free press is vital to democracy!

from the Democracy Now! website:


Call to Action on Behalf of DN! Journalists Facing Charges for Reporting on the Republican National Convention

Today it is critical that you make your voice heard in the Ramsey County Attorney and St. Paul City Attorney offices. Demand that they drop all pending and current charges against journalists arrested while reporting on protests outside the Republican National Conventions.

Democracy Now! Host Amy Goodman was arrested while questioning police about the unlawful detention of Producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, who were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention.

The Ramsey County Attorney’s office is in the process of deciding whether or not to press felony P.C. (probable cause) riot charges against Democracy Now! Producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Please contact Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner by all means possible to demand that her office not press charges against Kouddous and Salazar.

Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner 
RCA at co.ramsey.mn.us (cc: dropthecharges at democracynow.org) 

Susan Gaertner for Governor 
info at susangaertner.com (cc: dropthecharges at democracynow.org) 
(612) 978-8625 

The St. Paul City Attorney’s office has already charged Amy Goodman with misdemeanor obstruction of a legal process and interference with a peace officer. Contact St. Paul City Attorney John Choi by all means possible to demand that the charges against Goodman be dropped immediately.

St. Paul City Attorney John Choi 
john.choi at ci.stpaul.mn.us (cc: dropthecharges at democracynow.org)(651) 266-8710

During the demonstration in which the Democracy Now! team was arrested, law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force against protesters and journalists. Several dozen demonstrators were also arrested during this action, as was a photographer for the Associated Press.


Be sure to cc: dropthecharges@democracynow.org on all emails so that our team can deliver print outs of your messages to the St. Paul City Attorney and Ramsey County Attorney offices.



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