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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

On May 21st, Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-8) introduced bill H.R.5353, “The War Is Making You Poor Act”. And it’s an important bill. Created in response to the $159,000,000,000 requested in next year’s budget to spend on our wars in the Middle East, this bipartisan legislation would take that extra money and give it back to you and I.

In my opinion, Grayson is a pretty cool dude. He’s from the Bronx (cool). He worked his way through Harvard as a janitor and night watchman (cool). He’s smart too (not cool…just kidding…but seriously), graduating from Harvard summa cum laude in three years, and then in four years earning a law degree from Harvard Law, a masters in public policy from the JFK School of Government and completing the course work and passing the general exams for a Ph.D. in government. He was even a cool lawyer (if such a thing is possible). In 2006, a Wall Street Journal reporter described Grayson as “waging a one-man war against contractor fraud in Iraq” and as a “fierce critic of the war in Iraq” whose car displayed bumper stickers such as “Bush lied, people died”. Cool. Oh, and he had the balls to introduce the Public Option Act, talk lots of shit to Republicans, vote for various civil rights bills, and otherwise take crap from no one. Cool. And with this latest bill, Rep. Grayson keeps the ass kicking coming.

Grayson’s bill, which is currently being co-sponsored by Reps. Ron Paul (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Conyers (D-MI), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), does three things.

1. It eliminates separate funding for the occupation of Irag and Afghanistan.

2. It eliminates federal income taxes for everyone’s first $35,000 of income (which a third of the country would qualify for).

3. It pays down the national debt by $15.9 billion.

GRAYSON: So I believe that the thing we need to do is to take that $159 billion that the President has set aside – we’re not saying he has to stop the war, we’re not giving a cut-off date for the war – we’re simply saying you need to fund that out of the base budget of $549 billion. And we take 90 percent of that and give it back to the American people.

With the country’s current obsession over the size and scope of government, it’s absolutely ridiculous that no one talks about how much we spend on our military. We spend as much as the rest of the world combined, and most of the other big spenders are our allies. Worried about the national debt and the economic crisis? Yeah, me too. Maybe we should talk about the role the trillions of dollars we’ve sunk into Iraq and Afghanistan have played in these issues.

If you like what you’re seeing, here’s a petition that you can sign to show your support. Hell, tell your friends too. And as always, thanks for reading.

Sources: Huffington Post, Wikipedia

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I found some cool photos here. Enjoy!

photos by David Fenton


March to Free the Panther 21, New York City, April 4, 1970


Nurses on the Sidewalk, Chicano Moratorium, Los Angelos, CA, February 28th, 1970


Protesters at a Welfare Demonstration Outside of Public School 15, New York City, September 11, 1969


Protester Runs Through Tear Gas During Demonstrations for the Black Panther Party, New Haven, May 2, 1970


Mark Feinstein and Baryl Epstein (?), Liberation News Service Collective, New York City, February, 1970


Reporter, Liberation News Service Collective, New York City, February, 1970


John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Jerry Rubin on the Drums, “Free John Sinclair” Rally, Ann Arbor, MI, December 10, 1971


Friday Night, Santa Barbara, CA, February 27, 1970


Central Park Peace March, New York City, April 5th, 1969


Revolution and Pirate Flag, Easter Be-In, Central Park, New York City (II), April 6th, 1969


Protesters at Columbia University, New York City, 1970


Anne LaVasseur, Park Concert, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, September 1971


Protest is Patriotic, Antiwar Rally, Washington D.C., May 9, 1970


March to Free the Panther 21, New York City, April 4, 1970


Rock Band Performing in Central Park, New York City, 1968


Demonstration Against Hubert Humphrey, New York City, October 9th, 1968


Peace Sign, Black Panther Rally, New Haven, October 12, 1968


Alan Harold (Standing), Baryl Epstein (?) and Other Members of the Liberation News Service Collective, New York City, October 12th, 1969


Black Panther Demonstration, New Haven, November, 1969


Protesters Arrested During the Days of Rage, Chicago IL, October 11, 1969


Weatherman and Supporters, (Peter Clapp and John Jacobs, Center), Days of Rage, Chicago, October 11, 1969


Bill Kunstler, Ken Kelly (of the White Panther Party), Buck Davis and Allen Ginsberg, CIA Conspiracy Rally, November 1970


Protesters at an Antiwar Demonstration Carry a Free Huey Banner, New York City, April 4, 1970


Prowar Demonstrators, Central Park, New York City, 1968


Pro Vietnam War People Opposing Antiwar Protesters, Central Park, New York City, 1968


Women Demonstrators Outside Fort Dix, A Major Transshipment Port for U.S. Army Soldiers Leaving For Vietnam, October 12th, 1969


Black Panther Demonstration, New Haven, November 1969


Nixon Inauguration, Washington D.C., January 20th, 1969

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Tea-baggin’ It

Are you happy with American democracy? According to a recent poll on CNN over half of you aren’t. And after listening to the Health Care Summit in Washington today I’m not either. Here’s why: it seems everyone can agree that our health care system is wack, it’s been wack for a while now, and we can’t do anything about it. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought one of the glories of democracy was that if a majority of the people feel something isn’t working right they have the capacity to change it.

Apparently in modern America that’s just not the case. And people are angry. The most vocal group is the ridiculous Tea Party.

This “Tea Party” thing is actually pretty interesting. When I first heard about it I was quick to dismiss it as some dumbshit redneck group. Especially after all the Foxnews rapture and astroturf talk, I thought “there is no way this will grow into anything. But after this year’s CPAC it seems to be heading that way.

Because it’s a movement dammit! It’s democracy, it’s people fighting for a cause, and it’s been boiling under the surface for a long time. It’s been boiling in all of us, in our dissatisfaction with the way the world is operating.

What really sucks is that this sort of thing is quickly politicized, and this politicization immediately draws it up out of the pure desire for something better and plops it into the arena of sleaze, of popularity, of the cable news cycle, and it’s quickly tainted.

If it could stay pure and hopeful, if it could speak to some basic human desire, then people from across the political spectrum could join in, but instead you’ve got people like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck latching on.

And because it has become political, it is less righteous and more dangerous. These people are fairly extreme in some of their views, some of which are culturally conservative, and the more the media disregards the Tea Party, the more people write it off as fringe movement full of crazies, the more its members are justified, not just feel justified but are actually justified, in their fight.

And yeah, the whole movement is hyper hypocritical in its positions, but we’re all hypocrites in lots of areas in our lives. Be that as it may, it would be cool if there were some way to bridge the divide between the Tea Party and the liberals who feel disenfranchised over the state of things. I’m pessimistic about any real revolutionary change, but if there was ever a time for it seems like now is as good as any.

If the Tea Party could just boil its message down to a more basic level, below the politics, and have some key points it might actually be productive:

  • Smaller Government (Especially less government intrusion in day to day life/a libertarian slant)
  • Lowering the national debt
  • Energy Independence
  • States Rights (Let liberal states be liberal, let conservative states be conservative
  • Campaign finance reform
  • Extremely limited special interest influence
  • A commitment to take the government back from big business and put it in the hands of citizens

A cool ticket would be a Tea Party candidate and someone like Ralph Nadar, or like a Ron Paul Dennis Kucinich ticket.

What sucks is that a big part of the Tea Party’s platform and momentum is a massive opposition to everything Obama, which plays right into Republican’s political wishes (and their politicians don’t really want anything to change, they just want to be back in power: see the George W. presidency).

The ultimate task would be to boil a message down to something below political ideology, something purely human that people could rally around despite differences in things like abortion and gay rights and welfare and other supercharged issues. Those things would take care of themselves, especially if you allow states to decide for themselves what they want (although I really think it’s preposterous that gays are still not equal citizens (I’ll save it for another post)).

If all the liberal groups just blindly oppose the Tea Party, then the cycle will keep getting worse. The liberals have got to take a proactive stance on it and find common ground on the most important issues. Namely:

  • What do we ultimately want from our government?
  • What are the fundamental flaws in the system and how can they be addressed and then remedied?

I think we should have sent an ambassador to the Tea Party convention and extended a peace-offering. Click the link below to hear my impromptu speech, and let me know what you think.

Tea Party Speech

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