While Trump’s Tax Plan amounts to Class War, for 50 years both parties have been feeding the rich and starving the rest of us, year-by-year. We are the frog in the pot of subtly increased heat, but now the water is boiling. This blog tells that story and poses some solutions.
Before Talking Trump Budget A Strong Movie Recommendation. Last night I had the good fortune to go to the Cocteau to see the screening of 500 Years, an absolutely riveting documentary on the Mayan resistance in Guatemala. Serving as the final chapter in her Resistance Saga trilogy of documentaries chronicling Guatemala’s human rights struggles, filmmaker Pamela Yates’ “500 Years” was both inspiring and gripping. As in 1982’s “When the Mountains Tremble” and 2011’s “Granito,” Yates traces the tireless pursuit of justice by the country’s Ixiles, the indigenous population who were victims of a Reagan-era massacre that claimed more than 100,000 Mayan lives under the watch of former dictator Gen. Efrain Ríos Montt. At the bottom of this post is the trailer for 500 Years.
I did some hunting online and many reviews found Yates’ prior two components of the trilogy even more focused and compelling. If that is the case, I have a recommendation for a Sunday marathon, as all three of the films are playing in sequence at the Cocteau on Sunday. The Cocteau is offering a triple play, all three films played in succession for the price of one admission. When the Mountains Tremble plays at 11:15am, Granito follows at 1:15 and then 500 Years screens at 3:30pm. I will definitely be there for the first two as 500 Years projected a kind of revolt that may soon be required here in the US. Truly worth your time.
Putting the Trump Budget in Historic Context
Yes, the Trump Tax plan is abominable and yes the process throughout which it has been cobbled together has been obscene (for example, the image at left is an actual screen shot of what the budget that was distributed to Senators to vote on.) I have posted much on the Tax Plan, click here for a short blog on the plan. The linked blog was written before new amendments were added like opening the Arctic National Refuge to drilling to generate $1 Billion and secure Sen. Murkowski’s vote or the taxing of graduate student tuition waivers as income, tripling what a typical graduate student would pay in taxes.
But as this post describes, it is hardly a dramatic departure from what both parties have been feeding us for 50 years. As noted above, last night I saw 500 Years. Reflecting on the frog analogy, the Ixile people essentially said: ‘Screw this, the water is way too hot. We are getting out and we are going to cease participating in this system.’ The film depicts how the Ixile people were able to forge an alliance of students, workers, rural farm workers and indigenous people. They engaged in sustained civil disobedience, general strikes and rallies that dwarfed the Women’s March in scale. And they are transforming their country.
We may well be reaching a point where we need to build a similar movement and to help a wide range of Americans to understand that we have much in common and that our shared interests are best served by setting our differences aside and resisting that oppression. It was inspiring to see what a national movement could look like, what putting your body on the machinery of the system that oppresses means. And it was moving to see the joy with which the Ixile people sustained their resistance for years.
I have been asked to serve on Rev. Barber’s Coordinating Team for the implementation of the Poor People’s Campaign in New Mexico. That movement is going to call for 1000 New Mexicans to commit to sustained nonviolent direct action beginning on Mother’s Day 2018. I will keep you posted as we have just begun the planning process.
Below is a journey through a series of blogs published over the past 3-5 months. From top to bottom, the analysis begins by demonstrating the degree to which our entire economic system is predicated on continuous growth and exploitation of resources, an assumption that is simply not environmentally sustainable. The next stop on the journey depicts just how poorly Americans across the country have been served by the capitalist system and then how both parties are mostly purchased by those who benefit from capitalism. Finally, we end with blogs that point to a different direction, including specific messaging that could lead to the kind of unity experienced by oppressed people in Guatemala. If we are ever going to transform our economic and political systems, we must start by educating ourselves of the situation and of viable policy alternatives that are simply not reported credibly in mainstream media. And then we need to begin talking one-by-one with neighbors, friends and family, about the depth of exploitation in America and alternatives that can lead to justice. Political shifts do not come by someone suddenly reading an illuminating article. The blogs are really for the converted, those that already get it. But the blogs are designed to make it easier for you to share this kind of information with friends and then have conversations.
Please keep this blog link handy, share it with those who you feel would be interested in taking a deep dive into what is possible. Read on.
The End of Growth. It May Be Just What We Need. This blog examines how capitalism requires continuous growth and consumption, consumption that consumes resources and produces waste. This worked for a few centuries, but we are approaching a time when we are running out of resources and our waste is threatening to destroy the planet. The post ends by asking “what if?” we approached life from a different vantage point and abandoned the profit motive to restore our quality of life and balance with nature. Click here for the full report.
A Graphic Tale of Decades of Injustice in America. Using a series of graphs and charts this post illustrate the critical need to shift the conversation entirely, break out of our issue-focused silos, and adopt an intersectional perspective. No single bill or group of bills and no sweeping election victory appears to matter. Certainly we would be better off without Trump-Pence and the GOP in control. But when Democrats have had control, our lives have not improved measurably and issues have not been addressed systemically and comprehensively. Some things are just right or wrong, just or unjust and when there is a clear pattern of unaddressed injustice, it is time to change the conversation entirely. Click here to review the full post.
Capitalism Owns the GOP and the Democratic Party. As this post outlines, going back to the founding of the US, our form of government has been designed and tweaked to ensure control by a ruling class, the 1%, the corporatocracy. Until we understand this, our efforts to resist one moral, political and economic insult or another is simply moving chairs on the Titanic. Click here to read this post.
Progressives Winning Big Across the Country. It isn’t as if there isn’t abundant evidence that progressive candidates can win elections even in Red State. This post from two months ago, doesn’t even include other indicators like the progressive win for Mayor in Birmingham, Alabama, the flipping of the City Council in Colorado Springs (a tea party town) and recent polls showing an unabashed progressive running even with Ted Cruz in Texas. Click here to review this analysis.
Progressive Messaging Can Even Win in the South & Rural America. For more on how a change in message and platform can engage even rural and southern voters. We have lost their support because the Democratic Party is too busy currying favor with the 1% and Wall St and for 40 years has failed to represent the small farmer or residents of small town America. Click here to review the analysis.
A Bold Tax Reform Proposal and the Miracles It Could Create. This post examines how with a single, progressive tax change, our government could generate $600Billion annually. Add to that increasing (instead of eliminating) the tax rate on the estate tax, which benefits only the 1% and many opportunities for justice become possible. I wonder why this isn’t on the table. I also wonder with the Trump Tax plan on the table and nearing passage, why is the Democratic Party not proposing something like this to demonstrate a substantive commitment to most Americans. Click hereto review the analysis.
Paul (This week Roxanne is in LA helping her 87 year old mom move to Prescott, AZ)
500 Years: After perusing these blogs, maybe you need a dose of inspiration. Non-stop inspiration 11:15-5pm at the Cocteau. Preview below.