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Eskow writes: "Our most fundamental rights, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are under assault. But the adversary is Big Wealth, not Big Government as conservatives like to claim."

(image: unknown)
(image: unknown)



10 Ways Americans Are No Longer Free

By Richard (R.J.) Eskow, AlterNet

31 August 12

 

Our most fundamental rights, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are under assault. But the adversary is Big Wealth, not Big Government as conservatives like to claim. Consider:

ife? The differences in life expectancy between wealthier and lower-income Americans are increasing, not decreasing.

Liberty? Digital corporations are assaulting our privacy, while banks trap us in indebtedness that approaches indentured servitude. The shrunken ranks of working Americans are being robbed of their essential liberties - including the right to use the bathroom.

The pursuit of happiness? Social mobility in the United States is dead. Career choices are increasingly limited. As for working hard and earning more, consider this: Between 1969 and 2008 the average US income went up by $11,684. How much of that went to the top 10? All of it. Income for the remaining 90 percent actually went down.

These changes didn't just happen. Wealthy individuals and corporations made it happen - and they're still at it. Meanwhile, Corporate America's wholesale theft of your individual liberties has been rebranded as a fight for … the corporation's individual liberty.

Corey Robin notes in the Nation that this conservative appeal to "economic freedom" has been met by Democrats who present themselves as "new Victorians," standing for "responsibilities over rights, safety over freedom, constraint rather than counterculture."

Not only is this politically and emotionally unappealing, it's demonstrably wrong. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary's definition of a "right" is "something to which one has a just claim: as the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled." Definitions of "liberty" include "the power to do as one pleases," "freedom from arbitrary or despotic control," "the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges," and "the power of choice."

Is that how you feel when you're dealing with your bank?

While the Right portrays popularly elected government as a faceless oppressor, large corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals - what we're calling "Big Wealth" - are trampling on our individual rights and liberties every day. We should be fighting for "economic freedom," as Corey Robin notes, and explaining how Big Wealth is crushing other fundamental liberties as well.

Here are 10 critical examples, drawn from the headlines and from our everyday lives.

1. Our American liberties end at the workplace door.

If you have a job, the Freedom Train stops at the workplace door. More employees are hired on a part-time or temporary basis to deny them rights and benefits. Many of your privacy rights are gone. Your employer can use your company computer to read your correspondence, and your company cell phone (if you have one) to track your movements.

Free speech? You can be fired for expressing political views online, even when you're not at work. As employment lawyer Mark Trapp told Bloomberg Business Week, the"freedom to speak your mind doesn't really exist in work spaces." Or, in some cases, outside it.

The longstanding right of workers to organize and form a union is also under assault. A corporate-funded group called ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is coordinating the loss of union rights for public employees. Governors and legislators are using budget shortfalls created by corporate misbehavior and tax cuts for the wealthy to argue that governments can no longer afford to honor union contracts.

Your rights don't even begin where your, er, bathroom breaks begin. As Mary Williams Walsh reported in the New York Times, "employees at lower rungs of the economic ladder can be timed with stopwatches in the bathroom; stonewalled when they ask to go; given disciplinary points for frequent urination; even hunted down by supervisors with walkie-talkies if they tarry in the stalls."

2. We're losing our "right to life" in many different ways - from birth through old age.

It's always striking when some of those who defend an unborn child's "right to life" ignore the fact that the United States ranks 49th in infant mortality, according to the latest statistics. Or in the fact that African American infant mortality is 2.5 that of Caucasians. Or that lower-income families of all ethnicities suffer much greater infant mortality in this country than their wealthier counterparts.

The next time you see another story about impoverished North Koreans and their seemingly mad dedication to their deluded leader and outmoded economic system, consider this: The average life expectancy for an African American in New Orleans is roughly the same as that of a North Korean. It's shorter than that of people in Colombia, Venezuela, of Vietnam. In our nation's capital, the life expectancy gap between African American and white males is more than 13 years.

For poor whites the story isn't much better. A 2005 study showed that life expectancy for poor white males in Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley is roughly the same as that of males in Mexico and Panama. They can expect to live nearly four and a half years less than average white male nationwide. Opportunities for an affordable education are disappearing - and education correlates closely with longevity.

Then there's Medicare. Studies showed that mortality among Americans aged 65 and older decreased by 13 percent after Medicare was created, and they spent 13 percent fewer days in the hospital. The corporate-funded right is sponsoring a plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system that will provide less coverage for older Americans' healthcare with each passing year. They also want to raise its eligibility age. The studies show that these proposals would result in increased loss of life and more hospital days for older Americans.

3. We've lost autonomy over our own bodies.

While Tea Partiers and Sarah Palin prattle about "death panels," many injured or ailing Americans enter a Kafka-esque maze of insurance executives, case managers, billing services, and customer service numbers with interminable hold times. Some of these processes were created as a legitimate response to physician overtreatment, itself encouraged by our privatized education and health financing systems. But they've turned into massive operations for delaying, frustrating, and thwarting attempts by patients and doctors to receive permission to provide necessary services.

Millions of Americans have to plead for needed treatment, then argue over a complex and error-prone system of copayments, deductibles, and medical bills denied for payment with incomprehensible explanations. If they're unable to devote hours to battling their insurer, or if they try and fail, they may then find themselves at the mercy of medical debt collectors whose own actions have been the subject of legal scrutiny and public criticism.

Long-standing assumptions built into our medical system deny virtually all Americans the right to affordable dental care, which is available in most other developed countries, while an antiquated and Puritanical attitude toward mental illness has been exploited to deny them adequate care for these conditions.

The right is attacking Medicare, one of our most popular government programs, and defending one of our nation's least popular institutions, HMOs. In fighting for Medicare Advantage's HMO subsidies and resisting wider access to public health insurance, they're using the language of freedom to rob Americans of the freedom to make their own medical decisions.

There are treatments which have unproven value, have unpleasant side effects, or which studies have shown to be over-used to provide financial gain to medical providers. People have a right to know that, and to be protected from this kind of abuse. But the denial of covered services is an epidemic in American healthcare - and a massive assault on American freedom.

4. We're losing the ability to rise up from poverty, earn a decent living, or work in the career of our choice.

The periodic economic shocks caused by our banking system allowed employers to demand wage concessions while paying ever-increasing salaries and bonuses to their senior executives. The power of unions has been systematically eroded. The drive to provide ever-increasing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans has led to a decline government jobs, which has shriveled job opportunities in many lines of work.

The key to social mobility is education, and that doorway to opportunity has been steadily closing. A study from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education showed that, as the University of Virginia's Miller Center puts it, "Since the mid-1980s the costs of higher education in America have steadily shifted from the taxpayer to the student and family."

The study shows that during a period when median family income rose by 147%, college tuition and fees rose 439%. That's a tripling of education costs, in real dollar terms. The impact has been greatest on lower-income families. As the New York Times notes: "Among the poorest families - those with incomes in the lowest 20 percent - the net cost of a year at a public university was 55 percent of median income, up from 39 percent in 1999-2000. At community colleges, long seen as a safety net, that cost was 49 percent of the poorest families' median income last year, up from 40 percent in 1999-2000."

Some career options aren't even available anymore. Want to be a writer or reporter? Nearly 4,000 jobs in this area will disappear in this decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A teacher? They're cutting those jobs back to help pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. Post Office employee? Ditto. The death of American manufacturing means that lower-income young people can't move into the middle class. Working-class kids can't even follow in their parents' blue-collar footsteps. They're falling behind their parents.

Those who have jobs find it increasingly impossible to lead a decent life. The US has a much higher percentage of low-income workers than most other developed countries. The New America Foundation observed that the share of middle-income jobs in this country has fallen from 52 percent to 42 percent since 1980, while the share of low-income jobs rose from 30 percent t0 41 percent. The fundamental rights we were told we had as Americans - to choose our careers, find a job, and live a decent life if we worked hard - are disappearing rapidly.

5. We no longer have the right to personal time.

Most developed nations recognize that the right to the "pursuit of happiness" includes the ability to enjoy leisure time - in the evenings, on weekends, and on vacation. But each of these rights is being lost to the systematic reversal of gains that Americans first started making in the 19th century.

The US is one of the few developed nations that doesn't require employers to offer paid vacation time to their employees. Employees are increasingly unable to take the vacation time they've been promised. A survey published last May showed that many employees find it difficult to take vacation time. Some said there's nobody to cover for them because of staff cutbacks. Others said they couldn't afford it, the result of the same wage stagnation which has enriched their bosses. Still more said they felt pressure from the boss not to take any time off.

A long-term study of 12,000 men with heart disease showed that those who took vacations lived longer. In a society where fewer and fewer people can take time off, that means more people are literally "working themselves to death."

And it's not just vacations, either. As Michael Janati noted in the Washington Times, "Americans are working approximately 11 more hours per week now than they did in the 1970's, yet the average income for middle-income families has declined by 13% (when adjusting for inflation)." Employers routinely use email and phone calls to intrude on workers' off hours.

Want to know what indentured servitude looks like? Look around.

6. We can't negotiate as free people with banks or corporations.

The buyer/seller relationship is no longer a transaction between free equals. Corporations routinely deprive us of vital information when we enter into a business relationship with them, aided by weak regulations and lax enforcement. Banks frequently hide balloon payments and other key loan provisions in complex and unreadable documents, for example, while bankers misrepresent the terms of the loan.

Many types of corporations are allowed to operate in as monopolies or near-monopolies, including cable television operators and health insurers. (Blue Cross of Alabama, for example, provides 90 percent of the health insurance coverage in the city of Birmingham.)

The combination of decepting marketing and near-monopoly situations destroys the "free market," by any technical definition of the term. It denies us our freedom of choice and deprives us of our ability to negotiate our own contracts. And yet there's been a deafening silence from the libertarian movement, which has been commandeered by the Cato Institute and other institutions financed and controlled by large corporate interests.

Nowhere is our loss of liberty more apparent than in the banking industry, where MERS - the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems - deprives Americans citizens and the courts of the ability to know who holds their mortgages or the terms of that contract. Total household debt is nearly 12 trillion dollars. Americans now owe more in student loans than they do on their credit cards, and new evidence shows that banks have been resorting to the same illegal tactics to collect credit card debt that they used on mortgages.

Want to fight back? You've lost that right. Banks control FICO and other credit-scoring agencies. Corporations walk away from bad loan deals with their banks all the time, or threaten to walk, simply because that loan is no longer in their financial interest. But even when bank customers were deceived by their banks, they have little recourse. If they don't pay back that unjust loan their credit scores will plunge and they'll lose their ability to borrow money, rent an apartment, even to get a job.

And it's not just banks. Corporations have used media manipulation and corrupted arbitration clauses to rob Americans of the right to sue even when they or their loved ones have been robbed, maimed, or kill by corporate greed and neglect. Instead, Americans have been forced to accept "arbitration clauses" from monopolistic forces that are heavily weighted in favor of the corporation. If they don't they're likely to be deprived of critical services like banking, power, and communications.

7. We're losing our right to live or travel where we want.

There are 16 million underwater homes in the United States, housing some 40 million people. These homeowners owe an estimated $1.2 trillion in "underwater" real estate value that disappeared when the housing bubble burst.

The bankers to whom they owe than money created the bubble, and were wealthy beyond measure when it burst. These homeowners have been left holding the bag - and the debt, owed to the very people who misled them into taking out mortgages. The deception often included forgeries, lies about the loan's terms, and filing of false information.

While they pay these unjust debts - or foreclose and face the consequences of that action - these homeowners have lost the right to relocate to another town or city, even if they want to move in search of jobs that many of them lost after the bank-spawned financial crisis. Their debts make that impossible. Like citizens in the Soviet state, they must first ask permission of a cold and powerful bureaucracy - except that in their case its their bank, not the State.

We're told that the early Bolsheviks charged prisoners' families for the bullets used to execute them. Americans are paying to prop up the banks that oppress them - through their taxes and their inflated debts. Meanwhile, many of these wealthy bankers in gated enclaves behind fences and guards. Would you like to get a glimpse of their lavish homes? You can't.

8. We've lost our right to privacy.

The CEOs of Facebook and Google have both said essentially the same thing: The age of privacy has ended. Get over it.

Privacy is supposed to be an essential right. Yet Americans who claim they'd defend it to the death cheerfully sacrifice it every day to play Mafia Wars. Or to search for a celebrity. Or to connect with high school classmates they never really liked anyway.

Internet companies sell our personal data for profit, often by using cookies on our computers to track our activity. Facebook sold users' video rental records. Google pulled Americans' personal information via WiFi when it created Street View. Apple iPhones were tracking and storing their owners' movements.

The government is already using corporate data, sometimes without subpoenas. Corporations have voluntarily allowed the government to use their technology to spy on citizens, included one reported case where the government placed a spy server at an ATT location to track the activities of its subscribers. There's a lot more that we don't know.

We were taught that a person' home is his or her castle. But our electronic devices have breached the castle walls, and have placed spies in our living rooms, dens … and bedrooms. Americans, especially conservatives, should be demanding that corporations give us back our privacy rights.

9. We're losing our right to participate in our society as informed citizens.

As Bill Moyers observed, "In 1984 the number of companies owning a controlling interest in America's media was 50 - today that number is six." Largely as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 - a Republican bill signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton - this has eliminated many dissenting voices from the mainstream media and left a shockingly uniform political consensus in our media.

Polling shows [5]that online media have increasingly overtaken newspapers as a source of information. But they also show that the vast majority of Americans still follow the news through television, which - when combined with newspapers and radio - means that corporate media still shapes our perception of current events. And their consensus can become positively Orwellian.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets for the 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush, only to be subject to an almost-complete news media blackout. An estimated one million demonstrators jammed the streets of cities in the United States and worldwide on February 15, 2003, to protest the invasion of Iraq. But their presence was either ignored by the mainstream media or subject to an artificial illusion of "balance" through the extensive cutaway shots to pro-war supporters than often numbered in no more than the dozens.

Even more Orwellian is the sight of reporters at news outlets like the Washington Post - which has outsourced much of its financial reporting to an organization run by right-wing billionaire Pete Peterson - to use labels such as "extreme" and "fringe" to describe politicians and organizations who are advocated for policies which in some cases are supported by 75 or 80 percent of all Americans. This creates a false reality which supports our final loss of freedom:

10. We're losing the right to representative democracy.

On issue after issue, the wishes of most Americans are ignored or marginalized by the nation's political and media elite. Views that are held by most Republicans - and in some cases even by most Tea Party members - are dismissed as "extreme" inside the Beltway. While 75 percent of most Americans and 76 percent of Tea Party supporters opposed Social Security cuts to balance the budget, leaders in both political parties were meeting to negotiate those cuts. (They were scuttled by a fallout between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner; similar cuts were being negotiated between Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton when the Monica Lewinsky scandal erupted.)

Most Americans want tighter control on US banks, and that's considered politically impossible. They want much higher taxes for millionaires, which is also dismissed. Meanwhile, the nation continues to pursue policies that benefit the most unpopular institutions in the nation, according to that Gallup poll: big corporations, HMOs, and Wall Street banks. The only thing on Gallup's list that's more unpopular than these three institutions? Congress.

The Cause of Liberty

We need to take back the language of freedom. Freedom's struggle is the struggle against Big Wealth. That's the right argument, and it's a winning argument. As John Adams said many years ago:

"Human nature itself is evermore an advocate for liberty. There is in human nature a resentment of injury, and indignation against wrong ... If the people are capable of understanding, seeing and feeling the differences between true and false, right and wrong, virtue and vice, to what better principle can the friends of mankind apply ...."

In the words of Corey Robin, "It's long past time for us to start talking and arguing about ... the principle of freedom."

 

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+21 # KrazyFromPolitics 2012-09-01 01:33
Meanwhile, much of the population is having their mind numbed by various forms of electronic Valium. I would bet if a sample of people were randomly interviewed about such things as NDAA and the Patriot Act that 50% of them would have never heard of the legislation or have no opinion. A docile populace is a frightening prospect.
 
 
+26 # Dr Peter Sloane 2012-09-01 02:39
We here in the U.K. are following the same path just ten or so years behind you. When I went to University it was free, totally free and I recieved a substantial grant for books, lodgings, food etc. Now our children borrow £9,000 per year and live at home, or cheap accomodation paid for by us their parents unless of course they are from a rich family, then they can get a REAL education. Ordinary University degrees are being devalued by potential employers here too, and becoming more so. We're blindly following you! When we are where you Americans are now, where in God's name will you be? Sad, Bad times for all of us and worse to come.
 
 
+11 # Milarepa 2012-09-01 02:59
Most of those 10 points can not be reversed or remedied. In practice that means that Americans are no longer, and will not be, free - not until the United States of America has been disbanded. That may take a while. The Soviet Union was disbanded but it would be difficult to say whether or not contemporary Russia is more free than the Soviet Union was.
Historically, periods of relative stability are followed by periods of chaos. But in our age it's no longer a question of peace or war. The two have become intertwined, apparently inseparably so. All we can do is hope for the best, even though we'd be hard put to define what the best is. We do know it's a mess, ain't it?!
 
 
+3 # Nel 2012-09-01 04:27
What else to expect?,we have become a colony with a viceroy as president and a herd of clowns in the capitol hill.
 
 
+5 # JetpackAngel 2012-09-01 05:02
Hear hear!
 
 
+10 # James Smith 2012-09-01 05:03
I agree. The USA is no longer a free country and really never was.

WHen the "leaders" have to keep reminding everyone how "free" they are, it is really admitting that they know it isn't true. If it were, we would all know it and would not need reminding.

I have an essay on this very subject at: http://slrman.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/land-of-the-free/
 
 
+13 # Glen 2012-09-01 07:25
An excellent essay, James. The comments following your post were interesting as well. A few of them proved your point exactly.

I would insert here, that freedom must also be accompanied by responsibility. Those who feel free to bully and force an issue, such as their religion, are not actually exhibiting responsibility. Nor respect.
 
 
+16 # RMDC 2012-09-01 06:39
THis is a good analysis, but it is even bigger than the author states. All of the freedoms and rights mentioned here were innovations of the Renaissance and Enlightenment. That Age is over. History evolves through epochs which have clear ideational characteristics . The Renaissance and Enlightenment are also sometimes called the Age of Humanism, The Humanities were developed in this ear. But we are beyond that now. We are in the Post-Human age which looks a lot like the Dark Ages and feudalism.

THe chief characteristics of the middle ages were a rigid hierarchy, no social mobility, no human rights, and a belief system that was religious and punitive. Torture was the favorite method for dealing with heritics. Disease was rampant. Ignorance was the way the aristocratic class controlled the masses.

I doubt if it can be turned back. The time of democracy is over. Billionaire Barons sqabble over who next to make king just as they did in the 1100s.
 
 
+5 # Alice W 2012-09-01 07:26
Mike Moroz is running for State House in Southwest Michigan District 59 against a Republican member of ALEC who votes in lockstep with his party. Redistricting has actually made it possible for Mike to win. Michigan needs 9 seats in the House to take back the State and help stop what is so eloquently stated in this article. Please support Mike at www.mikemorozforstaterep.com You can donate through paypal. Mike deserves a chance, and so do we. Thank you very much.
 
 
+18 # walt 2012-09-01 07:29
If you want a classic example of loss of rights and freedom, we had one this past week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. The entire convention area was caged off. Yes, wire cages with more police than citizens guarding the area. Of course, all was done in the name of "security," the thing Bush and Cheney taught us to cherish most for the last ten years.

For those of us who wanted to demonstrate, they had a limited and caged location called the "free speech" area and it was far enough from the convention center that neither delegates nor protesters could see each other. Police and National Guard surrounded every demonstration. Imagine designating an area where "free speech" could take place!

Add to all this drones and other surveillance and the image of the "land of the free" seems to have disappeared.

Meanwhile, inside the convention the real criminals were left alone. Yes, the ones who supported the Iraq invasion that cost the US so dearly in lives and dollars. And the ones that have fought for four years against every attempt the president has made to change the country. And all the while, they were inside and again lying to the public with great media coverage. They even gave a standing ovation to a Bush cabinet member who was a key player in the deeds we witnessed from 2000 to 2008.

Wake up, America!
 
 
+5 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-09-01 10:46
Yep, Walt, and, FYI, testing for such 'free speech' areas went on (no big suprise) in Colorado Springs - super fusion of the country's now over 70 fusion centers, in 2008 at the Dem. State convention, shortly before the Dem. National Convention in Denver where and when Obama was nominated.

Elected Dem. delegates/alter nets cheered as they saw, standing behind police lines, longtime peace and justice activists, who held a banner: DEMS, PLEASE END WAR IN IRAQ. In very short order, police moved in, arrested/handcu ffed/hurt as they handcuffed the men. The cops at first charged them with obstruction (no way, Jose), then within a couple of hours, turned the charge into trespass (also caca charge). Cops destroyed the poles which had held the banners up, and kept the men away all day from the convention, first moving them from one nearby police state, to another station, at the extreme nother edge, miles and a long distance away.

An observer came forward and swore via affidavit he had seen four men with a hyperbolic dish, standing on the roof of a nearby hotel, recording everything that went on at time of arrest. His affidavit was entered into evidence by our legal team, the same day we went into court for first appearance pre-trial. Suddenly, the charges disappeared, and the city motioned for dismisal. Google: Colorado Springs Independent, Jan. 21, 2010, "No Peace or Justice". Yep, Wake up, America!
 
 
+6 # rockieball 2012-09-01 07:50
All I can say this is a well written article. Though the Republican Party is totally owned by the banks and corporations, the Democrat's do little more than pay lip service to re regulation of the banks and corporations. And no lip service to the banking CEO's in prosecuting them for their crimes of which one could include as treason for bringing down the economy of this country. In that way they too show they they are also mostly controlled by the corporations and banks.
 
 
+8 # guyachs 2012-09-01 08:00
One outstanding example of how Congress and the President don't represent us is the tax code. Citizens have been calling for a more simple tax code for a long time and politicians all agree but, somehow, it never happens. That is because corporations and the rich benefit from the complexity of the tax code.
 
 
+11 # reiverpacific 2012-09-01 09:37
Yep.
I was listening to "Democracy Now's" Amy Goodman yesterday at the RNC. As she tried to get close enough to David Koch just to ask him a few questions, she was suddenly encircled by a bunch of suited Goons who blocked her "In the name of security" -after she showed her press card- and steered her (none too gently) away from the general area occupied by Koch, still quietly protesting about her rights and freedom of the press to ask penetrating questions.
Wonder if they'd ha' let a Fox reporter in a bit closer?
As for freedom, having lived in and out of the US since the late 70's I've seen the subject become more and more remote but more and more shouted by those who wrap themselves in the flag, since Reagan (and Thatcher in ENGLAND -Scotland not included here and moving more steadily towards total independence from Westminster), accelerated since Dimwits/Chain-e y and 9-11, with the military-indust rial/prison and corporate world monopolizing the tax spread and freedom quotient as in "You're free if you can afford it" and "free press if you own it".
It's becoming more and more like Spain under Franco or Indonesia under Suharto, both of whom were supported and armed by the US.
If Twit is selected, it can only get worse.
Even many Latinos and others are returning home due to lessening opportunities and more racist attitudes.
 
 
+6 # Glen 2012-09-01 10:54
I watched that episode with Amy Goodman in the convention center. It reminded me of a wasp nest when the Koch warriors swarmed. She encountered resistance during the last conventions as well.

There hasn't been any real participation in a convention for quite some time. Glad you included the "afford it" and "own it" phrases.
 
 
+7 # JSRaleigh 2012-09-01 11:05
Quoting reiverpacific:
Even many Latinos and others are returning home due to lessening opportunities and more racist attitudes.


Doesn't do much for those of us left behind. I was born here. My parents, my grandparents, my great-grandpare nts ... were all born here. Ten generations.

Not including my grandmother's side of the family who already lived here before my great-great-gre at-great-great- great-great-gre at-great-grandd addy got off the boat at Jamestown.

I just cannot understand why the tea-baggers emigrant ancestors are so much more desirable persons than today's emigrants.

If the Latinos will stay and fight for their rights, I'd be proud to stand with them.

Our government has become unaccountable in direct proportion to the extent that it has been taken over by and answers to unaccountable corporations.

Tyranny, thy name is "Inc".
 
 
+4 # Regina 2012-09-01 14:23
They may bray about the U.S.A., but ALL "white" people are of immigrant descent, specifically European, and more precisely called Caucasians. "Real" Americans are the misnamed Indians, who don't care about that designation, and Inuits, who probably came to this continent many centuries before Columbus et al., across an ancient land bridge from Asia -- they resent their misnaming as "Eskimos" (French: Esquimaux). Asian and African peoples have other "colors." Culturally as well as politically and economically, the Caucasian voyagers exploited the lands, the natural resources, and the peoples they encountered (including the women they seduced! -- thus "mestizos") in their voyages. They filled themselves with the myth of superiority, and regarded all others as inferior. Looks like we haven't gotten over that yet, or learned anything along the way. But from the mouths of babes: when she was about three, my daughter picked up on some comment from the tee-vee, pushed up her sleeve, and said, "I'm not white -- I'm beige." We're all just varied shades of beige, including the "tea."
 
 
+3 # reiverpacific 2012-09-01 22:32
Doesn't do much for those of us left behind. I was born here. My parents, my grandparents, my great-grandpare nts ... were all born here. Ten generations.
Not including my grandmother's side of the family who already lived here before my great-great-gre at-great-great- great-great-gre at-great-grandd addy got off the boat at Jamestown.
I just cannot understand why the tea-baggers emigrant ancestors are so much more desirable persons than today's emigrants.
If the Latinos will stay and fight for their rights, I'd be proud to stand with them.
Our government has become unaccountable in direct proportion to the extent that it has been taken over by and answers to unaccountable corporations.Ty ranny, thy name is "Inc".
How d'you think the original inhabitants of this land feel?
I take your point however, and also wonder what happened to the phrase of so much promise beginning with "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ------!"
We have gone through so much and so many periods of hating the new, who came after "Us" the different, and perceiving "Them" as threats, which was used by the already established capitalist classes, including Andrew Carnegie, a former fellow Scotsman but a total fink, as a tool to divide and subjugate all who threatened his profit-margin.
I stand with you -you deserve to have your country as you and your forebears had hoped it would be: -one of opportunity and basic decency.
 
 
+5 # MendoChuck 2012-09-01 13:36
Tyranny, Thy Name is "Inc"
Now that is a bumper sticker for the 21st Century.

Awesome.
 
 
+5 # lorenbliss 2012-09-01 14:32
Contrary to Mr. Eskow, government IS the enemy. This is because government in the United States is the exclusive possession of "Big Wealth," Mr, Eskow's (anti-Marxian) euphemism for the Ruling Class.

Which is precisely the reason the fascists dominate U.S. politics -- and why, barring a miracle -- they will sweep the November elections. Robbed of any understanding of class struggle, the disciples of Romney/Ryan see the tyrannies inflicted by governments at every level, but are denied any means to understanding that government is merely acting out the policies demanded by the Ruling Class. Hence government -- not the perpetrators behind government -- is hated accordingly.

Until we on the Left understand how to communicate this to a population that has been conditioned to reflexively reject Marxian analysis as True Evil, we will continue to fail; the forces of fascism – no matter whether Republican or Democrat -- will continue to triumph.

Frankly, I think the resistance now arising is too little too late. The point of no return was crossed during the 1960s, the Decade of Political Murder, its primary victims -- the Kennedys, King, Malcolm X -- the last men who might have saved us from ourselves. All that is left now is to wail in horrified but ineffective protest as we are herded, under the JesuNazi cross and the imperial USian banner, the final distance into a slave state, a genuine Fourth Reich.
 
 
+3 # brux 2012-09-01 17:20
Karl ... Karl .... is that you come back from the grave! Well said, the frilly nonsense that we see in the media is not reality, the reality is as you say, or .... or ... if it is not as you say, then we need ways to prove it - ways to measure and evaluate our country according to specific goals and metrics, and when we are not doing well, such as now, the need to go back to equality more. Tax the rich, regulate the powerful and build up the people. Well said.
 
 
+6 # brux 2012-09-01 17:14
Or all together:

1. Our American liberties end at the workplace door.

2. We're losing our "right to life" in many different ways - from birth through old age.

3. We've lost autonomy over our own bodies.

4. We're losing the ability to rise up from poverty, earn a decent living, or work in the career of our choice.

5. We no longer have the right to personal time.

6. We can't negotiate as free people with banks or corporations.

7. We're losing our right to live or travel where we want.

8. We've lost our right to privacy.

9. We're losing our right to participate in our society as informed citizens.

10. We're losing the right to representative democracy.

I like the idea of going at our problems by collecting, airing and reviewing grievances. I also like the idea that we have specific rights, starting with our Constitutional rights, and we should add to those rights, as well as measure how well we are doing at fulfilling them - and then doing something about it.
 

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