kucinichA few interesting lefty sites to look at as weekend reading:

The indomitable Bill Moyers tells why progressives should be angry, and not complacent, about what has happened to the political, social, educational and economic systems in the US in the past few decades. My favourite excerpts:

A profound transformation is occurring in America: the balance between wealth and the commonwealth is being upended. By design. Deliberately. We have been subjected to what the Commonwealth Foundation calls ìa fanatical drive to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that have shaped public responsibility for social harms arising from the excesses of private power.î From land, water and other natural resources, to media and the broadcast and digital spectrums, to scientific discovery and medical breakthroughs, and to politics itself, a broad range of the American commons is undergoing a powerful shift toward private and corporate control. And with little public debate. Indeed, what passes for ëpolitical debateí in this country has become a cynical charade behind which the real business goes on ñthe not-so scrupulous business of getting and keeping power in order to divide up the spoils…Letís face the reality: If ripping off the public trust; if distributing tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of the poor; if driving the country into deficits deliberately to starve social benefits; if requiring states to balance their budgets on the backs of the poor; if squeezing the wages of workers until the labor force resembles a nation of serfs ñ if this isnít class war, what is? Itís un-American. Itís unpatriotic. And itís wrong…What we need is a mass movement of people like you. Get mad, yes ñ thereís plenty to be mad about. Then get organized and get busy. This is the fight of our lives.

And he quotes this gem from Time magazine:

ìWhen powerful interests shower Washington with millions in campaign contributions, they often get what they want. But itís ordinary citizens and firms that pay the price and most of them never see it coming. This is what happens if you donít contribute to their campaigns or spend generously on lobbying. You pick up a disproportionate share of Americaís tax bill. You pay higher prices for a broad range of products from peanuts to prescriptions. You pay taxes that others in a similar situation have been excused from paying. Youíre compelled to abide by laws while others are granted immunity from them. You must pay debts that you incur while others do not. Youíre barred from writing off on your tax returns some of the money spent on necessities while others deduct the cost of their entertainment. You must run your business by one set of rules, while the government creates another set for your competitors. In contrast, the fortunate few who contribute to the right politicians and hire the right lobbyists enjoy all the benefits of their special status. Make a bad business deal; the government bails
them out. If they want to hire workers at below market wages, the government provides the means to do so. If they want more time to pay their debts, the government gives them an extension. If they want immunity from certain laws, the government gives it. If they want to ignore rules their competition must comply with, the government gives its approval. If they want to kill legislation that is intended for the public, it gets killed.î

This is part of the Demos website. Thanks to GentleBreeze’s excellent blog for the link.

And once they’re angry enough, American Progressives now have an organizing body to do something about this travesty: The Progressive Vote PAC’s United Progressive Alliance is working at the grassroots level to reform the Democratic Party into a genuinely progressive party, or at least get some progressive planks in its platform, from the bottom up.

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